Students Excel at Regional Computer Science Conference

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Nine computer science students recently presented their capstone projects as part of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges’ Northeastern Region conference, with one team capturing first place in the event’s poster contest. The University’s Computer Programing Club also earned high praise in the event’s programming contest.

May 1, 2022

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

University of New Haven students at CCSCNE at Pace University.
A group of University of New Haven students represented the University at CCSCNE at Pace University.

Benjamin Placzek ’22 and his classmates recently designed an intelligent parking system that aims to cut down on the time spent finding a parking space at the University as well as reduce carbon emissions. They created SmartPark to determine parking availability in real time and to predict future parking availability.

A computer science major, Placzek completed his work on SmartPark was part of his capstone project. The system, which uses the University’s security cameras to scan parking lots, features an intuitive user interface and a security dashboard for University police.

He and his teammates recently presented their work as part of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges: Northeastern Region (CCSCNE) conference, where they competed against more than 30 teams from other universities to capture the best poster award.

“CCSCNE allowed us to learn more about our field and to make connections with computing professionals in the northeast,” said Placzek. “As for our project, I was able to learn a lot about working with various technologies as well as working with a team and experiencing what it is like to work on a large software project.”

Jim Durante ’22 (left) and Jason Smith ’22.
Jim Durante ’22 (left) and Jason Smith ’22.

The conference enabled Placzek and his classmates to attend workshops, network, and share their work with professionals in the field of computer science, as well as other students.

“Participating in CCSCNE was a great opportunity,” adds Benjamin Greenfield ’22, Placzek’s teammate and a fellow computer science major. “We were able to view other students’ projects from other universities and discuss their research while receiving feedback on our own project.”

‘The University prepared us as well as we could have hoped for’
InfinAI group photo
Left to right: Joshua Bartholomew ’22, Mehdi Mekni, Ph.D., Brandon Olah ’22, and Anthony Radziunas ’22.

Held at Pace University, CCSCNE included a poster session in which nine Chargers presented four computer science capstone projects. Their projects included a racing video game called InfinAI: Non-Player Characters (NPCs) Get Smart, as well as projects focused on gaming and real-time-user-activity fingerprinting.

“I am proud of our students, and their achievements are a recognition of the quality of their hard and soft skills,” said Mehdi Mekni, Ph.D., an associate professor and coordinator of the University’s undergraduate program in computer science. “This also demonstrates the value of our Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited computer science program and the excellent work our faculty are doing inside and outside their classrooms.”

“I am very proud of our faculty and students for their amazing success,” added Ibrahim “Abe” Baggili, Ph.D., Elder Family Endowed Chair and founding director of the University’s Connecticut Institute of Technology. “This is truly the result of our undergraduate research and hands-on learning in computing mentorship, a major priority at the Connecticut Institute of Technology and the Tagliatela College of Engineering. The students worked hard, and the fruit of their work is clearly visible.”

As part of the event, students in the University’s Computer Programing Club also took part in a programming contest, answering a series of challenging questions in C++, a programming language. The University captured sixth place in the contest.

Joshua Bartholomew ’22, whose capstone project entailed developing a racing video game in which a non-player character opponent uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to train in order to provide a certain level of difficulty, took part in the competition.

“My entire team agreed the problems felt just like homework assignments we have done for previous classes,” said Bartholomew, a computer science major. “We have been working with partners on many programming assignments over the years, so collaborating was quite familiar. The only difference was the strict time constraint, and even that was something we experienced in exams that had coding sections. The University prepared us as well as we could have hoped for.”

‘Ignited my inspiration and motivation’
Smart Park group
Steve Atilho ’22, Mehdi Mekni, Ph.D., Benjamin Placzek ’22, and Benjamin Greenfield ’22.

For Steven Atilho ’22, taking part in CCSCNE was an exciting opportunity to share SmartPark, an application he helped develop and that he hopes to continue to enhance. He was grateful for the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from students and faculty members from universities throughout the northeast, and to share an application that, he hopes, will continue to offer an important service to members of Charger Nation.

“The recognition we earned at CCSCNE ignited my inspiration and motivation to continue improving on our prototype and to begin reaching out to faculty and staff who can assist us in scaling our solution to be beta-tested on campus,” said Atilho, a computer science major. “We are actively looking for feedback or suggestions from potential users of our application so that we can meet the needs of our University community and enhance their overall parking experience.”


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