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Computation, Organizations & Society Lab 17-710

Professor: Latanya Sweeney, Ph.D.,
TA: Yiheng Li,
Lecture: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-3:00pm, Wean 4615A
Office Hours:

Contact Sherice Livingston at to make an appointment with Prof. Sweeney. Contact Yiheng Li directly.
Links: Schedule, Syllabus

Course Description

The Computation, Organizations and Society (COS) Lab is a signature course of the Ph.D. program. It introduces students to methods necessary for conducting and publishing graduate research across disciplines. The course presents a transdisciplinary approach and is therefore a good primer for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. Students learn scientific research methods (naturalistic observation, survey, interviews and experimentation), which describe existing phenomena, and traditional computer science research methods, which construct new phenomena (that accomplishes a given task efficiently). Students learn a unifying approach ("Technology Dialectics") to construct technology that is provably appropriate for a given personal, societal, organizational, and/or legal context. Examples come from privacy, e-business, technology policy, rehabilitation technology, technology for the aging, and national security. Topics include formulating problem statements, modeling real-world constraints, including end-user participation, determining validity, assessing generalizability, generating guarantees, and providing provably appropriate solutions.

Contact Information

Course web site:
Email discussion:

Course Links

Handouts and books

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, we will provide course copies and working papers as the course progresses. Handouts will principally be available at the course web site.

Related links at Carnegie Mellon:

Data Privacy Lab   |    []