Our previous Did You Know? from our Young Computer Scientists (YCS) series let many of you wow your friends with your knowledge. We heard you! We have decided to bring back more fun facts – this time from our Advanced Computer Scientists series.

Our ACS student having fun in class!
Our ACS student having fun in class!

In the P21S Advanced Computer Scientists (ACS) course, our 10-to-12-year-olds can collect 12 different badges. Each badge allows them to delve into diverse fields of application for coding, from UI/UX design experience to Game Development and Math, just to name a few.

Turtle Race by Emily, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Turtle Race by Emily, 12 years old
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12, Advanced Computer Scientists
Space Invaders by Luciano, 12 years old

The ACS programme spans three main types of learning – Hardware-Based, Syntax-Based and App Development. Upon completion, our students would have had hands-on experience with bots and be well-versed in writing real-world apps and programs that they can use to help others.

Photo of ACS Class
Our curious Advanced Computer Scientists trying out in-class activities

Without further ado, check out these 3 ‘Did You Know’ facts that we share with our ACS students in our award-winning curriculum – and make sure to pass on the knowledge to others! 😉

1. Role Playing Games

What defines a Role Playing Game (RPG)? It is a game where a player takes on the role of a fictional character in a fictional world – fantasy being the common thread. Most RPGs have character growth and advancement, coupled with an entrancing plot that immerses players into the lore and the world of the game [1]. A good RPG is balanced, will keep gamers hooked for hours, and leave a lasting impression.

For the more mature gamers out there (like your parents, teachers, and maybe even yourself), big names like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, and more old school games come to mind when they think of RPGs. Now, we have more recent or remastered titles such as the new Doom, Divinity Original Sin 2, Monster Hunter: World and The Witcher 3.

Snapshot of Online HBL class
Snapshot of Online Home-Based Learning class for ACS

In Python Choose Your Own Adventure, our ACS students learn about RPGs. They get to code their character creation, equipment upgrades and boss fights. Classes also touch on game design topics, like balancing their games. This refers to tweaking a game to be interesting, deep, and fair [2]. Game balance affects battles and a person’s progression in a game.

Imagine being stuck on the tutorial and unable to level up? What about reaching the maximum level in 2 hours and there is nothing else for you to do? RPGs with the level and experience system usually make starting levels easier to level up and almost impossible at higher levels. Without balance, people will quickly get bored of the game.

2. Global Positioning System

When modelling an app after Healthy 365, our ACS students learn about UI/UX design and tap on the many different sensors found in our phones. Do you know how our phones are able to find our location or track our number of steps?

We’ve all heard of GPS. The Global Positioning System (GPS) used to be a satellite-based radio navigation system owned by the United States government [3]. When the project was initiated, the 24-satellite system became fully functional in 1993 and was used to perform trilateration to pinpoint your exact location on Earth. Trilateration measures distance. Your position would be determined by the intersection of multiple intersections of GPS signals [4].

When it comes to tracking our steps, Abraham Louis Perrelet is the brilliant mind behind the pedometer [5]. Through the years, multiple improvements have been made to the pedometer. From the ancient versions using mechanical switches to the current day’s implementation with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors and sophisticated software.

3. Quiz Gameshow

Come on down, it’s time for the quiz gameshow! Our ACS students get to code their own quizzes and learn more about programming, such as extensibility and the incremental build model. We also include fun facts, like this one… Legend has it that “quiz” is actually a very recent word created in the late 1700s. The story behind the word is a bizarre one and here is how it goes.

A wager was made in 1791 by Richard Daly in Dublin. He wagered that within 48 hours he could make a nonsense word be spoken throughout Dublin, one with no meaning and not derived from any language. He sent his employees to go around Dublin chalking the word “Quiz” everywhere and soon this word became the talk of the town which meant that Daly won the bet and this caused the word to become commonly used.

Of course, this story is not 100% factual and there are many sources that dispute the truth of this story [6]. So for now, let’s just say this is a folktale – and an interesting one too.

Our ACS student exploring the course
Our ACS student exploring the course

Now that you’re armed with all of this cool information, spread the joy of learning by sharing this with your friends and family! 

Come onboard our Advanced Computer Scientists’ programme – where we help to build your child’s aspiration of becoming the next future leader in technology!


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A record number of our students achieved medals in this year’s prestigious 23rd National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) and we celebrate their achievements! The NOI is modelled after the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), one of the most highly-distinguished annual informatics competitions for high school students in the world.

This year’s bumper crop of medallists includes 1 Silver and 7 Bronze winners who are between 13 and 17 years old! Our winning students have been learning C++ and growing with us after being spotted in their Python classes for their programming prowesses. It is truly a great sight to see them flourish and become phenomenal medallists!

NOI spots are reserved for every school’s top students to participate, so only few can represent their school, and only the best can attain medals in the Olympiad. We’re even more proud of the fact that many of our medallists came to us as complete beginners in programming (some started at the age of 10!), and were carefully nurtured in our classes right under the noses of our eagle-eyed tutors to achieve their results. Well done!

