Computer Science Major Places First
Computer Science major Brian Shea ’07 achieved two “firsts” at the Consortium of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Eastern (CCSCE) Conference at Mary Washington University in October 2006: he won the first place prize in the student research competition, and he earned the first student award for the WSC Computer Science department.
Shea, whose advisor was Associate Professor of Computer Science Hemant Pendharkar, Ph.D., faced tough competition from graduate and undergraduate students from such prestigious institutions as the Rochester Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech.
His winning project, a flexible and powerful 3D-capable video game engine, boasts simulation of advanced physics and interactivity algorithms. It is capable of running on a variety of platforms such as Mac OS, Windows, and Linux, allowing users to create games that can be deployed on several platforms.
“The program has a user-friendly ‘front end’ that allows designers to enter their ideas while the engine takes care of the actual intensive programming,” Shea explained. “The engine manages complex aspects of video gaming such as graphics display, simulation of collision detection, gravity, friction, and data management.”
He said that the engine is also capable of importing common file formats including graphics, multimedia, and 3D objects.
Shea was a non-traditional student living in Worcester and working full-time as a software developer in Shrewsbury. He completed his undergraduate degree in May and plans to pursue further education in video game development or perhaps evolve his hobby and projects into something of the sort.
His was the third student research presentation from the Computer Science department at a major conference. Both previous conference presenters were also students of Pendharkar, who has published research articles in Pure Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics. He is on the editorial board of two research journals of international repute. Pendharkar has won a number of grants and awards, including grants from NASA, DOD, and NSF.
“I think it’s important to encourage students to present their work at conferences,” Pendharkar noted. “It exposes them to other research projects and gives them valuable networking opportunities.”
He added, “We’re a newer department, compared to some schools with well-established reputations in computer science. But our students have the advantage of smaller class sizes, easy access to faculty, and advanced course offerings that are comparable to any in the region. Presenting at conferences broadens their education even more.”
Worcester Statement, fall 2007