On November 2 , the Computer Science Department held its first ever Capture the Flag event.
Capture the Flag (CtF) in computer security is an exercise in which participants attempt to find text strings, called “flags”, which are secretly hidden in purposefully-vulnerable programs or websites.
From unraveling cryptic codes to identifying vulnerabilities in simulated systems, student teams showcased their skills in ethical hacking and digital defense. CS’s CtF served to foster a dynamic cybersecurity community on campus.
The success of this initial session set the stage for future exciting and intellectually stimulating CtF competitions!
Computer Science Major, Katie Yurechko, ’24, provides a unique and compelling perspective on the use of social media in her feature “Step Away from Your Screen”.
Since this article was created exclusively for the Alumni Magazine, it does not yet exist on the W&L website. A “go” link has been created that goes directly to Katie’s story via the ISSUU online platform flipbook.
Katie Yurechko, ’24, is a finalist for the Truman Foundation!
Created by Congress in 1975, the Foundation was President Harry S. Truman’s idea. A pragmatic Midwesterner who did not attend college, President Truman did not want a brick-and-mortar monument. Instead, he encouraged a living memorial that would give life to the values of service that encompassed his career. In that spirit, the Truman Foundation supports Americans answering the call to serve. The Truman Foundation identifies aspiring leaders at an important inflection point in their development (college) and recognizes and rewards their commitments to careers in public service.
The selection committee appointed 199 students from 133 institutions to interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 2nd and April 4th, 2024. In 2023, the Truman Foundation received 705 applications from 275 institutions.
Professor Matthews’ W23 Computer Graphics course completed ray tracer images for their final project. Ray tracers use reversed light rays and linear algebra to simulate the real world, including mirrored objects and refractive objects. While pretty, images rendered by a ray tracer take a very long time to finish. These images took DAYS to complete!
Ray tracer images
CSCI 340 Ray Tracer Projects are on full display at the entrance to the Computer Science Department.
The Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program supports students participating in collaborative research supervised by W&L faculty. The program aims to encourage the development of research techniques within a particular discipline, to promote the active acquisition of knowledge, and to stimulate student interest in inquiry.
Here are the 2023 Computer Science Department SRS students, their faculty supervisors and descriptions of their projects:
Professor Taha Khan:
Professor Khan had 3 SRS students this summer — Bianca Pham ’26, Sarah Lathrop ’25 and James Xia ’26. All three worked on the same project that focused on understanding how Internet users perceive what should happen to their data post bereavement. They also supported my AIM cybersecurity experience.
Professor Sara Sprenkle:
Professor Sprenkle also had 3 Summer Research Scholars — Petra Ilic ’24, Lakpa Sherpa ’25 and Ignas Volcokas ’25. Below are the details about their projects.
Petra Ilic ’24, “Paying Down Technical Debt in the Ancient Graffiti Project” The Ancient Graffiti project began in 2013 as an online tool to study the lives of the common people in ancient Rome. In the ten years since then, new features and content have been added—as well as technical debt. Petra focused on making the application easier to develop and maintain for the next ten years.
Lakpa Sherpa ’25, “Detecting Anomalous Behavior through Clustering WebApplication User Sessions”. More than 30% of web traffic is bots trying to collect data or perform attacks to prevent the smooth delivery of services. Lakpa developed an automated framework to explore clustering to identify anomalous behavior.
Ignas Volcokas ’25, “Generating Cost-Effective Test Cases for WebApplications using Genetic Algorithms.” Web applications are popular and must be reliable and therefore must be thoroughly tested before every release. Since testing takes time, we want to execute the most cost-effective test suites. Ignas explored a variety of test-suite generating algorithms, with a focus on genetic algorithms, and compared the effectiveness of the generated test suites.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023 Computer Science Majors and Minors for their outstanding achievements! Their accomplishments, along with the accomplishments of certain CS undergraduates are listed here, as they appear in the Commencement Bulletin.
Abdelraham Hesham AboEitta –Bachelor of Science, Honors in Computer Science ( Thesis: “Hyperdimensional Computing for Gesture Recognitiion Using a Dynamic Vision Sensor”), Phi Beta Kappa; summa cum laude
Praise D. Apata – Bachelor of Science
Sujana Basnet- Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude
Caleb Minjae Choe- Bachelor of Science
Madison E. Clubb- Bachelor of Arts
Peter McNulty Clyne- Bachelor of Science
Carson Brent Cooley- Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude
Jared Alexander Cordova- Bachelor of Science
Harry Dodd Crutcher, Jr.- Bachelor of Science, cum laude
Carl Lucas Erdmann- Bachelor of Arts
Ana Sophia Estrada Hamm- Bachelor of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude
Dario Fumarola- Bachelor of Arts
Selihom Gobeze- Bachelor of Science
Daniel Kenji Kung- Bachelor of Science
Leslie Taylor Le- Bachelor of Science
Grace Murphy MacDonald- Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude
Nobel Sintayehu Manye- Bachelor of Science
Sarah Louise Martin- Bachelor of Science
Ryan Davis Messick- Bachelor of Arts
Cong Danh Nguyen- Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude
Nicholas Q. Nguyen- Bachelor of Science
Mesoma Ifechukwu Okolocha- Bachelor of Science
Robert Warren Seeds- Bachelor of Science
Jorge Baunner Soto-Ventura- Bachelor of Arts
Nicholas Ransom Steinert- Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude
Robert Taylor Tucker- Bachelor of Science, cum laude
Virginia Slater Weston- Bachelor of Science
Colin James Whiting- Bachelor of Science, cum laude
Yoseph W. Wolde- Bachelor of Arts
Ana Sophia Estrada Hamm ’22 –Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Israel
The 2023 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference took place in Austin, Texas on April 30-May 4. This conference is considered the most recognized forum to showcase and discuss progress in research, development, standards and applications of web-related topics. Katie, along with collaborators Carnegie Mellon professor Daniel Klug and student Ella Steen of Gordon College, presented their research findings, on “How Algorithm Awareness Impacts Algospeak Use on TikTok” .
In addition to being a Johnson Scholar, Yurechko double majors in computer science and philosophy. She is also minors in poverty and human capability. Katie is dedicated to supporting marginalized communities and promoting diversity in computing, stating that “computer science is not solely about creating technical advances; it is also about critically analyzing those advances from interdisciplinary perspectives.”
Congratulations to Katie on her accomplishments and achievements!