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Math Games

16-Year-Old Creates Scientific/Graphing Calculator In Minecraft 160

New submitter petval tips another amazing Minecraft project: a functioning scientific/graphing calculator. "On a virtual scale, the functional device is enormous — enough so that anyone in the real world would become a red blot of meat and bone staining the road if they fell from the very top. Honestly, his virtual machine looks more like a giant cargo ship ripped from a sci-fi movie than a working calculator. Yet type your problem out on the keypad, and the answer appears on a large white display mounted on the side of the monstrous brick structure." The creator says it can do "6-digit addition and subtraction, 3-digit multiplication, division and trigonometric/scientific functions ... Graphing y=mx+c functions, quadratic functions, and equation solving of the form mx+c=0." We've previously discussed the creation of a 16-bit ALU in Minecraft.

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16-Year-Old Creates Scientific/Graphing Calculator In Minecraft

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  • Nicely done sir (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schrodingersGato ( 2602023 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:41PM (#39479411)
    Well, if these games can get younger people interested in the concepts of programming, I'm all for it. I'm not a fan of most online games, but I have to say this is really cool. I think more games should provide an environment to explore programming (optionally of course)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:45PM (#39479451)

    I don't think a kid who has the ability to create this in Minecraft will be having too much trouble with their SATs...

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:01PM (#39479585) Homepage

    It's impressive in the sense that this guy created a fairly simple "computer", using a limited game environment (Minecraft), running on a virtual machine (Java), running on a physical machine (PC/Mac). In other words, he's spending a million CPU cycles to simulate a single gate in the most roundabout way possible.

    I'm impressed that someone with that much patience and functional intellect is wasting so much time in Minecraft, when they could be learning actual chip design. I'm impressed that bragging rights in a game are more important than actual worthwhile accomplishments. I'm impressed that Soulskill wasted so many more of our CPU and brain cycles sharing this pointless feat.

    Get. Off. My. Fucking. Lawn. Bitches.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:02PM (#39479593)
    Video doesnt explain, but probably he uses taylor series. []
  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @07:11PM (#39479649)
    Considering the amount of research and understanding that it took to build this thing, I highly doubt this was a "waste of time". Also, it is an awesome showcase of his abilities to future employers and colleagues. You could argue that he could have built a real calculator from transistors instead but that would probably take money that a lot of 16 year olds simply do not have.
  • by Pseudonym Authority ( 1591027 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:40PM (#39480367)

    skipped the whole stupid "show your work" crap which just slowed me down

    You really do need to show your work. It's not an issue for 25+13, but for any real problem it is essential. Try doing vector calculus without showing any work. It doesn't make you smart if you can, it makes you stupid to try. The work is a proof that validates your answer. Not showing the work in math is like not supporting any of your conclusions with arguments in philosophy. That's why they try to train kids to do it early.

    Honestly, if your tutor didn't realize that, then she was a pretty terrible teacher.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:53PM (#39480433)

    Agreed... however, it's a sad fact of life that only 16 year olds have enough free time to do stuff like this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @10:48PM (#39481011)

    But they usually get burned out in College. They are so used to having everything easy that when they start taking hard classes they don't know how to deal with failure.

  • by Rhacman ( 1528815 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @11:22AM (#39484797)
    I wholly agree and offer some additional examples.

    As a teachers assistant in college I tried to grade papers the way I would want to have my papers graded. If students had an answer that was wrong or off by a bit I could justify giving some points if prior steps showed proper application of the techniques being taught. If very few or no steps are shown then I may have limited or no basis to award partial credit. Additionally, if a student showed their work (clearly) then I could often help identify the step where they went astray and mark it as such. Not all graders or instructors go to these lengths, but without showing work you eliminate the possibility.

    As an engineer I still value when people show their work. The level of detail that should be shown will naturally vary but the burden of sifting through more detail will almost always outweigh the burden of not having enough. If a conclusion turns out to be false in a classroom you don't get credit. If a conclusion turns out to be false in the workplace you need to fix it. The amount of time it takes to troubleshoot the source of an error will generally be directly proportional to the amount of detail the engineer that came to that conclusion preserved in documentation.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!