Computer Science 39K: IT (Information Technology) Goes to War!

Professor Randy H. Katz
Computer Science Division
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-1776

Course Description

Necessity drives invention. In this seminar, we will examine the interweaved historical development of information technology, broadly defined as computing, communications, and signal processing, in the 20th Century within the context of modern warfare and national defense. Topics include: cryptography/cryptanalysis and the development of the computer; command and control systems and the development of the Internet; the war of attrition and the development of the mathematics of operations research; military communications and the development of the cellular telephone system; precision munitions and the development of the Global Positioning System. While we will endeavor to explain these developments in technical terms at a tutorial level, our main focus is to engage the students in the historical sweep of technical development and innovation as driven by national needs, and whether this represents a continuing framework for the 21st Century. No scientific or technical background is assumed for this course.

"Only the dead have seen the end of war." Plato

"It is well that war is so terrible--we should grow too fond of it." Robert E. Lee

"You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." Trotsky

"War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost." Karl Kraus

"He who does not remember history is condemned to repeat it." Santayana

"I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain." John Adams

Course Location and Grading

Room 310 Soda Hall, Tuesday, 3:30-5:30 PM
2 Units, Pass/Fail based on attendance, seminar participation, one group paper and presentation (analyzing a world insurgency) plus one individual research paper (on a topic of the student's choice to be negotiated with the instructor).
Discussions will be augmented with video selections to provide context for the technologies and events being discussed.
In addition, we make extensive use of group "games" to imerse the participants into the issues being discussed.
Students really enjoy these, but your active participation is essential; you get out of this course what you put in.

Tentative Course Agenda

  CS 39K Information Technology Goes to War!            
Week Date Themes Minilecture Topics Group Activity Screenings Wikipedia Readings    
1 22-Jan-13 Seminar Introduction Four Wars of the Late 19th/Early 20th Century: Students' Background and Experience Saving Private Ryan Spanish American War
Course Mechanics Spanish-American War; Reconquest of Sudan; Universal Conscription vs. All-Volunteer Army (Omaha Beach sequence) Reconquest of the Sudan
Getting Acquainted Boer War; Russo-Japanese War Second Boer War
Russo Japanese War
2 29-Jan-13 Early 20th Century Naval Warfare Technology of Naval Gunnery The Naval Warfare Game WW1 at Sea  Dreadnoughts    
    Military Planning UK vs. Germany, 1900-14 Student Insurgency Group Project (Battle of Jutland) Battle of Jutland    
    (Naval) Arms Race            
    Role of Technological Surprise            
3 5-Feb-13 Early/Mid-20th Century Radio Communications The Radio Game A Bridge Too Far Radio
Tactical Communications (Radio Failure) Electronic Warfare
4 12-Feb-13 WW2 Strategic Bomber Offensive Radar: Radio Detection and Ranging The Air Warfare Game Battle of Britain Radar    
      Aircraft Navigation and Interception (Battle of Britain Defensive edition) (The Shift to London) Radio Navigation    
      Electronic Warfare and Counter Measures     The Blitz    
            Fighters and Bombers    
5 19-Feb-13 WW2 Strategic Air Defense Measures and Counter Measures Revisited The Air Warfare Game Memphis Belle Strategic Bombing
(Strategic Bomber Offensive edition) The 1000 Bomber Raid 1000 Bomber Raids
6 26-Feb-13 WW2 Battle of Atlantic Battle of the Atlantic Breaking the Code Das Boot Battle of the Atlantic Destroyer Magic
    Cryptography Submarines vs. Convoys   (Hunter Becomes the Prey) Signals Intelligence Submarine  
      Enigma Machine   Enigma  Ultra Torpedo  
          (How the code was broken) Convoys Battle of Midway  
7 5-Mar-13 Post WW2 ICBMs  German V-1 and V-2 Weapons Red Dragon Rising Game Kinetic Energy Interceptors China Military Strength
Ballistic Missile Offense and Defense Cold War and Mutually Assured Destruction Global Ballistic Missile Defense China Military Developments
Ballistic Missile Interception and Destruction North Korea
US-North Korea Missile Diplomacy
8 12-Mar-13 Post WW2 Insurgency Theory of Small Wars Student Insurgency Group Project Reports Battle of Algiers Guerrilla Warfare    
    and Counter-Insurgency Strategies for Counter-Insurgencies   (Counter-insurgency tactics) Counter-Insurgency Strategy    
9 19-Mar-13 Modern Counter-Insurgency Tactics The Islandia Game: American Forces vs.  Black Hawk Down U. S. Army Counterinsurgency Manual
Peacemaking and Peacekeeping a popular uprising in a Third World Country (Rules of Engagement) U. S. Army Counterinsurgency Website
Student Individual Essay Assigned
10 26-Mar-13 Spring Break            
11 2-Apr-13 Class Cancelled Prof. Katz traveling
12 9-Apr-13 Terrorism What We Knew About September 11, 2001   The Spy Factory Counter Terrorism (FBI)    
    (NSA vs. CIA vs. FBI) Annual Threat Assessment    
      Cyber Warfare   CNN Cyber Shockwave Defense Intelligence Assessment 2012    
          (Cyber attack vs. USA) Patterns of Global Terrorism
13 16-Apr-13 Precision Targeting GPS Th New American Way of War
Smart Bombs and UAVs Afghanistan and the Future of Warfare
14 23-Apr-13 Surveillance and Remote Sensing Spy Planes and Satellites     North Korean Imagery    
            San Francisco Imagery    
15 30-Apr-13 Presentation/Discussion of Student Projects Student Individual Essay Due
Course Wrap-up, Summary, and Evaluation
End of Semester Celebration

Last Updated 12 March 2013,