COSMOS: Computers in Everyday Life
The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a 4-week residential summer program designed for talented and motivated high school students. UCSD currently has eight clusters focused on science and engineering. Our “Computers in Everyday Life” cluster explores concepts in computer science and electrical engineering.
These days computers are everywhere. They make our cars safer and more efficient through the use of over 100 processors that control everything from the brakes and engine to the stereo; they are used in robots to perform surgeries which reduces pain and quickens the healing process; they allow us to explore our universe by controlling satellites, rovers, and telescopes. There are billions of these “embedded computers” all around us that control devices, analyze signals and collect data as we go about our daily lives.
This course provides an introduction to computation through three interwoven threads. It starts by teaching the fundamentals of programming where students use a programming language called AppInventor to create mobile phone applications. It continues with developing the intelligence for the Scribbler robot to perform tasks like finding objects and avoiding obstacles. Next we delve “under the hood” and perform experiments using Arduino microcontrollers along with touch, temperature, motion, and other sensors. The cluster concludes with a final project where students form small teams and create a project of their choosing.