Professor McFall completes sabbatical as an "intern"
|Professor Ryan McFall spent his fall semester sabbatical as an application development intern with Open Systems Technologies in Grand Rapids. While there, he was part of a team of OST employees who were charged with building a new web site to drive the operations of the client.|
Computer Science Students Place in Regional Programming Contest
|On Saturday November 9th, Hope College computer science students Timothy Lewis, Joshua Kammeraad, and Shinnosuke Kondo competed in the 2013 ACM ICPC East Central North America Regional Programming Contest. They competed at the Grand Valley State University Site, one of four in the region. During the five hour competition they were able to write programs to solve 4 of the 9 problems they were given which was good enough to earn them 16th place out of 126 teams in the region and 3rd place out of 23 at the site. The second place team at the site also solved 4 problems, but were able to do it in less time (the tie-breaker). The top team at the site (2nd place in the region) solved 7 problems.|
ACM Programming Contests are very competitive. Teams spend a significant amount of time preparing for each competition, with some schools having local competitions to decide who gets to compete in the regional contests. Schools with a long and consistent history of competing seem to do the best. Since Hope hasn't had a team compete since the 1990s, the team was formed less than a month before the competition, and was only able to have a couple of practice sessions lasting only a few hours each, their performance in the contest was impressive. The team's coach, Dr. Charles Cusack, told them before the contest that they might be able to solve maybe as many as four or five, but that they should be happy even if they only solved one or two problems since it is not uncommon for well over half of the teams to solve no more than one problem. In fact, he agreed to buy them dinner if they got three correct. Apparently they were hungry.
NSF Funds Integrated Metabolic and Regulatory Modeling Grant
|A major, multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support a significant new step in an on-going research project at Hope College that is developing and refining computer-based models of metabolic activity.If the team’s previous work provided a road map, researchers Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Matthew DeJongh say, the new effort should yield the equivalent of an online navigation system.Best, who is the Harrison C. and Mary L. Visscher Associate Professor of Genetics at Hope, and DeJongh, who is an associate professor of computer science, have received the new three-year, $400,000 grant as part of an NSF collaborative award totaling $650,000 with Dr. Nathan Tintle of the mathematics faculty at Dordt College. Best, DeJongh and Tintle have worked together on the research since Tintle’s days as a Hope colleague from 2005 to 2011.|
Through the new award, the research team will add the ability to model how the organisms behave in response to changes in their environment. “The first years of the project were designed to allow us to build models efficiently, but the models are at some level starting points,” Best said. “One of the primary activities that this grant will fund is increasing the sophistication of the model: from the capabilities the organism has, to layering on top of that information about when the organism uses those capabilities.”
“We talk about our models as being like roadmaps,” DeJongh said. “A road map tells you how to get from point A to point B. What we’re trying to do now is use real-time data to figure out how the organism is using different capabilities at different times,” DeJongh said. “We’re hoping to develop statistical tools to elucidate parts of the system that we don’t understand yet.”
Crucially, the grant is also enabling the researchers to test and improve the accuracy of the computer models through laboratory work. “We can make predictions using the model, and then grow a sample in the lab and use genetic sequencing to determine whether or not those conditions are actually happening,” Best said.
A key component of the project, Best and DeJongh noted, is that the research will continue to involve students at both Hope and Dordt. Students at Hope work directly as collaborative researchers with Best and DeJongh during both the school year and summer, but the project is also integrated into the academic program in other ways. For example, computer science students at the college revised the “CytoSEED” program to make it compatible with a new version of the platform on which it operates, and the researchers envision involving students in biology courses to conduct laboratory validation of the computer models.
