Computer Science Table: Privacy in the age of big data and analytics

At this week's Computer Science Table (at noon on Friday, April 18, in Rosenfield 224A), we will discuss privacy in the age of big data and analytics, and specifically the issues are raised in two videos (one recent, one classic):

“Demo: Big data and analytics at work in banking”
IBM Big Data and Analytics, YouTube, September 7, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RYKgj-QK4I

“Scary pizza”
American Civil Liberties Union, YouTube, January 15, 2009
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33CIVjvYyEk

For more extensive discussions of some of these issues, you might want to read:

“Big data and the future of privacy”
John Podesta, whitehouse.gov, March 3, 2014
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/01/23/big-data-and-future-privacy

“Comments of the Electronic Privacy Information Center to the Office of Science and Technology Policy: Request for information: Big data and the future of privacy”
Electronic Privacy Information Center, April 4, 2014
https://epic.org/privacy/big-data/EPIC-OSTP-Big-Data.pdf

Computer Science Table is an open weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science.

Thursday Extra: Augmenting reality with Kindle and iPhone

On Thursday, April 17, Charlie Eddy 2016 will present a talk describing his recent work in reality augmentation using the Kindle and the iPhone.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Monday Extra: "Bluetooth communications with Scribbler 2 robots"

On Monday, April 14, Spencer Liberto 2014 and Professor Henry Walker will present a progress report on a project that Mr. Liberto worked on last fall, in collaboration with Dilan Ustek 2013 and Jordan Yuan 2015, under Professor Walker's direction:

Since fall 2011, CSC 161 has utilized Scribbler 2 robots as an application theme, with the software infrastructure based on a C++ package available from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Although the C++ infrastructure has worked well, it is not very portable to other platforms, and this limits the range of institutions that can use the CSC 161 materials developed here. To address this issue, Mr. Walker worked with three students in fall 2013 to begin rewriting the C++ infrastructure in Standard C. This talk will outline the substantial progress made during fall 2013 and propose a subsequent MAP to the complete the Standard C infrastructure during fall 2014.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation, “Bluetooth communications with Scribbler 2 robots: a progress report,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Computer Science Table (Friday, April 11, 2014): Lambda expressions in Java 8

As you may have heard, one of the new features of Java 8 is the introduction of anonymous functions (which everyone calls “lambda expressions,” even though there's no lambda in the syntax). This Friday at CS Table, we will explore Java 8's anonymous functions. Here are a few readings you might read or skim in advance of the discussion:

Horstmann, Cay S. “Lambda expressions in Java 8.” Dr Dobb's journal, March 25, 2014.

Weiss, Tal. “The dark side of lambda expressions in Java 8.” The Takipi blog, March 25, 2014.

You may also want to explore the formal tutorial on lambdas:

Oracle. “Lambda expressions.” The Java tutorials, 2014.

Computer Science Table is an open weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science.

Thursday Extra: "Designing technology to help Grinnellians sleep more"

On Thursday, April 10, Nediyana Daskalova 2014, Nathalie Ford 2014, Ann Hu 2014, Kyle Moorehead 2015, and Ben Wagnon 2014 will present the results of their summer and fall 2013 research with Professor Janet Davis:

We designed persuasive technology to encourage better sleep habits in college students. Using participatory workshops, we collaborated with Grinnell students to identify problems, brainstorm potential solutions, and develop low-tech prototypes. This talk will give an overview of the design process and directions for future work.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation, “Designing technology to help Grinnellians sleep more,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

CS Table (Friday, February 21, 2014): Skip lists

This Friday at CS Table, we will consider skip lists, an interesting data structure that, like lists, makes it easy to add and remove elements, and like arrays, lets you do something like binary search to quickly find elements.

Pugh, W. “Skip lists: A probabilistic alternative to balanced trees.” Communications of the ACM 33 (1990), no. 6, p. 668.

Computer Science Table is an open weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science.

Planning with Grinnell's New CS Curriculum and Major

Grinnell's computer science curriculum and major are in transtion!

As discussed in past Thursday Extras, revisions to the curriculum have been motivated by faculty perspectives, alumni feedback, and recommendations by the national professional societies (ACM and IEEE-CS). New and revised offerings reflect emerging subject areas, expansion of cutting-edge pedagogy, and explicit connections with Grinnell's core values. The innovative packaging of topics ensure that majors will cover numerous core subjects within the field, while allowing students to select a range of courses that support their career and educational goals.

Final approvals for this new curriculum were completed about two weeks ago, and the full proposal will go into effect over this coming summer.

The Thursday Extra on Thursday, February 26, will look ahead to highlight new courses, consider scheduling possibilities, and suggest possible options for students with various varying interests.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation, “Planning with Grinnell's New CS Curriculum and Major,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Preparing for the technical interview"

On Thursday, February 20, the Computer Science SEPC will host a session on how to prepare for technical interviews. Third-year and fourth-year students will share tips, tricks, and advice they have gathered from their interview experiences. We will then break into small groups to work through some practice interview problems. Those who are interested will have an opportunity to sign up for the practice technical interview session planned for a future Thursday Extra.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The presentation, “Preparing for the technical interview,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Left-leaning red-black trees"

On Thursday, February 13, John Stone will describe left-leaning red-black trees, a variant of binary search trees that guarantees that the worst-case running times for search, insertion, and deletion are proportional to the logarithm of the number of elements in the tree, and is easier to understand and simpler to code than more familiar self-balancing tree structures.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “Left-leaning red-black trees,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

CS Table (Friday, February 7, 2014): "P vs. NP"

This Friday at CS Table, we will consider the classic “P vs. NP” problem.

Fortnow, Lance. “The status of the P versus NP problem.” Communications of the ACM 52 (2009), no. 9, pp. 78–86.

In this article I look at how people have tried to solve the P versus NP problem as well as how this question has shaped so much of the research in computer science and beyond. I will look at how to handle NP-complete problems and the theory that has developed from those approaches. I show how a new type of “interactive proof systems” led to limitations of approximation algorithms and consider whether quantum computing can solve NP-complete problems (short answer: not likely). And I close by describing a new long-term project that will try to separate P from NP using algebraic-geometric techniques.

This article does not try to be totally accurate or complete either technically or historically, but rather informally describes the P versus NP problem and the major directions in computer science inspired by this question over the past several decades.

Computer Science Table is an open weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science.

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