Thursday Extra 11/17: Student research projects

Thursday, November 17, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Sooji Son, ’18, Medha Gopalaswamy ’18 and Jianting Chen ’18 will present "ORC²A Proof Assistant."

There is a natural correspondence between mathematical proofs and computer programs. For instance, a recursive function and its correctness relate directly to inductive proofs in mathematics. However, many undergraduate students feel that there is a disconnect between the required mathematics and computer science curricula. There are several proof assistant tools which have been used by the educational community to introduce such concepts to students, but since these tools are not primarily created for educational purposes, students often do not benefit from them to the expected extent.

We have created an educational tool that draws from the benefits of existing provers and assistants and includes a novel proof language that mimics handwritten proofs. By creating a proof assistant targeted towards introductory computer science students with an intuitive user interface and a rich mechanism for providing constructive feedback, we hope to bridge the gap that many students find between mathematical proofs and program correctness.

Reilly Grant ’18 and Zachary Segall ’18 will present "Semi-Automated Program Synthesis."

Program synthesizers have evolved over the past several decades as a method for generating programs from user specifications. One approach to synthesis is using a type theoretic approach and proof search; the Myth synthesis engine uses this approach. One major difficulty with this synthesis model is the exponential blow up of the search space. To circumvent this issue, we present the Scout synthesis engine, designed for semi-automated synthesis: we expect that the user will be able to prune the search space more intelligently than a fully automatic synthesizer. Our study reveals limitations, advantages, and possible expansions of semi-automated program synthesis.

CS Table 11/15: Algorithmic Bias

As computation plays a larger role in society, we are beginning to see cases where algorithms encode the biases of the past. While this phenomenon is widespread, there is a particularly interesting case where computer programs make bail recommendations for suspects in criminal cases.

There are two short readings suggested for the discussion on November 15:

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 11/10: Summer Opportunities in CS

Thursday, November 10, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Faculty of the Department of Computer Science will present the department's annual discussion of summer opportunities in CS.

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. Note that we will not be talking about the details of summer research in our department. Instead it's a broad overview of the kinds of opportunities one might pursue. Some companies are already starting to select interns; you can use time now to build your portfolio, and you can use winter break to prepare additional applications. Handouts will be available for those who cannot attend the talk.

CS Table 11/8: The State of JavaScript

On November 8 in CS Table, we will discuss the state of JavaScript, the language running inside your browser. This is a programming language that seemingly ignores virtually all of the wisdom garnered in programming language design over the last half century, and yet it has a huge devoted fan base and enormous impact worldwide. We'll talk about some of the amusing quirks in JavaScript, briefly dive into the world in which JavaScript developers must operate, and speculate about why JavaScript has still been so successful. As always, you do not need any experience with JavaScript to participate in this discussion.

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 12:00-1:00pm 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 11/3: Developing bioinformatics tools for analysis of big DNA sequence data

Thursday, November 3, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Xiaoqiu Huang, Professor of Computer Science at Iowa State University, will present "Developing and using bioinformatics tools for analysis of big DNA sequence data."

Recent advances in next-generation sequencing technology provide an opportunity to develop and use bioinformatics tools for analysis of big DNA sequence data in order to further our understanding of living systems at the molecular level. In this talk, Huang will describe his recent work in developing and using bioinformatics tools to further our understanding of how genetic variation is generated in an asexual plant pathogen.

Huang's previous research interests include development of computer algorithms and software for reconstruction of genome sequences and for finding genes and other functional elements in genomes. He is currently interested in understanding evolutionary processes by applying these computer programs to big data sets of genomic DNA sequences. He is the author of a widely used CAP3 assembly program. He and his collaborators have developed a whole-genome assembly program named PCAP. PCAP has been used by Washington University Genome Center in chimpanzee and chicken genome projects.

CS Table 11/1: Echo Chambers

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, we'll discuss what echo chambers are, their pros and cons, and how we ought to change our media consumption in light of them. An echo chamber in the context of media studies is a phenomena where the beliefs of a group are reinforced and amplified through repetition entirely within the group. Paradoxically, while the Internet promises to enable free speech and the transmission and sharing of ideas globally, some argue that it has only served to create silos for like-minded people to avoid interaction with dissenting opinion.

Readings: two short articles about echo chambers with respect to Facebook.

If you are interested in this topic and want to read more, check out these books: Cass Sunstein's Republic.com and Eli Pariser's The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think.

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.

Tuesday Extra 10/25: Technology in Education

TUESDAY, October 25, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Technologies for Online Instruction: Do They Support Authentic Learning?
Ursula Wolz, Noyce Visiting Professor at Grinnell College, will talk about technology and education. She is also looking for research students for the spring and help with outreach programs in our community.

Abstract: AI Researchers in the 1980s assumed they would replace classroom teachers within a decade. 'Online learning' is not what we envisioned. This talk presents an historical perspective on Computers in Education, raising important issues for student privacy, curricular choice and and freedom of speech. The impact of technology including knowledge engineering and data science/deep learning will be discussed in the context of how it can support both massively online open classrooms, and small face-to-face classrooms.

CS Table 10/25: Panel on the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

This week in CS Table we'll be hosting a panel of students that attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference last week. If you are interested in attending a diversity conference like GHC in the future—and you should because it is a great opportunity to learn from and network with peers and potential employers—stop by to learn more about what the experience is like and how you can get funding to go next year!

There is no official reading for this CS Table, but you should peruse the conference website to learn more about it: Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference website

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.

Learn about the CS Major, 10/25

Are you trying to figure out your major? Is Computer Science one of the possibilities? Come join the CS department at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, 25 October 2016, in Science 3821, to learn about the CS major. We'll give an overview of the major, opportunities for students, and more. You'll also have the chance to talk to faculty and students.

Thursday Extra 10/13: Accessible Computing

Thursday, October 13, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Kyle Rector, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at The University of Iowa, will talk about accessible computing for all.

One in six people have a disability, whether hidden or apparent. It is important for designers to create technologies that are accessible to people of different backgrounds. After outlining the research that Rector and others have conducted in computer science to improve access and wellness for people with disabilities, the talk will focus on two research projects: 1) Eyes-Free Yoga, an accessible yoga exercise game that provides auditory instructions and feedback for people who are blind or low vision, and 2) Eyes-Free Art, a system that allows people who are blind or low vision to explore 2D paintings using audio techniques. A discussion of future research opportunities in accessibility and computer science will conclude the presentation.

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