This week I stayed home on Monday and Wednesday to work on my paper, pack my stuff and clean the townhouse. Since my mentor was leaving Thursday afternoon and I had finished my work and presentation, we decided it was ok for me to end the DREU program on Thursday.
On Tuesday, I presented my project for 8 minutes. We were given a shorter time limit since there were so few of us. I went over two Research Literature about Computer Aided Language Learning and one about User Experience. I gave a general overview of the project and my role before Ying presented the algorithm of scoring the tests on the site. This research presentation can be downloaded and viewed at the bottom of this blog post
On Thursday, I packed up all my stuff and turned in my keys before driving to my mom's house for her birthday today.
Overall, I enjoyed my DREU Program Experience. I've discovered my own talents within CS and Design, learned how to work with a team, and attended a conference. Just as I have learned my strengths, I have also learned my weaknesses that I need to work to improve on.
This week I had to wrap up the research I was doing on the Linguistics Research. I had to put together the keyboard levels which required days of looking at IPA symbols and phonetics. It required a lot of copying and pasting of symbols and hexadecimal codes to ensure the correct symbols, phonetics and tones were mapped correctly. The last Linguistics meeting I attended, I showed the Communications team the keyboard levels and they were impressed to see how the keyboards looked. They only requested that the buttons are big enough to see.
When I wasn't working on the keyboard, I was working on the poster that I had to present during my final week. It had to be around 40x30 poster or vice versa. I looked at the graduate students' posters to get an idea of how to do mine. My advisor looked at my poster drafts 3-4 times and critiqued it so that I had plenty of time to go back and make the minor changes to my poster.
This week was rather hectic for me because, I had to finish the keyboard levels, work on the poster, read through the research literature I collected, write my research paper, and pack and be ready to move out next week. My advice for new DREU interns is to work a little more on posters and papers at home so they do not end up stressed out and rushing to get research papers and posters done.
This week was primarily about getting ready for presentations in the next week. I needed to write up my final paper and presentation poster to present to the remaining DREU Students. There isn't much to report on for week 8, since I'm either working on presentations, practicing Blender, Maya, or Unity, or helping with the Linguistics project.
My co-researchers and I attended the presentations of the DREU students who arrived 2 weeks before us. They were given 45 minutes for each group. It started at 9 am and ended around noon. They went over their Literature Review and discussed the work they did with the project and the future work that needed to be done on the projects. Afterwards, free food was provided. They turned in their keys to their keys to one of the staff because they were living in dorms and left that day.
I don't have too much to report on the week prior. It was a Holiday week, so I didn't go to work till Wednesday. I used that time to continue working on Blender and Unity. I went to two meetings. The meetings were VCOM and the DREU Luncheon (Free Pizza and Cake).
VCOM's goal is to make a simulation in VR(Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) of administering a lumbar puncture to patients. The difference between the two can be easily explained through examples. Virtual Reality is being able to interact with an environment that is completely computer generated usually through headsets, i.e. Oculus Rift. Augmented Reality is interacting with a 3d Object that looks to be interacting with the physical world through a mobile device, computer, etc., i.e. Pokémon Go. I've been researching and creating in blender for weeks, so out of everyone, I'm the one who knows the most about 3d Modeling, how to import 3d objects into Unity, and what Unity requires of 3D objects for certain actions. For instance, even though computer graphics has advanced in terms of 3d modeling image quality in comparison to the 1990s, the ugly truth is that Unity still needs those blocky modeled images in order to generate the correct physics for that object. The blocky model is an abstract object hidden inside the high poly version that is visually represented. The requirement is that the blocky model must be less that 256 vertices and be convex.
The other meeting was really more of a social agenda amongst Auburn REUs where we stuffed our faces with free pizza and a variety of cake while listening to Dr. Hari Naranyan persuade us to go to graduate school (most specifically Auburn, but that's beside the case).
Long hours of Zero Escape and Tropico 5
Throughout the DREU Program, my mentor has given us a Outline of what to have completed during our time at her Institution. It is the following:
REU Deliverables :
Week 1 (orientation/begin background study to identify best project for student)
Week 2 Professional Website
Week 3 Citi Training
Week 4 Preliminary status report
Use ACM template for Prelim Status report. Word done so far this semester to be completed by next Monday June 26.
