Learn how computers work by making dumplings from scratch

If you want to learn how a computer works, you might want to “become” one first. And make some dumplings.

Welcome to the CPU dumpling workshop, where participants role play different parts of a central processing unit (CPU), the “brain” of the computer, to learn about the fundamentals of computation. The workshop is taught by artist and educator Taeyoon Choi.

I want the participants to feel that they’re human computers. They’re executing commands just like computers, like chopping, mincing and frying.” says Choi, “They just happen to be computing dumplings.”

Choi says the idea came from his experience ordering dumplings in a restaurant. “The person behind the counter was sending this note to the chef at the back.” Choi recalls. “It was like the data travel all across the processes until we had the final output—the dumplings. “

From there, Choi came up with many dumpling metaphors to help explain some key concepts in computer architecture, from something as simple as input, output, and clock, to more complicated issues like bottlenecks.

Choi first started teaching the workshop at the School for Poetic Computation, which he co-founded. The most recent workshop was carried out in Data & Society, a non-profit organization that researches the social implications of data-centric technologies. Taeyoon Choi is currently a fellow there.

Participants in this workshop come from a variety of professional backgrounds, from a lawyer to a computer scientist and a sociologist. Choi says everyone is welcome to attend his workshop, and apply what they learn to their area of expertise.

Watch the video above to see the workshop in action. Taeyoon Choi and two computer scientists, Darakhshan Mir and Jeanna Matthews, will “transform” into important units of the CPU and give you a beginner’s class on computation.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search