An Algorithmic and Social Introduction to Computer Science (CSC-105 2000S)


Describe an algorithm that you think would be useful for the Web.

Adan

Cathy

This might not be very original, but I think that concept of having fields that a user can access and fill out that then return the information to the site author (like your survey) is a good idea. The algorithm that creates these things would have to tell the computer to save the information the user entered, send it in an intelligible form to the author, and clear the fields for the next person to enter text.

Ivy

well, since i just filed my federal taxes online, i think a really neat algorithm was how all i had to do was fill in all these little boxes with the right numbers and it tallied everything up for me. that's an algorithm, right? because it's a formula. it actually takes the info you input and "computes" or does something with it. this is useful for all parties involved, assuming the algorithms are accurate, because i have to do less work (in the sense of adding and looking up tax tables myself), there is less of a chance of paper being lost (in the mail, on a desk, etc), and i'm assuming the data is then automatically entered for the government! again, less risk of human error. that's funny though, now that i think about it. how we want to minimize human actions because we assume humans are more prone to error. that's probably not necessarily true though, given the fact, as we've seen over and over again in this class, that computers are made and programmed by humans, which makes them inherently susceptible to error as well!

Jae

I think that there are several useful algorithms I would like to know about for the web. I am very interested in what you can do with words in the multimedia sense. I would like to be able to write an algorithm for having a word move on the page in a pattern direction when it is opened. [something like move word, ("Hello"), in pattern X.] I would also like to be able to write an algorithm for have a piece of text appear and disappear (fade in/fade out) on a timer. [something like fade word, ("Title"), on timer X (30/min.).>] I suppose this is along the same lines as blinking text, but that effect is annoying and advertisement-like. These aspects would allow a user to create pages with greater visual appeal. Hopefully, I'll get to learn more today, and get to experiment with these types of visual word manipulations using Javascript to code these algorithm ideas.

Jeana

I was recently logged onto one of those travel websites, and it didn't seem to have a logout button or anything, so I just left the site without logging out. When I happened to go back to the site later, it said "Welcome back, Jeana!" Which was kind of disturbing, because basically anyone could go and access my account (with the exception of credit card info page - the only page that's actually secure). So anyway, because of this, I think that a useful algorithm for the Web would be one that would automatically log you out of a site (if it required logging into, of course) if you left it without doing so.

Jeff

An algorithm that universally recognized data fields and automatically entered the proper information into those data fields after the user properly entered the information into the algorithm. An example is an application for an internship or job. Most of the questions asked on many different applications are similar.

There could be a master list asking the user to input many different types of information. The user could locate an application, or any other document requiring an input of information, and activate the algorithm. The algorithm would then fill in the missing data on the application from the data input by the user. The algorithm might work: If the value equals names, then enter "Jeff" If the value equals email, then enter "stoneja@grinnell.edu"

Occasionally, there would be a field outside of the information the algorithm and the user would then have to insert that information on a case by case basis. After the application is complete, the algorithm could then scan the data for any data that was entered by the user and could use that information in the future. The algorithm might be: Search for all unknown values, if unknown value is found, add value and input to code of algorithm.

Joel

I think an algorithm which is useful for the Web would be creating links on web pages to other pages. In the process of writing and designing a web page, I would include certain World Wide Web addresses that could be connected to from my page. Of course, these links would be related to the material on my page. And that would be in essence, creating hypertext. Also, I would use Java Script to write my algorithm.

Kevin

I don't know what many of the ins and outs of making this work would be, but I think it would be great to be able to make a servicable program that usually is only available in stand-alone version that can be accessed via the Web, like a spiffy text editor like Word Perfect or MS Word. I think it would be neat to make a program like that and if it could be run with a minimum of resources and a happy medium between fluidity and features. It doesn't necessarily have to be just a word processor, but I think it would also be people who use what we now consider to be "archaic" computers like old 386's who want to be able to do more than just play Solitaire. Just a thought, even if it's not an especially spiffy one...

Liz

I think one thing that is becoming more and more important on the web is gathering information about clients. Any place that sells a product needs to do this, and so do countless other web sites and businesses that want to customize their product to fit their customer needs. Thus, information gathering algorithms would be very useful. Yes, they do exist now. That is a good thing, and I think they can be improved upon. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to actually put down an algorithm...and I can't really think of a good example. Maybe if each page - or even the web browser itself - could be personalized, the algorithm would contain instructions that the user helps define in order to create a unique page.

Sam

I guess two of the most important aspects of the internet have to do with security and sorting. I imagine that passwords are one of the primary means of maintaining site security, as well as personal privacy. A helpful algorithm would probably be one that served to sort and validate passwords that permit entrance to a site. Especially in instances where money is involved or subscription is required, passwords are essential. An efficient and acccurate way of identifiying corresat passwords and user ID is critical for the maintainence of such endeavors.


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