CPSC 190, EAST 201
Decentering Computer Science: Transpacific Computing History across U.S., East Asia, and Beyond
Escalating conflicts between China, Taiwan, and the U.S. are mediated in part by semiconductor manufacturing and their advanced uses, like artificial intelligence. Inquiries into the transpacific history of computer science (CS) can teach us that these relationships have been much more dynamic than ‘Friend or Foe,’ and have shaped CS in various ways. When cutting-edge computing capabilities are at the forefront of national interests, studying CS and U.S.-Asia relations should no longer be separate intellectual tasks, and multi-view perspectives are needed to understand both processes. This seminar discusses decentered, international history of CS. We focus on the transpacific relations between the United States and East Asian countries, including Asian diasporas in North America. The course focuses on CS research and engineering, with less emphasis on (anti-)social implications such as mis/dis-information and data privacy. The subjects of study include: China-born first-generation digital computer pioneers; digitizing Asian characters; developing transpacific networks of computers and labor; transpacific works in building CS fundamentals. The course culminates with current moods of exclusionism, trade protectionism, and ‘friendshoring’ across Asia-Pacific regions.