parallelUniverse 2015
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > parallelUniverse 2015

Aaron Weeden taught day one of the Parallel Universe workshop. He began his lesson by introducing the students to the various workings of computers. Among these things included the way in which the computer handles numbers which it cannot 100% accurately process, and which numbers the computer can and cannot 100% accurately process process. In one such exercise, he demonstrated how when one plugs (3/6 - 2/6 - 1/6) into Excel, instead of the expected zero excel tells you that your answer is 5.55112 * 10^-17 (a number extremely close to, but not quite zero). Aaron continued the lesson by showing the amazing processing capabilities of Excel, including its ability to continue patterns and to quickly process huge amounts of data. Next, he showed how to easily manipulate large amounts of data using things such as functions and logic such as if statements.

Next, having finished the “How do you Know” section that almost every workshop goes through, we moved onto the main topic of the workshop, Supercomputing and Parallel computing. After a brief discussion about what every student already knew about supercomputer and parallel computing, we closed Excel and moved onto the next part of the workshop. Aaron demonstrated to the students the Interactivate section of Shodor, and used a Forest Fire model to demonstrate how to interpret data from a simulation. After using this for some time, we moved onto the final thing of the day. To conclude the day, Aaron demonstrated the difference between theoretical and actual probability, using the fire model, and then using a graphing tool to show the difference between the two. In addition, at the very end of the day, we used “Parallel Processing” in real life, using the students to each describe what happened today.