Category Archives: Computer Science

CS Senior Design Project

Lydia Shiffler

Lydia Shiffler,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 24 April 2020

For Computer Science, you are enrolled in a senior design class your senior year. You are put into a group of four students and are tasked with completing a yearlong project.

My group wanted to come up with a way for students to know if a study room was available or not in real time. We decided to put two thermal sensors in a study room and create a web and mobile application. Students would be able to to go on and pick any building and then they would see which rooms were available.

This was a very cool project for me because not only did it give me hands on experience with hardware and software, but it was an idea that I have thought about throughout my four years here. I wanted to give the students a convenient way to find places to study/focus in a quiet environment.

With the university classes changing to online and everyone in the group going their separate ways, it was difficult to stay on track and finish this project. We worked through Microsoft teams and luckily someone had the sensors so we could keep working.

We ended up completing this project and although we are not able to physically install them in study rooms, we have hopes that our professor will continue this project and help to have sensors in all the study rooms.

This project was a great way to take all my skills throughout my four years at this university and put them all together to create something great. I am looking forward to taking my group project skills to the real world when I start my job at Microsoft this upcoming September.

Change

Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 March 2020

The feeling that washes over me when I stroll down the sidewalks of Athens, Ohio is grim. Its once cheery, bustling nature has transformed into a barren land of college kids who are attempting to finish out their semester within the perimeters of their off-campus housing. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a tumbleweed go by; however, this is no scripted Western, it’s reality.

The fact of the matter is hard to swallow as myself and many others have acknowledged this may be just the beginning of the alterations which COVID-19 has imposed on human life. It is testing people’s health, the bonds of our communities, and willingness to surrender our social lives and commit to adjusting our communications with each other. One common misinterpreted saying I would like to talk about, in light of the coronavirus affecting everyone, follows: people don’t change.

To frame this line a bit let me take a step back and refine what that means to me. The saying people don’t change refers to the true character of a person, their intrinsic values. I am getting at one’s beliefs, values, rather than a minor shift in habit such as employing a new method to cook chicken or an exciting way to work out. I want to dive into the determinants for significant interpersonal change, which the current tides of society have brought to shore quite rapidly. In other words, people don’t change by themselves…they are changed by circumstances.

The spread of illness has changed the circumstances for everyone without their input on the matter, an unfavorable way to introduce change. It is unusual as we are creatures of habit and resist change through our day-to-day lives. In an attempt to get behind of the wheel of life again, I suggest one tries to react differently to their circumstances, leading oneself towards new conditions, and unexplored territories. Do not be afraid to try new things, do the same things differently, add people (virtually for now) to situations and append yourself (also virtually) onto new situations too, and most importantly remember that the best way to change is to stop relying on comfort to guide your life.

The graduating class of 2020 has been forced to change, just like most social constructs have, and we are not thrilled about it. What good will it do us if we sit around and wallow in the past, complaining about something out of our control? I have just examined my interpretation for changing oneself on a deep level and since we have so much “free time” on our hands, I urge you to exercise that power and do some internal digging. Listen acceptingly to oneself to find out how you can put aside all of the calamity and find peace.

To quote a great mind known as Carl R. Rogers, I present the following: “we cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are”. I am no expert at personal psychology, or anything at all really; however, I do believe that now is a better time than ever to sift through your personal experiences and psychoanalyze how you can be happy within. After all, the world is nearly at full capacity when it comes to unanticipated circumstances, so why not implement meaningful change by realizing what structural material will best hold yourself up during these rocky times?

I hope my thoughts brought some new ideas to the front of your mind and sincerely wish everyone well-being and personal development during the quarantine. We can, and we will overcome this obstacle; in the meantime do your best to steer oneself in a positive direction.

The Human Operating System

Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 24 February 2020

When I am not out-and-about in my free time or pondering about my next software project, I like to read books, especially the following genres: psychology, personal experiences, and verbose fantasy novels. Holding a book between my hands, a physical entity not a digital copy, changes the way I interact with the text.

As a senior Computer Science major nearing the end of my college career, I apply certain principles of my studies to my personal life with little effort. It makes sense for me to look at life through this lens.

For instance, last semester I learned about Operating Systems (OS)—a class based on managing resources for a computational machine. Analyzing various system resources is important in determining what exactly is happening inside a computer. Time, processes, and memory are useful metrics to keep track of in an OS. With this in mind, I’d like to think about the built-in Operating System that each person pilots. Everyone has routines whether they realize it or not and a computer’s routines can be good or bad just like a human’s can.

