Upper-Level Courses Challenge, Prepare Students for Their Profession

Posted: February 18, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews and Catherine Ferraro

Following are highlights on several challenging upper-level classes.

Exploring Asia’s Development in a Changing World Economy

As home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Asia seemed like it was on its way to becoming the center of the world economy before the 1997 financial crisis. Today, the region remains in economic turmoil.

Students enrolled in Hilton Root’s course, ITRN 701 Emerging Asia: Opportunities and Complexities, will learn about the political foundations of Asia’s economic dynamism, the role of Japan, China’s rapid industrialization, recovery and reform in East Asia and India’s prospects of being the next regional superpower.

The course will address issues such as what led Asia to experience rapid economic growth, the relationship between public policy and regional economic growth, whether the region can regain its strength or if China will become the new epicenter of the region’s dynamism and what this will mean for its neighbors.

In addition, students will explore many perspectives on public policy during the rapid growth period and the subsequent recovery to determine the distinctive features of Asia’s development and their applicability in a changing world economy.

A professor of public policy, Root has expertise in international economics and finance; international development; as well as political economy of the design and implementation of development policy. He advises organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the U.S. State Department. He holds a PhD from the University of Michigan.

For more information, contact Root at hroot2@gmu.edu.

A Fresh Look into Operating Systems

Harry Foxwell, professor of computer science, knows that the key to understanding operating systems is to recognize them as the foundation of all computing. In one of the courses he teaches, CS671 Advanced Operating Systems, his students are given access to new tools that allow them to observe operating systems in action and see how they work.

“Not only can my students see how these systems are designed, but they can actually participate in development communities and contribute their own creative ideas,” Foxwell says. “Clearly this is not a general interest course, but for graduate computer science students, it’s an interesting way to cover new technologies they really need to understand.”

The course studies the components of open source-based operating systems, including Linux, OpenSolaris and OSX. Specific topics include interaction between computer architecture and operating systems, distributed file systems, transactions and distributed shared memory.

Spatial Econometrics

What determines the price of a home? It’s a simple equation of spatial econometrics. Price = sq. ft. + age + median income + distance to Metro + error.

Spatial econometrics is a collection of techniques that examine statistical analysis of regional science models. Though spatial econometric concepts are in their early stages, their applications can be seen all around us in urban development as well as environmental elements.

As a creator of the spatial econometrics concepts, Jean Paelinck, visiting professor in the School of Public Policy, teaches their importance in his PUBP 833 Theoretical Spatial Economics and Spatial Econometrics course. The topics he emphasizes include building models that can assist policy makers in making correct decisions in regional development, infrastructure planning and public amenities programs.

“This course gives the students a synthesis of theoretical spatial economics and spatial econometrics,” Paelinck says. “It allows them to critically consider problems in regional and urban economics they will possibly encounter in further work. A challenging course like this that requires so many mathematical skills can be very rewarding for the students.”

Write to at