Computational thinking

Computational thinking is a method of thinking that is problematic and expressing its solution (s) in such a way that a computer-human or machine-can effectively carry out. [1]

Computational Thinking is an iterative process based on three stages (captured by the figure to the right):

  1. Problem formulation (abstraction);
  2. Expression solution (automation);
  3. Solution execution and evaluation.

The history of computational thinking at least the 1950s but most ideas are much older. [2] The term computational thinking was first used by Seymour Papert in 1980 [3] and again in 1996. [4] Computational thinking can be used to algorithmically solve complicated problems of scale, and is often used to realize large improvements in efficiency. [5]


The features that define computational thinking are decomposition , pattern recognition / data representation , generalization / abstraction , and algorithms . [6] [7] By decomposing a problem, identifying the variables involved using data representation, and creating algorithms, a generic solution results. The generic solution is a generalization or abstraction that can be used to solve a multitude of variations of the initial problem.

The phrase computational thinking was brought to the forefront of the computer science community as a result of ACM Communications article on the subject by Jeannette Wing . The article suggests that computationally was a fundamental skill for everyone, not just computer scientists, and argued for the importance of integrating computational ideas into other disciplines. [8]

Computational thinking in K-12 in education

Jeannette Wing envisioned computational thinking becoming an essential part of every child’s education. [8] However, since her article (published in 2006) integrating computational thinking into the K-12 curriculum has faced several challenges including the agreement on the definition of computational thinking. [9] [10] Currently Computational Thinking is Broadly defined as a set of cognitive skills and problem solving processes That include (but are not limited to) The Following characteristics: [10] [11]

  • Using abstractions and pattern recognition
  • Logically organizing and analyzing data
  • Breaking the problem down to smaller parts
  • Approaching the problem using programmatic thinking such as iteration, symbolic representation, and logical operations
  • Reformulating the problem into a series of ordered steps (algorithmic thinking)
  • Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
  • Generalizing this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems

Current-level computational thinking in the K-12 curriculum in two forms: in computer science classes directly or through the use and measurement of computational thinking techniques in other subjects. Teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics ( STEM ) focused classrooms that include computational thinking, allowing students to practice problem-solving skills such as trial and error (Barr, et al., 2011). [12] Valerie Barr and Chris Stephenson describe computational thinking patterns across disciplines in a 2011 ACM Inroads article [9] However Conrad Wolframhas argued that computational thinking should be taught as a distinct subject. [13]

Center for Computational Thinking

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has a Center for Computational Thinking. The Center’s major activity is conducting PROBEs or PROB lem-oriented E xplorations. These PROBEs are experiments that apply to computational thinking. A PROBE experiment is a collaboration between a computer scientist and an expert in the field to be studied. The experiment typically runs for a year. In general, a PROBLEM will have a solution for a broadly applicable problem and avoid narrowly focused issues. Some examples of PROBE experiments are optimal kidney transplant logistics and how to create drugs that do not breed drug-resistant viruses. [14]

Computational Thinking Resources

There are a handful of on-line institutions that provide curriculum, and other related resources to build and strengthen pre-college students with Computational Thinking, Analysis and Solving Problems. One prominent one is the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy . It offers training sessions for both pre-college students, as well as teachers. CMU’s programs exercise instructional scaffolding methods via engineering process . There is also another website named . [15] offering similar resources.

In the heart of Central New Jersey, there is a small institution, named Storming Robots , offering technology programs to Grade 4 to 12 with an emphasis on Algorithmic and Computational Thinking via robotics projects throughout the school year. Students may follow its road map [16] starting from Grade 4 until they graduate to college.


