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Visualistan: Cracking the Code: The Rising Popularity of Computer Programming #infographic

Visualistan: Cracking the Code: The Rising Popularity of Computer Programming #infographic | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The need for computer programmers is growing exponentially in the United States, outpacing growth in most other sectors. Currently, only 2.4% of college graduates are earning degrees in computer science.
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Computational Tinkering
The impact of computational thinking on our view of the world
Curated by Susan Einhorn
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A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming

A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The most ardent Star Trek fans go so far as to make their own versions of the classic movies—but not without legal risks. 

Last year Paramount Pictures and CBS hit the makers of a Kickstarter-funded film with a lawsuit. They claimed that Prelude to Axanar, a 2014 short, and its planned full-length sequel Axanar infringe on copyrighted Star Trek characters and themes.

 

So far, so mundane. But one of the copyrights allegedly infringed is that of Klingon, the language spoken by fictional humanoids of the same name. And this has elevated the suit from a routine intellectual-property dispute to a case with potentially big consequences for the future of programming and creativity.

 

Could a ruling against Klingon’s use in a film like Axanar be interpreted as also limiting software developers’ ability to copy APIs?

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The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters

The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Is blockchain poised to be “the next big thing” in education?
This has become a question I hear with increasing frequency about a technology that, up until quite recently, was primarily associated with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The subtext to the question, I suppose: do educators need to pay attention to the blockchain? What, if anything, should they know about it?

"Admittedly, I haven’t bothered to learn much about blockchain or Bitcoin either, despite the last few years of zealous headlines in various tech publications. I haven’t included either in any of the “Top Ed-Tech Trends” series I’ve written. And frankly, I’m still not convinced there’s a “there” there. But with the news this year that Sony plans to launch a testing platform powered by blockchain, with some current and former Mozilla employees exploring the blockchain and badges, and with a big promotional splash at SXSWedu about blockchain’s potential to help us rethinking learning (as “earning” no less), I realized it was time to do some research (for myself) in the hopes of writing a clear explanation (for others too) of what blockchain is – one that isn’t too technical but that doesn’t simply wave away important questions by resorting to buzzwords and jargon – that blockchain is “the most important IT invention of our age,” for example.

 

"This is the early result of that research. It’s meant to serve as an introductory guide for those in education who are interested in learning a bit more about the blockchain and its potential applications in ed-tech."


Via Jim Lerman, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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Students see the future through robots

Students see the future through robots | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Having students create and work with robots offers them a range of skills, she said, noting that the district once participated in a regional tournament through NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena but that the program ended a few years ago.

“I think it really teaches them to think critically,” she said. “It gives them programming and computer science skills, as well as engineering skills, because they have to think of the task involved and design the robot to complete that task. A huge element of it is collaboration and how well they can work together.”

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Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?

Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

High-profile physicists and philosophers gathered to debate whether we are real or virtual—and what it means either way.

 

If you, me and every person and thing in the cosmos were actually characters in some giant computer game, we would not necessarily know it. The idea that the universe is a simulation sounds more like the plot of “The Matrix,” but it is also a legitimate scientific hypothesis. Researchers pondered the controversial notion Tuesday at the annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate here at the American Museum of Natural History.

 

Moderator Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, put the odds at 50-50 that our entire existence is a program on someone else’s hard drive. “I think the likelihood may be very high,” he said. He noted the gap between human and chimpanzee intelligence, despite the fact that we share more than 98 percent of our DNA. Somewhere out there could be a being whose intelligence is that much greater than our own. “We would be drooling, blithering idiots in their presence,” he said. “If that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.”

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What’s the Deal With Artificial Intelligence Killing Humans?

What’s the Deal With Artificial Intelligence Killing Humans? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Your 101 guide to whether or not computers are going to murder us.

 

This seems like a rough time to be human: Artificial intelligences are beating us at Go, getting better at driving cars, and doing all sorts of other stuff. How much longer until they just rise up and kill us?

Longer than you might think, and though there are good reasons for caution and concern, a lot of the talk you hear about Terminator-type scenarios is excessively alarmist. Read an article on, say, the rise of robot butchers, and you’ll inevitably find commenters worrying that the system is going to go haywire and attack its human masters. Even when they’re a little joke-y, these responses tend to bear the trace of the old Luddite anxiety that machines are somehow fundamentally opposed to humanity.

