AWS update

Recently, Computer Science at CI, has made several new connections with AWS:

  • We are an approved member of the AWS Academy and we are authorized to deliver the AWS Academy Cloud Computing Architecture curriculum. I am the Central Point of Contact (CPOC), so if anyone is interested in being nominated to be an AWS Academy instructor at CI, please get in touch with me. [letter]
  • We are part of the AWS Educate initiative, and we were able to offer our COMP 529 students accounts with some credit. Note that an issue with AWS training accounts is that they close after the course is finished; to those students who are able, I would suggest to open your own (or your company’s) account so that as you learn the material you can build your own permanent infrastructure. A compromise is to build the initial infrastructure on a training account, and use “CloudFormation” to export it for re-instatement elsewhere.
  • Almost finished teaching COMP 529, “Cloud Computing,” for the first time using the AWS resources. We used the AWS Certified Solutions Architect official study guide .
  • I have been selected for the AWS Cloud Ambassador program, which offers educators recognition, professional development, and exclusive benefits for helping students learn about the cloud.
  • I have completed by own AWS certification as a Solutions Architect.

COMP 529 Cloud Computing using AWS Cloud Computing Architecture curriculum to be offered in Spring 2019

The class will be held on Thursdays 6:00-9:00 (January 24 will be the first day of instructions), in Sierra Hall 1131.

Since this is a lab-based course, there are only 24 seats.

In the Spring 2019 we will be offering Cloud Computing (COMP 529) using AWS Cloud Computing Architect curriculum

As I am working through the AWS Academy Cloud Computing Architecture – Instructor Accreditation, we are going to offer COMP 529, our Cloud Computing course in the Computer Science masters program, using the AWS curriculum. This is a service offered through the AWS Academy. The students who complete the course will be ready to take the AWS Cloud Solutions Architect certification.

The first lecture will be on Thursday January 24, 2019, in Sierra Hall 1131 (the Computer Science Networking & Security Lab).

White House announces boost to computer science education

The White House announced on Monday new initiatives to bolster computer science in K–12 education.

Citing the rapidly expanding demand for technology jobs, the Obama administration outlined new efforts by two federal agencies: The National Science Foundation plans to spend $20 million on computer science education in 2017, on top the the $25 million it spent in 2016, with an emphasis on training teachers.

And the National Science and Technology Council will create a framework to help guide federal efforts “to support the integration of computer science and computational thinking into K–12 education,” according to Monday’s release.

The two agencies’ efforts, it said, will complement the Obama administration’s wider efforts to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in education.

The White House announcement comes in conjunction with new commitments to computer science education by 250 organizations, including Bootstrap, STEMteachersNYC and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Other announcements include Google’s new computer science career prep program for college students and the University of North Texas’s partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind and the California School for the Blind.

Computer science is playing an increasingly large role in STEM — nearly two-thirds of all STEM jobs require computing skills. Despite the large need and an overwhelming desire by parents for their children to learn computer science, only about 40 percent of schools offer classes on the subject.

Source: White House announces boost to computer science education | TheHill

A short history of mathematical pedagogy; what does the future hold?

1. Teaching Maths In 1950s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1970s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1980s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit ? Yes or No

4. Teaching Maths In 1990s

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2000s

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, feel free to express your feelings e.g, anger, anxiety, inadequacy, helplessness etc.)

Should you require debriefing at conclusion of exam there are counsellors available to assist you to adjust back into the real world.

Palindromes Week – take COMP 454 in the Fall 2015 and learn everything!

A palindrome is a word or expression that reads the same forward as backward; a famous palindrome is “madam i m adam”, from James Joyce’s Ulysses. Another one is the word “racecar”. Yet another very famous one is in the title of NOVA’s “A Man, a Plan, a Canal – Panama!”. They are interested for computer scientists as they are strings with many properties (my book “An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms” has a section on algorithms for palindromes). But they are much more than games; nature uses them, and for example many DNA strands in our genetic code are palindromic.

In the Fall 2015 I will be teaching a course, COMP 454, that will be using palindromes as an example of many computational properties.

COMP 554 – Algorithms

In the Spring 2015 I will teach a graduate course in Algorithms. This course is an introduction to the art of algorithm analysis, intended for both Computer Science and Mathematics students. It will cover the main families of algorithms: Greedy, Dynamic Programming, Divide and Conquer, Online, and Randomized. The course will present all the necessary background, and it is intended to be a fun introduction to the fundamentals of this beautiful field. For more details see:

DES password challenge in COMP424

The password challenge in COMP/IT 424, the “Security” course that I am currently teaching at Channel Islands, was to find the crypt() password corresponding to the hash:


The winner of the challenge was Jesse Thomas, here is the password:


and here is Jesse’s approach in his own words:

I decided to try ocl hashcat to crack the password. Since we were told that the password would be entropic, I figured we'd have to try a brute force attack. At first I was attempting to use all 94 potential characters but after seeing that it was estimated to take around 10 years to search through them all for a password length of 8 characters, I chose to search for only passwords matching lowercase characters and digits (like the previous challenge shown in class). The attempt took 4 hours and 48 minutes to complete, using a single nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti, which ran at a speed of 19739 kH/s (hash calculations/sec). At the time the password was cracked, hashCat had checked 341256962048 of 2821109907456 (32^8) potential combinations, so the password was found relatively early in the search algorithm (about 12% exhausted).

I used this command (in Windows, where I had a stronger video card):

cudaHashcat64.ex -m 1500 -a 3 -o cracked.txt "3zLNGMUzkNwak" -1 ?l?d ?1?1?1?1?1?1?1?1

-m specifies the hash type. 1500 is for descrypt/DES.
-a 3 specifies a brute force attack
 "-1 ?l?d" specifies a custom mask with the characteristic of being lowercase and digits only
"?1?1?1?1?1?1?1?1" specifies that there will be 8 characters in the password. Tried after it failed to find anything for length <= 7


CS50 Logs Record-Breaking Enrollment Numbers

Nearly 12 percent of Harvard College is enrolled in a single course, according to data released by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar’s Office on Wednesday.The course, Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I,” attracted a record-breaking 818 undergraduates this semester, marking the largest number in the course’s 30-year history and the largest class offered at the College in the last five years, according to the Registrar’s website. Including non-College students, the enrollment number totals 875.

via CS50 Logs Record-Breaking Enrollment Numbers | News | The Harvard Crimson.