Lesson 4.2 Intelligent Agents

Lesson 4.2 Intelligent Agents

In this lesson students experiment with materials designed to illuminate the rise of intelligent and complex behavior from simple rules and seemingly unintelligent agents. Students begin by studying a model of Langton’s ant, a simple Turing machine with some surprising emergent behavior. The students manipulate models of neurons and neural networks. Students design and conduct their own experiments on a model of their own choosing using Monte Carlo methods. Students explore the generation and observation of fractals and study a diffusion-limited aggregation model for producing fractal behavior. In the final project of the course, students choose a tool or tools that they have learned about in the course and apply their knowledge to create a novel product of their own design and to investigate the beneficial and harmful impacts of a computing innovation. In the final project, students present the artifacts they produced for the College Board AP Create and Explore Performance Tasks. The tasks are typically begun during Unit 2 or 3 so that the work can be completed in accordance with College Board AP submission timeline. Students present their Create product to their class along with reflections about how the artifacts tie together what they’ve learned about computer science.