First Video (Little Robot Computer — LRC01A on YouTube)

My grandkids just sent me an email, “ABOUT TIME PAPA!”.

This first one describes a fictitious computer.  Not real, but it has elements common to all modern computers.

I start with the computer and it’s language rather than at a higher level programming language more accessible to humans.  Why? 3 reasons:

  1. No matter what language or style you use, it somehow has to get converted into the machine language of the particular computer.  You might say, “So what? I don’t need to know that.”  Maybe true, but I believe that you should know the basics of how a computer actually works.  Especially considering my other reasons.
  2.  If your software ends up controlling or interfacing with a physical robot, then the details of how the computer actually works may be needed to get a better result — or more likely, to find out why your programs aren’t doing what you thought they would.
  3. A physical robot can be dangerous.  Safeguards have to be built in.  Many of those involve interrupts that require detailed understanding of the controlling computer(s) — could be more than one!

There’s another reason, too.  Programming requires a way of thinking that is so much more precise, than that needed for normal activities.  Even with this very simple computer you’ll see how careful you must be and how quickly things get complicated.  Think of it as mental calisthenics.  Start with “one pound weights”. Exercise carefully.

Here’s the link to this YouTube video, LRC01A

There will be many more, including links to a simulator for this fictitious computer.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Karl, I just sent your website to my son,Mike. He is in Croatia just now and needs some interesting things to take his mind off of some problems. He has been interested in computer stuff for quite a while and may find these activities very interesting.

    I agree with you regarding the teaching techniques in the schools at the moment. These articles are interesting and enlightening. The u-tube links are great too. Should get quite a following. Thanks for sharing this. Doris Knox

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