Duke Computer Science Colloquium

Introduction to Hash Table and Undergraduate Research for Promoting Diversity in Computing

October 30, -
Speaker(s): Tahiya Chowdhury


Lunch will be served at 11:45 AM.


In this talk, I will demonstrate how I would teach the topic of hash tables to students. The module is designed for an introductory CS or data structures course. The demonstration does not involve programming but assumes students have programming experience in at least one programming language. We will begin with a real-world application of hash tables, then explain what hash tables are and their importance by
contrasting hashing to other alternatives. We will then introduce the concept of hash function and describe the goals and challenges of designing a good hash function. We will talk about collisions and possible approaches to resolving collisions. The lecture will also involve multiple active learning exercises to demonstrate how students can interleave between lecture and in-class activities to continue learning outside of the class.

In the second part of the talk, I will talk about my research mentorship experience with undergraduate students. The talk will highlight my ongoing work with student researchers on interdisciplinary research projects centered around socially beneficial applications leading to research articles in natural science and behavioral science domains. I will conclude with my future vision to design courses, mentor undergraduate research, and organize outreach events to improve the student learning experience and to make computing education accessible as a strategy to promote diversity.

Speaker Bio

Tahiya Chowdhury is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence and a visiting faculty member of the Department of Computer Science at Colby College. Her past degrees include a Master of Science in Computer Engineering with a focus on usable security and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering, both from Rutgers University. Her current research focuses on human-centered, public-interest technology with artificial intelligence. She uses computational tools to understand human behaviors and social communication from multimodal conversations. She also collaborates closely with faculty, students, and local stakeholders in interdisciplinary research projects to study human and climate impact on our natural landscape.

Tahiya is very interested in increasing participation in computer science and mentoring underrepresented students in interdisciplinary research projects to prepare them for diverse career opportunities. She has taken certification courses for college teaching, higher education leadership, and faculty success training and embeds them with insights from STEM pedagogical research in her teaching, mentorship, and scholarship. A great joy of her life as an educator is sharing new knowledge with her students, getting to know what excites them, and helping them reach their career goals.


Susan Rodger