The concept of Computational Thinking has been criticized as too vague, as it is rarely made clear how it is different from other forms of thought. [2] [17] Some computer scientists worry about the promotion of Computational Thinking as a substitute for a broader computer science education, as computational thinking is just a small part of the field. [18] Others worry que la emphasis on Computational Thinking encouraged computer scientists to think too narrowly about the problems They Can solve, THUS Avoiding the social, ethical and environmental implications of the technology They create. [19] [2]

See also

  • Computer-Based Math


  1. Jump up^ Wing, Jeannette (2014). “Computational Thinking Benefits Society” . 40th Anniversary Blog of Social Issues in Computing .
  2. ^ Jump up to:c Tedre Matti; Denning, Peter J. (2016). “The Long Quest for Computational Thinking”. Proceedings of the 16th Koli Calling Conference on Computing Education Research (PDF) .
  3. Jump up^ Papert, Seymour. Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. Basic Books, Inc., 1980.
  4. Jump up^ Papert, Seymour (1996). “An exploration in the space of mathematics educations” . International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning . 1 . doi : 10.1007 / BF00191473 .
  5. Jump up^ Computational thinking:
    • Repenning, A .; Webb, D .; Ioannidou, A. (2010). “Scalable game design and the development of a checklist for computational thinking in public schools”. Proceedings of the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education – SIGCSE ’10 . p. 265. doi : 10.1145 / 1734263.1734357 . ISBN  9781450300063 .
    • Guzdial, Mark (2008). “Education: Paving the way for computational thinking” (PDF) . Communications of the ACM . 51 (8): 25. doi : 10.1145 / 1378704.1378713 .
    • Wing, JM (2008). “Computational Thinking and Thinking About Computing”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences . 366 (1881): 3717. Bibcode : 2008RSPTA.366.3717W . doi : 10.1098 / rsta.2008.0118 .
    • Center for Computational Thinking at Carnegie Mellon cmu.edu8
    • Exploring Computational Thinking ,
    • How to Teach Computational Thinking by Stephen Wolfram , Stephen Wolfram Blog, September 7, 2016.
    • Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids on YouTube , TED talk 2010-11-15
    • What is Computational Thinking? CS4FN at CS4FN
    • The Sacramento Regional CPATH Team has created a NSF-funded project. Archived 31 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine .
    • A short introduction to Computational Thinking by the Open University
  6. Jump up^ “Introduction to computational thinking” . BBC Bitesize . Retrieved 25 November 2015 .
  7. Jump up^ “Exploring Computational Thinking” . Google for Education . Retrieved 25 November 2015 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b Wing, Jeanette M. (2006). “Computational Thinking” (PDF) . Communications of the ACM . 49 (3): 33. doi : 10.1145 / 1118178.1118215 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Barr, Valerie; Stephenson, Chris (2011). “Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12: What Is Involved and What Is the Role of the Computer Science Education Community?” Acm Inroads . 2 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:a Grover b , Shuchi; Pea, Roy (2013). “Computational Thinking in K-12 A Review of the State of the Field”. Educational Researcher . 42 .
  11. Jump up^ Stephenson, Chris; Valerie Barr (May 2011). “Defining Computational Thinking for K-12”. CSTA Voice . 7 (2): 3-4. ISSN  1555-2128 . CT is a problem solving process …
  12. Jump up^ Barr, David; Harrison, John; Leslie, Conery (2011-03-01). “Computational Thinking: Digital Age Skill for Everyone”. Learning & Leading with Technology . 38 (6): 20-23. ISSN  0278-9175 .
  13. Jump up^ Computational thinking is the code to successWolfram Conrad, The Times Educational Supplement
  14. Jump up^ PROBE Experiments
  15. Jump up^ “LEGO Engineering” . Retrieved 30 Dec 2013 .
  16. Jump up^ “Roadmap for learning path” . Retrieved 30 Dec 2013 .
  17. Jump up^ Jones, Elizabeth. “The Trouble with Computational Thinking” (PDF) . ACM . Retrieved 30 November 2016 .
  18. Jump up^ Denning, Peter J. (1 June 2009). “Beyond computational thinking”. Communications of the ACM . 52 (6): 28. doi :10.1145 / 1516046.1516054 .
  19. Jump up^ Easterbrook, Steve (2014). “From Computational Thinking to Systems Thinking: A Conceptual Toolkit for Sustainability Computing . ” Proceedings of the International Conference ICT for Sustainability . doi : 10.2991 / ict4s-14.2014.28 .