Dalhousie University

Faculty of Computer Science

Services to the High School Community of Metropolitan Halifax

1. Computer Science Speakers' Bureau
2. Student Mentors
3. Community-oriented Projects
4. Other High School Outreach activities

1. Computer Science Speakers' Bureau

The Computer Science Speakers' Bureau is a service of the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University to the High School Community of Metropolitan Halifax. Professors participating in the Bureau offer to give one-hour guest lectures to high school classes upon invitation by the teachers. Here is how the Bureau works:

  1. Participating professors submit to the Bureau titles and abstracts of lectures they can offer to high school classes.
  2. The Bureau posts the abstracts to this Web site.
  3. Teachers interested in inviting a professor to their class visit this Web site and select a lecture of interest.
  4. Teachers contact the professor directly and make arrangements about the time and location of the lecture. It is possible for the professor to visit the school, or for the class to visit the University. Teachers should be aware of the constraints on professors' schedules (for example exams, conference travel, proposal or publication deadlines) and be flexible about the timing of the lecture.

Contact information and home pages of professors

Lectures available

(unless otherwise specified, talks are for grades 11-12)

Speaker Title (with link to abstract where available)
S. R. Abidi Managing knowledge in organizations
S. R. Abidi Computers in healthcare
J. Blustein Hypertext
N. Cercone Why Doesn't My Computer Understand Me?
Q. Gao Data Mining and Data Warehousing
N. Kalyaniwalla Error Correcting Codes (grades 8 and higher)
V. Keselj Natural Language Understanding
E. Milios Networked Information Spaces
E. Milios Turtle Geometry (two versions: for grades 6-7 and 11-12)
A. Rau-Chaplin Parallel Computing
D. Riordan Learning to Program by Writing Battle Games
N. Scrimger Computer graphics and image processing
A. Sedgwick How computers calculate circular functions like sine and cosine
A. Sedgwick Pythagoras and the musical octave
M. Shepherd Filtering and Personalization on the Web
T. Smedley Digital Multimedia
S. Srinivas Network Security
R. Spiteri Simulation
T. Trappenberg The Computational Brain
N. Zincir Network management

If you would like a lecture on a computer-science related topic that is not on the above list, please contact Evangelos Milios at eem AT cs.dal.ca Our professors can give introductory talks on the topics of the undergraduate courses they teach, for example computer networks, operating systems, programming languages, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence.

2. Student mentors

Students of the Faculty are available to visit your class and speak about life as a student in our Faculty. Contact the High School Liaison office at info@cs.dal.ca. The High School Liaison office is staffed by computer science students and would be pleased to respond individually to any questions your students may have about Computer Science.

3. Community-oriented projects

Students of the Faculty are available for special community-oriented projects in the context of a community-service course that is part of their program. Community-oriented projects are meant to both be a learning experience for the student and to satisfy a specific need in the community. A community-oriented project is worth about 140 hours of the student's time. If you have a need for a well-defined project for your school, such as the design of a school web site, using the Web to enhance your teaching, or training associated with these or other computer-related tasks, please contact Allan Jost at jost AT cs.dal.ca We will discuss the requirements with you, define a community-oriented project with a learning component suitable for course credit, and try to recruit a student for it.

Community service courses at other universities

Purdue University: http://epics.ecn.purdue.edu/
MIT http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/servlearn/
How to create a service learning class http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/servlearn/resources/howtocreate.html

4. Other High School Outreach activities

What is new in Computer Science?
2001 Math Odyssey, Math Teachers Association Conference 2001
Lockview High School, Fall River Friday, October 26, 2001


The Computational Brain

Thomas Trappenberg

I will outline where standard (Von Neumann) computers are good (for example crunching numbers, managing data), and which tasks are difficult for such machines (for example object recognition). I will then show an auto associative (content-addressable) memory, e.g. a Hopfield network to recognize letters in the alphabet. I will talk about the need of making computer models of the brain, how it helps us to solve engineering problems, but also how it helps us to understand how the brain works which could help us to solve mental health problems.

Learning to Program by Writing Battle Games

D. Riordan

This talk introduces programming language concepts in a workshop setting. Groups of students design strategies that control virtual robot competitors in a battle game simulation. The winning group is determined by allowing the robots to compete. Access to a laboratory of computers connected to the internet and running JDK1.3.1 or later is required. This workshop would also be of interest to teachers looking for innovative ways of teaching computer programming.

Network Security

S. Srinivas

As the Internet becomes increasingly used for business, government, military and medical applications, providing security to network applications stands out as a critical issue. This talk will examine the motivation for network security, how big the security issues are, the motives of the hacker and the types of attacks on networks. Following this, the talk will outline the security goals and design techniques. The two major design aspects of (a) How to protect your network; and (b) How to protect your data transaction will be discussed.

Data Mining and Data Warehousing

Q. Gao

The aim of data mining is to look for interesting patterns in business data, patterns that can be used to help setting business strategy or to help quickly identify business problems for solutions. A data warehouse provides a single, clean, integrated and consistent source of data to support decision making. . This talk will briefly introduce main concepts in data mining and data warehousing, including objectives, architectures, methods/techniques, and applications.

Networked Information Spaces

E. Milios

Networked Information Spaces are networks, with nodes corresponding to information entities and links between nodes corresponding to conceptual connections between nodes. Networked information spaces have existed in printed form well before the Web, the scientific literature being a well-known example. The talk will review characteristics of networked information spaces, which are not at all random networks, but exhibit astonishing regularities, such as the small-world property and the power-law distribution of number of incoming links.

Turtle Geometry

E. Milios

Computer Programming is an abstract activity that laypersons find difficult to grasp. In Turtle Graphics, popularized by the programming language LOGO, geometric shapes are not static entities, but are viewed as traces of an imaginary turtle that follows sequences of commands to move forward by a given distance or turn by a given angle. Turtle graphics helps learn programming, because it maps programming concepts into concrete visual representations The talk will introduce turtle geometry and link it to programming in a constructive way.

Filtering and Personalization on the Web

M. Shepherd

This talk is meant to inform people about the current state of filtering on the Web. It begins with a very brief introduction to information retrieval on the Web and then discusses filtering. The talk addresses both aspects of filtering, filtering to block access to inappropriate material and filtering to select information based on what we know about the user or the user's peer group. It discusses the underlying technologies and models at a general level. The talk finishes with a brief discussion of the importance of task motivation to the success of the filtering technologies.

Error Correcting Codes

N. Kalyaniwalla

The omni-presence of encoding and the need for detection of errors will be pointed out with specific examples (UPC or "bar"code, ISBN code). Then, through some puzzles and examples the ideas of error detecting and error correcting codes will be developed.
The talk is suitable for any classes from grade 8 onward - students will need to understand the binary system and a bit of mod 2 addition - both of which will be explained.

Why Doesn't My Computer Understand Me?

Dr. Nick Cercone, Dean of Computer Science, Dalhousie University

By the time you have completed reading this sentence, you will have understood its meaning. Your capacity to understand language is simply amazing. In this talk, Dr. Cercone will investigate problems that our language presents to computers and discuss some solutions to these problems.


Maintained by E. Milios