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Course Listing

For a snapshot of courses being offered by Harvard School of Engineering over the next four years, visit our Muliti Year Course Planning tool.

Great Ideas in Computer Science

COMPSCI 1
2022 Spring

Henry Leitner

An introduction to the most important discoveries and intellectual paradigms in computer science, designed for students with little or no previous background. Explores problem-solving and data analysis using the Python programming language; presents an integrated view of computer systems, from switching circuits up through compilers and object-oriented design. Examines theoretical and practical limitations related to unsolvable and intractable computational problems, and the social and ethical dilemmas presented by such issues as software unreliability, algorithmic bias, and invasions of privacy.

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Elements of Data Science

COMPSCI 10
2022 Spring

Data science combines data, statistical analysis, and computation to gain insights and make useful inferences and predictions. This course will take a holistic approach to helping students understand the key factors involved, from data collection and exploratory data analysis to modeling, evaluation, and communication of results. Working on case studies and a final project in teams will provide students with hands-on experience with the data science process using state-of-the-art tools. Emphasis will be given to the strengths, trade-offs, and limitations of each method to highlight the importance of merging analytical skills with critical quantitative thinking.

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Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science

COMPSCI 20
2022 Spring

Rebecca Nesson

Widely applicable mathematical tools for computer science, including topics from logic, set theory, combinatorics, number theory, probability theory, and graph theory. Practice in reasoning formally and proving theorems.

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Introduction to Computer Science

COMPSCI 50
2021 Fall

David Malan

Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. Topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web programming. Languages include C, Python, and SQL plus HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Problem sets inspired by the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Course culminates in a final project. Designed for concentrators and non-concentrators alike, with or without prior programming experience. Two thirds of CS50 students have never taken CS before.

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Introduction to Computer Science (for SEAS concentrators unable to take in fall term)

COMPSCI 50
2022 Spring

Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently. Topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web programming. Languages include C, Python, and SQL plus HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Problem sets inspired by the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Course culminates in a final project. Designed for concentrators and non-concentrators alike, with or without prior programming experience. Two thirds of CS50 students have never taken CS before.

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Abstraction and Design in Computation

COMPSCI 51
2022 Spring

Fundamental concepts in the design of computer programs, emphasizing the crucial role of abstraction. The goal of the course is to give students insight into the difference between programming and programming well. To emphasize the differing approaches to expressing programming solutions, you will learn to program in a variety of paradigms -- including functional, imperative, and object-oriented. Important ideas from software engineering and models of computation will inform these different views of programming.

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Systems Programming and Machine Organization

COMPSCI 61
2021 Fall

Eddie Kohler

Fundamentals of computer systems programming, machine organization, and performance tuning. This course provides a solid background in systems programming and a deep understanding of low-level machine organization and design. Topics include C and assembly language programming, program optimization, memory hierarchy and caching, virtual memory and dynamic memory management, concurrency, threads, and synchronization.

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Supervised Reading and Research

COMPSCI 91R
2021 Fall

Boaz Barak, Stephen Chong, Adam Hesterberg

Supervised individual study of advanced topics in computer science. A student wishing to enroll in Computer Science 91r must be accepted by a faculty member who will supervise the course work. Additional information and a form are available via https://harvardcs.info/forms/#cs-91r-form. The form must be filled out and signed by the student and faculty supervisor. Students writing theses may enroll in this course while conducting thesis research and writing.

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Supervised Reading and Research

COMPSCI 91R
2022 Spring

Stephen Chong, Adam Hesterberg

Supervised individual study of advanced topics in computer science. A student wishing to enroll in Computer Science 91r must be accepted by a faculty member who will supervise the course work. Additional information and a form are available via https://harvardcs.info/forms/#cs-91r-form. The form must be filled out and signed by the student and faculty supervisor. Students writing theses may enroll in this course while conducting thesis research and writing.

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CS+X: Software Engineering in the Arts and Humanities

COMPSCI 100
2021 Fall

Introduction to applications of computer science (including web technologies, visualization, and database design) to domains in the arts and humanities. Emphasis on principles of software engineering and best practices, including code reviews, source control, and testing. Languages include JavaScript and SQL. Students work in teams to design and implement solutions to problems proposed by faculty from departments across campus. Offered jointly with Yale University.

