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.
Prime Factorization Calculator
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.
Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.