Evolve IV Optimization
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Welcome to my website that describes my experience with the CRA-W Distributed Mentor Project for 2002.

My name is Denise Nikcevich, I am currently finishing up my Bachelor of Science in Computer at Wayne State University.  I was selected to participate in the CRA-W Distributed Mentor Project 2002.

My project this summer is performance optimization of Evolve IV: "A Simulation of the Evolution of Interspecific Dependencies", a computer model of an evolvable ecosystem, written by Dr. Jon Brewster.  The second part of my project entails the installation of a SUN Cluster to be utilized to run experiments on Evolve IV.

My mentor is Dr. Monica Brockmeyer, a professor at Wayne State University in the Department of Computer Science.

Visit my Who Are We? page for more information about us.

Little did I know when I started this project that "evolve" was a very appropriate name.  I have truly evolved this summer and learned so much about research and more specifically optimization of programs. Witness my evolution first-hand on the Weekly Journal page. I feel that I have gained so much knowledge in an area of programming of which I was totally unfamiliar. 

I have found that a programmer that has a task of optimization does not have to understand all the details of the project.  My mentor was there for me to guide me when I had run out of ideas and had no other avenues to research.  I have learned one more very important lesson: mentoring can be found in many forms.  Not only did I have mentors at the University, but within my own circle of friends.  Computer geeks that were encouraging and supportive throughout this entire process.  Overall, this was a great experience.

Unfortunately, we were not able to obtain our SUN Cluster to install for more experiments on Evolve IV, but I found several other environments that I was able to perform my own tests on, with some surprising results.   I don't know if anyone will find time to read all of the details of my summer, but if this is all you read, know that this was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it.