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Red Black Mind Meld

This magic trick from the Computer Science for Fun (CS4FN) team at QMUL is based on a ‘self-working trick’. It includes a set of instructions which, so long as the commands are followed, works every time. It is, therefore, an algorithm.

The trick involves playing cards – the actual value of the cards is not...


This activity from the CS4FN team at QMUL is a metaphorical introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and the difficulties of working at the command line.

The whole-class activity uses a game called spit-not-so. The winner of the game is the first to choose, from a...

Swap Puzzle

Using a set of simple ‘swap puzzles’, this CS4FN activity helps students to learn, fundamentally, what an algorithm is and how they can be made more efficient. Students are encouraged to create algorithms for solving the puzzles which can be used by future players to win, with no understanding of the game, in as...

Sweet Learning Computer

To play a simple game called Hexapawn, an ‘artificially intelligent’ computer is created made entirely from sweets. The game is like a mini version of chess; the rules are explained fully, and a playing board drawn. The ‘machine’ then ‘learns’ how to improve its playing of the game by trial and error and by ‘...

Teleporting Robot

This CS4FN activity from the team at Queen Mary University of London highlights some issues encountered during the design of human-computer interfaces (HCI). It acts as an introduction to HCI, introducing the need to translate problems and to understand how people behave.

The activities include a robot...

Tour Guide (Companion to the Knight’s Tour Activity)

Containing two linked activities, these resources from the CS4FN team introduce graphs to represent inter-related data and algorithms to negotiate them.

Suitable for non-programmers being introduced to algorithms, the two challenges – the Knights Tour and the Tour Guide – are similar. Both use graphs as...

The Magic of Computer Science III

The third collection of magic tricks, from Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan, is entitled ‘magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine. The five card tricks contained make use of maths and computer science theory, and are used by real magicians.

Each trick includes magician’s instructions. The theory behind each...

Strings and Arithmetic Operations

This guide, for more advanced users of LINUX, shows how BASH scripts can be used for operations on strings and for arithmetical operations. The syntax for BASH is clearly explained.

BASH Basics

This introductory guide explains how to use the LINUX shell known as BASH (Bourne Again Shell). BASH is useful for linking together various programs for creating innovative solutions, and can unleash the power of a Raspberry Pi.

The guide covers running BASH, the syntax used, how to chain together commands,...

Embedding Text and Programs

This intermediate-level guide shows how BASH scripts can be used to handle files and to integrate other programming languages such as Perl. String manipulation features heavily in the exercises. A challenge is set to use a Python program along with a shell script.


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