Hi, I am Regina and I'm double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. I'm a senior and my expected graduation date is Spring 2020.
This is my second year participating in the Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU), a program organized by the Computing Research Association (CRA-WP). (2018 DREU website)
This year, I am continuing my research as an intern at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Amato, the Computer Science department head at the same institution, Shawna Thomas, a research specialist at Texas A&M university, and my graduate student mentor Diane Uwacu.
Nancy M. Amato is Head of the Department of Computer Science and Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously, she was Unocal Professor and Regents Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University where she co-directed the Parasol Lab.
Amato received undergraduate degrees in Mathematical Sciences and Economics from Stanford University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois, respectively. Her main areas of research focus are motion planning and robotics, computational biology and geometry, and parallel and distributed computing.
Thomas is a research specialist and Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. Thomas's research is in developing randomized motion planning algorithms than can be applied to many different areas such as: mobile robots, virtual prototyping, computational biology and computational neuroscience.
Diane Uwacu is a Ph.D. Student at Texas A&M. She graduated from Oklahoma Christian University where she studied Computer Science and Finance. Uwacu is working on motion planning at Parasol Laboratory and her research interests include applications of motion planning in computational biology and machine learning.
Given a robot with a start and goal position, in an environment containing obstacles, the basic motion planning problem involves finding a collision-free path for the robot to move from the start to the goal position.
Aside from robotics, motion planning is applied in computational biology, to study protein folding and the interactions of protein and ligand molecules. Other applications include robotics surgery, computer graphics, and autonomous driving, to name a few.
This summer, I am working towards a conference submission. My project involves conducting experiments, extending our method from last summer to the protein-ligand binding application, while also carrying out literature surveys, for the conference paper.
Week 10: July 29th - August 2nd
I ran some experiments to gather data for the poster presentation, and I noticed a bug with the MCS skeleton for specific queries. I presented my research at the CS REU Symposium and won an award for the Best Research Poster. After the poster presentation, I worked on understanding and fixing the MCS bug.
We enjoyed some BBQ and reflected on the past ten weeks during our lab group dinner at Black Dog, Champaign. I also had an advising meeting with Dr. Amato to reflect on the summer and discuss my plans for the future and grad school.
I've learned a lot this summer, and I'm also proud of my work and accomplishments. I look forward to continuing my research in the fall and applying to graduate school. Hopefully, I would be back at UIUC.