Fall 2012 Classes

Summer’s just starting but my schedule for next semester is confirmed.  You can see how these classes very specifically support my plans for researching and building out Galapag.us.

Basic Analog Circuits – Eric Rosenthal (Syllabus)

Today’s mostly digital world also requires a basic knowledge of analog circuits. In this course students learn about the basic principles of analog circuits design and operation. Students learn about discrete components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistors as well as integrated components such as operational amplifiers. In addition, students become familiar with the operation of basic electronic test equipment such as digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, function generators. The instructor lectures on, and demonstrates, basic analog concepts so that students can form a basic rule of thumb understanding of analog circuits, concepts and components. In the lab, students can integrate analog solutions into their project work.

Data Without Borders: Data Science in the Service of Humanity – Jake Porway

We are living in the dawn of the big data era, a time in which the vast digitization of our world has created incalculable amounts of information that is now being used to drive our every decision, from what movie we decide to watch this weekend to how we navigate the globe next year. Though data can be immensely transformative, much of the efforts in data science are still focused on first-world gains, such as optimizing ad networks or recommending restaurants. As designers, developers, and scientists, it is not only incumbent upon us to understand how to analyze, understand, and tell stories with data, but also to think about its use in meaningful and socially conscious ways. This class will train students in the basic tools and trade of data science through exploration of a socially conscious data project. Students will learn to scrape, merge, and clean data with Python, perform statistical analysis and use machine learning algorithms in R, and visualize and explore data with R and D3. In addition to training students as junior data scientists, we will discuss the important social issues around data provenance, privacy, and the responsibility that comes with making claims from data.

Glitch – Kyle McDonald / Jeremiah Johnson

“…our control of technology is an illusion, and … digital tools [are] only as perfect, precise, and efficient as the humans who build them.” – Kim Cascone

“If it works, it’s obsolete.” – Marshall McLuhan

How do the tools and media we use affect the work we create? What biases are embedded in the software and data formats we take for granted? In this class we will reverse, invert, and deconstruct prescribed workflows. We’ll empower ourselves by digging into the intricacies of different formats. We’ll explore the limitations of our tools, and exploit the strange behavior at those limits. We’ll also spend a significant amount of time understand the history and theory behind glitch and noise, through enlightening readings, discussion, and exercises.

While this class will cover a variety of low level, technical topics, there are no prerequisites, and there is no single tool, environment, or language that we will focus on. We will instead aim for a more process-oriented approach, and students will be challenged at every level of technical expertise.

This two-credit will meet the first seven weeks of the semester.

PAC I – Evan Korth (Syllabus)

An accelerated introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer science for students who lack a formal background in the field. Topics include algorithm design and program development; data types; control structures; subroutines and parameter passing; recursion; data structures; searching and sorting; dynamic storage allocation; abstract data types, such as stacks, queues, lists, and tree structures; and an introduction to the principles of object-oriented programming. The primary programming language used in the course will be Java.

Understanding Genomes: An Introduction to Biohacking – Yasser Ansari (Syllabus)

This class will expose the tools and fundamental principles underlying the emerging biohacking and DIY Bio movements, providing students with practical knowledge and awareness of specific techniques. Beginning with the discovery of the three-dimensional structure of DNA and building up to genes, genomes, and genome sequencing, we will uncover the biological mechanisms at play and the specialized equipment and protocols being used in today’s laboratories, studios, and garages. Along the way, we will study scientific breakthroughs like the generation of the first recombinant DNA molecules, deconstruct infamous bioart pieces like “Alba” the bioluminescent bunny, and examine interesting amateur projects like homebrewed insulin. The first phase of the class will be focused on introducing core concepts through investigation and discussion. Continuing on, the second phase of the class will allow students to apply what they’ve learned through the design and development of their own projects. Class assignments will range from individual exercises and readings to group presentations and projects. Guest lecturers and visits to local laboratories will help provide additional context and insight during the semester. The ultimate goal of this class is to equip students with enough knowledge and skill to explore biologically driven concepts and projects with confidence. Although topics from molecular biology will be covered, no previous knowledge is required.

Filed under: ITP