Archive for August 2015

What I Did This Summer (Part 3)

David Hamblin

David Hamblin

David Hamblin, who is a senior this year, worked under Dr. Wang with the Atmospheric Sciences Data Center (ASDC) at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

“Continuing the work of alumni Matthew Rutherford and Nathan Typanski, Elliot Rieflin and I worked on the project MapGen, which Matt wrote his thesis about. We used the Python programming language to implement solutions to remaining issues, utilizing artificial intelligence algorithms such as natural language processing and naive Bayes. Basically, Elliot and I worked at a desk in a building at Langley Research Center, working on our sections of the program and meeting with the ASDC group once a week. What we worked on, when all of the parts are finished, will be delivered as a final product to the group at NASA for them to use.

“My background from CNU in Java programming and what I learned in such classes as CPSC 360 and 420 allowed me to pick up on Python quickly, and analyze the algorithm I used. It’s funny, I’ll be taking the AI class offered at CNU (CPSC 471/510) this coming semester, after implementing an AI approach to my work over the summer. Overall, I’d say that the skills learned in the classroom provide for a foundation to pick up the skills in the workplace very quickly, even if you haven’t used the programming language before.

“One of the biggest parts of this position is the research involved. In order to accomplish my tasks, I need to read papers and look up proven methods in order to implement something that will work. I have learned more about the Python programming language, as well as working in a group to receive feedback on my results and apply changes. It’s a glance at life after school, which is nervous to think about. I will continue working in this position throughout the school year, so I will continue to learn new things.

“Definitely, it allows me to put actual work experience down for my resume, as well as experience in skills. I am also building relationships with people who may write references for me in the future. I believe that this job is a stepping stone to something much more in the future.”

What I Did This Summer (Part 2)

Benjamin Kempton and Dr. Jonathan Backens

Benjamin Kempton and Dr. Jonathan Backens

Benjamin Kempton, also a sophomore, worked with Dr. Backens to set up the new electrical engineering lab in Luter.

“If you have ever built your own computer, it can be really fun to unbox all the shiny new parts, which is what I did the first few weeks working with Dr. Backens in the PCSE department. I got to unbox and set up all the new equipment for the electrical engineering lab in Luter 206.

“Once that was finished I worked with Dr. Backens to test everything and go through some of the new lab activities the equipment will be used for, and make sure the lab instructions made sense. I have not taken any electronics classes or labs yet, therefore much of what I was doing this summer was new to me, and I had to do a lot of learning as I went along. However everything I was exposed to over the summer will most likely be very helpful when I eventually take classes in the lab I helped set up.

“Along with setting up the lab I was able to work with software defined radios, which Dr. Backens is using for research.  The radios can be used to transmit of receive over a very wide range of frequencies (70MHz to 6GHz) making them ideal for doing research on dynamic spectrum access. I worked on getting the radios working properly, and started looking at algorithms that let the radios find a common frequency to communicate on.
“Between setting up the lab, and doing some work with radios I had a very fun summer, and met many new people in the PCSE department.”

What I Did This Summer (Part 1)

Dr. Lynn Lambert and Sean Workman

Dr. Lynn Lambert and Sean Workman

Sean Workman is a sophomore who was part of the first CNU Summer Scholars Program (CSSP), held from June 1, 2015 – July 31, 2015.

“The program was designed to provide an opportunity for participants to work collaboratively with a faculty mentor and develop enhanced research and communication skills specific to your area of study.

“In my project, I was asked to build an environment where students can contribute to humanitarian open source, outside of a class, without doing excessive research. Open Source is a way in which to write programs so anyone can see the source code and change it. We focused on humanitarian open source – programs that are written with a service mission – because of the civic engagement focus at CNU. Contributing to open source is difficult because the size of the projects is overwhelming and it is difficult to figure out where to begin. To help others overcome those hurdles, I created a “how to” document to help others make contributions.

“In order to do that, I had to learn Linux (the operating system of most open source programs), git (the place where programs are stored), several different languages (because each project can contain main different languages), and learn how the flow of contributions go, and make contributions to open source programs. I had contributions accepted to three different projects, including Mifos, the humanitarian project we will continue to focus on.”