Click here to view a comprehensive list of our past recorded talks and events.


  • UPL Course Night

    2023-04-06 6:30 PM

    CS 1240

    Curious about which Computer Science classes to take? Come to the UPL Course Night! The UPL is reviewing courses offered for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022. Get a student inside scoop on the various courses and ask questions! For instance, ask about which classes to pair up or which classes are not required but strongly recommend. Pizza will be provided so swing on by! Reservation is required.

    Slides Here:

  • UPL Open House

    2022-09-22 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Come by and get an introduction to the UPL, meet new people, and discuss topics like internships, classes, and more in small groups. We hope to see you all there!
  • UPL Course Night

    2022-03-28 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Curious about which Computer Science classes to take? Come to the UPL Course Night! The UPL is reviewing courses offered for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022. Get a student inside scoop on the various courses and ask questions! For instance, ask about which classes to pair up or which classes are not required but strongly recommend. Pizza will be provided so swing on by! Reservation is required.

    RSVP Here:

  • UPL Hatathon

    2022-02-11 3:00 PM

    CS 1240

    The UPL is hosting a Hackathon this semester, from February 11th at 3pm to February 12th at 3pm in CS 1240! Our intent for this event is to provide a space for UW-Madison students to engage in friendly competition and build some cool projects. Also, wearing a fun hat is strongly encouraged! Teams of 1-4 are allowed.

    Please make sure you've RSVP'd using our form!

  • UPL Open House

    2022-01-31 7:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Come to learn more about what the UPL does, some of our ongoing projects, future events, and how you can get involved. We hope to see you there!
  • Lightning Talk: Common Pitfalls of Machine Learning in Quantitative Trading (Shrey Shah)

    2021-11-15 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    An exploration of the causes of the high rates of failure of machine learning in quantitative trading. A basic understanding of calculus and statistics is recommended.
  • Lightning Talk: Cache and Memory Friendly Programming (Matt Wildman)

    2021-11-01 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    An introduction to improving performance by observing cache and memory locality, as well as techniques and best practices when doing common tasks in C++. No prior knowledge required although an understanding of pointers is recommended.
  • Lightning Talk: KiCad and Keyboards - a Keynote (Nick Winans)

    2021-10-18 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Learn the basics of creating simple circuit boards in KiCad through the creation of a UPL themed keyboard! We will be designing a simple keyboard schematic, laying it out in a physical space, and possibly ordering it if time permits. This builds off of the keyboard matrix lightning talk given this summer, but no prior knowledge is required.
  • Lightning Talk: Fundamentals of UI Design (Michael Gira)

    2021-10-04 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Hey, you're a developer, not a designer. But don't let that stop you from creating beautiful user interfaces! Let's dive into the fundamentals of UI design and learn practical steps for producing apps and websites that look a little bit better. No prior experience necessary.
  • UPL Open House

    2021-09-20 6:00 PM

    CS 1240

  • Lightning Talk: Resumes, Interviewing, and Internships - Everything You Need to Know (Matt Wildman)

    2021-08-18 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    When should you apply for jobs? What should you put on your resume? How do you study for tech interviews? This talk aims to answer those questions and more in an informal and interactive setting with plenty of time for questions.
  • Lightning Talk: Deploying and Securing Virtualized Self Hosted Servers (Michael Grube)

    2021-08-04 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    Learn the basics of self hosting servers using Pfsense and ESXi. This talk delves into how to securely deploy servers on your home network without jeopardizing the security of personal devices using Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, demilitarized zones and subnets.
  • Lightning Talk: A Combinatorial Problem (Reed Nelson)

    2021-07-21 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    What is the chromatic polynomial of the modified complete graph K2n, which lacks the edges (1, 2), (3, 4), ..., (2n-1, 2n)? To understand and solve this problem, we will discuss several topics from Graph Theory and Combinatorics, such as chromatic numbers, chromatic polynomials, and one important and useful counting principle which justifies this whole talk.

  • Lightning Talk: Keyboard Matrices and Debouncing (Nick Winans)

    2021-07-07 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    How do keyboards work on an electrical side? In this talk we'll learn about how keyboard matrices are designed, ghosting, n-key rollover, and how we deal with the imperfect world we live in through debouncing.

  • Lightning Talk: Travelling salesman problem (James Ma)

    2021-06-23 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    The travelling salesman problem is a heavily studied problem in theoretical computer science and optimization and has many cool applications. In this talk I will go over the basics of the problem, its formations, and how it is used in various fields of study.

  • Lightning Talk: Build a computer from logic gates (Karl Stephan)

    2021-06-09 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    Explain how to build a toy CPU from a pile of logic gates. Show a toy computing machine built in logisim, and talk about how to build a more general computer, whether in silicon or redstone.

