Thursday Extra

Thursday Extra 5/4: Inclusion in CS

Who: CS students, CS faculty, and guest speakers
What: Discussion of inclusion in CS
Where: Science 2022
When: 4:15 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017 (Refreshments served beforehand in the same room)
Why: To address important issues
Direct questions or comments to Professor Rebelsky.

Thursday Extra 4/27: Project Gadfly

Thursday, April 27, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Project Gadfly: Students and Alums Coding for Social Good

Over spring break, six mentors and eight Grinnell students created Project Gadfly, a system designed to help U.S. residents contact their elected representatives. With Gadfly, users can create sample call scripts and share them with friends using QR codes. Anyone who sees these codes can scan them with the app and have the script and a button to call their representatives at their fingertips. The students created a web client, two native app clients, a database, a server, an API, and an Iowa non-profit in 12 days, balancing security and design decisions with rapid development. Students who worked on Project Gadfly will discuss both the design of the system and what it was like to work with mentors on a rapid-learning, rapid-development project.

Thursday Extra 4/20: Résumé Review Session

Thursday, April 20, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821

  • Do you want to know how to talk about your 151 final project on your résumé?
  • Do you want to know how to write about your upcoming summer experience on your résumé?
  • Does your 3-year-old résumé need some pizzazz?
This Thursday Extra will be a résumé peer-review session. Students of all years are welcome to share feedback with one another about their résumés. We have also asked some CS professors and alumni to join in and share their wisdom during the session. Please bring 5 copies of your résumé to share if you want respectful and meaningful feedback from other participants.

One of the alums who will be joining us wrote a great article targeted at seniors and recent grads that might be helpful to some of you: Your Career is a Startup: What every recent grad needs to know.

Thursday Extra 4/13: CS Outreach in Grinnell and Central Iowa

Thursday, April 13, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Computer Science Outreach in Grinnell and Central Iowa
Ursula Wolz, Noyce Visiting Professor

Please come and learn how YOU can volunteer to bring computer science into the K-12 curriculum during the remainder of the semester and in the coming years. Through the Noyce Professorship, the College has established good relations with Grinnell's public library, middle school, and high school, for both the curriculum and after school activities. Community leaders and Grinnell College students have encouraged collaboration for years, but developing and sustaining this relationship has been challenging. Come and learn how you can contribute to both short-term needs and long-term goals.

Thursday Extra 3/2: Student Research Presentations

Thursday, March 2, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Students from the Rebelsky and Osera research teams will be presenting aspects of their summer research in preparation for their trip to SIGCSE in Seattle.

  • The Rebelsky group will be discussing the design of its code camp for middle schoolers and lessons learned.
  • The Osera group will be discussing issues of proof and/or program generation.

Then during the March 14 CS Table, these groups will debrief on their experience at SIGCSE.

Thursday Extra 2/16: Joint 4-1 BA-MCS program with UIowa

Thursday, February 16, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821

Presentation and Q&A for the new joint 4-1 BA-MCS program with The University of Iowa. Representatives from The University of Iowa will be here and we expect an interesting discussion.

Students will apply in their third year at Grinnell and online UI graduate courses are started during senior year. This year's application deadline is March 1 for the joint program. Refer back to Prof. Rebelsky's program announcement (email January 11) or UI's website for more information, and bring your questions to the meeting.

Thursday Extra 2/9: Impact of image based rendering on photography

Thursday, February 9, 2017
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817).
Everyone is welcome to attend!

Image Based Rendering and its Impact on Studio Photography is presented by Gary Meyer, Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

A new computer graphic technique, called image based rendering, has the potential to fundamentally change how professional photographers take still life and portrait pictures. Instead of lighting the object or the person in their studio and capturing a few images, we are developing a system in which the photographer takes a comprehensive set of simple pictures with an attached flash and then uses a virtual studio lighting setup and camera to synthesize the final images. Projective texture mapping is used to blend the original pictures and project them onto a mesh that is also derived from the photographs. To achieve the desired relighting effect, the images are carefully weighted as part of the interpolation process. The result is, by definition, photorealistic because it is derived directly from the original pictures, and the method goes beyond traditional studio photography because it allows complex relighting using environment maps and it permits the production of animated flybys in addition to static shots. In addition, new lighting setups and pictures can generated any time in the future using the original set of flash photographs. The talk will be illustrated using images produced in collaboration with the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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.

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.

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.

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