Programming Proposals: A computer science major’s senior project

On Nov. 30, 2011, Jon Genetti asks his science computer class students questions regarding a slide on senior projects. Fernanda Chamorro/Sun Star

Ian Larsen/Sun Star reporter
Dec. 6, 2011

Silence swept over students of the computer science classroom, as they listened intently to Jon Genetti. He began to bring up more ideas for the class’s senior programming project. Throughout the class, the students and professor discussed nine different proposals.

Although the current computer science class is not working on the project, these eight computer science students will be the deciding factor on what project will be assigned to the Senior Project and Professional Practice class.

“CS 472 has been working on projects from the community for over 20 years,” Genetti said in an email. “We usually select projects from non-profits or agencies that will have the biggest impact.”

Over the last 20 years of projects, the computer science seniors at UAF have done almost everything imaginable.

“[We’ve done] a regulatory compliance program for Fairbanks Memorial, a donor management system for the Resource Center for Parents and Children, a scheduling program UAF intramural sports and a smart phone application for Wickersham House,” Genetti said.

So far the class has reviewed nine different projects, and may possibly look into more.

Community submissions to the class for Spring 2012 request a variety of programs, including: an RSS media feed for the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, flash cards for elementary school students, and a program to trace computer systems within the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center of UAF.

On top of helping the community and non-profit organizations, the programs could be licensed. This means the university could sell some of these programs.

“It is essentially intellectual property rights,” computer science  student Eric Lundell said. “If the university can make money off this or at least enhance its name off this it will, and all it helps in a sense with us, hey we get bragging rights by creating this project.” 

After the class discussion, some of the students gave their opinions about the projects.

“If I had a choice over the program in question, I would pick the flash card idea, because it will help students and teachers, and could even go widespread.” Lundell said.

“Some of these are more simplistic programs, that I hope could be done in a few weeks, and some of which could take upwards of two years,” computer science student Jon Schiment said.

“I think that the School of Fisheries looks like the most fun.” Schiment said.

The university requested a system for the new research vessel, the Sikuliaq, that could stream the data the vessel collects to a website or display screens, computer science senior Blake Eggemeyer said.

“It looks like a evidently impossible project to do in three months with a group of three people,” Schiment said. “I don’t think it is the smartest project to do, but I think it’s the most fun.” 

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