From the drawing of stick men to the inside of a single core processor to space invaders?

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The main aim of this blog post is to give you guys – the readers – a little bit of insight of what my second year has consisted of so far. I started off my second semester learning about use case diagrams as part of a software engineering module. I think it’s safe to say that the stick men used within use case diagrams made a nice change to the never ending set of boxes most Computer Scientists are used to seeing.

File from Wikimedia Commons - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Use_case_restaurant_model.svg

I’m not going to blog about what a use case diagram is, nor the other 6 different types of diagrams I need to learn before Tuesday (assessed class test coming up) but if you do want to dig deep into the mystical world of the internet in order to learn a bit more about them, go ahead.

From one extreme to another, our computer systems module takes us from drawing smiley faces on the faces stick men to the inner magic of a computer’s processor. In case you are unsure what a processor is… it’s the little thing shown in the picture below.

File from Wikimedia Commons - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Intel_80486DX2_top.jpg

Processors are found everywhere nowadays. The computer/laptop which you’re reading this on has a processor inside of it. Your mobile phone (assuming it is a modern smart phone) will also have a processor within it. Believe it or not, modern washing machines even have them. Someone once recommended that I try to overclock a CPU within a washing machine to make it spin twice as fast and therefore clean clothes faster… I laughed.

File from Wikimedia Commons - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Space_Invaders_cabinet_at_Lyme_Regis.jpg

…and again off to another extreme we go. From processors to space invaders.
Now, I know you’re probably reading this and thinking what on earth does a game created by a Japanese bloke from the late 1970’s have to do with a degree?
Well, believe it or not one of our assignments this year has been to actually create the game. I’m not finished just yet, however it’s definitely been a fun exercise so far. If you haven’t played space invaders before, try it out here: http://www.freeinvaders.org/
I do plan on changing the theme of my space invaders game prior to submitting it for marking though. I’m not sure whether to stick with the idea of a spaceship fighting off aliens in order to save planet Earth or whether I should change it to something like a small soldier shooting at opposing fighters or something.
Here’s the deal… I want you guys to choose. If I end up going with one of your choices, I’ll write a blog post showing a few images of the finished project. Let me know in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading.

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Karam

About Karam

Karam has now retired from blogging. Hello everyone! My name is Karam and I'm a second year BSc Computing student here at the University of Leicester. I'm also this year's Computer Science sports secretary and possess a strong love for the beautiful game that is of course football. I can speak English, Arabic, HTML, PHP, SQL, VB.NET & Java…

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