Eyebeam Presents: The Slowest Computers on Earth

Washington, D.C. campuses

GA D.C., 1776
1133 15th Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington D.C. 20005

GA D.C. (Northern Virginia)
2231 Crystal Drive #1000
Arlington VA 22202

Past Locations for this Event

Eyebeam Presents: The Slowest Computers on Earth

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. campuses

GA D.C., 1776
1133 15th Street NW, 8th Floor
Washington D.C. 20005

GA D.C. (Northern Virginia)
2231 Crystal Drive #1000
Arlington VA 22202

Past Locations for this Event

About this event

Join Kaho Abe and Ramsey Nasser - media artists & teachers - for a workshop on a module from their program called “The Slowest Computers on Earth.”

Two teams of participants will form into two “computers” competing to execute code as fast and as correctly as possible. These computers use pen and paper for memory, a grid of sponges for a screen, human minds and bodies as processing units, and a simple turing-complete assembly language as their instructions. A stack of printed code will be given to each team to execute, and clock speeds in Hertz will be measured and reported.

This embodied exercise aims to foster a visceral understanding of computation in the abstract. By not involving actual computers, Kaho and Ramsey avoid the distractions of contemporary operating systems and programming languages, and instead focus on the underlying concepts that are timeless and platform agnostic. By running this exercise before teaching actual programming, they hope to give students a foothold into reasoning about what the machine is actually doing when it is executing their code. Following the workshop, participants will discuss how an exercise like this can be incorporated into existing computer science curricula.

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