Thursday Extra 4/27: Project Gadfly

Thursday, April 27, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Project Gadfly: Students and Alums Coding for Social Good

Over spring break, six mentors and eight Grinnell students created Project Gadfly, a system designed to help U.S. residents contact their elected representatives. With Gadfly, users can create sample call scripts and share them with friends using QR codes. Anyone who sees these codes can scan them with the app and have the script and a button to call their representatives at their fingertips. The students created a web client, two native app clients, a database, a server, an API, and an Iowa non-profit in 12 days, balancing security and design decisions with rapid development. Students who worked on Project Gadfly will discuss both the design of the system and what it was like to work with mentors on a rapid-learning, rapid-development project.

CS Table 4/25: Algorithmic Accountability

Algorithms are essential to computer science, and increasingly they are essential to modern decision making on all levels. But are they unbiased? The emerging field of ‘Algorithm Accountability’ is beginning to identify cases in which inherent bias is imbedded in the inference structure of algorithms. The articles for this week’s CS Table run the gamut from popular press to general audience special interest to technical position papers to ACM recommendations for basic principles. The question is no longer ‘are algorithms biased’, but how to determine whether they are, and if so how to prevent them from being so.

Linda Oyolu, Ruth Wu, and Ursula Wolz will be leading our discussion on April 25, 2017. The following readings will give you a good sense of the area; please do your best to read at least some subset of these articles before our CS Table discussion:

Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in JRC 224B. Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department.

Thursday Extra 4/20: Résumé Review Session

Thursday, April 20, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821

  • Do you want to know how to talk about your 151 final project on your résumé?
  • Do you want to know how to write about your upcoming summer experience on your résumé?
  • Does your 3-year-old résumé need some pizzazz?
This Thursday Extra will be a résumé peer-review session. Students of all years are welcome to share feedback with one another about their résumés. We have also asked some CS professors and alumni to join in and share their wisdom during the session. Please bring 5 copies of your résumé to share if you want respectful and meaningful feedback from other participants.

One of the alums who will be joining us wrote a great article targeted at seniors and recent grads that might be helpful to some of you: Your Career is a Startup: What every recent grad needs to know.

CS Table 4/18: Automation

In the CS Table on April 18, 2017, we will discuss the role of technology in the workforce, specifically at benefits and downsides of automation. There is one reading for this week:

For a little context, here is a twitter feed that regularly features impressive manufacturing robots. These videos are fascinating to watch and can give you a sense of just how disruptive technology can be, particularly in fields that involve significant manual labor.

  • Philippe Chabot. HumanVsMachine Twitter Feed.
  • Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in JRC 224B. Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department.

    Thursday Extra 4/13: CS Outreach in Grinnell and Central Iowa

    Thursday, April 13, 2017
    4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
    Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
    Everyone is welcome to attend!

    Computer Science Outreach in Grinnell and Central Iowa
    Ursula Wolz, Noyce Visiting Professor

    Please come and learn how YOU can volunteer to bring computer science into the K-12 curriculum during the remainder of the semester and in the coming years. Through the Noyce Professorship, the College has established good relations with Grinnell's public library, middle school, and high school, for both the curriculum and after school activities. Community leaders and Grinnell College students have encouraged collaboration for years, but developing and sustaining this relationship has been challenging. Come and learn how you can contribute to both short-term needs and long-term goals.

    CS Table 4/11: Technical Interviews

    This week in CS table we will take a critical look towards the technical interview process employed in the software industry. Like the industry itself, our expectations about how interviews are conducted have rapidly changed over the last decade. Our readings, spaced 10 years apart, showcase what were some of the concerns back then versus the concerns now:

    In addition to the readings, I encourage you to reflect on your own experiences interviewing for internships or jobs and bring them to share.

    Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in JRC 224B. Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department.

    CS Table 3/7: Can computers write poetry?

    Systems for generating poetry and other writing use a variety of techniques to produce text from a combination of structural rules and examples. Some results are quite compelling, while others are less impressive. Even in the best cases, we could reasonably ask: Did the computer actually write this? Is it really a poem?

    Our reading for this topic is an academic paper about a sonnet generator. This program uses a combination of classic language models from natural language processing (NLP), an interesting model of rhyme and slant-rhyme, and finite state machines that control poem structure. Generating Topical Poetry. Marjan Ghazvininejad, Xing Shi, Yejin Choi, and Kevin Knight. In Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing.

    In addition to the reading, there are three example text generators you should try out before Tuesday. These vary *significantly* in their level of sophistication. Play with them, and see if you can figure out how they work:

    Taking a look at the leaderboard at BotPoet is highly recommended. You can find the most human-like computer-generated poems, but also the most computer-like computer-generated poems, most human-like human-written poems, and most computer-like human-written poems.

    Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in JRC 224B. Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department.

    Thursday Extra 3/2: Student Research Presentations

    Thursday, March 2, 2017
    4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
    Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
    Everyone is welcome to attend!

    Students from the Rebelsky and Osera research teams will be presenting aspects of their summer research in preparation for their trip to SIGCSE in Seattle.

    • The Rebelsky group will be discussing the design of its code camp for middle schoolers and lessons learned.
    • The Osera group will be discussing issues of proof and/or program generation.

    Then during the March 14 CS Table, these groups will debrief on their experience at SIGCSE.

    CS Table 2/28: What's in a face?

    On February 28, 2017, we’ll be looking at applications of machine learning to judge people by their faces. Faces have the potential to convey much information about a person’s emotion and intent, but extracting that information from a face alone is a difficult task (and arguably impossible or impractical depending on which side of the research you fall on). Computers equipped with machine learning and computer vision algorithms have the capacity to perform these sorts of analyses on faces. What is possible with this sort of technology? Are there any ethical ramifications to consider? Paper copies of the readings are available outside Prof. Curtsinger's office. Computer science table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in JRC 224B. Contact the CS faculty for the weekly reading. Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can charge their meals to the department.

    Thursday Extra: "The Future of MathLAN"

    On Thursday, February 23, John Stone, Manager of the Mathematics Local-Area Network, will present a concise account of the history, present status, and possible future directions for MathLAN.

    At 4:00 p.m., refreshments will be served in the Computer Science Commons, Noyce 3817. The talk, “The Future of MathLAN,” will begin at 4:15 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

    Syndicate content