Computer Science Junior Maria Equiluz Chosen for National Research Program
|Hope College sophomore Maria Eguiluz of Redford was chosen to participate in the Summer 2013 national “Exceptional Research Opportunities Program” (EXROP) of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Eguiluz is a biology and computer science double-major. Eguiluz has been active in research at Hope since even before her freshman year began. As a high school student, she participated in the college’s REACH (Research Experiences Across Cultures at Hope) program, which engages high school students in collaborative research at the college full-time for several weeks during the summer. Following her freshman year, during the summer of 2012, she conducted research full-time at Hope in the laboratory of biologist Dr. Aaron Best, in a collaborative project with computer scientist Dr. Matthew DeJongh.|
Hope College sophomore Maria Eguiluz of Redford was chosen to participate in the Summer 2013 national “Exceptional Research Opportunities Program” (EXROP) of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
EXROP provides outstanding summer research experiences to undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds or from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences to encourage them to pursue careers in academic science. Last year, 60 students nationwide participated in the highly selective program.
The participating students are matched with HHMI scientists around the country who have volunteered to provide mentored research experiences for 10 weeks during the summer. EXROP students also attend meetings at HHMI headquarters, where they present their research in a poster session, network with their peers and HHMI scientists, and hear from scientists from various backgrounds and in various stages of their careers. Selection includes a $4,500 award.
Eguiluz is a biology and computer science double-major. Through EXROP this summer, she conducted research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York with Dr. Gregory Hannon, whose lab works primarily on mechanisms and applications of RNA interference and is also interested in cancer biology, in particular in developing tools to understand cancer initiation and progression.
Eguiluz has been active in research at Hope since even before her freshman year began. As a high school student, she participated in the college’s REACH (Research Experiences Across Cultures at Hope) program, which engages high school students in collaborative research at the college full-time for several weeks during the summer. Following her freshman year, during the summer of 2012, she conducted research full-time at Hope in the laboratory of biologist Dr. Aaron Best, in a collaborative project with computer scientist Dr. Matthew DeJongh.
During her first year at Hope, she was enrolled in the research-based, year-long “Phage Genomics Research Initiative,” a freshman-level laboratory class established through an award to the college from HHMI. Also as a freshman last year, she participated in the college’s FACES (Fostering A Community of Excellence in Science) peer-mentoring program for first-year students interested in careers in the natural and applied sciences who are from groups traditionally underrepresented nationally in such careers. This year, she is one of the upperclassmen mentoring one of the college’s freshman students. Both REACH and FACES are initiatives in science education at Hope funded through grants to the college from HHMI.
Eguiluz’s activities at the college also include the orchestra. She is a 2011 graduate of Zeeland East High School, and the daughter of Luis and Maria Eguiluz of Redford.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization that ranks as one of the nation’s largest philanthropies. HHMI plays a prominent role in advancing biomedical research and science education in the United States.
Founded in 1953 by aviator and industrialist Howard R. Hughes, HHMI is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md., and employs more than 3,000 individuals across the U.S. HHMI has an endowment of $16.1 billion, of which the institute spent $800 million for research and distributed $119 million in grant support for science education in fiscal year 2012
Computer Science Department T-Shirts
|The Computer Science Department unveiled new t-shirts this fall. Every student and faculty member in the department was given one during the first colloquium of the year and asked to wear it every Tuesday to show their pride in being a member of one of the most burgeoning departments on Hope's campus.|
September 17 Summer of Fun Colloquium available on CS web site
In case you missed out, check out the video on this page (lower right hand corner):
Next Tuesday at 11 AM we'll have those two guys from Google I told you about with us for an hour - you won't want to miss it. I'll send out details soon, but in the meantime, wash your Computer Science@Hope College T-Shirt and get ready for the fun to continue!
Pearson Student Coding Contest
Gregory O. Smith, PhD
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SoftwareGR Meeting in Grand Rapids Tuesday Night
Please share the upcoming Software GR Speaker Series line up with your students.
- Great content
- Networking within the software community
- All events are free.
22nd Summer Research Program Successfully Completes
|The summer program for 2013 wrapped up on July 19, 2013. This was 22nd year of our summer research, having started in 1992, with each year supported by the National Science Foundation. We had 12 students, working on 4 ifferent projects. In addition, we continued with a program in software development, modeled after the research program.|
Computer Science department featured in News from Hope College
|The work of the Computer Science department students and faculty was recently featured in a News from Hope College article, highlighting the way that student projects are impacting the life of the college. This includes a diverse set of
projects which touch the lives of Hope students, faculty and staff.
The article can be found here.