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Projects Win Awards at Spring 2006 Design Expo

 

April 2006

More than 100 Computer Science students exhibited their projects at the Spring 2006 Engineering Design Expo, held recently in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory. These students are members of fifteen teams completing Senior Projects (CSCI 4308-CSCI 4318) this year, as well as students in GEEN 1400 Engineering Projects: Software Exhibits and CSCI 2830 Special Topics in Computer Science: Educational Technology House.

More than 100 projects from throughout the College were exhibited at the expo. Three Senior Projects each received "Best in Group" awards. This recognition was given by industry judges based on interviews with each project team, demonstrations of each project, and evaluation of each project's results by the judges. Winners of this award for Computer Science were

  • Longview

    Longview - Screen Recording, Editing and Playback Facility for Windows Vista
    sponsored by Electric Rain, Inc.

    Longview was envisioned as a screen recording application for the yet-to-be-released new version of Microsoft's Windows operating system, Windows Vista. Currently, there are no applications capable of capturing and playing back demos of media-rich Windows applications without the use of bitmap recording. Bitmap recording essentially takes a series of snapshots, in the form of a bitmap image, of a running application and animates them to create a movie. These current solutions suffer from a number of issues, including large file sizes and an inability to scale playback to different output sizes. No practical solution has been available to date because the graphics and screen-drawing architectures of the existing Windows operating systems are limited.

    Windows Vista uses a unified presentation subsystem (known as the Windows Presentation Foundation) within a new Windows framework (known as WinFX) that does away with much of the old bitmap-based architecture. In its stead is a system that emphasizes the use of scalable vector graphics, defined in a new application markup language known as XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), a markup language for describing a user interface.

    Longview seeks to leverage this new system to allow developers to create scalable and accurate demos of WinFX-based applications with small file sizes. This is accomplished not by recording bitmap snapshots of an applications' output, but rather by taking snapshots of the XAML code used to define the user interface. Instead of playing back a video of the application executing, Longview re-creates the visual component of the application. This allows demo playback to be scaled and adapted dynamically without any loss of fidelity.

  • S.M.A.G.

    S.M.A.G. - Sparkle Magic API for Graphics
    sponsored by Platte River Associates, Inc.

    The modeling and analysis software that PRA is known for tends to have highly visual components. Ever-increasing needs of their clients dictated a renovation to PRA's graphics environment, which consisted of an ANSI C graphics API, a Java application, and a JNI (Java Native Interface) layer serving as a bridge between the two. This architecture was beginning to cause issues in both performance and maintainability and was the primary target for reconstruction.

    Project S.M.A.G., Sparkle Magic API for Graphics, is the team's solution to this problem. They have created a highly-advanced graphics framework in Java that not only provides the complete functionality of the existing display system but also adds new functionality in a more adaptable, well-structured implementation with greatly improved performance and maintainability. The software will greatly increase the productivity and elegance of PRA application developers by simplifying the development process. The applications will communicate with S.M.A.G. via a number of method calls to specify the elements that should be included in a chart and the visual properties and layout of the chart. S.M.A.G. takes this information and uses the Java2D API to draw and place each element on a graphics context provided by the application.

    The package is capable of producing a number of different types of plots, including scatter plots, radar plots and a variety of line plots. Not only does the library offer considerable control over the visualization of these charts, but also different chart components can be composed in many ways to produce extremely sophisticated layouts.

  • smrt

    smrt - A 3D Media Center
    sponsored by Sun Microsystems, Inc.

    • Cory Maccarrone
    • Daniel Seikaly
    • Wallace Sheehan
    • David Trowbridge

    Sun Microsystems has been an innovator in the world of computing since its inception in 1982. Sun revolutionized internet applications with the introduction of Java, the world's first universal software platform. Sun has since created Project Looking Glass (LG3D) to explore the field of 3D user interfaces and determine what improvements in user interaction can be made by taking advantage of the third dimension. Sun hopes to use LG3D to break down the 2D barriers that Sun feels have become limiting factors in user-interface design, and usher in a new generation of 3D computing.

    The purpose of this project is to utilize LG3D to explore the user-interface possibilities for a 3D media center. Think TiVo but in 3D. The goal of smrt is to utilize the third dimension in such a way that navigating through smrt is noticeably faster, more convenient and more intuitive, than navigating through a 2D system.

    To achieve these goals, smrt employs three basic menus: the ring menu, the arc menu and the cityscape menu. The ring menu, which has all of its items around an invisible ring, has the advantage of an elegant look and the quickest access to its items. However, only so many items can be added to the ring without it becoming cluttered. The arc menu has all of its items in an arc that trails off the borders of the screen at the top and bottom, and is used in smrt as a TV guide -- i.e. for viewing programming information. The advantage here is that many more items can be in the menu, since they are not all visible at one time and there is room to the left of the items to display additional information such as TV program info. If however, the user wants to browse through a large library of media, they will want to use the cityscape menu. The cityscape menu has a series of "buildings", each representing a file or directory. The directories contents are represented by little buildings on top of the directory building. The advantage here is that representing and navigating vast media libraries is convenient and simple because the user always knows the directories contents before they open it.

The Senior Projects course was taught by Bruce Sanders along with teaching assistants Ian Karlin and Brita Munsinger.

Two projects in the Software Exhibits course also took awards:

  • Interactive Computer Modeling

    Interactive Computer Modeling

    • Andrew March
    • Bobby Chan
    • Aaron Cephers

    The project focused around the idea of teaching people the basics of computers -- and what better way to do it in an interactive way than by reducing computers to their most simplistic form: switches that can be turned on or off. By designing levels with initial configurations the team designed a game in which users can manipulate gates and inputs to complete a circuit that converges on a bomb causing the bomb to explode. The idea is to make all of the gates that lead to the bomb result in a positive output. By playing the game, people not only learn about digital logic and "bit twiddling", but also develop a curiosity about the further possibilities of how digital logic can be applied to do powerful things such as work an MP3 player, television, or computer.

  • Physics of Ski Jumping

    Physics of Ski Jumping

    • Jason Ortmann
    • Joshua Liebman
    • Andrew Samborski
    • Michael Bibeau

    The goal of this project was to simulate the physics involved in ski jumping. The basic idea of the program was to use the mouse to control the motion of the skier. Concepts like drag force, friction, and other basic physics ideas were used to make the game educational as well as fun.

    Ski Jumping Example

The classes were taught by Clayton Lewis along with teaching assistants Edwin Eng and Jonathan Raphaelson.

 
See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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