4 UMKC programming teams compete – one finishes 14th in the US in world-wide competition

4 teams from UMKC School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) and our UMKC ACM student chapter competed at the October 24, 2015 IEEEXtreme 24-Hour Programming Competition, a world-wide 24-hour marathon programming contest sponsored by IEEE.  UMKC SCE Team The Daemons (Doug Hoskisson, Saad Mansoor, Binh Nguyen) finished 14th in the US and 177th worldwide.  This placed them in the top 7% nationally and top 9% globally!  Our other 3 UMKC teams were Kodikos (Billy Capps, Atreya Lahiri, and Alex Sweeney), Bulletyn (Reggie Roby, An Nguyen, Alex Wachira), and J2M (Das Auyshman, Hoang Nguyen, and Phung Nguyen).  These teams acquitted themselves well, finishing near the middle of a very large pack in a challenging environment.  If you see any of these students in class or in the corridor, be sure to congratulate them for a job well done.

Thank you to the SCE volunteer faculty and professional-community proctors, along with substantial organizational help from Debby Dilks, CSEE Department Manager, for the valuable help that made it possible for our students to take part. Brian Hare, our ACM student chapter faculty advisor, is proud of entire team and advises that ACM’s attention now turns immediately to the Mid-Central Region’s Intercollegiate Programming Contest sponsored by IBM, to be held at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg on November 7.

Drone Bridge Inspection

On September 29th, 2015, Dr. Travis Fields and Dr. John Kevern conducted the first documented bridge inspection with the use of unmanned aircraft. The inspection was performed in conjunction with Shafer, Kline & Warren (SKW) and the Missouri Department of Transportation. The aircraft developed at UMKC has the unique ability of unlimited flight time. The vehicle is powered via a gasoline generator, which is transmitted to the aircraft with a 300 ft. tether. The provisionally patented technology enables inspection teams to perform the entire inspection without the cumbersome need for battery changes every 15 minutes, while also reducing the risks typically associated with bridge inspection crews.

 

Alum Karthik Ramasamy Helps Make Your Twitter Tweet Faster

SCE Alum Karthik Ramasamy (MS in Computer Science ’93) is an Engineering Manager at Twitter.  Under his technical leadership, Twitter recently made a huge change in how they process and handle tweets for real-time data streaming, vastly improving how quickly tweets are disseminated and re-tweeted. The project is known as Twitter Heron and Karthik’s blog provides more information. It has received so much press that Forbes also wrote an article about it, as well as technical online magazines venturebeat.com, infoq.com, and theplatform.com.

 

Karthik co-authored a book with Professor Deep Medhi: Network Routing (www.NetworkRouting.net) published in 2007. They are currently working on the 2nd Edition of the book.  SCE is very proud of our alum Karthik Ramasamy and looks forward to learning about his next accomplishment!

Victoria Wu Receives 2015 Grace Hopper Travel Grant

Computer Science senior Victoria Wu has been selected as a travel grant recipient to attend the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.  This competitive grant offers outstanding students the opportunity for networking, mentoring and career development experiences by providing all registration and travel costs associated with attending the conference from Oct. 14-16, 2015 in Houston, TX.  At the conference, Victoria will present a poster coauthored by her and her advisor, Dr. Praveen Rao, on SPARQL query optimization for Linked Data.  Our congratulations to Victoria and to her advisor!

ECE junior Kati Williams spends summer at NASA

ECE junior Kati Williams, a 2015 summer intern at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, spent her summer working in the Small Projects Integration and Test Environment (SPRITE) lab with two other interns.  This department deals with smaller satellites (nicknamed cube-sats), as well as hardware simulations for those small projects.

The majority of her internship was spent writing code (mostly in C and C++) for a reboot of a portable hardware-in-the-loop simulator. The goal was to create a simulation of a satellite and emulate the hardware which would be found on the cub-sat. The two other interns created the satellite simulator which sends position data to the emulated sensors that Kati developed. Among the sensors, she created a GPS receiver which calculates the altitude, and latitude and longitude of the satellite relative to Earth and then the data is outputted to various NMEA sentences (a standard GPS data format.) She also created a sun sensor, which returned the position vector towards the sun, and a magnetometer, which uses the Earth’s magnetic field data for positioning.

Kati tells us, “This internship was challenging in ways I wasn’t expecting. There was quite the learning curve when I got there! Sometimes, I felt a little overwhelmed, but my mentor was great and was very patient and understanding.  As an Electrical and Computer Engineering major, I did not have much professional coding experience, only a little bit of C, C++, Python, and Matlab. However, with the help of my mentor (and the other interns,) I was able to leave satisfied with the work I completed. Interning at NASA was very rewarding.

Working with NASA engineers and programmers was an amazing experience.  I got to meet five astronauts and meet many more persons of note. I got an in-depth tour of the center where I got to see the progress for the next step in space exploration, the Space Launch System. By the end of my internship I felt that I began to understand the aerospace industry and what working in the government sector would be like.  I learned some about what I want to do with my career post college, and more importantly, what I don’t want to do. I hope to return to NASA over the next few summers, and it’s where I hope to start my career after graduating.”