On varying perspectives of problem decomposition

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Abstract

The most common decomposition perspective in computer science problem-solving is 'top-down', in which the problem at hand is divided into 'smaller' sub-problems. Yet there are more decomposition perspectives. In this paper we illuminate three additional perspectives and demonstrate their didactic value. The presentation is displayed in an apprenticeship manner, through different approaches for solving an intriguing algorithmic challenge - the problem of finding majority. Each of the three perspectives is tied to a variety of algorithmic problems and solutions, and elaborated as a pedagogical tool for teaching algorithms.

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