Presented by:

Dan Garcia

from UC Berkeley

Dan Garcia is a Teaching Professor in the EECS department at UC Berkeley. He was selected as an ACM Distinguished Educator in 2012 and ACM Distinguished Speaker in 2019, and is a national leader in the "CSforALL" movement, bringing engaging computer science to students normally underrepresented in the field.

Thanks to four National Science Foundation grants, the "Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC)" non-majors course he co-developed has been shared with over 800 high school teachers. He is delighted to regularly have more than 50% female enrollment in BJC, with a high mark of 65% in the Spring of 2018, shattering the campus record for an intro computing course, and is among the highest in the nation! He is humbled by the international exposure he and the course have received in the New York Times, PBS, NPR, and others media outlets. He is working on the BJC Middle School curriculum.

(4 minutes) I created a Snap! project that helps with playing the Sudoku and "Letter Boxed" NY Times puzzles. My 12yo daughter and I started playing NY Times Sudoku together ( -- neither of us had ever really played before, I missed the early wave when everyone was playing it all the time. As we were solving hard puzzle after puzzle (but sometimes getting stuck!), we settled upon 4-5 "features" we searched for. We then wanted to see if the puzzles were getting stuck on were possible to solve based on our features (and we just weren't seeing them) or whether there were other features we needed to be looking for that we didn't know about yet. So I coded all the features in Snap! to simulate a perfect human using our features. So far (after more than a month straight), our algorithm hasn't failed to solve any puzzle. Overall, I wanted three things from this project (and all three are available in that project):

(1) Prove to me that the current game can be solved. Using the URL block, it loads the current game from NY Times and then solves it interactively.

(2) Let me type in what we have NOW as a partially solved game, and just show me the next hint using our algorithm.

(3) What if the game were ONE slot harder -- what if we were to hide ONE of the numbers that are shown, is THAT solvable using our feature algorithm? (so far, it never has been)

(1 minute) Letter Boxed ( is a fun word game but on the iphone it doesn't tell you the upper bound on the number of words you are allowed to complete the puzzle. So I wrote a quickie script to show you that can be run from the iphone. Also, we wanted to see the answer, so it shows that too.

5 min
Main Room
Snap!shot 2021
Show Your Project