[SIGCIS-Members] Seeking book recommendations for teaching

Hansen Hsu hansnhsu at gmail.com
Thu Oct 28 13:38:31 PDT 2021


Hi Shreeharsh,

I’m honored you’ve included my AI blog post in your syllabus!

Best,
Hansen

> On Oct 27, 2021, at 11:10 AM, Shreeharsh Kelkar <shreeharsh at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Hi Troy, 
> 
> I've been teaching a course called "The Social Life of Computing" for about four years now and there are three textbooks that I've found really useful: 
> 
> William Aspray et al.'s classic "Computer: The History of the Information Machine" is still my go-to source. I often assign parts of it for students to read but it helps me bring in contextual information in the lectures. Thomas Haigh was kind enough to let me read a preprint of his new book with Paul Ceruzzi and while I didn't assign any of it to students, it helped me a lot as background reading. Finally, I also highly recommend Thomas Misa's Leonardo to the Internet which has only one chapter on computing proper but again, it was invaluable to me as a resource. Again, I didn't assign much to the students from the latter two but I could see myself doing that in future iterations. 
> 
> For readings, I tend to rely on magazine articles a lot more than academic texts. In that respect, I've often relied on articles from IEEE Spectrum and CHM. (I ask students to read additional texts for their papers and these are often academic articles). 
> 
> You can see some of this in my latest syllabus <https://shreeharshkelkar.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Syllabus-ISF100J-Spring2021.pdf> for the course, if it helps. It lists both academic articles (often grouped under the  "Of further interest" heading) and the more journalistic ones. 
> 
> Last, but not the least, I made the course asynchronous last spring and therefore had a chance to reinvent my lectures as a podcast. (My inspirations were two history podcasts that I particularly love: Mike Duncan's Revolutions <https://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/revolutions_podcast/>, a podcast on political revolutions, and Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This <http://www.youmustrememberthispodcast.com/>, a podcast on Hollywood history.) I put up my lectures on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-118533348/sets/the-social-life-of-computing <https://soundcloud.com/user-118533348/sets/the-social-life-of-computing>. They are meant to be used, so if you find them useful, please use them and let me know!
> 
> Hope some of this is useful. If you can share your syllabus when you have it, that would be wonderful. And of course, it goes without saying that this course is heavily indebted to the conversations I've been able to listen to here on SIGCIS. 
> 
> Best, 
> Shreeharsh
> _______________
> Shreeharsh Kelkar
> http://www.shreeharshkelkar.net <http://www.shreeharshkelkar.net/>
> 
> On Sat, Oct 23, 2021 at 1:20 PM <members-request at lists.sigcis.org <mailto:members-request at lists.sigcis.org>> wrote:
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> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1.  Seeking book recommendations for teaching (Troy Astarte)
>    2. Re:   Book on Kl?ra D?n von Neumann (thomas.haigh at gmail.com <mailto:thomas.haigh at gmail.com>)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2021 20:27:06 +0000
> From: Troy Astarte <t.k.astarte at swansea.ac.uk <mailto:t.k.astarte at swansea.ac.uk>>
> To: members <members at sigcis.org <mailto:members at sigcis.org>>
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Seeking book recommendations for teaching
> Message-ID: <B5BCCE1C-6C7E-48C3-9EE1-ADB92771E621 at swansea.ac.uk <mailto:B5BCCE1C-6C7E-48C3-9EE1-ADB92771E621 at swansea.ac.uk>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> 
> Dear SIG:CIS,
> 
> I have recently started a teaching role and have the opportunity to develop taught content from scratch. I want to include a significant influence from history of computing, history of technology, and STS?topics, approaches, methods. I?m looking for recommendations of books and other works to help in this: either for inclusion on reading lists, or to help me prepare more effective material. For example, I would be very grateful for a comprehensive and accessible book on the history of a particular technology, or a monograph on diversifying curricula. No suggestions are too obvious. Even if I already know them, others on-list may not.
> 
> Thanks in advance!
> 
> Best,
> 
> Dr. Troy Kaighin Astarte (they/them)
> 
> Lecturer, Computer Science
> Swansea University
> 
> For students: my office hours are Wednesday 1500?1700 and you can enter my personal Zoom room during that time.
> 
> 
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> ------------------------------
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> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2021 11:13:04 -0500
> From: <thomas.haigh at gmail.com <mailto:thomas.haigh at gmail.com>>
> To: "'Crystal Bennes'" <crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk <mailto:crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk>>,
>         <members at lists.sigcis.org <mailto:members at lists.sigcis.org>>
> Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members]  Book on Kl?ra D?n von Neumann
> Message-ID: <025601d7c828$dc83c830$958b5890$@gmail.com <http://gmail.com/>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> 
> Hello Crystal and SIGCIS,
> 
> 
> 
> Crystal: good luck with the book. Klara von Neumann is, like Adele Goldstine, someone who has been arbitrarily excluded from the increasingly celebrated category of ?Women of ENIAC? and I am very glad to see her getting more attention. 
> 
> 
> 
> She is the central character in chapters 8 and 9 of _ENIAC in Action_ which I wrote with Mark Priestly and Crispin Rope. There?s a summary of her contributions in a recent Twitter thread from Ananyo Bhattacharya whose new book on John von Neumann _The Man from the Future_ is published in Europe but not yet in the US. https://twitter.com/Ananyo/status/1447861621951504384 <https://twitter.com/Ananyo/status/1447861621951504384> I have not read the whole book yet, but it has picked up some very positive reviews and I can confirm that his chapter on computing is well written and solidly researched.