Presenting to you Coding Lab’s 23rd NOI medallists:

Vayun Mathur, 15Silver Medallist
Kushaan Mishra, 17Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
James Pearman, 14Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
Caleb Chia, 13Bronze Medallist (First Attempt)
David Walton, 15Bronze Medallist
Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17Bronze Medallist
Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16Bronze Medallist
Elijah Yong, 14Bronze Medallist

Silver Medallist

Vayun Mathur, 15

Singapore American School
Coding Lab Vayun Silver Medallist
Vayun (left) won a Silver Medal at the NOI

The Olympiad is one of Computing’s biggest annual competitions in Singapore and the Silver Medal is awarded to the top 20% of participants. We’re so proud of our young innovator for being 1 of the 32 Silver Medallists this year! An Olympiad medal is highly recognised for admissions to top universities around the world. During the competition, contestants are given five hours to work out solutions to algorithmic tasks. This does not only require skills such as programming and testing, but also Mathematics and in-depth knowledge of designing algorithms, data structures and information theory.

Our bright student Vayun has been in the news before, with features on Google and international news network CGTN. He has performed well once again and we congratulate Vayun on getting the Silver Medal!

Read: Coding Lab CGTN feature


3 Bronze Medallists (First Attempt)

Kushaan Mishra, 17

Singapore American School

James Pearman, 14

Dulwich College Singapore

Caleb Chia, 13

Anglo-Chinese School Independent

Coding Lab’s Bronze Medallists made up 7 of the 49 Bronze Medallists in this year’s NOI. As one of the most prestigious computer science competitions, it’s not an easy feat to attain medals and our 3 students did Coding Lab and their schools proud when they emerged as bronze medallists on their first attempts! Our youngest medallist, Caleb Chia (just 13 years old!), has been with us since he was in primary school and we’re proud of his growth! All participants had to undergo a Preliminary Round to qualify for the NOI. Despite being new to the competition, our students ranked well and went on to clinch medals at the NOI.

Coding Lab NOI Bronze First Attempt
(from left) Kushaan, James, Coach Guangxuan, Jun Ray and Caleb

We are proud of our students’ remarkable achievements and commend their hard work to overcome the odds, especially during this pandemic. A round of applause for Kushaan, James and Caleb!


4 Bronze Medallists

National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) 2019 Medallists
Elijah (left) and David at NOI 2019

David Walton, 15

United World College SEA Dover Campus

Faiz Ali Shoaib, 17

United World College SEA Dover Campus

Elijah Yong, 14

Anglo-Chinese School Independent

Bobis Franc Ivan Lorenzo, 16

Gan Eng Seng School

These 4 students were able to pit their computing skills against talented coders from more than 30 other schools and gain invaluable experiences in the Olympiad. Their consistent effort and hard work paid off as they took on programming tasks and made their mark at the reputable NOI.

This year’s medallists include Elijah Yong, who was awarded Youngest Medallist in last year’s NOI. The 14-year-old has been with us since he was a Primary Five student, when we spotted his potential and invited him to join our NOI programme. The Coding Lab team is proud to have seen him grow over the years into a confident teenager with medals under his belt and we commend him for his consistent hard work!

Read: Elijah Yong, Youngest Medallist at NOI 2019

Image of Elijah receiving award for youngest medalist, NOI 2019
Elijah receiving award for Youngest Medallist, NOI 2019

The Coding Lab team is proud of our students for clinching the Bronze Medals, and we celebrate their achievements. Great job David, Faiz, Bobis and Elijah!

Congratulations to our outstanding students! We’re proud of our 8 students for coding their way to the top with their tenacity and hours of training, even overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic. They had been training once a week since the beginning of the year to prepare for the NOI and it was heartening to see their hard work pay off! We also thank Coach Guangxuan for his dedication, training and guidance of our students.

Whilst we celebrate our students’ success in this arena, we recognise that competitive programming is merely a subset of the full scope of programming. Many of our students have achieved success in wider aspects; whether it’s creating a Stock Rating Algorithm, a Real-Time Carpark Tracker, a prize-winning app or attaining an overseas scholarship to read Computer Science at University, we’re here to support our students every step of the way.

Interested to find out more? Check out the Python Programming and Elective courses we offer for Secondary school and Junior College students.


Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletters.

Who said that learning has to be serious all the time? Get your friends and family tech tinkering this September holidays with these three activities you can get involved in!

Startup Weekend Singapore 2020

Calling all youths! You might just find your next brilliant startup idea here. This was the event that birthed Carousell, the local tech startup giant, back in 2012. This year, it will be held entirely online – so youths from anywhere in the world can join – and this includes you.

Whether you’re a hustler, designer or developer, this safe, inclusive and exploratory space is open to all. Go forth and bring your ideas to life!

Startup Weekend Singapore 2020

Details:
25 – 27 September 2020
Online, from anywhere in the world
Price: Early bird tickets at $6.38
(Get a limited edition hack and rave kit worth $150)
To find out more, click here.


Tech@Shopee Career Day

This is for the older ones who are curious about the tech career path. Whether you’re an undergraduate, postgraduate or working professional, Shopee welcomes you to their first-ever virtual tech career fair!

Join the full-day of sharing sessions from the Shopee Tech teams (Engineering, Data Science, Data Analytics, UI/UX Design, and more), get a tour of the office, and ask the leaders and recruiters your burning questions.

Registration closes on 25 September, 12pm (SGT), sign up now by clicking here.

