I arrived to the University of Florida and settle where it was going to be my home for the next couple of months. I met with my roommates at the apartment. The very first day of work I got to meet with Dr. Gilbert and his team. I talked to some of them over the email before I came here and I was glad to put a face to those emails. Dr. Gilbert debriefed me with some of my duties and the main project I was going to work on during this summer and the importance of it.
One of my first tasks was to learn the functionality of Prime III, as a user and then as a programmer to analyze and understand how it works. It is a very complex system with multimodal capabilities; I also had to learn about SitePal and voice recording API’s. Then I researched about web speech recognition using Chrome vs. Firefox. To eventually incorporate that feature into Prime III with the Spanish language, if time allowed.
During the second week I had to learn how to do research with Human subjects by taking a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training for Engineer Researchers. As part of our experience we had to present a weekly report orally and written to the team. In this presentation we showed and discussed our progress, accomplishments, and difficulties so far. In that way the team could give us some suggestions and feedback in how to approach such difficulties. Also, we were assigned some other tasks that relate to our projects. After reviewing and becoming familiar with Prime III, I started to find tags that will need translation. Testing some of its functions and documenting the functions inside of the files of Prime III. So, I could have a better idea of how to plug and unplug those functions on the translator demo.
But not everything has been just work here. Dr. Gilbert and his team organized a meet and greet with all the other interns that worked this summer on the Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) department. So, we could know each other and talk about our projects and experience so far.
During this week I continued to document all functions and files of Prime III. I also was responsible to report any part that wasn’t clear to me. I created a small diagram that contains the files on Prime III and shows the relationship of each file to one another. The diagram lists the main functions of the three most important files I was going to work with the most. I met with Dr. Gilbert and two of his students a PHD and a Post Docs to explain them what I have done so far, and to develop a strategy on how to work the Spanish translation part for Prime III. We discussed the online sources and techniques available that could be good to incorporate in the translator.
At the same time I continued working and finished the last features of the personal website for DREU (this website). In addition we (my fellow intern and I) were assigned to scan a quota of 35, 000 ballots for an accuracy test.
I cannot believe that almost a month has passed by. Time flies here! During this week I attended to a talk given by Dr. Hollingshead on Natural Language Processing and its relation with Human-computer Interaction (HCI). She uses natural language processing through techniques to measure mental and neurological health. These tests were on people that has passed for some type of Trauma brain injury (TBI), or Mental Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and people with initial stages of Alzheimer. To find present conditions with changes in language and behavior and using tools such as Neurological scoring test batteries, lexhub.com and UPenn wwBP on her research.
I continued working on understanding the Google's API for Web Speech recognition. Besides that, I had to research on a topic that relates to Human Computer Centered (HCC) and research about web Real Time Communications (RTC) API. Research for tools that could be useful for Prime III. In addition, I started to learn and become very familiar with Lego Mindstorms NXT Software a simple drag and drop programming language. Mindstorms allow kids and adults to build very cool things with it.
Week five definitely kept me very entertained with Lego Mindstorms NXT. I learned how to use the Graphical interface of the program very well. Then I created a small tutorial presentation that describes the use of the sets, the software, and gives examples of things that can be built with it. I was in charge to count the pieces of each MindStorms NXT kit in the lab around seven kits total with multiple pieces, for the Code It lab day with High School students later this summer.
On the other hand, I worked in collaboration with Dr. Eugene and Dr. Gilbert in the elaboration of an abstract for a poster. My fellow intern and I also met with Dr. Gilbert and the team of the Mechanical and Aerospace department to learn about the different projects they are working on, to see which parts of those projects relate to Computer Science. In between all these events I kept working in little bits of my project.
The time came and of those crucial test such as teaching was done this week. My fellow intern and I installed the software of Mindstorms NXT on lab computers that High Schools students were going to use for the Code It day. The team and I went to visit the school to set up the equipment, and the next teach in a class for half of the day how to use Lego Mindstorms NXT, both the software and kit.
Since the third week I was assigned to scan a quota of 35,000 ballots that will complement a total of 100,000 ballots. This was done to test an image to text ballot reader, so we could check the accuracy rating for it. Scanning that large amount of ballots we knew what the final count should be and how accurate it is in processing.
Later in the week I met with Dr. Gilbert to discuss advances and approaches on the translator. So far discussing which tools are discarded for this project are a majority of them, though, because they use online translation libraries and Prime III is, for security and privacy purposes, an offline system. Therefore, the online sources wouldn’t work for our purposes.
This week my main assignment has been to present the summary of my experience and project(s) in an exposition presentation to the REU group at Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Department. While in my case I still have a couple of weeks more to work on my projects, some of the fellow interns are in their last week of work.
The rest of the week I continue to work on my pending assignments, such as finishing the translator Demo and testing it in order to prove that actually works as it should. The last day of this week I met with Dr. Gilbert and the PhD Student I’m working with to show my progress on the assignment. Finally, I made a couple of updates on documents I have to submit to the team.
This week I started to prepare the documentation for my final report. I researched a couple of articles that relate to the work I’m doing with my own research project. I updated the final presentation to later have a self-explanatory pdf version I can publish on the DREU website. I also created a glossary containing all the labels of Prime III and its correct grammar in Spanish by finding its ASCII codification specifically for letters with tilde, and learned how to use 7Zip to generate .TAR files that I will later need. I worked on the separation of the files that contain the translated phrases in Spanish or English.
Lastly, I worked on a last minute call for Web Speech demo, which involved creating two demos with the code for WebRTC. However, they were not the right code for what we were looking for our project. The first I did was for WebRTCDataChannel which shows the simulation of communications between two browsers being Firefox the main transmitter, and the second one I did WebRTC with still photos which allows the user to use the web browser and take photos without any third party on it, and the last one which I wasn’t able to finish because another group finished it before was the actual WebRTC Speech recognition, of which I only could do one part of the code.
Time really has passed by, I still cannot believe there is just a week before I leave. It definitely has been a great experience learning about software development: planning, structuring, and designing a piece of software. This week I started to work on my final report, and updating the weekly journal for my DREU website.
I also did some research to find better methodologies to keep a library of multiple languages, and demonstrate the pros and cons of each method so it will be easier to find out which one is the most convenient to use with Prime III.
The time has come, and this is my last week here at UF! This week I’m meeting with Dr. Gilbert and his PhD student to debrief him in all tasks I have done during my internship in detail. The PhD student I’ve been working with show me how to use Latex and now I got to learn how to do reports with such a great too, which will help me in future assignments at school. By the end of this week I have to prepare everything that is still pending and then submit my final report to my adviser for review before it gets upload and do the last updates of my website to DREU.
It definitely has been a very productive summer; I learned plenty of new things and new software technologies. Besides, I got to put in practice the few things I know so far. This was a great experience for me!