Computational Thinking at Bob’s Diner

Here’s a little story about Bob and his diner, “Bob’s Eats”. Bob sells a wide variety of delicious deep fried dishes, from fried russet potatoes, to fried red potatoes. But, Bob is being outsold by his local rival, “Bett’s Diner”, and why? Because Bett understands Computational Thinking and Bob doesn’t!

1) Seeking a powerful characterization of CT
a. Using "Abstraction" as an analogy
b. Balancing Simplicity with Significance
c. Leveraging the power of ubiquitous computing

Comments encouraged!


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  1. Phil Tierney Says: This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. Phil Tierney Says:

    Nice! Appliances are black boxes. It works. My fancy power miter saw wasn't able to make a <30 degree cut this weekend so I had to resort to assembly (template, pencil and hand saw). Aren't all appliances examples of black box abstraction? They all do one thing or a narrow range of things well. Great start at getting to language we can use with people who aren't ct/cs-savvy.

    I'm still in Gary's camp on the need for making people understand the CS terminology vs the need to develop understandings that allow them to solve problems more effectively including, but possibly not limited to, problems that can best be solved with computing appliances, widgets or systems. The lessons are still relevant. The painter might not care much about bandwidth but he certainly knows that when his crew starts colliding in the hall on their way back to the garage that he's probably assigned too many agents to the job. It's irrelevant whether he knows anything about bus capacity or I/O but his understanding is of value in a reassuringly analog way.

    I think you have demonstrated a way that explaining CT skills in non-technical terms may be approached. This will be extremely handy for introducing CT concepts to new recruits or selling how CT concepts might make sense in a non-CS curriculum. You also encourage me (suspect this was not your intent) that the more subtle mission of embedding CT concepts in non-CS curriculum might be more approachable than I have been thinking.

    Oh yeah... and you didn't quite complete the argument for point c with respect to ubiquitous computing...