Tech@Shopee Career Day

Details:
Saturday, 26 September
9:30am – 5:00pm
Online
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


Board Game Arena

It’s board games galore! You don’t have to download or fork out anything – simply open your web browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.) and go to their website.

From Backgammon to 7 Wonders and Chess, take your pick from the wide range of games available. While you have fun, think about how board games have been digitalised and what codes have made this possible!

Screenshot of Board Game Arena

Details:
Anytime
Online
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


GCE ‘O’ Levels Computing Tuition

Break knowledge barriers with our tuition programme, which equips our students with the knowledge to tackle both the theory and practical components of the exam. Our programme enables you to achieve content mastery over both Paper 1 and 2!

Acquire proficiency in using spreadsheets and Python programming under exam-like conditions to ace your exam, achieving your A1. With small class sizes of no more than 4 per class, students are sure to get full attention from our expert educators.

GCE O Level Computing Tuition

Details:
Every Tuesday (Sec 4) and Thursday (Sec 3) until 20 and 22 October
Parkway Parade and Bukit Timah (King Albert Park)
To find out more, click here.


As an individual, with your friends or family, get everyone involved in tech with these #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth. Enjoy your September holidays and good luck to all students doing PSLE, O Levels, A Levels and every other examination!

Psst, our October Post-PSLE camps are now open for registrations. Here are some promo codes for you!
Either Buy 2 or more classes and get 12% OFF when you use the promo code SUPERCODER
OR Buy any 1 class and get 10% OFF with the promo code UNITEDWECODE.

We hope everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out things to do post-Circuit Breaker! This includes Jewel Changi Airport, Netflix Singapore shows and other post-CB techtivities here.

Educational approaches around the world are now focusing on STEAM as opposed to the traditional STEM framework. Why is this so? How does STEAM impact our children’s future? And what can you do for your child?


“To prepare our young to seize these opportunities … we have to focus more on applied learning … we have to promote lifelong learning.

– Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

What is STEAM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The initial STEM education pushed for advancements in technology, yet something started to become more apparent. We can have lots of bots, but you can’t code creativity or program imagination. 

It begged the question: What’s the point of having high-tech robots without creative minds that can take ideas further? 

Thus, the integration of Arts into STEM began. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Yakman [1] breaks it down into the STEAM Pyramid (as seen below), which illustrates how imparting content-specific subjects in primary, secondary, tertiary and higher education can lead to holistic, lifelong skills and a great foundation for your child’s aspirations.

The STEAM Pyramid by Yakman (2008)
The STEAM Pyramid by Yakman (2008) breaks down the course of academic content to lifelong learning in STEAM education.

While STEM pushed for using math and science concepts integrated with engineering design to create real-world technologies, the Arts was needed to fill in the gap of essential life skills. This included innovating, creativity, critical thinking, possibility thinking, and much more [2, 3, 4].

Though the term ‘STEAM’ is not widely used in Singapore, it’s clear that the Ministry of Education is also gearing up for STEAM education for our young ones. “This is an investment worth making to nurture innovation and creativity,” the then Minister for Education (Schools), Ng Chee Meng, said. “And importantly, prepare our children for the future.” [5]

STEAM Education for the Future

STEAM was proposed as the perfect harmony of the logical STEM and creative Arts in 2008 [1] as creativity became highly valued in modern education [6]. The blending of subjects enabled children to improve their cognitive and affective skills, while internally motivating them to learn [2]. 

With it came a bonus advantage: teaching the Arts would include hands-on and emotional learning experiences that would interest and internally motivate children in their education [4]. This would engage students in the content and improve their success in STEM subjects as well [3].

Ultimately, the aim of Arts in STEM education is to impart creativity and critical thinking. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this skill is important today. It would also widen their horizons into thinking about the world, empathy, communication and the social sciences [1]. The arts is where things like education, sociology and linguistics fall under, and are also connected to STEM fields.

It’s full STEAM ahead!

Since 2013, Singapore has been integrating STEAM into our education system. Aside from making coding mandatory for students, all primary schools will offer Applied Learning Programmes (ALP) by 2023, which aims to cater to different interests, including STEM, aesthetics, languages, humanities, entrepreneurship and many more [5]. Although not explicitly named STEAM, it is evident that the ALP comprises STEM and Arts (or Aesthetics).

You can view the list of Singapore Secondary Schools that have ALP by clicking here (last updated 20 August 2020).

This provides a new avenue for Direct School Admissions (DSA), with schools like the School of Science and Technology and National Junior College already naming STEAM in their selection criteria. International Schools like the Stamford American School and Canadian International School have also integrated STEAM into their schools. The term STEAM may not be used, but this holistic education is around us.

Speaking about applied learning, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: “Our challenge now is to continue creating opportunities for our young to fulfil their aspirations in a future which is going to be very different. An economy which is more sophisticated and diversified, where the growth is going to come from productivity improvements and new products and services, not yet dreamt of or invented.” [7]

“To prepare our young to seize these opportunities,” PM Lee continued, “we have to focus more on applied learning … we have to promote lifelong learning.” [7]

What can you do for your child?

To create a comprehensive foundation for your child’s future, it is essential to integrate creativity through the Arts in a way that naturally fits into STEM [3]. This prepares them for life and the future where STEAM comes together for great things and real-world solutions. 

