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Computational thinking skills are increasingly critical for individuals and organizations as the use of computation becomes more central to every activity and every innovation. As computers become more intelligent, rather than reducing the requirements of human understanding, they have accelerated it. Unlocking ever-more-insightful answers means driving the computer with new computational thinking skills.

ComputationalThinking.org delivers learning programs for everyone. Our pioneering approach is not only about coding, math you may have missed and critical thinking, but also the underlying core computational thinking that drives all of them—for example, applied to life skills, data science and modeling.

ComputationalThinking.org is partnered with Wolfram Research and gains its expertise of more than 30 years as the world-leading organization in computation at every level and in every way: as users, employers, technology suppliers and innovators.

Ways we can help

The what, where, how of computational thinking

What?

A mode of thinking about life, in which you apply a rigorous and repeatable four-step problem-solving process to ideas, challenges and opportunities.

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Where?

Almost everywhere. In everyday life, at work, in school, across fields as diverse as healthcare, finance, law and music, computational thinking is applicable to everyone.

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How?

By gaining experience of applying the four-step computational thinking process—in real-life settings, through a graduated progression of tasks.

WAYS WE CAN HELP »

Examples of computational thinking in action

Dividing responsibilities between humans and computers

Using image processing to spot differences in fingerprints

Making predictions from existing data

Modelling hurricanes

Analyzing big data

Mapping the orbits of Earth’s man-made satellites

Looking for patterns in New York City traffic accidents

Using geo-elevation data

Mapping the Brexit vote

What is computational thinking?

Computational thinking is a process in which you creatively apply a four-step problem-solving cycle to ideas, challenges and opportunities you encounter to develop and test solutions. The emphasis is learning how to take real-life situations and translate—often to programs—so a computer can calculate the answer.

Define
Think through the scope and details of the problem, defining manageable questions to tackle. Identify the information you have or will need to obtain in order to solve the problem.
Translate
Transform the question into an abstract precise form, such as code, diagrams or algorithms ready for computation. Choose the concepts and tools to use to derive a solution.
Compute
Apply an appropriate level of computational power to the abstract form, be that modern computers or mental agility, to obtain answers. Identify and resolve operational issues during the computation.
Interpret
Take the abstract answer and interpret the results, recontextualizing them in the scope of your original questions and sceptically verifying them. Fix mistakes or refine by taking another turn around the solution helix.

Often the answer to one question can be used to solve a second, repeating the four-step process with new insights. Therefore, computational thinking can be thought of as a helix made up of a roadway of the four steps, repeating in sequence until you reach a solution fit for the original purpose.

Where of computational thinking

Computational thinking (CT) is applicable to everyone. It empowers managers, decision makers and administrators to think laterally to generate a broader range of solutions and adapt their strategy to become more competitive. It enables technical teams to optimize their techniques based upon the latest computation, providing innovative output for analysis.

Sectors

Industry and government

Understand how high-powered computation can impact all levels and areas of your organization, to optimize efficiency through smarter decision-making.

Educational policymakers

Computational thinking should be an essential part of students' education to prepare them for later life.

Colleges and universities

Learn course-relevant computational thinking to prepare you with the right skills for the workplace.

School and teachers

Anchor computation across the curriculum to foster modern-day skills in tomorrow's employees.

Individuals

Whether you are self-employed, homeschooled or just enjoy learning, develop your skills in computational thinking here.

Fields

Engineering

Use CT to design, simulate, model, optimize and predict the behavior of your system under a variety of conditions.

Aerospace Chemical Electrical Industrial Mechanical Architecture

Biotechnology and healthcare

CT affords new analysis methods for medical data to develop more efficient systems that help make better decisions for the benefit of patients.

Bioinformatics Medicine Nursing Physiotherapy Pharmacy Optometry Dentistry Fitness

Finance and economics

From exploring market behavior to managing insurance claims, apply CT to model, optimize and solve problems.

Actuarial Accounting Banking Investing Economics Insurance Auditor

Data science and business intelligence

Use CT with modern analytical techniques to arrive at better, real, quantifiable answers where traditional techniques would fail.

Management Consultancy Administration Human resources Statistics

Science

From automating importing of data to high-powered analysis, apply CT to advance knowledge and expertise in your scientific field.

Physics Biology Chemistry Math Astronomy

Media and the arts

Use CT to realistically model natural events, create animations, design patterns or generate 3D sculptures.

Publishing Authoring Marketing Music Game design

Law and social sciences

Analyze social networks, model behaviors and carry out meaningful analysis of socioeconomic data to benefit human society and culture.

Psychology Charity Counseling Social work Teaching

Environmental

Whether it is climate change prediction, alternative energy development or pollution modeling, effectively plan to preserve the environment with CT.

Farming Conservation Waste management Geoscience

Communications and security

Develop innovative algorithms for efficient information transfer and data security through applying the CT process.

Military Telecommunications Cryptography Security

Ways we can help

We offer a set of pioneering initiatives to increase the use of computational thinking (CT) for problem-solving at all levels and in all sectors. This includes ready-made courses and materials for professionals—with or without a technical education—colleges, schools and students. We are also the foremost organization for advising policymakers and governments on reform of educational systems and building new curricula to empower the next generation with computational thinking.

Industry and

government

Educational

policymakers

Colleges and

universities

Schools and

teachers

Individuals

Industry and government

Inject computational thinking for optimized decision-making at all levels of your organization.

Computational thinking skills can benefit everyone in your organization. From enabling leaders to use complex data-based decision-making strategically in their organizations to helping developers choose more effective techniques to analyze and display information, computational thinking provides a foundation of critical skills to help your organization compete in the modern, fast-moving world.