> 
> 
> 
> General PSA in the interests of historical accuracy: Klara vN did some very important work on early computer programming, including coding what in ENIAC in Action we argue was the first ?modern code? ever executed on any computer. She worked intensively with Los Alamos on nuclear Monte Carlo simulations from 1947 to 1950, and later codes run on the MANIAC computer at Los Alamos were based around her earlier ENIAC code. A copy of our ENIAC Monte Carlo poster hangs, I?ve been told, on the wall of the lunch break room of the current Los Alamos Monte Carlo group. (https://eniacinaction.com/the-book/eniac-monte-carlo-poster/ <https://eniacinaction.com/the-book/eniac-monte-carlo-poster/>)
> 
> 
> 
> However, I?ve seen two widely repeated errors about her contributions, which I?d hate to see incorporated in Crystal?s book or in the work of other members of the SIGCIS community.
> 
> 
> 
> 1.      The ENAIC Monte Carlo simulations run in 1948 (and further ?runs? in 1949) were not for the hydrogen bomb. They were for fission weapon designs. The mistaken claim that the 1948 calculations were for the ?H-bomb? was, for example, repeated recently, by Alvy Ray Smith in the book that Brian Randell mentioned last week (p. 116). However, she was a core member of a group that returned to ENIAC in 1950 to run the Monte Carlo simulations that confirmed the non-viability of Teller?s proposed ?Super? hydrogen bomb (ENIAC in Action, pages 203-204) That discovery led the actual H-Bomb in a slightly indirect fashion, by inspiring Ulam and Teller to produce an entirely different design.
> 2.      Contrary to claims made here (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/meet-computer-scientist-you-should-thank-your-phone-weather-app-180963716/ <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/meet-computer-scientist-you-should-thank-your-phone-weather-app-180963716/>) in 2017 and now written, for example, into Wikipedia, Klara vN was not a key figure responsible for numerical weather prediction. (We describe the 1950 simulations in question on pages 214-220 of ENIAC in Action). She is credited in the footnote of a paper reporting the results of the simulation with tutoring the team responsible on ENIAC coding and desk-checking their code, and I have seen no evidence that her role in the calculations went beyond that. In particular she did not write the code in question, she did not travel with the group to Aberdeen for the calculations, and she did not work hands-on with the punch cards holding the data for the project. She did do all those things during several expeditions to Aberdeen, MD for the nuclear Monte Carlos, but not for the weather calculations. I know it is tempting to conclude that 
>  a woman thanked in a footnote for helping with something probably did most of the work for the entire project, but in this case that was not the case.
> 
> 
> 
> Bonus correction to another common ENIAC error, made by both Smith and the Smithsonian Magazine piece. Even after its 1948 reconfiguration to a new method of programming inspired by the ?First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC,? ENIAC programs were not read from punched cards or loaded into writable electronic memory before execution. The programs were set by turning decimal switches on a large panel, which was functionally equivalent to later programmable ROM chip technology. (There was a card controlled mode, but it couldn?t branch and was used only for running diagnostics without disturbing the main code). Also, while I am here: all of you, please never anything ENIAC related binary. Not a trace of binary anywhere in the machine. 
> 
> 
> 
> Best wishes,
> 
> 
> 
> Tom
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org <mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org>> On Behalf Of Crystal Bennes
> Sent: Friday, October 22, 2021 10:46 AM
> To: members at lists.sigcis.org <mailto:members at lists.sigcis.org>
> Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] Book on Kl?ra D?n von Neumann
> 
> 
> 
> Hello SIGCIS,
> 
> 
> 
> Some of you may have come across this already via Twitter,  but I wanted to share my upcoming photobook project,  <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb>> Klara and the Bomb, in the event that it might be of interest to some. Through the lens of the life and work of Klara von Neumann, the book charts connecting threads between the invention of modern computers, the history of nuclear weapons development in the United States, women programmers,  military photography and nuclear colonialism. The book combines archival research and historical images with my own fieldwork photographs, texts and interviews.
> 
> 
> 
> The book will be published in May 2022, and I am currently fundraising remaining printing costs through book pre-sales. The book is ?35 (including UK postage, postage outside the UK is extra) and is available for pre-order here:
> 
> https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb> 
> 
> 
> 
> There are only 11 days remaining in the pre-order campaign, and I would be very grateful for any support from the SIGCIS community.
> 
> 
> 
> Very best wishes,
> 
> Crystal
> 
> 
> 
> --------------
> 
> Crystal Bennes
> 
> Artist & Writer 
> 
> 
> 
> Cultural Negotiation of Science
> 
> Northumbria University
> 
> Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
> 
> 
> 
> +44(0)7480478205
> 
> crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk <mailto:crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk> <mailto:crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk <mailto:crystal.bennes at northumbria.ac.uk>> 
> 
> website <https://crystalbennes.com/ <https://crystalbennes.com/>> 
> 
> twitter <https://twitter.com/home <https://twitter.com/home>> 
> 
> instagram <https://www.instagram.com/crystalbennes/ <https://www.instagram.com/crystalbennes/>> 
> 
> 
> 
> Pre-order my forthcoming photobook, Klara and the Bomb <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/632375787/klara-and-the-bomb>> 
> 
> 
> 
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