The Game of Life

Conway's Game of Life
Conway’s Game of Life


Today in our lecture on Simulations, Simulacra, and the Matrix we talked about the cellular automata developed by the mathematician John Conway.   You can play the Game of Life online, or download the cross-platform application Golly.  There are also versions available for Android and iOS. For more resources on Conway’s Game of Life, visit the ConwayLife wiki. For a more industrial-strength artificial life simulator, try the Avida-ED project at the University of Michigan.

Also, be sure to watch the video on the MASSIVE (Multiple Agent Simulation System in Virtual Environment) software used in the Lord of the Rings films.  Available on the course Canvas site.


Gillian Jacobs on Grace Hopper

Selena Larson at Readwrite has just posted an interesting interview with the actor Gillian Jacobs about the documentary on Grace Hopper that she (Jacobs) is directing.

GJ: I not only want to tell people about Grace Hopper, but remind them that she was not the only woman in her field in her era. Women have always been a part of tech and computing.

Gillian Jacobs is most known for her role as Britta Perry in the television series Community.

Update: Gillian Jacobs knows her historical literature!

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Social Informatics Film Series at IU Cinema

This fall IU Cinema, along with School of Informatics and Computing, will be hosting a film series exploring various aspects of the relationship between computers, individuals, and society.

The films include Humanexus, Desk Set, Her, and TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard.

Of particular interest to I222 students will be Desk Set, which is a wonderful romantic comedy starring Katherine Hepburn, Spenser Tracy, and EMERAC. I will be introducing the film, and extra credit will be available for everyone who attends.

You can find more details about the series at the IU Cinema website.

Learning to Read

In class on Thursday we talked about the Print Revolution in Early Modern Europe, and explored the ways in which the “print” in “print revolution” is used as a technological proxy used as a convenient short-hand for a whole series of larger, more complex social historical developments. These include the development of inexpensive inks and wood pulp-based papers, the emergence of an increasingly literate middle-class, the expansion of commercial networks and systems of production and distribution, the “social construction” of new literary genres and notions of individual authorship, and
innovations in the legal structures of intellectual property control.

The video neatly (and humorously) illustrates the point that the codex book is a technology, and that people had to learn to use. Take a few minutes and watch it. It is very funny.

Welcome to the Fall 2014 Semester!

The new semester is upon us, and our first session of I222 will meet on Tuesday, August 26 at 2:30pm in the Wendell W. Wright Education Building, room 1120 Jordan Hall, A100.

NOTE: my apologies for the last-minute relocation from the Education Building to Jordan Hall A100. This was imposed by the registrar, and they informed me only a few hours before the start of the first class.

In preparation for class, you should review the syllabus and assure yourself that you have access to the course Canvas page.  If you Tweet,  follow the Twitter feed; at the very least, bookmark this page and subscribe to the RSS feed to keep track of updates.