CS Table 2/23/19: The Cathedral and the Bazaar

April 23 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

Eric S. Raymond’s "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" is a classic essay on software development and open source communities. This writing was later turned into a book, but the original essay (with some later additions) is available online.

The full essay is a bit longer than some of our regular readings for CS Table (around 18 pages), but it is still a fairly quick read. You can find the essay at: http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/.

If you are interested in how this essay was received, you may enjoy reading some of the responses to this essay under “Commentary and Argument” on this page: http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 4/16/19: Lessons for safety-critical software

April 16 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

Let's look at an important case study in safety-critical software: the Therac-25. This was a device built to administer radiation to patients under carefully controlled conditions, but the device suffered from a critical flaw that made it possible for patients to receive dangerous levels of radiation instead of the carefully-controlled doses the machine was designed to administer. We’ll explore what went wrong, and discuss the lessons learned (or not learned) from this case.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 4/9/19: The Autocrat's New Tool Kit

April 9 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

This week we discuss "The Autocrat's New Tool Kit" by Richard Fontaine and Kara Frederick, which appeared in The Wall Street Journal on March 15, 2019.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 3/12/19: The Story of Mel

March 12 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

The reading this week is The Story of Mel: a classic short story about a "real programmer" to give you some historical perspective on computing. There will probably be terms that aren't familiar to you, such as "drum memory," "core memory," and "machine code." While the faculty can provide some context during the discussion, we recommend that you do a bit of delving into strange terms in advance.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 3/5/19: Moonshots

March 5 CS Table location: CS Commons (3817), noon.
RSVP by noon on March 1 to be included in the pizza order.

At CS Table we will discuss the innovation (or lack thereof) driven by technology companies, guided at least in part by a critique of Google’s "moonshots" that appeared in Communications of the ACM: Thomas Haigh. 2018. Hey Google, What's a Moonshot?: How Silicon Valley Mocks Apollo. Communications of the ACM 62, 1 (December 2018), 24-30.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

CS Table 2/26/19: Massive Open Online Courses

Feb. 26 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

At CS Table we will discuss Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

To prepare for our discussion, please read the selection of short articles that appeared in Communications of the ACM in late 2012, and one of the many retrospectives on MOOCs that has appeared more recently. All of the articles are brief, but contain many links to outside sources. You are encouraged to read all of these articles and explore some of their links, but any subset of these articles would be helpful for you to prepare for our discussion.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

Thursday Extra 2/21/19: On the design of CSC 321/22

Thursday, February 21, 2019
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Developing Soft and Technical Skills Through Multi-Semester, Remotely Mentored, Community-Service Projects

Professor Samuel A. Rebelsky will present a talk discussing the design rationale for CSC 321/22 (now CSC 324/26), in preparation for a talk that he and Dr. Janet Davis will be giving at the 50th SIGCSE Technical Symposium in Computer Science Education.

2/21/19: 4+1 Master's in CS with U.Iowa

Come learn about how you can earn a MSc in CS at U. Iowa with one additional year of school there by taking master’s level courses during your senior year at Grinnell. We will describe how the 4+1 program works, how you might apply for it, and why it might be just right for you. Grinnell and UI faculty will be available to answer any questions about the program.

Students from all class years are welcome, and third-year students are especially encouraged to come.

Pizza lunch will be served for those who RSVP by Wednesday Feb 20.

Thursday, February 21, 2019
12:00-1:00 pm
Noyce 3821

CS Table 2/19/19: Who owns 3D scans?

Feb. 19 CS Table location: JRC 224B, noon.

In honor of the recent talks about 3D reproduction of Mayan sites, we will discuss the ownership of the data associated with such reproductions. We have two readings, and both include links to other possible resources.

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 12:00–12:50pm. Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B inside the Marketplace, though a small number will be in an alternate location, so watch each week for the location. 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 (sign in at the Marketplace front desk).

Thursday Extra: "Developing Soft and Technical Skills Through Multi-Semester, Remotely Mentored Community-Service Projects"

On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Professor Samuel A. Rebelsky will present a talk discussion the design rationale for CSC 321/322 (now CSC 324/326), in preparation for a talk that he and Dr. Janet Davis will present at the 50th SIGSCE Technical Symposium in Computer Science Education:

For the past four years, we have taught a reimagined software design course with typical and atypical components. Projects form the core of the course: Students work in teams of 4–6 people to develop non-mission-critical software for local non-profits, building their engagement with the community and helping them understand the broader impact of their work. These projects require multiple semesters to complete. Since students typically enroll for the course for one semester, this model gives students the novel experience of legacy software. We also provide each team with an alumni mentor who helps them navigate not only technical problems but also the challenges of working with a real-world, non-technical client.

These aspects of the course also develop our students' soft skills. They learn to work with a team, to communicate with non-technical clients, to work with remote collaborators (or mentors), and to think ahead to those who will take on the project in the next semester. As we tell our students, these skills are often as crucial as their technical skills.

In this talk, we report on the design of the course and describe some of the challenges associated with this model (e.g., projects that inadvertently reveal information, clients who switch management or expectations, and projects that become obsolete) and provide suggestions for those who might want to adopt a similar approach.

Refreshments will be served at 4 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Professor Rebelsky's talk, Developing Soft and Technical Skills Through Multi-Semester, Remotely Mentored Community-Service Projects, will begin at 4:15, in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

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