Week 5 Preliminary PowerPoint Presentation
(This will grow from Lit Review PowerPoint and be based upon Prelim Status report)
Week 6 Poster of Work (we will present this at a conference)
Week 7 Complete CITI Training if not complete
Week 8 Evaluation & Final Writeups
Week 9-10 Final PowerPoint Presentation of work
Our Preliminary PowerPoints were due on Thursday before we left for vacation on Friday. We were to be given 5-7 minutes to present our project(s) to the rest of the REUs under Dr. Seals and herself. While I've been here, I've been working mainly on design for Linguistics and 3d Modeling for AR/VR Projects. I have been able to learn about teaching Linguistics or Speech through educational journals while I needed blogs and tutorials to learn 3D Modeling. I will make a link to direct viewers to the PowerPoint either in another blog or in the Projects Tab.
While I was working on my PowerPoint and doing my other research, I helped Dr. Seals with her Computer Science camps. That week's camp was more targeted towards girls in highschool. She went over Design and Implementation through an exercise where the girls paired up in to teams of two. One person would describe their perfect toothbrush and the other would Design and Implement it. They would stop and show them if that is what they wanted and would modify it if it wasn't exactly right. After that, they made Computer Generated Designs in a drag and drop Program before going through a Binary Exercise where they stood in front of the room and counted in binary by flipping over cards with 2^n dots.
Played days worth of video games and it was glorious!
I went in this week with a Priority plan. I had recently got two white boards since I saw both my mentors, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Seals use one to keep their priorities and deadlines straight. I got two because I have the logical mathematical side of computing for stability and the artistic side for expression and happiness. You could say that I have the need to satisfy both the left and right side of my brain.
Of course the logical side, I would work at, at home after work, but there was one skill that crossed in between the boards. That was game development.
I had gotten done with my website portion for the Linguistics project and I had finished my Clean Code Tutorials by Uncle Bob (Robert Martin) and my Java book. I had programmed in CSS and HTML all last week, so I felt like the book I brought with me was more for reference. I was waiting for someone to get back to me about information about SQL and Databases, so I could further piece together the piece of using JAVA DB API with SQL Databases. I saw the Data Structures and Algorithms and mentally rolled my eyes. I knew that was a topic I definitely needed someone to check my work , but Ying was working hard on getting the algorithm for grading Linguistic students' answers on the project.
Then I remembered that Dr. Seals said that she wanted us to work on two projects by the end of the program. Her field was Computer Human Interaction and Gaming, plus she had gaming books if I needed reference. So I decided I'd learn the mechanics of game Development and make a game for the site already created to teach children about different subjects.
My resources were Blender, Photoshop, Maya, and Unity. I went through a small playlist of tutorials for absolute beginners made by a man named Jacob Lewis. I'll leave websites to all my material at the end of the blog. With him, I made some of the following projects :SMLXL
The first image was pretty complicated because I had to use reference images to make the glass cup, physics to simulate liquid pouring out of the shaker into the glass, and using textures to make the floor(took me two hours on the floor because the site renamed the texture and the program crashed once I figured it out and didn't save my progress-_-) The second image only took me and hour or two because I'm a beginner. The 3d models were made in a free 3D modeling program called Blender. Blender has been used to make models for video games engines like Unity. It's targeted to beginners to learn the basic methods for 3D modeling. Even though this program is fairly easy to use and can be used by 3D modelers of any skill level, Maya, 3Ds Max and ZBrush are the main #D programs used in the gaming industry.
Maya and 3Ds Max can be used for free for three years if the person is a student. ZBRUSH is set at $795 for the program. There apparently is a discount for ZBrush for students, but I may have to call the company to get more information. I downloaded Maya because its used more for creativity while 3Ds Max can be used for AutoCAD and other engineering software. Blender, Maya, and 3DS Max have the common mapping and techniques to make models. Zbrush is different because it depends on digital sculpting. All of these programs can be used in Unity.
I've constantly heard the terminology game engine and that Unity was one, but in my head I always thought it was an abstract data structure just like databases. But I've learned that game engines are actually software to piece together the different engine of the game like visual, sound, physics, scripting and so forth in one engine. I unknowingly had prior experience with a game engine called Game Maker targeted at beginners to game designing. Currently Unity is the most popular game engine used by hobbyists and professionals alike. I looked at the back of my console games and noticed that not only did it tell the user what game engine was used, it also gives information about the middleware and external engines were used like Autodesk Gameware(middleware) and NVIDIA PhysX(Physics Engine).SMLXL
With further research, which were mainly blogs and a ton of googling, low poly took a smaller amount of time in comparison to high poly models. Low poly models take within hours to finish while high poly takes possibly months because of all the detail. The difference between low poly and high poly are the number of faces on the object. In the picture below, you can see how the low poly form of the face looks less detailed and more angled than the mid poly and high poly mesh of the same model.SMLXL
Currently I'm still doing tutorials on Blender on Udemy(I got it on sale for $10, now it maybe $15 when you read this). After I'm done with learning the mechanics of Blender, I'll move onto Maya as low priority. To get the game developed and imported into the Unity with the time I have left, I'll have to learn Unity and make the models in Blender quickly. I'll have to ask Dr. Seals if I can still work on the game project even when I go back to school since it would be on her website.
