The Internet: Co-Evolution of Technology and Society CPSC 156, Spring 2007

Instructor: Joan Feigenbaum

Lectures: 2:30-3:45pm TTh
Classroom: ML 211
Cr/D/F: No
Starred: No
Distributional Group: IV

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Short Bio of Professor Feigenbaum

Joan Feigenbaum is the Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science at Yale University. She received a BA in Mathematics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford. Between finishing her Ph.D. in 1986 and starting at Yale in 2000, she was with AT&T, where she participated very broadly in the company's Information-Sciences research agenda, e.g., by creating a research group in Algorithms and Distributed Data, of which she was the manager in 1998-99. Professor Feigenbaum's research interests include Internet algorithms, computational complexity, security and privacy, and digital copyright. While at Yale, she has been a principle in several high-profile activities, including the NSF-funded PORTIA Project and the ONR-funded SPYCE Project. Her current and recent professional service activities include membership in the NAS Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Program Chair for the 2002 ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management, Program Co-Chair for the 2004 ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, Conference Chair for the 2006 ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, Executive-Committee Member-at-Large of the ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computational Theory (Sigact), and Vice Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Electronic Commerce (Sigecom). Professor Feigenbaum is a Fellow of the ACM.

Note to CPSC 156 students: Do not send e-mail to Professor Feigenbaum, who suffers from Repetitive Strain Injury. Contact her through one of the TAs or her assistant, Judi Paige (see below).

Prof. Feigenbaum's Office Hours: Room: AKW 512
Phone: 2-6432
Tues. 4-5pm
Thurs. 9am - 10am
Prof. Feigenbaum's Assistant: Judi Paige
Room: AKW 507a
Phone: 6-1267
M-F: 9am - 2pm
Teaching Assistant: Richard Alimi
Room: AKW 303
Phone: 860-614-7498
Office Hours: Wednesday, 11am - 1 pm

Brief Description

Introductory course on how the Internet works and how it has affected daily life in the 21st century. Required work includes "hands-on" problem sets involving simple Internet technology, reading assignments, short essays, and exams. Suitable for all Yale undergraduates: The only prerequisite is Internet literacy.

Expanded Description

The purpose of CPSC 156 is for students who are not Computer Science majors to understand in some depth how the Internet works and why it is an interesting and productive forum for human interaction. Topics to be covered include but are not limited to Internet architecture and design philosophy, Internet-based business, user privacy, online identity, and digital copyright. Required work will include "hands-on" assignments in which students build simple Internet artifacts or use the net to accomplish something that would be difficult to accomplish offline and short-essay homework assignments and exams. The course will cover some of the material previously covered in CPSC 155, but it will also cover some non-business-related "social issues," and, unlike CPSC 155, will include a significant technology component and "hands-on" problem sets. There will be reading assignments to supplement lectures and written homeworks.


No formal course pre-requisites other than computer literacy and Internet literacy. Non-science majors are welcome.

Course Requirements

Late Homework Grading Policy

Homework assignment grades will be reduced by 5% for each day that the submitted assignment is late. That is, all submitted assignments will be graded. If the grade given is X, then the student will receive a grade of X for this assignment if it was submitted on or before the deadline, a grade of .95X if it was submitted the day after the deadline, a grade of .90X if it was submitted two days after the deadline, etc. (Note that this means that all assignments that are three weeks late or later will receive a grade of 0.)


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