Exploration Sessions

Thursdays, 4:30-5:20pm, in GUG 220

Each week we will offer a different opportunity to explore extra topics in computer science. You will accumulate one "exploration point" for each week that you attend the lecture. At the end of the quarter, your total exploration points will be divided by 3 and will be added to your homework points. There will be approximately 150 homework points total, so this isn't adding a lot to your potential score. As an example, if you were to participate in 3 exploration sessions, you would have 1 point added to your homework points, which is like getting one more point on a weekly programming assignment. The idea is to give people a small reward, but not something that is so large that people feel obligated to participate in these optional sessions. You can get fractions of a point (e.g., getting two-thirds of a point for attending 2 sessions).

Please come prepared to listen to and ask questions of the guest speaker. We have a strict no-laptop policy in these sessions. If you are using a laptop, you will be asked to put it away or leave.

This schedule is subject to change. We will send an announcement email the day before each session with information about the topic for that session.

Week 9: Physical Computing, Christine Betts - Thursday, May 25 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • So you've got some Java programming under your belt and can write awesome programs to interact with on your computer, but what about interacting with the outside world? We'll discuss the realm of physical computing and hardware with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino along with an introduction to working with circuits and breadboards.
  • Recording (audio problems, sorry!)
  • Supplemental Page

Week 8: Artificial Intelligence, Max Forbes - Thursday, May 18 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • What is intelligence? How would you go about making an artificial intelligence (AI)? Join us as we explore these questions, examine an example artificial intelligence algorithm, and let it loose on a small Pac-Man grid. Along the way, we'll take a leisurely tour across the diverse and expanding field of artificial intelligence.
  • Recording

Week 7: The Command-Line Interface - Thursday, May 11 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • Most of us use our computers graphically, using a pointer to manipulate visual elements on the screen. However, you may have noticed that programmers often instead interact with their computers textually, using the command line. We'll talk very briefly about why this is, and go through a crash course in a common command line environment known as "bash" (available on Mac, Linux, and Windows).
  • Recording
  • Check out CSE 391 for a much deeper look at this!

Week 6: No session

  • Study for your midterms!

Week 5: History of Electronic Surveillance in the US - Thursday, April 27 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • In recent years, there's been a lot of talk about mass surveillance and the Snowden disclosures. But surveillance of private electronic communications in the United States is nothing new. In this session, we'll discuss its history, from the 19th century to today, and look at how legal, social, and technological attitudes towards it have changed over that time.
  • Recording

Week 4: Car Hacking, Karl Koscher - Thursday, April 20 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • Did you know that the typical modern car has over a dozen computers inside? Have you ever thought about whether people might be able to hack in to these computers, or what might happen if they do? In this talk, I'll describe our multi-year research project that answered these questions and more. First, I'll describe what an attacker can do with access to a car's internal network. Then, I'll explain how someone might be able to break in to these networks remotely. This talk will feature several videos demonstrating our attacks and conclude with a short discussion about the impact this research has had.
  • Recording

Week 3: What is the Internet? - Thursday, April 13 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • As former senator Ted Stevens once famously said, the internet is not a big truck -- it's a series of tubes. What do those tubes look like? What can we put through them? Who owns them? Where are they located? In this session, we will learn the answer to these questions, and more.
  • Recording
  • Submarine Cable Map
  • Internet Maps

Week 2: What is a computer? - Thursday, April 6 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220

  • Computers have invaded every corner of our lives -- you probably have a personal computer, and you almost certainly have a smartphone in your pocket. But have you ever stopped to think about what a computer actually is? What differentiates a computer from other types of machines? We'll talk about the formal definition of a computer, and why computer scientists are interested in these questions.
  • Surprising Turing Completeness
  • JFLAP (turing machine simulator)

Week 1: No session

  • First week of the quarter!