My project was to perform some modifications on the user interface for the MAGNET (Multi AGent NEgotiation Testbed) program. MAGNET creates an intelligent customer agent that can purchase goods and services for businesses while analyzing risk and taking into acount time, price, and precedence constraints. The testbed simulates supplier agents that submit bids in response to a request for quotes from the customer agent, and then the customer evaluates the bids and selects the best bid or set of bids based on the constraints and risk analysis. MAGNET already has a very nice user interface, but some changes are necessary to make it more intuitive and add functionality.
I didn't actually end up making a lot of changes to the user interface, because it took me the better part of my time here to understand the program at all! So the knowledge I got from my project was more from what was required to understand it then what I actually did. I gained very valuable knowlege in three areas. I had to learn about the UNIX operating system, because my computer in the lab only ran UNIX and I'd never encountered it before. Also, MAGNET was written in Java, so I spent several weeks reading through Java tutuorials and experimenting with my own programs and now have a good knowledge of that language. Finally, MAGNET is a very big program! I had never worked on a program so large before, and it took a very long time for me to be able to find my way around in it. If I go into industry I know that I will often be working on programs of this size or larger, so this was valuable experience!
Another great part of my summer experience was the people I met! My mentor set up the start and end times of the program for Sarah and I so that it matched the dates of some other REU's. The professor in charge of the EE/CE REU program was wonderful about including Sarah and I in his group's activities! We made a lot of great friends in that program, and I learned quite a bit from them. I also got to know Krista, who was here with a different professor for the DMP. Dr. Gini was a great mentor! I loved talking to her and her husband, who is also a faculty member here. As good as it will be to be home, I am really going to miss everyone I met! This summer was an awesome experience!