Due: Monday 12 March 2006
This assignment is an individual assignment.
This assignment has several goals:
Pick one of the following scenarios and discuss the ethical problems that it raises (as we did with the scenario in class):
Scenario A: Clara is a senior CS student. Because she does not have many classes left to take, she starts a consulting job. During the day, she takes classes and works on her assignments. In the evening, she goes to the basement laboratory and uses the university computers to develop software systems to fulfill her contracts. She does not use much CPU/memory/network bw resources when working on her projects.
Scenario B: Gregory works for a company that builds software systems to control aiplanes. Gregory leads a team of 20 developers. He likes to make sure all the software they produce is tested in depth. An important customer of his company, however, needs to get a new version of the product quickly. Gregory's manager puts a lot of pressure on Gregory to speed-up the tests and release the system to the client by an unrealistically close deadline. If Gregory complies, they risk shiping the product with important bugs still in it. If Gregory refuses, his company will lose the client and will go bankrupt; all employees will lose their jobs.
Scenario C: Mary is a teacher in a very poor school in a developing country. She would like to give her students the opportunity to learn about computers. She did manage to get a few old computers and set up a small network in the school. However, she has no money for buying any software for the computers and decides to use pirated software instead of purchasing legal licenses.
Scenario D: Paul, a university professor, developed a great new tool for unit testing code. His tool makes it easy to develop large numbers of tests very quickly. To test the quality of his new tool, he decides to experiment with it in his 303 class. In one of the assignments, the professor asks half the students to use his tool and half the students not to use his tool. The professor measures how quickly different students complete the assignment (with or without the tool) and also how well they understand the principles of unit testing after the assignment. He is happy to note that the students who used the tool understood the material better and finished the assignment faster. He publishes his results in a prestigious journal.
Scenario E: A college student, Lucy, is visiting her parents during Thanksgiving. It is important for Lucy to access the Internet regularly to complete the assignment she is doing with her partner. Her parents, however, do not have any Internet connection. Luckily, the neighbors do have a wireless network that is not protected. Lucy is able to use that wireless network without the neighbor's knowledge. She uses it to complete the assignment and communicate with her partner.
Scenario F: The neighbor from the previous example notices that Lucy is using his wireless network. Instead of making any trouble, he decides to look at the traffic that goes through his access point. He starts reading Lucy's emails without her knowledge.
Scenario G: A university professor decides to include advertisements on his class websites. He makes good money off these advertisements and uses that money to buy new computers for the undergraduate laboratory.
Scenario H: If you think of another scenario that raises interesting ethical issues, feel free to discuss that scenaro in your essay. You can also chose to discuss a variant of any of the scenarios above.
At the beginning of your essay, please clearly indicate which scenario you are discussing.
The hardware and software systems that we build can have significant impact on other people and on society. Pick one of the computer engineering solutions below and discuss its impact on people and society. Make sure to discuss both the positive and negative impacts:
Pick a contemporary issue related to computing (e.g., electronic voting, identity theft, social websites such as MySpace, etc.). Discuss the reason why the topic that you selected is a current issue. Make sure to present two different positions on the topic that you raise. For example, if you pick electronic voting, discuss why some people are for electronic voting and why some people are against it. We are trying to encourage you to think deeply about the problem that you pick.
Each essay should be between 0.6 and 1 typed page long.
Single-space, 10pt font, 1'' margins (approximately... we won't actually measure them).
Please write your name and the topic on the top of the page.
Hopefully, everyone will get a good grade on this assignment.
The following criteria will be used when grading each one of your essays:
References supporting your arguments will be considered a plus. Any format for the citations and references is acceptable.
Do not plagiarize. If you want to quote an article or piece of news, make the quote clear by surrounding the text with quotation marks, and add a reference to the article.
Please submit each essay as a separate pdf file or word document.