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UE Seniors Win Second Place at Annual IEEE Competition

Posted: March 21, 2014

University of Evansville seniors Jake Schwartz and Austin Deuerling won second place at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) SoutheastCon Regional Competition in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday March 15. Their robot placed above 42 teams, including such universities as Duke, Virginia Tech and the University of Florida.

 

Schwartz and Deuerling, both electrical engineering majors, designed their robot to shoot darts in a simulated basketball goal from various distances to emulate the playing and shooting dynamics of basketball on a simulated basketball court.

Winners at the competition were decided by the number of points earned by completing goals and completion time. The highest scoring robots were both fast and precise.

Schwartz is from English, Indiana, and Deuerling is from Wadesville, Indiana.

UE Student Creates “New and Rising” App

Posted: January 21, 2014

A lot of college students spend their long Christmas break relaxing and recharging for the spring semester. Not UE junior Alex Luebbehusen and his brother, Brandon, a high school senior in Ferdinand, Ind. They spent their off time creating two new Windows apps based on what Alex had just learned through a fall electrical engineering class called Small Computer Software.

Alex says he and Brandon created the first app, a fast-paced word game called Party Phrase, in just a few hours to get a feel for getting into the Windows app market.

The second one took a lot more time and work, but it is also getting a lot more notice. Late last week it was noted on the Windows App Store as a “new and rising” travel app. It is called tripp. It’s described as “a world travel organizer that enables you to map all the places you have visited. By adding notes, dates, and photos from your trips to the pinned locations, you can recapture the thrill of these unforgettable experiences and easily share them with family and friends—anytime, anywhere.”
Both apps are free. “We didn’t plan on getting rich off of this,” said Luebbehusen. “We wanted to get downloads and get people to use it. We did it for the experience.”

Mark Randall is co-instructor for the class that gave Luebbehusen the hands-on experience, and the confidence, to hit the marketplace. “It’s really neat to see somebody take something from the class and to turn something out that is being recognized. It’s a project-based class that rewards students grade-wise for adding bells and whistles above and beyond their basic assignments.”

Luebbehusen added that just the competitiveness of the class members was an incentive to adding more to the projects than required.

As for why they chose the Windows App Store for their work, he says that as a newer market,  it is not quite as crowded as others and that makes it easier to get noticed.

UE Team a Finalist in J.P. Morgan Code for Good Challenge

Posted: October 22, 2013

A team of five University of Evansville students was named a finalist in the the J.P. Morgan Code for Good Challenge, October 4-5 in Columbus, Ohio. The event challenged programmers to use their technological expertise to make an impact on a nonprofit organization.

 

UE’s team, consisting of computer science majors Melanie Conn, Allie Deford, McIntyre Watts, and Jonathan Wood and computer engineering major Aaron Reynolds, was tasked with developing a fitness tracking and healthy lifestyle app for Goodwill of Columbus. After hearing a presentation on Friday about the organization’s needs, students worked most of the night to complete the programming challenge and develop a pitch and demonstration, which they presented to judges on Saturday.

The University of Evansville’s team won second place out of the six collegiate teams that completed projects for Goodwill of Columbus.

“I’m very proud of our students’ hard work in this competition, where they demonstrated that they not only have outstanding programming skills, but excellent presentation abilities and a desire to do good,” said Don Roberts, UE associate professor of computer science. “The Code for Good Challenge was an incredible opportunity for students to put their academic knowledge into practice and gain professional experience working for a real-world client. ”

UE to Host Webelos Scouts Engineering Pin Day

Posted: October 18, 2013

The University of Evansville's College of Engineering and Computer Science will host an engineering pin day for local Webelos Scouts and their leaders. From 7:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Saturday, October 26, Webelos Scouts will rotate through hands-on activity stations led by UE engineering and computer science students. The activities can be applied toward earning the Webelos Scout engineering pin.

Advance registration with payment of $6 per scout is required. Webelos Scout leaders may obtain forms and information from Tina Newman in UE's College of Engineering and Computer Science, 812-488-2651, or Jennifer Whitaker with the Boy Scouts of America Buffalo Trace Council, 812-423-5246.

