Non-Computational Thinking

There is a lot of talk about Computational Thinking, typically followed by the observation that we don’t know what it is or cannot define it.

Which I think it is true, but it is perhaps easier if we try to watch out for non-computational thinking instead.


Recently, the MLA defined how to cite a tweet in their (widely used) style:

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.


I think this is an example of non-computational thinking: tweets have unique numeric IDs, so that you can link to them but they are not mentioned. They do discuss that the time stamp is time-zone dependent.

(Although, truth be told, twitter does not make it super-obvious how to get at the tweet ID; not sure why. You need to click on the tweet date to get to the tweet link and read the URL. [I updated this parenthetical paragraph in response to a comment below by Cheng H. Lee])

4 thoughts on “Non-Computational Thinking

    1. Actually, now that I tried it again, it was easy, but last week, when I first drafted this post, it took me a while… Must have been a particularly dumb day for me.

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