Computation can be performed not only by silicon chips and electricity but also by many other things, including Tinker Toys; billiard balls; water pipes; lights and mirrors; vats of chemicals; DNA; bacteria; and quantum mechanical systems. Furthermore, in some models of computation billions of events may take place simultaneously, with or without synchronization and with or without explicit programming. Some of these unconventional models of computing appear to provide advantages over current technology and may serve as the basis for more powerful computers in the future. In this course we will survey a wide range of unconventional computing concepts, we will consider their implications for the future of computing technology, and we will reconsider conventional computing concepts in this broader context. Prerequisite: At least two courses in computer science.
Brain And Cognition: Electrophysiological Methodologies
This course is an upper-level research seminar designed for students who wish to learn electrophysiological techniques and how to apply those techniques to answer research questions in the domain of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuropsychology. In this years course students will help design a study of attention, run participants, and analyze the data. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to develop an original research project from conception through piloting participants. Course requirements will consist of reading primary research articles and designing and executing an event-related potential (ERP) research project. The class will cover all elements of setting up an ERP research project; we will focus on the theory of electrophysiological research techniques as well as practical aspects of developing and running a research project. Some background in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, neuropsychology, or neuroscience would be helpful.
Truth And Meaning
This course provides an introduction to the theory of meaning for advanced students. We will explore topics such as ambiguity, intensionality, the nature of meaning and truth, and the relationship between psychology and meaning. We will work through An Introduction to Montague Semantics by Dowty, Wall, and Peters, and finish up by reading Montague's classic essay "The Proper Treatment of Quantification in Ordinary English." The course requires weekly problem sets and abundant class participation. Enrollment is by instructor permission on the basis of a prerequisite of a course in philosophy, logic, or linguistics.
Advanced Field Methods In Animal Behavior
This course involves hands-on study of animal behavior (and cognition) in the field. Taking advantage of varied habitats in the vicinity of the college--our own woodlands, the Holyoke range, the Quabbin reservoir, the Berkshire hills, and elsewhere--we will learn techniques for observing, recording, describing, and analyzing the behavior of some local (primarily mammalian) species, including coyotes, deer, moose, black bear, and fishers. Students will collect and analyze data and submit a final written report on one species of their choosing, and should be prepared to spend a lot of time outdoors. Prerequisite: Animal Behavior Theory or equivalent.
Special Topics In Childhood Youth And Learning: An Integrated Division III Seminar
This Division III seminar is recommended for all advanced students in the Childhood, Youth, and Learning program. Each week, in order to understand each others work across disciplinary divides, we will examine a current issue in the literature by way of an article selected by a student in the class. Students will be expected to write a brief reaction paper each week, to engage in discussions during the single weekly meeting, and to produce an extended written discussion of one of the issues examined (preferably writing an argument that will be a piece of your Div III and incorporating one?s own selected article). In addition, we will support each other through the Division III process by examining methodologies, presenting works in progress, doing peer editing, and sharing strategies for completing large independent projects. This course can be used as an advanced learning activity for Division III CYL students.
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