For this project I had to put in an additional 20 hours after work to learn ad fast as I could and be able to present something to Dr. Seals on Thursday. So that's what I've been doing mainly off work.
3ds Max: https://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/3ds-max
Udemy Blender Course: https://www.udemy.com/blendertutorial/
Absolute Beginner Blender Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLV7h-WLIx0&list=PLrgQj91MOVfjTShOMRY8TLmkJ7OFr7bj6&index=1
Clean Code: https://cleancoders.com/
This week went by pretty easy. If I can sum up how I spend my time in the DREU Program, I'd say its 75% learning new material for projects and 25% actually working on the project. This seems pretty uneven and you may think "Aren't you supposed to be working on projects Phebez?" Well, yes I am working on the projects but whenever an idea doesn't work right or think of a way to improve what I have already done, I have to scourge the vast websites of Google to find a solution. I get so used to this routine that it makes the work go by extremely fast.
For instance, this week I worked on making the GUI(Graphical User Interface) for the Administrative portion of the ALT Communications website. I had never coded in CSS or HTML but I knew what they were used for in conjunction of each other. As I coded, I realized that there ws very little difference from coding in HTML/CSS than XML. If I wanted to, I could very easily manipulate HTML and VSS code according to events, but that was Gourui's task once I was finished with it.
It took me exactly 2.5 days to make all the pages for the administrative side of the website. I only asked Rui to review what I've done at least once a day to ensure that I wasn't missing any vital designs for the interface, Rui would actually go through the interaction process and give me notes on what should be added or taken away. Like for instance, it took me an hour to find the html code that automatically puts in the date the user picks. Other than Rui's notes, I depended primarily on the prototypes made in Azure RP that were okayed in the weekly meetings with the Communications team.
The first day was getting half the pages set up. I finished the other half on the second day and accepted any additions that needed to be made along with design fixes I needed to do on the third day. I actually found another style resource other than bootstrap that made styling the website faster, I still needed to learn html to add functionality and CSS to add background.
I went to Montgomery to celebrate my grandmother's birthday. I got her an electronic picture frame. My Aunt Mary taught me how to use make up. My cousin gave me an awesome Attack on Titans Jacket. On the last day, my aunt twisted my hair against my will...and gave me free food so it worked out.
This week I've been assigned to a project called CourseBuilder. CourseBuilder is a website that is an online course for students to do online lessons and tests submitted by their teachers. The overall site is up but we are specifically working on the Linguistics course. The team (Guorui (aka Rui), Yingzhi (aka Ying), Robby, Nanda and me) have to work with the Communications department to style the Linguistics course according to their requirements.
Rui gave me as thorough of an overview as he could and sent me tutorials to learn how to prototype in Azure RP, to program in Bootstrap and the PHP code. I had to learn how to use Java Servlet on my own since the tutorial Rui had was completely in Chinese. This was no problem since I had too many Java Programming on my hand anyway.
For two and a half days, I was neck deep in Bootstrap and Azure RP Tutorial. The other two and a half days, I had my nose in a book learning and programming tutorials in Java. I was burning out by Friday morning. I was thanking God that we finally got to meet with Communications Team. I wrote down notes as quickly as they decided on what changes needed to be made.
My To Do List looks like the Following:
-Find 3-5 articles on Computer-Human Interaction and Teaching Language/Linguistics
-Make a "Sleek and Pretty version of the site that was okayed by both teams
-I think there was a third thing but I'll have to flip back through my notes. That or I feel like there should be a third thing.
Axure Rp https://www.axure.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjwgtTJBRDRmd6ZtLrGyxwSJAA7Fy-hrlV217m6sOyKuU_qcvb4q7ttnjC2cKJiDdqo2k05-RoCwHDw_wcB
I play a lot of video games in my spare time, but now I've began to tire of the long hours of gaming so I decided to shorten my time of gameplay and probably go work out. I don't communicate with the other DREU students other than Jerrion, mainly because they live in the dorms and I live in a townhouse in Aspen Heights. That and I don't typically get to see them other than once a week.
Next week is my grandmother's birthday so I have to scramble to get her something nice....maybe the Dolce and Gabanna perfume I saw at the store...I'll figure it out. Hopefully I get paid in time to get her something.
This week picked up speed when Dr. Seals came back from South Carolina. She introduced a new DREU student named Arian. In an email she told us that she wanted us to make a game from Scratch to go on the Beauty and Joy of Computing website, finish Citi Training, and making an ePortfolio.
The Citi Training was required because we'd be conducting Human Research. Before you start cueing the Frankenstein music, this just simply means that we'd be bringing in group of people into the lab to test the products of our research. Before anyone can get involved in this kind of research, he/she has to read what is required as far as ethics what they can and can not do before, during, and after research. It took me a day and a half to read the material and pass the tests.
The Scratch game took a little longer and I had even a shorter amount of time to finish it because of the NSBC conference that started on Thursday evening. I did some simple programs to familiarize myself with the Scratch program, but this took me less than an hour to get used to since it reminded me of App developer back during my Camp Counselor days. I actually taught Jerrion how to do some of the things he wanted to do because I was having an easier time.
At first, I was thinking about making an internet safety program but I realized after awhile that to bring this idea into fruition I needed to take 2 weeks max and outside research time to do it. In order to be able to show Dr. Seals something by next week and not be slowed down by the conference, I settled on a simple algebraic game where three cats race against each other and it's the users goal to answer the questions fast enough and correctly to beat the other cats. Unlike the other math games I had seen on the site, my problems were randomly generated from number -5 to 50. These numbers would then be outputted as a multiplication problem. I will post it once I figure out how to do so.
After three quick days, it was finally Thursday. The drive was relaxing...until the interstate expanded into 6 lanes. It took me a solid hour and a half because the Twelve Hotels I brought up on Google Maps was wrong, then I went to the wrong Twelve Hotel in Centennial Park. I finally got to the one in Atlantic Station. After slow traffic and being lost in the city for nearly 2 hours, I was exhausted and wanted to pass out.
Despite my own problems, it was a good information conference that touched on topics such as robotics, meeting people with PH.Ds and in the industry. I learned about the benefits of going to graduate school and decided I'll most likely go but not sure when. I took notes and I am going to go about implementing them this week.
I'll extrapolate on my time at NSBC in another post. For the mean time, I'm exhausted and need a nap.
Hello, my name is Phoebe Burns. I'm a senior at the University of Alabama, where I study Computer Science and Digital Art. I plan to graduate in the Spring of 2019. I applied to the DREU Program to get more experience in Computer Science and hopefully, apply my digital art skills.
My mentor is Dr.Cheryl Seals, a professor at Auburn University in Auburn Alabama. Her research specializes are Human-Computer Interaction and Gaming (for educational purposes).
Her Site: http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~sealscd/
Anyone who is a non-Alabamian reading this, Alabama and Auburn are fierce football rivals and if you live in the state of Alabama, there is no such thing as being neutral. Its one or the other. When I told my friends(fierce Alabama fans) that I'd be moving to Auburn, I, of course, got "Are you transferring?!","Are you betraying the great Crimson Tide?!", and "I wouldn't go if they paid me a million dollars!". I stared back at them and said, "I don't care because I'm getting paid and getting needed experience."
I was hoping to mooch off my cousins who lived in Auburn so I can save up as much money as possible, but unfortunately they wouldn't be there for the summer, so I moved into a nice townhouse for the summer.
When I first met my mentor, she reminded me a lot of my home mentor, Dr. Anderson. Both had a million and one things to do (and it showed on their white board), constantly having to re ramp up progress in order to meet deadlines, and half of the time at workshops. Being used to Dr. Anderson, I knew that Dr. Seals wouldn't have a lot of time to put stuff down and answer questions, so I have to be as independent as I could be and come to her if it is really necessary.
On the first week, she wasn't there, mainly because she had to go to a meeting or workshop in South Carolina. I met with one of the other DREU students, whose name is Jerrion Joy from ASU. Dr.Seals told us that she wanted us to look over the drag and drop program, Scratch and go to a Database Management class 3 out of the 5 days. We did mostly self study,went to class and reviewed over presentations from her graduate students. I watched a lot of Uncle Bob (Robert C. Martin, author of Clean Coder) so I can write cleaner code. Towards the end of the week, I was getting pretty Bobbed out and started relearning how to code in Java.
I'd say it was a pretty good first week. I'm looking forward to see what we're going to do for the rest of the summer.
My name is Phoebe Burns. I'm a Computer Science and Digital Art Student at the University of Alabama. I plan to get my B.S in Computer Science and my B.F.A in Digital Art in Spring of 2019. I am currently doing research at Auburn University on Human-Computer Interaction and Gaming. I have previous experience with App Development, Agile Process, and Test Driven Development.