The Megs Radio research team, summer 2018

Get involved in undergraduate research! We are on the lookout for students who are curious about cutting edge computer science and real-world problems. Students in any year of the program, and with any GPA will be considered. During the academic year, we offer individual and group project courses and support a few students in paid research positions.

Students interested in an immersive research experience with faculty in the department can apply to be an H&S Summer Scholar; this program provides 8-10 week full-time paid research positions in the summer months. Students should speak with faculty before applying, as not all faculty can support student researchers over the summer.

John Barr

Professor Barr’s research interests currently span two fields: the use of mobile technology and computer systems. Contemporary culture has become centered around phones and tablets and much of the computation done in many fields is now performed with these devices. Professor Barr’s research explores the use of mobile devices in general but especially in ways that provide for social good and for education. 

There are currently several opportunities for students to participate in creating solutions involving apps in several areas including:

  • Development of a cross-platform app that simulates electron magnetic fields.  You would be working with physics students to create animations for iOS and Android devices.
  • Working with physical therapy students on the development of an app to monitor nutritional needs of athletes.
  • Continuing the development of an accessibility app that maps accessible routes on the Ithaca College campus.
  • Developing an app that helps students with food security.

In addition, Prof. Barr is exploring the use of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) in the classroom.  FPGAs are hardware devices that can be reconfigured using a special hardware design language.  Using this language, we can create processors, memory, and specialized hardware devices for applications like machine learning.  In this project you would be exploring a hardware design language and developing materials for using FPGAs in various system classes. 

Paul Dickson

Prof. Dickson's current project, Automatic Lecture Recording: Presentations Automatically Organized from Lectures (PAOL) is a lecture capture system under development at IC. The project relies heavily on image processing to capture whiteboard and video content in order to clean up the content and determine what needs to be saved. It also involves Linux scripting in order to stabilize the capture of actual lecture content. Students interested in working on this project will get a chance to work on both aspects of the project and will get a chance to help mold a system that will be used to record computer science classes for years to come.

Toby Dragon

Prof. Dragon's research is focused on using Computer Science to help students and teachers, the research field of Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED). He builds and studies intelligent systems that can support and enhance learning activities. 

His current work provides instructors with a means of bringing together both online and offline course materials into a unified structure that clarifies exactly what concepts are taught in a course and how the materials and assessments used in the course are related to those concepts. This information can then be used to visualize the the concepts that students understand vs. the concepts that are proving to be difficult, and how those concepts are inter-related. 

This project has many open areas of research for student colleagues to contribute, including but not limited to the following interesting questions: How can the system best calculate the estimate of understanding of a certain concept? How can the system best visualize this information? How can the system best use this information to offer suggestions for students? How can the system best support instructors in creating/gathering course materials? How can the system be deployed online in a way that is usable to all? How can the system predict future student performance? How can the system be applied to an entire curriculum, rather than a single course? Come help answer some of these questions.

Nate Prestopnik

Nate Prestopnik is interested in games, play, creativity, story, motivation, and design. Past work has included game development for second language acquisition, historical visualization, and citizen science, as well as a playful VR creative writing system called Play|Write.

Currently Nate is working on a mixed-reality (MR) firearms safety training system called Condition One. This system uses the Arduino microprocessor, the Unity game development environment, the Uduino API, and the HTC Vive VR system to teach law enforcement trainees, military recruits, sport shooters, and responsible gun owners the fundamental rules of firearms safety. The Condition One project is also an exploration of user experience design for safety-critical contexts, and is a vehicle for engagement in the wider cultural conversation about firearms and safety practices in the United States.

This project has openings for interested student developers, especially:

  • 3D artists or strong programmers comfortable with (or excited to proactively learn) the Arduino development environment, electronics and physical computing, the Unity Engine, the HTC Vive system, and virtual reality.
  • Student researchers who are interested in contributing through the collection and analysis of research data, running interview sessions or focus groups, helping to develop a literature review, and/or research writing.

To learn more, stop by Nate's office, Williams Hall, 401C, or send an email to nprestopnik@ithaca.edu.

Sharon Stansfield

Prof. Stansfield’s research is focused on two areas:

1) Building and programming robot mobility devices for infants with motor impairment.  This on-going effort, called Tots-on-Bots, has produced the WeeBot, a mobile robot based device that is controlled intuitively:  The robot moves in the direction that the baby leans (for example to reach for a toy.)  Studies with our current device have shown that infants as young as 5 months old can learn to drive the WeeBot.  Continuing work is focused on building a less expensive device, porting the control software to this new robot, and doing a larger study with young children with motor impairment.

2) Developing VR systems to delivery Occupational and Physical Therapies. Our initial effort used VR to augment rehabilitation for young children with upper limp impairment by gamifying the therapy within VR to make it less repetitive and boring.  Our current effort uses VR to create an environment for rehabilitation of balance disorders.

Doug Turnbull

Doug Turnbull's research focuses on building novel applications to help people discover, enjoy and benefit from music. During the summer of 2019, the students in his JimiLab will likely work on three related music tech projects:

  1. Localify: a web app that explores how we can help Spotify users to discover local musicians
  2. Long-Tail Playlist Recommendation: developing novel playlist algorithms to help people discover artists who are not normally recommended by commercial music service
  3. Content-based Song Selection: exploring the use of deep learning models for "next song selection" on a music playlist 

To learn more, check out https://dougturnbull.org/index.php/jimilab/ . Also, feel free to drop by Doug's office to talk shop and pitch your own ideas involving music technology, machine learning, or recommender systems.