In the 21st century, using IT is an attractive alternative to learn STEAM contents for a digital generation [2], while also promoting computational and technological literacy [8]. Coding is a great example of integrative STEAM learning, which utilises math and science skills while applying creativity to designs to solve problems. For example, our 7 to 9-year olds learn Scratch, a colourful drag-and-drop programming platform that kickstarts their coding journeys. 

A 2 player Scratch game by Nelle, 9 years old, at our Art x Coding Camp
A 2 player Scratch game by Nelle, 9 years old, at our Art x Coding Camp

Aside from learning the basics of coding in an eye-catching interface, it also imparts many other skills. From brainstorming for their projects to bringing it to fruition, the process includes problem-solving codes, drawing and designing their own games and characters, and self-confidence as they strengthen their abilities. 


One does not have to aspire to be a computer scientist to learn to code.

– Foo Yong Ning, founder of Coding Lab

When parents are involved in the coding process, there are other potential and powerful learning experiences of coding such as providing avenues for bonding and interacting through a shared experience. Coding also calls for active participation and inquiry-based learning [8]. Coupled with hands-on experiences when learning software and programming hardware (such as sensors and microcontrollers), applying what they have learned would also foster understanding and encourage deeper learning of STEAM [3]. 

Find out: Our hands-on classes for 7 to 9-year-olds, 10 to 12-year-olds and 13 to 18-year-olds.

“One does not have to aspire to be a computer scientist to learn to code,” says Foo Yong Ning, the founder of Coding Lab. “Coding provides our students with rich STEAM learning experiences and the space to embark on their own coding projects.

This enables students to take ownership of their own personal projects, learning responsibility and feeling a sense of connection with something that they have invested time and effort in.

Along the way, problems and possibly even failure are bound to be part of the coding journey, but it is these experiences that teach valuable lessons to everyone, and the eventual feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment make the journey feel worth it.”

Ultimately, the feelings of success and personal fulfilment are important to spur our children on to get engaged in STEAM learning and education to build a solid foundation for their future. By learning to code, these experiences nurture future leaders in technology and fully-literate 21st-century citizens.

Kickstart your child’s STEAM-integrated coding journey by clicking here!

Fun Techtivities for Post-Circuit Breaker

This time, we bring to you a mix of online and physical activities for post-Circuit Breaker. Just make sure your groups are a maximum of five people and don’t forget your mask!

Jewel Changi Airport attractions

Singapore’s sparkling Jewel Changi Airport is giving 55% off Canopy Park attractions tickets in the month of August. Celebrate National Day with this offer that only lasts for the month of August!

Before 10 August, you can get UNLIMITED access to the attractions for THREE MONTHS when you purchase specific bundles.

*Terms & Conditions here.

Photo of Jewel Changi's Canopy Park Attraction

Details:
Jewel Changi Airport
Price: From $3.60
To access it, click here.


Singaporean Shows on Netflix Singapore

Missed Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd (1997-2007), The Little Nyonya (2009) or Ah Boys to Men (2012-2013)? You can finally binge these classic Singaporean shows on the streaming platform, Netflix. It even includes films like Ilo Ilo (2013), the first Singaporean feature film to win at the Cannes Film Festival.

As the episode counts down to the next and you get shows recommended to you, have a think about how Netflix made these mechanics possible. Challenge your children to think about algorithms and programming in a new light as trailers autoplay too!

Photo for Netflix Singapore

Details:
Netflix
Price: From $11.98/month or 30-day free trial
To access it, click here.


September Holiday coding camps

Let your child make stories and games from their wildest imaginations after learning drag-and-drop programming platforms Scratch and App Inventor, or the text-based Python. We’ve even infused Physics and Math in our coding classes for our budding computer scientists to make more life-like games and programs like Spin the Wheel and Fidget Spinners!

With the Choice of Online or Physical classes – easily find the best fit for your child’s schedule.

September Holiday Camps 2020

Details:
7 – 11 September
Online, Parkway Parade or King Albert Park (Bukit Timah)
For Ages 7-18

To sign up and for more details, click here.


Go forth into the Post-Circuit Breaker world for the long weekends and our nation’s birthday month! Don’t forget to #maskup and together, #SGUnited.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out free Cirque du Soleil shows, the Musical Time Machine, Top 10 Shows/Cartoons to Teach Children About STEM and other August techtivities here!

Fun Techtivities in August!

As Singapore eases the Circuit Breaker measures, we present more tech-activities to you. All of these don’t cost a cent, can keep your keen kiddos occupied and perhaps even inspire them to create more of such great tech stuff in the future!

Free Cirque du Soleil Shows

The world-renowned Montreal-based entertainment company and the largest contemporary circus producer in the world are on our screens! From aerial to 60-minute specials, behind-the-scenes and even workouts from the artists, catch it all on their YouTube channel.

Details:
Cirque du Soleil YouTube Channel
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


The Musical Time Machine

Choose the country and decade and the Radiooooo selects which song to play for you. From 1900s till today, pick your desired modes (shuffle, taxi, islands) and tempo (slow, fast, weird) and it will do the work of finding the song! Check it out here.

