CS382:Class Notes

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These are class notes for CS328: Discrete Modeling Development. They will be maintained by Kay and Charlie, but feel free to add parts we may have missed.

Friday, January 16

Initial thoughts from the homework reading:

  • crowd sourcing - potentially we could do class sourcing with discrete modeling or something else
    • maybe something in Second Life (SL) as a virtual crowd?
    • maybe using an existing large scale model in SL?
  • scavenger hunt
  • make impressions on people
  • high level of engagement in activities
  • important points from McGonigal about games we should incorporate:
    • satisfying
    • part of something bigger - make people want to keep going, ie also tie into (mention) other large scale projects - also see next point
    • experience at being good at something
      • want students to try and succeed on their own, but get enough feedback to know if they are heading in right direction

High level goals for the course:

  • use computerse to model the world and show that they're useful for the rest of students' careers
  • CS is cool/useful

General points to consider for the class:

  • We could look at what other liberal arts sciences classes are covering
    • Make sure we're geared also towards potential CS recruits (some non-natural sciences majors) as well as non-science majors
    • Open people's eyes to see what CS can do
  • Do we have time to explore some of the technical CS behind the projects?
  • What general CS principles do we want to convey?
    • Basic foundations (like abstraction, algorithmic thinking, etc.)
  • Should we base units on the science or the tools/methods?
  • Possibly multiple parts to assignments, or different options to chose from. Want to challenge everyone at different levels (but don't want them some noticeably easier than others, just different interests)
  • Charlie needs to be able to give lots of feedback in an easy way for him to do
    • Possibly many TAs, possibly some specific to a given unit taken from a different department (ie biology student/professor for biology unit, etc.)

Wednesday, January 14

About the class:

  • We will be designing a new class “in silico”
  • new class will be offered the first time next spring
  • geared towards first year students
  • lots of this already developed, we’ll be selecting the best parts of which ones for this specific course at this specific college

Themes we're designing for:

  • quantitative reasoning
  • model development and use
  • validation and verification
    • Did I solve the right problem? Did I solve the problem correctly?
  • estimation
  • visualization
    • data -> information -> knowledge
    • harder to do as go further to the right
    • visualization is one way to make it easier to get more from just data
  • mostly the natural sciences, possibly some art
  • using tools (spreadsheets, models, make your own or pre-made)

Methods we will use:

  • inquiry based learning – find out how to solve a problem and document it, and describe what learned from it
  • scaffolded – provide an empty framework for students to work through it in multiple ways
  • metric system exclusively
  • auto-magic grading?
    • Good feedback is important, possibly part of this could come from a machine

Units/modules (each probably week to two weeks) might include:

  • reading
  • lectures/discussion notes
  • lab

Potential Units/Modules:

  • "Seeing Around Corners" – an article about race behavior using Agent-based models
    • Lunch rooms, neighborhoods, etc.
  • Possibly a unit with “sensor nets”
  • Possible energy unit – EEAP, wind, solar
  • Measuring – area, volume, count
  • Ground water – wet lab, analytical, in silico
  • Genomics
  • Measure gravity (as between the roof of Dennis Hall and the ground)
  • Something requiring lots of computational horsepower (maybe?)
    • Maybe just mentioning and not an entire unit
    • Maybe tied into the genomics unit or chemistry
  • Chemistry, possibly forensic

Other Thoughts:

  • We may find things that are really cool but that don’t fit into this particular class we’re designing. However, they may be inserted into various places in the CS curriculum – in POCO, ACS. We should capture them somewhere and Charlie will come back to them another time.