Computer Science MOOC Round Up August
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 31 July 2013

As you might imagine, there are fewer Computer Science MOOCs starting in August as it is high summer for many students. However, there are some relevant restarts and an agile alpha.

If you enjoy thinking about paradoxes and issues like the axiom of choice (see this week's xkcd cartoon and our programmer's guide to it, there's still time to join Coursera's new Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy which started on July 29 and sets out to show that:

one can analyze philosophical concepts much more clearly in mathematical terms, one can derive philosophical conclusions from philosophical assumptions by mathematical proof, and one can build mathematical models in which we can study philosophical problems

It's an eight week class presented by Hannes Leitgeb and Stephan Hartmann of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t, M√ľnchen and with 2-3 hours per week doesn't have any homework, just a final quiz-format exam. It may not be main stream computer science but it would probably provide a lot of background including quantum logic. 

The following Coursera computer science courses are all re-runs:


and there are also three 10-week courses relating to information security, all re-starting on August 28th:



If you are interested in quantum computing then the edX course, CS-191x: Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation is being presented again starting August 11. It taught by Umesh Vazirani who is the Strauch Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and is the director of the Berkeley Quantum Information and Computation Center. While the course is intended to make cutting-edge material broadly accessible to undergraduate students, including computer science majors who do not have any prior exposure to quantum mechanics, you do need a:

strong background in basic linear algebra, including vectors, matrices, complex numbers, inner products, eigenvalues and eigenvectors

and if you want to achieve a certificate of mastery, i.e. doing all the homeworks and its two exams then you need to be prepared to devote at least 6 hours per week. To understand the ideas of the direct product space and how to extend operators to the direct product space and so on you really to need to be happy with linear algebra. 


Having done this course there is a lot to be said for spreading it over more than one session. However, at present only a few MOOCs indicate more than one start date so this is a risky strategy in case the course never runs again. 
If you do the course, at the end of it, you will understand quantum computation and it might not see quite the wonder solution it is often represented as. 

The other edX start in August is the alpha version of a course that teaches SaaS+Agile skills. CS 169.2x: Software as a Service, which starts on August 13th is the second half of a course from University of California, taught by Armando Fox, David Patterson and Sam Joseph, in which  students create more sophisticated apps by adding relationships between models in apps and by enhancing their apps with JavaScript. It is the follow on to CS 169.1x, which is a prerequisite. The description notes that although versions of this course have been taught at UC Berkeley, it has evolved significantly between offerings, and this online version is essentially a new "alpha" version and a more polished version will offered at a later date.


More Information



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 July 2013 )