Undergraduate Research at the Vis Center

Countdown!!

Since the end is coming we had a meeting about what we are going to be able to deliver as a final project. We discussed the difficulties that we have had during this summer and the objectives that we have achieved until now. I’m so excited and I have a lot of ideas about what I want to deliver but the reality is that the time is running out. I hope to achieve my expectations for this project, to create a dynamic ancient manuscript application in the web that will give new aspects and new ways of seeing this valuable manuscript. The app will contain translations from different languages, media such as low-res images, multispectral images, videos, and 3D. I feel satisfied for the work that I have done and I’ll continue doing stuff until the last minute in order to deliver a successfully final work. But this won’t ends here because there’s a lot of future work that can be done by others students or staff, such as add another manuscripts or trees to InfoForest. Also it can be implemented in different platforms in addition of iOS, Android and Web.

Special Delivery for Android

This week was one of a lot of news. I found out what I have to do to finish my part of the project. Can I deliver? I have asked myself and the answer to that is I will give it all I got. In order to deliver this project I have to implement the image cashing program, optimize the algorithm on the Parser class I have created to fetch and display the 3D models from the server because it is taking to long to interpret the obj files or implement it in another way, which I already started but I am also having some troubles with and finally finish assembling all the functionality parts I have been working on so then I can implement the User Interface and aesthetic aspects of the application. Also I need to keep improving my skill and presentation skills so I can do an excellent job on the presentation day. In order to do that I have to practice sharpen up the content of my paper and my presentation and build up confidence. I hope that my hard work and determination help me do as I want to do. It has been a great experience so far and I am so grateful of being here and being able to learn and continue to learn so much.

A growing perspective…

I wanted to do a summer research to obtain work experience that can help me in my studies and for a future work, but what I didn’t imagine was that this opportunity would change my life. Actually I’m studying Electrical Engineering but I had a blurry vision of what I’ll study because I wanted to do a double bachelor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. Another option that I was thinking was to finish my current bachelor and find my way to graduate school. And this research allowed me to have a clearer vision. I learned to work as a team to achieve a goal. In a long term, I visualized myself in the States to continue studying and for work so I also improve my English skills, which will help me in my future. I’ll never say again that I don’t know how to do something, I won’t give up and I’ll learn how to do it. “You never know what you can do until you try”. I’m not studying Computer Science so I didn’t know some of the stuff in which I’m working on, but I tried. “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”. I’m thankful for this amazing opportunity that helped me intellectually grow up.

                       

 

“Education is the best gift you could ever receive, because once you have it, no one can ever take it from you.”

 

Sixth Week: The Rundown

Work this week has kept good pace. On the other hand, for me it’s getting stale. There is not much to do but keep on calibrating and it gets overwhelming at times, I’ve been pulling through though. I have always thought of my computer science skills as a tool for better programming because writing source code is my passion at this point in my life, there is not much to say about it. Here I am trying to push myself and discover the academic process of research and it has been but since progress takes time it feels awkward that I can’t just go ahead and write a few lines of code and get it done. I really have to put myself into this and drive the results step by step to a pleasing one.

 

On the flip side,  I should say that the need for code took over a few days and I started looking for Python Learning books. This should keep me going for a while even if I’m not able to make use of those skills fairly soon. If you are asking yourself; Why Python? the answer is simple, it is widely used which means I will be able to find programming help online if needed and it is also fairly simple, using IDLE certainly is a plus in my point of view, it adds flexibility for programmers that come from hard typed compiled languages where it takes time to get things running.

 

We also started working on our essays and I have been editing my power point presentation. Today (Friday) we had a peer review session for the essays and I got some pretty good advice and guidance from my fellow  coworkers that have English as a first language.

Nearing the End…

I don’t necessarily have a lot left to complete to finish my portion of the project—it is essentially already done. However, we have had an issue with the server, so the only work I have left would be to redo our data so that it goes with the new server. I am mainly waiting to find out what tweaks I need to make in response to the server crashing a couple weeks ago. It is a strange feeling knowing that I probably have a lot of work to do, but not knowing what that work is…yet.

