It’s a puzzlement: Try these eight challenges from Harvard’s most popular class

June 3, 2020

After too many long days of home confinement, you may feel unable to tackle yet another jigsaw or crossword puzzle. Fear not. Harvard University’s most popular course, Computer Science 50 (CS50), offers the challenge you are seeking, Fortune Magazine reports.

CS50 has become a phenomenon within and beyond the university—taught simultaneously at Yale (a first); and offered for free on the EdX education platform, where it’s the number-one course.

The EdX version recently held its fifth annual Puzzle Day (which actually is four days long), Fortune reports—inviting teams from around the world to solve eight puzzles, none of which involve programming. Perhaps because so many people are stuck at home, the number of participants jumped 49% from last year to 13,427.

The eight problems that entrants are invited to solve are challenging. Really challenging. But they aren’t computer problems.

A goal of the event is to emphasize that “computer science isn’t about programming but about problem-solving more generally,”  the course’s professor, David Malan, told the news outlet. And they aren’t impossible; teams comprising 46% of participants submitted answers, and nearly all those teams answered at least some of the problems correctly.

Yes, there is an answer key, but we’re not giving it to you. You’ll fight longer and be more likely to solve a problem if finding the answer isn’t convenient. And if you eventually must surrender, you can at least take pride in finding the answer key online—although it isn’t all that hard.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *