Our masthead declares “Liberty depends upon quality information”. It does indeed.
How good are the data on which you base your decisions? Bad data mean bad decisions, and we’re in an era where many issues we address don’t give us a do-over. Decision-makers have always had to consider the consequences of taking one or the other path, but that is more difficult when much of our input comes from a computer, potentially from unknown sources whose independence may be open to question. The complexity goes up quickly, and the task becomes more zesty when we consider what may not be available to us.
What information is available, what isn’t, how good is it, how is it used and what is the use’s consequence to citizens in a free society. That is what this site is about, and we specifically deal with this theme in a Computer Science Department since our majors live and work at ground zero. Who besides the computing scientists will know better when machines are emitting rot? Scientists must skeptically question assumptions, reason dispassionately about consequences and explain all these things to others. Our graduates will move on to a world where, as scientists who deal with computers, we hope they will do these things effectively while shaping policy that touches on our very freedom. Make it good!
— Jim Purtilo