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Note: This is intended as a radical edit of nocomprende's original post here. I've entered it this way so as to preserve the original.

Project ideas for student programming exercises

Students in the first programming course can learn a lot by creating project programs around various example problems. Assume that the students know how to program, something about one and two dimensional arrays, and perhaps a few basic data structures. Here are two examples, both of which stress arrays:

  • Tic Tac Toe (game and Tournament)

    Create a series of progressively smarter algorithms, perhaps using inheritance to include the simpler cases under more advanced ones. Tournament plays every strategy against all others 10,000 times and charts the results.

  • Conway's Game of Life (standard and with variations)

    Create a game board and implement the rules. Permit boards of various sizes and implement a simple way to set the initial conditions. A good discussion of the Game of Life can be found on Wikipedia

This question is an attempt to gather a collection of such ideas to be used at varying levels of difficulty. What are good ideas that you have used?

Different projects, of course, have different objectives. Say something about what you are trying to achieve with your project and point to any available materials that another professor might adapt/adopt.


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