[talks] Invitation to COS 333 Project Presentations

Robert Dondero rdondero at CS.Princeton.EDU
Mon May 2 15:34:35 EDT 2011

On Thursday May 5 and Friday May 6 this year's COS 333 students will 
give public presentations of their class projects.  It's likely that the 
presentations will be interesting and well done, as they have been in 
previous years.

You're invited!  Please feel free to attend as many presentations as you 
want.  Friends are welcome too.  The presentations will be in Computer 
Science Building 105.  A schedule, along with a brief description of 
each project, is appended below.

I hope you can attend some of the presentations.

Bob Dondero

Robert M. Dondero, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Department of Computer Science
Princeton University


Thursday 5/5 1:00-1:30: PEOPLES

PEOPLES Enables the Observation of Populations Living in Everyday Society

Social Science research has traditionally required data that is 
difficult to gather; by using smartphones as data collection tools we 
can overcome the methodological limitations that have hampered social 
science research and kept important questions from being answered. We 
will design an open source Android application that will be distributed 
to over 100 reentering prisoners to track their job-search experience. 
The application will enable: collection of location-based data, 
collection of anonymized phone call information, distribution of short 
questionnaires to study participants, contact between study participants 
and researchers through audio or video messages. We aim to design an 
application that will outlive the initial study and that is general 
enough to allow other researchers to use it. We will design a simple 
web-based front-end that will allow researchers to download information, 
monitor subject participation, and access communications sent by 
participants. All together, this will be a powerful tool for 
sociologists, enabling them to conduct useful, targeted, and inexpensive 
research on almost any population.


Thursday 5/5 1:30-2:00: SSH Startups

Startups and growing companies are hungry for engineering talent. The 
truth is that quality developers are difficult and costly to find, let 
alone recruit. Companies often look to young college students for fresh 
minds to work over the summer and eventually move to full time, but many 
come away with summer experiences that don't make use of their true 
talents or align much with what they are interested in. The key to 
solving these problems lies in an effective way of matching up companies 
and student engineers.

SSH Startups is a portal for connecting college students to technical 
internships. The site will feature a listing of students in addition to 
a listing of companies, so that both sides can reach out to one another. 
It will have methods for companies to assess the quality of interns 
without having to browse, open, and read through hundreds of resumes. It 
will provide means to match students with jobs based on their interests, 
without the need to search through countless pages of listings. Its 
sleek, simple interface will focus on the elements that matter, not 
flooding users with excess information or demanding massive amounts of 
time to be devoted to the discovery process.

SSH Startups: We aim to provide engineering talent for companies, 
exciting internships for students, and a killer user experience that 
streamlines the matchmaking process as much as possible.


Thursday 5/5 2:00-2:30: MealChecker

Currently, the system for meal exchanges between members of different 
eating clubs operates in an outdated and inefficient manner. At the time 
of the meal, the member must fill out a slip recording the names and 
clubs of the host and guest, and at the end of every month the clubs 
sort through these slips, matching them up and charging those members 
who did not reciprocate meals. All of this is done manually, and is far 
less organized and efficient than a computerized system would be.

We propose to automate this system, saving time for the clubs and 
providing valuable information to both the clubs and their members. With 
our system, members would simply enter their meal exchange information 
using a Web interface connected to a database that keeps track of all 
exchanges. At the end of the month, the system would automatically sort 
through the exchanges and send the results to the clubs. Members would 
also be able to check how many meals are owed, a functionality entirely 
absent in the current system. Most valuable to the clubs, our system 
will keep statistics on the exchanges, which would give them the 
information they need to plan ahead and anticipate trends. Our system 
would be highly beneficial to both clubs and their members, and would 
replace an antiquated manual system direly in need of revision.


Thursday 5/5 3:30-4:00: PlayInPerson

The goal of our project is to create an online, chatroom-based 
environment where people can meet and interact through video chat games. 
For example, two friends living in different countries can use our site 
to chat face to face while collaboratively working on a crossword 
puzzle. Similarly, 4 strangers can meet up and play a game of video 
poker - the game will be realistic because each person will be able to 
see his opponents' faces. The goal is to create an in-person like 
experiences online; hence, our website will be playinperson.com.


Thursday 5/5 4:00-4:30: OneTree

Princeton's student groups share certain commonalities that result in 
the formation of natural sub-communities within the Princeton community. 
Students could use such a hierarchical "tree" structure to find groups 
and events tuned to their liking, while groups benefit from increased 
exposure to a more targeted audience. We aim to create these "virtual 
group/community centers" where groups may publicly display information, 
announcements, special events, and more to the general public. The main 
competitor, Facebook, is user-centric rather than group-centric, 
limiting the potential for more complex group relationships. We propose 
a website that models each group or community as an aggregation of many 
smaller sub-communities. For example, each dance group is part of the 
dance community, which in turn is part of the performing arts community, 
which finally is part of the Princeton community as a whole. Students 
can thereby view any particular community's page and see an aggregation 
of events and announcements posted by each sub-community, and browse and 
navigate between pages with ease. Essentially, our website is offering 
an organized and interconnected platform which improves the interactions 
between groups and the general public.


Thursday 5/5 4:30-5:00: The Commons

The Commons is an interactive, multiplayer online implementation of the 
original board game by Sigrid Adriaenssens. The game is based on 
Settlers of Catan with added features that address the issue of 
community-driven sustainability. In The Commons, players compete to 
develop the most successful empire in an initially unsettled and 
unhospitable world. Players can build cities in different areas of the 
world and take advantages of the area's renewable and non-renewable 
natural resources--like lumber, water power, oil--to build their 
civilizations. Players must also make decisions about how their actions 
will affect the environmental health of the world as a whole. By 
cooperating, players can work together to improve the total quality of 
life in the world. However, failure to cooperate can lead to the loss of 
natural resources, the wrath of fellow players, and, eventually, the 
death of the world and end of the game.


