CS Table for 12/1: The Story of Mel

This week in CS Table we'll discuss a light-hearted affair in comparison to the heavier topics we've discussed of late: The Story of Mel. Come join the discussion on hacks, their beauty, and their repercussions!

CS Table for Tuesday, November 24: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

We will be discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership—specifically its implications for computing, intellectual property—at CS Table next week. There has been a lot of news coverage of this agreement recently, but we have selected a summary from the New York Times along with arguments in favor and against from Qualcomm and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, respectively:

CS SEPC hosts Résumé Workshop

The Computer Science SEPC will be hosting a workshop this Thursday (19 November) that will revolve around getting your resumes ready for internships and jobs in the technology field. This event is for students of all class years. We'll be meeting at 4:30pm in SCI 3821. Bring a few copies of your resume to take notes on. If you don't have one, that's fine too! We can provide samples or suggest ways to start making your own resume. It'll be great! Please email [sepc-cs] if you have any questions!

CS Table for 11/17: Social Media and Emergency Response

This week we will discuss the power of social media to assist first-respondents, law enforcement and medical staff, and individuals in responding to emergencies and natural disasters. 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 12:00-12:45 in JRC 224C. 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. For the up-to-date CS Table schedule, please visit http://www.cs.grinnell/cs-table.

Thursday Extra on 11/12: Mobile Sensing Applications

Octav Chipara will present "Developing and Deploying Mobile Sensing Applications."

Thursday, November 12
4:15 pm in Science 3821
Refreshments beforehand in the CS Commons

Octav Chipara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa and part of the Aging Mind and Brain Initiative.

Mobile sensing applications are an emerging class of mobile applications that take advantage of the increasing sensing, computational, storage, and networking capabilities of mobile devices. Chipara's research focuses on the systems, networking, and software engineering aspects of developing mobile health (mHealth) systems that continuously monitor and infer the health status of patients. His work combines the design of communication protocols, middleware, and programming tools with large-scale real-world deployments of working systems.

In this talk, Chipara will describe AudioSense – a novel mobile sensing application that allows audiologists to assess the performance of the hearing aids in the real-world. A key limitation of traditional laboratory and survey methods employed by audiologists is that they fail to predict when a hearing aid user will be dissatisfied with its performance in the real-world. In contrast with these techniques, AudioSense jointly characterizes both the user's auditory context and the performance of the hearing aid in that context. The second part of the talk will cover some of the tools his team has created to simplify the development of mobile sensing applications. The focus is one of coordinating when different hardware resources (e.g., WiFi, 3G) are turned on and off to save energy without hindering user experience. A lightweight annotation language and middleware service will be presented that can be used to build energy-efficient mobile sensing applications for Android.

CS Table for 11/10: Building back doors into cryptographic standards

During the CS Table on November 10, 2015, we will be discussing the possibility of building back doors into cryptographic standards for use by law enforcement, and the broader issues surrounding privacy, cryptography, and law enforcement. There are three (brief) articles on the subject that give a good introduction to the technical and political issues around this debate.

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 12:00-12:45 in JRC 224C. 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. For the up-to-date CS Table schedule, please visit the CS Table webpage.

Thursday Extra on 11/5: Professor Walker on MyroC 3.0

November 5 at 4:15 pm in Science 3821
Refreshments served at 4:00 in the CS Commons
Everyone is welcome

Professor Henry M. Walker will present "MyroC 3.0: Update, Portability, Non-blocking, Threads, Processes, Coordination."

The MyroC project provides infrastructure and materials to allow the use of Scribbler 2 robots to support CSC 161, a course exploring imperative problem solving with C programming. The original work, now designated MyroC.1.0, was built upon a C++ package developed at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and incorporated into CSC 161 in Fall 2011. Due to issues in portability from Linux to other platforms, work started on a C-based infrastructure in Fall 2013 and was incorporated into CSC 161 in Spring 2015. Through versions MyroC.2.1-MyroC.2.4, the revised package provided several revised commands with both blocking and non-blocking options for robot movement and image display. Although written in Standard C, further refinements could improve efficiency, add functionality, and facilitate portability. This fall, a new MyroC.3.0 is being developed which will refine several previous commands, improve efficiency, and utilize different Standard-C libraries, yielding an infrastructure that will run on both Linux and Mac OS X platforms. Focusing on MyroC.3.0, this talk will highlight several new features and then focus on how concepts from operating systems and parallel processing (e.g., topics covered in CSC 213) are required to implement these new or updated features. Specific topics to be considered will include threads, processes, mutex semaphores, and synchronization via message passing.

Thursday Extra: Algorithms for Assembling the Tree of Life

October 29 at 4:15 pm in Science 3821
Refreshments served at 4:00 pm in the CS Commons

Join us for a talk by David Fernández-Baca from the Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University. His talk is titled "Algorithms for Assembling the Tree of Life."

The Tree of Life is a reconstruction of the evolutionary history of all living species. Constructing this tree is one of the fundamental problems in science. At present, however, we are far from solving this problem. Instead, we must be content with building phylogenetic trees (that is, evolutionary trees) for relatively small families of species. Even trees of such limited scope have important uses. They help biologists to decipher the function of genes by comparing these genes to similar ones in closely related species. Ecologists use phylogenetic trees to estimate degrees of biodiversity and analyze rates of species extinction. In medicine, phylogenetic trees model disease progression. Phylogenetic trees are also used outside of biology, to understand the development of human languages and political systems.

This talk will discuss the work Fernández-Baca's group conducts in computational phylogenetics -- the field that studies the construction of phylogenetic trees. The aim of their research is to develop algorithms, mathematics, and software for phylogenetics. Much of the work addresses the computational problems that stem from the scarcity of data for building trees and the conflict among the data that is available. In addition to tackling algorithmic challenges, they also collaborate with biologists to study specific questions in biology. A recent example is applying phylogenetics to the study of legumes. This is a family of plants that are notable for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen -- a process that is essential for agriculture -- and that includes major food crops.

At the end of the talk, Fernández-Baca will give an overview of graduate study opportunities offered by the Computer Science Department at Iowa State University. The department has 31 faculty members covering a wide range of areas, including artificial intelligence, formal methods & verification, wireless networks and systems, robotics, software safety, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. The department participates in interdepartmental graduate programs in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Human-Computer Interaction, and Information Assurance. Almost all Ph.D. students are supported by research or teaching assistantships.

CS Table for 10/27: GHC Debrief

There are no readings this week, instead we will hear about student experiences at the Grace Hopper Celebration.

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 12:00-12:45 in JRC 224C. 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.

CS Table for 9/6: Barbies and Data Privacy

This week we'll talk about the Internet of Things and its implications for security and data privacy. What are the benefits of connecting everything through the Internet, what are the downsides, and what are the technological challenges we will need to overcome to mitigate these downsides? 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 12:00-12:45 in JRC 224C. 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. For the up-to-date CS Table schedule, please visit the CS Table webpage.
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