Saturday, April 18, 2009

Projects Coming to A Close

As graduation approaches, my four project courses are coming to a close.

One of these (for the DBMS course) isn't really exciting to share - no creative skills are used, it's just a matter of struggling with mediocre documentation and figuring out which methods need to be written (and how they should be written). Sometimes I fear that "the real world" of computer coding is more like that than like most of my more enjoyable computer-based projects, but I really hope it is not.

Speaking of documentation, that's how the majority of the remaining time for my Senior Design Project will be spent. We have an event this upcoming Wednesday (April 22nd, 2009) called "Posters and Pies" - all are invited to attend, but you must RSVP (at by tomorrow if you plan on coming. I will not be delivering our presentation downstairs, but I will be involved with that as the "clicker" and will be available with my team upstairs for questions. That's actually not the culmination of that project - a final presentation will be given to our sponsor at a later date, and we may have some additional work to do regarding finalizing code and documentation.

There is an additional presentation for an "Innovating in Technology" class later that day. I will begin blogging more about that project once a decision has been made on whether or not to continue the project after graduation. This presentation isn't truly open to the public, but I'm allowed to invite anyone I would like - if you would like to attend, send me an e-mail at

My fourth project concludes on Thursday instead of Wednesday, and also may be continued after graduation. As mentioned previously, I'm using some discoveries from my still-unblogged "Robot Rock Band" project in my computer music course. The assignment for this project requires us to compose a piece of music between 5 and 7 minutes in length, however, my desire to experiment with various structural ideas and compositional algorithms means that my piece will take almost the whole 7 minutes, and would be trivial to expand to a longer period of time (at one point, the NXC program controlling the LEGO components had a 10-minute runtime). The current premise of this piece is based on historical approximations of pi. The NXT-based section is based on mappings of historical approximations, and these determine the current structure of the piece. A "performer" (myself) will be playing an electric guitar part alongside the LEGO electronica, and this will be based on a Markov process I am still tinkering with in Java.

...additional compositional algorithms learned in that class will be used in the future for new variations on my "Robot Rock Band" project, some of which will be bland and accessible pop music that my professor would abhor.

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