CS Table this Friday: Health Care and Computing

Welcome back, CS students! Thanks to Josh Raymond's work this spring, this semester's CS Table will focus on current topics in health care and computing. Topics will include electronic health records, safety critical systems, online health communities, diagnostic tools, and much more. See the course front door for more information.

We will meet on Fridays at noon in JRC 224A (upstairs in the Marketplace), starting with introductions and topic sign-ups this Friday.

Please consider registering for CSC-295-02 (one credit). Students who are registered for CSC-295-02 will collaborate in small groups of 2-3 to lead discussions (see below) on 2-3 topics over the course of the semester. Several students interested in health care have already registered for the course, so you'll have great opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions.

Any interested student may participate in our discussions. If you do not have a meal plan, you may sign in at the Marketplace entrance. Hope to see you this Friday!

We've moved to a new Web server!

Although we're still using the same access name (www.cs.grinnell.edu). we've actually upgraded from an older Web server machine (aiken.cs.grinnell.edu, 132.161.33.192) to a new one (baran.cs.grinnell.edu, 132.161.196.27). Enjoy!

Congratulations to our graduates!

The Computer Science majors of the class of 2011 are:
  • Shitanshu Aggarwal
  • Ravi Tushar Chande
  • Alexander Gerould Cohn
  • Charles C. K. Frantz (with honors)
  • Dylan Taylor Gumm (with honors)
  • Jeffrey Daniel Leep (with honors)
  • Jesse Wayne Queen
  • Jordan Rose Shkolnick (with honors)
  • Aaron Bristow Todd
  • Dennis David Vaccaro, Jr.
Congratulations to all!

Thursday Extra: "Project Zucchini"

On Thursday, May 12, students from Professor Janet Davis's course “Human-computer interaction” will give a talk in the “Thursday Extras” series:

The goal of Project Zucchini is to re-design the Grinnell Local Food Co-op Web site so that it better supports the Co-op's mission of providing the Grinnell community with access to local foods. Students from CSC 232, Human-Computer Interaction, will explain how they applied User Experience Development methods to understand the work context, extract requirements and models, develop new designs, build prototypes, and evaluate user experience.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “Project Zucchini: re-designing the Local Food Co-op Web site,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Text recognition on historical maps"

On Thursday, April 7, Ravi Chande 2011 and Dylan Gumm 2011 will give a talk in the “Thursday Extras” series:

Maps -- particularly old ones -- have proven a significant challenge to traditional optical character recognition systems. Intersections of text with other cartographic symbols, irregular word orientations, and unusual fonts all serve as sources of error. Previous attempts to improve OCR on maps have used pre-processing steps on the input image or various post-processing techniques on the strings output by OCR. Here, we present a system that attempts to combine an OCR system with the known geography of the map to improve text recognition.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “Text recognition on historical maps,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Computation in pure hardware with FPGAs"

On Thursday, March 3, Forrest Friesen 2011 will give a talk in the “Thursday Extras” series:

Field-programmable gate arrays are integrated circuits whose internal structure can be configured to create digital logic at the lowest level. With ever-improving semiconductor manufacturing technology and increasingly accessible configuration tools, they are the ultimate in general purpose computational hardware. This talk will present an overview of working with modern FPGAs, with examples taken from my independent study project in the physics department. I will also discuss the devices from a technology studies perspective.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Friesen's talk, “Computation in pure hardware with FPGAs,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Programming robots"

On Thursday, February 24, Henry Walker will discuss present some of his preliminary work on integrating the programming of robots with the curriculum of CSC 161 (“Imperative problem solving and data structures”):

Introductory computer science courses around the country have utilized robots for a number of years. In recent years, for some courses, robot control has taken advantage of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs); some other courses provide students with a programming environment designed for beginners. Although these experiences have often been motivating and interesting for students, the use of robots remains a challenge within courses that focus upon imperative problem solving (e.g., with the C programming language), such as Grinnell's CSC 161.

Drawing upon this background, Mr. Walker has devoted part of his current sabbatical leave to explore the use of simple robots, with the long-term goal of possibly using robots in CSC 161. This talk presents a status report on this work. Discussion will include hardware options and capabilities, programming options, available documentation, examples of working programs, challenges, and next steps.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Walker's talk, “Programming robots: a status report,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Students interested in the topics of this talk are encouraged to contact Mr. Walker about the possibility of working in the field for Summer 2011 and [maybe] beyond.

Thursday Extra: "Multi-agent system simulation in Scala"

On Thursday, February 17, Aaron Todd 2011 will discuss the use of the Scala programming language, and in particular its support for parallelism, in the construction of simulation frameworks for multi-agent systems.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Todd's talk, Multi-agent system simulation in Scala, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Robust text recognition"

On Thursday, February 10, Jerod Weinman will discuss some aspects of his recent work on text recognition:

Is your smart phone smarter than a fifth grader? Not yet. Accurately translating a photograph of text into an intrinsically textual representation has been confounding computational scientists for over a century. Humans (even fifth graders) still outperform computers at reading. In this talk, I review why the problem is difficult and present a model for robustly recognizing small amounts of text in images.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Weinman's talk, “Robust text recognition,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: Summer research opportunities in computer science

On Thursday, February 3, faculty in the Department of Computer Science will discuss summer research opportunities, both on and off campus, that are open to our students, including the projects that our faculty will direct this year.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The discussion will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. We encourage anyone who might be interested in summer research in computer science to attend!

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