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Computational Thinking

Computational thinking is a thought process used to simplify and understand complex abstract concepts. It is also a skill needed by computer scientists to better analyze and comprehend difficult problems. Therefore, as we mature, we need a better and efficient thought process to expand and retain our knowledge with ease. In this Web Tutorial, you will learn the basic thought process computer scientists use to better understand complex structures of problems.

The 4 stages of computational thinking

1. Decomposition

Decomposition breaks down one complex task into smaller and simpler subtasks. This helps you prioritize what needs to be done first. Otherwise, not simplifying a difficult task will leave you in a state of confusion because you do not know where to start. Although you may not know it, it is likely you have done this before.

2. Pattern Recognition

Pattern recognition analyzes the situation and helps you produce a better and cleaner efficient outcome. It does this by recalling past incidents of similar situations before. Therefore, you will most likely know what to do next when presented a certain situation but with the same context.

3. Abstraction

Abstraction focuses on necessary details that highly impact the situation. Its primary focus is to pinpoint certain actions or parts of the situation that affect most of the problem.

4. Algorithm

Algorithm is the step-by-step procedures you have decided on to assess the situation. It is a carefully thought out process that will most likely either solve the situation or lessen the involvement of that particular situation.

Example

Plan a birthday party!

You are tasked to plan a birthday party for a friend. Being a good friend, here’s how your thought process goes:

Decomposition

First, you need a date and venue for the occasion. You need to strategically think of the perfect schedule for your friend’s birthday party. Also, you need to handle the food, drinks, guests, arrival attires, and the flow of the birthday party’s program. These are the essential tasks needed to complete the birthday party surprise.

Pattern Recognition

Similar to birthday parties are camping trips, Christmas parties, weddings and more. They are similar due to the fact that they all need planning. Here, you recognize that big events such as birthday parties and weddings share common planning actions. Therefore, you can utilize similar activities that you may have done in the previous similar situations and incorporate them into the birthday celebration.

Abstraction

Now that you know all the tasks that need to be done, you have to focus on the primary objectives of the several tasks needed to be done. You can start by booking reservations in hotels or resorts for the birthday party to be held in. Therefore, you prioritize the allocated time given to you.

Algorithm

Finally, now that everything is in order, you can now plan your course of action. You start by reserving a hotel to hold the birthday celebration. Then, you invite the birthday celebrant’s friends and family to the designated venue. After that, you find a good catering service to meet your birthday celebrant’s and guests’ desires. Finally, after all the required tasks have been accomplished, you can take your friend to his/her surprise birthday party. Congratulations! You’ve made your friend happy!

The entire problem was solved not by one course of action, but with multiple courses of actions. Therefore, let’s keep in mind that computational thinking can be beneficial to our lives. It helps us distinguish and solve problems with efficiency and ease. It can also help you in your decision making skills.

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