Meetup on Computational Thinking @ XING

April 11, 2019

An evening to explore what comes before we can make use of technology

Technology is shaping how we do things for example how we go shopping, how we communicate with eachother, how we diagnose illnesses or how we collaborate and with whom on projects. The ability to extend our power of human thought with digital tools has become an essential part of our everyday lives and work. We all need to understand how, when, and where computers and other digital tools can help us solve problems, and we all need to know how to communicate with others who can assist us with computer-supported solutions. This is why we met yesterday at XING’s headquaters in Hamburg to discuss and learn about Computational Thinking.

Computational thinking is a problem solving process that includes formulating problems in a way a computer can execute them. This problem-solving process can be applied to a wide variety of problems in your daily life.

This evening explored the basic concepts of computational thinking by practical exercises.

Introduction to the concept of Computational Thinking

At Computational Thinkings core is a thought process that guides you to formulating things with enough clarity, and in a systematic enough way, that you are able to tell a computer how to solve them. Computational thinking comes before any technologies.

There are four pillars of computational thinking:

Problem formulation and decomposition

Decomposition is the process of taking a complex problem and braking it into more manageable sub problems. This video gives more insight on what is meant by decomposition:

Pattern recognition

When we decompose a problem we often frequently find patterns among the sub problems. Discovering these patterns make the complex problem easier to solve since we can use the same solution for each occurrence of the pattern.

Problem abstraction

Data representation and abstraction involves determining what characteristics of the problem are important and filtering out those that are not. You can also watch this video to get more information:

Algorithm design

An algorithm is a starting point to writing a computer program. It is a set of step-by-step instruction on how to solve a problem. It identifies what needs to be done (the instructions), and the order in which they should be done.

Team up around computational thinking exercises

After the theoretical part we teamed up among several computational thinking activities.

Building boats
Xing Meetup

One of the groups learned how to build boats that can carry coins with aluminium foil.

Xing Meetup
In interative steps we discovered how to build boats that can carry as many coins as possible.
Xing Meetup
Building a computer game

Another group build a ball game using Scratch.

Xing Meetup
The team figured out which algorithm to build so that the game would work in the expected way.
Xing Meetup
Simulation robots that are able to draw

.. while others tried to be drawing robots and discovered that is would eventually be easier to guide a computer through the steps than a human who is trying to interpret the given commands.

Xing Meetup

Quite some art work was created during the evening.

We are looking forward to see you at our next Meetup in Hamburg or Munich. More information on the next Meetups can be found here.

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