Thursday Extras

Thursday Extra: "Computational epidemiology"

On Thursday, October 11, Professor Alberto Maria Segre of the University of Iowa will discuss recent work on modeling and analyzing the incidence and geographical distribution of disease in human populations:

Computational epidemiology lies at the intersection of computer science, engineering, statistics, and health care. Our goal is to inform public and hospital policy decisions on topics such as disease surveillance, disease prevention measures, and outbreak containment.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, Computational epidemiology, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Algorithmic arts"

On Thursday, September 27, Professor Sam Rebelsky will discuss the emphasis on the algorithmic construction and transformation of graphic images in our CSC 151 course:

We have transformed the introductory course in computer science to emphasize the construction and manipulation of images. Students work with a drawing application, creating images by hand and with “scripts.”

The capstone project for the course is A Procedure is Worth 1000 Pictures, in which students write a program that, given a width and height, can generate one thousand different but related images that meet particular guidelines. The project must meet both studio and computer science design criteria. We do studio critiques of both the aesthetic and computational aspects of the projects.

We are exploring ways to have students in this course collaborate with students in the introductory studio art course. One approach builds on a Modular Print project in the studio art course in which students build a square block that they then print in multiple rotations to achieve a more complex image. For the bridge activity, we expect that studio students can propose basic arrangements of the blocks, and CS students can build a program that helps the art students explore the design spaces those arrangements suggest.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, Algorithmic arts: bridging computer science and studio art, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Dynamic code generation and what it takes to get there"

On Thursday, May 3, Isaiah Sarju 2013 will discuss the nature, history, and theory of security vulnerabilities associated with dynamic code generation:

More specifically, the talk will deal with the underlying hacking techniques and security principles which have led to research into dynamic code generation: the history of memory vulnerabilities, the security mechanisms which are used to protect against these attacks, and the state of the art of bypassing these protections.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, Dynamic code generation and what it takes to get there, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Self-disclosing code"

On Thursday, April 26, Pelle Hall 2014, Andrew Hirakawa 2012, and Jennelle Nystrom 2014 will present the result of their work in summer 2011 on software that generates programs to duplicate the effects of operations that users perform in a graphical user interface.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, Self-disclosing code, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "K-selection on the GPU"

On Thursday, April 19, Tolu Alabi 2013, Brad Gordon 2012, and Russel Steinbach 2012 will discuss their work in summer 2011 on parallel algorithms for computing order statistics:

How do you select the 1,678,341st largest number out of a list of 500 million numbers? The answer is surprisingly simple, and will be the subject of our Thursday Extra. We will present two efficient, parallel algorithms for selecting the kth largest element out of very large lists, a problem known as k-selection. We will discuss how graphics processing units (GPUs) enable us to easily and efficiently implement these algorithms on single computers.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, K-selection on the GPU, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "The MediaPython project"

On Thursday, April 12, Chike Abuah 2014, Rogelio Calderon 2014, and Sydney Ryan 2014 will discuss their work in summer 2011 on media computation using Python:

The Media Computation approach to learning, interactive scripting and design, since being pioneered at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has become increasingly popular in the introductory computer science courses at Grinnell College. To support this approach, we designed the MediaPython architecture, with the help of Professor Sam Rebelsky. MediaPython is the collection of GIMP functions that allow users to issue commands in different Python environments that affect images and make context changes in the GIMP.

In our talk we shall discuss the MediaPython architecture, the universal gimpbus plug-in, and the use of Python as a functional scripting language, accompanied by several exciting demonstrations.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, The MediaPython project, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

CS Extra: WANTED! CS Majors to Study Abroad

On Tuesday, November 1 at noon, Gábor Bojár, President of the Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT), will give a presentation on their study abroad program in Noyce 3821.

An upcoming talk will be presented on campus to encourage students to consider a great new study abroad program, Aquincum Institute of Technology BUDAPEST, for students interested in computing, design, computational biology, and IT entrepreneurship.

About AIT: The AIT program has a first-rate faculty including professors such as Erno Rubik (inventor of the Rubik's Cube and recent recipient of the U.S. Outstanding Contributions to Science Education Award), an innovative curriculum including courses such as "Computer Vision for Digital Film Post-production" taught by faculty affiliates from Colorfront Studios (recent recipients of an Academy Award for technical contributions), and a guest lecture series that brings prominent speakers to campus.

All classes are conducted in English at AIT's state-of-the-art campus on the lovely banks of the Danube River. Students live in vibrant neighborhoods of Budapest and have ample opportunities to interact with Hungarian students and explore Hungary and the region.

AIT is small and friendly, with typical class sizes of 5-15 students. Recent U.S. AIT students have come from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Harvey Mudd College, Northeastern University, Pomona College, Princeton University, RPI, Skidmore, Smith, Swarthmore and Williams Colleges. The program also includes a small number of Hungarian students. (AIT Alumni).

The AIT website and APPLICATION materials are available on-line.

Thursday Extra: Rethinking Mathematics in CS at Grinnell

On October 27, members of the computer science department's faculty will share information on potential new major requirements and a discrete structures course.

Mathematics serves many purposes within the CS curriculum. Certainly, mathematical techniques are necessary for a wide variety of activities, including linear algebra in computer graphics, mathematical induction as a precursor to recursion, and a variety of techniques in artificial intelligence. In addition, in order to successfully analyze algorithms, an activity central to computer science, students need some mathematical sophistication, including an ability to read and write proofs.

For many years, Grinnell has relied on MAT 218, Combinatorics, to ensure that students had an appropriate background for the computer science major. However, the CS faculty have also been concerned about the effects on students of MAT 218's long prerequisite chain.

The Computer Science and Mathematics/Statistics departments are considering offering a new course entitled "Discrete Structures" that will serve many of the needs of CS majors and will approach many topics through both a mathematical and computational perspective. The new course is also likely to have prerequisites of MAT 131, Calculus I, and CSC 151, Functional Problem Solving. Dr. Stone's notes on a possible structure for that course appear here.

If this new course is offered, the Computer Science department is likely to change its requirements so that students may take either MAT 218 or this new course. Before we move forward further with these proposals, we would like to hear from our students.

We invite you to come meet with us to discuss the new course and the potential changes to the computer science curriculum. Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation and discussion will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: Automatically generating parallel corpora

On Thursday, September 29, Max Kaufmann 2012, will present a talk in the "Thursday Extra" series on his summer research:

As the computational power available has grown, the field of machine translation has shifted from using rule-based approaches to statistical-based ones. In essence, many modern machine translation systems learn how to translate by "reading" lots of parallel texts (the same text translated into two languages). The usefulness of this method is largely determined by the amount of parallel texts that are available. This summer I worked at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with Dr. Jugal Kalita to create method capable of automatically generating these parallel texts for 92 language pairs.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Kaufmann's talk, "Automatically generating parallel corpora," will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: A C-based introductory course using robots

On Thursday, September 15, David Cowden, April O'Neill, Erik Opavsky, and Dilan Ustek will give a talk in the "Thursday Extra" series:

Using robots in introductory computer science classes has recently become a popular method of increasing student interest in computer science. With faculty member, Henry M. Walker, we developed a new curriculum for CSC 161, Imperative Problem Solving and Data Structures, based upon Scribbler 2 robots with standard C. Come hear about
  • creation of a modular course structure
  • focus on imperative problem solving and C
  • wrapping of commands from C++ to C
  • inclusion of innovative pedagogy
  • sharing of software with the international community

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The group's talk, "A C-based introductory course using robots" will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.
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