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McCormick Symposium Builds Connections Between Computer Science, Other Disciplines

‘Computer Science Everywhere’ will build collaborations among Northwestern faculty, students, and schools

Computer science penetrates all areas of thinking — not just science and technology, but also social sciences, humanities, media, and the arts. A new way of thinking — computational thinking — is emerging as a fundamental way of understanding and reimagining the entire world, not just the province of computer scientists.

With this changing landscape in mind, Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science is opening a dialogue and building collaborations to expand upon computational thinking at the University.

On Thursday, November 14, these efforts will begin with “Computer Science Everywhere: Exploring Collaborations Between Computer Science and Other Disciplines at Northwestern.”

The symposium will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. in the ITW classroom in the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

"Computer Science Everywhere" will introduce faculty to new ideas and challenges, opening the door to future collaborations. Four focal areas — networks, language and humanities, sounds and images, and education — will provide a framework for the November 14 event, the first of several symposia of its kind.

The agenda will be as follows:

2 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

2:10 p.m. Lightning Talks: Current Successful Partnerships

  • Jason Hartline, associate professor of computer science 

Computer Science, Econ, and Markets

  • Ken Forbus, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Computer Science

Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and the Mind

  • Bryan Pardo, associate professor of computer science

Computer Science, Music, and Audition

2:30 p.m. Panel I: Networks 

Speaker: Noshir Contractor, Jane and William White Professor of Behavioral Sciences


  • Fabian Bustamante, associate professor of computer science
  • Bill Kath, professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics and professor of neurobiology
  • Brian Uzzi, professor of management and organizations
  • Haoqi Zhang, assistant professor of computer science
  • Julio M. Ottino, moderator, dean, McCormick School of Engineering, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering and Distinguished Robert R. McCormick Institute Professor

3:30 p.m. Break

3:45 p.m. Panel II: Language and Humanities 

Speaker: Martin Mueller, professor emeritus of English and classics


  • Doug Downey, assistant professor of computer science
  • Sandy Goldberg, professor of philosophy
  • Janet Pierrehumbert, professor of linguistics
  • Barbara O'Keefe, moderator, dean, School of Communication, professor of communication studies and Annenberg University Professor

4:45 p.m. Panel III: Education

Speaker: Uri Wilensky, professor of computer science and education and social policy


  • Brenna Argall, June and Donald Brewer Junior Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Ian Horswill, associate professor of computer science
  • Peter Dinda, professor of computer science
  • Penelope Peterson, moderator, dean, School of Education and Social Policy and Eleanor R. Baldwin Professor of Education 

5:45 p.m. Closing Comments

6 p.m. Cocktail Reception