Radiooooo.com, The Musical Time Machine

Details:
Online
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


Top 10 shows/cartoons to teach children about STEM

STEM education focuses on educating students in 4 specific disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Allow your children to learn topics ranging from outer space to math and myth-busting – all with these awesome shows, recommended by our Coding Lab team!

Image of kids for Top 10 STEM shows for kids blogpost

Details:
Recommended by the Coding Lab team
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


That’s all that we have for this month’s techtivities! Hopefully, our online activities help tide you through the time spent at home. Use CODINGONLINE to get 12% off our online classes. We hope everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out virtual Disney World, world-renowned musicals with The Shows Must Go On, resources to educate your kids about Covid-19, and other July techtivities here!

We had almost a hundred responses spanning four continents who participated in our online Young Coders Global Hackathon. During the global pandemic, technology showed its prowess to transcend boundaries and unite individuals who displayed their creativity by coding around the topics of the coronavirus.

Catch the action that took place during the two months of intense coding!

YCGH Quote from Founder, Yong Ning

From storytelling to games with multiple well-crafted levels, it was a difficult judging process to narrow down the Top 11. Our young junior coders then proceeded to the semifinals that were hosted LIVE on YouTube, where they had to present their Scratch ideas to the audience. They dressed up, did presentations and blew the judges away with their eloquence! Watch the action here.

Screenshot of YCGH Finalists - Junior Category

Our seven finalists didn’t crack under pressure as they coded LIVE in our YouTube finals, which you can view here:

These young coders under 12 years old battled it out to be crowned the finalists of our Young Coders Global Hackathon! You can click on their names to find out more about these future leaders in technology.


1st Place: Thaddeus Aaron Chung

Age: 12
Singapore

12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon
12-year-old Thaddeus in action during the hackathon

2nd Place: Ignacy Kus

Age: 12
Szczecin, Poland

Photo of Ignacy, a sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland, who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.
Meet Ignacy, the sixth-grader from Szczecin in Poland who is giving his prize to a child with financial difficulties.

Hobbies: Programming (C++), mathematics (this week: hyperbolic geometry) and computer games are my hobbies. In my free time, I play video games (Roblox, Scrap Mechanic, Minecraft, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Doom).

How did you start coding? My first encounter with coding languages was when I attended a local coding club. I was six years old. I started to code in Scratch, Baltie and Visual Basic. Scratch and Baltie were quite simple but Visual Basic was hardcore for six-year-old me. I think it was good for me to start learning with something hard.

My father’s advice to younger me:

1. Never give up.
2. Try to create something that you want to play, use or watch.
3. Don’t think about the things that limit you.
4. You should focus on one thing and get to know it really well.

However, it is not important what you code, it is important that you code.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I am always looking for new opportunities to improve my coding abilities, thus I participate in many contests. Every contest is a real challenge and they motivate me to work. Let’s not forget about prizes… My parents and I find contests on the Internet, as was the case of YCGH 2020.

What have you learned? The most important thing in the competition was the possibility of meeting other coders and listening to them. I greatly enjoy meeting coders from all around the world. The foot trip from Szczecin to Singapore is 12,373km!

Future coding aspirations: My main aspiration is attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the future. I am focused on mathematics and algorithms (C++). In the future, I want to be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) game developer.


3rd Place: Wang Jun Min

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.
Meet Jun Min, the 11-year-old who aspires to learn more coding languages.

Hobbies: Playing computer games, chatting with my friends and solving mathematical problems. I like to spend my free time doing my hobbies and exercising.

How did you start coding? I started with a holiday camp (Scratch 1) in Primary 1. After that, I practised trying out new blocks myself and making new projects. The following year, I attended Scratch 2, after which I was invited to join the Gifted Coders.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I like Scratch and the competition tests your ability to create your own Scratch projects and make interesting codes.  I love to code while using mathematics. I had been reading up about how the virus spreads and how fast it spreads, so I felt the hackathon theme was relevant to me.

What have you learned? I learned about perseverance. During the live finals, I accidentally deleted a big chunk of code which I had spent quite a long time doing. Instead of giving up, I calmed down and persevered and redid the whole chunk. It was also a great experience because I learnt more about coding from the other coders, and it was a chance to mingle with kids from other countries. I also learned how to work under the stress of time in the live finals!

Future coding aspirations: I’m planning to make more games and am currently studying platformers and how to make them more interesting.  I would also like to learn more coding languages because they may have more powerful capabilities than Scratch and are also more interesting. My future occupation will be coding-related – I would like to become a game designer. 


Merit (Best Storyline): Andrew Goh

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Andrew, the well-spoken 11-year-old.
Meet the articulate 11-year-old, Andrew.

Hobbies: I enjoy coding, playing tennis, reading, filming and creating content and animation for my school’s YouTube channel. When I am free, I like to learn new magic tricks.

How did you start coding? I watched my older sister code when I was 7 years old and I wanted to create digital games myself, so my mom enrolled me for lessons. I have enjoyed coding ever since.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I had been following the news on the pandemic, so I decided to use my coding skills and creativity to see if I could help people protect themselves from COVID-19.

What have you learned? As a coder, I have learnt that I can use my skills to create useful, timely and fun apps to positively impact people’s behaviour in uncertain times. I may even be able to save lives! I have also learnt the importance of design thinking as a planning tool to help me create programs that would solve users’ problems.

