Douglas Blank

Associate Professor
Bryn Mawr College
Computer Science
(610) 526-6501
 
dblank (at) brynmawr (dot) edu
 
101 North Merion Ave
Rm 246, Park Science Building
Bryn Mawr, PA USA 19010
FAX: (610)526-6535
 
cs.brynmawr.edu/~dblank/

Check out my new blog, Bits and Bots!

Interests

I am involved in the following areas of research:

  • Developmental Robotics - the idea that a robot (or computer) could develop "mentally" over time, based on its experiences and self-directed desires.
  • Computer Science Education - working on making computer science education better: more accessible, engaging, authentic, and fun. Special emphasis on using robots by non-experts.
  • Emergent Intelligence - the idea that small, simple interactions can give rise to an intelligence greater than the sum of its parts. Special emphasis on making analogies, evolutionary, and learning systems.
  • Projects

Fall 2014 Courses


Past Courses

Here are links to some of my past courses:

Research


Links

Colleagues

  • Tucker Balch
  • Zach Dodds
  • Jennifer Kay
  • Deepak Kumar
  • Jim Marshall
  • Lisa Meeden
  • Keith O'Hara
  • Mark Russo
  • Paul Rybski
  • Stewart Tansley
  • Holly Yanco
  • Dianna Xu

Publications

Selected Papers by topic

Computer Science Education

  1. Douglas Blank, Jennifer S. Kay, James B. Marshall, Keith O'Hara, and Mark Russo. Calico: A Multi-Programming-Language, Multi-Context Framework Designed for Computer Science Education. (2012). SIGCSE 2012 (Raleigh, NC). [PDF]
  2. Ananya Misra, Douglas Blank, and Deepak Kumar. A Music Context for Teaching Introductory Computing (ITiCSE'09). [PDF], [resources]
  3. Dianna Xu, Douglas Blank, and Deepak Kumar. Games, Robots, and Robot Games: Complementary Contexts for Introductory Computing Education. (GDCSE'08). [PDF], [resources].
  4. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D., Meeden, L., and Yanco, H. (2005) Pyro: A Python-based Versatile Programming Environment for Teaching Robotics. To appear in the ACM Journal on Educational Resources in Computing (JERIC). [PDF]
  5. Blank, D.S., Yanco, H., Kumar, D., and Meeden L. (2004) Avoiding the Karel-the-Robot Paradox: A framework for making sophisticated robotics accessible. 2004 AAAI Spring Symposium, Accessible Hands-on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Education. Stanford, CA. [PDF]
  6. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D., Meeden, L., and Yanco, H. (2005) The Pyro toolkit for AI and robotics. Submitted to AI Magzine. [PDF]
  7. Meeden, L., Newhall, T., Blank, D., and Kumar, D. (2003). Using departmental surveys to assess computing culture: Recognizing and addressing gender differences. ITiCSE 2003. [PDF]
  8. Blank, D., Meeden, L., and Kumar, D. (2003). Python robotics: An Environment for Exploring Robotics Beyond LEGOs. ACM Special Interest Group: Computer Science Education Conference, Reno, NV (SIGCSE 2003). [PDF]
  9. Blank, D. and Kumar, D. (2002). Patterns of Curriculum Design. Proceedings of Informatics Curricula, Teaching Methods and best practice (ICTEM), Florianopolis, SC Brazil. 135K PostScript, 56K DOC.
  10. Meeden, L.A., and Blank, D.S. (1998) "Robot competitions as class projects," in SIGART Bulletin, Volume 9, Number 2, 1998.
  11. Blank, D.S., Holmes, G., Wells, R., and Wolinski, P. (1998). Interactive Gradebook: TheMissing (Hyper)Link. Technical Report CSCE-1999-02.
  12. Meeden, L.A., and Blank, D.S. (1998). Use of Robot Simulations can Enhance Integration. Working Notes, AAAI Spring Symposium, AAAI98: Integrating Robotics Research. [PDF]
  13. Blank, D.S., and Meeden, L.A (1998). Innovation through Competition. Working Notes, AAAI Spring Symposium, AAAI98: Integrating Robotics Research. [PDF]

Developmental Robotics

  1. Blank, Douglas S., Lewis, Joshua M., and Marshall, James B. (2005) The Multiple Roles of Anticipation in Developmental Robotics. AAAI Fall Symposium Workshop Notes, From Reactive to Anticipatory Cognitive Embodied Systems. AAAI Press. [PDF]
  2. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D., Meeden, L., and Marshall, J. (2005). Bringing up robot: Fundamental mechanisms for creating a self-motivated, self-organizing architecture. Cybernetics and Systems, 36(2). [PDF]
  3. Marshall, J., Blank, D., and Meeden, L. (2004). An Emergent Framework for Self-Motivation in Developmental Robotics. International Conference on Development and Learning, 2004. [PDF]
  4. Meeden L., Marshall J., and Blank, D. (2004) Self-Motivated, Task-Independent Reinforcement Learning for Robots. 2004 AAAI Fall Symposium on Real-World Reinforcement Learning. Washington, D.C. [PDF]
  5. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D. and Meeden, L. (2002). A Developmental Approach to Intelligence. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference, Edited by Sumali J. Conlon. 506K PostScript, 122K PDF.
  6. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D. and Meeden, L. (2002). Bringing up robot: Fundamental mechanisms for creating a self-motivated, self-organizing architecture. In Proceedings of the workshop Growing Up Artifacts that live, Simulated Adaptive Behavior 2002, From Animals to Animats. 132K PostScript, 136K PDF.
  7. Blank, D.S., Kumar, D. and Meeden, L. (2002). A Developmental Approach to Anchoring. Bryn Mawr College Computer Science Technical Report 2002-01. 1.7M PostScript, 294K PDF.
  8. Marshall, J., Blank, D., and Meeden, L. (2004). Robot Self-Motivation: Balancing "Boredom" and "Confusion". A two-page poster of an idea. Unpublished. PDF

