Sophomore Computer Science major and VURF recipient, Mackenzie Jorgensen, recieved a travel grant to present at MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference in November 2017.
On her experience:
"I am a sophomore Computer Science major from Seattle, WA. This past weekend I had the opportunity to present at the MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference in Boston. To prepare for my paper presentation at the conference, I met with my colleagues at a coffee shop by Northeastern to practice our presentation in person. Once we were ready for feedback, we presented to the Northeastern Electric and Computer Engineering lab we worked in this summer and received feedback from the PhD students, our mentors, and our PI, Professor Kaeli. Afterwards, I met with Professor Vadhan at Harvard to hear more about his REU Privacy Tools project. I look forward to applying for this opportunity.
On Saturday, the conference began! The opening talks were about quantum computing at Lincoln Labs and defense tech companies that use radar. I then attended a few morning paper presentations and my favorite was about using a drone to take in cityscapes and construct a 3D environment of the city.
I presented that Saturday afternoon with my two colleagues on our technical paper: “An Interactive Big Data Processing/Visualization Framework.” We worked on the interactive framework, which is called the Northeastern Interactive Clustering Engine (NICE), this past summer at Northeastern. NICE allows programmers and non-programmers who have big data to process and analyze their data through machine learning algorithms they select. NICE has a front-end written in Python which deals with data management and visualization, a back-end written in C++ which deals with data processing through matrix computation and machine learning algorithms. This past summer we tested the framework with Big Data from the PROTECT NSF project, which is trying to understand if environmental factors are impacting the rise in preterm births in Puerto Rico. I loved being a contributor to a project that has such far reaching impacts for software engineering and other disciplines as well.
Presenting was surreal, but I felt prepared and confident. My mentor told my colleagues and I how extremely proud of us he was. I will now be published by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)! After presenting, I attended the dinner lecture by a professor at MIT who talked about AI, the importance of statistics, and self-aware machines. It was absolutely fascinating. Research in technology is booming and there is so much left to do. I am even more excited after the MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference to continue research at Villanova, this summer, and to pursue my PhD in Computer Science after my undergrad."