My weekly journals depict the work completed throughout the course of this project.

You are viewing all my journal entries, click on the links to the right to view the entries in two week sections.

Week 1: May 30 - June 5, 2010

I arrived on Sunday evening in time to get settled in and attend the dinner Dr. Hodges had arranged for the DREU students that arrived that day. We ate at a Mexican restaurant and the food was delicious. I also got to meet the other students participating in the program. After dinner, Dr. Hodges dropped us back at the apartments on campus where we were staying. Dr. Hodges staff did all the leg work to secure the apartment on campus and all I had to do was show up and pay for the lodging!

My first week at Clemson University was spent participating in studies, getting familiar with the specifics of some of the applications we will use over the course of the project (C++, MySQL - using XAMPP, SAPI, Di Guy, and Dragon) as I will be working on implementing the database for the project.

To help with familiarization, I began working on tutorials the Ph. D. students Lauren & Toni compiled. I also participated in our weekly meetings, and listened to the presentations Lauren & Toni put together.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 2: June 6 - June 12, 2010

This week involved getting more familiar with the various software applications we will be using for the project. I had tutorials to complete which gave me the hands on experience on using the applications.

I attended short presentations to further get familiar with the applications. I will also attend a weekly seminar by a different professor discussing their work, projects in progress or projects that have been completed. This should give me exposure to other research projects which could potentially interest me.

One tutorial involved writing code to get text to speech to work. So here when I typed in a question on the terminal, the database was queried and the corresponding answer was voiced out by the program (text to speech).

I also used Dragon NaturallySpeaking (speech recognition) which allowed me to train the application with my voice, such that what I spoke was turned into text. Now I just need to get it to get the corresponding answer from a question from the database.

I will start working on Di Guy, the human simulation software. This is for the virtual character and I will work on getting the characters facial expressions appear more human. This should be interesting.

One of the Ph.D. students (Toni) organized a weekly volleyball game for all of us in the program. I couldn't attend this week's game but heard it was really fun from the other students that did. I definitely plan on participating next week! During the week, I also walked around campus (Clemson is huge) to get familiar with the place. They have beautiful landscaping and a botanical garden that's very relaxing to walk through. Dr. Hodges also began his weekly dinner's on Tuesday at his home, where every week, a different array of delightful dishes was served. It was a great way for everyone to get to know each other outside the lab.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 3: June 13 - June 19, 2010

This week was quite productive. I worked on getting all the applications we have been using to work together, and showed a demonstration to Dr. Hodges.

The demonstration involved speaking out a question and having the answer returned back. So Dragon NaturallySpeaking was the application used to acknowledge the question asked and then the database would be queried to find an answer that corresponds to the question and this answer was returned back by the DI Guy character I created.

Getting all the applications working with each other was a good experience as now I have a better understanding of how they all work hand in hand.

We are now working on the main project. I started working on it Friday and will continue on with it this coming week. I'm looking forward to the end of the project when it's all done and I am able to see the outcome.

I played volleyball this week and it was fun. I got hit a couple of times, but got the hang of it pretty quick. Dr. Hodges dinner was fun, we ate, laughed and all got really full. I also went out to eat with a couple of the other students on a couple of evenings, and had my first taste of Clemson ice cream. They make it on campus and it's really good.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 4: June 20 - June 26, 2010

I continued working on the main project this week. My part involves reading data to and from the database using MySQL and C++ to programmatically run the queries. The first phase involved importing questions from an excel spreadsheet to the MySQL database.

I then wrote a C++ program to retrieve the questions and break them down into bigrams (set of words).

After this was done, I had to insert the bigrams back into another table in my database based on their primary key using code in another program I wrote.

My next step is to get my program to read in a question and get it to print out the corresponding answer based on the bigrams that has the highest match (frequency) to the question.

The weekly dinner at Dr. Hodges was delicious. Every week, we had a different meal and they were all quite nice. I also went walking around campus with some of the other students. It was quite muggy but a lot cooler since we were walking in the evenings. I also went to a mall over the weekend and did some shopping.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 5: June 27 - July 3, 2010

This week was spent writing additional code to my program to get it to insert the question id and bigram id into another table so as to map the bigram with the appropriate question. This will help calculate the highest frequency of words and return the question with the highest count of the bigrams. This also required writing code to ensure bigrams that appeared in more than one question were not repeated but assigned the same bigram id number as the previous occurrence of the word(s).

This leads me to my next step which I didn't get to last week because coding the step above to work right took a while. I finally got it to work later in the week.