Evolutionary Systems

  1. Ward, Em, Blank, Douglas S., Rolniak, Douglas, and Thompson, Dale R. (2001). Complexity as Fitness for Evolved Cellular Automata Update Rules. In Late Breaking Papers of the 2001 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. 145K PostScript, 51K gzipped ps, and 125K PDF.

Robotics, Learning, and Artificial Intelligence

  1. Blank, D.S. (1997). Learning to See Analogies: A Connectionist Exploration. Ph.D. Thesis. Indiana University, Bloomington.
  2. Blank, D.S., Meeden, L.A., and Marshall, J. (1992). Exploring the Symbolic/Subsymbolic Continuum: A case study of RAAM. In The Symbolic and Connectionist Paradigms: Closing the Gap. (postscript 476K, PDF 272K)
  3. Blank, D., Beavers, G., Arensman, W., Caloianu, C., Fujiwara, T., McCaul, S., Shaw, C. (2001). A Robot Team that Can Search, Rescue, and Serve Cookies: Experiments in Multi-modal Person Identification and Multi-robot Sound Localization. In Proceedings of the 2001 Twelfth Annual Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Meetings. PDF, PostScript.
  4. Stober, J., Meeden, L., Blank, D.S. (2004). The Governor Architecture: Avoiding Catastrophic Forgetting in Robot Learning. PostScript, PDF.
  5. Blank, D.S. AI Update. 2000-2001. A news/opinion column in intelligence magazine, the journal of ACM's SIGART. Spring 2000, Summer 2000, Fall 2000, Winter 2000, Spring 2001, Summer 2001, Fall 2001, Winter 2001 Preprint
  6. Blank, D.S., and Ross, J.O. (1997). Learning in a Fuzzy Logic Robot Controller. In Proceedings of the 1997 Meetings of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence. (postscript 93K, PDF 9K)
  7. Blank, D.S., Hudson, J.H., Mashburn, B.C., Roberts, E.A. (1999). The XRCL Project: The University of Arkansas' Entry into the AAAI 1999 Mobile Robot Competition. Technical Report CSCE-1999-01.
  8. Blank, D.S. (1996). Behavior-Based Analogy-Making. Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Cognitive Science Society Conference. (postscript 137K, PDF 15K)
  9. Blank, D.S. (1996). Analogy-Making: A Connectionist Exploration. Proceedings of the 1996 Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference. (HTML 61K, PDF 469K, postscript 1.5M)
  10. Blank, D.S. (1995). A distributed representation of multiple objects in a visual scene. Proceedings of the 1995 Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference. (postscript 183K, PDF 126K)
  11. Blank, D.S., and Gasser, M. (1992). Grounding via Scanning: Cooking up Roles from Scratch. Proceedings of the 1992 Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference. (postscript 112K, PDF 88K)

Emergence

  1. Doug Blank, Kim Cassidy, Anne Dalke, and Paul Grobstein. (2005) Emergent Pedagogy: Learning to Enjoy the Uncontrollable and Make it Productive. Under review. HTML PDF
  2. Blank, D.S. (2001). Radical Artificial Intelligence: A Postmodern Approach. In Proceedings of the 2001 Twelfth Annual Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Meetings. PDF, PostScript. See talk here.
  3. Blank, D.S. (1999). The Radical Alternative to Hybrid Systems. In A. Jagota, T. Plate, L. Shastri, R. Sun (eds), Connectionist Symbol Processing: Dead or Alive?, 1-40, a collective article in Neural Computing Surveys.
  4. Meeden, L.A., McGraw, G.E., and Blank, D.S. (1993). Emergent Control and Planning in an Autonomous Vehicle. In Proceedings of the 15th Annual Cognitive Science Society Conference. (postscript 247K, PDF 143K)

World Wide Web

  1. Berghel, H. and D. Blank. (1999). The World Wide Web, in M. Zelkowitz (ed.), Advances in Computing, v. 48, Academic Press, pp. 178-218.

Vision and Graphics

  1. Blank, D.S., and Ross, J.O. (1997). Incorporating a Connectionist Vision Module into a Fuzzy, Behavior-Based Robot Controller. Proceedings of the 1997 Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference. (postscript 1.5M, PDF 129K)
  2. Mashburn, B. and Blank D.S. (1999). Graphics + Robotics + AI = Fast, 3D Scene Construction. In Proceedings of the 1999 Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Society Conference. AAAI Press.