Students present projects at annual regional computing symposium

Clark University computer science students presented projects at the New England Undergraduate Computing Symposium 2012 (NEUCS12) held at Brandies University on April 21.

NEUCS 2012 brought together undergraduates in the computing sciences from universities, colleges, and community colleges in the New England area. The annual symposium, now in its fourth year, celebrates excellence and diversity in undergraduate computing.

* Photos from the event can be viewed here. *

“The symposium was a great opportunity for our students to display their projects, practice their presentation skills, and share ideas and network with more than 100 students from the region.” said John Magee, Visiting Assistant Professor in Clark’s Math & Computer Science Department. “The students did an excellent job.”

Magee and Associate Professor Li Han advised the Clark students in Software Engineering and Computing in Our World courses, as well as independent honors projects, and accompanied the team at the symposium.

Below are the Clark presenters and their projects:

Michael Elliott ’12 presented two Senior Honors Projects: Developing software with Ruby: McKennabot and Specs. McKennabot. In the first, Elliott collects, or “scrapes” content from a Facebook page ("What's Happening at Clark") using the Facebook application programming interface (API) and puts it out on Twitter. Specs is a tool for evaluating one's academic progress toward a degree. Its users access a website and select courses completed at Clark, and then they receive a list of their outstanding requirements, along with a helpful list of suggestions for the next semester.

Zachary Hariton ’13 and Zachary Herman '14 presented Goru Events, an iPhone app-based social network that uses the iPhone’s GPS to determine the user's location and then asks a server for nearby events.

Daniel Reichenbach ’12 and Maria Shteinlukht '12 presented their group “Remix” of a game called Skeet Shooter. Reichenbach, Shteinlukht and fellow senior David Siegel were introduced to the Scratch and Alice programs this semester as a means of learning general computing skills as well as the processes needed for animation. Skeet Shooter is a remix version of the classic virtual shooting game set in space and where users defend the world against an alien invasion.

Jack Fader ’13 decided to make his own version of the game Mine Sweeper. Fader explains that the goal is to locate and mark mines placed on the map without touching any. The user moves the character around the map and, as they get closer to a mine, the detector changes color. Fader added a mechanism whereby a user can hit spacebar to mark a mine with a flag; once all ten mines are marked the game is over.

Alex Minkoff ’12 created Prototyping a Rhythm Game with Max/MSP, his Senior Honors Project. Minkoff explains that Max/MSP is a visual programming language designed for music and multimedia applications. For his project, Minkoff has “used Max/MSP to develop a prototype of a rhythm game. This game processes an audio signal in real-time, detecting impulsive sounds and generating patterns for the player to drum on a USB-connected drum set. This project is an exploration of audio processing, game design, and the advantages and disadvantages of using Max/MSP for rapid prototyping.”

Catherine Feldman ’15 presented Scratch projects, a program that “offers immense flexibility, including challenges and stimulation to both new and veteran users. Through personal experimentation, I created several projects that combine the structure of coding with the artistic novelty of animated ‘sprites’ to instantly bring computer science to life,” Feldman writes. “The process has educated me in many ways and inspired in me, an amateur in the field, an excitement and appreciation for computer science.”

Zohar Zimmerman '15 and Parker Watts '15 presented their project, “Space Guy Adventure,”a game the team created that features a green “space guy” who tries to get through a maze without being eaten.

Kenneth Boomer ’15, Joshua  Rushing ’15 and Kevin Sweeney ’12 also attended the symposium and helped out with other Clarkies' presentations.

Symposium attendees heard from keynote speaker, Dr. Fox Harrell, associate professor of Digital Media at MIT. Following the keynote address was a career networking session and prizes for “best project” were distributed.

Clark University is one of many sponsors of the New England Undergraduate Computing Symposium, which is organized each year by the region's colleges and universities. Other sponsors this year included Brandeis University, Tufts University, Wellesley College, UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mount Holyoke College, Boston College, and Boston University.