By being remote, we were able to have campers from all over the country. In fact, our star camper from this year lives in California.
That star camper burned through all our curriculum in record time, and we were forced to develop new challenges for him every week. I put our former star camper—now in high school and one of our lead instructors—on the job.
After the summer we briefly lost touch with this camper, so I emailed his dad—himself an engineer—inquiring about what kind of additional programming instruction they might be interested in. We settled on informal two-hour sessions every weekend. We’ve been working on various projects on our ComputerCraft server, and lately both said camper and said instructor have been blowing my mind with the code they’re writing.
The first amazing piece of code was for a mod I was only just being introduced to. The mod allows you to write Python code to modify the Minecraft environment. This application—written by an 11-year-old entirely on his own—creates random parkour at various difficulty levels, including checkpoints. This is just a taste:
The last few weeks we’ve been exploring the printer functionality in ComputerCraft. While printers are a thing and there is an API to print to them, there are no built-in programs to actually turn text into a printed page. For example, any call to print to the page just prints a single line and extra characters beyond the width of that line are not printed. So we had to write our own printing program to print multiple lines, then multiple pages. Again, I’m including just a portion of the program:
Finally, that instructor I mentioned has spent the last number of weeks programming a turtle—the ComputerCraft computers that can move around and interact with their environment like robots—to take a copy of one 3D area of Minecraft and duplicate it. This was a particularly large piece of Lua code. I had a hard time picking a chunk with which to demonstrate its complexity:
In collaboration with IBM Quantum, we’re offering the first ever year-long quantum course for 5,000 high school students and above. Complete with weekly lectures and labs led by TAs, students will be introduced to the field of quantum, including quantum mechanics, quantum computation, and quantum algorithms. Through the course, students will even run a program on a real quantum computer.