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Privacy and Technology

COMPSCI 105
2021 Fall

James Waldo

What is privacy, and how is it affected by recent developments in technology? This course critically examines popular concepts of privacy and uses a rigorous analysis of technologies to understand the policy and ethical issues at play. Case studies: database anonymity, research ethics, wiretapping, surveillance, and others. Course relies on some technical material, but is open and accessible to all students, especially those with interest in economics, engineering, political science, computer science, sociology, biology, law, government, philosophy.

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Systems Development for Computational Science

COMPSCI 107
2021 Fall

Fabian Wermelinger

This is a project-based course emphasizing designing, building, testing, maintaining and modifying software for scientific computing. Students will work in groups on a number of projects, ranging from small data-transformation utilities to large-scale systems. Students will learn to use a variety of tools and languages, as well as various techniques for organizing teams. Most important, students will learn to fit tools and approaches to the problem being solved.

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Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science

COMPSCI 109A
2021 Fall

Pavlos Protopapas, Kevin A. Rader

Data Science 1 is the first half of a one-year introduction to data science. The course will focus on the analysis of messy, real life data to perform predictions using statistical and machine learning methods. Material covered will integrate the five key facets of an investigation using data: (1) data collection - data wrangling, cleaning, and sampling to get a suitable data set;  (2) data management - accessing data quickly and reliably; (3) exploratory data analysis – generating hypotheses and building intuition; (4) prediction or statistical learning; and (5) communication – summarizing results through visualization, stories, and interpretable summaries. Part one of a two part series. The curriculum for this course builds throughout the academic year. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in both the fall and spring course within the same academic year.

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Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science

COMPSCI 109B
2022 Spring

Pavlos Protopapas, Mark Glickman
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00am to 10:15am

Data Science 2 is the second half of a one-year introduction to data science. Building upon the material in Data Science 1, the course introduces advanced methods for data wrangling, data visualization, and statistical modeling and prediction. Topics include big data and database management, interactive visualizations, nonlinear statistical models, and deep learning. Part two of a two part series. The curriculum for this course builds throughout the academic year. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in both the fall and spring course within the same academic year.

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Introduction to Algorithms and their Limitations

COMPSCI 120
2021 Fall

Salil Vadhan

An introductory course in theoretical computer science, aimed at giving students the power of using mathematical abstraction and rigorous proof to understand computation. Thus equipped, students will be able to design and use algorithms that apply to a wide variety of computational problems, with confidence about their correctness and efficiency, as well as recognize when a problem may have no algorithmic solution. At the same time, they will gain an appreciation for the beautiful mathematical theory of computation that is independent of (indeed, predates) the technology on which it is implemented.

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Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science

COMPSCI 121
2021 Fall

Madhu Sudan, Adam Hesterberg

Computation occurs over a variety of substrates including silicon, neurons, DNA, the stock market, bee colonies and many others. In this course we will study the fundamental capabilities and limitations of computation, including the phenomenon of universality and the duality of code and data. Some of the questions we will touch upon include: Are there functions that cannot be computed? Are there true mathematical statements that can't be proven? Are there encryption schemes that can't be broken? Is randomness ever useful for computing? Can we use the quirks of quantum mechanics to speed up computation?

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Data Structures and Algorithms

COMPSCI 124
2022 Spring

Adam Hesterberg

Design and analysis of efficient algorithms and data structures. Algorithm design methods, graph algorithms, approximation algorithms, and randomized algorithms are covered.

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Cryptography

COMPSCI 127
2021 Fall

Boaz Barak

Cryptography is as old as human communication itself, but has undergone a revolution in the last few decades. It is now about much more than "secret writing" and includes seemingly paradoxical notions such as communicating securely without a shared secret, and computing on encrypted data. In this challenging but rewarding course we will start from the basics of private and public key cryptography and go all the way up to advanced notions such as fully homomorphic encryption and software obfuscation. This is a proof-based course that will be best appreciated by mathematically mature students.

