Exploration Sessions

Thursdays from 5:30-6:20, BAG 131

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 10: Build an App Workshop - Thursday March 14th in BAG 131

  • This workshop will introduce Mobile App Development with Swift and include a brief introduction to entrepreneurship. We will build a simple iOS app that will change its background to random colors at the touch of a button. You'll be able to install the app onto Apple devices and I'll give a brief talk about entrepreneurship based on some of my own experiences as an app developer. (You'll need a mac computer with Xcode installed if you want to build the app during the session)
  • Speaker: Chris Li
  • Github Repo with instructions from session

Week 9: Computer Vision - Thursday March 7th in BAG 131

  • Recent advances in machine learning have powered a revolution in computer vision. Computers can now recognize the visual world with science fiction level accuracy and speed. While the road to this technology was long, the underlying concepts are actually relatively simple. I'll describe how to teach computers to build statistical models of the visual world using basic calculus and large datasets. And you'll see lots of pictures of my dog.
  • Speaker: Joe Redmon

Week 8: No BS CS Career Talk - Thursday February 28th in BAG 131

  • Come on a journey with Kasey Champion and Kim Nguyen as they guide you through their top tips for not losing your gd mind trying to pursue a career in tech while attending the UW.

Week 7: CS Experience Student Q/A Panel - Thursday February 21st in BAG 131

  • We will have a panel of students (former/current TAs, researchers, CS majors, etc.) who will speak on their experience with Computer Science. We will hear about what they have done here at UW, research they have gotten involved in, internships they have done and more. Not long ago these students were taking the introductory programming series themselves. This is a great opportunity to ask some questions you may have or to seek some advice!

Week 6: No Exploration Session - Thursday, February 14th

Week 5: From Brain-Computer Interfaces to Ancient Scripts and Art: How Computer Science is Transforming Other Fields - Thursday, February 7th from 5:30-6:20 in BAG 131

  • In this talk, I will describe how my collaborators and I are applying ideas from computer science to fields such as neurotechnology, ancient scripts and art. In neurotechnology, I will describe how brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are allowing direct brain control of cursors and robots as well as direct brain-to-brain communication and brain augmentation. In the study of ancient scripts, computer modeling is providing new insights into understanding the 4000-year-old undeciphered Indus script. Finally, in the area of art, artificial intelligence techniques are opening new avenues of research in analyzing style in paintings.
  • Speaker: Professor Rajesh Rao

Week 4: Putting Words into Computers - Thursday, January 31st from 5:30-6:20 in BAG 131

  • The field of natural language processing (NLP) is now delivering powerful technologies: computers can translate from one language to another, answer questions, and hold conversations. In this relatively non-technical talk, I will trace the evolution of one aspect of NLP programs: how we put English (or other-language) words into computers. While this talk won't teach you everything about NLP, it will illuminate some of its toughest challenges and most exciting recent advances.
  • Speaker: Professor Noah Smith
  • Recording

Week 3: Robot-World Physical Interactions - Thursday, January 24th from 5:30-6:20 in BAG 131

  • Can robots help us in our day-to-day lives? We have robot vacuum cleaners in our homes but no one has a personal Rosie the robot capable of making a cup of coffee or cooking a meal. What makes it challenging? Turns out that robots are not nearly as good as humans in physically interacting with the world. In this talk, we will focus on some of our research directions that make these physical interactions feasible. We will also talk about what important roles computer scientists can play in making this a reality.
  • Speaker: Dr. Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee
  • Recording
  • Slides

Week 2: Chaos in Computing - Thursday, January 17th from 5:30-6:20 in BAG 131

  • Nature is complex and chaotic, but surprisingly mathematical. In this session, we will explore how randomness in computing allows us to better simulate and understand the world.
  • Recording
  • Slides
  • Fern.java
  • Dots.java

Week 1: No session