Study here, see world

One appealing aspect of the University of Montana is its study abroad programs. Students can spend a semester or year abroad, taking courses at a partner institution, and UM awards credit towards a degree for courses taken at these institutions.

UM-CS student Betta Lyon-Delsordo is doing exactly this. After some discussions with CS department advisers, Betta identified a set of classes that she could take in Spain that would be equivalent to computer science classes taken here. As they say, the trip is often better than the destination. This summer, Betta has been en route to Universidad de Vigo, in the North West of Spain. She’s been providing short updates to the department, and we’re sharing some of them here. What an experience she is having! In her own words:

I’m Betta, a rising sophomore studying Computer Science and Spanish, and this summer I’m working as a remote intern for GatherBoard.  I work part time on projects for GatherBoard (a local tech start-up that creates event calendars), while traveling and working part time in exchange for room and board.  My internship projects range from creating marketing campaigns for email and social media, to updating websites and the management portal, to Spanish translation work.  When I’m not on my computer, I’m staying with host families through WorkAway, an organization that connects travelers with hosts to work a few hours a day for food and housing.  This summer I’m traveling to Chile, California, Spain and other European countries yet to be determined.  So far I’ve taught English, worked in hostels, and helped put on a Buddhist retreat, all while meeting incredible people and their families.  My travels will end in Spain, where I will spend the next year at the Universidad de Vigo.  This has been an wonderful experience, and I feel very lucky to be able to travel almost for free and further my tech skills at the same time. 

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High Performance Computing at UMCS

Thanks to the efforts of UM-CS Assistant Professor Travis Wheeler, our campus will be receiving $395,000 in grant money from the National Science Foundation. This money will be for a high-performance computing cluster for UM researchers and students in support of scientific discovery. More details about the grant can be found here.

UM CS Students Use Raspberry PIs to Learn Programming

Students in UM CS instructor Trish Duce’s “Introduction to Computer Science” class got more than they bargained for this summer. While the were expecting to learn the fundamentals of programming and some computational theory, assignments were made more lively by structuring them around the computing platform called Raspberry PI. These inexpensive computers can be programmed in a variety of languages, and be used to control circuits. In this case students programmed a sequence of small LED lights to register the amount of light in the room. UM CS student Andrew Ammons developed the new assignments that use the PIs and Trish reports that all students really enjoyed working on the assignment.

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Introduction to CS students see the LEDs light up according to the room’s brightness.

Bagley Profiled,Capstone Featured

Wondering what sort of students come to study computer science at UM? What about the courses they enjoy, or, the sorts of software they develop? What sort of jobs do they go on to do? The following profile of Jeff Bagley provides answers to all of those. Check out this detailed piece about Jeff’s experiences at UM:

Jeff Bagley Profile

Come Join Us!

The University of Montana Computer Science Department is pleased to announce that we are hiring a new instructor. Join our faculty in offering 21st century education to Montana’s finest students. Job description and instructions for applying appear in the following link.

Instructor Position

A visit to Portugal

In November of 2018, UM CS Department Chair, Jesse Johnson, his graduate student David Blasen presented their research at the VII International Conference on Forest Fire Research, held in Coimbra, Portugal. Their simulation results revealed that a commonly used approximation is invalid in many important real world cases, meaning that fires will tend to burn longer and retain more heat that expected. This international conference had over 200 participants from Portugal, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, and Slovakia.

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Conference organizers provided a tour of their laboratory – a place to study fire burning.

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Dave tries out the ‘honesty bar’ at the hotel. Leave some coin, have a drink.

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On our final day in Portugal we visited the coast.

Cook Rocks It

UM CS Masters Candidate Will Cook plays with the String Orchestra of the Rockies. It’s remarkable how many UM CS students have an interest in music or visual arts. Cook studied music before returning for a degree in CS. In addition to the String Orchestra of the Rockies, Cook plays in a local band.