The Making of Semi-Conducted * Hunter McCurry Tues May 11

May 10th, 2010

Hunter McCurry will be giving a lecture on the making of Semi-Conducted, my quartet and video piece. A very short video excerpt of the piece is posted here:

The lecture will be *Tuesday May 11* at 5:15 in TIMARA Studio 2. I will be pairing up with fellow TIMARA major Gabe Stewart who will be talking about his project visualizing and sonifying GPI (General Progress Indicator) data for Northeast Ohio. Each of our lectures will be under 30 minutes.

(This) Tuesday, May 11th
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm
TIMARA Studio 2

Beyond simply a description of the piece, the lecture should also
serve as an introduction to a new open-source piece of software called
Field, a coding environment for making digital art. This software is a hybrid of several paradigms: coding (it is written in Python), visual programming (like Max/MSP), and drawing (like Photoshop, Flash). Even if you can’t make it to the lecture, I strongly encourage you to check it out! It has great potential:

Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems: Can We Scale to Cloud Computing?

April 8th, 2010

Tom Bressoud, Denison University

Tom Bressoud, Denison University

Monday April 12, 2010

Computer Science will host Professor Tom Bressoud from Denison University.

The Talk will be held in King 221 at 4:30 Refreshments will be served at 4:00 in King 223.

Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems: Can we Scale to Cloud Computing?

Distributed systems is a subfield of computer science wherein an application or service is modeled as a collection of independently executing processes, cooperating toward a common goal and communicating with each other across some medium (i.e. a network or shared memory).  Fault-tolerance is an area of study that recognizes that computer hardware and software fail and, for many application domains, the failure of a component resulting in a failure of the entire system is simply unacceptable.  So the goal of fault-tolerant systems is to continue to provide correct operation despite the occurrence of component failures.

When we look at the intersection of fault tolerance and distributed systems, the problem becomes even more difficult.  The distribution of processes increases uncertainty, including basic questions such as “knowing” that a component has failed.  And as we scale our distributed systems, we, by definition, increase the number of independent components, and thus can linearly increase the arrival rate of failures.

This talk will explore these issues and look at the scalability issue of fault tolerance in cluster systems and will compare the traditional fault tolerance technique of checkpointing with some newly popular models for cluster-parallel applications — MapReduce, used by Google, and Dryad by Microsoft — each vying for dominance in the currently “hot” area of Cloud Computing.

Prospective Majors Meeting Wed April 7 4:30

April 5th, 2010

Interested in Becoming A Computer Science Major.  Attend our informational meeting on Wed April 7 4:30-5:30 inKing 223.  If you are  unable to attend feel free to contact any Computer Science Professor for additional details.

Refreshments will be served.

2010 Denison Programming Contest

March 14th, 2010

On February 27th, two OCCS programming teams participated in Denison University’s spring programming contest, along with 9 other teams from 6 other schools (Denison, Albion, Baldwin-Wallace, Muskingum, Ohio Wesleyan, and U of Akron).


Congratulations to our teams for placing second and sixth! Joaquin Ruales, Michael Stevenson, Zach Levine and Joe Kramer-Miller of the O(bees) solved 4 of the 6 problems, and Brendan Chambers, Thomas Ramfjord, Emma Conner and Siyang Wu of Foo of Oberlin solved 3 problems.

If you are interested getting involved in programming contests, get in touch with either Professor Donaldson or Wexler (the coaches) or check out the Competitive Programming Exco!

See more photos in the gallery:
2010 Denison Programming Contest

OCCS 25th Anniversary

March 9th, 2010

Our 25th Anniversary Symposium will be held April 23-25, 2010.  We’re inviting all our CS alumni and other interested folks to join us.  You’ll have a chance to meet with the current faculty and students and catch up with your old friends. All events will take place on the Oberlin College campus.

If you’re thinking of joining us, please register by filling out the following form: OCCS 25th Anniversary Registration.

To celebrate our 25th anniversary, the Department is establishing an endowed fund to support Oberlin student / faculty research, and to fund visits by outside speakers to campus.

If you’d like to contribute to our departmental development fund, you can submit a pledge here, or just view the pledges so far.

25th Anniversary Tentative Schedule

March 9th, 2010

Here is the schedule for our upcoming 25th anniversary weekend:


On-campus summer research opportunities in Security and Systems

March 4th, 2010

Professor Kuperman is looking for students interested in doing paid, on-campus research work in CS this summer. Funding is for 8-10 weeks of work, up to 40 hours per week, with some flexibility as to scheduling.

I have 3 different projects I’ll be working on this summer. They are all systems or security related:

1. Testing and releasing a security monitoring tool as an open-source project

2. Refining an isolated virtual network lab environment for the security course

3. Network measurement and troubleshooting (in conjunction w. Case Western)

Useful background could include C/systems programming, Linux/Unix experience, Python programming, shell scripting, security topics, system administration, and/or computer networking. Each project has different needs, and you only need a subset of these topics and motivation to learn more to be able to help.

If you are interested in any of these projects send me an email ( letting me know which projects you are interested in and your relevant background. Also email me if you have questions or just want more info. Graduating seniors are eligible to participate.

Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum: The Power and the Peril

March 2nd, 2010

Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum: The Power and the Peril

by Robert M. Panoff
Shodor Educational Foundation

Place: Craig Lecture Hall

Time & Date: Monday evening, March 15 @ 7:30

Refreshments to follow

Sponsored by the Oberlin Modeling Initiative & Sigma Xi

ABSTRACT: Students and faculty at all education levels are clearly spending much more of their days interacting with computing and communication tools than with each other. Is this good? Are all uses of technology in education helpful, and if not, how does one separate the benefits from the burdens?  We will explore how technology enables dynamic representation in the sciences, arts, and humanities, giving us the opportunity to be more fully human as we seek new knowledge in service to society.

Moving “beyond PowerPointless-ness,” we have the opportunity to demonstrate that effective use of computing really matters. Computing “matters” because quantitative reasoning, computational thinking, and multiscale modeling are the intellectual “heart and soul” of 21st Century science and therefore are the essential skills of the 21st Century workforce.  Computing “matters” because we can apply the power of interactive computing to reach a deeper understanding and of math and science and their role in understanding the world.

We will explore a transformation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, supported by interactive computing resources, promoting a dynamic encounter with our world through guided discovery. A world-class education requires world-class resources, and all math and science teachers should be able to bring interactive modeling environments to their own teaching practice. We will explore a variety of free and low-cost sources for modeling tools from the Computational Science Education Reference Desk, a pathway project of the National Science Digital Library (

Designing an Environment to Create Mobile Musical Instruments

February 17th, 2010

The Computer Science Department will host

George Essl Assistant Professor for Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Music

University of Michigan

Monday Feb. 22, 2010 4:30p.m. King 306   –     Refreshments at 4:00

Designing an Environment to Create Mobile Musical Instruments

CSMC Elections!

February 11th, 2010

I Voted!

I Voted!

Come to vote and see the candidates for CSMC (the Computer Science Majors’ Committee) on Wednesday, Feb 17th, at noon, in King 135.

Yes, CSMC is holding elections for this spring and the coming year. It is an exciting time to get involved, particularly as it is the 25th anniversary of the Computer Science department, and much input from the students is wanted and needed.

Online nominations will be accepted until Wednesday, Feb. 17th. Candidate statements and official voting session will be held then (the 17th) during lunchtime in the downstairs lab!

See for information and an online nomination form.