Front Page

Digital and Computational Studies

Professors Corrie (Art and Visual Culture) and Schlax (Chemistry and Biochemistry); Associate Professors Castro (Neuroscience), Engel (Politics), Imber (Classical and Medieval Studies), Jadud (Digital and Computational Studies, chair), and Tefft (Economics); Assistant Professor Boateng (Mathematics)

Data and computers are transforming virtually every facet of our professional and personal lives. Increasingly, they are the dominant media for how we generate, apply, and share knowledge. The digital and computational studies program endeavors to prepare students for lives of work and study that require proficiency in using constructed electronic platforms, software, and large, complex datasets. The program is also deliberately problem-oriented and reflective. Instructors in the program assume that by paying attention to the values and motivations underlying the development and use of computers and the consequences of computers and computation for society students are more likely to understand what goes on beyond the user interface.

The faculty established a new interdisciplinary program in digital and computational studies in 2015-16. The program's goals are to advance learning and scholarship across multiple disciplines informed by concepts, methods, and tools of computer science and digital studies. Specifically the program aims to interrogate the values and assumptions of a digitized world; increase understanding of the power and limitations of computers in solving problems; advance understanding of the theory and logic of computation; promote proficiency in the assessment, analysis, and visualization of data; build competency in the analysis of complex relationships among data sources; promote creative and competent use of algorithms in problem solving; and foster connections across disciplines.

Currently, the Committee on Digital and Computational Studies is developing the curriculum with new courses added during this and future academic years. As extant courses are cross-listed in digital and computational studies (DS) and new courses are developed in the program (DCS), they will be listed below.


DCS 102. The Design of Digital and Computational Systems.

A first exploration of the design of computational systems. Like art, music, and literature as well as physical and social systems, computational systems have an underlying structure and beauty. This course introduces those structures and encourages the exploration of how we can manipulate them to create dynamic and engaging systems that represent both the world around us as well as universes imagined. The course lays foundations for computer programming, explores questions regarding gender and race in digital communities, and creatively investigates digital and computational ideas throughout the liberal arts. Enrollment limited to 18. Normally offered every year. M. Jadud.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DCS 202. Nature of Data, Data of Nature.

This first course in data structures and data analytics is built around the collection of data from the world around us, and the analysis and visualization of those data through computational methods. Students explore the structure of data, which enables them to write increasingly complex programs. Theystudy the analysis and presentation of data because the collection and presentation of information is a critical part of all courses of study in the liberal arts. Finally, they practice and discuss how to actively engage in both of these activites in community and collaboration with others. New course beginning Winter 2018. Enrollment limited to 24. [Q] Normally offered every year. M. Jadud.

INDC 352. Preserving the Vibration: Digitizing the Legacy of Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.

This course introduces public and digital humanities through the life and work of noted journalist, food anthropologist, and public broadcaster Vertamae Grosvenor. Public humanities is concerned with expanding academic discourse beyond academia and facilitating conversations on topics of humanistic inquiry with the community at large. Digital studies provide a plethora of unconventional ways to engage community in public dialogues for the greater good. Drawing from books, operas, NPR audio segments, interviews, cookbooks, and other artifacts of Grosvenor, students create and curate a digital archive. Themes include Gullah culture, African American migration, foodways, memoir, public memory, and monuments. Leading theories and methods of black feminism, material culture, race, food studies, new media and digital humanities are foregrounded. Cross-listed in African American studies, American cultural studies, digital and computational studies, and gender and sexuality studies. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: AA/AC 119; AA/HI 243; AAS 100; ACS 100; AC/AV 340; AC/EN 395B; AV/GS 287; GSS 100; INDS 250 or 267; REL 255 or 270. Enrollment limited to 15. M. Beasley.
Interdisciplinary Programs

DCS 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Open to first-year students. Normally offered every semester. Staff.

DC/EC 368. Big Data and Economics.

Economics is at the forefront of developing statistical methods for analyzing data collected from uncontrolled sources. Since econometrics addresses challenges in estimation such as sample selection bias and treatment effects identification, the discipline is well-suited for the analysis of large and unsystematically collected datasets. This course introduces statistical (machine) learning methods, which have been developed for analyzing such datasets but which have only recently been implemented in economic research. The course also explores how econometrics and statistical learning methods cross-fertilize and can be used to advance knowledge in the numerous domains where large volumes of data are rapidly accumulating. Prerequisite(s): ECON 255. Enrollment limited to 19. Normally offered every year. N. Tefft.

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

DCS s20. Introduction to Computer Programming.

This course introduces students to some of the foundational concepts of computer science. Students analyze problems and implement solutions using languages such as C, Java, Python, PHP or Javascript. Irrespective of the particular programming language used, the goal is to ensure that each student acquires the basic concepts to be prepared to learn any programming language on their own in the future. No prior programming experience is required. Not open to students who have received credit for EXDS s20. Enrollment limited to 19. P. Jayawant.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

DC/MA s45T. Mathematical Image Processing.

Digital image processing is a field essential to many disciplines, including medicine, astronomy, astrophysics, photography, and graphics. It is also an active area of mathematical research with ideas stemming from numerical linear algebra, Fourier analysis, partial differential equations and statistics. This course introduces mathematical methods in digital image processing, including basic image processing tools and techniques with an emphasis on their mathematical foundations. Students implement the theory using MATLAB. Topics may include image compression, image enhancement, edge detection, and image filtering. Students conceive and complete projects—either theoretical or practical—on an aspect of digital image processing. Prerequisite(s): MATH 205. Enrollment limited to 29. K. Ott.

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations