Summer research experience – Adam Gillfillan, CS ’13

This summer, Adam Gillfillan (currently a senior Computer Science major here at Berry College), took part in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Empirical Software Engineering at the University of Alabama. The REU was a 9-week internship. In addition to a stipend, housing, food, and travel expenses were paid for.

Adam’s role as a research intern was to aid Dr. Jeffrey Carver and Dr. Nicholas Kraft in a study of the benefits of design patterns in the software development process. In addition to all the reading, studying, researching, and reporting he did for the particular research study, he also spent much of his time getting a taste of what graduate school is like. Two professional development workshops each week were aimed at preparing participants for the grad school application process as well as professional life afterwards. Adam also attended lab meetings and cohort meetings with nine other REU interns and two graduate assistants who were there throughout his stay at UA.

The culmination of the summer experience was a final project by Adam and three others in his group. For the project, two of the group members were tasked with implementing the “Game of Life” using MPI with no design patterns. The other two members were instructed to use design patterns. The goal of the study was to better understand the effectiveness of design patterns. Their poster presentation can be found here. The experiment was essentially a pilot study for Dr. Carver and his graduate assistant to use as the basis of a formal research paper.

Adam and his group members on presentation day: Chelsea, Kaleb, Adam, and Robert.

Adam’s engagement with his REU group is not over yet. He will be attending ACM SIGSOFT 2012 — the 20th International Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering. This year it is being held in Cary, North Carolina, November 13 – 15.

Adam says, “My REU experience in Alabama was amazing. I encourage all undergraduate students to apply for an REU in their respective fields.”

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