ACM Programming Team Finalists in Code for Good Challenge

Posted: October 8, 2013

The ACM Programming Team of Melanie Conn, Allison Deford, McIntyre Watts, Jonathan Wood (all senior computer science majors), and Aaron Reynolds (junior computer engineering major) were finalists at the Code for Good Challenge sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase in Columbus, OH, over the October 4-5 weekend.  The team had 24 hours to create a healthy lifestyle application for the Goodwill of Columbus organization.  In addition to completing a prototype implementation, they had to present and demonstrate their application before a panel of judges who scored their effort on several criteria.  They competed against 11 other teams of students from several colleges including Michigan State, Ohio State, Miami of Ohio, and Georgia Tech.

Code for Good Challenge events are sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase at several locations.  Students are organized into teams of 4-6 programmers and are given a challenge to write an application to meet the needs of a local charity organization.  At the Columbus event, there were 12 teams divded among two challenges.  The UE team's challenge was to write a healthy lifestyle application for the Goodwill of Columbus organization to be used by employees throughout Columbus.  The application is to allow employees to connect with one another and challenge each other to complete fitness tasks, as well as allow the company to set daily challenges for all users.

Teams were given 24 hours to design and implement a prototype application.  The UE team chose to use Ruby on Rails, a technology that most members had learned in the Software Engineering class, as their implementation platform.  Then they presented and demonstrated their application against the other teams doing the same challenge, afterwards being named one of two finalists from the Goodwill challenge to compete for the final prizes against the finalists of the other challenge.

Allie Deford summarized their experiences saying, "The Code for Good Challenge was a great learning experience. As a group, we got to use the skills we've gained in a variety of classes to take an application from idea to a demo in less than a day. It really reminded us how much work goes into developing an application. It also gave us an amazing opportunity to work together as a team. Each of us had different skill sets, which we tried to utilize. It was important that we trusted each member of our team to finish their own tasks to put together a really interesting final product. Finally, when the coding was done, we had to use our communication skills to give both a technical interview and 2 rounds of presentations. But it paid off -- we were in the top 4 teams!"

UE to Offer Review Course for Fundamentals of Engineering Exam

Posted: September 17, 2013

This fall, the University of Evansville’s College of Engineering and Computer Science will offer a review course for students and community members preparing to take the 2014 Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

The eight-hour FE exam, which will be offered at computer testing centers nationwide beginning in January, is designed for students who are close to finishing an undergraduate engineering degree. It is typically the first step in the process to becoming a licensed professional engineer.

The review class is taught by University of Evansville faculty members and offered only once a year. Classes will take place on Thursday nights from 6:30-9 p.m. in UE’s Koch Center for Engineering and Science.

This year, classes will be divided based on specific majors: civil engineering (classes run September 26-January 23), electrical and computer engineering (classes run October 31-November 21), and mechanical engineering and other disciplines (September 26-December 5). 

The deadline to register for the review course is September 25. For more information or to register, please contact the College of Engineering and Computer Science at 812-488-2651.

UE Faculty, Program Featured in NerdScholar Article about Diversity in STEM

Posted: June 25, 2013

Deborah Hwang, UE associate professor of computer science, was featured in a recent article on the website NerdScholar -- a financial literacy and consumer advocacy resource for students -- about increasing diversity in the STEM field.

The story also featured UE's OPTIONS summer program for middle and high school girls as an example of how to increase diversity in the engineering and computer science fields, in which women are traditionally underrepresented.

To read the full NerdScholar article, click here.

Past OPTIONS Participant to Serve as Mentor-in-Residence for High School Girls

Posted: May 20, 2013

Kelsey Smith, a 2006 OPTIONS for High School Girls summer camp participant, will serve as mentor-in-residence for girls attending this year’s OPTIONS experience, which explores the vast career possibilities in engineering and computer science.

Smith, a resident of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, will provide guidance and advice to this year’s OPTIONS for High School Girls attendees as well as teaching.

Smith, a Montana native, learned about OPTIONS through the Internet and attended the program before her junior year of high school. She credits the experience for deepening her understanding and interest in the diverse career opportunities in engineering.

