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Colloquium - Forbus

Articulate Software for Science and Engineering Education
The Institute for the Learning Sciences, Northwestern University

Recent advances in AI, particularly in qualitative physics, enable the construction of new kinds of educational software. Articulate software understands the domain of instruction well enough to both perform reasonably in it and to coach students who are learning about that area. The potential benefits of such software for science and engineering education are immense. This talk describes two kinds of articulate software being developed by our group:

  1. Articulate virtual laboratories, which engage students in conceptual design tasks. Our first prototype, for engineering thermodynamics, has been used at two universities in a pilot program for over a year now, with reasonable success.

  2. Self-explanatory simulators, which combine the accuracy and speed of numerical simulation with the explanatory capabilities of qualitative representations. Self-explanatory simulators can be compiled automatically from high-level physical descriptions in polynomial time, which should change the economics of using simulators in science education.

The talk will focus on how these systems work, but will also outline our pedagogical goals and the next steps in the development of these architectures.

Refreshments will be served immediately before the talk at 3:30pm.
Hosted by Elizabeth Bradley.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)