Computer Science: The Canon

Meets Wednesday, 5:00-7:30 p.m. in MUEN D430

CSCI 4830-004 (#85071), CSCI 7000-004 (#85070)

Mike Eisenberg

Office: ECOT 736
Office Hours: M 1:00-2:30 p.m. or by appointment

Web goddess: Ann Eisenberg, email:

Course Description

This will be a "great works" lecture-and-discussion course, focusing on readings that constitute the historical core of computer science. Authors will include Turing, Von Neumann, Godel, Lovelace, Babbage, Boole, Leibniz, and Shannon; we will also look at more recent works by Karp, Wiener, Brooks, Papert, and Feynman, among others. These readings will be wide-ranging, and a high level of academic curiosity and mathematical fearlessness will be assumed. Students will also have the chance to suggest their own candidates for "classic" status. You should think of this course as an opportunity to encounter, think about, and discuss the ideas that have collectively formed the tradition in which you are working.

For CSCI 7000: Graduate standing
For CSCI 4830: Permission of instructor

Assignments and Grading

Midterm paper (due Oct. 15)
Final paper (due Dec. 11)

Grading will be based upon these assignments and active participation in class discussions and presentations. The midterm paper will be worth 30% of the final grade; the final paper will be worth 35% of the final grade; and class participation will be worth 35%. No incomplete grades will be given.


The missing page of the Babbage reading has been added to the Readings area!

Readings: password required