Twenty-two teams of senior UT Dallas Computer Science and Software Engineering students gathered on May 6th to present their UTDesign senior capstone projects. In order to graduate, all students in the UT Dallas Computer Science bachelor’s program are required to complete a one-semester, team-oriented capstone UTDesign project during their senior year. These final projects allow students to apply the knowledge that they have gained in the course of their education at the UT Dallas Computer Science Department.
Students enrolled in the program are given the opportunity to fully engage in the design process and use their project-management skills, including planning, budgeting, communication, scheduling and presentations, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills while working on projects applicable to a variety of companies, consumers, or UT Dallas faculty members’ research. The student teams are sponsored by UT Dallas faculty members as well as by large-scale corporations. Both faculty and corporate mentors serve as judges at the expo at the end of the semester.
Two advisors coach each team: a corporate mentor, who acts as a technical point of contact for the company and a faculty advisor who was an expert or had some degree of technical familiarity with the project at hand. For each UTDesign project, teams of students often put in up to ten hours of work each week. The involvement of private companies was crucial for the success of the project as well as the learning process for the student.
Faculty members who sponsored teams included Drs. Ryan McMahan, Ovidiu Daescu, B. Prabhakaran, Nhut Nguyen, Miguel Razo, William Semper, Neeraj Gupta, and Professor John Cole. Among the corporate sponsors in this year’s spring expo were Aprima, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, Fossil, Cisco, Texas Instruments, and Tyler Technologies. Many of these companies have had the code that students developed put in production within the company.
On the day of the expo, students and sponsors were warmly greeted by Dr. Gopal Gupta, UT Dallas Computer Science Department Head and CS professor, Dr. Jey Veerasamy, CS professor and director of Center for Computer Science Education & Outreach at UT Dallas, Dr. Ivor Page, founding Director of the CS UTDesign program and this years expo master of ceremonies, and Rod Wetterskog, UTDesignProgram Coordinator and Assistant Dean of Corporate Relations for the Jonsson School, each of whom gave opening remarks before the start of the expo.
During his opening statement, Rod Wetterskog thanked all the corporate and faculty mentors/sponsors for their help throughout the project and congratulated the students for finishing their projects. “Today is all about your celebration. We are here today to thank you for the great work you have done. You have been supported through the UTDesign staff; you’ve been supported by your UTDesign director, Dr. Miguel Razo, as well as other faculty members, and of course you have been supported by your corporate sponsor.” Wetterskog continued saying, “these are really strong teams. In fact, I hope that your teams will stay connected throughout your careers. You have built strong working relationships with your team members as well as your faculty and corporate sponsors.”
On the day of the expo, the teams were allowed to use only one
slide to present their work. Brevity was key in covering the goal of the project, design of the project, project testing, validation plan, results achieved, project management approach, and acknowledgement of sponsors – all within their allotted five minutes… and all with one slide. Projects were judged by the quality of technical content within the presentation – problem description, design approach, and implementation, oral and visual presentation skills including effective use of 5 minutes to present, understand/explain the social impact of the project, ability to explain the process followed for the project with support from related documentation, and the quality of technical content in the poster.
Below is a brief description of the top three teams at this year’s UTDesign CS Spring ’16 Expo:
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.