Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Freshman Seminar on Computing

As a professor of computer science I get to teach many courses on computing. I love teaching them because they cover very interesting topics. But they tend to be specialized and technical. Sometimes I feel like I could motivate my students better and get them more excited about computer science if I were to discuss some "big picture" questions about computing. Questions such as: What is the essence of computing? What is its future potential? Unfortunately, one has limited opportunities for integrating such discussions to specialized technical courses. 

So, I decided to offer a freshman seminar! 

The title of the seminar is "What is Computing?" and here is how I describe it:
"Computer technology has produced many impressive gadgets that surround us every day. However, its foundations are still a mystery to many. The purpose of this seminar is to discuss what computing is, with the hope of getting some insights about its essence and its future potential."
The seminar is not exclusively targeting students who plan to get a computer science degree. It is open to everyone who is interested in computing.

I will prepare a post for each topic I plan to discuss in class. I hope to make my posts as readable and as entertaining as I can. No formulas, no graphs, just plain English.

I hope it will be a fun seminar.


  1. Computer
    Computer is an electronics device that can accept data and instructions as input, process the data to given instructions and shows results as output. Computer also has ability to store data and instructions. The physical and tangible parts of the computer are called “Hardware”. “Software’s” are intangible parts of the computer system.

  2. I am wondering if human brain actually work with technology to create a "human computer". In movies, some of them talk about how human brain can be modified to create biological computers that are very powerful, is that possible?