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Finding the perfect algorithm in an imperfect world

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webmaster | 01/11/14

Starting this week, I’m going to Harvard University — sort of. To be exact, Harvard is going to me.

I have enrolled at, a website that offers online courses from a variety of universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown, Cornell, Berklee College of Music, and more. Anyone can audit a class for free. Those more ambitious can do the homework, tests and final projects for a certificate or — for a fee — college credit.

My chosen challenge is CS50x, “Introduction to Computer Science,” taught by David Malan, Ph.D., who apart from his doctorate in computer science is also a volunteer emergency medical technician and former forensic investigator. After viewing his opening lecture, I can add he’s an entertaining teacher as well.

I’ve long had an interest in programming. I first encountered computers during my fourth grade year at St. Joachim School. A computer lab shared by the entire campus featured educational games on Apple computers — long before the days of Windows, Mac OS, Android or iOS...


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