If you really get into it with A.I. researchers, you’ll find that most of them aren’t really worried about murder-bots actively looking to KILL ALL HUMANS. Instead, they’re concerned that we don’t really know what we’re getting into as we rapidly engineer systems that we can barely comprehend, let alone control. It’s this concern that’s led Elon Musk—who’s supported all sorts of A.I. research—to describe artificial intelligence as an “existential threat.” He seems concerned that we may not be able to direct the forces that we’re calling into being.

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Some Thoughts on "Coding" and "Technical Ghettos"

On Monday, Melinda D. Anderson published an article in The Atlantic asking “Will the Push for Coding Lead to ‘Technical Ghettos’?” That is, will educational inequalities surrounding CS education mean that students of color end up in low-pay, dead-end jobs in the tech industry?

A few days later, Edsurge published its list of ed-tech trends, one of which is computer science education. In its summary of this trend, Edsurge dates the history of teaching computer science in K–12 to 1984, when the College Board first offered the Advanced Placement exam in the subject. No mention of Papert in the timeline. No mention of LOGO (which was developed in 1967).

This is how you rewrite education technology history – and rewrite it to serve a particular narrative.
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No UI is the New UI — The Startup

No UI is the New UI - The Startup - Medium
On the rise of UI-less apps and why you should
care about them as a designer.


A couple of months ago, I shared with my friends how I think apps like Magic and Operator are going to be the next big thing.


If you don’t know about these apps, what make them special is that they don’t use a traditional UI as a mean of interaction. Instead, the entire app revolves around a single messaging screen. These are called ‘Invisible’ and ‘Conversational’ apps, and since my initial post, a slew of similar apps came to market. Even as of writing this, Facebook is releasing M, a personal assistant that’s integrated with Messenger to help you do about anything.

If you didn’t realize how pervasive SMS has become today, think again. SMS is the most used application in the world. Three years ago, it had an estimated 4 billion active users. That was over four times the numbers of Facebook usersat the time. Messaging and particularly SMS has been slowly taking over the world. It is now fundamental to human communication, and it is why messaging apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat are now worth billions.

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How Machine Learning Works [Interactive]

How Machine Learning Works [Interactive] | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
This interactive explains how computers can be programmed to learn, using a example based on real estate in New York City and San Francisco.
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The Hunt for the Algorithms That Drive Life on Earth

The Hunt for the Algorithms That Drive Life on Earth | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The biological world is computational at its core, argues computer scientist Leslie Valiant. His “ecorithm” approach uses computational concepts to explore fundamental mysteries of evolution and the mind. 


He broadened the concept of an algorithm into an “ecorithm,” which is a learning algorithm that “runs” on any system capable of interacting with its physical environment. Algorithms apply to computational systems, but ecorithms can apply to biological organisms or entire species. The concept draws a computational equivalence between the way that individuals learn and the way that entire ecosystems evolve. In both cases, ecorithms describe adaptive behavior in a mechanistic way.

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Constructionist Gaming: Understanding the Benefits of Making Games for Learning

(2015). Constructionist Gaming: Understanding the Benefits of Making Games for Learning. Educational Psychologist: Vol. 50, Psychological Perspectives on Digital Games and Learning, pp. 313-334. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2015.1124022


A primary focus of constructionism examines learning from a personal perspective, very much in the Piagetian tradition. Papert saw the engagement with Logo programming as a way to facilitate the construction of knowledge structures and what he termed “appropriation” so that learners could make knowledge their own and begin to personally identify with it. Programming the Logo turtle in the context of a game very much makes the construct an “object-to-think-with” (Papert, 1980) linking together artifacts in the physical world (in this case, a turtle) with those representations (in this case, the rules and objects) in the mind. Papert argued that objects-to-think-with such as the Logo turtle are particularly effective at supporting appropriation because they facilitate the learner's personal identification with the object and help to construct, examine, and revise connections between old and new knowledge. By designing a game (or, on a more granular level, its procedures, algorithms, and data structures), the personal knowledge becomes public and can then be shared with others. Of course, thinking about game programs as personal objects that can be shared widely as public entities articulates a phenomenon entirely akin to the growth of Internet culture, which too is built upon the amassment of intimately personal items (e.g., photos, stories, and designs) introduced on an equally massive wider public sphere, which then takes on entirely new meanings upon this wider scale. And it connects nicely to the social dimension of constructionist gaming.

