CSRS 2008
2nd Villanova University Undergraduate
Computer Science Research Symposium
December 5, 8 & 10, 2008

Welcome from the Conference Chairs

Welcome to the 2nd Villanova University Undergraduate Computer Science Research Symposium. This Fall 2008 symposium is the culmination of the research efforts of 12 dedicated undergraduate students in the Computing Research Topics course at Villanova University. These students spent the past four months exploring the academic research process, including selecting a research topic and performing a literature survey, then writing an abstract, extended abstract, literature review and research proposal, and finally preparing a conference presentation.

The topics in this symposium cover a wide range of computer science ideas, from image analysis, networking, remote sensing and artificial intelligence to image processing, robotics and the brain-computer interface. The papers contained in these proceedings each present a concise survey of the subjects they cover, followed by a proposed direction for future research. We feel that the quality of this year’s papers is very high, which continues the trend begun in the 2007 symposium which also produced work of a very high quality.

We are truly proud of the accomplishments of these 12 outstanding computer scientists, and hope that you enjoy reading the following collective representation of their persistence.

Most sincerely,

Mirela Damian, Ph.D.
Thomas Way, Ph.D.
Conference Chairs
Computing Research Topics professors

There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.
- J.R.R. Tolkien

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Proceedings of the 2nd Villanova University
Undergraduate Computer Science Research Symposium
CSRS 2008

Network Security: Compromises and Countermeasures
Thomas Bryan
Network security is a long-standing and well-recognized problem in the computing world. Protecting information is a main priority of a network administrator, with security techniques becoming increasingly robust. As more and more information has become digital, security of this digital information has tightened and mitigation techniques to protect the information have become more complex. While approaches to security have improved, intrusion techniques have also become increasingly complex and difficult to detect. This paper discusses two common network security attacks and two approaches to defending against such attacks, as well as an examination of honey pots (a supplemental defense), and uses these to motivate a discussion of the bigger issues involved and what the future of network security might look like.
Radar Imaging Systems
Joseph Charpentier
This paper looks at 3 different types of radar imaging systems; synthetic aperture radar (SAR), through-the-wall radar, and digital holographic near field radar. Each system surveyed experiments that improved the quality of the resulting image. It was found that each radar system has specific problems. The digital holographic near field radar imaging system was studied the closest. Findings revealed that incident angles greater then ten to fifteen degrees divert the radar signal to much and do not get received. This causes data to get lost.
Dynamic Learning of AI in Games
Michael Hercenberg
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in video games has been neglected for years as graphics, storylines and other aspects have advanced significantly. Gamers are now seeking greater challenges and demand more human opponents to test their skills and make a game more believable. The AI needs to be able to assess a situation and make the best choice, but not a static choice, a dynamic one that takes into account the type of human the user is. The enemies need to learn how the user acts in given situations and then be able to formulate plans and carry them out. This is the heart of dynamic learning.
Algorithms and Hardware for Implementing Artificial Neural Networks
Nathan Hower
The astounding complexity of nature can serve as inspiration for technology. Artificial neural networks are computational models inspired by the intricately interconnected collection of neurons that work together in a biological brain. This paper reviews several approaches to implementing neural networks as algorithms, discusses the hardware being used to run such computations, and describes several subtopics that must be considered to increase computational power and functionality.
ASIMO on the Road to Spontaneous Obstacle Avoidance
Helen Magobet
Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO) is one of the most advanced contemporary examples of Artificial Intelligence in Robotics. While ASIMO is completed and can walk, talk and do many other task; however Honda Engineers are focused on fine tuning its technological master piece. Honda's most recent task is Spontaneous Obstacle Avoidance. Currently, ASIMO is able to avoid objects that have been preprogrammed into his logic. However, the Honda Engineers want to go another step; they want to institute logic that will give the humanoid the capability of identifying and avoiding unknown objects, as well be able to assess strange terrains.
Textual Readability Analysis
Armin Mobasseri
The goal of this research is to survey methods for analyzing the readability of texts and to report on the effectiveness of these methods in to the context of improving comprehension.
Improving Optical Character Recognition
AJ Palkovic
There is a clear need for optical character recognition in order to provide a fast and accurate method to search both existing images as well as large archives of existing paper documents. However, existing optical character recognition programs suffer from a flawed tradeoff between speed and accuracy, making it less attractive for large quantities of documents. This paper analyzes five different algorithms which operate completely independently of optical character recognition programs, but which have the combined effect of decreasing computational complexity and increasing overall accuracy. Finally, the paper proposes implementing each of these algorithms on the GPU, as well as optical character recognition programs themselves, in order to deliver another massive speed increase.
Bionic Restoration of Movement
Kristin Scudder
There are many disorders that disrupt the neuromuscular channels of the brain, which results in the brain being unable to communicate with its external environment. Those most seriously affected can lose complete control of their limbs, rendering them locked into their bodies and incapable of any form of communication with their environment. Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) and brain-computer interfaces (BCI) provide the brain with a non-muscular channel through which the brain can send messages and demands to the external environment. By opening up this channel of communication, researchers are able to dramatically improve the quality of life for many disabled individuals. This paper is a survey of the progress made in BMI and BCI research.
Using Remote Sensing for Natural Disaster Management
Tara Srihari
Natural disasters can cause devastating human, property, and economic loss in a region. Predicting the impact of a disaster and creating potential recovery plans can help alleviate these losses. Remote sensing images can be used to provide information about the landscape and environment of the Earth. Recent technological advancements in resolution and image transmission speed have made it possible to have accurate and up-to-date images available during the time of a crisis. Current research is focused on developing an infrastructure to make the data collected with remote sensing more widely available to disaster management authorities.
Interactive Storytelling via Intelligent Agents
Vincent Vuono
Interactive storytelling systems are systems that allow the user to take on the role of a single character in a story and manipulate the world however they choose while going through a story. The area has become increasingly popular in recent years. Such systems generally have two major components – a drama manager, that oversees the entire world and makes sure the story doesn't go off-track, and believable agents, which are the life like non-playable characters (NPCs) that make up the story’s cast. Efficient, well-working drama managers have been created, but these systems have difficulty creating truly believable characters and working on cohesive narratives. This paper proposes the development of a system that will allow an author to quickly and easily work any plot into such a system.
Wireless Communication via Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vectoring (AODV)
Stephen Walter
Reactive wireless networks are lacking a general protocol that is well suited for all evironments. I explain how improvements have been applied to the Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vectoring protocol, and discuss how these ideas can be combined into a new proposed protocol. This protocol is expected to have improved performance and capacity over the original. I plan to develop a simulation of the protocol to prove or disprove the anticipated outcome.
The Past, Present and Future of Bionic Vision
Elliot Whaley
The World Health Organization estimated that in 2002 there were 161 million (about 2.6% of the world population) visually impaired people in the world. This staggering number leads many researchers and scientist to develop methods and devices to aid or cure blindness. This paper goes over the current and past methods used to help the blind as well as future research into methods that will not only help the blind but enable people with normal vision to see beyond 20/20. We also propose a method to obtain energy one such device more efficiently.

© 2008 Villanova University