CS290 / CS390: Computer Science Seminar
(last updated, Aug. 17, 2006)

Time: Thursday,  3:30-4:20 PM 
Place: MEC 205
Instructor: Tom Horton (Olsson #228B)
Office hours: Tue., Thu.:  2-3:30 pm.    Wed.: 1-2 pm


A small number of assignments, including at least one written and one discussion-oriented. Details are still be worked out.

  • Research report - Details will come later. This will be different for CS290 and CS390 students.
  • Ethics case studies - Students will be required to contribute to discussion on several ethics case studies. A written report on a case-study may also be required.  Details to follow.
Format: One meeting per week, mostly lecture, sometimes discussion. 
Description: The primary goals of this seminar are to expose you to state-of-the-art research in computer science and to explore issues related to ethics and professionalism in computer science. Hearing about research areas in computing will help you choose electives, choose a senior thesis topic, decide on directions for your career or graduate school, identify a faculty for who you'd like to do research with during the summer or academic term, etc. Students will be expected to participate in these talks by studying the speaker's web page ahead of time, attending the lectures on time, and asking intelligent questions.

This course is being moved down to the 2nd year because of requests by students in the last few years. Students told us that they'd like to know about these things sooner in their career. In Spring 2006, both CS290 and CS390 will be taught together, with slightly different assignments for each set of students.

One of the course's goals is to get you actively thinking about your senior thesis research well before you actually start TCC 401.  Students in CS390 will write a short paper documenting the idea and a preliminary plan for the senior thesis they will begin next fall. Students in CS290 will write a somewhat different report on areas of computing practice and research (different because there's an additional year before they start the thesis).

The course will also include discuss topics of ethics, professionalism, life-long learning, and so on.

At the end of the semester students will:

  • Have been exposed to a wide range of state-of-the-art research topics in computer science and related disciplines.
  • Have begun preparing to undertake an in-depth research project in computer science or a related field.
  • Have been exposed to issues and questions in ethics and professionalism in computer science.
Useful Links:
Lectures: A tentative schedule of guest lecturers and topics follows.  I will also try to post any electronic notes or presentation source.
1 Thu.


  Tom Horton.  Course Introduction.  
2 Thu.


  Kevin Skadron: Info on Graduate Study. Also, Research in Architecture  (entire class)
Slides on grad school.   Slides on his research.
3 Thu.


  Portman Willis (Say Ahh Systems), (entire class).
"Saving the World with a Computer Science Degree" (more info)
 Here are his links on http://del.icio.us/ on "cs for good".  BTW, what is del.icio.us?  Read the Wikipedia article or see their main page.
4 Thu.


  Sang Son (first half) Slides.  Tom Horton: Ethics case studies.
(Handout)  (HW1)  (Submit here by March 16)
5 Thu.


  John Knight.  Ethics and Professional Responsibility in SW Development  (entire class) 
6 Thu.


  Paul Reynolds, Simulation Challenges (first half) Slides.  TBD
7 Thu.


  Sudhanva Gurumurhti Wes Weimer. Slides.




Spring Break

8 Thu.


9 Thu.


  Dee Weikle, Computer Architecture, CS Edu.  (entire class)
10 Thu.


  Worthy Martin, Electronic Repositories  (entire class)
Tom Horton. CS Education; Textual Analysis. Slides.
11 Thu.


   Jack Davidson, Viruses (entire class)  
12 Thu.


  Gary McGraw (Cigital, and a UVa alum), Computer Security.
Slides for various similar talks by Gary can be found here.
13 Thu.


  Nina Mishra, Data Mining (entire class)
14 Thu.


  Gabe Robins, Algorithms (entire class)

Codes of Ethics and Professional Practice:


You will be graded on your assignments, attendance, and participation, roughly according to the following ratio:

  • Assignments: 50%
  • Attendance/Participation: 50%

Participation means coming to class, asking questions, taking part in discussions, not falling asleep, and so on.

Attendance is important; if you miss the lectures you will miss the entire point of the course.  There is precious little else that you are graded on.  Therefore I will check attendance every class meeting.  You are allowed three missed classes before your grade goes down.  Showing up late counts as a missed class (wandering in late is very impolite, especially when we have guest speakers).  Attendance is the best way to turn an easy A into a C or worse, so don't miss class. 

Honor Code: The honor code applies to all work turned in for this course, such as the preproposal.  Do your own work, don't copy from another student, don't rewrite or blindly paraphrase a researcher's web page.