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Why coding is the vanguard for modern learning

Why coding is the vanguard for modern learning | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Coding is coming to all of our schools with a lot of hype, inevitably there is push back from many different quarters for a variety of reasons… In my view these push backs are uninformed.  The code I know is the vanguard for modern learning, and for this reason, in my view, anyone interested in learning should take notice, and seek to understand, what is happening.

The Importance of the Learning Environment

We get so attune to curriculum and assessment as it is done in schools, we can begin to think that all learning, no matter how it occurs, produces the same results and the same outcomes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Coding as Visual Expression

Coding as Visual Expression | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

What happens when computer science isn’t an additional class, but worked into the projects that students create in art and humanities classes? What happens when we realize that coding is a language, and as a language, expresses something?

Professional artists and designers have used coding to create visual forms of expression. There’s a community of such artists creating libraries and open-source software from their experience in computational design. These products, such as Cinder, make coding more accessible to artists looking to learn by playing around with the syntax. These artistic communities are highly professional but also supportive, embodying the participatory culture and sharing ethos of the coding community.

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InCoding — In The Beginning

InCoding — In The Beginning | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Whoever codes the system, embeds her views. A call for inclusive code.

 

I am writing a series of articles to explore the embedded bias in code that unintentionally limits the audience who can use products or participate in research. By sharing the ongoing need for inclusive coding i.e. “InCoding” and providing practical steps to make products more inclusive, I want to move closer to a world where technology reflects the diversity of its users and creators.

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Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report

Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

With BlocksCAD, you create, combine and manipulate 3D shapes by stacking “block” commands rather than by typing in precise coding syntax. For example, you can drag a block command for a sphere from the shapes menu into the workspace, where you can adjust its radius. Snap on a “translate” block to move the sphere along the X, Y and Z axis, or add on a “rotate” block to spin it. Use a color block to change its hue. Hit the “Render” button, and the sphere appears within a maneuverable XYZ grid. Finished designs can be sent to a 3D printer that will fabricate them layer by layer.

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“The Art of Computer Programming” by Donald Knuth — 

“The Art of Computer Programming” by Donald Knuth —  | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Bill Gates doesn’t think most people can finish this book. I gave it a shot.

 

Bill Gates once said, “If you think you’re a really good programmer… read Art of Computer Programming… You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing.”

 

In the first paragraph of the preface, Knuth calls programming “an aesthetic experience much like composing poetry or painting.” I think this aesthetic beauty still captivates every aspiring programmer. After traveling a great distance along an exponential curve since the 1950s, it’s comforting to know that beauty remains intact. Though we no longer hammer out software and feed it into a hot, loud calculator, the beauty of programming still infuses every layer of abstraction.

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The Minecraft Generation

How a clunky Swedish computer game is teaching millions of children to master the digital world.

 

Minecraft, Clive Thompson, computational thinking- need I say more.

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Studying the relationship between remixing & learning — MIT MEDIA LAB

Studying the relationship between remixing & learning - MIT MEDIA LAB - Medium
In a new paper — titled “Remixing as a pathway to Computational Thinking” — that was recently published at the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) conference, we used a series of quantitative measures of online behavior to try to uncover evidence that might support the theory that remixing in Scratch is positively associated with learning.

 

We found that users who had never used a concept were more likely to do so if they had been exposed to the concept through remixing. Although some concepts were more widely used than others, we found a positive relationship between concept use and exposure through remixing for each of the six concepts. We found that this relationship was true even if we ignored obvious examples of cutting and pasting of blocks of code. In all of these models, we found what we believe is evidence of learning through remixing.

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Computational Thinking: I do not think it means what you think it means

Computational Thinking: I do not think it means what you think it means | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
As it’s become a buzzword (sadly), let’s have a conversation to clear up the rhetoric and get to deeper meaning. To me, as a computational scientist, the essence is what we can do while interacting with computers, as extensions of our mind, to create and discover. That’s not the popular message today.

 

It turns out, the original notion of computational thinking, as envisioned by Seymour Papert, already encompasses the learning I was alluding to. In turn, the popularized meaning of “computational thinking” is a shallower, less powerful idea, as I will explain.

