Computer Science = ideas

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Quick lecture for high school students to get them excited about CS>

Quick lecture for high school students to get them excited about CS>

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  • 1. Computer Science = ideas Ideas are powerful. You up for it? tim@menzies.us Oct’12
  • 2. Don’t say you were not warned• If you want knowledge: bite the apple. – Welcome to responsibility and shame.• Make a choice – Take charge – Leave paradise• Would you want it any other way? – If Eden then no sex – no anesthetics (anyone you know had a baby? had a tooth pulled?) – no air travel (no spring break in Miami) – no space program (we landed on Mars? wow) – no internet, no smart phones, no Xbox 1
  • 3. Case study 1How computers won WW-II
  • 4. Convoys, sunk by U-boats The enigma machine 3
  • 5. Enter computers• Bletchley Park, England• Massive banks of computers – looking for patterns in German radio signals• Massive kludgey machines – run by an army of 10,000 woman – Winston Churchill: “The geese that laid the golden eggs - but never cackled.” 4
  • 6. The programmer• Alan Turing: mathematical genius – Defined what it means to be computable.• By the way, he was gay – we’ll get back to that. 5
  • 7. The curse of informationThe power The shame• Thanks to Turing, • So they had to let (some) – the allies knew the location of boats get sunk and (some) the U-boats bombs fall on England• But they had to be careful – In order to mount the – If the Germans knew they invasion and win the war knew, they change the codes • Dead sailors – Take years to break the new • Dead civilians ones • Bletchley Park hastily dismantled post-WW2, records quickly forgotten 6
  • 8. Case study #2 Computers and hydrogen bombswere developed by the same people at the same time for same reason
  • 9. How to build a thermo-nuclear bomb (don’t try this at home)1. separation of stages into a triggering "primary" explosive and a much more powerful2. "secondary" explosive, compression of the secondary by X-rays coming from nuclear fission in the primary, a process called the "radiation implosion" of the secondary,3. heating of the secondary, after cold compression, by a second fission explosion inside the secondary.Btw, All in a microsecond 8
  • 10. Enter computers• To design "radiation implosion" – Need massive simulations• Enter the king of the shock wave – John Von Neumann• Built computers at Princeton – using Turing’s designs – Ran the sims – Built the bombs 9
  • 11. His favorite computer programmer• His wife, Klara von Neumann – Famous ballerina – Bored by her first husband (a banker) – Left him for Johnny, moved to America• Gifted – While Johnny wined and dined the generals – She ran the clunky computers back at Princeton• Did not do well when Johnny died 10
  • 12. The curse of informationThe power The shame• Thanks to Von Nuemann, • Global annihilation – American got the h-bomb • Nuclear proliferation first • In this case, it is not true that• Which leads to the arms – “someone would have done race and the cold war it” • Von Neumann’s Princeton team was … unique 11
  • 13. Case study #3Turing’s “reward”
  • 14. Alan Turing won the war• Taught Von Neumann how to build computers• His theories are the basis of all modern computers• And his reward? – Persecuted to death – Homophobic rejection in the 1950s – Security clearance revoked – driven to suicide … by apple (sprinkled with arsenic) 13
  • 15. 2009: A public apology in Parliament• British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – issued a public apology for the British governments "appalling" actions, – after an online petition seeking the same gained 30,000 signatures and international recognition. – “The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely.” 14
  • 16. And what is the future?
  • 17. Turing’s challenge to us all:• Be responsible.• Leave the shame behind us.• Build a different future. 16
  • 18. CS = building blocks• In times past, computers were very expensive – Tools for the military – For code breaking and designing bombs• Computers today are cheap – $30 for Raspberry Pi – Now, computers are tools for everybody – What will do with that? 17
  • 19. Alan Turing: We do more if we do it together• Alan Turing, 1939: – “The well-known theorem of Gödel (1931) shows that every system of logic is in a certain sense incomplete, but at the same time it indicates means whereby from a system L of logic a more complete system L′ may be obtained. By repeating the process we get a sequence L, L1 = L′, L2 = L1, ... – each more complete than the proceeding. A logic Lω may then be constructed in which the provable theorems are the totality of theorems provable with the help of logics L, L1, L2...” .• Translation – We are all incomplete – We all know part of the answer – We know more if we work together 18
  • 20. Teams, working together• Linus Torvalds – a guy sitting on his Mums lounge room floor – invented a way to build software – that now powers the internet. 19
  • 21. Groups, interacting• Mark Zuckerberg – Some guy in his dorm room at Harvard – created a web site used daily by a billion people. 20
  • 22. Welcome to Science 2.0 21
  • 23. Computer Science = ideas Ideas are powerful. You up for it?