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Economics and Computation

COMPSCI 136
2021 Fall

David Parkes

The interplay between economic thinking and computational thinking as it relates to electronic commerce, social networks, collective intelligence and networked systems. Topics covered include: game theory, peer production, reputation and recommender systems, prediction markets, crowd sourcing, network influence and dynamics, auctions and mechanisms, privacy and security, matching and allocation problems, computational social choice and behavioral game theory. Emphasis will be given to core methodologies, with students engaged in theoretical, computational and empirical exercises.

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Computing Hardware

COMPSCI 141
2022 Spring

Vijay Janapa Reddi

This course introduces fundamentals in designing and building modern information devices and systems that interface with the real world. It focuses on digital devices and systems, and it complements ENG-SCI 152, which focuses on devices and systems that use analog electronics. Topics include: combinational and sequential logic; computer architecture; machine code; and altogether the infrastructure and computational framework composing a MIPS processor. Consideration is given in design to interactions between hardware and software systems. Students will design application specific hardware for an embedded system.

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Computer Networks

COMPSCI 143
2022 Spring

H. Kung

Computer networking has enabled the emergence of mobile and cloud computing, creating two of the most significant technological breakthroughs in computing. Computer networks have become even more critical these days since remote activities have become a new norm. We expect several focuses in the coming years. First, we will witness the emergence of 5G wireless mobile networks, which have already begun to replace the current 4G networks. Second, cybersecurity and privacy will receive unprecedented attention from the industry. Third, blockchain technology, which underlies Bitcoin, creates a new trusted network infrastructure for many new distributed applications. Fourth, distance learning and virtual meetings will push the limits of current multicast and network management technologies. In this course, students will learn basic networking protocols as well as these timely topics.

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Networking at Scale

COMPSCI 145
2022 Spring

Minlan Yu

Modern networks have grown to extremely large scale (connecting millions of servers) and high speed (with Terabits per second) to meet the needs of a variety of cloud applications in business and society (e.g., social media, public health, and entertainment). In this course, we will study not only basic concepts in networking but also how these concepts get applied and extended for networking at scale. We will discuss the recent technology trends and design choices of performance, scalability, manageability, and cost faced by companies who own large-scale networks such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. This course includes lectures and system programming projects. More information can be found at https://github.com/minlanyu/cs145-site.

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Design of VLSI Circuits and Systems

COMPSCI 148
2022 Spring

Gage Hills

Presentation of concepts and techniques for the design and fabrication of VLSI systems and digital MOS integrated circuits. Topics include: basic semiconductor theory; MOS transistors and digital MOS circuits design; synchronous machines, clocking, and timing issues; high-level description and modeling of VLSI systems; synthesis and place and route design flows; and testing of VLSI circuits and systems. Various CAD tools for design, simulation, and verification are extensively used.

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Programming Languages

COMPSCI 152
2022 Spring

Nada Amin

Comprehensive introduction to the principal features and overall design of both traditional and modern programming languages, including syntax, formal semantics, abstraction mechanisms, modularity, type systems, naming, polymorphism, closures, continuations, and concurrency. Provides the intellectual tools needed to design, evaluate, choose, and use programming languages.

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Compilers

COMPSCI 153
2021 Fall

Stephen Chong

Implementation of efficient interpreters and compilers for programming languages. Associated algorithms and pragmatic issues. Emphasizes practical applications including those outside of programming languages proper. Also shows relationships to programming-language theory and design. Participants build a working compiler including lexical analysis, parsing, type checking, code generation, and register allocation. Exposure to run-time issues and optimization.

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Operating Systems

COMPSCI 161
2022 Spring

James Mickens

This course focuses on the design and implementation of modern operating systems. The course discusses threads, processes, virtual memory, schedulers, and the other fundamental primitives that an OS uses to represent active computations. An exploration of the system call interface explains how applications interact with hardware and other programs which are concurrently executing. Case studies of popular file systems reveal how an OS makes IO efficient and robust in the midst of crashes and unexpected reboots. Students also learn how virtualization allows a physical machine to partition its resources across multiple virtual machines. Class topics are reinforced through a series of intensive programming assignments which use a real operating system.

