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Functions, Turing Machines, and Other HSSP Things 

Author: Naisha Srivastava

In the middle of exam season, I enrolled in my third ESP program—HSSP 2022, for a change in pace. I was thrilled and had filled my schedule with my dream classes.

I loved attending Using Computer Science to Model our World as it was a small class and we had fantastic teachers who really knew how to explain things in a way that a variety of people could understand. I enjoyed doing interactive Pear Decks and debugging code together. For the first three classes, we learned about if-else statements, libraries, functions, and games. For the last two classes, we worked on a final project that was so fun since we were grouped with people who had similar ideas and coding levels. Our project was a weather app on Glitch that allows the user to input the type of weather: sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, and an animation of the selected weather would play. For instance, for sunny weather, there would be a sun rotating, or for rainy weather, raindrops would be falling from a cloud. Overall, the class was so much fun and made me more excited to go into the STEM field!

Furthermore, it was so fascinating to learn about the Theory of Computation. We started with Language and Automata Theory which deals with definitions and properties of different types of “computation models”. Examples of such models are:

  • Finite Automata. These are used in text processing, compilers, and hardware design.
  • Context-Free Grammars. These are used to define programming languages and in Artificial Intelligence. We then ended the class by learning about Computability Theory which helps classify problems as being solvable or unsolvable. Examples of such models that help to classify problems are:
  • Turing Machines. These form a simple abstract model of a “real” computer, such as your PC at home.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned a lot.

HSSP 2022 was an amazing experience for me, not just because I learned about the parameters, finite automata, and while-statements, but also because it showed me that there are so many options and areas I could go into. I am extremely thrilled to continue attending ESP programs and learn more tidbits of interesting information!

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