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MAgICS: Toward a Multi-Agent Introduction to Computer Science

MAgICS: Toward a Multi-Agent Introduction to Computer Science
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Author(s): Forrest Stonedahl (Northwestern University, USA), Michelle Wilkerson-Jerde (Northwestern University, USA) and Uri Wilensky (Northwestern University, USA)
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 25
Source title: Multi-Agent Systems for Education and Interactive Entertainment: Design, Use and Experience
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Martin Beer (Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Maria Fasli (University of Essex, UK) and Debbie Richards (Macquarie University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-080-8.ch001


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The authors present a preliminary version of the MAgICS (Multi-Agent Introduction to Computer Science) framework, which is a new approach for revitalizing introductory undergraduate or high school computer science curricula through the deep integration of agent-based modeling (ABM) and multi-agent systems (MAS) perspectives. The authors discuss the merits of using multi-agent systems as a lens for conceptual understanding across disciplines, compare multi-agent approaches to traditional serial ones, and explore how this approach can bring together disparate topics in computer science through the common focus on emergent systems to promote a broader view of the field as a whole. To exemplify this approach, they have developed a suite of curricular models for topics spanning from searching and sorting to machine learning and networks and security. By introducing these topics with a focus on parallel, distributed, and stochastic methods, they can make traditionally upper-level topics both motivating and accessible to introductory-level students. The authors review findings from a short implementation of several elements of MAgICS in an introductory computer science classroom with regard to student motivation and evidence of learning of distributed design strategies.

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