Students take computing beyond the classroom for social good

Written by
Sarah Wells for the Department of Computer Science
March 25, 2021

Designing intuitive software or analyzing a complex dataset are the bread and butter of any computer scientist. These skills can be used to build intelligent machines or predict financial patterns, but in two computer science courses this fall semester, students learned how these same skills can promote social equity in policing and in two Princeton-area nonprofits. 

“As computer scientists, we recognize a responsibility to ensure that the technology we create is worthy of the trust society increasingly places in it,” said Jennifer Rexford, chair of the Department of Computer Science as well as the Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor in Engineering. “We can go beyond a ‘do no harm’ view of ethical technology to a place where technology is a lever for righting wrongs and making the world a better place.”

In fall 2020, students explored unequal treatment of Black Americans hidden within datasets and used software to improve crucial work and housing systems in the Princeton area. Learn more.