Thursday Extra 2/1/18: Diversifying Through Code Camps

Thursday, February 1, 2018
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Diversifying the CS Pipeline through Innovative Code Camps shares the results of a summer research project by Caelin Bryant, Jonathan Gilmour, Bea Herce-Hagiwara, Anh Thu Pham, Halle Remash, Marli Remash, and Jonah Zimmerman.

The underrepresentation of women, students of color, and people from lower-SES backgrounds within computer science remains a national issue. Recent studies demonstrate one reason for this: persistent stereotypes about "who does computer science" can cause members of underrepresented groups to preclude interest in the field. Join us this Thursday to learn about how the use of art, data science, social good, and summer camps contributes to adolescent self-efficacy as well as the future diversity of our discipline.

CS Table 1/30/18: Security Vulnerabilities

At the January 30 CS Table we will discuss the recently-announced Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities. These are complex security vulnerabilities that rely on two important features of modern processors: speculation and out-of-order execution. In addition to a technical discussion of these specific vulnerabilities, we’ll discuss the ways in which vulnerabilities are disclosed and fixed.

There are two assigned readings for Tuesday. The first gives a non-technical analogy for both vulnerabilities, and should be helpful for getting a handle on how these vulnerabilities work. The second looks at the implications for end users and the tech industry.

If you are feeling adventurous, you may want to read the original Spectre and Meltdown papers at https://meltdownattack.com/. These are relatively accessible and include a quite a bit of background information.

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 1/25/18: Summer Research

Thursday, January 25, 2018
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

A discussion of Summer Research Opportunities in Computer Science at Grinnell is presented by members of the CS faculty and a few guests. You'll hear about research projects with CS faculty members and about the application process. You'll also hear about opportunities from a few people from outside the department who would like to hire CS students. And we'll have an overview of the general policies for MAPs, 399s, and MIPs.

CS Table 1/23/18

At our first CS Table of the new year, we'll discuss potential topics for this semester.

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).

Hiring Multiple Visitors in Computer Science

Grinnell College is hiring for several multi-year visiting positions in Computer Science. We invite interested parties to read more about these open positions, why consider visiting in CS at Grinnell, and some recent questions and answers about those positions.

Thursday Extra 12/7/2017: Summer Opportunities in Computer Science

Thursday, December 7, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

A discussion of Summer Opportunities in Computer Science is presented by Professor Samuel A. Rebelsky and the other faculty of the department of computer science.

If you enjoy computer science (or at least computer programming), summer is an opportunity to explore new approaches, to develop new skills, and perhaps even to make some money. But what kinds of things can you do? While students tend to focus on a few options (e.g., internships and research with faculty), a wide variety of opportunities are available. In this session, we will discuss goals you might set for the summer and some opportunities that can help you achieve those goals. Then during winter break you can be starting applications and preparing to build your portfolios.

Note that this is *not* the presentation of summer research offered within this department; this is a broad overview of the kinds of opportunities one might pursue off-campus.

CS Table 12/5/17: Esoteric Programming Languages

We’ll wrap up our semester with a fun topic for CS Table: Esoteric Programming Languages. These programming languages are intentionally designed to be complex, confusing, or funny, and often offer some clever commentary on the real programming languages we use.

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 11/30/2017: Computational Evolution

Thursday, November 30, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Using Computational Evolution to Understand the Origins of Biological Complexity is presented by Charles Ofria, professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University and president of the International Society for Artificial Life. His research lies at the intersection of Computer Science and Evolutionary Biology, developing a two-way flow of ideas between the fields, with the primary goal of understanding how evolution produces complex traits, behaviors, and intelligent processes.

Understanding the evolution of complex traits and behaviors in nature has long been a topic of intense interest in evolutionary biology. Similarly, constructing evolving systems that exhibit similar open-ended dynamics has been a grand challenge in the field of Evolutionary Computation, where researchers try to apply these natural dynamics toward solving real-world problems. Of course, Darwin himself recognized the difficulty of explaining the origins of traits of "extreme perfection and complication" such as the vertebrate eye, but also provided profound insights into the process. Ofria will discuss research where inspiration is taken from Darwin's ideas to study populations of digital organisms as they evolve new, complex traits in environments where they must perform mathematical functions to metabolize resources into additional CPU cycles. He will illustrate the processes by which digital evolution can be made to produce targeted complex traits, and demonstrate the power of these artificial life systems to help explain the rich diversity of life that we see in the natural world.

Ofria is also founder and deputy director of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, a $50 million NSF Science and Technology Center, and he is architect of the Avida Digital Evolution Research Platform, which is downloaded over a thousand times per month for use in research and education at dozens of universities around the world.

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).

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