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Computer Science

Why Computer Science?

The computer has transformed the world.  The penetration of computer-driven technology into the vital systems of modern society is so pervasive that it is difficult to imagine life today without it.  In today's world, understanding how technology works, how the Internet works, and how to solve problems with computational thinking are as important as learning how electricity works, how digestion works, or how to solve problems using algebra.  It seems self-evident that something so essential should be a natural part of education from an early age, and indeed, many young people have a natural appetite for it.  This is what Computer Science at SDMC is all about:  We aim to feed the natural curiosities young people have about computer science and challenge them in an individualized way to learn systematic thinking and to apply this solve problems computationally.

Who may participate?

In view of the need for students to sustain independent focus an effort over a considerable time to make individual progress, this activity targets middle school and high school aged students.

What Students Learn from This Program:

In the two previous SDMC seasons students learned the fundamentals of computer science themed Computational thinking and problem solving, Programming with Python.

The 2016-2017 season’s theme is

Algorithms in the Era of IoT (Internet of Things)

Each lecture will first teach a classic algorithmic problem and its solution in Java or Python program. The students will learn how the solution is used in the latest technology such as Social Networking, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence and IoT.

Why algorithm design is becoming more important in new technology. Let’s hear what experts say:

 “Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs”

"Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster." (Wirth's law)

-      By Niklaus Wirth, computer scientist, Turing award recipient.


“I will, in fact, claim that the difference between a bad programmer and a good one is whether he considers his code or his data structures more important. Bad programmers worry about the code. Good programmers worry about data structure and their relationships.”

-      By Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux


“By 2025, 80 percent of the functions doctors do will be done much better and much more cheaply by machines and machine learned algorithms”

-      By Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems


What is the cost?

There are no fees, tuition, or other charges to participate.  This is made possible in part through the donation of materials and service we wish to acknowledge:

Textbook.  There is no designated text book, some examples will be based on the book Algorithms, 4th edition by Sedgewick and Wayne.

Instruction.  Free; the class is taught and led by volunteers.

Costs not specifically covered through these in-kind contributions are absorbed by SDMC and ultimately covered by donations to SDMC as 501(c)(3) public charity.  SDMC encourages contributions from individuals and corporate sponsors in order to assure that activities such as this can be developed and sustained.


Instructor Bio:

Sue Y. Xu (“Coach Young”): Sue received her BS and MS in Computer Engineering from Nanjing University, China. and her MS in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.  She worked as a bioinformatics programming analyst, lecturer, and IT consultant at Washington University in St. Louis, Harvard University, and the Italian National institute of Genetics and Biophysics. She has written open source programs for NIH sponsored genome sequencing and gene analysis programs, and lectured on using technology for science research. After moving to California, Sue worked as enterprise architect and technical program manager for both startup and fortune 500 companies. She is currently Amazon Web Services (AWS) certified solution architect and works at Sony interactive Entertainment in San Diego, California. Sue also teaches undergraduate course Object Oriented Programming in Java at University of Phoenix San Diego campus. 

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