Algorithmics (HESS) Unit 3 and 4


Algorithmics (*HESS) is a subject that provides a conceptual framework for structured problem solving in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and in other disciplines that involve formal reasoning. The course has been developed in conjunction with VCAA, Monash and Melbourne Universities.

This course fully contributes to ATAR scores as well as providing credit for university studies in Computer Science at Monash University, Swinburne University, University of Melbourne and, at other universities on request. (*Higher Education Scored Study)

Who is it for?

This subject is for you if you enjoy the challenge of solving problems and puzzles involving logic, reasoning and imagination. You will learn how to think about problems in an abstract way and explore the different ways solutions can be found and described as algorithms.

This subject imparts thinking skills that can be used in any field of study that interacts with digital technology. In particular, it is ideal for you if you are interested in studying Mathematics, Computer Science or Software Engineering at a tertiary level.

What do you do?

Activities and challenges include:

  • representing information and analysing the possible relationships that exist, for example within a social network
  • learning about algorithms that are being used in our society within popular social apps and interfaces
  • creating algorithms to solve problems and puzzles
  • exploring Artificial intelligence and Neural Networks.

What skills do you need?

You need to be an organised and independent learner who can stay on track in a disciplined way when studying via distance. Good thinking and analysis skills are needed to meet all the challenges in this course, which is at first year University level.

A satisfactory completion of Year 11 Math Methods is a prerequisite.

Some knowledge of basic programming will be useful but it is not essential.

What skills do you develop?

This subject expands your high order thinking skills so that you can look at a real-world problem in an analytical way and be able to create an abstract model of the problem and create an algorithm to solve it.

You will learn how to construct and implement algorithms in the SNAP/Edgy programming language. You will learn how evaluate the efficiency and correctness of those solutions in solving the problem.




A satisfactory completion of Units 1 and 2 Math Methods is required to be able to understand the Mathematics within the course.
You must have good access to the internet in order to complete the required work in this course. All weekly work will be completed and submitted online.The recommended textbook for this course is “An Introduction to Algorithmic Thinking – Algorithmics (HESS) Student Guide” which can be purchased online for $20 plus postage at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/algorithmics

Things to think about

You will require good literacy and numeracy skills to complete the required reading and assessments for this course. The course requires around six hours per week, which is similar to the time commitment required by other Units 3 and 4 VCE subjects.

The online course is well developed and is rich in study materials which include theory documents, worked examples, interactives, exercises, online quizzes and video tutorials.

Things you can do now

You can explore the Snap/Edgy environment that is used for the implementation of algorithms in the course and see for yourself how real-world problems can be turned into models of networked information. The Snap/Edgy website features online tutorial resources and examples.

As preparation for starting the course in 2020, you need to complete the Edgy tutorials from 1.1 to 1.8 as outlined here.

You can find out about pathways into university via the study of Algorithmics (HESS):


Course details can be found at the VCAA website.



Things to have a look at

What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm is a mathematical method of solving big and small problems.

Fast and slow Algorithms

What’s the fastest way to alphabetise your bookshelf?

What is a Neural Network?

Machine learning and Neural networks, the mathematics of pattern recognition.