Computer Science Student Organizations

Seniors Ross Schlaijker, Michael James, and Isabela Slaby collaborate on an Engineering Psychology project during a project night hosted by the Computer Science Exchange in March 2015.

Below is a complete list of different student organizations that aim to enhance the computer science dialogue on campus, both inside and outside of the classroom. If you are the student leader of a club that is not listed below, please contact us for an interview.


 

DATA SCIENCE CLUB

Our goal is to create a forum where Tufts students can collaborate on projects, learn new ways to play with data, and find opportunities in research and industry.

Who they are: The Data Science Club began in Fall 2014 with a Facebook group and some flyers in Halligan, and then quickly grew into a group of almost 900 members on meetup.com under the name Boston Machine Learning. After overcrowding the rooms in Halligan, they’ve decided to realign their focus with the Tufts computer science community by becoming a forum where students can connect and collaborate on projects, share resources, learn innovative ways to explore data, and find research and industry opportunities in this thriving field.

What they do: “We organize monthly workshops led by students and for students – socializing and eating included,” sophomore Gideon Wulfsohn, founder and president of the club, said. Last semester, they opened their doors to the greater Boston developer community and were in awe of how much interest they had generated. “Seeing grad students from other schools and developers from all over Boston make the trek to Medford for our workshops was a humbling experience,” Wulfsohn said. Although their workshops have now become exclusive to the Tufts community, they still aim to bring a diverse and engaging range of topics to campus. Past speakers have included Alec Radford (Head of Research at Indico Data Solutions), Imran Malek (Systems Engineer at DataXu), and Michael Els (Principal Data Scientist at MaxPoint).

Who should get involved: They welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about data science and its vast applications. From machine learning to text mining to visualizations, its intricate analysis and interpretation has proven to be the next frontier in our increasingly data-driven world. An upcoming workshop is Visualization with D3.js (date TBD). You can join their Facebook group or their Meetup to stay up-to-date as more events are announced.


COMPUTER SCIENCE EXCHANGE (CSX)

We aspire to be the main interface between the Computer Science Department, the outside world, and the CS student body.

Who they are: The Computer Science Exchange was originally founded as the “Association of Computing Machinery” chapter at Tufts many years ago as part of a national organization that is affiliated with university computer science departments. A few years ago, senior Marcella Hastings transformed this small, informal club into what it aspires to be today. According to current junior and president of the club Alex Lenail, “[CSX is] the main interface between the computer science department, the outside world, and the computer science student body.”

What they do: CSX invites speakers from both industry and academia (including native Tufts students) to talk about their areas of expertise and what inspires them in the greater field of computer science. They also have special interest groups such as the Data Science Club, Women in Computer Science, and the Enigma Journal of Data and Computing, for which they publicize and acquire institutional aid. The club has also started hosting Idea and Project Nights at Tamper Cafe on Boston Ave., where students can meet to network, brainstorm, and share their existing projects. “It’s like putting all the kids and some beer/coffee and mixing it, with wonderful spontaneous social interactions coming out of it,” Lenail said. “It’s even come back to get me – someone I knew pretty well is now helping me on a project I’ve been working on.”

Who should get involved: You can sign-up for their e-list, visit their github, or like them on Facebook to get connected with the greater computing community at Tufts.


 COMPUTER SCIENCE LEAGUE OF LEARNING (CSLOL)

Academically, we want to provide and collect a knowledge base of resources that can help graduate students be successful during their career as a graduate student here at Tufts… We have a chance to be the premier club that truly facilitates and helps kick start new interdisciplinary research projects.

Who they are: The club was founded by Michael Shah and Raoul Veroy in September 2014 to unite the graduate computer science students at Tufts scattered between 196 Boston, 200 Boston, Anderson Hall, and Halligan Hall. “Academically, we want to provide and collect a knowledge base of resources that can help graduate students be successful during their career at Tufts,” Shah said. “We hope that in the future this organization serves as a link between students and the administration so that faculty and staff know who to talk to if they need feedback, suggestions, and support within the department.”

What they do: Their primary event has been the “Programming for Non-Programmer” workshop series, which provides a method for graduate students to practice teaching lectures while simultaneously teaching other graduate students languages like Python and R for performing data analytics. “We have had fantastic attendance from other graduate student departments, which we believe no other graduate student club is currently doing at Tufts,” Shah said. “We have a chance to be the premier club that truly facilitates and helps kick-start new interdisciplinary research projects.” Last fall, they also invited a speaker from Red Hat, resulting in one of the club’s members earning an internship. Since then, many different companies have asked the club to post job listings on their website and spread the word of new opportunities to their club members.

