Computers and Society : Computing for Good book cover
1st Edition

Computers and Society
Computing for Good

ISBN 9781439810880
Published December 14, 2011 by CRC Press
305 Pages 16 Color & 71 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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

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.

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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


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