Category Archives: Computer Science

Theta Tau: Professional Engineering Fraternity

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 6 November 2016

My tie was 3 inches too short, I noticed as I looked down to re-button my shirt. I rushed into the front of the room and sat down with 3 other candidates for our group interview for Theta Tau: The Co-ed Professional Engineering fraternity. That was nearly 2 years ago, and today my continued involvement with the group has impacted my undergraduate career more than I ever could’ve hoped.

This semester, I’m serving my last term as an executive member of Theta Tau; as a result, the nostalgia of my journey with my fellow engineers has set in.

From day 1, I knew that I had joined a special group. I wasn’t suffering over long homework assignments alone in my dorm anymore, I was suffering with my friends. I wasn’t wasting all of my free time, sitting around and complaining of boredom, I was organizing and participating in community service, fundraisers, professional development, and social events. The whole time, I was making lifelong friends.

Theta Tau

As my love for the group grew, I chose to help by taking leadership positions. Believe me, there is no group more difficult to lead than your friends. None of them will be afraid to tell you that the idea you pitched was terrible; on the other hand, no group will ever be more enthusiastic, and willing to take risks on good ideas.

Considering every triumph and every headache of leadership, if I could go back I wouldn’t change a single thing; the experience was priceless. It was in this group that I began to realize the rewards of being involved, and improving myself within student organizations on campus. Any Engineer looking for a home on campus would benefit by checking Theta Tau first.

New Beginnings

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Junior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 30 October 2016

I’ve had soccer to look forward to nearly every weekend of my life since I was five years old. That all changed after this past weekend.

The soccer team had to win the last three games of the season to make it to the tournament and we won all, but the last. It was a heartbreaking way to finish a career: losing in overtime with five seconds left.

Soccer was my identity up until two days ago. My new task moving forward is to surround myself with activities and people that will help create my new identity. I have free time for the first time in my four years here at Ohio University.

I am excited to search for more clubs and services that I find interesting. One thing that I came across is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). I am also interested in learning more about the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Both of these organizations are in fields that I enjoy learning more about and hopefully one day can contribute to them.

A chapter of my life may have been closed, but I am ready to turn the page and step foot into something bigger and better.

SCOPE Laboratory

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 October 2016

Another research opportunity at Ohio University has brought me closer to the goals and aspirations I once had as a kid. I’d always wanted to be a doctor, so that I could help sick people get better; I’d always wanted to make the first true Artificial Intelligence, like Arnold in the second Terminator movie; and I’d always wanted to be a professional Athlete.

My research in Artificial Intelligence started during Spring Semester of my Sophomore year. I reached out to one of my professors at Ohio University to study machine learning, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence. The next semester, I was offered a research position in the Smarthealth Laboratory working with Dr. Marling and Dr. Bunescu, where we write AI programs to help patients with Type 1 Diabetes manage their condition. Ultimately the work will help these patients live more comfortably and safely.

It was here that I realized OU had given me the opportunity to apply my unique skills as a Computer Science major to help people. I’m not a physician, but I still have the feeling that my 8-year-old self is proud.

My latest research project was awarded to me by the Russ College Undergraduate Research Fund. I’m now able to research with Dr. Vigo in the SCOPE laboratory. Here, we work on the mathematical modeling of human conceptual behavior. In other words, my job is to help apply mathematics to computers to help them form concepts in the same way that a human would. It’s a long way from the science fiction AI, but I don’t think I’ve disappointed my younger self.

In short, Ohio University has taken what I thought was a decision to only be a computer scientist, and it’s opened my eyes to the cross-disciplinary work that will help me contribute to almost all of the fields I had once intended. Now, I just have to make a smart robot that can hit a 450ft homerun. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity, and I hope this isn’t the last time you read about my research.

Internet Engineering

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Junior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 September 2016

Coming down to the end of my college journey, the classes I need to take are slowly dwindling down. I’m able to pick electives that are outside of the normal Computer Science scope. One class I decided to take this semester is Internet Engineering. It isn’t too hard to guess what this class would be about…yes, how the internet works.

