CSCI 4964/COMM 4965 -- Web Science

Spring 2008

Prof. J. Hendler

Course Intent:

Since its inception the World Wide Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without fundamental understanding of the current, evolving and potential Web, we may be missing or delaying opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities. This course attempts to provide the foundations of that understanding, exploring the fundamentals of the World Wide Web's function including the HTTP protocol, key algorithms that make the Web function, future trends, and social issues with respect to Web use and effect.

Work Load

Class will have two programming projects and a final, larger, project (done as individuals or small groups). The final project will be in lieu of a final exam. There will also be several homework assignments, these may include "light" programming. There will be a midterm. I reserve the right to hold an inclass quiz at any point in the term, especially near the end of the term (that would be a "unit" test, not a final).


Homeworks:  up to 15%
Projects 1,2: 30%
Midterm/quizzes: 20%
Final Project: 30% 
In class intangibles: the rest.
Lateness policies and extra credit rules will be given along with the programming assignments. Homework will not be accepted late unless approved in advance. Departmental rules re: excused/health absence. General rule of thumb, I'm more lenient when asked in advance.

Course topics

The following is a list of potential course topics and projects. It should give you an idea of what will be explored, but not be taken as final.

What is the World Wide Web?
  - Introductory thoughts
	- The Roadmap of the WEb
	- What is Web Science (Berners-Lee)
  - Key algorithms and insights
	- The Web graph
		- Spiders, Crawlers and other Web denizens
		- Search algorithms and page rank
 	- Below the graph
		- Web Architecture
	- Three-Tiered Architecture
		- Web Applications
  - From Powerlaws to People
	- Social Machines
		- Web 2.0 Infrastructure
		- User Views
		- What comes next?
	- Policy and Technology
  - Future Directions
	- Semantic Web
	- Others

Guest Lectures

One theme of the term will be exploring how the Web has changed how people live their lives. We will have a number of guest lectures by faculty members talking about how the Web has changed what they do and how their field is effected.