Computational Thinking

Background Story

It all started at Carnegie Mellon Institute with a powerful and passionate woman named Jeannette Wing.  In a seminal article published in 2006, Jeanette Wing described computational thinking (CT) as a way of:

“Solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science”.

This photo shows, Dr. Jeannette M. Wing, whom at that time was President’s Professor of Computer Science and head of the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,  speaking at Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series.  In November 2013, Jeannette joined Microsoft Research as vice president, head of Microsoft Research International, reporting to Chief Research Officer Rick Rashid.  Jeaneete is now Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, where she is also a professor of computer science.

Since her speech, several organizations around the world attempt to define Computational Thinking.  It’s not an easy task.  Try to define something more familiar, like math.   Everyone will have their own interpretation of what “Math” is.  The same goes for Computational Thinking.  We here at Computational Thinkers® like to keep the definition simple.

“Taking things from the real world and turning them into something a computer can understand.”

A more advanced definition would say that Computational Thinking is an approach to solving problems in a way that can be communicated to a computing device, in hopes it can solve the problem for you over and over (instead of just one time) and do it much faster than humans can… and it doesn’t complain or need sleep.