UROC Has Best Year to Date

April 22, 2003

In 1998, Amy Bruckman started a new initiative in the College of Computing to encourage undergraduates to take part in research: the Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing (UROC) Program. Now in its fifth year, UROC has grown dramatically in participation and is recognized as a model undergraduate research program at Tech and elsewhere.

This year’s event on April 16 drew some 28 research projects, the most to date. In addition, “the quality of all of the projects was truly outstanding,” according to UROC co-chair and assistant professor Amy Bruckman, and the competition becomes stiffer each year. The event involves exhibits of students’ projects, while a panel of faculty judges choose winners, and a separate set of winners are picked by popular vote. Microsoft Corporation sponsored the event and generously donated prizes for the student winners. Handspring also donated products for student awards and raffle prizes.

UROC is modeled after the UROP program at MIT where Bruckman received her Ph.D. from the Media Lab's Epistemology and Learning group in 1997. UROC ensures that undergraduate research assistants are able to make meaningful contributions, while enhancing their educational experience. “Whether going on to industry or graduate school, all students should include research as part of their experience at Tech,” Bruckman said. Assistant Professor and UROC co-chair Tucker Balch agreed and added that he is pleased to see a growing cultural appreciation and awareness of the importance of research among CoC students.

Following is the list of winner’s from the 2003 UROC Symposium:

JUDGES' AWARDS

1ST PLACE:
Blair Dowling
"A Stochastic Model for HIV Infection"
Advisor: Dana Randall

2ND PLACE:
Ravi Ruddarraju
"Fast Multiple Camera Head Pose Tracking"
Advisor: Irfan Essa

3RD PLACE:
Yushi Jing
"Speaker Detection"
Advisor: Jim Rehg

PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS:
221 ballots cast

1ST PLACE:
Akshay Dayal, Jeffrey Tchang, Lili Lili, Shivank Dua, and Umang Dua
"Biometric Interface using a Galvanic Skin Response System"
Advisor: Melody Moore

2ND PLACE:
Yushi Jing
"Speaker Detection"
Advisor: Jim Rehg

3RD PLACE:
Stephen Frowe Ingram and Pravin Bhat
"Volume Analogies"
Advisor: Greg Turk