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Background Story

COMPUTATIONAL THINKING. WHAT IS IT? It all started at Carnegie Mellon Institute with a powerful and passionate woman named Jeannette Wing. In a seminal article published in 2006 by Jeanette Wing she described computational thinking with the famous words above.

“The emphasis is on solving problems by exploiting the fundamental concepts of computer science: abstraction, decomposition, recursion, separation of concerns, and so on”. - Jeanette Wing


The photo above shows, Dr. Jeannette M. Wing, whom at that time was the President’s Professor of Computer Science and head of the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, speaking at Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series.

In November 2013, Jeannette joined Microsoft Research as vice president, head of Microsoft Research International, reporting to Chief Research Officer Rick Rashid. Jeanette is now Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, where she is also a professor of computer science.

Since her speech, several organizations around the world attempt to define Computational Thinking. It’s not an easy task. Try to define something more familiar, like math. Everyone will have their own interpretation of what math is. The same is true for Computational Thinking.

An advanced definion:

Computational Thinking is an approach to solving problems in a way that can be communicated to a computing device, in hopes it can solve the problem for you over and over (instead of just one time) and do it much faster than humans can.

Our simple definion:

"Taking things from the real world and turning them into something a computer can understand"

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