Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Google's AI Challenge

Google sponsored an AI challenge this fall.  The goal was to build a player for a game that would beat all other players.  The game was called Planet Wars and ran in a 2-dimensional universe with a random set of planets.  Each player gets 100 member army and the goal is to capture and hold as many planets as possible.  You can see the rules and a demo of the game here.

Over 4600 people from all over the world competed including three of our students:  David Kelly led coming in 1328th.  Emily Bruckart was 1790th and Rob Koch was 1544th.

This is a great example of our students pursuing interesting things on their own.  I had no idea this was going on until David posted his result on FaceBook.  I'm really proud that our students are this engaged.  However, I wish I had been able to compete, too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Updates . . .

I have been (rightfully) nagged that our news needs updating, so here goes.

As usual, there is (almost) always programming team news.  They have competed in two more competitions recently:  the ACM regionals which are like the rest of our competitions and the IEEE Xtreme competition that lasted 24 hours.  We had two teams compete:  Jessica Burns, Danielle Leonard, and Steve Bussey finished 179 out of 971 teams by finishing 9 of 17 problems. Emily Bruckart, David Kelly, and Logan Kennedy finished 6 problems and cam in 272.  Having competed this year, we'll be more prepared for next year!  And our thanks to Dr. Armstrong for being willing to stay for the entire 24 hours!

We had three teams that competed in the ACM regionals.  Three teams with all of them solving a problem shows great depth in our team; the problems were very hard this year!  Here they are showing off the balloons they earned:

Emily Bruckart, Phil Diffienderfer, and David Kelly

 Jessica Burns, Danielle Leonard, and Steve Bussey

Andrew Bodulow, Garin Dangler, and Greg Battaglia

We have a couple of other projects that are nearing completion:

Our Women in Computer Science team is almost finished with their computer controlled waterfall.  We've been madly plumbing and Dr. Briggs helped us by designing a circuit to connect the processor to the valves.  We may have a dry run (pun intended!) before Christmas break.

We are also developing a video for prospective students.  We're hoping to have it by January.  We'll post it on the website and we're going to burn some to hand out at open houses.  Here's hoping it's as cool as I imagine it can be!

Next time I'm late with a post, feel free to nag. There is ALWAYS something going on!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Programming Team Success!

This week our programming team competed in two more programming competitions:

Last Thursday was the UD Unnamed Internet Contest 2010 in which we had three teams competing.  The Fairy Queen Princesses (Emily Bruckart, Philip Diffenderfer, and David Kelly) came in second solving six problems and Something Down (Rob Koch) came in third solving five problems. The Hexadecimators (Jimmy Quinn and Stephen Bussey) came in sixth solving four problems which is very impressive since they both are freshmen!  Rumor has it that the winning team (Charlie the Dinosaur from Dickinson) honed their skills by attending a programming team camp last summer.  We will have to work to beat them at regionals!

Friday we competed in a new type of competition:  the IEEE Xtreme programming competition that lasted 24 hours (8 pm Friday to 8 pm Saturday).  Competing against 971 teams from around the world, Jessica Burns, Stephen Bussey, and Danielle Leonard solved nine problems coming in 179th and Emily Bruckart, David Kelly, and Logan Kennedy solved six problems coming in 272nd.  Special thanks go to Dr. Armstrong who supervised for the whole 24 hours!

All of this is great practice for the ACM Regional competition coming up on November 6th.  I'll let you know how well we do!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fourth is a good start to the season!

This weekend Emily Bruckhart, Philip Diffenderfer, and David Kelly competed in a programming competition at the Consortium for Computing Science in Colleges East conference.  While they got off to a quick start by solving two problems before anyone else did, they ended the competition in fourth place.  They were close to solutions to two other problems and had strategies started for two more.  I think they learned some important strategy tips and will do even better at the Delaware Internet competition this Thursday.  This team will be together for that competition and the Mid-Atlantic regionals, so their experience with each other will certainly improve.

Emily, Philip, and David

Monday, October 11, 2010

Upcoming Events

The next few weeks will be VERY busy for us.

Next weekend (the 15th to the 16th), three faculty and three students are going to Conference of Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges - East.  The students will be participating in a programming competition and faculty will be attending sessions focused on issues in teaching computer science.  It's a great place to get ideas from places that are similar to Ship.

The following weekend is Homecoming!  We will have our semi-annual meeting with our Industrial Advisory Council.  They come visit us twice a year to give us feedback on what we are doing and where we are heading.  In addition, six students will be participating in the IEEExtreme competition: a 24-hour programming competition.  Thanks to our alumni because your donations are funding this event in its entirety!

October 27th to October 30th, Dr. Armstrong and I will be attending Frontiers in Education 2010.  This is the premier national engineering education conference and we will be presenting our results from a preliminary study in which we used videos to explore how students learn to program.  We are hoping we will find a partner school or two so that we can generalize our findings.

