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Discovering Computer Science

Welcome to our webpage on Discovering Computer Science. This page explains our efforts toward developing an engaging and hands-on way to teach computer science focusing on discovery and also our related research projects.

Our goal is to teach students to be not just users of technology, but creators and innovators who will shape the future. We have developed a Freshman computer science course in which students learn the foundations and principles of computer science by building actual computers, robots, and various games. We can do this thanks to how cheap and powerful computers have become. Instead of playing Angry Birds on their phones, students build a physical game in which a spring-loaded system launches a plush bird, guided by ultrasonic sensors, at a target, all coordinated and controlled by algorithms they design. Through these projects, students have fun and learn better, discovering advanced computer-science principles on their own.

All of these resources are publicly available on this webpage with detailed instruction videos for anyone to view and learn. We hope you find them useful - look for the links in the sidebar. The demo pages have demos built by various students in the course. If you are interested in the course enroll in CS/ECE 252 :-) If you are really into this stuff, we also have a scientific publication that talks about these projects and their pedagogical benefits. Paper here. We are also developing an open source textbook that can serve as way for others to use all our materials and remain free for students. Please email me at to learn more about it or if you are interested in knowing about the upcoming book.

Inspired by some of the ideas of these very tiny computers, we are undertaking a research project called MPU that is considering building future data-center chips using these small devices. You can learn more about that project in this poster (Hot chips 2014 poster). More technical details are in our invention disclosure - Contact WARF.

Slides from a talk outlining many of these ideas are here: talk slides

Several amazing under-grads, graduate students make up the team of this project.

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Page last modified on March 22, 2015, at 02:21 PM