Who should get involved: Although their club is primarily catered towards graduate students, many of their events and workshops are open to the greater Tufts community including undergraduates, faculty, and staff members. They plan to host an event discussing web design and Python programming later this semester. You can stay in tune with upcoming events via their website or Facebook.


WOMEN IN COMPUTER SCIENCE (WiCS)

We’re trying to focus on mentorship, networking, and connecting women across class years.

Who they are: Although WiCS has existed at Tufts since the 1990’s, the club’s events mostly consisted of taking seniors out to coffee. Recently the organization has been become more of a presence on campus, and is focused on connecting women across class years in a student-mentor style. The club is especially important since many computer science students are divided between the liberal arts and engineering school, and WiCS aims to bridge that divide. Current leaders of the club include junior Alice Lee, seniors Carolyn Saund and McCall Bliss.

What they do: They work towards creating a safe space for women to study STEM fields at Tufts. “I think Tufts has created a safe environment, but there isn’t enough interaction between class years,” said Lee. “Connections between new students and upperclassmen might encourage students who aren’t sure about computer science to stick with it.”

Who should join: Anyone woman who currently studies computer science or is thinking about studying it and wants to learn more is welcome to join. You can join their Facebook group to find out when their meetings and networking nights are.


GNU/LINUX USER GROUP (GLUG)

I hope that this club can help people get more than their feet wet and hopefully find some way that GNU/Linux can improve their computing experience.

Who they are: The club was founded by seniors Max Bernstein, Ross Schlaikjer, and Marcella Hastings with the mission of helping students realize the power in some of the free-and-open-source software that exists today. They believe the role of the computer and operating system is to be a transparent interface between the user and what they are creating, and Linux has proven to be an exceedingly powerful platform that has the ability to adapt to the needs of any kind of user. GLUG hopes to help students learn about these ever-expanding set of features, and ultimately help users adapt their Linux environments to cater to their specific needs. “I hope that this club can help people get more than their feet wet and hopefully find some way that GNU/Linux can improve their computing experience,” said Schlaikjer. “If you want to be able to tinker, to be a hacker in the true sense of the word, you’re going to want to know your way around these systems, how to use them to your advantage or bend them to your will.”

What they do: The organization began only this year, but they hope to spread the word before the semester ends so students will be inspired to start learning on their own over the summer. They’d also like to provide resources for people who don’t have the hardware to set it up on their own (such as a free club-run virtual private server) so that students can experiment with their own server, as well as have a public space where they can host projects, websites, and the like.

Who should join: Anyone who is interested in learning more about the seemingly endless features in GNU/Linux is welcome to join. They hope to meet either weekly or biweekly and are available via email: Maxwell.Bernstein@tufts.edu, Ross@Schlaikjer.net


DIGITAL RIGHTS CLUB

We started the club because we want to bring digital rights issues into the campus dialogue. As we move into an era where everything is digitized and connected to the net, issues of surveillance, censorship, and overall digital freedom have profound implications.

Who they are: Inspired by the desire to bring digital rights issues onto our on-campus dialogue, juniors Aahlahd Gogineni, Caleb Milchuk, and Stephen Michel, and alumnus Ian Kelly founded the club in February of this year. “As we move into an era where everything is digitized and connected to the net, issues of surveillance, censorship, and overall digital freedom have profound implications,” said Milchuk. “People need a certain degree of privacy and free association in order to organize and keep power structures in check; things like surveillance and censorship threaten that balance.”

What they do: They are planning screening the film Citizenfour at the remainder of this semester. Their plans for the Fall 2015 include hosting speakers who will speak about their experiences on the importance of digital rights in their respective fields, while also having events that will help students transition to more secure, freedom-respecting technologies. In collaboration with another newly-created organization, the GNU/Linux User Group, they hope that there can be many upcoming opportunities to learn about free software, encryption, and other relevant issues.

Who should get involved: Anyone that is interested in discussing and educating the greater Tufts community about these increasingly pressing issues in our technological world is welcome to join, regardless of year, major, or experience. Their weekly meetings occur at 9 p.m. in Eaton 209, and you can keep visit them at their website.


 

Angie Lou on email2
Angie Lou
Lead Editor & Web Developer.
Angie Lou is a junior majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics with a minor in English. She can be reached angie.lou@tufts.edu.

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