Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

September, 2011

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Four Dimensional Tic Tac Toe


    Back in my college days we had a computer program that played three-dimensional tic tac toe. The game was played in a four space by four space four level cube. The object of the game was to get four of you pieces in a row.  Ever since I came across the paper on Connect Four that I blogged about last month (There’s Research On That) my mind keeps returning to it for some reason. Then this morning while I was playing an online trivia game while eating breakfast a question came up about Brigadoon – the mythical village that appears once ever hundred years – and something clicked. What would a four dimensional board game look like? Suppose pieces showed up on the game for a limited time but you could place them in “the future?” How would that work? Could humans even play it reasonably? What would the rules look like? How would you define time? is it clock time or some arbitrary count of moves – however moves are defined?

    How about this.

    • A three by three by three tick tac toe cube with the goal of three in a row at once.
    • Each turn lets a player select three locations. One for now, one for the next turn, and one for the turn after that.
    • If a player selects a location and time that the other player has already selected that piece shows up once the opponent’s piece leaves. (Or should they “lose” that move?) should one player be aware of their opponent’s future moves or not?
    • Pieces stay around for three turns and disappear

    I’m not sure this game can easily be played without a computer. Not sure it can be played at all. I’m thinking about trying to write it though. You know, in my copious spare time. Smile

    It would be educational though. Learning about timing issues, collision detection and handling (ala network protocols) , critical thinking. My brain hurts thinking about the rules so what would playing it be like?

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Your Chance to Learn Windows Phone Development for Free


    WindowsPhonePeople1stMicrosoft is offering a number of FREE Phone Camps around the US. These are fun and interesting workshops – hands on – to help people learn about developing Windows Phone applications. If you are an instructor who wants to add mobile development into your courses, a student who wants to create apps and make money, or a professional or hobbyist developer looking to expand you efforts into mobile development this is an opportunity to do so. There is a long list of locations and dates with hot links to the registration pages.

    What's a Windows Phone Camp?

    A free, full day event chock-full of everything you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just getting started with .NET development this full-day event is for you. Interested in profit? We'll also lead discussions on how to monetize your applications and generate profits with your apps.

    Don't miss the new Windows Phone 7.5 (codename "Mango") features as well - with detailed sessions in the afternoon around Fast Application Switching, Multitasking, Live Tiles, Push Notifications, and more.

    The day will be capped with an
    open lab hands-on session
    and prizes for apps completed. This is the perfect opportunity to begin work on your dream application, or finish that app you've already started, with Windows Phone experts there to guide you every step of the way. Bring your own laptop to join in the fun and show off your killer app!

    Don't miss a chance to win your very own Windows Phone (ARV $500) – plus many other cool prizes. No purchase necessary, but you must be present to win.


    9:00 AM



    Welcome Campers

    9:15 AM



    How to make money with your Windows Phone app

    10:00 AM



    Frameworks for fun and profit > Silverlight and XNA



    Canteen > Install Fest

    1:00 PM



    Hands-on lab

    3:00 PM



    Cool stuff your app can do

    4:00 PM



    To the Cloud

    4:45 PM



    Be What's Next > Peoples Choice Awards

    Bring a notebook computer and identification. Also check out the APP HUB where you can get developer tools, learn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP.

    These events are brought to you by Microsoft and are free of charge. However, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own travel and accommodations.

    Event Title

    Venue City


    Windows Phone Camp

    Charlotte, NC


    Windows Phone Camp

    Atlanta, GA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Malvern, PA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Reston, VA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Chevy Chase, MD


    Windows Phone Camp

    New York, NY


    Windows Phone Camp

    Tampa, FL


    Windows Phone Camp

    Burlington, VT


    Windows Phone Camp

    Raleigh, NC


    Windows Phone Camp

    Ft. Lauderdale, FL


    Windows Phone Camp

    Orlando, FL


    Windows Phone Camp

    New Paltz, NY


    Windows Phone Camp

    Coral Gables, FL


    Windows Phone Camp

    Blacksburg, VA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Washington, DC


    Windows Phone Camp

    Pittsburgh, PA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Atlanta, GA


    Windows Phone Camp

    Long Island, NY


    Windows Phone Anchor Event

    Cambridge, MA


    Windows Phone Anchor Event



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Imagine Cup 2012–Changing The World For The Better


    imageSolving the world’s great problems! Changing the world for the better. Giving students projects that not only allow them to show what they know but do something good for the world. All of these are part and parcel of the Imagine Cup. The US Imagine Cup website is updated and ready for the 2012 season. Are you? The Imagine Cup is a worldwide competition for students ages 16 and up. This year there are three main competitions (though more are possible later on) that students may be interested in participating.  Top teams of each competition will be selected to go to the US Finals in Seattle then and may be invited to go to the WW Finals in Australia.

    The Software Design competition is the largest, most involved and most prestigious of the competitions. The challenge is to create an application, software alone or software and hardware combined, that solves one of the great problems of the world. Think healthcare, education, the environment, diversity and discrimination and more. Visit the Software Design web page to get more information

    In Game Design you can create a game for the Xbox 360, Windows or the Windows Phone. Perhaps involve the Kinect to get people up and moving? Multiplayer or single player, 3-d or 2-d,  it’s up to you. Everybody wins with games that solve critical issues.

    The IT Challenge starts out with online quizzes. Are you turning out IT whizzes? Perhaps as part of a course or perhaps as part of service learning where students help manage school networks and systems? The IT Challenge  is a chance to see how one measures up against students from around the world in Information Technology issues. And you know what? A lot of students find the challenge fun, interesting and inspires them to learn more.

    In the past several years we have seen high school students hold their own against college and university students with several making it to the US finals. We haven’t sent a high school team to the world wide finals in these three competitions yet! But this could be the year. We did see a high school team go to the worldwide event in a special competition two years ago BTW. In 2012 the worldwide finals will be in Australia. The US finals will be at Microsoft’s corporate headquarters near Seattle WA again this year. Last year it was an amazing event. This year I hope to see even more high school teams make it. And perhaps this year we’ll send some high school teams to Australia. Will that team come from your school? Start now! And let me know if I can help.

    For more news and updates you can follow the Imagine Cup online at several social networking sites.

    US Imagine Cup

    Global Imagine Cup

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