Socially Relevant Computing

April 30, 2009

Thanks Adam for the link. This is such a great point: many students want to study something with an impact.

The author argues that when intro computer science is taught using silly, simple examples, students just don’t see the potential power and relevance of the tool.  “Even… pure mathematics has me counting and measuring planets and populations.”  He’s created an alternative set of examples that are much more socially relevant, involving for example voting systems (counting), pollution in the great lakes (2-d arrays), disaster evacuation (optimal paths), and drug interactions (databases).

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