CS Table 5/1/18: SESTA & FOSTA

We'll be discussing the recent passing of the Stop Enabling Online Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and its implications for human trafficking and digital privacy.

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 4/24/18: The Rise and Fall of the OLPC

We'll be talking about the rise and fall of the One-Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative started by Nicholas Negroponte in 2005. The purpose of the OLPC was to transform education by introducing digital literacy to children around the world, in particular, in developing nations. To do this, the initiative focused on developing low-cost, rugged laptops and software packages that students in low-income countries could use to realize the constructivist dream of learning-by-building, e.g., through tinkering, programming, and creating digital artifacts.While the OLPC started with lofty goals, it fizzled out over the course of half a decade. During this CS Table, we'll analyze what went wrong and what went right with the OLPC movement and what we might learn from it.

The main reading for this week is an excellent historical analysis of the OLPC initiative by Adi Robertson of The Verge.

If you get interested in this topic, here is an additional paper by one of the authors, Morgan Ames, mentioned in the Robertson reading. Ames takes an ethnographical approach to analyzing the successes and shortcomings of the OLPC movement that I think is a great example of anthropology applied to the history of technology. Please note that to access the Ames article, make sure you are accessing it through a Grinnell IP address, e.g., on campus or through an appropriate proxy.

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 Extra 4/19/2018: Research in Programming Languages

Thursday, April 19, 2018
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Student presentations on programming languages from summer research with Peter-Michael Osera.

  • Scythe—Converting Myth to the Haskell Programming Languages, Liat Berkowitz, Dhruv Phumbhra, Andrew Mack, and Zachary Susag
  • Blorca—A Blocks-based Languages for Proof, Myles Becker, Addison Gould, Hadley Luker, and Eli Most
  • ToadStool—First-class Typestate via Polymorphic References, Jonathan Sadun

CS Table 4/17/2018: Oracle v. Google Ruling

We will revisit the Oracle v. Google case after the recent appeals ruling in favor of Oracle. We will look at the circumstances surrounding the case, revisit definitions of patent and copyright, and try to understand what the ramifications of this decision are for users of Java, Android, open-source software, and the tech sector as a whole.

There are four readings, but if you are pressed for time, we recommend "A Brief History of Oracle v. Google" first and then reviewing the definitions of "Trademark, Patent, and Copyright" as needed.

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 4/10/2018: 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 Extra 4/5/18: Scrambler - Dynamic Layout Adaptation

Thursday, April 5, 2018
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Scrambler: Dynamic Layout Adaptation, presented by Garrett Wang and Pouya Mahdi Gholami, discusses the work they completed with Ana Segebre Salazar and Lex Martin during the summer 2017.

Processors have gotten faster and faster over the last 40 years, but memory speed has not kept up. This creates a bottleneck for programs that access memory, which is all programs. Hardware caches help hide this bottleneck by keeping copies of recently-accessed data close to the processor. Caches often do a good job hiding the memory bottleneck, but when programs use certain combinations of memory locations or access memory in specific patterns, caches can work poorly which makes programs run significantly slower. We have developed a system called Scrambler that detects when the cache is not working well and automatically fixes the program’s memory layout to improve performance.

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).

Lunch Q-and-A: 4+1 Master's Degree in CS with U.Iowa

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m. in Noyce 3821
RSVP for lunch by end of day Tuesday, Feb. 20!

This Grinnell-UI 4+1 program provides a way for Grinnell CS students to spend an extra year and get a master's degree in CS from The University of Iowa, in addition to a Grinnell bachelor's degree. The first batch of Grinnell students are currently enrolled in the program. Sriram Pemmaraju, professor at U.Iowa, will describe how the program works, how to apply for it, and why it might be right for you.

Students from all class years are welcome at this information session. The March 1 application deadline for juniors is rapidly approaching!

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