GrACE: An AI-Driven Game for Broadening Participation in Computer Science

Project Description: GrACE a prototype game named after the pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper and stands for “Gram’s House Automatic Content Engine”. Gram’s House is the name of our envisioned long-term game project. The core innovation of this work is that the GraCE will be driven by a novel procedural content generation (PCG) system—an artificial intelligence that creates the structure and layout of the puzzles based on educational objectives, rather than requiring a human designer to create them. The game is themed around the player building a robot to help her aging grandmother achieve self-sufficiency in the home, thus aiming to show the potential societal impact of computer science. The puzzles in this prototype will involve configuring the shortest path possible for a robot to move around grandmother’s house. These puzzle are equivalent to the computer science concept of constructing a minimum spanning tree. This educational game will be developed for mobile phones and tablets, and aims to teach computer science concepts and create a positive attitude change of how students view computer science.

Position description: We are looking for a student with skills in game design and creating game art for the summer with as a flexible start date July 1st. This project can also be done as co-op. Programming skills would be desirable but are not necessary. The team consists of Profs Gillian Smith and Casper Harteveld, Postdoc Steven Sutherland, and a PhD student.

Contact: Prof. Casper Harteveld ( or Prof. Gillian Smith (