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BACTAC - Elumeze

ECOT 831

Ambient Programming: Spreading Program Throughout a Physical Setting
Graduate Student

Traditionally, programming is conceived (and taught) as a highly structured, abstract, sedentary, and time-intensive activity. By contrast, the notion of ambient programming reconceives the practice of programming as (at least partially) informal, opportunistic, physically active, and playful; likewise, ambient programming places a greater emphasis on the interweaving of abstract coding with tangible materials and construction.

Consider a small Lego car equipped with a PIC microprocessor and a sensor that can read the reflectance of the surface underneath it. Bits of program are written out as bar code on cards, and the car reads the instructions as it rolls over them. If it rolls over (and thus reads) a "turn left" instruction, it would turn and continue on its way. By creating a small set of distinct commands that the car can read and laying them out on the floor, one can in effect "write a program" on the floor of one's room.

This prototype exemplifies the goals and style of ambient programming; integrates programming with tangible construction; illustrates the idea of embedding "low-tech" programming instructions in physical objects; and demonstrates the feasibility of informal (hand-drawn) programming.

BACTAC, the Beverage And Chips Tuesday Afternoon Colloquium, is a weekly forum run by graduate students. The goal is provide an informal setting in which anyone can (basically) present anything. In the past, we have had practice talks for conferences and job interviews, research reports, juggle lessons (!), student representative reports, internship discussions, an introduction to ergonomics, and "pay attention to this when you are going to look for job" discussions.

BACTAC is meant to be an informal and social event to promote the interaction among graduate students. BACTAC is typically held every Tuesday, at 3:30pm, in room ECOT 831. Free munchies and drinks are provided.

Please email Caleb Phillips for more information or if you want to be a speaker.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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May 5, 2012 (13:44)