Warning:
Don’t do CS
tim@menzies.us
wvu, lane cs&ee
Oct 30, 2013
CS majors
They get jobs, everywhere

3
Interesting jobs,
in far flung places

4
5
Computer science
is a dangerous business
• If you want knowledge: bite the apple.
– Welcome to responsibility and shame.

...
Case study 1
How computers killed
people in WW-II
Convoys, sunk by U-boats

The enigma
machine

8
Enter computers
• Bletchley Park,
England
• Massive banks
of computers
– looking for
patterns in
German radio
signals

• M...
The programmer
• Alan Turing:
mathematical genius
– Defined what it means
to be computable.

• By the way, he was gay
– we...
The curse of information
The power
• Thanks to Turing,
– the allies knew the location of
the U-boats

• But they had to be...
Case study #2
Computers and hydrogen bombs
were developed by the same people
at the same time for same reason
How to build a thermo-nuclear bomb
(don’t try this at home)
1.

separation of stages into a
triggering "primary" explosive...
Enter computers
• To design "radiation
implosion"
– Need massive simulations

• Enter the king of
the shock wave
– John Vo...
His favorite computer programmer
• His wife, Klara von Neumann
– Famous ballerina
– Bored by her first husband (a banker)
...
The curse of information
The power
• Thanks to Von Nuemann,
– American got the h-bomb
first

• Which leads to the arms
rac...
Case study #3
Turing’s “reward”
Alan Turing won the war
• Taught Von Neumann how to build computers
• His theories are the basis of all modern computers

...
2009: A public apology
in Parliament
• British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
– issued a public apology for the British
gover...
And what is the future?
Turing’s challenge to us all:
• Be responsible.
• Leave the shame behind us.
• Build a different future.

21
CS = building blocks
• In times past, computers were very expensive
– Tools for the military
– For code breaking and desig...
Alan Turing:
We do more if we do it together
• Alan Turing, 1939:
– “The well-known theorem of Gödel (1931) shows that ev...
Teams, working together
• Linus Torvalds
– a guy sitting on his Mum's lounge room floor
– invented a way to build software...
Groups, interacting
• Mark Zuckerberg
– Some guy in his dorm room at Harvard
– created a web site used daily by a billion ...
Welcome to Science 2.0

26
Computer Science = ideas
Ideas are powerful.
You up for it?
Warning: don't do CS
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Warning: don't do CS

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On why computer science is DANGEROUS and why we should FORBID our children to study it just in case they become EVIL GENIUSES and try to TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

Warning: includes designs for building hydrogen bombs.

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Warning: don't do CS

  1. 1. Warning: Don’t do CS tim@menzies.us wvu, lane cs&ee Oct 30, 2013
  2. 2. CS majors
  3. 3. They get jobs, everywhere 3
  4. 4. Interesting jobs, in far flung places 4
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. Computer science is a dangerous business • If you want knowledge: bite the apple. – Welcome to responsibility and shame. • Make a choice – Take charge? Study ideas? – 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 6
  7. 7. Case study 1 How computers killed people in WW-II
  8. 8. Convoys, sunk by U-boats The enigma machine 8
  9. 9. 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.” 9
  10. 10. 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. 10
  11. 11. The curse of information The power • Thanks to Turing, – the allies knew the location of the U-boats • But they had to be careful – If the Germans knew they knew, they change the codes – Take years to break the new ones The shame • So they had to let (some) boats get sunk and (some) bombs fall on England – In order to mount the invasion and win the war • Dead sailors • Dead civilians • Bletchley Park hastily dismantled post-WW2, records quickly forgotten 11
  12. 12. Case study #2 Computers and hydrogen bombs were developed by the same people at the same time for same reason
  13. 13. 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 powerful 2. "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 13
  14. 14. 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 14
  15. 15. 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 15
  16. 16. The curse of information The power • Thanks to Von Nuemann, – American got the h-bomb first • Which leads to the arms race and the cold war The shame • Global annihilation • Nuclear proliferation • In this case, it is not true that – “someone would have done it” • Von Neumann’s Princeton team was … unique 16
  17. 17. Case study #3 Turing’s “reward”
  18. 18. 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) 18
  19. 19. 2009: A public apology in Parliament • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – issued a public apology for the British government's "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.” 19
  20. 20. And what is the future?
  21. 21. Turing’s challenge to us all: • Be responsible. • Leave the shame behind us. • Build a different future. 21
  22. 22. 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? 22
  23. 23. 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 23
  24. 24. Teams, working together • Linus Torvalds – a guy sitting on his Mum's lounge room floor – invented a way to build software – that now powers the internet. 24
  25. 25. Groups, interacting • Mark Zuckerberg – Some guy in his dorm room at Harvard – created a web site used daily by a billion people. 25
  26. 26. Welcome to Science 2.0 26
  27. 27. Computer Science = ideas Ideas are powerful. You up for it?

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