Dr. Bei Wang
Email: beiwang AT sci.utah.edu
Office: WEB 4819
Catalog #, Section #, Course #
CS 1060, 001, 8237
Google, Facebook and Twitter are merely less than a decade old; and
yet we can not imagine our life without them nowadays.
Instagram rises from a company that is worth $0 to $1 Billion in two years.
Netflix puts Blockbuster out of business despite the fact that Wall
Street Journal initially called its stock as "a worthless piece of
World of Warcraft just celebrated its 10 year anniversary last November.
Japan is releasing the first movie starring actress by a humanoid robot.
These are all exemplars of emerging technologies computer scientists
come up with via forward-thinking research and development that
transform how we live, work and think.
Computational thinking, as coined by Jeanette Wing (now the corporate
vice president at Microsoft research), "represents a universally
applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer
scientists, would be eager to learn and use".
It is much more than being able to write a piece of computer code. It is about
problem solving empowered by computers. Computational thinking is about "the way that humans, not computers, think".
We will study the foundations of computational thinking, by
conceptualizing, designing and building solutions to exciting
The goal is to make you a
computational thinker and a problem solver.
Who Should Take This Course? (Prerequisite)
There are no prerequisites for this course.
This course is an introduction to computational thinking
at the University of Utah.
It is an introductory course designed for any student interested in
enhancing their problem solving skills using computation.
It is also appropriate for students seeking an understanding of
computational principles that will complement their major field of
The course assumes no
background in computing beyond the ability to use a computer to send
email, browse the web, and write papers. No prior experience in
programming is required. There is some math, but if you can multiply
and understand place value in numbers, you should be fine. However,
this is not a computer literacy course.
This course satisfies the Applied Science (AS) Intellectual
Course Topics (subject to change)
- Computational thinking: a friendly introduction
- Exploring mummies at the British museum
- Who is Eugene Goostman?
- Roomba and Japan's first upcoming humanoid actress
- What makes online purchases (not) safe? Emissary panda and identity theft
- Computing basics: a high level view
- Generating art though computing
- TSA is watching you!
- How does the world wide web work?
- The rise of Google
- What powers Instagram?
- Twitter, Twitter, Twitter
- The Social Network
- How did NetFlix Beat Blockbuster?
- What computers can not do?
There will be 4-6 projects.
We will have fun and learn about problem solving, computation and Python!
Some things you might do in this course are:
- Interact with an intelligent program called Eliza, and print out conversation that convince you he is NOT human.
- Create art with computing.
- Build your own DJ.
- Analyze some Twitter feeds.
- Visualize Utah Facebook network.
- Create your own Instagram filter.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 12:25 pm - 1:45 pm , WEB L105
Bei Wang: Tuesday and Thursdays half an hour after class or by appointment (beiwang AT sci.utah.edu), WEB 4819
Ross Dimassimo (cs1060 AT spam.im)
William Garnes III (wagarnes AT gmail.com)
Vikram Raj (vikram.raj AT utah.edu)
Current TA office hours (subject to change):
Monday 11:30 am - 1:30 pm William (2 hours), CADE Lab5, WEB L210
Tuesday 3:30 pm - 5:30 p.m Ross (2 hours), CADE Lab5, WEB L210
Wednesday 1:00 p.m - 3:00 p.m Vikram (2 hours), MEB 3115
Thursday 3:30 p.m - 5:30 pm Ross (2 hours), CADE Lab5, WEB L210
Friday 1:00pm - 3:00 p.m. William (2 hours), CADE Lab5, WEB L210
The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its
programs, services and activities for people with disabilities.
you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice
to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union
801-581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to
arrangements for accommodations.
All written information in this course can be made available in
format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.