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I am learning more complex codes to hopefully create more challenging but useful programs in the future. My future occupation may be coding related – I can pair coding with robotics or AI to create/design something cool and useful.


Merit (Best Creative Project): Erika Tada

Age: 11
Japan

Photo of Erika, the creative 11-year-old.
Meet the creative 11-year-old, Erika.

Hobbies: Drawing and playing the violin. I like to play and make videos in Roblox during my free time.

How did you start coding? I started coding when my parents signed me up in the Coding Lab summer school when I was 7.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? Since most of my activities were cancelled [due to the coronavirus], I decided to try something new.

What have you learned? I learned how exciting a hackathon can be, and how it is like to code live.

Future coding aspirations: In the future, I would like to design apps, be able to code with Python or maybe make a game in Roblox.


Merit (Best Game Programming): Janson Soh

Age: 12
Singapore

Photo of Janson, the Robotics and Infocomm Club student.
Meet the Robotics and Infocomm Club student, Janson.

Hobbies: I like cycling and coding games. During my free time, I play my games on my phone, code games or cycle.

How did you start coding? When I joined the Robotics Club at my school, our teacher allowed us to play games. By chance, I saw a folder on the screen about a Scratch project. Later, I found out that it was made by a member of the Infocomm Club. Then, I became interested in coding. The next year, I joined the school’s Infocomm Club and that was where I started coding games on Scratch.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My mother informed me about YCGH. As I like coding and have never joined a coding competition, I agreed to join. It was fun and I really look forward to the next competition.

What have you learned? From my YCGH journey, I learnt how to code under pressure especially during the finals where I was given approximately an hour to complete a coding programme. It also helped me to improve my presentation skills.

Future coding aspirations: My future coding aspirations are learning how to make games on Unity. I am currently making a story mode game. After that, I would make a zombie survival game. In the future, I would want a job as a coder.


Merit (Best Game Design): Javen Lim

Age: 11
Singapore

Photo of Javen, the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder.
Meet the enthusiastic and bubbly young coder, Javen.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading non-fiction books and programming in Scratch and Python.

How did you start coding? My interest was sparked when I started Primary 1 and had Computer Lab lessons at school. I was fascinated when I found out that I could use keyboard characters to form graphics in Notepad. When my parents asked if I would like to attend Coding Lab’s holiday workshops, I readily agreed. There was no turning back. I Iater moved on to attending their regular classes.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My mum read about the YCGH and shared with me about it. I decided to join the YCGH because I feel that coding is important, especially in this modern age and I wanted to gain more experience in this domain and have some fun at the same time. 

What have you learned? A competition should not just be about winning, but more importantly, the learning process which allows us to improve ourselves. It was really interesting to look at other coders’ projects and compare it with my own, to find out which areas I could improve on. 

Future coding aspirations: I hope to learn JavaScript and C++. If possible, I would like to develop a social platform for sharing of educational content, discoveries and a place where geeks of a certain subject get together. 


This concludes our Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020. We would like to thank our participants from all over the world, and it’s been a joy getting together and collaborating with Coding Lab Japan. See you next year!

Read about the Senior Category’s Top 5 by clicking here.

We had almost a hundred responses spanning four continents who participated in our online Young Coders Global Hackathon. During the global pandemic, technology showed its prowess to transcend boundaries and unite individuals who displayed their creativity by coding around the topics of the coronavirus.

Catch the action that took place during the two months of intense coding!

YCGH Quote from Founder, Yong Ning

The limits were endless with Python, and submissions were brimming with creativity and potential. Our top 10 young senior coders then proceeded to the semifinals that were hosted LIVE on YouTube, where they had to present their ideas to the audience. Watch the action here.

Screenshot of YCGH Finalists - Senior Category

Our five finalists were neck-to-neck as they coded LIVE in our YouTube finals, which you can view here:

These young coders aged 13 to 18 proved their mettle to be crowned the finalists of our Young Coders Global Hackathon! You can click on their names to find out more about these future leaders in technology.


1st Place: Emily Ong
(Individual)

Age: 18
Singapore

Photo of Emily, the JC2 student from Dunman High's Robotics Club.
Meet Emily, the JC2 student from Dunman High’s Robotics Club.

Hobbies: I like to do computing or math-related things, and try to play chess and other action games. When inspiration hits me, I also like to solve some competitive programming problems.

How did you start coding? I started coding in secondary school probably through sites such as CodeCombat. From there, I was able to explore more things related to computing.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I heard about the competition from my teacher and decided to join the competition as it was socially meaningful and inspiring.

What have you learned? I have learnt a lot about presenting projects and am more receptive to feedback from other people. I did not manage to have the time to join online meetups, although it would be cool to know more about other people’s projects. Furthermore, I realised how it becomes more purposeful and applicable when we start to integrate technical ideas with real-life scenarios and other fields, such as Economics, in my project.

Future coding aspirations: I would want to learn more about math and machine learning, and perhaps game development.


2nd Place: Demetrios and William
Team Better Program Pending

Ages: 14-15
Japan

Photo of Demetrios, a member of Better Program Pending
Meet Demetrios, a member of Better Program Pending

Hobbies: I like to play video games and read.

