CS Table 11/21/17: Games and the Gig Economy

At the November 21 CS Table, we’ll be discussing the phenomenon of the Gig Economy—an economy characterized by independent workers contracted for short-term jobs—and how recent developments in technology have supported this new economy. The most famous of these is Uber, and in particular, we’ll look more closely at how Uber uses data science and psychology in tandem with mobile technology to power its driver networks (for better or worse). Please read this pair of meaty (but intriguing!) articles:

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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

CS Table 11/14/17: Citizen Robot

Robots are fun, but what happens when we decide to elevate them from simple tool to citizen? Granting citizenship to a robot has already been done in Saudi Arabia. Join us for CS Table to discuss the general implications and what this means for society and computational thinking as a whole.

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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

CS Table 11/7/17: Computer-Aided Gerrymandering

This CS table discussion will cover computer-aided gerrymandering: the ways that legislative district boundaries are drawn to favor specific parties or interests, and how computers have changed this process in recent years. The reading and listening below should give you some useful background information on what gerrymandering is, where it came from, and recent developments in the process.

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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

CS Table 10/31/17: The Google Memo

This week in CS table we will be discussing the memo circulated by a former Google employee criticizing the company’s approach to workplace diversity. I expect this discussion to be wide-ranging: cultural issues in the tech industry, current and proposed strategies for recruiting diverse tech workers, and questions about protected speech in the workplace. We will have assistance in this discussion from several campus partners interested in culture change. 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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

Thursday Extra 11/2/17: Build your own programming language

Thursday, November 2, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Building your own programming language and other reasons to go to graduate school is presented by Eric Van Wyk from the University of Minnesota.

To motivate a discussion on graduate school opportunities, Van Wyk will describe some of his group's work on techniques and tools that allow programmers to construct their own programming language, either from independently-developed domain-specific language extensions or by developing language extensions from scratch. Such extensions can provide new syntax and semantic analyses that address the computational task at hand. His specific interest has been on techniques to ensure that one can pick and choose these extensions with some assurance that this collection will in fact work well together.

Research work like this is indicative of what one can do in graduate school in computer science, be it in programming languages, robotics, machine learning, systems, graphics, visualization, bioinformatics, or a plethora of other areas. One has the time and opportunity to dive deeply into an area of interest and push the boundaries of what is possible. Van Wyk will describe what graduate school is like, both generally and specifically at the University of Minnesota and, hopefully, encourage to consider graduate school as part of your future.

CS Table 10/24/17: Interactive and Connected Toys

Interactive Toys have long been heralded as an introduction to technology. Although toys such as Hello Barbie and Feisty Pets have been heralded as the new frontier and games such as Minecraft are often viewed as educational, these toys and games present a few drawbacks. At this week's CS Table, we will discuss these toys and the pros and cons of this exposure.

There are two readings:

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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

Thursday Extra 10/12: Improving software reliability and security

Thursday, October 12, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Improving the reliability and security of software with formal methods and automated reasoning is presented by Cesare Tinelli from The University of Iowa.

Producing robust, reliable software, which performs its intended function and is less prone to errors and security vulnerabilities, is becoming more and more important as software comes to control increasingly large and critical aspects of modern society. This talk makes a case for using mathematically rigorous approaches based on formal logic to specify the behavior of safety-critical software and verify its correctness. These methods can reduce automatically large classes of program analysis problems to constraint satisfaction problems in some formal logic, and then solve them with the aid of automatic reasoners for that logic. The talk will give a brief overview of this approach and discuss its recent successes and applications in industry, focusing on research done at the University of Iowa in this area.

TUESDAY Extra 10/10: Chat with CS Alumni

TUESDAY, October 10, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Come meet with Wes Beary '05, Cassie Koomjian '05, Terian Koscik '12, Alex Leach '06, and Ian Young '08, the alumni mentors for CSC 321. They will discuss issues they have encountered as computing professionals and answer questions you have about life after Grinnell.

CS Table 10/10: Debrief from Grace Hopper Celebration

This week’s CS Table will feature a panel of students that attended the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing last week. They will share their experiences at the conference as well as give advice on how to get the most out of your conference experience if you attend such a conference in the future.

View the GHC website for more information on the conference

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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

CS Table 10/3: Tapia 2017 Debrief

This week in CS Table we’ll hear from several Grinnell students who attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing two weeks ago in Atlanta. They will be discussing their experiences at the conference and share advice on how to get the most of your time at a computing conference like Tapia. We will also have a broader discussion about why we have a conference like Tapia and its importance for computing.

Brief readings to give you context for the 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 224A (inside the Marketplace). 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 (sign in at the JRC front desk).

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