  • Lightning Talk: de Bruijn Sequences (Reed Nelson)

    2021-05-26 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    De Bruijn sequences have fun and interesting combinatorial and graph-theoretical properties and a surprising assortment of applications. The info discussed will largely pull from a paper written by an *esteemed mathematician*, which can be found at

  • Lightning Talk: The Web (Phoenix Kahlo)

    2021-05-12 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    I will give an over-scoped talk about the history, vision, and particulars of the web.
  • Lightning Talk: Multi-Armed Bandits (Will Woods)

    2021-04-28 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

  • Lightning Talk: Word Embeddings and Prejudice (Michael Gira)

    2021-04-14 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server)

    Let's dive into the world of natural language processing and word embeddings! We will talk about their applications, quirks, and unfortunate prejudices. We'll conclude with ways that researchers are trying to minimize prejudice and make these systems fair for everyone. No former experience necessary.
  • Lightning Talk: Git, code review, and how to actually work in a team (Matt Wildman)

    2021-03-31 7:30 PM

    Online (Discord Server) slides

    In this talk I will cover my experiences using version control and other collaboration tools to write and deploy usable services. Topics will include Git, code review, tickets, deployment, and more! This will be geared towards an eager learner who has some knowledge of version control but no formal experience.
  • UPL Video Lecture Series: Intro to Python

    2016-04-19 5:00 PM

    CS 1240

    The UPL video lecture series (VLS) will be doing a talk targeted at students to introduce them to Python. The talk will assume completion of 302 and will focus on the syntactic elements of python and introduce some of the strengths and weaknesses of the language. No tools are needed, except for something to take notes with if you're interested. All materials will be posted on our public github repository.

    For more information, check out the facebook event

  • PGP, Tor, and You

    2016-04-13 5:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Topics will include:

    • High-level crypto overview (public-key/asymmetric, symmetric)
    • PGP and how to actually use it
    • What Tor is and how to get started using it
    • More? Suggest things in the event if you all would like to see them. We will see what we can do.

    For more information, check out the facebook event

  • UPL Answers: What courses should I take?

    2016-04-11 5:00 PM

    CS 1240

    The UPL will be walking through the massive collection of computer science courses and providing input on what you're likely to learn in a given course over the course of the semester. This talk will be targeted at freshmen and sophomores who will be jumping into their upper level courses soon and aren't quite sure what to take (although all students are welcome!).

    If you are wondering if you should post on the computer science facebook page about what courses you should take or if a given combination of courses in a good idea, consider coming to this event instead prior to registration so you can figure things out and get opinions from some rising and graduating seniors.

    For more information, check out the facebook event

  • UPL Games II

    2016-04-01 5:00 PM

    CS 1240

    The second annual UPL Games extravaganza! A fun and engaging hybrid puzzle/trivia/coding event that will test all of your skills!

    ALL SKILL LEVELS WELCOME! No experience needed!

    Sign up here!

    For more information, check out the current Facebook event.

  • Perry's Debugging Talk

    2016-03-28 7:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Perry Kivolowitz, who recently left UW-Madison for Carthage College, is returning to give his famous debugging talk Monday March 28th at 7pm in CS 1240. Perry is a revered teacher and software crafstman, and has contributed much to the areas of graphics and systems. His talk is as entertaining as it is informative. We plan on having pizza at the talk! Here's the Facebook event.

  • UPL Interview Prep Night

    2016-01-28 7:00 PM

    CS 1240

    We'll go over a range of topics, including common and rare algorithm questions, personality questions, and application and design questions.

  • Intro to Functional Programming with Haskell

    2015-10-29 7:00 PM

    CS 1240

    The UPL Video Lecture Series will be giving a talk on functional programming and Haskell this Thursday (10/29) at 7pm in CS 1240. Functional programming, and its related concepts, are becoming more prevalent in computation as machines become more powerful, concurrent, and complex.

    In this talk, we'll briefly go over the paradigm and then dig in with some Haskell, one of the most (in)famous functional programming languages. Attendees should be at the intermediate level (i.e. have completed CS 367), and should come with laptops with the Haskell platform installed.

  • Intro to Programming with Ruby

    2015-09-22 7:00 PM

    CS 1240

    Ruby is the only programming language designed for programmer happiness. Made in the 90s, with inspiration from languages such as Perl, Python, Lisp, and Smalltalk, Ruby is a great language to learn for beginners and pros alike. It is not only useful for small scripting jobs, but it also works well for abstracting large systems and powers the ubiquitous Ruby on Rails web framework.

    In this tutorial, you will learn how to get up and running with Ruby and on your way to programming more happily and productively. The intended audience for this talk is beginners, but anyone is welcome to be there.

    We will use a free, online interpreter (, but you can use Ruby, irb, or your Ruby tool of choice, as well.