When I enrolled for it, I thought it was going to be such a cool class and sure enough it has already exceeded my expectations. With it being one of my hardest and most demanding classes, it is still definitely one of the most rewarding ones I’ve taken. It has actually showed me what I want to do with life after college.

An interesting topic we’ve covered so far is routing to different computers and setting up the internet using solely IP Addresses. At first, it was all over my head and I felt lost, but the more time I spend walking to and from classes, I find myself thinking about how those computers are all connected together on the same network. I’m excited to see what other random facts I learn and to cover more topics as the year progresses.

Athensworks

Zach Perrault

Zach Perrault,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 15 March 2016

Last semester I participated in the Athens StartUp Weekend and won second place. One of the prizes our team won were several seats at Athensworks.

Athensworks

Athensworks is a local coworking space up on East Carpenter (just across from Family Dollar). Coworking spaces provide desks, conference rooms, nice chairs, and other people to work with for the self-employed and remote workers who might not have those things at home.

I first heard about Athensworks through the proverbial grapevine. I posted on a job board on Hacker News. A couple days later, an Athens native who works at Mavenlink in San Francisco reached out to me and introduced me to Ben Lachman, the founder of Athensworks.

Ben invited me to come to one of their monthly Hack Nights. At a Hack Night, anyone is welcome to stop by for some free pizza and to help build a project. Past Hack Night projects have been the Ohio Brew Week App and a pizza topping picker for large groups.

Since then my involvement with Athensworks has only increased. I started out only coming to a few Hack Nights. After StartUp Weekend I would work from Athensworks a couple days a week. And for the past six weeks I have been teaching a code school on Tuesday evenings.

The Code School class teaches JavaScript and is open to anyone in the community. Most of our students are local middle schoolers. It is very rewarding to give back to the community and share my passion for computer science with others.

Being a part of Athensworks is something I will really miss when I graduate. I have met a lot of great people and worked on a lot of fun things here.

Time out for Bowling

Wilson Taylor

Wilson Taylor,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 February 2016

This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience something new in Athens, Ohio—bowling. Since first coming to Athens I’ve always wanted to go bowling, but I’ve never given myself time to adventure to the Rollerbowl, the local bowling lanes.

While I don’t bowl frequently, it’s something I often have fond memories of. After throwing my first ball this past weekend I started to doubt these memories, very quickly. All the way through my fourth toss was my interest with bowling challenged. Having thrown my first four balls as straight gutters I was beginning to realize bowling wasn’t something I wouldn’t ‘just remember.’

Regardless of my performance I was noticing something while throwing those first few balls: the bowling lanes in Athens, Ohio offered a unique environment. The environment in the bowling alley on a Saturday afternoon was purely energetic.

Nearly half of the lanes were rented out to two or three families throwing parties for their children. From there, the ages ranged from elderly families taking an afternoon out to other groups of college students looking to get off campus. The lanes offered a positive environment where various groups could gather together and enjoy bowling, regardless of skill level. Throughout the afternoon I gradually threw fewer and fewer gutter balls. While I never managed to break 100 I still found the afternoon to be a lot of fun.

Regional Future City Competition

Wilson Taylor

Wilson Taylor,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 19 January 2016

This past weekend I had to opportunity to spend time in Columbus, judging students from around the state of Ohio in the Future City competition. The competition requires middle school students to create a virtual city model based upon technologies they believe to be possible in 50 years. Using their virtual model participants then implemented a 3D physical ‘splice’ of their city.

When designing their city, participants have to meet certain requirements, such as zero waste, high recyclability, and clear distinct city zones (Industrial, residential.)

My role at the event was to judge model presentations. The model presentations required each team to prepare a 5-7 minute speech that addressed the year’s theme: “Waste not, want not.” During the speech, participants described what they learned about the engineering design and implementation process.

On top of this, I got to see what these younger children believed the technologies of the future would be like. The most trending technology was pneumatic tubes running from every house which would automatically sort trash when sent through the tubes.

Some of the most interesting innovations were those that leveraged current technology in new ways. Many cities developed vertical farms in residential skyscrapers to conserve space while also creating a group gardening area to foster community.

The future cities competition allowed me to see what younger minds are interested in; the extent to which they’ll dedicate their time and energy to completing something they care about.