Special Topics in Information
Specific topics, hours and credit may vary from section to section, year to year. May be repeated for credit with change in content.
In this class students will continue research projects from INFO 217A. HCI research. The class includes weekly one-on-one meetings with each project team. Students will read literature related to their project assigned by the instructor and continue their projects. The final deliverable for the class will be a full conference or journal paper.
Biosensory computing is the multidisciplinary study and development of systems and practices that sense, represent, communicate, and interpret biological signals from the body.
Biosignals are expansive in scope, and can enable a diverse range of biosensory computing applications. They can include physiological (e.g., ECG/PPG, EDA, EEG) and kinesthetic signals (e.g., accelerometry, eye gaze, facial expressions). Many inferences can be drawn about the person from these signals, including their activities, emotional and mental states, health, and even their identities, intentions, memories, and thoughts.
While generated by the person, biosensory data have important characteristics that distinguish them from other types of user-generated data. They are intimate yet leakable, precise yet ambiguous, familiar yet unverifiable, and have limited controllability. Therefore, responsible stewardship of biosensory data must be in place before the full potential of biosensory computing can be realized.
This multidisciplinary course will explore the intellectual foundations and research advances in biosensory computing. We will survey the range of biosensing modalities and technologies, study temporal and spectral data analysis and visualization techniques, interrogate the designs of novel biosensing applications, and tackle issues of user privacy and research ethics. Students signing up for the 3-unit option will continue in the second half of the semester with a student-led research project.
This course will survey the myriad challenges facing climate mitigation and climate adaptation efforts, and explore ways in which the informatics and computing field can contribute to these efforts. Through readings, discussions, and group activities, participants of the reading group will critically engage with foundational and leading-edge perspectives on diverse topics such as systems thinking, multi-scale ecosystem monitoring, green IT and AI, decentralized climate finance, crisis and resilience informatics, and sustainability transition design.
The Future of Cybersecurity Working Group (FCWG) assembles students, researchers, and faculty from across the campus with a shared interest in security. We read and discuss the current cybersecurity scholarship and workshop projects related to cybersecurity. Our goal is to support critical inquiry into security and explore how it relates to political science, law, economics, the military, and intelligence gathering. Students are required to participate in weekly sessions, present short papers on the readings, and write response pieces.
For this course, we are going to tackle one of the world’s biggest challenges (voted on by the students). We will organize as an innovation lab tasked with developing new products and so as to better understand the principles, process, and outputs of interaction design. The goal will be to be able to apply the concepts and frameworks we cover in class to a real problem space.
Students will be responsible for developing a robust prototype over the final few weeks of the course. They will also write a reflection on the prototype development process, drawing on the theoretical concepts covered in the course. On the last day of class, students will present their work to a panel of industry experts for feedback.
This course explores current debates about government regulation of online businesses. We start by examining the unintended consequences of digital advertising models that support many large online companies. We then review debates over antitrust, mis- and dis-information, privacy, content controls (e.g. pornography), and section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The primary focus of the class is on US policy, but we will examine the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the most significant data protection legislation to date. We also look briefly at the way that these issues are being addressed elsewhere in the world and discuss the challenge of national regulation of global businesses.
Privacy counseling and compliance is a rapidly growing and increasingly important function, both within companies and throughout the legal profession. The task is becoming evermore complex as companies grapple with adherence to new legislation and regulation, as well as local and international standards and norms. This interdisciplinary course seeks to help prepare students for this changing ethical, legal, and regulatory landscape. The academic perspective will be grounded in a real world examination of compliance challenges which will be presented by leading privacy professionals including in-house legal and compliance experts.
This course gives participants hands-on software product design experience based on current industry practice. The course is project-based with an emphasis on iteration, practice, and critique from experienced industry designers. During the course, participants work iteratively on a series of design projects (both solo and in groups) through a full design process, including developing appropriate design deliverables and gathering feedback. We’ll also cover specific topics, including design and prototyping tools, working with and developing design systems, typical phases and deliverables of the design process, and designing in different contexts (e.g. startups vs. larger companies). There will also be guest lectures from industry experts.
This seminar will discuss topics of current interest in the multi-disciplinary field of ubiquitous sensing. The format will include paper discussions, invited lectures from both within and outside the class, and short written assignments. Students will also be responsible for presenting during at least one class session, either on their own research and ideas or on a selected set of papers relevant to the course topic.
This course takes a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the possibilities and limitations of ubiquitous sensing technologies for physiological and contextual data. We will survey the intellectual foundations and research advances in ubiquitous computing, biosensory computing, and affective computing, with applications ranging from brain-computer interfaces to health and wellness, social computing to cybersecurity. We will cover temporal and spectral analysis techniques for sensor data. We will examine data stewardship issues such as data ownership, privacy, and research ethics. Students signing up for the 3-unit option will continue in the second half of the semester with a student-led research project.
How do you create a concise and compelling User Experience portfolio? Applying the principles of effective storytelling to make a complex project quickly comprehensible is key. Your portfolio case studies should articulate the initial problem, synopsize the design process, explain the key decisions that moved the project forward, and highlight why the solution was appropriate. This course will include talks by several UX hiring managers who will discuss what they look for in portfolios and common mistakes to avoid.
Students should come to the course with a completed project to use as the basis for their case study; they will finish with a completed case study and repeatable process. Although this class focuses on UX, students from related fields who are expected to share examples and outcomes of past projects during the interview process (data science, product management, etc.) are welcome to join.
Will artificial intelligence technologies revolutionize warfare? Do cyberattacks represent an act of war? How do governments drive technological innovation in support of national security? What is the responsibility of the private sector when engaging in R&D with dual-use applications? To answer these questions, this course examines the intersection between politics, security, and technology both in the United States and across the globe.
The course is divided into four parts:
- Linking Politics, Security, and Technology in Theory
- Technology and War: A History
- Contemporary Debates: Today’s “Emerging” Technologies
- Tomorrow’s Technologies
Given the necessary breadth, our seminar will consider work from international relations, economics, science and technology studies, law, as well as non-academic writing in popular outlets. Topics include: offset strategies, offense-defense balance theory, grey-zone competition, conceptualizing strategic stability, escalation, the economics of industrial policy, and innovation policy. Technologies considered include: robotics, autonomous platforms (UAVs, UUVs), sensors for remote detection, machine learning, hypersonic missiles, missile defense technologies, and nuclear modernization.