Friday 5/6 1:00-1:30: Manos

The XBOX Kinect is an incredible new technology released towards the end 
of 2010 that combines an RGB camera and an infrared depth sensor that 
allows users to control the XBOX 360 gaming console with body motions, 
not just thumbs. Since its release, an ever growing community of 
developers has created ways to process the data produced by the Kinect 
through the use of a personal computer, allowing a computer to track 
skeletons and fingertips, or a user to control a robot with gestures.

Another way this technology has been harnessed has been to allow a user 
to interact with an operating system. Using bodily gestures to move a 
mouse cursor around the screen to select files and folders, to browse 
the web, or to play a game are examples of various implementations. The 
common feature of all of them however is that the gestures required are 
predefined; there is no customizability. Our product, Manos, allows a 
user to develop custom mappings between gestures and actions. Each user 
can train our product to recognize a certain gesture and link that 
action to increasing or decreasing the computer's volume, or to launch a 
certain type of program. In sum, our product allows for a user to 
customize this new technology to his or her own needs, which we believe 
will believe will be a central technology in the living room and 
elsewhere in the coming months and years.


Friday 5/6 1:30-2:00: Bigfoot

Imagine that it's 10pm on Friday night, and you want to know where 
people are on campus. Wouldn't it be nice if you had a map that showed 
you this information? Well, Bigfoot is exactly that. Bigfoot is an 
iPhone application and web interface that shows the movement of 
Princeton students over time -- both on a personal and aggregate level. 
Log in with user ID and you can see where you've been spent most of your 
time today, last week, or maybe just on Tuesdays last month between the 
hours of 7 and 9pm. Switch to the aggregate map and you can view the 
location of all Princeton students. There's the answer to your question. 
You can even filter the map by gender, major, residential college, or 
class year, because maybe Rocky wants to throw a study break when most 
of its students are in the area. It's all available on a website and on 
your iPhone.


Friday 5/6 2:00-2:30: TigerAlbum

What many pop culture websites have proven is that a tight-knit 
community of frequent visitors can spring up from the simplest 
collaboration of short, witty, well-moderated text posts. With 
TigerAlbum, we want to take this to the next level with geotagged 
photography. Imagine being able to see what's happening, hip, funny, and 
new around Princeton at an instant, on a map. And not having to do much 
to add your own photographs on the go with a simple shoot and submit 
smart-phone apps. TigerAlbum will allow users to search for photographs 
on the map, share their favorites with friends and discuss them through 
comments with a very intuitive and appealing interface.


Friday 5/6 3:30-4:00: Singaporean Bridge

An Android app for all card loving players out there. Singaporean Bridge 
is a trick-winning game rising in popularity that is as simple to play 
as, but more enjoyable than, Hearts. Whether in single-player mode 
against AIs of variable difficulty or in multi-player mode against other 
human players, a groovy and easy-to-use user interface makes it 
accessible to anyone, regardless of age, level and experience. Play 
competitively against friends, or complete strangers, improve your 
ranking and become the new champion! Play anytime, anywhere, with anyone!


Friday 5/6 4:00-4:30: PUrr

Right now, reserving a residential college room for a meeting or event 
is a real pain. There is no one repository for information regarding 
attributes and possible booking hours for a room, and the websites for 
actually booking a room are likewise decentralized. Moreover, the system 
is poorly automated for college administrators who have to check 
individual emails to approve them as well as manually advertise when 
rooms will be unavailable.

Our goal is to streamline the process on both sides as well as improve 
the search experience for users who need a specific type of room. We 
plan to do this by having a two sided server which will contain calendar 
information for all the residential college rooms which are available to 
be booked. Administrators will be able to specify how far in advance 
students will be able to book, block off days for college events and 
determine what sort of credentials will be needed to book a room. After 
a small set up period, administrators will rarely be required to 
actively approve/requests: although they will be able to see who has 
reserved when.

Meanwhile, students will have booking, room information and search 
services for all buildings consolidated in one webpage. You can search 
for rooms based on capacity, equipment availability and time 
availability among other things. Each room will have an information page 
which lists these features along with a photo and recent usage history. 
Hopefully these features will lead to students using the room which 
suits their need best instead of being limited only to rooms they 
already know.

Excluding some authentication and room searching details, this structure 
is very general and should very easily allows us to manage room 
reservation for all residential colleges as well as other places (such 
as the music building). We do require information on all the rooms which 
we plan to make available as well as the ability to interface with the 
university's authentication system but neither of these should be 
difficult to obtain.

Ultimately, we hope that this project will greatly simplify an important 
task for both students and college officials.


Friday 5/6 4:30-5:00: Room Scheduling System

There is a problem on campus. People are needlessly wasting time and 
getting frustrated by a disorganized system for scheduling rooms on 
campus. Right now, the system involves looking up email addresses and 
sending requests to administrators without any certainty of 
availability. Depending on the administrator, it could take days before 
you even find out that the room is not available at that time, so you 
have just wasted time and now have to scramble to find an acceptable 
alternative. This uncertainty, wasting of time, and needless hassle can 
easily be avoided with a centralized service. Imagine, you want a 
certain type of room at a certain time. With our system, you merely have 
to open your browser, search for the type of room you want, and you 
instantly see when certain rooms are available. You click on the room at 
the right time to make a request, and then you are done. Simple. 
Intuitive. No uncertainty in your scheduling, and no wasted time.


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