Thursday Extras

Thursday Extra: Configuration-dependent faults and feature locality

On October 13, Brady Garvin from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln will present a talk in the Thursday Extra series:

Developers are increasingly building large software in the form of highly configurable systems, systems with features that can be toggled on and off. The major risk for highly configurable systems is that some bugs, called configuration-dependent faults, only cause failures when certain features are combined, being invisible otherwise. My talk will first discuss the techniques we currently have to combat configuration-dependent faults and show that they all exploit a common idea, which we term feature locality. I will then present some newly discovered forms of feature locality and explain how they are helping us better prevent, find, mitigate, and repair configuration-dependent faults.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Garvin's talk, "Configuration-dependent faults and feature locality," will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: A robust system for discovering text baselines in scene text images

On Thursday, October 6, Zach Butler '13 and Dugan Knoll '12, will present a talk in the "Thursday Extra" series on their summer research:

Scientists have been working in the field of text recognition, the science of automatically reading text, for over 200 years. While the problem of reading whole documents (commonly called OCR, or optical character recognition) is more or less solved, the problem of reading text from arbitrary real-world scenes (Scene Text Recognition, or STR) still presents researchers with many challenges. Yet humans have been able to read such text ever since we created language. Many have created a robust recognition programs, but some still suffer from not knowing where the text baseline is—that is, where the non-descending characters of a line of text end. In this talk, we will discuss what makes reading scene text so difficult, how we made a baseline detection algorithm to improve the results of scene text recognition systems, and how we used the scientific method to make our system as robust as possible in ten weeks.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, "A robust system for discovering text baselines in scene text images," 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: Graduate school in Computer Science

On Thursday, September 22, Professors Janet Davis and Jerod Weinman will host a panel discussion as part of the Thursday Extra series to discuss what graduate school in computer science is like, why you might consider it, what opportunities there are for graduate education, employment after graduate school, applying (for computer science or related fields in particular), and other related issues attendees may be interested in.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The panel, "Graduate School in Computer Science: What? Why? How? When? Who?" 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.

Thursday Extra: An online community for peer-supported learning of computer science

On Thursday, September 8, Terian Koscik 2012 will give a talk in the "Thursday Extra" series:

For many children, computer science is seen as mysterious, difficult and inaccessible. Even for those who want to study computer science, there are very few resources for learning available until college. Without a program that kids can use to learn on their own, all but the most privileged are prevented from getting started on computer science before they are scared away. The goal of the Looking Glass IDE is to provide a fun, self-directed environment for 8-16 year olds without access to formal computer science classes to learn basic programming concepts by creating movies and games. This summer, I helped to design and implement an online community for users of Looking Glass to share projects, collaborate, compete, and support one another's programming efforts.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Ms. Koscik's talk, "An online community for peer-supported learning of computer science," will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: HCI4Peace

On Thursday, September 1, Assistant Professor Juan Pablo Hourcade of the University of Iowa will speak:

Peace is an important value for the human-computer interaction research community, yet it has not resulted in the development of a research sub-community or even a research agenda. In this presentation I seek to address this void by first motivating the need for computing research on promoting peace and preventing war. I will then review evidence on the factors that affect the likelihood that armed conflict will occur, as well as the aspects involved when individuals make moral decisions on whether or not to support a war. Based on this review,I propose a research agenda, citing research examples from the human-computer interaction literature and discussing new ideas.

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

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!

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