Problem Solving with Artificial Intelligence Problem Solving with Artificial Intelligence

NEWS 8 Jul 2020

Artificial intelligence is an everyday requirement. From your washing machine that uses the weight of your clothes to estimate the water required to wash them to the virtual assistant on your smartphone (Hi Siri!) that recognises your voice patterns and translates them into computer commands, AI is all around us.

Computing and Digital Technologies (CDT) is a semester-based subject at Haileybury Rendall School that allows students to develop projects and problem solve in areas of computational thinking.

This semester the students were asked to develop a project of their own idea that encompassed all they learnt for the semester. It required students to think of a problem and then apply computational thinking to solve it, resulting in a computer program that could be interpreted by our Codey Rocky Robots.

There were many interesting and diverse projects, from robots dancing in synchrony by communicating with each other using infrared codes to robots chasing each other; where the chased had to communicate its movements and position to the chaser (a useful skill for self-driving cars, for instance).

These are the skills more often required in today’s world, where the current information revolution is changing the way we interact with each other, with machines and with information in general. On this note, Ruby Allen-Bell and Abigail Tonkin from Year 7 developed a truly advanced project.

This project allowed a robot, with no sensors to provide direction, to move out of a maze. The students applied the concept of ‘forward’ to give some intelligence to the robot.

Mathematically speaking, forward for humans is around 160 degrees in front, 80 degrees to the left and 80 degrees to the right of our visual field. When placed in a maze, the robot was programmed to know this. For example, every time the robot had an obstacle in front and had to turn to the left, it subtracted the number of degrees it was turning to the left and added them to the right. This means that the robot was never facing backwards.

This concept allowed the simple robot to move out of any maze with an opening somewhere in front of it. Ruby, Abigail and the Year 7 cohort are to be congratulated on their great work!