Services

Analyzing your CT needs

Many organizations do not know how or where CT can help them. We can review your current workflows and opportunities for CT-based skills to improve efficiency. Partner with Wolfram technical services to improve computational data science solutions.

Example projects

New CT course development

We can build custom self-study modules designed specifically to meet the needs of your organization. Tailored for both technical and non-technical audiences.

Example projects

Ready-made CT courses

We can supply industry-based problem-solving modules to transform the capabilities of your workforce. Tailored for both technical and non-technical audiences.

Example outcomes

Hybrid CT and Wolfram technology training

We can provide the technical skills training needed to apply computational thinking throughout your organization using Wolfram technology.

Example projects

About our partner organization, Wolfram

Our technology is provided by our partner organization, Wolfram Research, a powerhouse of scientific and technical innovation. As a pioneer in computation and computational knowledge, the company has pursued a long-term vision to develop the science, technology and tools to make computation an ever-more-potent force in today's and tomorrow's world. We believe we are the right people to bring computational thinking to your organization. We see math from more angles than anyone else—developing software, employing mathematicians, consulting, researching and reacting to the needs of the community to build a unique perspective on computational thinking. Wolfram offers technical services to implement technology solutions for data science and modeling.

Technology

Wolfram|Alpha

Unique free web-based engine for computing answers and providing knowledge.

Wolfram|Alpha Notebook Edition

Wolfram|Alpha Notebook Edition combines the best of both W|A and Mathematica into a single, unified tool perfect for teaching and learning.

Wolfram|One

The world's first fully cloud-desktop hybrid, providing ideal access to the full repertoire of Wolfram technology.

Resources

Wolfram Programming Lab

A free way to start to program in the Wolfram Language.

An Elementary Introduction to the Wolfram Language

A free online tutorial to get you started with the Wolfram Language.

Demonstrations

See the wealth of interactives generated by the Wolfram community.

ComputationalThinking.org

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See inside a computational thinking resource

A fundamentally new curriculum—a curriculum based on the four-step problem-solving approach—requires a different approach to learning. Take a look at these screenshots from the student and teacher versions of the module "How fast could I cycle stage 7 of the An Post Rás?" showing examples of activities and steps that learners go through to solve the problems of modeling a cyclist's 155km race time.

To download the module in full, please visit the Download a module page.

Examples Pages

Module

Summary

Chapter

Introduction

Activity

(Define)

Activity

(Translate)

Activity

(Compute)

Activity

(Interpret)

Chapter

Review

Project

Primer

The learning is delivered within the context of a realistic problem narrative split into chapters and activities, leading the learner through the problem-solving process with helpful checkpoints and opportunities to discuss progress at regular intervals.

Student View Teacher View

Sample module about cycling Stage 7 of the An Post Ras. Student view shows module introduction, how to access primers and modules, how students can edit account information, a contents menu, chapter contents, an outline of the module's content, questions to be answered in each chapter.

Chapter Introduction›

Contact us to introduce computational thinking »

What is ComputationalThinking.org?

ComputationalThinking.org was founded to bring computer-based thinking to the forefront of problem-solving by optimizing the joint competence of humans and computers to take on the ideas, challenges and opportunities of everyday life. In turn, this frees up human thinking to address a multitude of bigger, more complex problems. In an age of advanced computational capability, this is not only an everyday requirement but also a crucial skill for top performers.

Intelligent computation is constantly being integrated into our everyday lives—whether that be a phone, tablet or smart automation for the house and car. But with a digital skills gap evident in today's employees, educators and employers need to step up. As computers are arguably the biggest underlying driver of human progress, our attitude toward them needs to change if we are to continue on this trajectory.

Often the answer to one question can be used to solve a second, repeating the four-step process with new insights. Therefore, computational thinking can be thought of as a helix made up of a roadway of the four steps, repeating in sequence until you reach a solution fit for the original purpose.

Aware of the growing need to actively implement computational thinking across all walks of life, Conrad Wolfram believed the emerging computing ubiquity and practicality of interface and implementation made 2010 the right time to start Computer-Based Maths—using computers in school as we do in the real world: to replace humans for calculating. By learning how to drive a computer, people are equipped to problem-solve more effectively, changing the balance of humans and computers.

Since then, it has become apparent that the employees of today lack knowledge of what's possible, experience of how to apply it and know-how of today's machinery for performing it. It's this factor that has driven Conrad and his colleagues at Wolfram Research to strive to make the skills of computational thinking accessible to everyone.

ComputationalThinking.org is only possible due to its unique position at its parent company, Wolfram Research, the epicenter of math and its applications. Wolfram Research uses high-powered math to develop the latest algorithms for Mathematica and Wolfram|Alpha software, employing mathematicians and other STEM specialists, supplying technology to the world's community of math users and interacting with leading experts from all technical fields. That's not to mention involvement with thousands of universities, schools and independent courses worldwide.

ComputationalThinking.org provides people in all stages of education and employment with tailored resources necessary to implement computational thinking in everyday life. As world leaders in computation, we provide a supportive learning environment that helps people solve the complex problems of today, using a new, methodical approach centered on computers and embracing human creativity. We believe this way of thinking builds on the new powers of automation and will enable humans to become an ever-more-potent force in today's and tomorrow's world.

ComputationalThinking.org uses its own lexicon to describe the four steps of computational thinking, upon which its resources are based: define, translate, compute and interpret. All educational material—including interactive materials and tailored training courses—is based on active problem-solving, by marking out the principal problem and leading the user through the four steps in order to find a solution.

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Apply computational thinking today

Computational thinking is an essential skill for today's age of high-powered computation. We are surrounded by intelligent computation; let's now employ it. We would like to help you apply computational thinking in your context, whether you are a student, employee, employer or individual — let us know how we can.

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