“OPTIONS gave me incredible exposure to the different fields of engineering and the roles that women play in them. Being in an all-girls camp gave me the confidence to ask questions and explore more about the ‘how,’” Smith said. “There were so many opportunities offered – we were able to visit a wide range of plants and factories, and really see the in-depth functioning of different systems. In addition, I met some amazing women mentors.”

Smith graduated from high school in Bigfork, Montana, in 2008. There, she received varsity letters in soccer, track, and cheerleading; held leadership positions as speech and debate team captain, student council vice president, and newspaper editor-in-chief; and played first-chair flute.

Smith graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2012, where she majored in behavioral science with minors in Arabic and Spanish. Upon graduation from the Academy, Smith was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. She currently attends the Air Force Institute of Technology and is studying engineering management – human factors engineering. After graduation in 2014, Smith plans to work as a researcher in the Air Force.

Openings are still available in both OPTIONS for High School Girls, June 9-14, and OPTIONS for Middle School Girls, June 16-20. Thanks to the Alcoa Foundation, a limited number of scholarships are available for girls from Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. Attendees are welcome from all states and counties.

For more information, please contact Tina Newman, OPTIONS program coordinator in the University of Evansville’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, at 812-488-2651.

Robert Morse Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

Posted: May 15, 2013

Robert Morse, professor of computer science, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to spend the Spring 2014 semester in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

From February 1 through July 15, 2014, Morse will split his time between teaching and research at the University of Ljubljana. He will teach a graduate-level course on his specialty, computational algebra, and collaborate with local mathematicians on two research projects.

“I’m honored to be selected for the Fulbright and look forward to returning to Slovenia after visiting and presenting my research there in 2012,” Morse said. “My activities abroad will enhance my professional growth and challenge me mathematically as I will be providing computational expertise to several mathematicians at the University of Ljubljana in support of their research.”

“My work as a Fulbright scholar also will benefit UE’s vision and strategic plan by extending the University’s global reach and making deeper connections abroad,” Morse added, “and it will provide the groundwork for possible future student interaction between the University of Evansville and the University of Ljubljana.”

“At the University of Evansville, we’re very proud and excited for Dr. Morse,” said John Mosbo, senior vice president for academic affairs. “The Fulbright Scholarship is among the most prestigious and competitive in higher education, and Dr. Morse’s successful application for the award demonstrates that the University of Evansville’s faculty is truly world-class.”

Morse came to the University of Evansville in 1998 after a 12-year career designing avionics software for IBM Corporation’s Federal Systems Division. He is the co-editor of two books on computational algebra and is author of several peer-reviewed publications in mathematics. Morse holds a PhD and Master of Arts in mathematics from the State University of New York at Binghamton, as well as a Bachelor of Science in computer science from The Pennsylvania State University.

Morse’s previous honors include the University of Evansville’s Global Scholar Award from the Institute for Global Enterprise, Sadelle and Sydney Berger Award for Scholarly Activity, and Dean’s Teaching Award for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He also has served as a visiting professor at the National University of Ireland in Galway (funded by a Marie Curie Transfer of Knowledge grant from the European Union) and received an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award from IBM Corporation.

The Fulbright Program, founded in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers grants for U.S. citizens to study, teach, and conduct research abroad, and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States. Each year, the program awards approximately 800 highly competitive, merit-based grants for U.S. scholars and professionals. Past Fulbright Scholars include recipients of 43 Nobel Prizes, 81 Pulitzer Prizes, 28 MacArthur Foundation Awards, and 16 U.S. Presidential Medals of Honor.

UE Seniors Win High Honors in Robotics Competitions

Posted: April 9, 2013

Two teams of University of Evansville senior engineering students earned awards at robotics competitions this past weekend. Jordan Stoltz and Eric Whitney, both of Evansville, won first place in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) SoutheastCon Hardware Competition in Jacksonville, Florida, while Lucas Phillips of Gentryville, Indiana, and Dan Scheller of Evansville placed second and were the top-finishing collegiate team in the senior division of the Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot Competition in Hartford, Connecticut.

Both robots were designed and built as students’ senior capstone projects at UE. Whitney, Phillips, and Scheller are electrical engineering majors, and Stoltz is majoring in computer engineering.

