Hundreds of students, educators, and families descended upon UK's campus for Engineer's Day 2012, and many of them visited the Computer Science department. The campus visitors enjoyed demonstrations and workshops presented by current Computer Science majors.
Engineer's Day--or Eday--is an annual event hosted by the College of Engineering, and it aims to educate the community on the role of each field of engineering and also to recruit high school students to the college. This year, Eday was held on Saturday, February 25.
Several current CS students demonstrated the projects they have been working on for class or on their own. CS senior Shaden Smith displayed software that used a camera to detect the color pattern on each side of a Rubik's Cube and that would produce an algorithm to solve the puzzle quickly. Smith delighted both young visitors and old by solving the cubes in as little as 15 seconds.
One group of seniors presented their capstone project: a program that accepts a table of information (for example, a list of which professors are teaching which courses in which classrooms) and creates a logic puzzle from it, writing just enough clues for someone to be able to solve the puzzle and obtain the original information.
"I thought computer science was just about hacking," said Tates Creek high school senior Ben Dixon after he saw many of the demonstrations. "I didn't realize it could be used to solve so many types of problems."
In addition to the demonstrations, students led workshops in a computer lab to show the community how simple it can be to get started in some areas of CS. Tamas Nagy, a computer science freshman, showed some high-schoolers the basics of creating a game for the Windows Phone 7. His presentation notes can be at the bottom of the page.
Another session, led by senior Brian McCarthy, introduced both 2-D and 3-D graphics using Inkscape and Wings3D. The third session showed how to develop a game using GameMaker--this workshop appealed to a more inexperienced audience than did Nagy's workshop. The notes for developing with GameMaker can be also be found at the bottom of the page.
Allison Murner, a Woodford County High School senior who participated in this last workshop commented, "I assumed I'd need months of experience to create a video game; I never imagined I'd be able to create one so easily and quickly! I know that profession games take years to design and create, but this was still a nice opportunity to scratch the surface of that process." Murner admits that she would be interested in learning more about game development.
Anyone interested in learning more about Eday can visit the College of Engineering's webpage here.
Notes on Tamas's presentation on XNA game development are here.
February 28, 2012; Brad Elliott