It was fun.

Big O notation was quite useful, as well as many of the algorithms we learned. I found the Sieve of Eratosthenes most fascinating. 

I had a great time getting to know everyone in the wonderful Computer Simulations and Interactive Media, as cliche as it is. 

Thank you so much, Sherol, for being the chillest teacher we could have and teaching us all we know about design and prototyping (two terms we have all come to know and love by heart). 

Also shoutout to the best TAs/ counselors Julie and Peter.

And I’ll miss most of you all.


Final Project – Morse Code

For Jeni, Mei, and my final project, we made a two-part, interactive Morse code converter/ teacher.

Part of it is physical – the user presses buttons on an Arduino board to simulate Morse dots, dashes, and spaces. An LED lights up with every dot/dash, and the speaker buzzes. Another button plays back the whole input sequence, flashes and buzzes and all.

The other part is a prototype done in Processing of what we hoped to have been able to make. Similarly, the user presses the mouse for short or long durations and the computer stores the dots and dashes respectively. This prototype also translates the Morse sequence into alphabetical letters.


Had we more time, Mei, Jeni, and I would have attempted to combine these two parts and made a cleaner, more interactive and teach-y user interface.

All the code, Arduino, Processing, etc., can be found here:

Guest speaker – Sebastian Alvarado

Yesterday Sebastian Alvarez spoke to our Comp Sim class.


this is not the cancer cell game though

Sebastian introduced his unique new game presenting cancer/ cancerous cells to users as a biological factor, rather than something to be demonized and regarded as taboo. He also spoke to us about his company Thwacke, which provides 100% scientifically accurate facts to science fiction entertainment producers (like Marvel superhero movies, video games, etc).

Bonus points – he also did some sick magic.

Thank you for the engaging talk Sebastian!

You do you – Jay Silver

Today our Comp Sim class had Jay Silver, maker of MaKey MaKey as a guest speaker.

Jay not only gave us some inside history about the production of MaKey MaKey, but also provided us strong life advice about doing what we really want to do. Ignore what other people say unless you feel personally obliged to take it – everyone should have and follow their own set of ideals.

Thank you Jay Silver!

Shoutout to Jay’s brother Beau who also gave us guidance about our careers and such.

Thank you Mike Marmarou!

Yesterday we were also able to have Mike Marmarou from Apple speak to us about our futures! <cornydramaticsoundeffect.mp3>

Mike gave us a ton of very thorough advice on what to do and look out for these next few crucial years leading up to college, starting a career, et cetera, et cetera (no big). He talked to us about what software companies look for in interviewees, as well as what to expect in big companies like Apple. 

Thank you, Mike Marmarou, for the solid guidance. I will definitely remember this talk in the years to come.

Thank you Bret Victor!

Yesterday the amazing Bret Victor presented to our class about his equally awesome projects.

He demonstrated his innovative new ideas about information sharing and coding in an interactive storyboard, artistic kind of fashion. Programmers can see their changes in real time rather than having to compile or hit “run” (“Inventing on Principle”), like how an artist effects changes to their piece an immediately sees how it would turn out and what further changes he/she should make. When the general public reads statistics or proposition information, they can interact with the data to see how much effect a percentage modification can have. This is the future Bret is paving.

Thank you so much for speaking with us, Bret Victor! The presentation was both awing and inspirational. 

See Bret’s cool projects here.

Final Project Proposal

For our (Mei, Jeni, me) final project, our prototype will be about teaching people the wonders of Morse code, which has historical significance from its importance during World War II. Users will learn how to send messages encoded in Morse, and hopefully some of the history behind the development of it. It will be an interactive exhibit using the Arduino micro-processor. The user will be able to push buttons which will transmit a signal to the computer which will then display a message. The design would fit in the Exploratorium through its physical interactivity.
Easy version –
  *translates user input and displays on computer
  *two buttons on Arduino, one for a “dot” and one for a “dash”
Clever version –
  *one button on Arduino, short press for a “dot” and long press for a “dash”
  *takes user to a interactive fiction type story about the history of Morse code
  *Arduino outputs sound when user inputs “dots” and “dashes”
Advanced version –
  Designer – Jeni, Mei, Claire
  Programmer – Claire, Mei
  Artist – Jeni, Mei
  Wiring – Jeni, Mei