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An Annual Call to Action

Written by Jason Oswald, Computer Science Department Chair

计算机科学教育周是一年一度的号召行动,激励K-12学生学习计算机科学, advocate for equity, and celebrate the contributions of students, 老师, and partners to the field.

The second week of 12月ember is busy time in the life of a school. If terms aren’t wrapping up, and holiday celebrations aren’t happening, then there are certainly other events going on. 在GA这里, 创始人的一天, 设计的一天, the Beam Raising, 中学 concerts, 房子的事件, 和无数其他神奇的时刻都发生在指定的CS教育周(12月5日至11日)。.

The reason we celebrate at this time is to honor Grace Hopper, 她的遗产, 以及她对计算机科学领域的贡献,这是现代编程的基础要素. What really distinguishes her for me, 不过,这也很可能是我们以她的名义庆祝计算机科学教育周的原因,我们可以用这句话来总结:

The most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, 'Do you think we can do this?' I say, 'Try it.' And I back 'em up. 他们需要这个. 随着他们长大,我一直在跟踪他们,我时不时地鼓动他们,这样他们就不会忘记冒险. ——格蕾丝·霍珀

正是本着这种创造力和韧性的精神,十大体育外围平台排名庆祝CS教育周.

今年的主要活动是建立在一个经典的不插电活动“泥泞之城”之上. 在本质上, the residents of Muddy City have a bunch of dirt roads that need paving, and they are interested in connecting all the houses as cheaply as possible. 这个有趣的活动隐藏了对图论的介绍以及该特定领域的一些相关问题. Younger students first connected the houses, then tried connecting them with as few connections as possible, 然后迭代,以解释这些连接的不同成本——创建所谓的最小生成树. We then tried to understand how we were able to create this; what steps did we take; how could we explain this to someone else? In other words, what was the algorithm? How could I explain this to a computer, so that when we are dealing with a million connections instead of just ten, we can solve that problem, 太?

Muddy City gave way to talking about the board game, 乘车票, which is another hidden Graph Theory problem, as well as a wonderful game. 当然, 你可以用我们刚刚在泥泞城市中学到的东西来求出乘车票中城市的最小生成树, but in the game, you want to find the shortest path from point A to point B. 作为人类, we can spot the shortest path, or one extremely close to it, in a matter of moments, 使用上下文信息,如国家的地理位置和路径的方向. A computer looking at the same problem would have no such information. How, then, do we explain to the computer how to solve this problem? 或者是这个问题的邻接问题:我怎样才能最有效地访问一系列城市. This is known as the Traveling Salesman Problem.

Versions of these problems crop up all the time in logistics, 生物信息学, 和制造:我怎样才能最小化机器的某个部分必须移动的距离, given that it must touch certain spots? 能够描述一个不依赖于人类利用上下文线索的算法是计算机科学的一个基本要素.  

这些课程的主要提供者是高中计算机科学(CS)的学生. 看到这些互动发生是一种特别的快乐——看着他们几乎跳过康纳广场去重温以前的教室, 前的老师, and younger siblings. 高年级学生和低年级学生有一种很好的独特的合作方式,这种合作产生的能量是电能. 学生们一起努力找出解决他们正在研究的问题的最佳方法. “试试!最后, 他们会自豪地展示他们完成的地图,上面的高年级学生将他们的能量一拍一拍地匹配起来.

In other areas, 9th graders met during 社区 Time. Advisors shared some information about the week and who Grace Hopper was, before presenting some choices about their next activity – “试试!到目前为止,最受欢迎的选择是佐治亚理工学院开发的EarSketch工具的演练, which combines music-editing software with coding in a fun and interesting way. Ms. 卡拉曼尼科的学生们似乎乐在其中,他们编写了自己的节拍,并将当前流行音乐的样本混合在一起. 学生们还可以学习如何使用一种名为Hedy的渐进式编程语言编写代码, or start prototyping their apps for Digital Wellness.

最后, 我们请来了几位演讲嘉宾,整个星期都在给中学生和高中生讲课. Our first speaker was Professor Hank Korth P'09 '12 from Lehigh University. He spoke about what CS was like at the 大学 level, what the program at Lehigh was like, 以及他目前与“跨越计算机科学和商业的跨学科团队”(名为Blockchain @ Lehigh)的合作. We were also joined by two recent alumni, Kevin Cui ‘21 and Casey Traina ‘22. 凯文目前是康奈尔大学的大二学生,凯西即将结束他在斯坦福大学的第一个学期. They each spoke about the CS programs at their school, the classes they’d been taking, 并向我们展示了一些他们一直在做的例子,然后开始讨论与他们的GA经验有关的各种问题, 大学, and technical CS things.

So from 12月ember 1 to 12月ember 15, we made space for students to try it. 他们试图让泥泞之城的居民不那么泥泞,然后他们试图高效地做到这一点. 他们试图发现如何向计算机解释从a点到B点的最短路径(在计算机科学中), it is hardly ever a straight line) and they tried to make music like a DJ. 他们听取了GA社区成员的意见,他们一直在学习、教授、实践它,并尝试它.