Computers and Society: Computing for Good, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Computers and Society

Computing for Good, 1st Edition

By Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk

CRC Press

305 pages | 16 Color Illus. | 71 B/W Illus.

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Since computer scientists make decisions every day that have societal context and influence, an understanding of society and computing together should be integrated into computer science education. Showing students what they can do with their computing degree, Computers and Society: Computing for Good uses concrete examples and case studies to highlight the positive work of real computing professionals and organizations from around the world.

Each chapter profiles a corporation, nonprofit organization, or entrepreneur involved in computing-centric activities that clearly benefit society or the environment, including cultural adaptation in a developing country, cutting-edge medicine and healthcare, educational innovation, endangered species work, and help for overseas voters. The coverage of computing topics spans from social networking to high-performance computing. The diversity of people and activities in these profiles gives students a broad vision of what they can accomplish after graduation.

Pedagogical Features

Encouraging students to engage actively and critically with the material, the book offers a wealth of pedagogical sections at the end of each chapter. Questions of varying difficulty ask students to apply the material to themselves or their surroundings and to think critically about the material from the perspective of a future computing professional. The text also gives instructors the option to incorporate individual projects, team projects, short projects, and semester-long projects. Other resources for instructors and students are available at

Visit the author’s blog at


One of the most challenging topics to teach in the undergraduate computing curricula is the social and ethical implications of computing. … Kaczmarczyk’s book is a great help in answering these questions. … many well-crafted, open-ended questions and projects at the end of the chapters guide student work and discussion. The case studies are carefully researched and presented at an appropriate level for students to study any time after their freshman year. … What can one do with a degree in computing? What opportunities are there to use such a degree for good? The book is unique and successful in pulling together answers to these questions. It shares the stories of people who have used their technical skills to positively affect the lives of many people, both directly and indirectly. I know of no other book like this one.

—Anthony J. Duben, Computing Reviews, May 2012

Computers and Society: Computing for Good contains in-depth case studies with extensive, thought-provoking end-of-chapter questions and is appropriate for a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate majors in areas such as Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Information Science, Information Technology, Health Information Science, Business Management, and Political Science as well as many other areas. The complex nature of the case studies allows them to be used in a stand-alone social and professional issues course, a capstone issues course, or as individual case studies that may be woven into a variety of computing or business courses.

Kaczmarczyk’s book contains a unique and fresh look at how people from a variety of disciplines use computing and how the use of computing impacts these individuals as well as society.

Kaczmarczyk’s book should be a ‘must have’ book for all college or university libraries.

—Carol L. Spradling, PhD, Associate Professor, Northwest Missouri State University

Table of Contents

Poverty Alleviation in the Remote Peruvian Andes

Systemic poverty and health problems in the villages

A software engineering project as a response to poverty

The many challenges of requirements gathering in the Andes

How was trust established and the requirements gathered?

Organizing and itemizing final requirements

Confirming the accuracy of the requirements with all stakeholders

Non-traditional specification development in the Andes

Specifications: social, cultural, technical implementation intertwined

Requirements that led to customization

Rapid results and concrete outcomes

Problems and challenges

Testimonials about the poverty alleviation project

Lives changed: reports and assessment

Future and global effects of the Andean project

Improving Patient Care with Digital Image Management

Developmental challenges for premies

Problems for patients when digital images are not effectively managed

The primary technical reason for the human problems — single vendor systems

A typical single vendor PACS system architecture

Initial analysis of CHOP’s single vendor system problem

The solution is clear if you know your computing history

What is a vendor-neutral archive?

Chris Tomlinson advocates for a vendor-neutral archive

Data input to the vendor-neutral archive

Retrieving data from the vendor-neutral archive

Data storage redundancy and a design to respond to system failure

The project timeline and challenges

Implementation: Initiation and design

Implementation: VNA implementation

Implementation: Migration and go-live

The changes as viewed by stakeholders

The current system status and plans for the future

Internet Voting for Overseas Citizens

Voting: A right guaranteed by the United States Constitution

Disenfranchisement in the United States

Outdated ideas and technologies?

Internet voting: Why not?

Security and privacy: Critical technical challenges for Internet voting

Complexity and performance: Top-down and bottom-up challenges

Political challenges

Initial efforts to aid overseas voters

Prototype Internet voting

Strategy changes: Operation BRAVO foundation and Okaloosa project

Design and architecture of Okaloosa voting project

Special technical considerations

Successful outcomes of human and technical measures

Keeping pace with Internet voting progress

Final thoughts

Social Networking and Computer Modeling Aid Sea Turtles

Limited resources and a seemingly limitless mission

The challenge of gathering data and digesting it

Computer assisted modeling supports informed decision making

Tracking turtles by satellite to learn how they behave

Getting the word out

Social networking technology changes "business as usual"

Developing effective web pages comes first

Why STC websites are successful

A blog on the scene


Who could ignore Facebook?

Twitter — A work in progress

The overall impact of social networking on the cause of sea turtle protection

What next? Challenges and new initiatives

Best Practice Recommendations in Children’s Medical Care

Data is needed for pediatric best practice recommendations

The Children’s Hospitals neonatal consortium is formed

The Child Health Care Corporation of America partners with the CHNC

The CHCA development team

Design and implementation strategy of the neonatal database

Who are the CHND users?

What is the CHND data?

There are unique challenges to collecting medical record data

The user data flow layer: The abstractor’s perspective

The application data flow layer: A level below

The transport data flow layer: Additional security

The rational for the architectural framework

Special security and privacy concerns

Beta release of the CHND

A perspective from one of the application developers

Nearing the end of phase 1 implementation of the CHND

Gearing up for phase 2: Analytics development and quality improvement initiatives

Longer range technical plans and challenges for the CHND

Moving ahead and looking back

Final thoughts from the system architect

Protecting Lives Using the Results of Earthquake Modeling

The techno-socio challenges of earthquake science

Scientific computing is at the heart of earthquake science

SCEC: A techno-socio response

Computational projects to advance earthquake understanding

Computational simulation projects and support platforms

Education and outreach efforts

Concrete results of SCEC supported research

Future challenges and plans

Concluding thoughts

When Following Your Passion Means Forming Your Own Business

Discovering the potential of the iPod in education

Mobile devices leverage learning style preferences

The first iPod touch application: 5 pumpkins

Keeping up with the latest mobile devices

Mobile devices support how people learn effectively

Thinking like a business owner strategically

Critical first business decisions

Becoming an Apple developer

First software application officially launches

More applications follow

DevelopEase: Behind the scenes at a start-up company

The challenges of introducing new software into the public schools

Concrete accomplishments for DevelopEase

Future plans for DevelopEase

Exercises and Activities appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Lisa C. Kaczmarczyk is currently an external evaluator on National Science Foundation-funded research projects. She has over 18 years of experience teaching and researching applied learning theory in computer science education. Dr. Kaczmarczyk is a member of the ACM Education Council and an associate editor of ACM Inroads. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, master’s degrees from the University of Oregon and Northeastern University, and a B.A. from Tufts University. You can access her blog at

About the Series

Chapman & Hall/CRC Textbooks in Computing

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety