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The Peruvian Coin Flip - Cryptographic Protocols

This activity shows how to accomplish a simple, but nevertheless seemingly impossible task -making a fair random choice by flipping a coin, between two people who don’t necessarily trust each other, and are connected only by a telephone. The resource begins with a detailed explanation of the activity and...

All sorted

Machine learning is a system where rather than a computer programmer deciding the best way to sort, organise, classify or use information, the computer program develops its own set of instructions (algorithm) based on information that users feed it.  Scientists at the University of Oxford are working on ways to...

Network protocols

In this activity students consider how different methods of communication operate successfully. By looking at rules and procedures in place, students are introduced to communication protocols. By working through a role-play scenario, pupils test their own protocol operating in an unreliable environment...

Divide and conquer

This activity provides a mathematical problem that is solved in a simple way. It relates to the way algorithms are used in search engines and links to problem solving in maths. The context is that of Santa trying to find his socks in one of 1024 boxes, which a...

Teaching problem solving the unplugged way

This resource contains a variety of activities and teacher resources to help students develop their problem solving skills, these are mostly through the use of unplugged activities which also encourage the development of skills associated with creating algorithms. The resources consist of teacher guides for each of...

Ice Roads - Steiner Trees

Sometimes a small, seemingly insignificant, variation in the specification of a problem makes a huge difference in how difficult it is to solve. This activity, like the The Muddy City problem, is about finding short paths through networks....

The Poor Cartographer - Graph Colouring

Many optimization problems involve situations where certain events cannot occur at the same time, or where certain members of a set of objects cannot be adjacent. For example, anyone who has tried to time-table classes or meetings will have encountered the problem of satisfying the constraints on all the people...

Marching Orders - Programming Languages

Computers are usually programmed using a “language,” which is a limited vocabulary of instructions that can be obeyed. This activity gives students some experience with this aspect of programming. The resource begins with a demonstration of the marching order activity followed by the activity itself, together with...

Treasure Hunt - Finite State Automata

The students’ goal in this resource is to find Treasure Island. Friendly pirate ships sail along a fixed set of routes between the islands in this part of the world, offering rides to travellers. Each island has two departing ships, A and B, which students can choose to travel on in order to find the best route to...

The Orange Game - Routing and Deadlock in Networks

When there are a lot of people using one resource, such as cars using roads, or messages getting through the Internet, there is the possibility of “deadlock”. A way of working cooperatively is needed to avoid this happening. The resource begins with instructions on how to play the orange game. The activity contains...

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