What is computational thinking?

Computational thinking is the cornerstone of all programming methods today. This is a way to teach students how to think like a computer to solve problems. Academically: Computational thinking is a set of interrelated skills and practices for solving complex problems, a way of learning about many disciplinary topics, and a requirement for full participation in the computing world.

It uses fundamental concepts of computer science to understand human behavior, design systems, and solve problems. Through computational thinking learning, we can master how to analyze new information and deal with new problems, and improve our problem-solving skills. So how exactly does computational thinking work to solve a complex problem, understand what the problem is and develop possible solutions? This talks about the four basic steps of computational thinking: decomposition; pattern recognition; abstraction and algorithms. Decomposition - Breaking down a complex problem into the parts that make up its basic structure. In other words, breaking down a complex problem or system into smaller, more manageable pieces. This helps to reduce the cognitive difficulty of our problems, so that we can learn more efficiently.

Pattern Recognition - Look for the characteristics of things, use these characteristics to find similarities between and within questions, and then analyze and summarize this characteristic pattern to arrive at a logical answer.

Abstraction - weed out differences found in pattern recognition because they don't fit the pattern and focus only on important information. Removing inappropriate or useless information is a valuable skill for us. Because we can learn not only to double-check information, but also to learn how to adjust ourselves and explore real solutions to problems.

Algorithm - Formulate a step-by-step solution or rule to a problem. Along the way, we need to be able to clearly write algorithms that create a series of steps to solve the problem. This way anyone can solve the problem according to the algorithm we devised.

Each of these four basic steps is important, and applying them correctly in practice will not only facilitate programming computers, but will also help us develop the ability to continuously learn, try to solve complex problems from multiple perspectives, and even ask new ones. In fact, most of us have learned this skill in our lives. For example, when you need to drive to another city, if the gasoline in the fuel tank is not enough for the car to drive to the destination, you need to know: 1 which route is shorter, 2 where can you refuel, 3 where the probability of traffic jams is small, 4 How much time do you have. From this information, you can develop an optimal solution to meet the above requirements, and if you want, you can even collect and analyze the data for you through a computer.

Wing(2008) has stated in his article that computational thinking can be applied to almost any job and any industry, and can even help solve problems we face in our lives.[1] It has the ability to solve problems, critically analyze and think creatively. Mastering this useful skill can make us appear more efficient in this competitive world.

- Reference: 1. Wing, J.M. (2008) “Computational thinking and thinking about computing,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 366(1881), pp. 3717–3725. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2008.0118.