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Computer science, IT students showcase innovative work

A student moves around Francis Quadrangle using virtual reality technology.

At the Computer Science and IT Showcase put on by Upsilon Pi Epsilon, students were allowed to put forth projects including academic research and independent study, including prototypes with workable demos and solid conceptual backing. Industry professionals and faculty members judged the projects, separated into graduate and undergraduate divisions. Photos courtesy of Upsilon Pi Epsilon.

For more than two semesters, the MU chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the honor society for computer science and information technology majors, has worked to plan the Computer Science and IT Showcase held April 25 in Ketcham Auditorium in Lafferre Hall.

The showcase advertised participation as “an opportunity for students in Computer Science and Information Technology at Mizzou to showcase their work, including academic research, independent study, personal or group projects.”

UPE chapter president Michael Rowden said that it took as long as it did because of its scope.

A student presents his poster and concept at the showcase.

The showcase advertised participation as “an opportunity for students in Computer Science and Information Technology at Mizzou to showcase their work, including academic research, independent study, personal or group projects.”

“It’s a pretty big task to do because it combines students, faculty and employers. It was more that we couldn’t put it off any longer. This is my last year as president, and it was one of the last things I wanted to do that we hadn’t done before. We also had help from the Graduate Computer Science Student Council. They brought in more students and more projects,” Rowden said.

Students were allowed to put forth projects including academic research and independent study, including prototypes with workable demos and solid conceptual backing. Industry professionals and faculty members judged the projects, separated into graduate and undergraduate divisions.

A total of 22 projects were submitted. The winners took home prize packages including an iPad Mini, $200, a $150 Amazon Gift Card, a Fitbit, a bag of items from Google and a Computer Science Department polo shirt. Second and third place in each division took home prize packages, as well.

Andrew Buck earned top honors in the graduate division for his project, titled “Learning the Mental Map of a Fuzzy Decision Maker,” a project that outlined models capable of investigating decision making done despite uncertain variables. The team of Femi Odugbesan, Aleks Sverdlovs and Sam Whitney took the top undergraduate award for a project called “Gistory,” which delivers “complete, concise and contextual news.”

Benjamin Riemann’s virtual tour project, “UniVirt,” took second place in the undergraduate division, while Drew Wetherington’s tournament-organization project, “Leaguely,” finished third. Xiaoxiao Du’s “Possibilistic Context Identification for Synthetic Aperture Sonar Imagery,” was runner-up in the graduate division, and Peng Sun’s “Mobile Ambulatory Assessment System for Alcohol Craving Studies,” took home third-place honors.

“We had projects using the Oculus Rift (virtual reality headset), and everybody really liked that, and we had research from both graduate and undergraduate students,” Rowden said. “We had a couple of projects from the Reynolds Journalism Institute competition, as well. Just a mix of different technologies and different levels of students.”

Rowden said the projects were impressive and well received by industry and faculty judges. The initial event went so well that corporate sponsors shared an interest in continuing it in the future. Sponsors for the event were Aclara, AT&T, Cerner, Delta Systems, Google, Missouri Employers Mutual, USA Midway, Monsanto, Netsmart Technologies, Surety Bonds, Veterans United Home Loans and the MU Computer Science Department.

“We had a lot of good feedback,” he said. “They definitely want to do more stuff like this — more involvement with the students, more involvement with the department.”