|University of Puget Sound
Opportunities and Risks
Note: Although the content and structure of this course are well developed, day-to-day details are expected to evolve as the semester evolves.
|Some Possible Topics
Algorithms are designed to address specific needs, but these algorithms also may have unintended consequences. For example, in her book, Weapons of Math Destruction (Crown Publishing, 2016), Cathy O'Neil describes "how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy." This tutorial will examine approximately three application areas. Discussion of each topic will include
Initial work for this course will use O'Neil's book as a starting point.
The selection of later topics will depend upon the interests of students in the course.
Henry M. Walker
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Office hours are posted weekly on the bulletin board outside my office, with additional hours possible by appointment. Please feel free to stop by during office hours; I will strive to work with students on a first-come, first-served basis—as time permits.-->
Beyond the initial consideration of Big Data, its assumptions, algorithms, and uses, students and the instructor will collaborate in choosing about 2 additional subjects for exploration. Some promising topics include
Electronic voting machines
Algorithms within autonomous vehicles
Google's PageRank Algorithm
Bitcoin and its Use in Commerce
The P = NP Question and its Far-reaching Implications
Electronic funds transfer systems
Hospital Monitoring and Response
Airline Reservation Systems
In addition, the following sources may provide helpful background.
Sara Baase and Timothy M. Henry, A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, Fifth Edition, Pearson Education, 2018.
Panos Louridas, Real-World Algorithms: A Beginner's Guide", MIT Press, 2017.
As noted in the section of Possible Topics, the course will explore three application areas of computing in some depth. For each such application, study will extend over 5 weeks (3 topics @ 5 weeks/topic = 15 weeks).
More specifically, course work for each application will extend over about 5 weeks, as follows:
Week 1: Orientation and Introduction
Week 2: Technical Issues
Week 3: Social and and Ethical Issues
Weeks 4-5: Project
Following a tutorial format, modified from the one-on-one, student-instructor meetings at Oxford and Cambridge, the entire group will meet once per week for general planning and reporting. Students then will be paired for collaborative work, with the pairs changing with each topic. Each pair will be expected to meet with the instructor for about an hour each week, exploring material in some depth, reporting results obtained, reflecting upon past work, and anticipating products that will conclude the study of each topic.
Although details will depend upon the enrollment for the course and student backgrounds, course work will include these elements:
Background reading for discussion in class sessions, perhaps with a brief response.
Preparation of an annotated bibliography for each topic.
Preparation of a poster or paper for each topic, following the style and format for professional conferences and/or journals.
Oral presentation: For each topic, each student will present primary findings of their poster/paper. Time constraints will depend upon enrollment and logistical details.
The work described in this section will require time for both students and the instructor. Students should expect to devote 5-7 hours per week to this course, in addition to the weekly class meeting.
All work in this course is governed by the rules of the college regarding academic honesty. In summary, standard practice requires that you must acknowledge all ideas from others.
When working either individually or collaboratively, you must cite all statements from any written source, if you use them to guide your work.
For any work, normal rules apply for quotation, paraphrase, citation, and bibliographic reference sections.
Much work in this course will be done individually, but some activities may be collaborative. When collaborating, the names of students in the group should appear as authors. Further, the listing of several authors implies that all members of the group agree with what is presented. If a group member does not agree with some part of the work, the group should continue to discuss and revise the material until agreement is achieved. In summary, a group activity is a joint effort, and all group members have equal responsibility for the finished product.
When you work on an activity yourself, but consult others, then you should include a statement identifying whom you consulted on what material. This includes conversations with other students, faculty, and any other people involved. If you consulted one person on several parts on an activity, you may summarize the collective help in an "Acknowledgment Section" rather on individual sections or subsections as long as the work makes clear who helped on what. Overall, all consultations on all work must be cited for each problem, exercise, article, poster, etc.
Finally, please note:
Although the Web can be useful for reference, you are advised that much material on the Web is of poor quality.
You are responsible for the quality of what you turn in, regardless of the source of the material.
If you have any questions about how the honor code applies to your work, please come talk with me. I am always happy to have those conversations.
Cell phones, text-messaging devices, and other social-networking connections may not be used during class sessions. If you bring such equipment to the classroom, it must be turned off before the class starts and stay off throughout the class period. Use of such equipment is distracting to those nearby and will not be tolerated.
Students with disabilities of any kind who may need accommodations for this course are encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation at 253-879-3399 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Students experiencing mental or physical health challenges that are significantly affecting their academic work or well-being are encouraged to contact me (as course instructor) or to speak with Counseling, Health, & Wellness Services.
For more information, see the Academic Handbook, pages 34-35.
In addition to course policies identified in this syllabus, the University of Puget Sound has asked instructors to highlight the following university policies:
This instructor's grading philosophy dictates that the final grade should ultimately be based upon the depth, scope, and quality of each student's work, not on the performance of the class as a whole nor on a strict percentile basis.
Ignoring the possibility of the grade qualifiers, + and -, letter grades are considered to have these descriptors:
Grading in this course will take these descriptors seriously.
created 25 June 2019
revised Summer-Fall 2019
15-16 January 2020
|For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at email@example.com.