Computers touch everything we do today. In this class we’ll look at computer systems from the ground up. We’ll see how they work and what we can all do to exploit them more effectively.
Topics will include:
· How fast is the world of computing changing (alternatively, what should you expect will happen over the next 50 years)?
· What is “computational thinking”? Put another way: how do we have to specify solutions to problems if we want computers to do the work?
· How is it that computers manipulate not just numbers but also things like all the text out there on the Web and all the videos on your iPod? Answer: everything is a binary number.
· If computers are so fast, why are some problems still hard? Solving them could take more seconds than there have been since the Big Bang. One answer: exponential growth.
· Are there provable limits to what we can compute? We’re asking about problems that no cloud computing or quantum computing will ever be able to solve.
· Will computers ever rival humans at what we do best? Are they getting close even now?
What You’ll Do
· Come to class. There will be lectures (including many that cover material that is not in the book). We’ll also have demonstrations and sessions where we work problems.
· Work homework problems that reinforce what we’ve talked about in class.
· Write four or five short programs (in Python).
· Build a simple website about yourself and your interests.
Click on the tabs to the left for more information.