Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10

Since today was a Wednesday, there was another talk for us to attend at lunch time. The lunch talks were originally schedules for the REU students, so Bob had to find a speaker for us. Roger Eaton, one of the lead researches in the Historical Document Restoration group, spoke to us about the many projects he has worked on and is still working on. These included the Archimedes Palimpsest, Shakespeare's seventh signature, and Picasso collages. His work entails using many different imaging techniques to uncover text that hidden to the eye.

During the rest of the day, I worked on the app and began putting together my presentation. I spent a good chunk of time creating code that causes information boxes to appear when the user first merges with each type of galaxy. These information boxes will contain explanations for how the specific type of merger will affect the user galaxy and will have a link to a website that describes the process in more detail. The purpose of these boxes in to provide immediate educational feedback to actions of the user within the game. This way, the user is learning about astronomy while playing the game. Also, I added a gas accretion slider to the game, so now the user can change the gas accretion rate of the user galaxy. This slider, along with the time acceleration slider, will allow the user to change their galaxy a lot without having to merge or interact with other galaxies all the time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 9

Today I simply continued to work on finishing my list of programming task to be done by Friday. First, set up a new notification (a tool used in Swift), so now the galaxy property labels are updated when the user galaxy merges with another galaxy. I also met with Dr. Kartaltepe at 8:00 in the morning over Skype because she is still at a conference. We went over my outline again and I asked her some questions about the galaxy types she sent me yesterday. She also sent me the original proposal for the app development project which will be very helpful in creating my presentation. The proposal clearly explains what the purpose of the app should be and why we want to make it, both of which are topics I am going to cover at the beginning of my presentation. Later, I added a time acceleration slider to the game which allows users to change how quickly time moves along in the game. Now there are only a few more coding tasks for me to complete before Friday.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The start of the last full week!

The last full week has begun! This means it is officially crunch time. My final presentation is next Wednesday morning, but all the interns have to have their presentations ready by Friday because we are doing a dry run of all the presentations on Friday afternoon. Today I came up with a list of all the programming ideas that I would like to implement into the app by Friday, and which ones I want to implement by next Wednesday. I spent all day working on this list, taking a very short lunch break.

One of the major accomplishments of the day was finding many beautiful images of galaxies from the Hubble website and putting them into the gallery. Now the gallery is much larger and it essentially ready for the presentation. Many of the images may not be used in the final app, but they are good for getting the point of the gallery across to the presentation audience. Furthermore, Dr. Kartaltepe gave me some data regarding the three major types of galaxies in the app. I changed my code to incorporate these types, which was very simple because I have designed the code to be easily changed and built upon. Lastly, I finished the function that determines the types of the other galaxies that spawn in. Now, the probability of a certain type of galaxy spawning in changes as the universe ages. Once we have the actual numbers, we just need to replace the placeholder values with them.

Friday, August 5, 2016

August 5

Today was not a typical Friday. For the first time ever, we did not have our morning meeting at 8:45 because today was the undergraduate research symposium. Several interns and I got here early, around 8:00, and went to the free continental breakfast that was held at the start of the symposium. For lunch, we all attended the keynote speech and enjoyed our complimentary sandwiches, cookies, and fruit. Although there were many talks and poster presentations available for me to attend throughout the day, since I was very busy with the app and abstract, I only attended the lunch talk.

I completed my abstract and came up with my title, which is "Reaching Out to the Public with an iPhone App". I sent them both to Dr. Kartaltepe so I she could give me some feedback. After implementing her tips into the abstract, I sent it off to Mr. Callens. Today, I also added over ten links to the RIT information table so now there are a lot more websites for users to check out. For the app, I fixed a bug that was causing all the other galaxies to spawn in the corners of the screen. Now they spawn in random locations just outside the visible screen. Additionally, I tried to fix the pause button so that the user galaxy does not jump forward after pressing resume. I thought I figured it out, but it still does not work, so I will have to keep working on it over the weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4

Today was Thursday, which usually would have meant that all the interns would go to Global Village to grab lunch. However, most of us were very busy so we ended up staying in the Reading Room and watch the Dark Knight for half an hour while eating.

The rest of the day was just an average work day. Tomorrow everyone's revised abstract and titles are due, so this morning I look over my abstract and made many changes to it. It is much shorter now and does not have any fluff. Tomorrow I will come up with my title. Regarding the app, today I linked the collision of sprites in the game to the merger function in the Galaxy class. Now, when the user collides with other galaxies, the galaxies merge and the user galaxy's properties change. I also added another table view controller that will have links to websites on it. This one will have to do with providing information about RIT and the other contributors to the project.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3

Today was probably the most packed day of the internship so far. To be honest, in the morning I had forgotten about most of the things I had to do today, so I was not at all expecting today to be so hectic. First, right after our morning meeting, all the interns and Bob walked to the RIT library where we met with a librarian in the bibliography lab. There, she taught us about how to find good databases for research papers and how to best use them. Unfortunately, because of the nature of my project, the databases that were available at the library did not have anything that fit my needs. I usually just use a website called StackOverflow to find answers to my programming questions. On this website, programmers post questions and samples of their code, and then others in the programming community post their answers.

