Summer Invention: Everyday Pseudocode

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written by Madeline Park

This summer, keep your invention skills sharp by writing pseudocode for different mechanisms you see in your daily life. Pseudocode is an informal description (in English) of your computer program and the first step to generating your own code. You can write pseudocode to describe everyday activities which will help your mind get used to working with conditionals, inputs, outputs and more. Pick a mechanism in your life every week to write pseudocode for and share the habit with your friends and family!

Pseudocode is important for invention because if you come up with a creative idea to make an impact, you need to know how to translate it into a real, working product. A seasonal example would be writing pseudocode for how a pool heater works. You could write something as simple as:

Input: temperature of the pool
Output 1: pump hot water into pool
Output 2: pump cold water into pool
Pseudocode: Measure the current temperature of the pool (input)
If input is more than set temperature, pump cold water into the pool (output 2) until input = desired temperature
Else, pump hot water into the pool (output 1) until input = desired temperature

That's it! Now how would you write pseudocode like this for a personal thermostat like this MIT invention?

Connie Liu