Thursday Extra 2/14/19: Code Camps

Thursday, February 14, 2019
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

The Glimmer Labs students from summer 2018 will present their work on Code Camps. These presentations are previews of their talks at the forthcoming SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education.

CS Table 2/12/19: Location Data

Feb. 12 CS Table location: JRC 224B

In CS Table on Feb. 12, we will discuss some of the concerns around sharing location data and the implications that sharing location information can have for individuals and society. We will read about two separate cases to inform our discussion.

In the first case, we will read about how cell phone companies sell users’ location information to third parties. Cox, Joseph (2019). I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300, Then He Located Our Phone. Motherboard..

The second case is a recent development in New York City, where police officers object to sharing the locations of officers conducting sobriety checks. Gold, Michael (2019). Google and Waze Must Stop Sharing Drunken-Driving Checkpoints, New York Police Demand. The New York Times..

As you read about each case, consider the following questions: who owns location data, when is it acceptable for location data to be shared, and what are the consequences of sharing location data?

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).

2/8/19: Careers in CS (Alumni talk)

Join five Grinnell CS alumni for an informal talk about careers in software design and development.

Friday, February 8, 2019
12:00-12:50 pm
Noyce 2022

After the presentation, they will hold informal "office hours" and be available to talk to students in the CS commons, 1:00-1:50 pm.

CS Table 2/5/19: Machine Learning (meets in CS Commons)

NOTE: This Tuesday we will meet in the CS Commons at noon. Please bring your own lunch; we'll try to have some drinks and snacks, too.

This week in CS Table, we will consider some applications of machine learning that show both potential benefit and great risks: The use of ML algorithms in decisions related to bail, sentencing, and parole. We have two readings:

CS Table 1/29/19

Most CS Tables for the spring semester will meet in JRC 224B, though a small number will be in an alternate dining room, so watch each week for the location.

This week we will return to a classic: Ken Thompson’s Turing Award lecture, “Reflections on Trusting Trust.” In this lecture, Thompson reveals a security vulnerability he implemented for UNIX. This thought-provoking lecture raises questions about what it takes to build secure software. We’ll follow that reading up with Bruce Schneier’s summary of Thompson’s work and one attempt to counter this type of attack. You can find both readings below, or in the clear folder on the door to room 3827.

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 inside the Marketplace. 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 POSTPONED: Software Failures

In one of the early spring CS Tables, we will have a (hopefully) fun discussion focused on software failures. As an example, consider this particular famous Windows blue screen. Regardless of whether or not you are able to attend, please send suggestions to me by email before noon on Monday, December 17th. We will have a projector, so please share relevant images or videos if you find any.

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 in JRC 224C (inside the Marketplace). 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 12/4/18: Open Source and Security

This week's discussion topic was suggested by an alumna, who writes:

Recently an NPM package author handed over control of his open source project to a stranger who promised to maintain the package for future users. The stranger added malicious code to the package, which was then downloaded by millions of users. This raises questions about responsibility in the open source world. What responsibilities does the owner of an open source project hold? What responsibilities are up to the user? What can developers do to utilize open source projects in a safe and secure manner?
There are two recommended readings for the CS Table discussion; the first is an account of the recent event we’ll discuss, and the second is a perspective on security and open source from Bruce Schneier, written in 1999.

You may also find these resources helpful or informative as you 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 in JRC 224C (inside the Marketplace). 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 11/15/18: Graduate School in Computer Science

Thursday, November 15, 2018
4:15 p.m. in Science 3821
Refreshments at 4:00 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Science 3817)

Professors Anya Vostinar and Charlie Curtsinger will discuss what graduate school in computer science is like, why you might consider it, and how to choose and apply to graduate programs. There will be ample time for discussion, so come prepared with questions.

CS Table 11/13/18: Student Perspective on Being a CS Major

This week at CS Table we will have an informal discussion led by the Computer Science SEPC.

  • The structure of the major
  • Classes at Grinnell (in and out of the department)
  • What does all this mean for pre-registration?
We can also answer other basic questions related to declaring or advising.

No faculty will be present in order to ensure students are comfortable asking questions. Come to hear or share student perspectives and take time out of your week to plan ahead!

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 in JRC 224C (inside the Marketplace). 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 11/6/18: Tech Company Jobs, Then and Now

This week we’ll look at an interesting article that compares the situations for janitors at two tech companies in two different eras: Kodak in the 1980s, and Apple in 2017. The article paints an interesting picture of how employment at tech companies has changed over the last four decades. In addition to the specifics in the article, I hope we’ll have an opportunity to discuss the role that tech companies (or any employer) might play in economic inequality, the availability of blue-collar jobs, and the changing landscape of career opportunities.

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now. Neil Irwin. The New York Times. 3 Sept 2017.

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 in JRC 224C (inside the Marketplace). 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).

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