Kids today have it so easy.
Back in my day, when we wanted a computer to solve a problem, we had to write a piece of code to make it happen.
Now, there’s an app for everything, it seems!
I had a great deja vu moment the other day. I found this resource.
It’s based upon a simple premise. Ask the user to enter a number, any number, and it will return all of the factors of the number that are prime numbers.
So, 11 should return just 11 since 11 is a prime itself.
And, 12 should return 2, 2, and 3.
Simple enough, right?
How about a number that’s not quite that solved mentally, like say 777. That’s when it gets interesting and beyond the problem solving ability of mere mortals.
Of course, you (as I did) will do a little mental mathematics to check this. Or, perhaps you took the easy way out to check it with a calculator.
What particularly intrigued me was that this was a problem that I did in high school and later reused it in my own computer science classes. It’s not a trivial problem for solution but there’s huge satisfaction when you get it to work. I do recall a modification making it less open by indicating that the number input has to be equal to or less than 1000.
It also opens one of those teachable moments since 1 is not included. Hey, isn’t 1 a prime number? Great discussion ensued.
I still think that it’s a wonderful problem for students to design an algorithm and generate a computer solution.
For those students and others, there are all kinds of functionality at this resource.
Like they say, today there’s an app for darn near everything.