Have you ever imagined speaking in the language of computers, and transforming your ideas into actions that computers can perform? This course is a gateway to discovering the art and science of programming, a crucial skill that serves as the backbone of computer science. But computer science transcends mere programming. Our actual aim is to nurture your ability to think like a computer scientist.

Have you ever wondered what a computer is and how it actually works? In this course, we’ll answer the software half of this question. We will start with virtual machines and develop a high-level language, write a compiler, and an operating system. By the end, we will have developed software heirarchy that makes the hardware we developed in Systems 1 useable.

Have you ever wondered what a computer is and how it actually works? In this course, we’ll answer the hardware half of this question. Working from the ground up, we will start with basic circuits and develop elementary logic gates. Taking these gates as our building blocks, we will construct the core components of a modern computer. Our journey will culminate in using machine code to control the computer we have designed.

What is computation? This is the question that birthed Computer Science as a discipline, and serves as the focal point of this course. Our plan for answering it is twofold. First, we will introduce functional programming through Scheme (a dialect of Lisp). Second, we will use our understanding of functional programming to explore the nature of computation itself. This will involve reading parts of Alonzo Church’s revolutionary article, “An Unsolvable Problem of Elementary Number Theory.” We will see how the notion of computation emerges from his understanding of functions, and engage with the fundamental conjecture of Computer Science (the Church-Turing Thesis).

Embark on a deeper exploration of computer science, where the focus shifts from programming and foundations of computer science, to the intricacies of algorithms and their real-world applications. This course reinforces and builds upon the concepts introduced in Introduction to CS 1, and provides an introduction to algorithm design, data analysis, and the practical application of computational techniques.

This is not your typical class in computer science, or in formal logic; but you will learn a lot about both by taking it. Our subject will be one of the most important and influential papers that has ever been written—“On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” by Alan Turing. This is the paper that birthed computer science as a discipline. Understanding it requires that you be comfortable with some mathematical concepts (powers and roots) and with thinking abstractly; but the most important prerequisite for understanding this paper is determination. What is the best way to characterize Turing’s paper? Simple. It changed the world.

If you had a robot who always tied your shoes for you, would you ever have learned how to tie your shoes yourself? What about if that same agent did all your arithmetic and all your writing, and eventually shaped all your decisions? The promise of AI is fraught with ethical questions that strike at the very heart of what it means to be human and to act as a moral agent in society. It reveals a fundamental tension between what AI can do and what AI should do. In the modern world, that tension is growing.