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Computer science students win big at Missouri Academy of Science

Chip Gubera, a resident instructor for MU’s IT program, took three computer science students to Missouri Academy of Sciences collegiate competition, and the trio took top honors in the computer science, engineering, physics and math division. Left to right are Alan Lafferty, Gubera, Miguel Amador and Jacob Jennings.

Initially organized in 1934 to promote the increase and diffusion of scientific spirit in Missouri and cooperation among the state’s science communities, the Missouri Academy of Science annually holds a statewide science competition that includes collegiate division.

Competitors must submit abstracts, and if their projects are selected, they are invited to present a paper on their research to other competitors and a judge.

Chip Gubera, a Mizzou Engineering resident instructor for computer science’s IT program, accompanied three MU computer science students to this year’s competition held April 16, on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.

Competing in a combined divison of computer science, engineering, physics and math, the students placed first, second and third.

Alan Lafferty took first place for his presentation of a “Parking Space Finder” project, which he and others developed as part of their computer science capstone project. “People like this idea,” said Lafferty of the project, the intent of which is to locate available parking spaces via a mobile device like an I-Phone or a PDA with web access.

Jacob Jennings landed a second place with his presentation of “Geographical Virtual Networks,” research that resulted from a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) project last summer. Matthew Dickinson, computer science system administrator, and Dale Musser, assistant professor of computer science and IT program director, were advisors for the project.

Miguel Amador captured third place with Arduino Sensor Array, also a group capstone project.

“I think that Missouri Academy of Science gives undergraduate students a wonderful opportunity to share their work and experiences with other students and faculty from many Missouri universities and colleges,” said Gubera. “It is an honor just to be accepted.”

Gubera said the event is scheduled to be held on the Lincoln University campus in Jefferson City next year, and he hopes to take a larger group to the competition.