Roanoke math, computer science and physics students win awards at national conference

Four of the five RC students who presented projects at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges. From left to right, Thomas Lux, Randall Pittman, Maya Shende and Natalie Wilkinson.

Four of the five RC students who presented projects at the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges. From left to right, Thomas Lux, Randall Pittman, Maya Shende and Natalie Wilkinson.

Several Roanoke College students majoring in computer science, physics and math appear to have discovered a competitive niche.

These students had a successful first run at the annual conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges for the Southeastern Region at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., on Nov. 15-16.

Thomas Lux '15, Randall Pittman '16, Maya Shende '14, and John Guidry '14 presented research projects at the conference. Lux and Pittman won the judges' first place award, Shende won second prize, and Guidry finished in the top five.  Another student, Natalie Wilkinson '16, along with Shende, Lux, and Pittman, placed third in the programming contest.

Pittman and Lux are sophomore computer majors. Shende, a junior, is a physics major and Wilkinson is a sophomore double majoring in mathematics and computer science.

This event for small colleges included two separate competitions, one for student research and the other for computer programming.

Research awards:
 
Roanoke students submitted the following projects in the research competition. Lux and Pittman's joint project was related to analysis of sensors for robotic localization and mapping and comparing various sensor platforms for the purpose of mapping indoor environments with robots. Shende's project was computational modeling of the pre-Botzinger complex, which is a location in the brainstem that generates breathing rhythm in mammals.

Guidry's project dealt with beat and emotion tracking of mobile radio.

The final scores were a sum of the students' submitted abstracts, poster and oral presentations.

Dr. Durell Bouchard, assistant professor of Computer Science, was the advisor for Lux and Pittman, and for Guidry. Dr. Daniel Robb, assistant professor of Physics, was the advisor for Shende.

All three projects were summer research projects funded by Roanoke's Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics.

Programming awards:  

There were 30 teams in the programming contest. The groups were assigned eight problems to be solved in three hours, and teams were penalized for the number of times they submitted incorrect solutions and the amount of time they took to solve the problems. Only five teams solved five or more problems.

Roanoke's team of Wilkinson, Shende, Lux and Pittman solved five problems and took third place in the competition.

-Published Feb. 12, 2014