Dmitri A. Gusev
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Computing and Culture

CS 210, Section 15456 - Fall 2007

Course description

Evolution of computing from early data processing to global networking. Examination of how society has accepted and transformed role of digital technology within its cultures and institutions. Emphasis on human-computer interaction, electronic communities, and examples of their applications. Online resources will be used. 3 Cr.


Dmitri A. Gusev
Maria Sanford Hall, Room 303-009
(860) 832-2719
(860) 832-2712
Office hours

MW, 4:30-5 p.m. and 8:15-8:45 p.m.

TR, 4-5 p.m. and 8:15-8:45 p.m.
Class meetings
MW, 5:15-6:30 p.m., MS 323


  • W. Daniel Hillis, The Pattern on the Stone, ISBN 046502596X
  • John von Neumann, The Computer and the Brain, ISBN 0300084730

Course objectives

In this course, we will pay our primary attention to the interaction of computing with human material, social, intellectual and spiritual culture. Upon a successful completion of this course the students should:

  • Be familiar with the use of computers as a prime tool of solving common problems within various facets of our society;
  • Understand the dynamics of advances in computing and their implications for the material culture, popular culture, “high culture” (art, literature and classical music), science, language, religion, philosophy, history, law, medicine, ecology, human reproductive and sexual behavior, business and corporate culture, military culture, and political culture;
  • Comprehend the impact of computing and networking on the cultural phenomena, artifacts, and behavioral patterns.

Tentative schedule

Please note that this schedule may change as we progress through the course material


  • H - W. Daniel Hillis, The Pattern on the Stone, ISBN 046502596X
  • N - John von Neumann, The Computer and the Brain, ISBN 0300084730

Week 1:

Week 2:

Week 3:

Week 4:

Week 5:

Week 6:

Week 7:

Week 8:

Week 9:

Week 10:

Week 11:

Week 12:

  • 11/19 Assignment 10 due; Discussion 10: Computing in Agriculture and Meteorology
  • 11/21 No class, Thanksgiving recess

Week 13:

Week 14:

Week 15:

Week 16:

  • Final exam


The Midterm is designed as an elemental evaluation device and to prompt the student to stay abreast of assigned topics. The test will take 75 minutes.

 Questions on the test will include:

  • Multiple choice questions,
  • Problem questions.

Final exam

Final exam is a cumulative objective test of representative content of the entire semester's course offerings.


Assignments are due at the beginning of class on their respective due dates. Late assignments are accepted, at 10% penalty per work day (Saturdays and Sundays don’t count), but no later than one week after the due date. For example, if an assignment is turned in one week late, you may get up to 50% credit for it.

Honesty policy

It is expected that all students will conduct themselves in an honest manner (see the CCSU Student Handbook), and never turn in any work which is not their own. Violating this policy will result in a substantial grade penalty, and could result in expulsion from the University.


Students are responsible for attending all scheduled classes and labs. Students who are unable to attend class or meet deadlines for assignments due to religious beliefs or other valid excuses must contact the instructor ahead of time so that we might work out arrangements. No make-up exam will be given unless the student's absence is approved by the instructor BEFORE the exam is given. Unexcused absences will result in the loss of the class participation score. All students are responsible for material covered during their absence regardless of the reason.

Students with disabilities

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. I will need a copy of the accommodation letter from Student Disability Services in order to arrange your class accommodations. Contact Student Disability Services, Room 241, Copernicus Hall, if you are not already registered with them. Student Disability Services maintains the confidential documentation of your disability and assists you in coordinating reasonable accommodations with your faculty.

Grades and evaluation

The written assignments will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • 60% Comprehensiveness & Clarity
  • 40% Creativity & Originality

The final course grade will be calculated according to the following table:

Attendance and In-Class Participation (40 points)      10%
12 Assignments (20 points each) 60%
Midterm exam (60 points) 15%
Comprehensive Final exam (120 minutes, 60 points)        15%
Total (400 points) 100%

Course letter grade will be determined as follows:

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
95-100 90-94 87-89 84-86 80-83 77-79 74-76 70-73 67-69 64-66 60-63 0-59