CS Table 4/26: The left-pad kerfuffle

Recent events in the JavaScript ecosystem have raised serious questions about the appropriate models for code sharing and reuse. In case you missed it, the sequence of events was: (1) JavaScript developer writes many modules, including one called "left-pad" that provides a function to add spaces to the left side of a string, (2) this developer loses control of a different module that used a copyrighted name, (3) developer deletes all of his modules, and (4) thousands of JavaScript applications that depend on left-pad fail.

While this sequence of events was amusing to watch as an outsider, it leads to serious questions about the appropriate size of a shareable unit of code and the practices of centralized software package management services. This topic will also give us an opportunity to discuss the difference in typing disciplines across languages and the role of type systems in building modular, reusable software components.

If you aren't familiar with JavaScript development, the node ecosystem, or the node package manager (npm), the following documentation should give you a sense of how dependencies work in JavaScript. nmp Documentation: What is npm? and npm Documentation: Using a 'package.json.'

There are several short readings for 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 12:00-12:45 in JRC 224C. 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 4/19: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and "Right to be Forgotten"

We'll look at three readings to tackle the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 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. 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 4/12: Role of data science in elections

Join us for a discussion of the role of data science in elections. The four articles below discuss the novel use of data in President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, the Cruz campaign's approach this election cycle, and two retrospectives on Nate Silver's predictions from the 2012 election.

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. 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 3/15: E2E-VIV

This week's topic is End-to-end Verifiable Internet Voting (E2E-VIV), and we'll consider the following questions:

  1. Why do we care about Internet voting?
  2. What do we require of an Internet voting system?
  3. How does end-to-end verified internet voting systems address these issues?

We'll discuss the US Vote Foundations recent technical report on E2E-VIV. For Tuesday, please read:

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. 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 3/8: Encryption

In light of the recent announcement of Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman as the winners of the annual ACM Turing Award, we will be discussing their contribution to encryption. We'll also discuss the RSA encryption algorithm, which introduced asymmetric public key cryptography shortly after Diffie–Hellman. The "assigned" readings are the original academic papers on both subjects, which are surprisingly approachable for non-experts. Do your best to work through the technical details, and we'll spend much of the discussion Tuesday making sense of the rest, as well as the implications for this work. Printed copies of these two papers are on the bench outside Curtsinger's office.

  • Whitfield Diffie, and Martin E. Hellman. "New directions in cryptography."Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on 22.6 (1976): 644-654.
  • Ronald LRivest., Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman. "A method for obtaining digital signatures and public-key cryptosystems." Communications of the ACM 21.2 (1978): 120-126.

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. 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 3/1: FBI and Apple

We'll be discussing the controversy behind the FBI's court order to Apple for assistance in recovering data from the phone of the San Bernadino gunmen. Below are some readings for this week. Reading packets are also outside of Sam/Charlie's office on the 3rd floor of Science.

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. 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 2/23: Software patents

Join the discussion on February 23, 2016. The broad reach and ambiguity of many software patents has had a significant effect on computer-related industry and academia. Many argue that this process stifles innovation, while others see this as a natural extension of the patent mechanism: to reward innovation and promote openness. Instead of readings, you are encouraged to listen to the two *excellent* This American Life episodes on software patents: 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. 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 2/16: What is Data Science?

In honor of Hillary Mason '00 giving convocation this Thursday at 11 am (go!), we will be talking about Data Science in table this week. In particular, we'll be answering the basic questions about data sciences—"what?" and "how?". If you are curious about the field, I recommend checking out these two optional readings as well: 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. 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.

Thursday Extra on 2/11: Alumni Career Discussion

Thursday, February 11, 2016
4:15 pm in Noyce 3821

Visit with four CS alumni: Ian Young '08, Cassie Koomjian '05, Jonathan Koomjian '03, and Wes Beary '05. Each will give a short overview of their post-Grinnell careers, and then they will answer questions from students.

Refreshments at 4:00 in the CS Commons (Noyce 3817), followed by the discussion at 4:15 in Noyce 3821.

CS Table 2/9: US copyright duration and fair use

While many CS students may be aware of copyleft, DRM, and related issues, there are other interesting aspects of copyright law and practice that should generate vigorous discussion. The readings for this week includes three short articles, along with two brief background papers on fair use and copyright duration.

One good source of background material for our discussion this week is the overview of US copyright law at bitlaw.com. These brief descriptions of copyright law should be helpful: Duration of Copyrights; Fair Use in Copyright Law.

The primary articles (all short) are available here:

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. 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.

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