e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | May 7, 2013 Twitter Facebook

Computer science students pursue dreams

Computer science students -- Elliot Ronaghan '14, Takumi Bolte '13, and Frank Capobianco '13.

Honors students of the computer science department at Moravian College are accomplishing goals and preparing for their future careers. Two seniors will pursue their doctorates; underclassmen seek out internships; and one student prepares for a research experience for undergraduates (REU).

“Our job and internship placement rate this year and last year was 100 percent for those who did a search,” says Matthew Lang, assistant professor of computer science.

The program will send off two seniors, Frank Capobianco and Takumi Bolte in May, to study for their doctoral degrees. The graduating students were accepted to several competitive Ph.D. programs at different colleges and universities. Capobianco will attend Pennsylvania State University, while Bolte chose Clemson University.

Capobianco wanted to get his Ph.D. in computer science, and knows it won’t be easy. “I'll be honest, when I first started college I wasn't the best of students. I did well, but got through doing the bare minimum. Through high school and the first year of college I rarely applied myself. For some reason, I walked into my sophomore year with heightened motivation and ambition,” he says.
Being an average student wasn’t going to cut it. He had to work hard if he wanted to get ahead, and that’s exactly what he did. Capobianco studied days and nights in order to achieve his goals. “Since then I have gotten nearly straight A's every semester.

I have completed two SOAR projects, a research-based independent study, and now my Honors project. On top of it, I have managed to do all of this while devoting 24 hours each weekend to a part-time job at an warehouse,” says Capobianco.
His passion for the program grew under the guidance of two Moravian professors. “I owe Dr. Lang and Dr. Coleman for their inspiration and amazing teaching abilities in pushing me forward. Moravian has an extremely strong computer science program that really prepares students to go out into the world as successful people,” Capobianco says.
Bolte shares Capobianco’s enthusiasm for computer science. “I have had the chance to participate in two SOAR projects. In the summer of 2011, I built a high performance cluster for Moravian College and explored parallel computing architectures, under the supervision of Dr. Lang. For my spring SOAR in 2012, I studied parallelizing the Canny Edge Detector on the GPU. This work was presented at NCUR '12 in Ogden, Utah,” says Bolte.

He wanted to continue the research he performed during his SOAR projects, so he decided to expand on the subject for his Honors project titled, Optimizing Parallel Computer Vision Algorithms on the GPU Using CUDA. “The application of this was to provide optimizations to computer vision algorithms on the GPU. I will be presenting my honors work at NCUR '13 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin,” says Bolte.

Bolte is involved with the Moravian community as well. “I have participated in the Moravian chapter of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) for the past four years and was its president for the 2012-2013 school year,” says Bolte.

Bolte will be continuing his research in high performance computing on the GPU, focusing on parallel eye tracking algorithms at Clemson in the fall.  

An off-sequence Moravian student, Elliot Ronaghan, also has gained a lot from the computer science program.

“I started a year ahead in the computer science curriculum because of the classes I had in high school,” says Ronaghan. “My first summer here I worked on a piece of software called jAmaseis through SOAR. jAmaseis is a seismology education software designed to teach kids K-12 about seismology and is being funded by the Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology. This was a great experience, because it gave me the opportunity to program in a real world scenario,” he adds.

Ronaghan began his Honors project titled, Exploration of Chapel’s Programmability, Portability and Performance, this year.  He presented his work at NCUR in April and begins an internship at Cray Inc., this month.

Ronaghan wants to pursue his Ph.D. in high performance parallel computing at the either the University of Washington, University of Illinois or Stanford University.

“I owe most of my success to the computer science department. We truly have a great program here because of Dr. Lang and Dr. Coleman. There isn’t much they won’t do to help students or the department,” says Ronaghan.