Tag Archive: Teaching


I’ve really been enjoying watching Dara O’Briain’s School of Hard Sums. Recently there was a problem that involves computer science, so I thought I would present that to all of you. It could come in useful on a night out too!

Four shots – which one is poisoned?

Here one of these shot glass is poisoned. You have a method that you can use to test for the presence of poison, which is to shine a special light over two test tubes. The light will only work once though. You have to determine which glass contains the poison and drink the other three.

Answers on a postcard…

I think I’m enjoying this show for two reasons. The first is because I like a good old challenge that makes you think. The second reason is that this program adds real (kind of) context to mathematical and logical problems. Although the problems tend to be a bit contrived and aren’t what I would call real world problems they do show that if you want to solve many problems (real or not) you often have to fall back to an element of maths.

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We’re doing something right!!

I was really please to read this post about the teaching we provide at Hull.

It’s great to see that we’re getting some things right here, but what I hope we give to students (among other things) are the skills they need to learn on their own, because in this industry they’re going to need them. Where ever you are taught computer science you have to accept the fact that in a few years what you were taught at university will rapidly be becoming outdated.

Aspirations of a cat herder

Aspirations of a cat herder

Teaching computer science is a little bit like trying to herd cats. We’re constantly learning new technologies, and whatever we teach you now will likely be outdated in five or ten years time. That’s why what I hope we manage to get across are the underlying principles, and I hope we manage to inspire students to get out there and start exploring things, and give students the skills to start learning on their own.