About this course: Probabilistic graphical models (PGMs) are a rich framework for encoding probability distributions over complex domains: joint (multivariate) distributions over large numbers of random variables that interact with each other. These representations sit at the intersection of statistics and computer science, relying on concepts from probability theory, graph algorithms, machine learning, and more. They are the basis for the state-of-the-art methods in a wide variety of applications, such as medical diagnosis, image understanding, speech recognition, natural language processing, and many, many more. They are also a foundational tool in formulating many machine learning problems. This course is the second in a sequence of three.
We present a new method for automatically providing feedback for introductory programming problems. In order to use this method, we need a reference implementation of the assignment, and an error model consisting of potential corrections to errors that students might make. Using this information, the system automatically derives minimal corrections to student's incorrect solutions, providing them with a quantifiable measure of exactly how incorrect a given solution was, as well as feedback about what they did wrong. We introduce a simple language for describing error models in terms of correction rules, and formally define a rule-directed translation strategy that reduces the problem of finding minimal corrections in an incorrect program to the problem of synthesizing a correct program from a sketch. We have evaluated our system on thousands of real student attempts obtained from 6.00 and 6.00x. Our results show that relatively simple error models can correct on average 65% of all incorrect submissions.