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Nikitas Liogkas Ph.D. Student Computer Science Department University of California, Los Angeles Hidden Computer Science concepts in CandyLand Motivation Computer Science concepts seem complex Most of them are simple though just have to look at another domain How about child games?

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nikitas liogkas ph d student computer science department university of california los angeles
Nikitas Liogkas

Ph.D. Student

Computer Science Department

University of California, Los Angeles

Hidden Computer Science concepts in CandyLand
motivation
Motivation
  • Computer Science concepts seem complex
  • Most of them are simple though
    • just have to look at another domain
  • How about child games?
    • CandyLand: simple racing board game
  • Thesis: one can gain insight on Computer Science concepts by playing child games
candyland game rules4
CandyLand game rules
  • start at the beginning of a colored path
  • players draw from a stack of cards
  • move according to card color, to the next or the second-next spot of that color
  • for more advanced players: draw two cards,

decide which one to use

  • first player to reach the end of the path wins
analogies with cs concepts
Analogies with CS concepts
  • “stack” of cards => popular data structure
  • players take turns => processor concurrency
  • draw a card => random numbers
  • one or two squares => or four or eight or …
  • draw two cards, pick one => decision branches
  • even in analysis: Markov chain with 135 steps,

starting with a 100% probability of being in step 0

=> 3.13% advantage of starting 1st in a 2-person game

conclusion
Conclusion
  • while well hidden, Computer Science concepts are everywhere in CandyLand
  • human beings learn the fundamentals of the CS discipline from a young age
    • yet, they complain later that it is too complex
  • and, if you are not yet convinced …
bibliography
Bibliography
  • CandyLand Wikipedia entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candyland
  • Mathematics of Candyland. In BoardGameGeek.http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/753125
  • Lou Scheffer. Mathematical Analysis of CandyLand. http://www.lscheffer.com/CandyLand.htm
  • Barry Wise. Cootie, Candyland or Chutes and Ladders: Solving a Parent's Dilemma with Monte Carlo Simulation. In Game & Puzzle Collectors Quarterly, 1(3), pages 19-21, September 2000.
hidden computer science concepts in candyland
Hidden Computer Science concepts in CandyLand

Nikitas Liogkas

Ph.D. Student

Computer Science Department

University of California, Los Angeles

Thank you!