Computational methods have significantly broadened and deepened the possibilities of inquiry in the Humanities. Programming skills have allowed textual scholars, in particular, to take advantage of enormous digitized corpora of historical documents, newspapers, novels, books, and social network data like Twitter feeds to pose new questions to the written word. We can now trace the changing semantics of words and phrases across millions of documents and hundreds of years, visualize centuries-old plot structures in new ways through sentiment analysis and character networks, and solve long-standing riddles of authorship attribution-among many other exciting feats. This course offers an introduction to computer science through applications in the Humanities. Students will learn to program in the Wolfram Language, aka Mathematica. The Wolfram Language is especially well suited for humanists: its rich documentation and natural language processing capabilities ensure a gentle introduction for first-time programmers, its symbolic computation structure allows us to work with texts written in any language and any alphabet, while its Notebook environment provides an interactive medium for publishing and sharing our results with peers. Mathematica also provides a great springboard for further work in computer science, physical computing, and Digital Studies more broadly.
Satisfies a minor requirement in Computer Science.
Satisfies a requirement in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement.
Not open to students with credit for CSC 121, CSC 200 (= PHY 200), or CSC 209 (= BIO 209).