OCCS 25th anniversary pics

September 1st, 2010

There are pictures and movies from the  25th anniversary celebration available at OCCS 25th Anniversary and on the new OCCS FaceBook page.OCCS Alumni 1985 -- 2010

Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems: Can We Scale to Cloud Computing?

April 8th, 2010

Tom Bressoud, Denison University

Tom Bressoud, Denison University

Monday April 12, 2010

Computer Science will host Professor Tom Bressoud from Denison University.

The Talk will be held in King 221 at 4:30 Refreshments will be served at 4:00 in King 223.

Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems: Can we Scale to Cloud Computing?

Distributed systems is a subfield of computer science wherein an application or service is modeled as a collection of independently executing processes, cooperating toward a common goal and communicating with each other across some medium (i.e. a network or shared memory).  Fault-tolerance is an area of study that recognizes that computer hardware and software fail and, for many application domains, the failure of a component resulting in a failure of the entire system is simply unacceptable.  So the goal of fault-tolerant systems is to continue to provide correct operation despite the occurrence of component failures.

When we look at the intersection of fault tolerance and distributed systems, the problem becomes even more difficult.  The distribution of processes increases uncertainty, including basic questions such as “knowing” that a component has failed.  And as we scale our distributed systems, we, by definition, increase the number of independent components, and thus can linearly increase the arrival rate of failures.

This talk will explore these issues and look at the scalability issue of fault tolerance in cluster systems and will compare the traditional fault tolerance technique of checkpointing with some newly popular models for cluster-parallel applications — MapReduce, used by Google, and Dryad by Microsoft — each vying for dominance in the currently “hot” area of Cloud Computing.

Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum: The Power and the Peril

March 2nd, 2010

Computational Thinking Across the Curriculum: The Power and the Peril

by Robert M. Panoff
Shodor Educational Foundation

Place: Craig Lecture Hall

Time & Date: Monday evening, March 15 @ 7:30

Refreshments to follow

Sponsored by the Oberlin Modeling Initiative & Sigma Xi

ABSTRACT: Students and faculty at all education levels are clearly spending much more of their days interacting with computing and communication tools than with each other. Is this good? Are all uses of technology in education helpful, and if not, how does one separate the benefits from the burdens?  We will explore how technology enables dynamic representation in the sciences, arts, and humanities, giving us the opportunity to be more fully human as we seek new knowledge in service to society.

Moving “beyond PowerPointless-ness,” we have the opportunity to demonstrate that effective use of computing really matters. Computing “matters” because quantitative reasoning, computational thinking, and multiscale modeling are the intellectual “heart and soul” of 21st Century science and therefore are the essential skills of the 21st Century workforce.  Computing “matters” because we can apply the power of interactive computing to reach a deeper understanding and of math and science and their role in understanding the world.

We will explore a transformation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, supported by interactive computing resources, promoting a dynamic encounter with our world through guided discovery. A world-class education requires world-class resources, and all math and science teachers should be able to bring interactive modeling environments to their own teaching practice. We will explore a variety of free and low-cost sources for modeling tools from the Computational Science Education Reference Desk, a pathway project of the National Science Digital Library (http://www.nsdl.org).

Designing an Environment to Create Mobile Musical Instruments

February 17th, 2010

The Computer Science Department will host

George Essl Assistant Professor for Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Music

University of Michigan

Monday Feb. 22, 2010 4:30p.m. King 306   –     Refreshments at 4:00

Designing an Environment to Create Mobile Musical Instruments

Modeling Across The Curriculum – Tony Starfield, University of Minnesota (emeritus)

April 24th, 2009

Join us for a Reception on Wed 4/29/2009 4:00 King 223 before the Talk at 4:30 in King 221.

Modeling Across The Curriculum

Tony Starfield has earned a reputation as the best modeling instructor in the world. Starfield constantly refines group activities that one student describes as “partly fun mind-benders and partly challenging real-world conservation scenarios.” Starfield’s illustrious career has included hands-on contributions to engineering, applied mathematics, and biological modeling, and he brings those experiences to the classroom.  Tony Starfield will be the Fall Instructor for  CSCI 190 – How to Model it and CSCI 390 Seminar in Modeling for the Natural and Social Sciences

Alumni Talk: Antonio Garcia Castaneda '01

April 21st, 2009

Join us on Thursday, April 23rd to hear Antonio Garcia Castaneda (Oberlin Class of 2001) give a talk on “Everything you ever wanted to know about the games industry* … but had no one to ask.”

Antonio has worked in the video game industry for 8 years, most recently for Sony.  He is currently a graduate student at the University of London.

Reception at 4:00pm in King 223, Talk follows at 4:30pm in King 221.

Video Games and the Marketplace: "How computer, console and mobile games are being used for marketing, communication and training"

September 26th, 2008

Stephen Baer, Managing Partner TheGameAgency.com will discuss this topic and share consumer case studies. The Game Agency is an agency focused on video games and interactive entertainment. Join us on

Monday September 29, 2008 for refreshements with Mr. Baer at 4:00 in King 223. His talk will follow at 4:30 in King 221.