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Publisher's Summary

A few decades into the digital era, scientists discovered that thinking in terms of computation made possible an entirely new way of organizing scientific investigation; eventually, every field had a computational branch: computational physics, computational biology, computational sociology. More recently, "computational thinking" has become part of the K-12 curriculum. But what is computational thinking? This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers an accessible overview. 

The authors explain that computational thinking (CT) is not a set of concepts for programming; it is a way of thinking that is honed through practice: the mental skills for designing computations to do jobs for us, and for explaining and interpreting the world as a complex of information processes. Mathematically trained experts (known as "computers") who performed complex calculations as teams engaged in CT long before electronic computers. The authors identify six dimensions of today's highly developed CT - methods, machines, computing education, software engineering, computational science, and design - and cover each in a chapter. Along the way, they debunk inflated claims for CT and computation while making clear the power of CT in all its complexity and multiplicity.

©2019 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (P)2019 Gildan Media

What listeners say about Computational Thinking

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Too slow, repetitive for professional programmers

We just aren't the intended audience. This is more directed at other professionals who wonder how programming might impact their fields and lives.

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quite good overview

quite a good overview of computational thinking, but dont expect detailed explanations of actual concepts.

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A grand tour, in plain terms

I wish this book had arrived earlier, before I launched on a fragmented groping through many other titles in my attempt to cobble this subject together, and comprehend an end-to-end overview, which this one masterfully presents. This book spans the entire subject and is very well-thought, well-edited and geared to the more non-technical listener. (That has not been true of all the MIT titles. The one on auctions, for example, got pretty technical pretty fast.) Despite knowing a great deal of this, in fragments, I benefit from this title pulling all the strands and the context together, from computing history to its logic and languages and technologies. It has heaps of context and connections across the topic, instilling a true literacy.
The narrator is competent but too close to a whisper for my tastes.

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  • Tim Albiges
  • 05-02-22

Very good

This book is written well for listeners, with very good explanations of the topic, however, there are some parts that are repetitive during different chapters.