Ryan K. Williams, an alumnus of Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and a University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, will give a talk, “Interaction and Topology in Multi-Agent Coordination,” at 4 p.m.
The talk is open to the entire university. Those wishing to hear the talk should abide by the following:
Instead, you should attend the seminar in a VBS room based on the first letter of your last name. The room assignments are the following.
A-G: Durham 261
H-J: Durham 463
K-O: Torgersen 1050
P-Z: Torgersen 1030
For example, if my name was Albert Einstein, as my last name begins with an ‘E’, I would attend the seminar in Durham 261. Likewise, if my name was Rabindranath Tagore, as my last name begins with a ‘T’, I would attend the seminar in Torgersen 1030.
Blacksburg students should remember their student IDs so that their attendance can be recorded by the card scanners. Please be sure to arrive to your assigned room in plenty of time so that everyone will be seated and ready for the seminar to begin at 4pm.
Williams will be broadcasting his talk via the Web from Durham 463.
For more on Ryan, visit: http://robotics.usc.edu/~rkwillia/home/
Ken Harmon, an associate professor with the Virginia Tech Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, has been appointed to Corporate Advisory Board and Academic Council of the International Council on Systems Engineering (or INCOSE, for short).
Harmon will be the first person to represent Virginia Tech on the INCOSE advisory board and council.
At Virginia Tech, he has served for more than 20 years as the director of the Grado department’s extended campus program, which includes the systems engineering and engineering administration graduate programs.
His research focuses on systems engineering and technology management.
Super Bowl XLVIII pits the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos, and most eyes and bets will be focused on which team wins the big trophy. But there’s another contest afoot tonight as well, with a Hokie alum on the cusp of a sure-fire win: Getting a commercial played during the big game.
Raj Suri (Bachelors of Science, Computer Science, 1997. Pictured above.) has co-produced a commercial for the Doritos snack brand that is among independently produced five spots vying for a 30 second spot. And it’s a big deal. News reports have Fox charging up to $4 million for a 30 second spot.
The commercial – if it airs — will play alongside ad stalwarts Budweiser and movie trailers for 2014 superhero flicks “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
(This is an engineering blog. Name-dropping comic book characters seems quite fitting.)
Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Suri is a systems analyst for Intel, a job he landed right out of college in 1997. On the side as what Suri describes as a hobby, he is a professional actor – he has a bit part in the 2009 James Caan film “The Middle Men” – and also has been a producer for three years.
(Pop over to http://rajsuriactor.com/ to see some of his work and credits.)
In the spot, titled “Time Machine,” a young blonde boy dupes a passerby out of his bag of Doritos using a cardboard time machine. A glance at the spot makes one think of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip, but Suri says the inspiration is a bit older, mainly a certain Michael J. Fox time-travel comedy classic.
The spot is part of a contest sponsored by the snack company. Five commercials were placed online and website visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite. Voting closed days ago.
The winner airs during tonight’s Super Bowl, although all the spots seem to have aired elsewhere on television already. Suir will learn if he wins tonight during the game. (Suri’s competition includes ads that revolve around another child, and his dog, or office-related humor.)
We talked to Suri – now in New York — via email. His responses have been edited for clarity and length.
On the inspiration:
“Our director, Ryan Thomas Andersen, was watching ‘Back to the Future’ with his son who happens to be the little boy in our commercial. His name is Gavin Andersen. Gavin asked his father to make a time machine. Ryan figured he’d make it out of cardboard and that was the beginning of the concept. We weren’t trying to avoid controversy. We were just trying to come up with an awesome story. Honestly, it just turned out that commercial was super clean. But we weren’t aiming to do that.”
On the chance of airing a spot on the Super Bowl, one of the most-watched annual events on television:
“This whole experience is surreal. I am an amateur producer by definition. To create something that is regarded to be a superb feat in advertising is hard to wrap my head around. It’s odd that people want to talk to me. But it’s been fun. I do these competitions to create opportunities for myself. We’ll see what happens. I’m a huge football fan. But honestly, I could care less about the game this year. I’m going to be too nervous hoping our commercial airs!”
On the future:
“It’s been a very hectic time but I’ve already been approached with opportunities! I’d love to pursue my passion full time.”
The nearly 300-member Virginia Tech mechanical engineering class of 2013 will be exhibiting their project designs Friday, May 3, as a final deliverable of the two-semester capstone design course. Thirty-eight teams have been working since August 2012 on projects ranging from bio-inspired locomotion to an electric powered motorcycle designed for a 140 MPH top speed.
The design teams are paired with a faculty adviser who is considered a subject matter expert in the design domain required of the project. These teams meet weekly with their adviser and more frequently among themselves to produce a “product realization” from an idea. The course is structured to take students from identifying customer needs, defining target specifications and generating concepts to analyzing candidate designs and finally building and testing their final products. Success is measured by how closely the tested product meets the original project goals.
Throughout the year the students are evaluated in written and oral presentations, with presentations given to a design review panel consisting of faculty and industry representatives. The inclusion of industry reviewers provides a balanced assessment of the teams’ work, where real world constraints of schedule and profitability are seen as important indicators of success.
The event kicks off at 1 p.m. at Hancock Atrium.
Craig Vetter, internationally acclaimed motorcycle designer and member of the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame, will guest lecture to approximately 1,000 first-year engineering design students as part of the class, ENGE 1114 class. The public is invited to attend the lecture. Vetter’s visit also will include working with students within the Department of Engineering Education, the Center for e-Design, the Ware Lab, and team members of the Virginia Tech BOLT team and the Motorcycle Eco Challenge Team.
When: 3:30 PM, 7 May 2013
Where: 300 Cowgill Hall
Contact: Richard Goff
Sponsor: Department of Engineering Education
Everyone has their college regrets: That missed gal or guy, too much partying or not enough, sleeping though that direly important final exam, or missing a journey or trip because one got sick or did not have the money.
The blog site TechSchool.com has its own version of high-ed remises in the article “10 technology classes we wish we took in college.” Virginia Tech’s “Introduction to Software Design” course, part of the computer science curriculum, is on the list.
Blog author Justin Boyke writes that the course, listed as CS 1114, “gives students a full picture of the fundamental concepts of object-oriented programming.”
Part of the College of Engineering, CS 1114 is taught by Stephen Edwards, associate professor of computer science. He says, “Enrollment in the course has been increasing noticeably over the past few years (the biggest this semester than in quite a while), but that could be because interest in computer science is increasing nationwide.”
Edwards adds that the course breaks from the pack because it previously focused on students learning programming while writing their own web applications, for instance, a personalized version of Facebook one could demo to friends and family, but has taken a new route: “This year, students are instead writing Android applications that they can install and run on their own phones or tablets,” he says.
“The semester ends with a ‘capstone’ project where students design and write their own Android game programs, with class-wide awards given for best artistic design, best game concept, etc.,” said Edwards.
"Again, this is a way to connect classroom learning to the day-to-day experiences with computing that students see in their lives outside of class.”
Read about CS 1114 and the other nine missed classes here: http://www.techschool.com/blog/technology/10-technology-classes-we-wish-we-took-in-college.