Computer Science Educational Breakthrough

By Ross Williams 3 June 1988.

Recent studies have shown that while undergraduate students are more intelligent
than kindergarten students, the mentality and attention span of the two groups
are similar. With this in mind, we introduce a new concept in Computer Science


One of these programs is not like the others,
One of these programs has a bug.
One of these programs is not like the others,
And if you cant tell which one, youre a mug.

One of these programs is not like the others,
One of these programs will really teach yer,
One of these programs is not like the others,
Yes, thats not a bug, thats a feature.


while ((c=getchar() != EOF) {}



Dum diddle diddle diddle dum de dum dum,
Dum diddle diddle diddle,

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F


Narrator: Hello Oscar, how are you today?

Oscar the Grouch: Go away: Ive just found a new garbage collection algorithm.

Narrator: Tell me about it Oscar….


Kermit: This is Kermit the Frog reporting for Sesame Street news. Today, we
interview Professor Biskit who works on cookie biosearch. Hello Professor
Biskit, what have you got there?

Prof: Arcchhh, I am trying to find out iv there is zarch a sing as an infinitely
long coorkie. Dis machine vill produce every sort of coorkie possible: big
cookies, dittle cookies, square cookies, round cookies. The cookies come out dis
hole here.

Kermit: You mean if you get a really long cookie, it will come out of the hole
like a sausage?

Prof: Yaaaass, thats right. Now I vill set de machine going, and ve can start
vatching de corkies.


Prof: Aass here comes one,… CLUNK

Cookie Monster: Cooooookie! Chomp.

Prof: Und another. Dis one eees square: CLUNK.

Kermit: Uh professor…

Prof: Dont bother me now, Im vatchin coorkies.

Kermit: What if there isnt an infinitely long cookie?

Prof: Then they vill come out of dis machine forever – there are an infinite
number of possible corkies you know.

Kermit: And what if the machine starts making an infinitely long cookie?

Prof: Thats obvious you frogk, I vill have to vait for it to come out.

Kermit: And how long will that take?

Prof: Forever.

Kermit: So if there isnt an infinitely long cookie, you have to wait forever
and if there is, you have to wait forever too. How are you going to find out if
there is an infinitely long cookie today?

Prof: Dont interrupt. Here comes a triangular one viff purple spots.

Cookie monster: CRUNCH. GULP.

Prof: My machine!

Kermit: Well, it looks as if the cookie monster has transcended the question of
whether there is an infinitely long cookie by eating the cookie machine. A good
thing as the computation was UNCOMPUTABLE.


Narrator: Hello Big Bird. Whats all this mess?

Big Bird: Im planting a binary tree. That way, I can nest in it and I wont
have to fly South for the winter.

Narrator: How long will it take for the tree to grow tall enough?

Big Bird: If I add branches randomly it will take me log_2(t)/1.386.

Narrator: Tell me why, Big Bird?


This program has been brought to you by the language C and the number F.

This has been a production of the Computer Science Television Workshop.


Neil: Ow, WOW heavy! My lentil binary trees are growing exponentially.

Vivian: This calls for a subtle combination of mathematics and extreme violence.

Rick: Oh you couldnt theorize even if you picked your nose with a silicon chip.

Vivian: OK, watch! This is how you dismantle a binary tree in constant time…


Neil: WOW. Heavy. Look at the mess. Look at all the garbage!

Garbage: Now theyll try to clean me up in constant time, but theyve forgotten
about all those cycles caused by curly lentils…

Vivian: Oh no we didnt because I cut all the cycles before I chopped down the

Rick: You cant do that in linear time! What sort of a snotty nosed gullible
girlie do you think I am?

Vivian: Well I had him fooled!

Neil: No you didnt! I was just waiting for the tree to spontaneously

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