Celebrating computer science at UB

Celebrating computer science

Nearly 600 people filled Davis Hall on Dec. 5 for CSE Kid's Day, an event hosted by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The event, led by UB students, featured a variety of kid-friendly, interactive projects designed to promote computer science. Photos: Chad Cooper

Published December 7, 2016

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Davis Hall was the place to be on Monday evening, when nearly 600 people filled the building for a night of fun and games designed to get high school, middle school and elementary school students excited about computer science.

The Second Annual Computer Science Education Week Kid’s Day, organized by a group of UB computer science and engineering (CSE) students, featured about 20 demonstrations and displays of projects and products developed by current CSE students. The event was part of national CS Ed week, which celebrates the birthday of Grace Hopper, a computing pioneer.

The most popular attractions were a UB map made in a Minecraft, a virtual reality game where kids could defeat ghosts, and an activity where children programmed robots by drawing the “code” on paper.

Other demos of great interest were a system that spelled out answers using LEDs called WILL, a voice controlled drone that looked like a parrot, an interactive sorting activity done without a computer called CS Unplugged, an electronic version of Connect 4, and a 3D printer demo.

"My main motivation to get involved with CS Ed Week was my participation as an onlooker last year. I really enjoyed looking at some of the demos and interacting with kids and parents. I decided at that time that I would try to get more involved in the event next year," said Devashish Agarwal, a member of the CSE Student Advisory Board and coordinator of this year's demos.  

In addition to Agarwal, Adhish Chugh and Harshita Girase organized the event with help from fellow students Heeba Kariapper and Wenxuan Shi, and CSE faculty and co-directors of undergraduate education for the department, Carl Alphonce and Atri Rudra.

Sanjeevani Chaudhery demos a basic sorting algorithm without using computers in an interactive activity. Photo credit: Ken Smith.

Stephen James explains the workings of an elevator through a self-designed simulator to some eager visitors. Photo credit: Ken Smith.

Arielle demonstrates the map of UB in a minecraft setting. Photo by Ken Smith.

Robots, anyone? The children learned how to program Ozobots by drawing their “code” on paper. Photo credit: Ken Smith.

At another demo, students learned how to make ozobots move by drawing their code on paper. Photo credit: Ken Smith.

Alexander Shapiro describes WILL, a system that spelled out answers using a bunch of LEDs, to a group of interested onlookers. Photo credit: Ken Smith.