Each week we will offer a different opportunity to explore extra topics in
computer science. They are not for credit, but are an excellent place to
learn more about computer science and see what fields you may or may not
be interested in.
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
Week 10: Ethics in Technology - Thursday, May 31 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
The thinking goes that a tech employee has no responsibility to consider the societal implications of her work. To do so would disrupt the ideal, in Facebook’s words, to “move fast and break things.” Moreover, tech employees feel that their work is replaceable, that tech allows little room for the expression of values. Tech’s reach suggests otherwise. Indeed, we’ve recently seen employees at both Facebook and Google speak up on ethical grounds. So, what role does a computer scientist have in considering the ethics of her work? What are the societal implications of an ‘engineering’ decision? We’ll explore these questions and ask some more as a first step in developing a sense of ethical responsibility.
Week 9: How Computers Learn to See - Thursday, May 24 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speaker: Sanchit Singh
We take for granted the amazing learning capacity of babies, especially when it comes to seeing. We teach them what a gray cat looks like, but that’s enough for them to recognize orange, black, or even nyan cats. How can we make computers do the same? Can it be as intelligent as a 3 year old? In this talk, we will explore how computers learn to see and describe the world. We will learn to build our own A.I. app for our phones, play with existing A.I., and consider the future implications of this technology.
Week 8: An Interactive Intro to Web Dev - Thursday, May 17 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speaker: Christine Betts & Olga Andreeva
We'll be diverging from the usual format this week for an interactive introduction to basic web development. I'll lead us briefly through some of the terms & concepts you might hear in the context of web development, we'll touch a bit on git (the most popular form of version control) & why we use it, and then former 14x TA Olga Andreeva will walk through a personal website/portfolio demo.
Can robots help us in our day-to-day lives? We do have robot vacuum cleaners in our homes but we still do not have our own Rosie the robot, that can make a cup of coffee or cook us 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.
Week 5: Borrowing from Nature to Build Better Computers - Thursday, April 26 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speaker: Luis Ceze
DNA data storage is an attractive option for digital data storage because of its extreme density, durability and eternal relevance. This is especially attractive when contrasted with the exponential growth in world-wide digital data production. In this talk, I will present our efforts in building an end-to-end system, from the computational component of encoding and decoding to the molecular biology component of random access, sequencing and fluidics automation. I will also discuss some early efforts in building a hybrid electronic/molecular computer system that has the potential to offer more than just data storage.
Week 4: No BS CS Career Talk - Thursday, April 19 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speakers: Kasey Champion and Kim Nguyen (Microsoft)
What does it take to get an internship? What is it like when you're a full-time tech employee? How can you avoid the most common mistakes of recent college grads? UW alumni and former 14x TAs Kim Nguyen (a program manager) and Kasey Champion (a software engineer) have 3 engineering degrees and plenty of advice for how to not only find your place in tech, but how to get ahead. This will be an informal discussion on how to apply and general CS career talk with plenty of Q & A.
Recording (there were issues recording this week; this is from fall 2017)
Week 3: Binary - Thursday, April 12 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speaker: Hunter Schafer
You might be familiar with the fact that computers are filled with 1's and 0's. But when you interact with a computer, you see a whole lot more than binary code -- so where are all those 1's and 0's hiding? In this session we will explore what binary is and how it makes your computer work
Week 2: What is a computer? - Thursday, April 5 from 4:30-5:20 in GUG 220
Speaker: Christine Betts
Computers have entered 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, the context in which computers first came about, and why computer scientists are interested in these questions.