We believe that undergraduate research is a valuable experience for all students – it broadens the horizons and enhances the sound understanding of the taught topics. Doing undergraduate research projects, students can find out whether they have a passion for research and whether they should pursue a graduate degree. In two of my classes – CMSC 250 Introduction to the Design and Analysis of Algorithms and CMSC 310 Artificial Intelligence, students are required to complete a research project in a manner that accounts for each student’s interests and research potential. Some students have done research projects as an independent study or a capstone experience, and some students have done research projects as an extra-curriculum activity (not for credit, just for the fun of it).
Usually, a research project has the following tasks: choose a topic, find an interesting problem, investigate and compare existing solutions, look for directions for improvements, propose modifications, implement a solution and describe the research in a paper. Students may work individually or in teams. At the end of the semester, the research projects are presented in class. Students with outstanding work present at the Computer Science seminar and at Simpson’s Undergraduate Symposium. Some students have their work presented and published at regional forums – the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium and the CCSE Central Planes Conference. One student presented his work in Washington, DC at the “Posters on the Hill” event, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Several students have won Maytag-McElroy research grants by Iowa College Foundation. Here is a list of outstanding students’ projects that have been presented at various forums.
Outstanding Student Research
- Joel Gawarecki, Adam Smith, Jaris Van Maanen, Linsey Williams. Optimization of Tile Sets for DNA Self-Assembly. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium April 13 – 14, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.
- Zach Huebener, Kylie Van Houten. Three Approaches to Solving the Motif-Finding Problem. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium April 13 – 14, 2012, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.
- Adam Smith. Genetic Algorithms for Protein Folding Prediction. National Conference on Undergraduate Research, March 29-31, 2012, Weber State University, Ogden, UT
- Carl Davidson. Text based Markov Models Using a Sequence Alignment Algorithm. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium April 16 – 17, 2010, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.
- Carl Davidson. Identifying Gene Regulatory Networks Using Evolutionary Algorithms. CCSC Central Plaines Conference, April 9 – 10, 2010, Park University, Parkville MO
- Carl Davidson. Course Scheduling with Genetic Algorithms. Midwest Instruction and Computing SymposiumApril 11 – 12, 2008, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
- Carla Lewllin. Rule-Based Algorithms for Music Generation. Midwest Instruction and Computing SymposiumApril 20-21, 2007, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
- Patrick Carlson. The Battle of the Bytes: An Analysis of Cooperation Models. REU Symposium, Argonne Laboratory, November 3, 2006
- Steve Pilling. Using Multiple Sensors In An Obstacle Avoidance Algorithm For Lego Mindstorms Robots.Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium, April 7 – 8, 2006, Iowa Wesleyan College
- Matt Lehman. Experiments with Algorithms for DNA Sequence Alignment. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium, April 8 – 9, 2005, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
- Maya Hristakeva, Dipti Shrestha. Different Approaches to Solve the 0/1 Knapsack Problem. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium, April 8 – 9, 2005, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
- Maya Hristakeva, Dipti Shrestha. Solving the 0-1 Knapsack Problem with Genetic Algorithms. Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium April 16 – 17, 2004, University of Minnesota at Morris
- Zach Huebener and Kylie van Houten presented their paper comparing different methods of finding patterns in DNA strands at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
- Adam Smith, Joell Gawarecki, Jarin van Maanen and Linsey William and Kylie van Houten presented their paper on a genetic algorithm for DNA tile assembly at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
- Blake Mikels presented his research using data mining for stock market prediction at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
- At the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS 2012) at UNI 2 papers were presented. Adam Smith and Joel Gawarecki presented “Optimization of Tile Sets for DNA Self-Assembly”, co-authored with Linsey Williams and Jaris Van Maanen. Zach Huebener presented “Three Approaches to Solving the Motif-Finding Problem”, co-authored with Kylie Van Houten.
- Adam Smith presented his paper on using genetic algorithms for protein prediction at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
- Chris Wiegert, Ethan Eller and Bob Trimble presented their iPhone programming projects at Simpson’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
- Carl Davidson presented his poster on gene regulatory networks at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.