Software Engineering Senior Projects Serve Purdue Community and Beyond
Writer(s): Kristyn Childres
CS 49000-SEP, the senior capstone course in software engineering, offers students a real-life software development experience with the opportunity to use the skills they've gained throughout their Purdue coursework to create a professional-quality project. Professor H.E. ("Buster") Dunsmore, who teaches the class with graduate assistant Alina Nesen, says that the capstone experience teaches students to work in a team and to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. He says that students find this course rewarding because the projects they create can have real-world value.
Students spend the semester working in teams to develop projects that have the potential to improve society and enhance people's quality of life, both on campus and beyond. They choose from a variety of projects, some of which are requested by members of the Department of Computer Science's Corporate Partners program. Students can also create a project of their own choosing. Below, read about five teams from this semester's class whose projects are representative of the high quality of all these senior projects.
OWL Fitness: Combatting Childhood Obesity
Daniel Cruz, Himal King, Michael Young and Michelle Young worked together to partner with OWL Fitness, a startup created by Purdue alumni Ryan Ma (BA '15, CLA) and his uncle, William Ma, in order to fight childhood obesity. Their product is an iOS app and associated wristband fitness tracker for children ages 6-11. Think Fitbit meets Tamagotchi: children care for a digital owl. By being active, they earn coins they can use to feed or play with the owl.
"This project perfectly illustrated the software development life cycle – the app looked completely different when we started the project than it did when we finished it," said OWL Fitness team member Daniel Cruz. "We also learned a lot about creating iOS applications and working with a startup. Because the company is a small startup, we often met with the CEO of the company to talk about design changes – it was exciting to be so close to the heart of the company."
Shopr: Helping Consumers Save Money
Neil Allison, Sahil Pujari, Kenneth Tam, Keenan Wresch and Wei Zhang created Shopr, an app that lets users track historical price trends and compare current product prices across multiple vendors. The app shows users which vendor offers a product at the lowest price. It also features a price watcher that tells users whether to wait to purchase a product or buy it now.
"This project taught me so much about group cohesion," said Keenan Wresch. "I'll definitely take what I learned about group dynamics into my career. I also learned that Google Chrome extensions are much easier to build than I originally thought."
Groupr: Making Teamwork Easier
Kyle Fischer, Alex Hamm, Mitch Holt, Joe Landis, Christian Nitz and Gregory Yogan's project, Groupr, was inspired by their interaction as a team.
"We participated in a lot of group projects during our time at Purdue, and it was often difficult to find a place and time to meet. For us, that was the most difficult part of the project and why we decided to build this app," said Yogan.
Their resulting project, Groupr, is designed for teams who need to schedule meetings. With features such as a meeting time assistant, group calendar, chatroom and anonymous complaint box, Groupr helps group members stay organized and stay on the same page.
Breakfast Club: Helping Students Stay Safe
Some teams created projects to meet needs within the Purdue community. Kunal Agrawal, Trevor Idris, Sean Kelley, Michael Rollberg and Emma Wynne saw a need for a social forum tailored to Breakfast Club, a longstanding Purdue tradition. The application they built will help friend groups organize outings and stick together, improving student safety on campus.
Pley: Free Web Hosting for Purdue Students
Ben Alderfer, Spencer Brown, Rhys Howell and Evan Walsh built Pley, a free web-hosting service for Purdue students. Pley leverages cutting-edge industry technologies like Docker and Kubernetes to host student-built web applications free of charge.
"There's a lack of affordable hosting solutions for students, and those that are available are often insufficient for computer science majors," said Rhys Howell. "We created a free platform that will let students display projects and create portfolios. They'll be able to showcase their technical abilities and make their work available to the world. The part that's especially cool is that the CS Undergraduate Student Board (USB) will maintain the project going forward. Our hope is that this platform will serve students long after we leave the university."