Undergraduate Research Projects

While teaching occupies most of my time, I advised several undergraduate students on projects at George Mason University funded through the OSCAR department. I do not advise graduate students (see Prospective Students).

AIDS Educational Game

We aim in this project to develop an interactive game that demonstrates some of the stages of HIV infection at the molecular level. Concepts such as molecular docking, RNA reverse transcription, and permanent modification of host DNA will play a part in the game. Ultimately the game will be used in a college biology course to test whether interacting with these concepts in the game enhances learning over traditional lecture/textbook approaches.

This is a collaboration with J. Reid Schwebach in the Biology department. The current lead programmer is Cycielya Schultz. Past students who have contributed to the project include Hyun Sung, Ed Martin, and Angela Shaffer.

libSVM-R interface

As datasets become larger, it is important for machine learning tools such as Support Vector Machines (SVM) to be sensitive to memory consumption and scale well. This is particularly hard in interactive statistical environments such as the popular R programming environment. Current SVM implementations in R repeatedly copy data making them inappropriate for big data sets. This project aims to alleviate that problem by adapting the libSVM library for efficient use in R.

The current lead programmer is Ethan Rarity. Saif Rizvi made prior contributions.

Lojban as an Interlingual in Machine Translation

Machine translation from one natural language to another is a difficult task which may benefit from a structured intermediate representation. Lojban is an artificial language constructed to remove language ambiguity as much as possible. This project centers on developing tools to translate English into Lojban as a first step and then output Lojban to other target languages in much the same way that a computer language compiler can accept multiple front end languages and emit code for multiple target platforms.

Vankhanh "Lilas" Dinh is the lead investigator for the project

DrJava Maintenance and Improvements

DrJava is an excellent environment for introductory Java programmers providing all the basic elements of an IDE without the distractions so that students can focus on learning to code. Unfortunately this tool has fallen into some disrepair due to lack of attention. I and some some students have taken on the task small improvements to fix minor problems. This version is unofficial and is distributed here until the changes can be merged into the main branch.

Duc-anh Duong has contributed code to improve test error messages while Hernan Arias Cubias and Sahil Gangele are joining the project to add further improvements.