Kids learn what it takes to create computers

July 17, 2012 10:32:44 PM PDT
While many school kids are spending their summer hanging out, a group of 12 and 13-year-olds from San Jose and Santa Clara are learning what it takes to create computers. It's part of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation's summer program to boost math skills.

Math Power is a summer program designed for 6th and 7th graders in Santa Clara County who need to sharpen their math skills. One day they were learning how math works in the real world. They started by picking a design. In this case, it was a pencil case made of aluminum and a binder made out of plastic. The Silicon Valley Education Foundation sponsors the 40 week math program.

"Today we are at a location where they are innovators who are using math to develop their products and sharing how the math is relevant to all the development," said Muhammed Chaudhry from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

The company hosting and teaching them is White Leaf, a small Santa Clara company that manufactures computers. The 20-something-year-old founders are best friends who grew up in San Jose. Math student Andrew Straub learns about design by using math.

"You will have to know your exact measurements of the circle, per se, just to get one thing correctly," said Straub.

"You have to make measurements with a ruler and sometimes you have to convert fractions into decimals and that's what we are learning about," said math student Samantah Dhanani.

After designing it, the data is stored into the computer. Then students are taught to program that information into the machines. Within a few minutes they get to see the results.

White Leaf co-founders Andre Le and Darian Chatman build small computers.

"When you are able to design something more compact, and out of full metal, full aluminum, then it actually works as a natural heat vacuum, it dissipates heat throughout the whole case," said Chatman.

How do they compete with other computer makers?

"We're not greedy. What we've learned is that there is actually a lot of fat in the computer industry. We don't care to be multi-gazillionairs," said Le.

White Leaf also donates 10 percent of their profits to schools in the Silicon Valley.

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