After the trip to the library, I had only about an hour and a half of time to work on the app before lunch. I decided to spend the time trying to create code that will call the merge function when the user galaxy collides with another galaxy within the game. I realized that I will have to create something called a "Dictionary". A Dictionary is a swift tool that can be used to store an object as well as an associated property. This will be necessary in order to complete my task.

Later, after stuffing myself with pizza and soda, the other interns and I attended the lunch talk of the week. This week, the speaker was from the Remote Sensing lab, so it was the first time we listened to a speaker from that lab. He talked to us about the strange, unusual properties of Lake Kivu in Africa. Incredibly, there is 20 billion dollars worth of natural gas stored at the bottom of the lake. The gas is dangerous though because if the right geological conditions are met, a lot of carbon dioxide and methane could rush to the top of the lake and suffocate the surrounding urban areas.

In the afternoon, I continued my work on the Dictionary until 3:30 when I went up to the Reading Room to get ready to watch the Dark Knight with the rest of the interns. We brought popcorn and had some sodas left over from the lunch talk. I had bought the movie on my laptop, so I connected my laptop to a projector Bob loaned us. The movie was extremely good, and Heath Ledger did an incredible job as the Joker. We did not finish the movie though because it is so long, so we will have to keep watching it another day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bring a Friend to Work Day!

I was not able to find a friend that was available to come to "Bring a Friend to Work" day. Fortunately, most of the other interns were able to, so today was much livelier than usual. Maria brought three sibling, Madi and Allyse brought friends from school, Zihao brought two friends who actually did this internship last summer, Cece brought her younger brother, and Emily brought her younger sister. After meeting in the reading room, we all went upstairs to Bob's room to peer review our outlines. I don't know why, but waiting to get my outline peer reviewed was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. However, everyone seemed to think my outline was very good and details. The main concern about it was that it may be too long (which I worried about), so I will have to condense it. Also, Mr. Pow told me to test that my embedded video demo of the app will run properly on his computer ahead of time so that there are no surprises on the day of the presentation.

After the peer review, I went to do some work on the app. Dr. Kartaltepe emailed me and said that she is trying to get me the data I need as soon as possible. Until then, I will work on fixing any bugs and on developing the user interface as much as I can.

At 11:30, the interns and their guests all went to Salsarita's with Bob. He treated us to lunch which was very kind. I got a burrito bowl for the first time, and I think I like them better than burritos and quesadillas, mainly because they are easier to eat. When we got back to the center, we all stayed outside to play some volleyball and frisbee. For the first time, the volleyball game had points that lasted more than a few seconds thanks to the fact that we had twice as many people to cover the court.

In the afternoon, we all gathered in the reading room to relax a bit and cool down from the heat. Some of us started drawing pictures of famous people on the whiteboard which quickly turned into Pictionary. Afterwards, I continued to work on developing the user interface of the app and the gallery. I made it so that there is a text view on the more information box that pops up when the user taps the button "More Information". Now, each image can have custom descriptions.

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1

The first day of August means that the summer is officially more than half way over, and that there are about two weeks left of this internship. Both of these thoughts sadden me. Anyways, for the first day of the month, this was a very average day. At the morning meeting, Bob reminded us that tomorrow is the "Bring a Friend to Work" day. I will have to see if any of my friends can make it. Unfortunately, most of them have jobs so the outlook is not good. I think tomorrow will still be fun as long as the other interns bring some friends.

After the meeting, I pretty much worked on the app for the rest of the day. Dr. Kartaltepe is at a conference so I will not be able to meet with her for a while. However, she said if I have any questions I should email her, and if needed, we can have a Skype meeting.

Over the weekend, I worked on various aspects of the app. One thing I did was implement a pause and resume capability into the game. It was actually harder to do than I thought it would be because I had to make sure that pressing pause stopped both the function that updates the user galaxy's properties and the function that updates the user galaxy's position based on the user's movement of the phone. Stopping the second function proved to be the more difficult task, and I continued to work on it today. Also, I worked on putting labels on the game screen that displayed the values of the user galaxy's properties. I tried to do this a few weeks ago, but back then I had not set up the model which made the task impossible. Now that I have implemented most of the model, many user interface issues can be fixed.