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Working with the Craft Technology Group, under the guidance of Michael Eisenberg.

I enjoy weaving computation with craft materials in ways that bring interactivity and programmability to traditional craft projects. For instance tile mosaics that change patterns when I brush against them, or pendants that change color depending on how many friends are around me.

Nwanua's Questionaire answers
Nwanua's answers to Assignment 8 (Employment in a globalized world)

Applied Math colloquium 9/21/07: Joseph Grcar
John von Neumann and the Origins of Scientific Computing
Scientific computing had its roots in astronomical calculations and geodetic calculations for cartgraphy done during the time of Carl Friedrich Gauss. The invention of modern (digital, electronic, and programmable) computers in the 1940s tremendously increased the range, accuracy and speed of mechanized calculations.
This very informative talk surveyed the development of scientific computing as we know it from the tables of the 1780's through the first electronic calculations in the late 1940s. At the heart of this revolution were folks like John von Neumann and Heman Goldstine, who both largely reinvented scientific computing and created what we now term computer science. Three things to take away from the talk:
  1. the importance of inspired leadership (scientific directors, government officials) who create an enabling environment.
  2. the need for absolutely brilliant individuals - not only did they understand the advances in computing (which had marched from the MIT Analytical Differentiator to ENIAC), they also understood the whole range of technical obstacles that needed to be overcome.
  3. the magic of "taking a chance" on harebrained ideas that at, at first glance, are guaranteed to fail.

ICS colloquium 9/7/07: Margaret Burnett
"Gender HCI and End-User Programming: What About the Software?"
There have been a number of studies to improve the low numbers of women in computing. This talk presented some thoughts on the effects of software and its design on the different genders' performance in computing tasks. In particular, by concentrating on a type of end-user programming (e.g. Excel formulas), the speaker demonstrated that there were cognitive and behavioral differences that make a case for gender-sensitivity in software design. In one example, women took longer pauses while learning and tinkering with a test system (longer pauses being generally indicative of increased understanding). They also needed to gather more information on average before making decisions. Software that takes gender differences into account could ameliorate the low representation of women in computer related fields: (e.g.) better experiences as a child/novice might lead to further interest to become an expert.

Last modified 24 October 2007 at 1:19 am by nwanua