About the Computer Science Capstone Project

Working with a team, computer science majors design and implement a substantial and integrative capstone project. As they propose and compare multiple solutions to computational challenges, they consider the context and impact of each solution on the possible creators, maintainers and users of their solution. Many of the capstone projects benefit real-world clients by supporting local non-profit organizations, creating tools for campus-related services or conducting interdisciplinary research. The clients interact with the capstone teams to provide feedback throughout the process. The semester-long team project utilizes the skills and concepts learned throughout the computer science curriculum and culminates in a public presentation during the Whitman Undergraduate Conference

Spring 2021 Capstone Projects

Reengineering the Whitman College Technology Services' Shift Scheduling Application

Ronan Byrne, Connor Young and Yussef Elbagory

Whitman College Technology Services employs students across a variety of jobs to assist the college with various technological tasks. The current shift management website, used to organize, schedule and rearrange shifts for WCTS student employees, has become outdated due to the rapid data migration from in-house computing to cloud-based storage and the use of legacy coding languages in this application. Utilizing the MongoDB, React, and NodeJS full-stack framework, we constructed an application that allows administrators to easily schedule shifts while maintaining the useful functionality of its predecessor. Using these modern frameworks, this web application allows for increased scalability and maintainability in the future. Additionally, this application adds to the existing features while aiming to increase usability and save time by centralizing many of the administrative tasks such as schedule creation.
Faculty Sponsor: William Bares

Can Academic Student-Advisor Matchmaking Be Automated?

Eric Lim, Ryan Kierulf, Nick Mcclellan and Tony Zhao

What features make a good match between an incoming student and their advisor? How do we determine to prioritize an individual good match versus equity within all automated matches? We as a capstone team explored these issues to see if they could be algorithmically solvable through the implementation of a weight-based matching algorithm. Through the help of our stakeholder analysis we were able to better understand the tensions between the values of each of our stakeholders and who gets to ultimately decide which of those values are prioritized over the others. With this information, we proposed a system that surveys academic advisors and students in order to perform automated weight-based matches. With the implementation of our weight-based algorithm and our student/advisor surveys, we produced a web application that compares the results from our surveys and constructs matches based on the preferences given.
Faculty Sponsor: John Stratton

Designing a Web Interface for a Valuable Scientific Database

Haley Yandt, Maxwell Brown, Nidhi Jaltare and Zoe Hill

Chemists around the world use the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Standard Reference Database 46, which contains thousands of critically-selected stability constants for various metal complexes. Unfortunately, the user interface was unmaintained for many years and now only runs as a program on the outdated Windows XP operating system, which makes it very difficult to access and navigate. We set out to develop a web application with a better user interface that will afford scientists easier access to this resource. Our project focuses on implementing features that will make the data readable and easy to navigate in a way that fits with a chemist's workflow and their approach to finding and using information. In this presentation, we will detail how we implemented these design choices to create a web application that has the potential to impact the scientific community both at Whitman and beyond.
Faculty Sponsor: John Stratton

Building a User Interface for Simulation Software 

Ian Stewart, Dylan Wu, Jeremy Davis and Edwin Retana

The Differential Equation Network Simulation Engine (DENSE) allows systems biologists to simulate models of complex chemical reactions. The problem is that in DENSE, these models need to be written in C++, a programming language that may be difficult to use without a computer science background. On top of that, there is no convenient way to save and keep track of different models and simulation versions. To solve these problems, we built a desktop application with a user interface allowing users to load their models from a common systems biology model format, convert and compile these models, and then configure, run, and view the results of their various simulations. By making the DENSE software more accessible, we invite more biologists and chemists to add DENSE to their research arsenal.
Faculty Sponsor: John Stratton

Front Seat: Bringing Back Theatre, Virtually

Michelle Zhang, Laska Fitzhugh, Shubhra Tewari, Cameron Fraser, Dexter Aichele and Riley Chappell

Theater’s magic is captured through the immediacy and intimacy of articulation and passion, and through the connection between actors and audience in a shared space. COVID-19 has compromised this outlet for Whitman’s Department of Theater and Dance. To compensate, a Computer Science capstone team created a web application called Front Seat, by which actors, stage managers, and directors are able to rehearse and communicate about stage design without being in the same physical space. Through motion-tracking technology, Front Seat overlays diagrams of digital stage layouts in which each actor’s movements are captured. The result is stage movement otherwise lost because of social distancing and quarantining. This application may support efforts by other theater departments faced with similar restrictions.
Faculty Sponsor: William Bares

Capstone Projects 2019

Automated Registration for Great Explorations

Melissa Kohl, Kirk Lange and Jack Stewart

Great Explorations is a biennial workshop event hosted at Whitman College for local middle-school girls interested in STEM fields. In previous years, registration was carried out by means of paper and the mail. Included in this effort is the task of matching hundreds of girls with their preferred workshops. Our Computer Science capstone project had two main goals tied to Great Explorations: build an informative website with a registration form, and create an algorithm to automate the matching process for the workshops. In our presentation, we discuss the tools we used to accomplish these goals along with the process of working with a nonprofit organization.

Faculty Sponsor: Janet Davis

Capstone Projects 2018

Adversarial Motion Planning

Camille Anderson, Richie Farman and Riley Worthington

The group created a simulation for multiple agents to navigate a two-dimensional space. The agents were adversarial in that one agent type tried to escape while the other agent type tried to catch the first group. Readme.mdCapstone-Master.zip

Faculty Sponsor: Andy Exley