In the meantime, while I wait for what I am sure will be plenty of work, I have continued to work on the XML for the Wycliffe Bible and research on the background of that. It is very interesting stuff and I often have to limit how in depth I research the historical side of its background (I could go on for days researching it) and remind myself that I am here to work with the document and not necessarily to find out more about it.

I have also begun to assemble the images for the other manuscripts the Vis Center has in a localized place for easy access. I will be continuing to work for the Vis Center in the fall, so some of the stuff I have been doing recently are more long term than simply finishing out this project.

I have a feeling the last couple days of the program will be really hectic with last minute changes to photo formats. Hopefully not, but I am bracing myself for the worst. That kind of business is exciting though. Especially when you can really see the end.

Farewell (week 7)

Unfortunately I will be on vacation next week so this is my last full week of work.  Consequently, I believe this is my last blog post.

As my remaining work days dwindle, I have to keep in mind the results.  Yes, the server did crash.  Yes, we had to change things last minute and connect to a new server.  And yes, we will not completely finish the app.  But you know what?  I think the important thing is deliverance.  Deliverance is not just about finishing something, it is about showing something.  My goal in my last two work days is to show what I have learned and to show how the app is coming along.  Honestly I don’t believe I could have had a better experience than I did with the Vis Center.  I have learned so much about programming as well as how the working world operates.  We’ve had to meet deadlines, collaborate, research, and make presentations.  The skills I’ve learned are priceless and now I’m just excited to go back to college and build on them even more.

Physically I want to produce a rough foundation for this app that is dynamic and aesthetically pleasing.  I have implemented some of the graphics for the app and I’m working on squishing as much content into the app as I can before our time is over.  I want people to be able to flip through pages, see the translations, play with a 3D viewer, watch the video content, and see the multispectral images once I’m done.

I’m proud to have been a part of this project, work with the people that I did, and lay the foundation that we did.  I mean, I had to learn a whole new language and I had no idea of the aspects of programming for Apple.  Looking back, I see that I also delivered to myself.  I delivered a desire for knowledge and a drive for production.  There were days that I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed and there were days that I was on fire for coding.  But the experience as a whole has helped me become the programmer that I am.  By no means am I where I want to be, but at least now I know how to push the lines of knowledge.

Prioritizing

Hello again reader,

We’re down to two weeks, and knowing that isn’t much fun.  There’s a lot to do with the project, but little time to do it.  Which means, priorities… it’s time to decide what should come first, so we can finish as many pieces of the project as we can.  With my project, the application using the Kinect, we had considered implementing Image viewers, Video playback, PDF viewers, and 3D viewers.  Ideally, we could have them all by the end of these two weeks.  But ideally is not always reality.

Instantly, I knew the 3D viewer would be the greatest of my worries, since it’s something I’ve never worked with before and I would probably spend the whole two weeks working exclusively on that part.  I had already found something that would help me with the PDF viewer, so that became my first priority.  The nasty side to prioritizing is that when new problems pop up, they can’t be dedicated too much time; interacting with the PDF viewer was troublesome, so I decided to move on to the other two while I figured something out.  I believe I can have all three viewers done soon, especially considering the video and image viewers will be very similar.  Even though it’s a bit of pressure, I’m very excited to finish them and see them all working nicely.

I am me

This week we participated of a creativity talk, which was about what is creativity and if it is something that you are born with and you can’t learn how to be more creative. After several activities and arguments with my partners about creativity I suddenly started learning things about myself. These things I have learned about myself where on my mind in past weeks but if it wasn’t for this talk I wouldn’t have found out about my true self. I learned that I like to be creative and that there is some creativity in me. I like to create new things using what I know. I learned that I don’t like to read but it would be my passion if its one efficient way of learning. I have learned that one of my greatest skills is fast learning. This week I realized that each day I am feeling more comfortable with  how I am and what I like to do. Each day I feel more independent because every day I am learning on my on and there is no one I can fully rely on to guide me or encourage me to keep going. That being said I have discovered that my determination and my focus are vital components in my everyday actions. I have also learned that when in pressure I am awesome and at full capacity but, when in too much pressure I can collapse and not be efficient. I have learned that sleep and food are essential in my life as a student and as a researcher. I have learned how to push myself forward but knowing when I need to rest. All of these lessons have come from situations in this internship. I feel more confident and stable as a person, and more skilled and responsible as a researcher. Hopefully all of those things I have learned about myself will help me achieve what I want in this project. I still need to finish the 3D viewer and work some more on the User Interface.