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How Google’s AI Viewed the Move No Human Could Understand

How Google’s AI Viewed the Move No Human Could Understand | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The move didn't make sense to all the humans packed into the sixth floor of Seoul's Four Seasons hotel. But the Google machine saw it quite differently.

 

It was a move that demonstrated the mysterious power of modern artificial intelligence, which is not only driving one machine’s ability to play this ancient game at an unprecedented level, but simultaneously reinventing all of Googlenot to mention Facebook and Microsoft and Twitter and Tesla and SpaceX. In the wake of Game Two, Fan Hui so eloquently described the importance and the beauty of this move. Now an advisor to the team that built AlphaGo, he spent the last five months playing game after game against the machine, and he has come to recognize its power. But there’s another player who has an even greater understanding of this move: AlphaGo.

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Algorithms Aren’t Like Spock—They’re Like Capt. Kirk

Algorithms Aren’t Like Spock—They’re Like Capt. Kirk | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

When technologists describe their hotshot new system for trading stocks or driving cars, the algorithm at its heart always seems to emerge from a magical realm of Spock-like rationality and mathematical perfection. Algorithms can save lives or make money, the argument goes, because they are built on the foundations of mathematics: logical rigor, conceptual clarity, and utter consistency. Math is perfect, right? And algorithms are made out of math.


In reality algorithms have to run on actual servers, using code that sometimes breaks, crunching data that’s frequently unreliable. There is an implementation gap between what we imagine algorithms do in a perfect computational universe and all the compromises, assumptions, and workarounds that need to happen before the code actually works at scale. Computation has done all sorts of incredible things, sometimes appearing both easy and infallible. But it takes hundreds or thousands of servers working in tandem to do something as straightforward as answer a search engine query, and that is where the problems of implementation come in.

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Why Use a Paintbrush When You Can Make Mind-Bending Art With Code?

Why Use a Paintbrush When You Can Make Mind-Bending Art With Code? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Many of Casey Reas' programmatic artworks resemble things you see in nature—tangles of leaves, daffodils, bee colonies, algae—but they’re anything but code. Computer code underpins many aspect of our lives. Usually we know exactly what we want that code to do - but what if we didn't? This is the question posed by Los Angeles software artist Casey Reas, who employs code to form abstract, bewildering, and literally unexpected creations.

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MIT’s Food Computer: The Future of Urban Agriculture?

MIT’s Food Computer: The Future of Urban Agriculture? | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Open-source, Internet-assisted farming aims for a new green revolution Is urban agriculture on the verge of an Internet-enabled revolution? According to a team of technologists at MIT, this unexpected possibility may yet emerge from a series of recent technological breakthroughs. These include the development of high-efficiency blue LED lighting, whose inventors received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

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President Obama Wants Every Kid To Learn Coding--For All The Wrong Reasons

President Obama just unveiled his “Computer Science for All Initiative.” Following up on the State of the Union Address, in which he announced his intention to offer “every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” the initiative includes $4billion in funding for states and $100Million directly for districts to increase hands-on K-12 computer science instruction.


If we want to get to the next great era of human ingenuity, we will absolutely need to make sure that everyone knows a little bit about the math and science that underlies today’s dominant technologies. But it is not, as President Obama believes, so they can be the labor force that drives a digital information economy. It is so that they have the critical objectivity to maintain their humanity even as they fully embrace a digital world.

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Introducing The Industrialist’s Dilemma

Introducing The Industrialist's Dilemma - The Industrialist's Dilemma - Medium

The Industrialist’s Dilemma is a new course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that runs in the Winter of 2016, In “The Industrialist’s Dilemma” at Stanford GSB this Winter, we’ll be exploring the lessons of the world’s best startups taking on legacy industries as well the fastest-adapting industrialists that are putting digital at the center of their future strategies.


Just as Marc Andreessen described that software eating the world four years ago, startups today are able to harness the power of cheaper computing, unlimited data storage, ubiquitous internet and smartphones, contract manufacturing, and improved digital experiences to attack industries that haven’t changed for decades or centuries. While for years the tech industry had been squarely focused on optimizing known tech problems –building faster search engines or a better phone– all this digital power is causing a set of entrepreneurs to explore brand new solutions to nearly every legacy industry.

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