Department of Computer Science

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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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Melissa Holmes Receives 2013 Alumni Recognition Award

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Melissa Holmes received the 2013 Computer Science Alumni Recognition Award as part of the Homecoming festivities on September 27. Melissa is pictured with CS Department Head Jeff Braun (far left), Provost Doug Abbott, and Vicki Blackketter (far right). Melissa completed her degree in Computer Science at Montana Tech in 1996 and went to work in a variety of IT positions while continuing her education at the University of Montana, where she completed her Master's Degree in Computer Science.

Melissa chose a career path in education, first working in the Provost's office at the University of Montana, then as the as the Montana Tech Webmaster. During this period, she also taught computer science courses at UM, Montana Tech, and Helena College.  She is currently in the final stages of completing a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has recently joined the faculty at Rocky Mountain College as a Computer Science professor.

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Economic Development Summit and CodeMontana

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Safra Catz (Oracle CFO) address the Montana Economic Summit at Montana Tech.Montana Tech was the site of the 2013 Montana Economic Development Summit. Senator Baucus made sure the computing industry was well represented, bringing corporate executives Eric Schmidt (Google Executive Chairman), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO), Safra Catz (Oracle President and CFO - pictured on the left), Meg Whitman (HP President and CEO, former eBay President and CEO), and Elon Musk (PayPal founder, SpaceX and Tesla Motors founder and CEO) to the Montana Tech campus for the 6th Jobs Summit. One of the underlying themes was the strong future for technology and demand for software developers that will exceed the supply of computer science graduates from U.S. universities over the next decade.

Greg Gianforte (founder of RightNow Technology in Bozeman) announced the newly established CodeMontana program at the Summit. This new program teaches  Montana high school students computer programming through an online software development curriculum. The goal of the program is to prepare Montana students for technology careers here in Montana. Mr. Gianforte pointed out there will be 400 computer science job openings this year, but only 40 computer science graduates from Montana universities (see graphic below). There is no fee to join the program, the first 1000 students receive a tee shirt, and there is opportunity to win cool prizes by participating. We encourage all Montana students considering a computer science or software engineering career to join the CodeMontana program. The Montana Tech Computer Science department also offers additional opportunities to learn programming through a free online college level computer science course for high school students. Students who successfully complete this course and enroll at Montana Tech will earn three computer science credits.

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