Problem Solving and Computing (CSC-103 98S)

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# Front Door

Welcome to the Fall 1997 session of Grinnell College's Math/CSC 103, Problem Solving and Computing. This is an interesting course that combines a study of techniques of solving mathematical problems with allied programming exercises.

In an attempt to provide up-to-date information, and to spare a few trees, I am making this as much of a "paperless" course as I can. You may also want to read the basic instructions for using this course web.

Meets: TuTh 2:15-4:05 in Science 2417.

Instructor: Samuel A. Rebelsky, Science 2427. Office hours MWF 9:00-10:00.

Book: Mason, John; Burton, Leone; Stacey, Kaye (1985). Thinking Mathematically. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Discussion (Original by Emily H. Moore; modified by Samuel A. Rebelsky)

The main goals of this course are to improve our mathematical problem-solving skills and to learn some aspects of computer science, including programming and some simple algorithm analysis. The two aspects of the course complement each other. We need mathematical problem-solving skills to do computer science and programming. We can use the computer to help us solve problems (and to give us problems to solve).

We will begin the course using class time to work in small groups to solve problems. Your "resolutions" of problems are due the following class. You are encouraged to continue working together after class. Your writeups should include rubric writing, as described in our text. Basically, this means recording how you approached a problem and what you thougth at various stages of the process.

Journal. Since studying problem solving requires reflection on the problem-solving process, you are expected to keep a written journal. Each week, you should take some time to refelect on the problem solving process as you work on the problems and programming exercises. You might choose a problem that interests you and explain how you used a particular strategy to approach that problem. You might instead discuss common themes. I will also give you specific questions to write on. While entries in your journal are not polished papers, they should be thoughtful and well-written. I will also ask you to record the time you spend problem solving and programming, although I will not read this record. Please keep your journal in a bound notebook. I will ask to see your journal every Thursday.

Project. As a capstone for this course, you will develop a significant computer program that relates to some issue in problem solving. You may develop a program that aids some type of problem-solving process, one that solves a particular problem, or one that raises interesting problems. A proposal for the project is due at the beginning of eighth week and the projects are due the last week of class.