Bits: The Computer Science of Digital Information Open Learning Course

This set of free computer science video course lectures is available as part of Harvard Extension School's Opening Learning Initiative.

This course focuses on information as quantity, resource, and property. We study the application of quantitative methods to understanding how information technologies inform issues of public policy, regulation, and law. How are music, images, and telephone conversations represented digitally, and how are they moved reliably from place to place through wires, glass fibers, and the air? Who owns information, who owns software, what forms of regulation and law restrict the communication and use of information, and does it matter? How can personal privacy be protected at the same time that society benefits from communicated or shared information?

Harvard Faculty

Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University. Lewis has written numerous articles on computer science and the author of six books, including Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future? and Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, which he co-wrote with Hal Abelson and Ken Ledeen. He has taught for more than 30 years, has served as Dean of Harvard College from 1995 to 2003.

Course Videos

The recorded lectures are from a Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course, which was offered as an online course at the Extension School.

For links to the videos, visit the video course page

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