feynmaps – a visual way to represent Computer Science concepts in education in schools


Here is what I have been on with Feynlabs.


We call it feynmaps – because my original motivation was feynman diagrams











What does feynmaps address

In theoretical physics, Feynman diagrams are pictorial representations of the mathematical expressions governing the behaviour of subatomic particles. In essence, a visual way to represent complex interactions


In the teaching of Computer Science in schools, I wanted a simple, visual way to unify concepts with practice. If we consider the Pi, Arduino etc (doing) .. often we focus on the doing .. but not on the concept.

So, feynmaps is a simple, visual way to represent Computer science interactions to students, to  include HW/SW and Algorithms holistically and unify practice with concepts 


This is work in progress .. so I will post more about it later. But here are some initial ideas:

1)     I am drawing on the ideas and notations from  UML state diagrams(more specially Harel state charts). But UML state diagrams are too complex for learning and they focus on precision and completeness of a specification. At a learning stage – we want flexibility, simplicity and ‘back of the envelope’ mechanism

2)     So, the idea is to create a simplified state diagram where we are able to model computer science processes across HW/SW/algorithms across the stack and tie the concepts, practice and code together

3)     The topmost level would be based on a physical process (ex a
temperature sensor).

4)     The time dimension could be horizontal and the stack dimension could be vertical

5)     We want to focus on minimalism

6)     Note flowcharts are not the same since they don’t cover a change of
state (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_diagram#State_diagrams_versus_flowcharts)

7)      The main diagram could be simply two end points  node Input objects and output objects – Human, software, sensor, device, algorithm and sets(collections)

8)      The lower layers could focus on implementing the concept across the stack

9)      The code example could be the lowest layer

10)   Schematic example

An analogy in UML
The bank ATM but the model also shows also the processes underlying it ie serving customer is the main process but behind it are others that customers do not see but are useful to model and understand as a system





source UML state diagrams

ex temp sensor can be modelled as an interaction using Pi/Arduino etc and then if statements and for statements which use to poll the GPIO pins as a lower level / composite process
So, my proposed approach is to address from two sides

a)  which programatic concepts to model (bottom up)

b)  which processes to model (top down)


and then draw it out -

That will be a start.

I will take a back of napkin approach although it will use UML like visuals (subset of UML)

Its a modest start but by releasing in public domain and open sourcing it effectively feynmaps can evolve over time

I am already collaborating with various schools and educational institutions and comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

To recap, the idea is to represent any Computer Science process from a teaching perspective in a simple, back of the envelope manner and tie hardware, software, algorithms and code in a visual manner

PS – There is also an analogy with V diagrams – see a good paper on V diagrams (you can download the paper as a free pdf from the link in top left corner)  thanks to Henry Liebling for the suggestion


Comments welcome at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com


ICT 2013, ESPAS and Digital world in 2030
















Last month I attended the ICT 2013 event in Vilnius. I already covered the session in which I was asked to participate in a previous blog( “Connecting the Futurium to research”)

In addition, I attended the session A journey into 2050′s futures and policy challenges which summarised below

Robert Madelin, Director General of DG Connect opened the session mentioning that the objective is not to predict the exact future but to make sense of eleven visions that emerge from the Futurium journey.

James Elles, Member of the European Parliament stressed the importance of universal access to networks and services and expressed disappointment because of the cuts to the broadband programme originally proposed by Commission. He appreciates the messages from the themes “cradle to grave work and play and the needed to revise our learning-working- retirement patterns. And then he explained the outcome of the inter-institutional foresight initiatives – ESPAS and the need to make foresight as a regular practice within governments to make policies more future proof and accurate.

The reference to ESPAS by MEP James Elles is also applicable to the EIF Digital world in 2030 report

The ESPAS report referred to (Global Trends 2030 Citizens in an Interconnected and Polycentric World) covers 3 global trends 10 big questions as below

I. The Empowerment of the Individual

II. Greater Human Development but Inequality,Climate Change and Scarcity

III. A Polycentric World,but a Growing Governance Gap

The 10 big questions are

  • Will the rising competitiveness of certain new players on the global scene make it more difficult for
  • Europe to sustain its social model(s) and welfare systems? Will future, potentially modest, growth in
  • Europe be ‘jobless’?
  • Can society adapt quicker to technological change,so increasing productivity, without exacerbating social imbalances? How radical is the change in the digital economy, especially the rise of ‘big data’?
  • What new, unpredictable technologies and other developments – whether positive or disruptive –are likely to reshape the world economy in coming decades?
  • What are the implications of rapidly rising average longevity in advanced economies – forecast up to 90 by 2050 – for our pension and social security systems?
  • What are the implications for public policy in Europe of a series of destabilising trends, notably growing inequality in the developed and developing world, migration, continued ethnic and religious conflict, water and energy scarcity, and climate change
  • What are the implications of the likely continued rise of China, as well as of other regional and global players, with their vast resources, wealth and population numbers?
  • Can the current rules-based system in the UN and other multilateral organisations (including the WTO) be maintained and, if possible, enhanced?Could the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) be a real game changer?
  • Can Europe develop security and defence policies –whether delivered through the Union or NATO, or both – to respond to shrinking defence budgets and likely threats? Is the European Union sufficiently equipped to make a stronger contribution to solving crises and conflicts world-wide?
  • Could there be wide-ranging social and political dissatisfaction facing democratic institutions? Will governance systems be able to respond effectively to the challenges ahead?
  • Can the EU develop an open and positive mindset about the future and its place in the world?


We will cover these trends in the discussion at EIF also EIF Digital world in 2030 report