 

Food for Thought

I’m beginning to feel the end of our project. While there is still much to be done in the future for the App, our list of things to be done before August 2nd is becoming shorter by the day.

I have finished assembling all of the data on the Chad Gospels and have begun to work on the Wycliffe Bible. I thought it would be a little easier because the Wycliffe Bible is in English. However, what I have realized is that it is in Old English… which is not the same as regular English, in case you were wondering. It honestly might as well be Latin!

In finishing up the Chad Gospels, I had an encounter with technology that brought about an epiphany of some kind in regards to my problem solving tendencies verses those of the people I work with.

We have been trying to process the 3D images of the Gospel book using a script that would go through and reduce the size of the 3D images. It took 4 days looking at it on and off for us to finally get it to run correctly. I really struggled in this because in my mind, the most efficient way to solve this problem would have been for me to process the images by hand. Sure, it would not have been the most thrilling thing for me to do, but I have never been afraid of a little grunt work. This would have probably taken a few hours as opposed to the 4 days it took for us to get the script to work. However, the intent of this whole project is for us to create a system that will be easy to do with other manuscripts. The point was not for us to finish this project in the fastest way we could, but rather to finish this project with the intent of enabling the next person who works on this project to do better than we did. (This could be a metaphor for many things in our society today, but I won’t go into that.)

However, in this, I realized that I am very result driven which influences how I solve problems. I think a large component of why I am like this is because I am also a really hard worker. I don’t say that to sound self-righteous. I truly believe that someone can work hard and not be a good worker… and someone can be a good worker and not work hard. I think I am result driven because I know that if I work hard, I can usually complete a task. It kills me when things are not finished or not done correctly. I have often been called a perfectionist, and I think that is a fairly accurate describer of me. However, I think I am missing something in my pursuit of perfection. I think there is something to be said about enjoying the process of working towards a goal as opposed to simply enjoying reaching the goal.

This certainly isn’t a new concept and I think a lot of people practice it already. I have just been thinking through this recently in my own life and work. It has proved to be some great food for thought.

Growth is intentional (week 6)

This week has definitely had its struggles.  Because of bugs in the server, it had to be wiped so we couldn’t access its content… which came at a fantastic time seeing as I depend on the server for most of the things I have to work on right now.  But I still was able to add a slider and configure it so that you can slide to a page and it will cache that page without caching all of the ones in between (that would lead to a hardcore crash).  Also you can flip through pages and the slider will move along with you.  And you can type in a page and the app will take you directly to that page.  I’ve also been working on the pop up views that hold the additional content along with reading in the XML.  The XML has probably been my largest struggle this week because the preset functions of AFNetworking are making it difficult to read in the XML as a document instead of just an instance of its function…  I’ve spent hours just trying to manipulate it but I am definitely closer.

The theme of this blog was supposed to be growth so I should probably stop rambling and move onto that.  I know this experience is irreplaceable and I have learned so much that will prepare me for my future courses, but I have also learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I can pick up on things fast when I’m being pressured.  I’ve learned how to cooperate with others in order to accomplish a goal. It’s hard for me to not want to take over a project and make sure everyone is doing their job correctly, so it was good for me to be dependent on others.  I’ve grown in my knowledge of programming.  Before, I had just programmed little games and small things that weren’t really of any value (except to me).  This was the first big project I’ve worked on and it allows me to see a larger purpose in programming.  I’ve learned how to teach myself by researching what I need to know.  Along with that I’ve learned to not give up when I can’t find the right answer.

When you spend eight hours a day programming, you figure out what you like about it and what you dislike.  I’ve noticed I like working with the math side  and logic of programming.  I eat up any configuration of size and dote over following a logical function path.  I’ve also noticed how little I enjoy describing my logic.  I don’t exactly look forward to giving presentations but it has made me realize that that is one thing I need to work on.  I also realize how I hate feeling defeated when I can’t get code to work properly, but I think that’s universal.  No one really enjoys their hard work going up in flames.