Cluster 6: Computer Networking and Robotics

Computer Networking 

Prerequisite: There are no course prerequisites for this cluster.

Instructor: Tracy Larrabee, PhD

The focus of this course is to introduce the evolution, technological basis, and services of the Internet, with descriptions of its underlying communications structure and discussions of its effect on society. Topics will include Local Area Networks (both wired and wireless), routing procedures, Internet Security, and Internet Law.

Students will have an opportunity to use online tools to analyze theoretical concepts and to experiment with internet fundamentals.

Introductory Embedded Systems and Robotics

Instructor: Max Lichtenstein, PhD Student

Embedded systems and Robotics share the same basic microcontroller hardware used to sense the environment and react to it in some intelligent, pre-programmed way. This introductory class will explore basic programming skills in C on an embedded microcontroller (MicroChip PIC32), delve into some of the sensing capabilities (such as digital I/O lines, simple OpAmps, and Analog to Digital conversion [ADC]). Simple motor control using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) will be explored. State Machine programming will be used to develop behavioral programming and debugging. All topics will be brought together in a lab using a simple two wheeled robot to apply these techniques to create a reactive, functional robot.

Transferable Skills: Tools for Success

It may or may not surprise you that being a university researcher requires a whole host of skills outside of the specific scientific knowledge required of your chosen discipline or specialty. It requires communication skills such as the ability to present your work in writing and orally. It requires competencies in the realm of information technology including the ability to find and judge (the validity of) information and use a variety of hardware and software tools (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, statistics software, other data manipulation tools). It requires all of those skills to effectively conduct research such as data collection, analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and problem solving as well as the ability to conduct laboratory and/or field work. And, of course, a baseline competency in English, science, mathematics and computers is critical. 

The governing mission of the UCSC COSMOS Transferable Skills course is to promote students’ future academic (and professional) success through the exploration and development of transferable skills: i.e. those competencies that students develop while in school which facilitate academic achievement, the eventual transition into the work-force and which are applicable in many other life situations.