Problem Solving and Computing (CSC-103 98S)

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The Final Project

As a class, we have determined that an appropriate final project for this couse is to build a "web of problem solving". This document provides some notes on the expected structure of that web, the components of the web, and the process by which we will build the web.

Components

What will our web include? Certainly, an overview of the problem-solving process as described in Thinking Mathematically. This overview will be supported by a number of short essays or lists (e.g., "resolving vs. solving"; "strategies for unsticking yourself"). At the same time, the essays and overview can be grounded in a number of examples (problems plus resolutions; problems to work on). At the same time, our book's problem-solving methodology is not the only one, so we should support it with descriptions and analyses of other problem solving methods.

Since this is also a course in computing, it would be appropriate to include a number of computer programs as well as discussions of computers in problem-solving. I can forsee at least two types of programs we might provide: programs that help solve problems and programs that illustrate or illuminate problems. For example, in solving the dominoes problem from problem set 5, many of us would have found it useful to have a program that let us select and unselect dominoes. It is likely that the towers of Hanoi problem from problem set 6 would benefit from a similar visual representation.

It would also be reasonable to have programming problems plus corresponding resolutions. In the field of computer science, these are often called case studies.

Roles

For this to be a successful project, we'll each need to work on a variety of components and assume a number of roles. What roles will we need to undertake? Here are some possibilities.

Approximate Timetable

Most of us know that projects which are done primarily at the last minute rarely succeed. Hence, we need to begin work on the project immediately and continue until the end of the term. To begin with, I need you each to volunteer to act in one of the above roles and create some component that we can start working with immediately after break. I will ask for specific topics at the end of our discussion.


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