CS Table 8/29: Welcome Back!

We begin CS Table with our standard meet-and-greet and discussion of current events in technology and society; there is no reading for this initial meeting. As a reminder, CS Table is the CS department’s lunch discussion group for issues at the intersection technology and society. You don’t need to be a CS major to join the discussion!

The first CS Table of the year will meet at 12:00-1:00pm on August 29 in the Whale Room in the JRC Marketplace. (The Whale Room is the big room in the back of the dining hall.)

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 the JRC 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 on 8/31

Thursday, August 31, 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!

Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements: What Students Need to Know Before Signing Employment Agreements

Many companies, particularly in technology fields, require student interns and new full-time employees to sign employment agreements. While these agreements typically cover items such as start date, salary, title, and benefits, they also may include clauses that could have long-range serious impacts on the employee's future career choices. Julie Foster will introduce students to these clauses, what they should be aware of, and questions they should ask prior to signing such agreements. Ms. Foster is Assistant Dean and Executive Director of Career Communities at Grinnell College's Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

Congratulations to our graduates of the class of 2017!

  • Jonathan Andrew Ackmann (Hill Distinguished Award in Music)
  • Toby Elizabeth Baratta
  • Larry Boateng Asante
  • Marcel Claude Champagne
  • Zhi Chen
  • Anita Lynn DeWitt
  • Alexander Gene French
  • Charlie Alexander Gao
  • Gregory Erickson Garcia
  • Erin Corinne Gaschott
  • Leah Morgan Greenberg
  • Seth David Hadas Hanson
  • Madeleine Mitchell Hardt (with honors)
  • Amanda Sharon Hinchman-Dominguez
  • Adam Bradley Hudson
  • Yazan Alexander Kittaneh
  • Nicolas Stephen Knoebber
  • Tristan Joseph Knoth
  • Christopher Michael Kottke (ACS Physical Chemistry Award)
  • David Nathaniel Kraemer
  • Ajuna Sharon Kyaruzi (with honors)
  • Brandon C. Lederhouse
  • Kevin Lee
  • Fengyuan Li
  • Ying Long (with honors)
  • Abraham Hani Mhaidli (with honors)
  • Alexander Christopher Mitchell (with honors)
  • Giang Hiền Nguyễn (with honors)
  • Uzodinma Chiagozie Nwike
  • Michael Kofi Owusu
  • Linda Ngozi Oyolu
  • Corey Anthony Simmonds
  • Nikolas Yoshinao Takayesu
  • Sarah Campney Trop
  • Marios Tsekitsidis
  • Ruth Wu
  • Muhammad Samee Zahid
  • Harriet Ponder Zucker (with honors; Henry-York Steiner Interdisciplinary Art History Prize)

CS Table 5/9: Comics!

The end of the semester is busy, so we are taking a fun detour from our usual readings. For the final CS Table of the year, we will look at comics about technical topics, political issues, and the downfall of society. If you have any comics you would like to include, send them to Professor Osera or Curtsinger. (If you don't send some, they will resort to showing Marmaduke and Dinosaur comics!)

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: "Exploring Algorithms with Design and Analysis Techniques"

On Thursday, May 11, students from this semester's “Analysis of Algorithms” will describe and analyze two algorithms with real-world applications.

Two problems will be addressed: “Worst Case Performance Analysis of Machine Learning Robustness” (Anna Blinderman and Reilly Grant), and “Formalizing Mimble-Wimble: Scaling Bitcoin” (three presenters who wish to remain anonymous). Both of these problems pose interesting design questions when considered from a theoretical rather than implementation standpoint. The presenters will describe their work in progress and encourage formative assessment from the audience.

At 4:00 p.m., refreshments will be served in the Computer Science Commons, Noyce 3817. The presentation, “Exploring Algorithms with Design and Analysis Techniques,” will follow at 4:15 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra 5/4: Inclusion in CS

Who: CS students, CS faculty, and guest speakers
What: Discussion of inclusion in CS
Where: Science 2022
When: 4:15 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017 (Refreshments served beforehand in the same room)
Why: To address important issues
Direct questions or comments to Professor Rebelsky.

CS Table on 5/2: Random Number Generation

This week we will consider a more technical issue: How does/might one generate random numbers. We will consider two articles:

  • John David Stone (1996). A portable random-number generator. (Internet archive)
    A call to the random-maker procedure presented here yields a dynamically constructed procedure that acts as a random-number generator. When the dynamically constructed procedure is invoked with no arguments, it returns a pseudo-random real value evenly distributed in the range [0.0, 1.0); when it is invoked with one argument (which should be a positive integer n), it returns a pseudo-random integer value evenly distributed in the range [0, n); when it is invoked with two arguments, the first of which should be a positive integer and the second the symbol reset, it changes the seed of the random-number generator to the value of the first argument.
  • Greg Taylor and George Cox (2011). Behind Intel's New Random-Number Generator.
    [I]n 2008 Intel set out to make a random-number generator that uses only digital hardware. Intel researchers based in Hillsboro, Ore., and at the company's Bangalore Design Lab in India started by tackling a key part of the problem—how to make a random source of bits without using analog circuitry.

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 4/27: 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.

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