Let's Chance: Playful Probabilistic Programming for Children



Let's Chance

Manuj Dhariwal*, Shruti Dhariwal*. Let’s Chance: Playful Probabilistic Programming for Children. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA, April 2020. Accepted. *Equal Contribution.


Probabilistic thinking has been one of the most powerful ideas in the history of science, and it is rapidly gaining even more relevance as it lies at the core of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and machine learning (ML) algorithms that are increasingly pervading our everyday lives. In this paper, we introduce Let’s Chance—a novel computational microworld that extends the widely popular Scratch Programming Language with new types of code blocks and representations that make it accessible for children to encounter and tinker with the rich ideas and sophisticated concepts of probabilistic modeling and learning. Using the tool, children can imagine and code their own expressive, playful, and personally meaningful probabilistic projects, such as—generative art, music, or text; chance-based games and stories; interactive visualizations; and even advanced projects for making a computer learn from input data using simple Markov models of probabilistic learning, among many other creative possibilities.

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