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Data Systems

COMPSCI 165
2021 Fall

Stratos Idreos

We are in the big data era and data systems sit in the critical path of everything we do. We are going through major transformations in businesses, sciences, as well as everyday life - collecting and analyzing data changes everything and data systems provide the means to store and analyze a massive amount of data. This course is a comprehensive introduction to modern data systems. The primary focus of the course is on the modern trends that are shaping the data management industry right now: column-store and hybrid systems, shared nothing architectures, cache conscious algorithms, hardware/software co-design, main-memory systems, adaptive indexing, stream processing, scientific data management, and key-value stores. We also study the history of data systems, traditional and seminal concepts and ideas such as the relational model, row-store database systems, optimization, indexing, concurrency control, recovery and SQL. In this way, we discuss both how and why data systems evolved over the years, as well as how these concepts apply today and how data systems might evolve in the future. We focus on understanding concepts and trends rather than specific techniques that will soon be outdated - as such the class relies largely on recent research material and on a semi-flipped class model with a lot of hands-on interaction in each class.

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Visualization

COMPSCI 171
2021 Fall

Hanspeter Pfister

An introduction to key design principles and techniques for visualizing data. Covers design practices, data and image models, visual perception, interaction principles, visualization tools, and applications. Introduces programming of web-based interactive visualizations.

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Computer Graphics

COMPSCI 175
2022 Spring

Steven Gortler

This course covers the fundamentals of 3D computer graphics using a modern shader-based version of OpenGL. Main topics include: geometric coordinate systems and transformations, keyframe animation and interpolation, camera simulation, triangle rasterization, material simulation, texture mapping, image sampling and color theory. The course also touches on ray tracing, geometric modeling and simulation-based animation.

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Design of Useful and Usable Interactive Systems

COMPSCI 179
2022 Spring

Krzysztof Gajos

The course covers skills and techniques necessary to design innovative interactive products that are useful, usable and that address important needs of people other than yourself. You will learn how to uncover needs that your customers cannot even articulate. You will also learn a range of design principles, effective creativity-related practices, and techniques for rapidly creating and evaluating product prototypes. You will also have several opportunities to formally communicate your design ideas to a variety of audiences. You will complete two large team-based design projects.

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Machine Learning

COMPSCI 181
2022 Spring

Finale Doshi-Velez

Introduction to machine learning, providing a probabilistic view on artificial intelligence and reasoning under uncertainty. Topics include: supervised learning, ensemble methods and boosting, neural networks, support vector machines, kernel methods, clustering and unsupervised learning, maximum likelihood, graphical models, hidden Markov models, inference methods, and computational learning theory. Students should feel comfortable with multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and complexity theory. Students will be required to produce non-trivial programs in Python.

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Artificial Intelligence

COMPSCI 182
2021 Fall

Ariel Procaccia

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting field that has had a tremendous impact on life and society. The goal of this course is to introduce the ideas and techniques underlying the design of computer systems that make intelligent decisions based on data. Topics covered in this course are broadly divided into 1) planning and search algorithms, 2) probabilistic reasoning and representations, and 3) machine learning (although, as we will see, it is impossible to separate these ideas so neatly). Within each area, the course will also present practical AI algorithms being used in the real-world, with a special focus on the recent emergence of applications in "AI for Social Good", i.e., areas of direct societal benefit. The class will include lectures connecting the models and algorithms we discuss to applications in areas such as public health, conservation, social work, education, public safety and also discuss ethical challenges faced in applications of AI in society.

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Foundations of Machine Learning

COMPSCI 183
2021 Fall

Yaron Singer

The course provides an extensive account of the fundamental ideas underlying machine learning and the basic algorithms used in practice. The course first formalizes basic concepts used to establish the theory and language of machine learning. These concepts include PAC learnability, sample complexity, and the VC dimension. The course then covers the concepts of convexity, regularization, and stability as well as important algorithmic paradigms including stochastic gradient descent, boosting, support vector machines, kernel methods, feature selection, and neural networks.

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Introduction to Computational Linguistics and Natural-language Processing

COMPSCI 187
2021 Fall

Stuart Shieber

Natural-language-processing applications are ubiquitous: Alexa can set a reminder if you ask; Google Translate can make emails readable across languages; Watson outplays world Jeopardy champions; Grover can generate fake news, and recognize it as well. How do such systems work? This course provides an introduction to the field of computational linguistics, the study of human language using the tools and techniques of computer science, with applications to a variety of natural-language-processing problems such as these. You will work with ideas from linguistics, statistical modeling, and machine learning, with emphasis on their application, limitations, and implications. The course is lab- and project-based, primarily in small teams, and culminates in the building and testing of a question-answering system.