How did you start coding? I started coding using Scratch 4 years ago.

What have you learned? I have learned a lot from coding as it was an experience to do new things in programming I haven’t done before, and I got to meet many other programmers from around the world. 

Future coding aspirations: Right now, I am working with my friend and former teammate, William, on a discord bot based on our chatbot.

Photo of William, another member of Better Program Pending
Meet William, another member of Better Program Pending

Hobbies: I like to program and play video games. My hobbies include hiking, building models and playing piano and trumpet.

How did you start coding? I started coding when I was 10, when I discovered Scratch, and really enjoyed it. I went to every Scratch club at my school. When I was 12, I started learning my first programming language Javascript.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I was informed by my Coding Lab teacher, and I was very excited to sign up and quickly asked my friend Demetrios if he could too.

What have you learned? I have learned how to better organise my code, and why it is very important to leave comments!

Future coding aspirations: Currently I am working on a bot for the popular platform Discord, which will join any server and manage it, as well as play music and some other cool functions. In the future, I would like to work as a developer for a game company such as Infinity Ward or work for the government on cybersecurity. 


3rd Place: Sriharsha Sikhakollu
(Individual)

Age: 15
Singapore

Meet Sriharsha, the tenth-grader from Singapore American School
Meet Sriharsha, the tenth-grader from Singapore American School

Hobbies:  I love to play soccer, invest in the stock market, code, and also play video games.

How did you start coding? I actually started to code when I was in 6th grade when my father signed me up for a summer coding program. Of course, it wasn’t a Java or Python course but it was the basics – Scratch. I was quite fascinated with how fun coding is and how simple it can be. Since then, I got started on my coding journey. I slowly progressed from Drag and Drop Programming to more advanced such as Python and some Java.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I was looking for something to do during quarantine as I was extremely bored. That was when coding came into my mind as I was doing some basic coding here and there in my free time. I remembered that I signed up for a class with Coding Lab a few months ago and just looked at their website for any upcoming programs and luckily there was a virtual hackathon happening.  I immediately signed up for it.

I saw the hackathon as a medium to improve my coding knowledge while also creating an application that will help the general public during the global pandemic.

What have you learned? From my YCGH journey, I would say the most important thing that I learned is, of course, more Python but also time management skills. During the phase where we code our own project and the final phase of the hackathon, I wish that I had managed my time over the weekends more efficiently so that I could have finished the project earlier. I was also quite amazed by other coders as all of them had brilliant ideas. Opportunities like the YCGH will allow coders like me to use coding to the best we can.

Future coding aspirations: Something I am interested in is entrepreneurship as well, so if I could do something which involves coding and entrepreneurship, it would be great.


Merit (Most Innovative): Ali Cevat ERÇAL
(Individual)

Age: 18
Turkey

Meet Ali, the 18-year-old inspired to code by LEGO pieces
Meet Ali, the 18-year-old inspired to code by LEGO pieces

Hobbies: I like playing video games and basketball. In my free time, I usually play computer games but sometimes I read books.

How did you start coding? I started coding when I was 14. It was a LEGO Mindstorms kit. I built a line following a robot by using LEGO pieces.

Why did you join YCGH 2020? My dad found Coding Lab when he was surfing the internet, finding coding courses for me.

What have you learned? In meetups, I gained some friends and learned how to work under a time limit. I also expanded my Python knowledge.

Future coding aspirations: In future, I want to scale up my Hackathon project. I want to AI engineer in the future too.


Merit (Most Promising Young Coder): Kieran Ho
(Individual)

Age: 12
Singapore

Photo of Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder
Meet Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder

Hobbies: My hobbies are coding but sometimes I like to read books. In my free time, I usually read books that I like but sometimes I code.

How did you start coding? I started coding using Scratch when I realised that my friend was coding using that language. Out of curiosity, I decided to try it out too. My friend introduced me to the language, after which I decided to find books about it. In one of the books, there was also a tutorial on Python. I tried it out and found that it was fun – and that was how I started coding in Python. I was Primary 1 at the time, I think. (Been coding for 5 years now!)

Why did you join YCGH 2020? I decided to join the Hackathon after I found out about it through one of my coaches during a Python tuition session. I thought it would be a fun experience for me to try out – but little did I know that I would get this far.

What have you learned? All in all, this Hackathon has been a fruitful experience, albeit with many pitfalls and traps. The many sessions I have had helped me to steer clear of these traps and eventually become better, not only at my code organisation but also helped me improve my ability to solve problems using code. I have learnt more about the value of learning from one another, and as Coach Yong Ning stated: it is not the end result that matters, but the journey. I have met many experienced friends and coaches that have taught me many things, and I will be ever grateful to them for inspiring me.

Future coding aspirations: I am currently working on a program which solves the Travelling Salesman Problem using the Nearest Neighbour algorithm for fun, but I plan to try out other algorithms and time them. In the near future, I hope to make more coronavirus-related programs to help others and eventually perfect my Travelling Salesman Problem program.

In the future, I hope to pursue a coding-related occupation. I hope to learn more languages to expand my abilities more. I also hope to learn more about neural networks with Tensorflow and adapt it into a program in Python, or maybe even train one!


