The morning robotics classes here at the Lab began working this week on building and programming robotic arms. They are challenged to program their robot arms to solve the Tower of Hanoi problem. Now if you’ve never heard of this challenge, it goes like this. Three vertical rods are presented. On the left rod there are a number of discs stacked in ascending order, so that the largest disc is on the bottom and the smallest is on top.
The solver must move this stack of discs so that it is on the right-most rod in the same ascending order, but two rules must be followed. First, only one disc may be moved from the top of any given rod per move. Second, a larger disc cannot be placed on top of a smaller disc.
The robot arms will only be solving a puzzle with three discs, which can be solved in a minimum of seven moves. The puzzle can quickly get more challenging by adding more discs to it. An eight disc puzzle cannot be solved with anything less than 255 moves! The point of this exercise is to demonstrate the idea of recursion which is generally used by mathematicians and computer scientists. Recursion happens when things are repeated a finite or infinite number of times. A good example of this is when you face two mirrors together. The reflection repeats itself infinitely.
Give it a try here and test your problem solving skills!
For the past 5 weeks, the Go Center at Northeast Branch Library, in Teen Zone, as been on a roll talking to students about different college options. As college students themselves, it becomes a great opportunity for them to share their stories to our students in the Youth Technology Center. Stories about financial hardships, stories about tough decisions and careers options, and stories about the independence they have achieved as they become individuals who have goals, and responsibilities, despite the hardships college can relinquish. The Go Center Mentors have been able to give our students an eye opening experience to what "College Life" is, the types of careers there are, and expose middle schools and high school students to potential colleges that focuses on their careers!
Along with the educational presentations the Go Center Mentors creates, they also have been able to obtain the trust of our teens through a verity of fun and exciting ice breakers.
We invite you to come by Teen Zone to meet our fantastic Mentors and to ask questions that may linger in mind about college. How will you pay for college? What college would best for you? What career are you most interested in? Can you change your mind about your career as you take up different courses that interest you? These are all valid questions that you can ask your Mentor and they will be happy to assist you in any way possible.
Parents have questions? They are welcomed too to come in and see what options there are to help you get into the college you really want to go to!