# Can a commonly used algorithm be used for a student developed procedure for Create Task?

Can a commonly used algorithm such as finding the min, max, sum, or average value of a list receive points for the create task if it has a parameter and is used in the program(like the one below)?

Looking in the scoring guidelines the college board states “Program code that is student-developed has been written (individually or collaboratively) by the student who submitted the response. Calls to existing program code or libraries can be included but are not considered student-developed.” This doesn’t quite clear up if a function like the one below would count.

Function FindMax(numberlist) {
var max = numberlist[0];
for (var i = 0; i < numberlist.length; i++) {
if (max<numberlist[i]) {
max = numberlist[i];
}
}
}

In my very-non-official opinion, I think it would probably be fine. The algorithms that students are developing are, in many cases, not particularly unique or original - but they build them to solve a problem that they are solving themselves. I would assume positive intent if this is a function that a student writes in order to solve their own problem, even if it is a standard algorithm.

1 Like

Yes they can use existing algorithms. Donald Knuth in 1968 began developing a multi-volume book of algorithms, an encyclopedia of algorithms if you want to call it that. The latest reprint is 4 volumes and contains around 3,168 pages of published algorithms.

It would be a very rare thing indeed for a student to invent a new algorithm using original thoughts that has never been done in the past. These are the types of things that can earn people Nobel prizes. No in reality, almost everything we do is repeating or self-discovering what has already been done in the past. When the students move into the working industry away from academia and begin working on things like self-driving cars, only then will they typically be solving what has not already been solved.

Calling an algorithm “commonly used” is just a matter of ones ability to memorize things they have already seen easier than others. Corrections welcomed on my opinions on the topic.

1 Like

Thanks for the replies! I have felt that intent of the create project and the student developed procedure would be to use the algorithm in a creative way. For instance, finding the largest value in a list in order to display the city with the hottest average temperature, or to provide a high score. In this case the function only finds and returns the largest value in the list. If a function such as the one I have provided can be accepted as written, it makes for easy points on rows 4,5 and 6. I will get clarification during the AP Reading this summer.