CS Table

CS Table 4/10/2018: Skepticism and regulation in tech

This week's topic is Elizabeth Holmes and her biotech company Theranos, from the cutting-edge technology making headlines in 2014 to the false claims investigated in 2017. We'll be discussing female entrepreneurs, skepticism within the tech world and regulation. There are three 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 12:00–12:45pm 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 Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 4/3/18: Paris Talks

Several members of the CS department attended the Paris Talks, a one-day conference focused on potential problems that could arise with the development of AI. The conference was targeted at people with a humanities-oriented background, whose perspectives on technology are often not a part of the conversation. Talks ranged from discussion of technological advances in healthcare, urban planning and the internet of things, with an emphasis on potential impact of these on privacy, personal relationships, the relationships between people and technology, culture, art, and broadly our own conception of the above mentioned, and how those conceptions influence meaning of work and relationships in our lives. The students who attended the conference will help to lead a discussion of these issues at CS Table this week.

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 12:00–12:45pm 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 Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 3/6/2018: Artificial Intelligence

Since the early days of computing, people have debated the value of artificial intelligence (AI). Many scholars and authors have considered the ramifications of AI and have shared their considerations in media that surrounds us all. We decided there are so many good examples of AI in media (from Ultron to Wall-E), we couldn't pick just one, so please come to CS Table with an example of your favorite AI representation in media!

Suggested 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 12:00–12:45pm 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 Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 2/27/18: SIGCSE Debrief

Folks returning from last week's SIGCSE 2018 will be discussing experiences at the conference. This was a technical symposium for the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

The reading for this week is to browse the SIGCSE 2018 website. In particular, you can browse the full schedule to get a sense of what the conference covered. If a particular session seems interesting to you, feel free to mention it on Tuesday and we can see if one of our panelist also visited that session and can share their thoughts!

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 12:00–12:45pm 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 Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 2/20/18: Privacy, Security, and Revenue on the Web

We will consider the implications of two models that websites can use to generate revenue from their users: advertising and cryptocurrency mining. Advertising has been a popular model for website operators to generate revenue even though visitors do not pay to access their content, but advertising has some significant problems with security and privacy. We’ll explore these problems, look at two new approaches, and think generally about how web companies should generate the revenue they need to pay their bills while respecting and protecting their users.

While there are many excellent articles on the wide variety of issues related to this topic, the first three readings listed should serve as a good foundation for our discussion. The additional optional readings raise some important issues that we hope to touch on in the discussion, so take a look at one or two that interest you.

Readings:

Additional 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 12:00–12:45pm 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 Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 2/6/18: Digital Ownership

This week in CS table, we'll discuss what ownership looks like in a digital world. How have our expectations and rights around ownership changed in the wake of digital goods and services? What have we gained and lost as consumers?

To prepare for our discussion check out the first (sample) chapter of Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz's 2016 book, The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy.

The reading gives an excellent overview of the considerations and problems in this space; take notes and try to form "the big picture" in your head of digital ownership. We'll begin our discussion by trying to capture these concerns. In addition, come equipped with one example of a consumer product that is beginning to shift (or has already shifted) from a physical to a digital good. We'll use these more specific examples to try to hone in how we can respond to these changes.

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 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).

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).

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).

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).

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