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Autonomous Robot Systems

COMPSCI 189
2022 Spring

Radhika Nagpal

Building autonomous robotic systems requires understanding how to make robots that observe, reason, and act.  Each component uses many engineering principles: how to fuse, multiple, noisy sensors; how to balance short-term versus long-term goals; how to control one’s actions and how to coordinate with others. This year theme will be "Robots Roam the Halls", where we will focus on kinect-based robots that move in the SEAS buildings, to do applications like navigating, map building, and interacting with people. The class format will have a mixed lecture and lab format, and have a final project component.

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Computing Foundations for Computational Science

COMPSCI 205
2022 Spring

Fabian Wermelinger

Computational science has become a third partner, together with theory and experimentation, in advancing scientific knowledge and practice, and an essential tool for product and process development and manufacturing in industry. Big data science adds the ‘fourth pillar’ to scientific advancements, providing the methods and algorithms to extract knowledge or insights from data. The course is a journey into the foundations of Parallel Computing at the intersection of large-scale computational science and big data analytics. Many science communities are combining high performance computing and high-end data analysis platforms and methods in workflows that orchestrate large-scale simulations or incorporate them into the stages of large-scale analysis pipelines for data generated by simulations, experiments, or observations. This is an applications course highlighting the use of modern computing platforms in solving computational and data science problems, enabling simulation, modeling and real-time analysis of complex natural and social phenomena at unprecedented scales. The class emphasizes on making effective use of the diverse landscape of programming models, platforms, open-source tools, computing architectures and cloud services for high performance computing and high-end data analytics.

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Applied Privacy for Data Science

COMPSCI 208
2022 Spring

Salil Vadhan

The risks to privacy when making human subjects data available for research and how to protect against these risks using the formal framework of differential privacy. Methods for attacking statistical data releases, the mathematics of and software implementations of differential privacy, deployed solutions in industry and government. Assignments will include implementation and experimentation on data science tasks.

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Sketching Algorithms for Big Data

COMPSCI 226
2022 Spring

Cynthia Dwork

Big data is data so large that it does not fit in the main memory of a single machine. The need to process big data by space-efficient algorithms arises in Internet search, machine learning, network traffic monitoring, scientific computing, signal processing, and other areas. This course will cover mathematically rigorous models for developing such algorithms, as well as some provable limitations of algorithms operating in those models. Some topics covered include streaming algorithms, dimensionality reduction and sketching, randomized algorithms for numerical linear algebra, sparse recovery and the sparse Fourier transform.  The course will also cover some applications of these methods.

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Cryptography

COMPSCI 227
2021 Fall

Boaz Barak

Cryptography is as old as human communication itself, but has undergone a revolution in the last few decades. It is now about much more than "secret writing" and includes seemingly paradoxical notions such as communicating securely without a shared secret, and computing on encrypted data. In this challenging but rewarding course we will start from the basics of private and public key cryptography and go all the way up to advanced notions such as fully homomorphic encryption and software obfuscation. This is a proof-based course that will be best appreciated by mathematically mature students.

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Computational Learning Theory

COMPSCI 228
2022 Spring

Leslie Valiant

Possibilities of and limitations to performing learning by a computational process. Computationally feasible generalization and its limits. Topics include computational models of learning, polynomial time learnability, learning from examples and from queries to oracles. Applications to Boolean functions, languages and geometric functions. Darwinian evolution as learning.

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Optimized Democracy

COMPSCI 238
2022 Spring

Ariel Procaccia

The course examines the mathematical and algorithmic foundations of democracy, running the gamut from theory to applications. The goal is to provide students with a rigorous perspective on, and a technical toolbox for, the design of better democratic systems. Topics include computational social choice (identifying optimal voting rules), fair division with applications to political redistricting (avoiding gerrymandering) and apportionment (allocating seats on a representative body), sortition (randomly selecting citizens' assemblies), liquid democracy (transitively delegating votes), and weighted voting games (analyzing legislative power through cooperative game theory).

