Compsci 182s, Spring 2006

Official Description of Course

The development of technical and social standards governing the Internet and Information Technology in general. The role of software as it relates to law, patents, intellectual property, and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standards. Written analysis of issues from a technical perspective with an emphasis on the role of software and on how standards relate to social and ethical issues. Prerequisite: Computer Science 100 or consent of the instructor

What this means: you can take this course without taking Computer Science 100, but the technical content might seem, well, technical. There no particular aspect of Compsci 100 that will help, it's general comfort with computer science topics. You can get such comfort without taking Compsci 100, though we hope most will have taken it. There is no programming required in this course.


* Instructor: Owen Astrachan
  • office: D241, LSRC
  • email: ola AT cs DOT duke DOT edu
  • phone: 660-6552
  • Office Hours: TBA
* Instructor: Patrick Reynolds
  • office: D325, LSRC
  • email: reynolds AT cs DOT duke DOT edu
  • phone: 660-6586
  • Office Hours: MWF 2:30-3:30, by appointment, or anytime my office door is open


These books are required. They're probably less expensive via Amazon (see below) than at the textbook store. Using the links here contributes a percentage of the purchase price to Computer Science Education at Duke.

cover Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
by Lawrence Lessig
cover No Place to Hide
by Robert O'Harrow

Reading and Writing

This course carries a Curriculum 2000 W-designation. You'll write papers, revise them based on comments, and resubmit the revisions. You'll also write (online) short commentaries based on readings for many classes.

You should prepare for each class by reading the articles/books given on the syllabus. You should be prepared to discuss what you read, ask questions about what you don't understand, and to lead discussions twice during the semester.

This courses also carries a (R)esearch designation. There is a term project that can be done in groups, which should be a 30-40 page research paper. The final project can involve programming/implementations, but it's not expected to.


Grading is done on an absolute, but adjustable scale. This means that there is no curve. Anyone earning 90% or more of the total number of points available will receive a grade in the A range (A- to A+); 80% = B, 70% = C, 60% = D. This scale may go down, but it will not go up.

To receive a grade in the A range you must exceed expectations. This means you must do everything required very well or you must do more than is required and do this well. In other words, to earn an A you must do more than merely meet expectations, you must exceed them.

In order to earn an A+ you must exceed expectations in general and do a wonderful project.

Papers 24%
H20 and other short essays 12%
Class Participation 24%
Topic/Class Leading 5%
Final Project 25%
Midterm/Take-home Essays 10%

The papers are submitted twice. You'll receive feedback on your first submission and have the opportunity to resubmit in response to the feedback. Both submissions are graded, you keep the highest grade (hopefully this is the revised grade.)

Late Policy

Papers are due on Wednesday before class, you'll submit papers online. We prefer pdf files, but will accept doc/rtf format.

Papers are graded on a 10-point scale (0-9):

Papers turned in before 2:00 pm on Friday after the due date will lose 3 points for the first submission, but can be revised/resubmitted with a 1 point penalty for the final submission.

Papers turned in after 2:00 pm on Friday will not be critiqued and will lose 3 points for the final submission.

Owen L. Astrachan
Last modified: Wed Jan 11 13:14:24 EST 2006