Thinking like a computer: The Fundamentals of Programming

Authors: Marium Afzal Khan, Aidan Wilson

Webinar duration: 1 hour

This webinar discusses the different ways that humans and computers approach and solve problems, and teaches in a very basic way the foundational concepts found in every programming language.


This webinar is open to anyone (not just Intersect member universities)


About this webinar

Human brains are extremely good at evaluating a small amount of information simultaneously, ignoring anomalies and coming up with an answer to a problem without much in the way of conscious thought. Computers on the other hand are extremely good at performing individual calculations, one at a time, and can keep the results in a large bank of short-term memory for quick recall. These two approaches are fundamentally different.

Humans can only reasonably retain seven plus or minus two pieces of information in short-term memory, and new items push older items out, whereas a computer is hopeless when given multiple pieces of information simultaneously.

Understanding this fact is key to being able to write instructions for computers – also known as programs – in a way that takes advantage of their strengths, and overcomes their drawbacks.

Suitable for the programming novice, this webinar is good preparation for researchers wanting to learn how to program.


Webinar Topics

  • How a human solves tasks
  • How a computer solves tasks
  • Overview of programming concepts:
    • Variables
    • Loops
    • Conditionals
    • Functions
    • Data types



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