The course website can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/optdemocracy

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Computing at Scale

COMPSCI 242
2022 Spring

H. Kung

Scaling computation over parallel and distributed computing systems is a rapidly advancing area of research receiving high levels of interest from both academia and industry. The objective can be for high-­‐performance computing and energy-­‐efficient computing (“green” data center servers as well as small embedded devices). In this course, students will learn principled methods of mapping prototypical computations used in machine learning, the Internet of Things, and scientific computing onto parallel and distributed compute nodes of various forms. These techniques will lay the foundation for future computational libraries and packages for both high-­‐performance computing and energy-­‐efficient devices. To master the subject, students will need to appreciate the close interactions between computational algorithms, software abstractions, and computer organizations. After having successfully taken this course, students will acquire an integrated understanding of these issues. The class will be organized into the following modules: Big picture: use of parallel and distributed computing to achieve high performance and energy efficiency; End-­‐to-­‐end example 1: mapping nearest neighbor computation onto parallel computing units in the forms of CPU, GPU, ASIC and FPGA; Communication and I/O: latency hiding with prediction, computational intensity, lower bounds; Computer architectures and implications to computing: multi-­‐cores, CPU, GPU, clusters, accelerators, and virtualization; End-­‐to-­‐end example 2: mapping convolutional neural networks onto parallel computing units in the forms of CPU, GPU, ASIC, FPGA and clusters; Great inner loops and parallelization for feature extraction, data clustering and dimension reduction: PCA, random projection, clustering (K-­‐means, GMM-­‐EM), sparse coding (K-­‐SVD), compressive sensing, FFT, etc.; Software abstractions and programming models: MapReduce (PageRank, etc.), GraphX/Apache Spark, OpenCL and TensorFlow; Advanced topics: autotuning and neuromorphic spike-­‐based computing.  Students will learn the subject through lectures/quizzes, programming assignments, labs, research paper presentations, and a final project.  Students will have latitude in choosing a final project they are passionate about. They will formulate their projects early in the course, so there will be sufficient time for discussion and iterations with the teaching staff, as well as for system design and implementation. Industry partners will support the course by giving guest lectures and providing resources.  The course will use server clusters at Harvard as well as external resources in the cloud. In addition, labs will have access to state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art IoT devices and 3D cameras for data acquisition. Students will use open source tools and libraries and apply them to data analysis, modeling, and visualization problems.

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Advanced Computer Networks

COMPSCI 243
2021 Fall

Minlan Yu

This is a graduate-level course on computer networks. It provides a comprehensive overview of advanced topics in network protocols and networked systems. The course will cover both classic papers on computer networks and recent research results. It will examine a wide range of topics including routing, congestion control, network architectures, network management, data center networks, software-defined networking, and programmable networks, with an emphasis on core networking concepts and principles and their usage in practice. The course will include lectures, in-class presentations, paper discussions, and a research project.

More information can be found at http://minlanyu.seas.harvard.edu/teach/cs243-fall19/.

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Advanced Design of VLSI Circuits and Systems

COMPSCI 248
2022 Spring

Gage Hills

The contents and course requirements are similar to those of Computer Science 148, with the exception that students enrolled in Computer Science 248 are expected to do a substantial design project and paper discussions on advanced topics.

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Advanced Topics in Programming Languages

COMPSCI 252R
2021 Fall

Nada Amin

Seminar course exploring recent research in programming languages. Topics vary from year to year. Students typically read and present research papers, undertake a research project.
For Spring 2021, we will examine a variety of advanced topics, including dependent types, logical relations, and module systems.

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Advanced Topics in Programming Languages

COMPSCI 252R
2022 Spring

Stephen Chong

Seminar course exploring recent research in programming languages. Topics vary from year to year. Students typically read and present research papers, undertake a research project.
For Spring 2021, we will examine a variety of advanced topics, including dependent types, logical relations, and module systems.

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Projects and Close Readings in Software Systems

COMPSCI 260R
2022 Spring

Eddie Kohler

Modern software systems construction and analysis. Distributed systems; operating systems; networks; data centers; big data; emerging systems deployments. Close, careful reading of research papers and code, coupled with programming projects. Readability and programmability. Topic focus will change each offering. May be repeated for credit with instructor permission.

