COMP 140: Computational Thinking


This course is only open to freshmen and sophomore students.

The modern world is driven by computers. In the last week, what was the longest stretch of time you went without interacting with a computer in some way? Think of cell phones, cars, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Wikipedia. From research to real-world applications, computer scientists constantly discover ways to improve lives by creating bold new solutions that connect us to information and to each other in unexpected, forward-thinking ways. Few professions can turn ideas into realities so quickly. Few have such a direct and positive effect on people’s everyday lives. In this course, we will study the foundations of computational thinking and teach you how computer scientists use computers to solve problems in ways that will shape the 21st century.

The objective of this course is not to turn you into a programmer. Rather, this course is designed to give you an overview of computer science and teach you about problem solving in a way that utilizes computation. Upon completion of this course, you will have a feel for how to think about and structure problems in such a way that you can use a computer to help you solve them. Programming is necessarily a part of this process, but it is neither the only part nor the most important part.

COMP 140 is an introductory course designed for any student interested in using computation to enhance their problem solving abilities. No prior experience in programming is necessary. Mathematics at the high school level (e.g., algebra, trigonometric functions, geometry, elementary probability concepts) will be assumed.

There is no required textbook for the course. After you start the class, if you feel like you need reference materials, there are some suggested Python references on the Canvas site, some of which are free, online sites and some of which are printed books.

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