Department of Computer Science

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Welcome to the Department of Computer Science
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Hour of Code at Butte High School

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bhs1Seniors Matt Morris and PJ Neary, along with Professor Celia Schahczenski, visited four Butte High Pre-Calculus classes during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9 - 15) to tell them about the many job opportunities in computer science. Matt and PJ shared their internship experience with the students, mentioning that both were lucky enough to have internships all three summers while at Tech. Matt boasted that, last summer, as an intern at Microsoft he got to attend a private concert - Microsoft interns only - of Macklemore & Deadmau5. PJ countered that interning at EchoStar in Denver he got to climb Mount Elbert (14,440') and that EchoStar purchased each climber a $300 backpack to make the trip possible. Both Matt and PJ are lined up to work for these companies once they graduate in May.

Butte High students also did CodeMontana exercises, some winning prizes for completing the job with the fewest lines of code. One winner did a high-five and exclaimed "I had no idea I'd be so good at this!"

Special thanks to Butte High math teacher Julie Johns for making the arrangements and being an excellent host. Also thanks to Butte High Principal John Metz.

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Freshman SE Student Enjoys CSCI 135 Game Assignments

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k rudy1Kaitlyn Rudy shows off her latest CSCI 135 Java program, Bombs Away. Kaitlyn took some time off to figure out what she wanted to get out of earning a bachelor's degree and returned to Montana Tech last spring to begin a Software Engineering (SE) degree. She started out in the Programming with C class to see if she really likes the challenge of creating programs for computers. Turns out she really does! Kaitlyn is now in the CSCI 135 Fundamentals of Computer Science I class. She finds this to be a challenging class, but really enjoys the exciting multi-media demos (like filling the screen with an increasing swarm of moving, colliding, and bouncing circles of all sizes and colors) that Professor Vertanen uses to spice up his lectures. She thinks Java programming assignments like Double-or-Nothing, Mars Lander, Staying Alive, Guitar Hero, and Bombs Away are fun. These assignments, along with the support she gets from the instructor, her advisor, and fellow students, keep Kaitlin motivated. [video to be added next semester]

 

Summer 2013 Internships

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Over the summer of 2013, Montana Tech computer science and software engineering students interned at a wide variey of companies, from Microsoft in Seattle, to Echostar in Colorado, and to PPL Electrical Utilities in Pennsylvania. If a student enrolls in the Internship course, we asked them to share their internship experiences on the Computer Science Department website. Make sure to read the entire article and return for additional internships as students submit their reports.  Articles about Jon Wareham, Jeff Hall, PJ Neary, Brian Knopp, Haythem Memmi, Ben Butcher, Reid Alford, Cade Foster, and Clint Hillerman are below.

JonGroundZeroJon Wareham interned at PPL Electrical Utilites corporate headquarters in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During the internship, he worked with the dot net framework to utilize data base design, process monitoring, and application development. The applications Jon developed were used by company day traders to predict the future prices of energy in certain regions of the United States and improve profit margins when buying and selling energy shares. Jon had the opportunity to work with the Team Foundation Server feature of Visual Studio, which provided version control for him and his coworkers when working on the same project. The primary languages he worked with were C#, WPF, and SQL using stored procedures.

In addition to the programming experience, Jon and the other 120 PPL interns were invited to dozens of "networking events" where the interns could talk with corporate executives and learn more about every aspect of the company and the global power industry it operates in. Each intern was tasked with interviewing at least 2 full time employees in one of the 5 different company branches outside of their own. Jon interviewed the President of Energy Supply and PPL Generation, the President of PPL Renewable Energy, and the Chief Information Officer among others.

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Tech Expands 3D Visualization and HPC Systems

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3D VizDuring the past summer, Computer Science Department Head Jeff Braun and Chemistry Department Head David Hobbs expanded both the 3D Visualization System and the high performance computing (HPC) cluster. Dr. David Hobbs (photographed by Walt Hinick, Montana Standard) explains how the immersive 3D visualization system is used to research molecular dynamics for a Montana Standard article.

We added optical tracking to the 3D visualization system so that the viewer can better interact with the data.  The x, y, z position of the user's head is tracked with 6 reflective markers on the 3D glasses. These markers reflect the infrared light back to the tracking system cameras so both the head's position (3 coordinates) and orientation (3 independent angular coordinates) are calculated so that the 3D display is optimized as the viewer moves in and around the data. The SmartTrack system purchased from Adanced Realtime Tracking includes a wand or controller device (not pictured) that allows the user to directly manipulate the data visualization imagery.

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