CS101 Themes

< CS101

Foreshadowing: here are a few themes that we'll see over the quarter. We'll look at each of these in more detail at some point in the quarter.

1. Algorithm

An "algorithm" is the idea or plan of how to compute something - e.g. the algorithm to produce a bluescreen image from two images.

2. Code and programming

Code is made of the mechanical instructions the computer can follow. When you are programming, writing code, you are taking an algorithmic idea and translating it into code the computer understands.

3. Code is very mechanical

The computer runs whatever code it is given mechanically. That is not the same as thinking! Writing code in CS101, you'll get a real appreciation for this idea.

Followup ideas...

4. Small code, Mass data

Often the code you write will be quite short. The computer can run the short piece or code over millions or billions of data items. This is a powerful combination - the code has some insight in it, and the computer is good at applying that code massively.

5. Moore's Law

Computer hardware gets significantly cheaper and more powerful year after year. E.g. 4 years ago your phone held 4 GB of data. Now for about the same cost it holds 16 GB (4x more). That's Moore's law.