Thursday Extra

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.

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.

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.

Thursday Extra 10/6: Study Abroad for CS Majors

Thursday, October 6, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Computer science students who have participated in study abroad programs will talk about their experiences. Second-year students should plan to attend if possible, and first-year students are also strongly encouraged to attend. All CS students who have studies abroad are encouraged to attend.

You'll hear from:

  • Students who went to AIT Budapest, DIS Copenhagen, Grinnell-in-London, and more.
  • Students who studied CS abroad and those who didn't. (One can even start a CS major "late" after study abroad without CS.)
  • Students who are doing a double major and studied abroad.
  • Prof. Rebelsky about general departmental perspectives on study abroad.

Thursday Extra 9/22: Molecular Computing

Thursday, September 22, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Preventing Memory Corruption in Chemical Computations
Professor Titus Klinge will discuss his recent work on molecular computing. Molecular computing systems that are contained in well-mixed volumes are often modeled using chemical reaction networks. In these systems, concentrations of molecules are treated as signals and used for both communication and memory storage. A common design challenge for such a system is to avoid memory corruption caused by noise in the input signals. In this talk, he overviews recent results concerning two related signal restoration algorithms for molecular systems modeled with chemical reaction networks. These algorithms are designed to prevent a memory signal from degrading over time, and he shows that under modest conditions these algorithms will maintain the memory indefinitely.

Tuesday Extra 9/20: Student-faculty collaboration for a C-based course using robots

TUESDAY, September 20, 2016
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Sara Marku '18, Ruth Wu '17, and Professor Henry Walker will present "Student-faculty Collaboration in Developing and Testing Infrastructure for a C-based Course using Robots."

The MyroC project provides extensive support (software infrastructure, readings, examples, labs, additional course materials) for a C-based introductory course that emphasizes imperative problem solving and data structures. Past papers have highlighted the collaborative nature of both project development and the course itself, and the model of student-faculty collaboration in course development. MyroC.3.1 expands capabilities for blocking and non-blocking functions, taking and displaying camera images, and porting of the infrastructure to both Linux and Mac OS X. This new release illustrates substantial advantages for student-faculty development and testing, with benefits to the project itself, students in the target introductory course, and students in the development team.

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