CS Prof. Liz Matthews’ Advisor awarded National Award from President Biden!

Juan Gilbert, a University of Florida professor and graduate school advisor to Professor Matthews, received the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Biden.

His pioneering designs in election technology aim to make voting more secure and accessible and, ultimately, protect our democracy.

Click on the link to see the details.

https://youtu.be/jWRJHD7nR4g?t=1630

CS major Katie Yurechko – Truman Foundation Finalist

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.

Congratulations, Katie!

CSCI 340 – Final Ray Tracer Project

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.

P405 Computer Lab – New and Improved!

The CS Department completely renovated and refurbished its main computer lab over the summer.    This “active-learning first” classroom  is designed to maximize the educational experience!

wide view of the lab

another wide view of the lab

close up of a pod
TA helping students

2023 Summer Research Scholars

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.

Bianca Pham '26
Bianca Pham ’26
James Xia '26
James Xia ’26
Sarah Lathrop '25
Sarah Lathrop ’25
(L-R) Sarah, Bianca, James and Prof. Khan
(L-R) Sarah, Bianca, James and Professor Khan

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 Iliac '24
Petra Iliac ’24

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
Lakpa Sherpa ’25

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 Volcakas '25
Ignas Volcakas ’25

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.

2023 Computer Science Degrees, Scholarships, Prizes and Awards

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.

2023 Graduates:

Majors:

  • 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
  • Madison E. Clubb- Bachelor of Arts
  • Carson Brent Cooley- Bachelor of Science,  magna cum laude
  • Jared Alexander Cordova- Bachelor of Science
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jorge Baunner Soto-Ventura- Bachelor of Arts
  • Robert Taylor Tucker- Bachelor of Science, cum laude
  • Virginia Slater Weston- Bachelor of Science

Minors:

  • Peter McNulty Clyne- Bachelor of Science
  • Caleb Minjae Choe- Bachelor of Science
  • Harry Dodd Crutcher, Jr.- Bachelor of Science,  cum laude
  • Carl Lucas Erdmann- Bachelor of Arts
  • Sarah Louise Martin- Bachelor of Science
  • Robert Warren Seeds- Bachelor of Science
  • Nicholas Ransom Steinert- Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude
  • Colin James Whiting- Bachelor of Science, cum laude
  • Yoseph W. Wolde- Bachelor of Arts

Fellowships Received:

  • Ana Sophia Estrada Hamm ’22 – Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Israel

Departmental Awards:

  • Carson Brent Cooley- The Luther Seevers Birely Scholarship
  • Kathryn Marie Yurechko ’24- The James McDowell Scholarship
  • Grace Murphy MacDonald – The Computer Science Department Award
  • Nobel Sintayehu Manaye- The H. Thomas Williams, Jr. Undergraduate Research Award
  • Mesoma Ifechukwu Okolocha- Senior Bonner Scholars
  • Jackson Jacobs ’24- Richard Miller Cross Country Award

CS Major Katie Yurechko ’24 presents at the 2023 ACM Web Conference

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!

2023 CS Phi Beta Kappa Initiates

Phi Beta Kappa (PBK)  was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary.   Its motto is “Love of learning is the guide of life.” The Gamma of Virginia Chapter was chartered at W&L in 1911.

The PBK chapter at Washington and Lee University welcomed 49 members of the junior and senior classes at the Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati Convocation on March 31.  Of those initiates, the following computer science majors are from the Class of 2023 and 2024:

2023
Grace MacDonald
Dan Nguyen

2024
Katie Yurechko

Congratulations!

CS Senior, Abdul AboEitta presents his Honors Thesis

On Thursday, April 6,  Abdul AboEitta, Class of 2023,  presented his Honors Thesis  “Hyperdimensional Computing for Gesture Recognition using a Dynamic Vision Sensor”

Abdul’s thesis introduced  a novel neuromorphic approach that exploits two biologically-inspired technologies: (1) Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) and (2) Hyperdimensional Computing (HDC). By integrating technologies inspired by the human brain, the primary goal of his research is to develop more efficient and adaptable Al systems that can handle various real-world problems, overcoming the constraints faced by CNNs and backpropagation.

Professor Levy and Abdul
Abdul’s presentation

For additional details, here’s the flyer of Abdul’s presentation.

CS Honors Thesis Poster

W&L’s Lakpa Sherpa ’25 and Ignas Volcokas ’25 – 2nd place winners at Hackathon

Lakpa and Ignas came in second for best education hack at Hoo Hacks 2023 with their EsyLearn project.

During the hackathon, Lakpa and Ignas  were inspired to produce a personal learning assistant that would accept and adjust to the learning needs of its user.   

Lapka and Ignas pose, smiling, in front of the Welcome to HooHacks sign.
Welcome to HooHacks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EsyLearn

EsyLearn communicates with users via a web interface where the users can easily speak and get responses back, just like talking to another human being. Through natural language processing, it provides responses both in text and audio for better understanding.  Within 24 hours, Lakpa and Ignas essentially created a virtual assistant that is as smart as Jarvis in the Iron Man Movies.

Congratulations, Lakpa and Ignas!

You can learn more in the W&L feature story and in the Hook Hacks project gallery.