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by Melissa Mejia, Rachel Toyer, and Makana Shook staff writers


Computer science and computer science and information systems capstone students are putting all of the techniques learned throughout their degree program to work, and gaining valuable experience, by developing software for professional organizations.

The senior seminar class CSCI 4921, Software Project Management, combines students from both CS and CSCI. CS majors focus with the software programming while CSCI majors work primarily in management. The students work in three groups to develop software or a Web site for one organization.

This spring, they are working with the Oceanic Institute[OI], Hawai‘i Council on Economic Education [HCEE], and Dr. Kristi West, a marine science professor at HPU. “I’m excited this semester,” said Carl Farrell, associate professor of computer science. “All three of the projects the students are working with are wonderful, and they are working well.”

Farrell said students who have taken the class in the past have been able to receive higher entry level positions because of the experience they acquired in the class.

“ I can expect that I will do this kind of job [software development] in the future,”said Woo Hyuck Choi, a student in the class, “[this course] helps me to prepare for that.”

Kenny Kamiya, the team leader of the HCEE group, said that one of the benefits of taking this course was to gain professional experience prior to graduation.

“ I try to provide a bridge from a college classroom environment to a professional environment of productivity so when they graduate they can leave here and hit the road running,” Farrell said.

Hawai‘i Council on Economic Education

One group of capstone CSCI and CS students is designing a registration system for HCEE that will allow teachers to create accounts and sign-up for workshops on a variety of subjects, particularly, finance.

The goal for this team of five young college professionals is to provide their client, a nonprofit organization, with a more robust database. Tara Anderson, from Ewa Beach; Woo Hyuck Choi, from South Korea; Kenny Kamiya from Ewa Beach; Lay Yong Tan from Malaysia; and Yichi Xu from China, make up this group. They wanted to work with HCEE because of their interest in working with databases and Web site development.

So far, they’ve met with their client twice and have established four phases of their project’s development. They have assigned a deadline to each phase, and are currently working on wrapping up phase one and moving into phase two. They expect to present the final product to their client on May 9.

Oceanic Institute

The Five Star group, a name obtained from the Mead Five Star line of office products, is working with Oceanic Institute (OI) to help revamp the Web site with a new design interface that is user-friendly and easy to maintain.

Members of the group include Michael Armstrong from Kalihi, Naoko Hosoda from Tokyo, Nelson Kawada from Pearl City, Chang Ning-Hsaing from Taiwan, and Troy Villar from Honolulu.

To avoid error with the graphic design and Web layout, Five Star first had its client’s representative, Paula Bender, OI’s communication specialist, draw out the specifications of what she wanted. Working from this, the group will have their client sign a formal contract specifying the option she selects. This will help eliminate questions about the project and makes the job easier for the group.
“ I think good feedback from the client and team members is important,” Villar said. “We don’t choose the options for them. We present them with options [within their capabilities] so that they can choose the direction they want.”

The group doesn’t have prior graphic design experience, but through the course of the class they’re gaining the knowledge needed to produce the Web site.

“ If someone is looking for someone with Web design experience, I can say ‘oh, I helped create the Oceanic Institute Web site’,” Kawada said.

HPU Marine Science program

In an effort to generate a formula that will help to determine the age or the length of a dolphin, specific to gender and species, five CSCI students formed a group that they called the “Fighting Fins.” Kauka Castro, Jason Fowler, Josh Medearis, Audrius Peciukas, and Liane Yoshimura are working with an Assistant Professor of biology, Dr. Kristi West, to develop a program that will allow researchers from various locations to determine the age of a dolphin by measuring its length, or the length of a dolphin by measuring its age. “There are more than 90 species of dolphins,” said Dr. West. “My hope is that this software will be set up in a way that it would be applicable for any of those species [of dolphins] and that we will one day be able to use it in lab class.”

The team is utilizing all of its members’ knowledge from prior computer information and programming classes to help them to develop a program for long-term use by dolphin scholars from all over the world.

“ We only have one CS major and the rest are CSCI majors, but we are making it work to our advantage,” said Kauka Castro.

The team has been working diligently through the analysis phase of the project, assisting Dr. West in her efforts to be able to interpret the data without harming any live dolphins. The group is now in the design phase, putting together all the requirements and information that will best suit the needs of dolphin researchers in any marine biology department.

“ The students in all of these groups are gaining valuable hands-on experience that they can use in their professional endeavors,” said Farrell.

Farrell’s advice to students is to learn as much as you can from all your classes because they will benefit you in your senior seminar classes. Also, he added, find the thing you like doing and that you can do well at because it’ll be easier for you “to wake up every morning because you’re doing something you like doing and you’ll be rewarded greatly.”

CSCI students study age and length of dolphins.

Courtesy Kristi West

Students working on the HCEE project work out the details with instructor Farrell.

Photo by Eddie London


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