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ERIC GRIMSON: Welcome to the 6.00x, often referred to as

the introduction to computer science and programming.

It's odd to have both of those terms in the title, but both

of them are important.

This course is going to be not just about teaching you how to

program a computer, how to tell the computer instructions

that it can understand.

It's also going to be really important to create within you

a capability to think computationally.

So our goal is to let you become skillful at not only

getting the computer to do something, but to do that

thing that you want it to, to get it to solve a problem.

By the end of this course, we hope that your first instinct

when faced with any interesting challenge is to

first think about how could I capture that challenge, that

problem in an algorithmic or mechanical description of

steps such that I could get the computer to do

the work for me.

If you can do that, it's going to give you a great deal of

advantage as you face any kind of problem.

And those are the skills that you're going to see throughout

this course.

Now if our goal is to have you learn how to get a computer to

do something for you, how to talk to the computer, how to

think algorithmically.

1 of the questions we can ask is, so what's the computer

going to do for us?

What's it actually good at?

That seems like probably an odd question.

After all, we know computers could do a ton of things.

But it's still important to go back to a very fundamental and

basic point.

What does a computer do?

In fact it does 2 things and 2 things only.

It performs some calculations, and it remembers results so

that it can reuse them.

Now you'd say, OK, so it performs calculations.

That seems fine.

But what kinds of calculations.

Well, it turns out that every computer comes with a simple

set of primitive calculations, things that we call built in.

They're provided by the manufacturer as the basic

elements that a computer could use.

We'll see some examples of that shortly.

If that's all we have, that's pretty limiting.

So a key thing, as we go through the material in this

course, is to learn how we can create our own methods for

computing something, how we can capture the computational

way of thinking about something in a manner that

could be used by the computer, and to do it in a way whereby

the computer can abstract that.

By that we mean that the computer can figure out how to

take what you tell it and turn it into something that it can

now treat as if it were a primitive, something that was

provided by the manufacturer, and reuse that throughout its

computations.

So our computers are going to do calculations for us, using

a set of built-in primitives, plus things that we add.

Now you might ask, gee, is that enough?

If it turns out that a computer can just perform

primitives calculations, it's not sufficient.

Well, as I'm sure you already realize, modern computers can

perform most calculations incredibly quickly.

And so one question is if we can do them fast enough is

that sufficient to do interesting things?

Let's look at both parts of that.

First of all, how quickly does a modern

computer actually run?

Well, let me give you a simple little thought example.

the introduction to computer science and programming.

It's odd to have both of those terms in the title, but both

of them are important.

This course is going to be not just about teaching you how to

program a computer, how to tell the computer instructions

that it can understand.

It's also going to be really important to create within you

a capability to think computationally.

So our goal is to let you become skillful at not only

getting the computer to do something, but to do that

thing that you want it to, to get it to solve a problem.

By the end of this course, we hope that your first instinct

when faced with any interesting challenge is to

first think about how could I capture that challenge, that

problem in an algorithmic or mechanical description of

steps such that I could get the computer to do

the work for me.

If you can do that, it's going to give you a great deal of

advantage as you face any kind of problem.

And those are the skills that you're going to see throughout

this course.

Now if our goal is to have you learn how to get a computer to

do something for you, how to talk to the computer, how to

think algorithmically.

1 of the questions we can ask is, so what's the computer

going to do for us?

What's it actually good at?

That seems like probably an odd question.

After all, we know computers could do a ton of things.

But it's still important to go back to a very fundamental and

basic point.

What does a computer do?

In fact it does 2 things and 2 things only.

It performs some calculations, and it remembers results so

that it can reuse them.

Now you'd say, OK, so it performs calculations.

That seems fine.

But what kinds of calculations.

Well, it turns out that every computer comes with a simple

set of primitive calculations, things that we call built in.

They're provided by the manufacturer as the basic

elements that a computer could use.

We'll see some examples of that shortly.

If that's all we have, that's pretty limiting.

So a key thing, as we go through the material in this

course, is to learn how we can create our own methods for

computing something, how we can capture the computational

way of thinking about something in a manner that

could be used by the computer, and to do it in a way whereby

the computer can abstract that.

By that we mean that the computer can figure out how to

take what you tell it and turn it into something that it can

now treat as if it were a primitive, something that was

provided by the manufacturer, and reuse that throughout its

computations.

So our computers are going to do calculations for us, using

a set of built-in primitives, plus things that we add.

Now you might ask, gee, is that enough?

If it turns out that a computer can just perform

primitives calculations, it's not sufficient.

Well, as I'm sure you already realize, modern computers can

perform most calculations incredibly quickly.

And so one question is if we can do them fast enough is

that sufficient to do interesting things?

Let's look at both parts of that.

First of all, how quickly does a modern

computer actually run?

Well, let me give you a simple little thought example.

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