While I program, I enjoy a coffee (no cream/no sugar), set out blank paper for ideas, and place myself somewhere with few distractions. The brain can become pretty hectic during this and it feels like the classic Windows hourglass or Apple beachball (both of which taunt me to extremes). These indicate that an application is busy. It can be sporadic, lengthy, and overall a suboptimal time. The further my head is away from those two human interface mechanisms the better. Conversely, when I am reading a book there is only one process running and it’s between my hands.

The book “Talking to Strangers” by Malcom Gladwell is my current read. Past books include “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey, “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins, and the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling. After all, who hasn’t gone through a Harry Potter/Twilight/LOTR phase growing up?

Do you think like a computer? If not, don’t freak because there aren’t too many social benefits. I am attempting to think of my personal life in a way that uses the knowledge from my school life. Comparing a computer’s OS to a real-life version of scheduling tasks, executing applications, and controlling peripherals.

I started thinking the equivalent of these actions could be making to-do Lists, being productive, and limiting the distractions in your immediate environment. So, if you don’t operate in terms of processes, runtime, and efficiency, then what about to-do lists, productivity, and focus? Everyone may hold their own definitions for the human-equivalence to an OS, however some may not realize it. Dig a little deeper and find which determinants help you manage your hectic schedule, busy workload, or multidirectional limb-pulling activities.

Winter Break High Jinks

Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 14 January 2020

This winter break I chose to spend a large portion of my free time outdoors, enjoying my favorite activities. With my last winter break at hand, I figured the month-long hiatus was a beacon for freedom before I spend the next chapter in my life tracking how many of my PTO days remain.

Whilst on my adventures, I met with various friends and made some new ones as I bounced between my hometown, Lansdale, PA, and the great city of Philadelphia. I began bouldering last September and fall provided ideal weather for climbing on real rock.

Now that it’s January and too cold to enjoy climbing outside, I traveled into the city to climb indoors at a gym. The establishment was actually termed a lounge. No surprise there as climbing folk are laid-back and open-minded. At this lounge it’s not all about relaxation, the boulder problems proved wicked difficult and I ended up going back for more.

After I waded through all my hometown has to offer (for an outdoorsman at least), I decided to pack up some gear, head to the airport to pick up a friend flying in from Tennessee, and embark North to Ithaca, NY. Skiing is my favorite seasonal sport and Ithaca is a magical place for anyone whom seeks our Earth’s natural beauty.

Hiking around Taughannock Falls (pictured below) was one of the many highlights of the trip. Skiing is radical and Greek Peak Mountain does it up right. If you are into winter sports and need a new area to bum-out a ski trip, I recommend the Ithaca-Courtland commute from town to the mountain.

Taughannock Falls

In years prior, Vermont was my choice to ski, however Ithaca exudes lively college-town vibes and reminds me of Athens in boundless ways. The hills are steep, the air is full of education, and hiking trails populate the dense woods. In a way, Ithaca is the Athens of New York.

Jumping into my last semester at Ohio University prepared and focused to finish my degree in Computer Science, I am glad for the time to freshen-up my perspective and experience outdoor pursuits one day after another. Thank you, Ohio University, for being located in Athens, OH because even though I am back, it feels as unreal as ever. The last picture is from the gorges of Ithaca.

Gorges of Ithaca

CS Senior Design: Study Room Availability

Lydia Shiffler

Lydia Shiffler,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 14 November 2019

It’s crazy how fast my time at OU flew by, but it’s finally my senior year. This year comes with many lasts, but also a lot of new and exciting things. One thing that is extremely new is partaking in a senior design project.

In our Computer Science senior design, we get together in groups of 4 and work together to design a piece of software. Professors from all majors come to us with ideas in hopes that one group will pick their idea and implement it. Once we pick a project, we have the rest of the year to make sure it is completed.

For my project, we will be checking study room availability. In the study rooms, we are going to put thermal sensors that we programmed to detect if someone is present in a room. There are so many rooms throughout the university that students can go in and have a quiet place to work, but you never know if they are occupied until you walk up to them to check. Our project takes away the guessing game and gives students mobile and desktop applications that they can go on to see the availability of every study room at the university.

This was a very cool project for Computer Science majors because not only do we have to create a user interface and a database, and work with a server, but we also get to work with hardware. We don’t have much experience with hardware, so it was a really great challenge.

So far, the project is going extremely well and it has been a blast working with friends to try to implement something that students will actually use in the future. Throughout my years here, students have always talked about wanting something like this so they don’t have to keep walking around the building to find a quiet place to study. Hopefully by the time new students come here next year, this will be fully implemented in all the study rooms across campus!