Cs

Keeping Current Between Semesters

People say that one of the impossible problems for CS teachers is keeping current - they say the field is constantly changing, how can a teacher keep up with all the new things going on. Well, on the one hand it isn't true - most of the core of CS is the same. We still teach roughly the same programming constructs, data structures and algorithms. On the other hand, it is true.
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Multi Stage Assignments - the good and the bad - Advent of Code

In the real world you're usually not building your own projects from scratch. Much more frequently you're working on a team and you and other players come and go over time. This is in stark contrast to most CS educational experiences where students typically complete relatively small assignments from beginning to end. One of my biggest fears way back when as I was about to graduate college was when I woke up one night in a cold sweath "
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Advent 2019 Day 8 - addendum - generating inputs

As I sad in my last post, day 8 would be a nice project or lesson in an APCS-A or college CS1 class. Another nice problem would be to write a program to generate an image in the format required by the question. Alternatively, a teacher doing day 8 with their classes might want to generate a bunch of images for the students to test their decoders on. I thought I'd write one to see how appropriate it would be for the students.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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