Syllabus, Spring 2013

 The seminar theme, echoes the program theme of how computing might advance the natural and physical sciences, particularly environmental science and climate change studies.  The seminar will focus on how computation and statistics can have an impact on science and society through data mining, visualization, and machine learning.  We will also consider how computing impacts statistics (and vice versa) and how science also impacts computation and statistics.

Seminar class meetings consist of both a guest lecture series (on Tuesday afternoons, 3:30-4:45, in LH 5) and seminar sessions (Mondays 1-3) in SEM II E 2107, 2109, and 3107.  In seminar, students will share responsibility for presenting and discussing concepts from both readings and lectures.

Requirements for earning credit for seminar include:  attendance in seminar and at lectures,  weekly one page papers on the week’s reading (due as hard copy and electronically to the moodle by Monday 1pm), comments on at least two other students’ writing (due to the moodle by Thursday 3pm).  Students will be evaluated based on their understanding of the program themes as evidenced by their weekly papers and participation in seminar discussions, on the quality of their feedback to peers’ papers, on the technical quality of their papers, their performance on the 2-3 weekly questions on the seminar readings (given with the stats quiz Tuesday morning), and their attendance.

For the weekly papers, students can write on the question posted by faculty (on the program web site by the preceding Thursday 5pm), or on a question of their own making.  Papers should have the following format:

  • Top left corner:  Student Name, Week #, Date of submission
  • Top Middle:  question addressed (preferably in italics)
  • Body:  the paper itself, 11 or 12 pt font (10 pt Arial is ok), 1.5 line spacing.

Seminar Readings (tentative!  Check web site for updates and pdf’s)

  • Week 1, due Tuesday April 2:   Meadows, Thinking in Systems, Ch. 1-2.
  • Week 2, due Monday, April 8:   Meadows, Thinking in Systems, remainder of book.
  • Week 3, due Monday, April 15: Salsburg, Lady Tasting Tea (first half)
  • Week 4, due Monday, April 22: Megler/Maier papers on Data near Here (papers to be posted)
  • Week 5, due Monday, April 29: Salsburg, Lady Tasting Tea (second half)
  • Week 6, due Monday, May 6:    Howe papers on eScience & SQL Share  (to be posted)
  • Week 7, due Monday, May 13:  Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget (first half)
  • Week 8, due Monday, May 20:  Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget (second half)
  • Week 9, due Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day – Holiday, No Classes, No Seminar.
  • Week 10, in lieu of seminar on Monday, June 3, we will meet for project presentations. No reading.  Bring to class your seminar portfolio – which will consist of your seven seminar papers, as marked up by faculty, and a rewrite of ONE of those papers, perhaps expanded.