Advent 2019 Day - 8

I spent most of last week up in Albany working on the NY State K12 CS Standards so fell a bit behind. I had to go back to complete day 5 but still haven't finished day 7 which builds on day 5 which in turn builds on day 2. I might not get to finishing 7 for a while but it looks like a good chance to play with core.async - Clojure's facilities for concurrency.
# COMMENTS

Advent 2019 Day 4

Day 4. Most of the day was spent working on the NY State CS standards to I didn't figure to have much time to work on the problem. Fortunately, I was able to knock out part 1 before work started and part 2 was a quick adjustment when I got back to it at the start of lunch. Once again, it was a problem with a few interesting teacher side aspects.
# COMMENTS

Advent 2019 Day 3

Today's problem dealt with intersecting paths. You start with two inputs, figure out the paths they represent and where they intersect and then find the intersection that correctly answers the question. For part 1 you have to find the intersection closest to the origin. From a teacher's point of view, the interesting part here is data representation. This problem deals with a two dimensional grid on which the paths live. For most students, at least in my experience, if they're trained in a language like C++ or Java they go for the direct representation - a 2D array.
# COMMENTS

Advent 2019 Day 2

Day 2 of Advent of Code 2019 was also pretty straightforward and once again I wrote my solution in Clojure but in order to talk about this from a teacher's point of view, we'll look at a Python solution. At its core, this is a simulation problem - read the data into an array or list and write a program to run through the steps. At first I was hoping that the solution would consume the data - that is, once you read past an instruction you don't go back to it.
# COMMENTS

Advent of Code 2019 Day 1

Like most programming challenges, Advent of Code ramps out from easier, more accessible problems to harder, more complex ones. As such, a number of the early challenges are great problems for early CS students. I thought that while I watched my NY Giants play valiantly in their attempt to get a high draft pick I'd talk about today's challenge from a teacher's point of view. The summary of part one is that you have a list of inputs (masses of components) and for each one you have to perform a calculation (how much fuel is needed).
# COMMENTS

Advent Of Code 2019

It's almost December which means it's almost time for Advent of Code 2019. Advent of code is an annual computer programming competition created and ruyn by Eric Wastl. It's been running since 2015. I've written about it before, mostly from a teacher's point of view (Solve A to Solve B, Data structures and Hidden Complexity, Tools can shape how we think and a few others). Basically, Eric releases one poblem a day at midnight from Dec 1 through Dec 25.
# COMMENTS

Presenting At CSTA 2020

Presenting at CSTA 2020 I noticed a few tweets and posts from people announcing that they'd be presenting at CSTA2020 - the big computer science teachers conference held every July. A common thread in a few of these were trepidation's presenters. Excited to be doing this but nervous. It's interesting that teachers, myself included, sometimes get nervous before presentations even though we present every day as part of our jobs. I know it's different as we have the same kids every day but even day 1 jitters each semester aren't the same as the presentation anxiety that some of us face.
# COMMENTS

Working with texts part 3 - word chains

At this point, we've done a fair amount of playing with text so it's time for a fun little project. We're going to generate some text "in the style" of a source text. The technique we're going to use is usually called a Markov Chain text generator. Basically a model where the next state or word is based entirely on the current state. I don't dwell on the math under the hood but in case you're interested, here are a few links: Wikipedia, Explained Visually, UC Davis Math.
# COMMENTS

Lesson and project inspiration from old BSD games

When I was writing the I Speak Jive post, the first thing I had to do was find those old programs. It turned out to be harder than I thought. I found online versions but it took a while to find this GitHub repo. On the way, I seemed to recall that these might be bundled with a bunch of old BSD games so I took a look at the BSD games package for Linux.
# COMMENTS

Working with texts part 2 - bag of words

Following up on a previous post, we're going to continue to talk about playing with text. This time, building and working with a bag of words from a text. A bag of words is a simple language processing model where you just consider individual words in a text. What they are and how many times they occur. This is a pretty simple model but you can still have a good bit of fun with your students with it.
# COMMENTS