Finally, November 7th will be the annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition of the International Collegiate Programming Competition.  We are one of six sites and we will host about 20 teams.  Judging is run in Virginia and this is one of the largest competitions in the nation.

Clearly, I'll have plenty to blog about for the next month!  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Google Docs Changes our Classes

We have given all of our students Google Apps for Education Accounts.  Not only does this give them email accounts, but it also gives them Google Sites, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and a bunch of other cool Google tools.  My Traditional Life Cycle class is a good example of how our students are using these tools.  They are working on a requirements document for a team project. Here is the team working away:
It might look like they are working individually, but, they are all editing the same document at the same time:

There is a constant hum as they debate the things I would expect them to be discussing, so they are clearly working as a team.  Different subgroups are working on different parts of the document, but they don't have to worry about combining those changes later.  They enjoy working this way and are building a good document.  My only real concern is that they are listening to Dirty Dancing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Open House

A couple of Saturdays ago, I helped at our Open House for prospective students.  I should do that very regularly!  Bragging about our programs to them is a great way to remind me of all of the cool things we do.  There are so many things, I thought I'd share the slides from the presentation so everyone can be awed by us!  Let me know what I have missed so I can brag about more next time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tech Talks

Every Friday, Dr. Briggs is running a series of talks (Tech Talks) about our machines, labs, servers, etc.  Today he talked about accounts on our machines and how they can leverage AFS and our VPN to access/share files.  We are working on posting a video of the talk and notes with the details onto our equipment support web site: https://sites.google.com/a/cs.ship.edu/equipment-support/

Let us know if there are topics that you are interested in so we can keep this series going strong!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dr. Lee's Research With Her Students

Dr. Lee has been actively working to involve both graduate and undergraduate students in her research projects.  She has just returned from a trip to The 13th CUR National Conference was Undergraduate Research which was titled Transformative Practice: Developing Leaders and Solutions for a Better Society. The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) National Conference 2010 was held at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, June 19 - 22, 2010. 

Dr. Lee presented a poster titled "Accurate and Efficient Solvers for Analyzing DNA Microarray Gene Expression" and it detailed her work on recovering missing values for a given DNA microarray gene expression for complex diseases like Crohn's Disease and Type II diabetes.  This is an ongoing project for Dr. Lee and she has successfully included Fen Qin, a graduate student, into the research.  This summer, she has grants to fund not only Fen's activities, but to also include Matt Freed, an undergraduate student.  Expect to see more as this project continues . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One of our Graduate Students Solved a Problem in SIAM

SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) poses problems to see if readers can solve them.  Recently, they posed "A Liouville-Type Property for Differential Inequalities" and one of our graduate students was an author on one of the solutions they accepted.  Check out Fen Qin's amazing mathematical skills.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Programming Team is victorious, again!

Our programming team competed at a contest at Dickinson College this weekend.  There were fifteen teams from about seven schools including Dickinson, Gettysburg, Messiah, and Lebanon Valley College.  Phil Diffenderfer, Andrew Marx, and Keith Porter came in first place by solving all of the problems with an hour to spare.  To challenge them, the head judge gave them an extra problem that was in previous competitions but never solved.  They came close to getting that one, too!  Dane Howard, Logan Kennedy, and Rob Koch solved five problems placing in third.  Philip Hagar and David Kelly solved two problems as did Jessica Burns, Emily Bruckart, and Danielle Leonard.  Four people earned jackets (Dane Howard, Andrew Marx (though both of them should have earned theirs previously), David Kelly, and Danielle Leonard!

We travel to West Chester to compete against the other State System teams on April 10th.  I think we'll do well!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weekly Programming Contest

The Programming Team is running a weekly programming competition that all of our students are invited to join!  You can find details at https://sites.google.com/a/cs.ship.edu/progteam/online-contest and it's an opportunity to make some money!  The contest a cumulative through the semester and the department has pledged $100 for first place, $60 for second place, and $40 for third place. The first problem has been posted and is due by 2/6, so get started!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A new semester begins

We are approaching the end of the first week of classes of spring 2010.  Here are some things to watch for:

  • Our Testing & XP course will be building applications for a local business and a teacher in Chambersburg
  • Our programming team will compete in two competitions.
  • Our programming team is starting a weekly running competition with prizes at the end of the semester (check it out)
  • Our Game Development Club is going to start development with Flash Professional
  • The BROADSIDE Center will continue work with local industries
  • We are making proposals to update and improve some of our lab equipment
  • We have 26 seniors completing senior research projects covering a wide variety of topics
I'll try to keep you posted, but, if I get busy and forget to post news every week, NAG ME!!!