W&L Computer Science Featured on WVTF

Sandy Hausman from WVTF reported a story about women in computer science at Washington and Lee.  The story features Professor Sara Sprenkle and students Camille Cobb ’12 and Cory Walker ’15.

Spring-Term CSCI ‘bots invade Leyburn Library

This year’s W&L Spring-Term Festival took place in Leyburn Library, and the Computer Science Department was there in force: the twelve students enrolled in CSCI 250: Introduction to Robotics demonstrated robots that flew over obstacles, followed their creators around like a pet, played a game of Tron, and obeyed commands issued from an XBox Kinect sensor.  There was even some cross-project interference, as the Kinect-driven bot tried to steal the Rovipet’s beloved green ball.

CSCI 250 also featured a field trip to the Areva Nuclear Power facility in Lynchburg, where we got to see some bigger robots in action.


What Is IBM Jeopardy! Challenge?

W&L Computer Science students watched the first episode of the IBM Jeopardy! Challenge in the cozy Hillel House conference room, with large TV.  The CS department provided snacks, while the students provided the conversation and analysis of the game.  At the end of the episode, only the first round of Jeopardy! was played.  Brad Rutter and Watson were tied at $5k, while Ken Jennings had $2K.

Picture taken at the Viewing Party, using Apple's Photo Booth.

An Algorithm for Fun!

In Wednesday’s CSCI111: Fundamental of Programming I class, the students wrote an algorithm for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   Fellow student Jean Paul Mugabe ’14 then attempted to make a PB&J sandwich using their algorithm.  The students could not make any assumptions about what Jean Paul knew, and Jean Paul did exactly what they told him to do in the algorithm.

Jean Paul Mugabe '14 follows the class's PB&J algorithm, while Professor Sara Sprenkle asks questions. As you can see, the class did not tell Jean Paul to remove the peanut butter jar's safety seal, so he stuck the knife through the safety seal.

This exercise illustrates the importance of having unambiguous programming languages because computers cannot infer what we’re telling it to do.  The exercise also motivates some important properties of algorithms, such as what data and operations we have available, naming, ordering steps, handling special cases, looping, and subroutines.

CSCI Flies High at the Spring Term Fair

W&L Computer Science presented results from two new spring-term courses at the Spring Term Fair on 21 May 2010. Professor Sara Sprenkle’s CSCI 335: Software Engineering through Web Applications featured a much-needed revision to W&L’s daily Campus Notices, and Prof Simon Levy’s CSCI 251: iPhone Application Development debuted some student-authored apps.  This video, courtesy of Professor Ken Lambert, shows senior Sam Reed ’10 flying a prototype AR.Drone quad-rotor helicopter from an iPad.  Sam’s work enabled flying the drone to from this new tablet device, and projecting the image from the drone’s camera to a video screen via the iPad.

Anne Van Devender Teaches Middle School Girls

841300191Senior Anne Van Devender teaches girls from Maury River Middle School Computer Science.  As a member of WITS (Women in Technology and Science),  Anne introduced the girls to the basics of HTML through creating their own web pages.

T-Shirt Design Competition

The Computer Science Department is having a t-shirt design competition!

Rules (subject to change):

  • short or long-sleeve t-shirt
  • one color printed on a solid color t-shirt
  • options for printing are front/back/sleeve (probably only 2 of those 3)
  • keep it clean!

Submission (subject to change): Send the images (in some commonly used format, like jpg, png, tiff) to Derek Pinkham (pinkhamd@wlu.edu)   Include explanation, if necessary, such as which image is on the front and which is on the back.

Please let us know if you have any other ideas/suggestions.  You’ve been coming up with some great ones!