“The University of Evansville’s outstanding performance in these competitions proves that our engineering program is truly among the best in the nation,” said Mark Randall, the faculty advisor for both teams and a UE instructor of electrical engineering. “As these students prepare to graduate next month, I’m confident the skills and experiences they gained from these projects will serve them well in their future careers.”

At the IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition, which took place April 5-6, Stoltz and Whitney competed against 51 teams that represented universities such as Duke University, The Citadel, Virginia Tech, and Clemson University. Stoltz and Whitney received an $800 cash prize and trophy for their first-place finish.

The IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware Competition required that robots simulate the sorting of containers and packages at a port, picking up different colored and sized boxes and sorting them for shipping by rail, sea, or air. Teams were scored based on the number of packages their robot picked up and correctly sorted during a specified time period.

To increase the difficulty of the competition, the “air” dock was located on the top of a ramp with no edges. If the robot was able to deliver these blocks, a large bonus was awarded. UE’s “Lefty,” named for the way it picked up blocks on its left side, was the only robot in the competition to successfully deliver packages to this area of the track.

“This project was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever seen students undertake, so I’m incredibly proud to see Jordan and Eric earn national recognition for their work,” Randall said.

In the Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot Competition, held April 6-7, teams were scored on the time it takes an autonomous robot to navigate a maze, locate a burning candle, and extinguish the flame. UE’s Phillips and Scheller competed against 48 teams from around the nation and worldwide, including teams from Brazil and Indonesia.

In addition to a second-place finish in the senior division (open to college students and above), UE’s entry — dubbed the “Great White Buffalo” for its boxy, white appearance — won the $500 cash prize Versa Valve challenge for achieving the best score while using a Versa Valve, a type of directional control valve.

EECS Competitions Update

Posted: February 18, 2013

Over the next two months, seniors in EECS will be busy preparing four entries for intercollegiate competitions in April.  There are two teams preparing entries for the Fire Fighting Robot competition at Trinity College in Connecticut.  Dan Sheller and Lucas Philips have a working robot created largely on a 3D printer that is getting around the maze.  Kendra Norris and Ariel Cockerman (pictured) have a complete platform and are working on software.  Eric Whitney and Jordan Stoltz have an entry for the IEEE Southeastcon hardware competition (in Jacksonville, FL, this year) that looks very promising. Their entry also was created largely on a 3D printer.  Jared Wagoner and Ben Heidegger are preparing an entry for a new contest this year called the "Robo-Waiter", also at Trinity Collge at the same time as the Fire Fighting Robot competition.  They have their sensors all completed and tested and are finishing the robot base.

EECS Teams Place Second and Third in Programming Contest

Posted: November 6, 2012

Two teams from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department competed in the ACM Mid-Central Regional Programming Contest held on Saturday, November 3.  The contest is conducted at nine sites simultaneously with a total 151 teams competing this year.  The Evansville Team A of Mason Blankenship, Allison Deford, and Kyle Singer placed 2nd out of 14 teams at the Murray State University site and 30th overall in the region.  The Evansville Team 1 of Melanie Conn, McIntyre Watts, and Dustan Zenthoefer placed 3rd at the site and 34th overall in the region.  Blankenship and Singer are senior computer science majors.  Zenthoefer is a senior computer engineering major.  Conn, Deford, and Watts are junior computer science majors.  Computer science professor Dr. Don Roberts coached the teams.

In this contest, teams of three students were given five hours to solve eight problems.  The team that solves the most problems wins the contest with ties broken by a scoring system that rewards speed and accuracy.  Both of the Evansville teams solved five problems as did the winner of the site.  The overall first and second places in the region were won by teams from the University of Chicago, both of which solved all eight problems.  The third place team from the University of Illinois solved seven problems.