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Systems Security

COMPSCI 263
2021 Fall

James Mickens

This course explores practical attacks on modern computer systems, explaining how those attacks can be mitigated using careful system design and the judicious application of cryptography. The course discusses topics like buffer overflows, web security, information flow control, and anonymous communication mechanisms such as Tor. The course includes several small projects which give students hands-on experience with various offensive and defensive techniques; the final, larger project is open-ended and driven by student interests.

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Big Data Systems

COMPSCI 265
2022 Spring

Stratos Idreos

Big data is everywhere. A fundamental goal across numerous modern businesses and sciences is to be able to utilize as many machines as possible, to consume as much information as possible and as fast as possible. The big challenge is how to turn data into useful knowledge. This is a moving target as both the underlying hardware and our ability to collect data evolve. In this class, we discuss how to design data systems, data structures, and algorithms for key data-driven areas, including relational systems, distributed systems, graph systems, noSQL, newSQL, machine learning, and neural networks. We see how they all rely on the same set of very basic concepts and we learn how to synthesize efficient solutions for any problem across these areas using those basic concepts.

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Advanced Machine Learning

COMPSCI 281
2021 Fall

Advanced statistical machine learning and probabilistic data analysis. Covers discrete and continuous probabilistic modeling and computational inference. Topics include: Bayesian modeling, probabilistic graphical models, latent variables and unsupervised learning, deep learning, time series models, variational inference, and sampling. Requires a final project.

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Topics in Machine Learning: Batch Reinforcement Learning

COMPSCI 282R
2021 Fall

Finale Doshi-Velez

This course will take a deep dive into batch reinforcement learning, with a focus on healthcare applications.  Sequential decision making is at the core of many healthcare problems: a clinician observes a patient, determines a treatment, and based on the response and the patient's previous history, determines what to try next.  Reinforcement learning is a formal framework for thinking about such problems.  Batch reinforcement learning aims to extract as much as possible from previously-observed trajectories: given a large batch of previous clinician-patient interactions, what inferences can we make about good courses of action?  What inferences are not possible?

We will first review the fundamentals through lectures, readings, and coding assignments; they will also engage in a semester-long project applying and extending these ideas to problems related to healthcare (including the opportunity to work with clinical decision-making in intensive care units). 

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Advanced Computer Vision

COMPSCI 283
2021 Fall

Todd Zickler

Vision as an ill-posed inverse problem: image formation, two-dimensional signal processing; feature analysis; image segmentation; color, texture, and shading; multiple-view geometry; object and scene recognition; and applications.

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Biologically-inspired Multi-agent Systems

COMPSCI 289
2021 Fall

Radhika Nagpal

Surveys biologically-inspired approaches to designing distributed systems. Focus is on biological models, algorithms, and programming paradigms for self-organization. Topics vary year to year, and usually include: (1) swarm intelligence: social insects and animal groups, with applications to networking and robotics, (2) cellular computing: including cellular automata/amorphous computing, and applications like self-assembling robots and programmable materials, (3) evolutionary computation and its application to optimization and design.

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PhD Grad Cohort Research Seminar

COMPSCI 290
2021 Fall

David Parkes, John Girash

In lieu of typical on-campus interactions that normally occur during the first year of the PhD program, this course provides an opportunity for entering CS PhD students to engage with the Harvard CS community and to build a cohort among the entering PhD students. The class is intended for first-year students and students transferring into the Harvard CS PhD program. The class will include an introduction to the community through virtual talks and interactive Q&As with regular course guests. We plan to bring in a broad mixture of CS faculty, current PhD students, and PhD alumni. The course will also include an off-line component primarily consisting of select broad-interest CS research readings and writing assignments.

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Special Topics in Computer Science

COMPSCI 299R
2021 Fall

Supervision of experimental or theoretical research on acceptable problems in computer science and supervision of reading on topics not covered by regular courses of instruction.

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Special Topics in Computer Science

COMPSCI 299R
2022 Spring

Supervision of experimental or theoretical research on acceptable problems in computer science and supervision of reading on topics not covered by regular courses of instruction.

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