Computational Thinking (CT) is a problem solving method that uses computer science techniques. The term computational thinking was first used by Seymour Papert in 1996. Computational thinking can be used to algorithmically solve complicated problems of scale, and is often used to realize large improvements in efficiency.
The phrase computational thinking was brought to the forefront of the computer science community as a result of an ACM Communications article on the subject by Jeannette M. Wing. The article suggested that thinking computationally was a fundamental skill for everyone, not just computer scientists, and argued for the importance of integrating computational ideas into other disciplines.
Center for Computational Thinking
Computational thinking today is spearheaded by the Center for Computational Thinking at Carnegie Mellon. The Center's major activity is conducting PROBEs or PROBlem-oriented Explorations. These PROBEs are experiments that apply novel computing concepts to problems to show the value of computational thinking. A PROBE experiment is generally a collaboration between a computer scientist and an expert in the field to be studied. The experiment typically runs for a year. In general, a PROBE will seek to find a solution for a broadly applicable problem and avoid narrowly focused issues. Some examples of PROBE experiments are optimal kidney transplant logistics and how to create drugs that do not breed drug resistant viruses. 
Characteristics of Computational Thinking
Computational Thinking is a problem-solving process that includes the following characteristics:
- Analyzing and logically organizing data
- Data modeling, data abstractions, and simulations
- Formulating problems such that computers may assist
- Identifying, testing, and implementing possible solutions
- Automating solutions via algorithmic thinking
- Generalizing and applying this process to other problems
- Computational Thinking article in the Scalable Game Design wiki
- Repenning, A., Webb, D., Ioannidou, A., Scalable Game Design and the Development of a Checklist for Getting Computational Thinking into Public Schools, The 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2010, (Milwaukee, WI), ACM Press.
- The Sacramento Regional CPATH Team has created a Think CT website with information on CT developed by this NSF-funded project.
- NUI Maynooth has launched a 3-year BSc degree in Computational Thinking.
- Computer Science unplugged