Undergraduate Research Conference Features Dr. James McLurkin

Posted: October 18, 2012

The ninth annual Math, Engineering, and Science undergraduate research CONference (MESCON) will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2013 in Koch Center on the UE campus.  This year's conference is being co-chaired by Dr. Dick Blandford and Dr. Deborah Hwang, and will feature Dr. James McLurkin as the keynote speaker.  Dr. McLurkin is well known for his research and presentations on swarm robotics.  He has appeared on the PBS science show Nova and has demonstrated his swarm of robots at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  Dr. McLurkin was the winner of the 2003 Lemelson-MIT Prize and has a PhD from MIT.  He is a former lead scientist at iRobot Corporation, and he currently is a computer science professor at Rice University in Houston, TX.

MESCON is a forum for presentation of undergraduate research in which student papers are presented and judged by faculty, and monetary awards are given for the best papers in each area.  Abstract deadlines for this year's conference is January 26, 2013.  For more information, see http://csserver.evansville.edu/mescon.

MESCON is sponsored by CIHOLAS, Inc., of Evansville, Indiana.

Notable EECS Student Activities

Posted: October 17, 2012

Kendra Norris and Ariel Cockerman are the first all-women team from UE to compete in the fire-fighting robot contest at Trinity College in Connecticut.  Both Kendra and Ariel are seniors in electrical engineering.  In addition, Kendra did an internship at Crane Naval Base this summer and while Ariel spent the summer working for a local power company.

Kepra McBrayer spent the summer doing a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Maine in Orono.  Kepra is a senior in electrical engineering on the biomedical option.  She is doing a senior project in conjunction with the Biology Department designing a programmable environmental monitor for small animals, and she currently is working with geckos.  Kepra will graduate in May and will be going on to graduate school in biomedical engineering.

Alexandra Statham spent 8 weeks in Japan this summer.  She spent the summer studying the Japanese language at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu, Oita, which is a city on the southern island of Japan, and traveling independently to Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo.  Alexandra is a senior computer science major with a minor in Japanese.  She will be graduating in May and would like to work in Japan some time in the future. 

Kyle Singer spent 5 weeks in Japan and South Korea with a study abroad program sponsored by the University of Evansville.  After sightseeing in Japan, he spent a month studying the Korean language and culture at the Ewha Womens University in Seoul.  On field trips and on weekends, Kyle visited various areas of Seoul, other parts of Korea, and spent his last weekend on vacation with a Korean family.  Kyle is a senior computer science major and will graduate in May.  He is planning to teach English in South Korea for a few years before applying to graduate school in computer science.

This past February, Allison DeFord, a computer science sophomore from Lafayette, IN, and Dr. Deborah Hwang, associate professor of computer science, attended InWIC (Indiana Celebration of Women in Computing) at Canyon Inn, McCormick's Creek State Park, Spencer, IN.  InWIC is a small, regional conference for undergraduate and graduate women students in computing and their advisors.  The program included two outstanding young women keynote speakers who are doing interesting computing research, talks on cutting-edge technical issues and on social issues of relevance to undergraduate and graduate women in computing, and a poster competition.

(updated October 26, 2012)

EECS Faculty Publish Textbooks and Papers

Posted: October 16, 2012

Dr. Dick Blandford and Dr. John Parr have published a textbook titled Introduction to Digital Signal Processing.  Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is a mainstay course in electrical engineering programs and is a required course in the junior year at UE.  The book was published in July, 2012 by Prentice-Hall.  The book concentrates on digital filters and their design and implementation and has introductory chapters are wavelets and two-dimensional signal processing.  Dr. Parr is an emeritus professor of electrical engineering at UE and has published a best-selling textbook on linear systems and another on control systems.  Dr. Blandford published a book titled Digital Filter Analyzer in 1987, and the current book on DSP is his first textbook.

Dr. Robert Morse published the paper Two Generator p-groups of Nilpotency Class 2 and Their Conjugacy Classes with coauthors A. Ahmad, A. Magidin in the Hungarian mathematical journal Publicationes Mathematicae Debrecen.  Dr. Morse is a professor of computer science.

Dr. Christina Howe published the paper General Education:Key for Success for an Entrepreneurial Engineering Career with coauthors Dr. Owe Peterson and Dr. David Kent of Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Dr. Mary Vollaro of Western New England University.  The paper was presented at the National ASEE Conference in San Antonio in June, 2012.  Dr. Howe is a computer engineering graduate of UE (2003) and has a PhD in EE from Vanderbilt University.