The Overlooked Don't-Care Notion in Algorithmic Problem Solving

2009 Informatics in Education. An International Journal  
The notion of "don't care", that encapsulates the unimportance of which of several scenarios will occur, is a fundamental notion in computer science. It is the core of non-determinism; it is essential in various computational models; it is central in distributed and concurrent algorithms; and it also is relevant in sequential, deterministic algorithms. It is a valuable tool in algorithmic problem solving. Yet, in the teaching of (deterministic) algorithms it is not made explicit, and left
more » ... ored. Its implicit exposition yields limited student invocations and limited student comprehension upon its utilization. These phenomena are also due to its rather unintuitive "black-box" characteristic. In this paper, we illuminate and elaborate on this notion with six algorithmic illustrations, and describe our experience with novice difficulties with respect to this notion.
doaj:c419318617754d55904ef2c17ae695ac fatcat:4qh6lvpbavfwvdjia3a2cn343a