So now I'm working on the part that should be more challenging, which is to get the program to get the questions to print out the corresponding answer based on the highest count (frequency) of terms in my database.

I also attended the weekly seminar and participated in two studies this week.

We will be having poster presentations in the coming weeks, so I'm brainstorming on ideas to display on my poster.

This week was pretty low-key. I went to Dr. Hodges dinner, played volleyball and hang out with a couple of the students in the evenings.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 6: July 4 - July 10, 2010

I completed coding the question to answer match based on highest frequency. Coding this part did not take as long as I expected. I also created a table with test answers to ensure that the query when run in C++ would return the correct answer, which it did. So now I am waiting for my other team members to complete the actual answer table which will have the answers as well as code to get the virtual patients to show expressions and movements.

I am now working on creating classes for my program as I initially had it as one long program. Now comes the time to break it down to provide a logical connection between the data and functions. I haven’t used classes in a while, so this is going to be tricky for me to code.

That sums up my week. We are getting closer to completing the project, which is exciting as soon we will start showcasing our work.

I drove home to Charlotte, NC over the July 4th weekend with a couple of other students that were also going home for the holiday weekend. We drove back to Clemson on Monday evening. It was a fun road trip.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 7: July 11 - July 17, 2010

This week was spent putting the final touches to the project. I was able to transfer my code into the classes program to have the program work more efficiently. I was also able to merge the work done my other team members into my project so as to get one complete working project.

At the end of the week, our team demonstrated our work to Dr. Hodges. We had to present it in two parts as we did not get to finalize merging the applications into one main project. We will work on that next week.

I should also spend majority of my time next week working on the poster presentations and have documentation to review to aide in building my poster.

This week, I walked to the lake on Clemson's campus, which is a pretty good walk. It’s where Clemson rowing practices and it looks like a small beach. We planned on going back one weekend to swim in the lake! I also played volleyball, had dinner at Dr. Hodges and went to the movies.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 8: July 18 - July 24, 2010

We demonstrated the final version of our project to Dr. Hodges along with the other students and professors that have been working in our lab. We were able to get the application merged into one main project and the demonstration went well.

A pre-written script was used at first and then several variations of the questions was used to see if the application was smart enough to come back with an appropriate answer, which it did. Dr. Hodges was happy with our work and the fact that we were able to complete the project within the allotted time.

Next week, we will demonstrate our project to faculty and staff here at Clemson University.

I also continued working on my poster and had it reviewed by the Ph. D students I am working with. They provided feedback on changes I should make, which I will implement and should have the final version complete early next week. I should also have the report completed with my poster next week.

I went to watch another movie this weekend with some of the other students. Afterwards, we went out to eat and hang out as well. I didn’t play volleyball this week but did attend Dr. Hodges dinner!

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 9: July 25 - July 31, 2010

This week was spent working on the finishing touches to my poster and report. I am pleased with the final version of my poster which can be viewed by clicking here.

We rehearsed presenting in front of the group (click here to see the group photo) on Thursday which was good as we all received constructive criticism which I implemented in my final presentation.

On Friday, we did the formal presentation and had a panel of three judges review the work we did, the poster design and our presentation. There were awards and monetary prices at the end of the presentations. I am very happy to report that I won third place in the poster presentations.

I also completed my report and sent it to the group for review. Next week, I should receive feedback on it and make any changes that are suggested.

Next week will be my last week here at Clemson University. It should be a pretty relaxed week.

I finally went to the lake to swim with a couple of the other students. It was fun for a little bit but we kept saying that an actual pool would be more fun. So we headed to the apartments where some of the Ph.D. students live and spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and getting some sun. That was quite relaxing. We also had the last dinner at Dr. Hodges this week.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

Week 10: August 1 - August 7, 2010

The week was spent formulating ideas for the video we are to create of the virtual patient we have been working on this summer. We practiced different scenarios, recorded and edited them.

Dr. Hodges watched the final version of our video, which he was quite happy with.

Friday was our last day which ended early, after having a group lunch.

My final week was spent packing, saying my goodbyes and getting nostalgic about leaving. I really enjoyed the experience, what I learned and the people I met. It was a very rewarding experience.

Hours worked ~ 40 hours

All Entries

Week 1 - 2:
May 30 - June 12, 2010

Week 3 - 4:
June 13 - June 26, 2010

Week 5 - 6:
June 27 - July 10, 2010

Week 7 - 8:
July 11 - July 24, 2010

Week 9 - 10:
July 25 - August 7, 2010