Routing and Deadlock

The Orange Game #

Computer networks are based on passing messages from computer to computer. This sounds simple in principle, but in practice all sorts of contention and bottlenecks can occur.

This activity gives some first hand experience of such issues, with a game for a group of students.

Routing and Deadlock

Activity description (PDF) #

Translations and other versions #

Videos #

See our video page.

Photos #

More activities and lessons #

  • National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has a learning package called Unplugged in a Box which has detailed lesson plan of the “Orange Game” activity.
  • Misha Leder, a Software Engineer at Google has an activity called Message Routing which can be a nice extension activity. Internet works this way – computer networks are connected with each other via routers. Have kids sit at several tables, every child being a server. Have representatives for each tables to act as routers. Kids write messages to each other and routers help routing this messages.
  • eGFI-K12 has a complete lesson plans with a maths flavour Traffic Flow. Designed for advanced high-school algebra students, it can be worked out most easily using Microsoft Excel. Explore traffic engineering further with a competition developed at the University of Toronto, an animated diagram, and a game called Gridlock Buster.
  • The Mathmaniacs web site has a similar activity (lesson 16)

If you want to find out more #

Additional resources #

Great Principles of Computer Science #

  • Coordination

ACM K12 Curriculum #

  • Level I (Grades 3–-5) Topic 11: develop a simple understanding of an algorithm