Computational Thinking 101
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Computational Thinking 101

http://. “Computational . thinking is a fundamental skill for everybody, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.

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Computational Thinking 101

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Computational Thinking 101

“Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everybody, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability.”Jeanette Wing: Carnegie Mellon; National Science Foundation Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate.


Computational Thinking Symposium


Jeannette Wing (2006)

“Computational thinking builds on the power and limits of computing processes, whether they are executed by a human or by a machine.”“Computational methods and models give us the courage to solve problems and design systems that no one of us would be capable of tackling alone.”“Computational thinking confronts the riddle of machine intelligence: What can humans do better than computers, and what can computers do better than humans?”

Computational Thinking Symposium



In a Nutshell

Human brains have capabilities and limitations.Computers (computer “brains”) have capabilities and limitations.Computational thinking focuses on using the combined strengths of human and computer brains to solve problems and accomplish tasks.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Problem Solving is Part of Every Discipline and Includes

Pose, recognize, clarify, & answer questions. Pose, recognize, clarify, & solve problems. Pose, recognize, clarify, & accomplish tasks. Pose, recognize, clarify, & make decisions. The general idea is to use one’s own physical and mental capabilities, along with tools (including computers) that aid one’s physical and mental capabilities, to do all of the above.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Some Simplified Goals of Education

To learn some facts (data, information, knowledge, wisdom).To learn to build on the previous work of oneself and others.To learn to solve problems and accomplish tasks making use of 1 & 2.All of the above contributes to increasing one’s levels of expertise in the areas being studied.


Computational Thinking Symposium


Expertise in a Discipline

Computational Thinking Symposium



An Analogy withReading, Writing, & Math

We use reading, writing, and math in all (almost all?) academic disciplines.We typically do not talk about “reading thinking” and “writing thinking.” People who are literate routinely do reading and writing thinking.Mathematicians and some others talk about mathematical thinking and math maturity.

Computational Thinking Symposium



“Computational” as a Subdivision of a Specific Discipline

In math and a number of sciences such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, “computational” is now a significant subdivision or component of the discipline.The underlying idea is to develop computer representations, models, and simulations of the phenomena being studied, and then use compute-power to help in the investigation.

Computational Thinking Symposium



“Computational” is Now an Important Part of Most Disciplines

To see this, do a Google search on the quoted expression “computational xyz” where you substitute the name of a discipline for the xyz.“computational architecture” 18,000 hits“computational biology” 1,760,000 hits “computational economics” 134,000 hits“computational linguistics” 871,000 hits“computational music” 2,500 hits. However, the search term “digital music” gives 32 million hits.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Summary: Computational Thinking from an Education Point of View

We look at levels of expertise in a discipline or component of a discipline. We analyze in terms of possible impact of Information & Communication Technology, and Computer & Information Science.We help students gain an appropriate level of computational thinking expertise within the areas that they study.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Afternoon Wrap-up and Closure

A few summary comments from Moursund.General comments and questions from the audience.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Summary: The World is Changing

I see a future of continued rapid change in the tools being provided by Information and Communication Technology, the underlying theory being provided by Computer and Information Science, and the integration of more computational thinking into the fabric of each academic discipline.

Computational Thinking Symposium



Machines are Getting “Smarter”

Computational thinking is of growing importance in education because:The cost effectiveness of computer hardware continues to rapidly increase.Artificial intelligence and other aspects of computer science continue to make progress.Computers are becoming an increasingly powerful and useful “auxiliary brain.”

Computational Thinking Symposium



Auxiliary Brain

Think of the Web as an auxiliary storage and retrieval (declarative memory) brain.Think of problem-solving computer programs (such as statistical packages) as an auxiliary procedural brain.Other examples include: wristwatch, GPS, and “full feature” cell telephone.

Computational Thinking Symposium