Here are details about some of the projects I've worked on.

Fostering Computational Thinking: A Developmental Investigation of Children’s Problem Decomposition Abilities

Griffin Dietz, James Landay, Hyowon Gweon

Early childhood Computer Science education tools often feature simplified programming language syntaxes that make coding more accessible to kids. However, knowing how to program involves more than the ability to write code; one must engage in computational thinking, including understanding how to decompose a complex problem into smaller tasks and plan forward in time to execute them. We argue for introducing problem decomposition and forward-planning in early CS education. We develop a task that requires these skills and demonstrate that young children who are not yet old enough to use block-based programming tools are capable of engaging in computational thinking.

Human Perception of Swarm Robot Motion

Griffin Dietz, Jane L. E, Peter Washington, Lawrence Kim, Sean Follmer. CHI 2017, Late-Breaking Work.

As robots become ubiquitous in our everyday environment, we start seeing them used in groups, rather than individually, to complete tasks. We present a study aimed at understanding how different movement patterns impact humans’ perceptions of groups of small tabletop robots. To understand this, we focus on the effects of changing the robots’ speed, smoothness, and synchronization on perceived valence, arousal, and dominance. We find that speed had the strongest correlation to these factors. With regard to human emotional response to the robots, we align with and build on prior work dealing with individual robots that correlates speed to valence and smoothness to arousal. In addition, participants noted an increase in positive affect in response to synchronized motion, though synchronization had no significant impact on measured perception. Based on our quantitative and qualitative results, we suggest design implications for swarm robot motion.