This concludes our Young Coders Global Hackathon 2020. We would like to thank our participants from all over the world, and it’s been a joy getting together and collaborating with Coding Lab Japan. See you next year!

Read about the Junior Category’s Top 7 by clicking here.

Fun Techtivities in July!

Phase 1 or 2? Whatever phase Singapore is in, our Coding Lab team’s techtivities will keep rolling in every month to give you ideas on inspiring technology and exciting things we can do from home!

Virtual Disney World

You don’t have to leave your home to experience the Disney magic now! 360-degree cameras and YouTube have brought Disney World to us. Don’t let the lack of a VR headset stop you – you can simply view from your phone and have fun spinning around to take in the great rides!

Details:
Virtual Disney World YouTube Channel
*Note: This is not an official channel by Disney
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


The Shows Must Go On

Peter Pan, Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera. These are just some examples of the show-stopping musicals that this channel brings to your screens every week. Indeed, all musical shows must go on – and they are – on YouTube!

Details:
The Shows Must Go On YouTube Channel
Price: Free
To access it, click here.


Father’s Day Coding Workshop (Ages 7 to 18)

Have loads of fun during our 2-hour workshop with some quality father-child bonding. We’ve got super exciting activities for all the different age groups to express their love and gratitude this Father’s Day!

Details:
Father’s Day Coding Workshop
Selected days in June
Online
To access it, click here.


You can use the promo code UNITEDWESTAND to get 10% off all our classes (limited time only) or SUPERCODER to get 12% off if you purchase two or more classes. We hope everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

Psst, our friends at EtonHouse has a bunch of free resources to help your young kiddos understand the virus and school interruptions that they are currently experiencing. This includes complimentary eBooks, printable activity sheets, and a home learning kit! Find out more on their website here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out Google Maps Treks, SSOPlayOn! and other June techtivities here!

Von Neumann, Torvalds, and Markov. What’s the story behind these esteemed scientists? Who are they and what significant contributions prompted us to name our rooms after them?

Room 1. von Neumann

After his work with the atomic bomb, von Neumann died of cancer at the age of 53. (Photo from Wikipedia)

We named our first room after John von Neumann (28 December 1903 – 8 February 1957), a Hungarian-born American mathematician and physicist who is known as “the last representative of the great mathematicians” [1]. His contributions include revolutionising aspects of mathematics and physics, economics, statistics, with roles in the invention of the atomic bomb, nuclear energy and digital computing [2].

A visual representation of what the von Neumann Architecture described. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

Best known for: von Neumann Architecture a.k.a. von Neumann model or Princeton Architecture [3]

  • Includes descriptions that form the fundamentals of modern digital stored-program computers
  • Proposed that there would be a processing unit (contains arithmetic / logic unit and processor registers) and a control unit (with the instruction register and program counter)
  • Suggested that there would be a memory unit to store data and instructions, external storage, and input and output mechanisms.

“Can we survive technology? … To ask in advance for a complete recipe would be unreasonable. We can specify only the human qualities required: patience, flexibility, intelligence.” [4]

Did you know? von Neumann was initially supposed to pursue Chemical Engineering – his father had discouraged him from studying Mathematics as he believed that it would not earn him much [5].

Room 2. Torvalds

Torvalds has an estimated net worth of US$150 million today – even though Linux is free [6].

Linus Benedict Torvalds (born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish computer scientist responsible for developing the Linux operating systems and free, open-source Git (the foundational software of GitHub) [7].

Tux, the penguin mascot and logo of Linux.

Best known for: Linux Operating Systems [8]

  • As a computer science student, he made improvements for Minix and UNIX operating systems
  • Unsatisfied, he created Linux and published the free source code online for anyone to make modifications
  • It became popular in the late 1990s and is now commonly used in China and other non-Western countries.

“In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny.”

Did you know? The passionate diver co-designed and developed Subsurface, a free and open-source software for logging and planning scuba dives [9].

Room 3. Markov

Until his death at the age of 66 from health complications, Markov taught probability courses at the University of St. Petersberg.

Andrey Andreyevich Markov (June 14, 1856 – July 20, 1922), a Russian mathematician responsible for number theory, probability theory, and the Markov Brothers’ inequality (with his younger brother and fellow mathematician, Vladimir Markov) [10, 11].

Algorithms based on Markov Chains are at work every time a search engine returns with recommendations of relevant webpages [12].

Best known for: Markov Chains [13, 14]

  • It’s a theory of stochastic processes, which is a probability theory of a process involving the operation of chance [15].
  • It tells you about mathematical systems that change from one ‘state’ (a situation or set of values) to another – with the probability of this transition.
  • Used in economics, game theory, queueing (communication) theory, genetics, and finance.

“Mathematics to a considerable extent consists in solving problems, [and] together with proper discussion, [this] can be of the highest scientific nature…” [16]

Did you know? His son, Andrey Markov Jr. (1903 – 1979), was also a renowned mathematician with notable contributions in topology, topological algebra, dynamical systems, theory of algorithms and constructive mathematics [17].

We hope that you have enjoyed our Unravelling The Mystery series and that we have piqued your curiosity into some of the greatest computer scientists and contributors to modern computer science! You can read about the faces behind our Parkway Parade Room Names by clicking here.