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Re: [OT] Perl / Computer Science Science Fair Projects

by zentara (Archbishop)
on Sep 08, 2008 at 16:44 UTC ( #709809=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to [OT] Perl / Computer Science Science Fair Projects

If you want to get the "wow" factor from a science project.... use a gui of some sort. Of course I recommend Tk or Gtk2. ;-) How about something cool like simulating an instrument on a satellite and logging the data on a strip chart recorder on earth? See Tk Realtime data aquisition Maybe monitor solar wind? You could connect right to the spacecraft data-servers like solar data server Have the data recorder and maybe make a 2-d visualization of the magnetosphere at the current moment, that could be done with animated gifs.

Or how about the Superformula and a Tk visualization tool? See SuperFormula with gnuplot and Tk It could be useful in nano-technology, or a math oriented project exploring the polar coordinate system.

Both of those should inspire wonder in 9th graders.

One that is more real-life, and could lead to a career, is setup a linear research project (optimizations done with matrices and linear equations) to find the optimal manufacturing/ordering/warehousing setup for something cool like emergency food distribution. Factors like proximity of warehouses to likely disaster areas, local costs, road availability, expiration dates, etc. You could setup a map, and determine where the warehouses should be built and what capacity at each location. But that is getting more like work, and not a fun project.


I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth Remember How Lucky You Are


Comment on Re: [OT] Perl / Computer Science Science Fair Projects
Re^2: [OT] Perl / Computer Science Science Fair Projects
by amarquis (Curate) on Sep 08, 2008 at 17:09 UTC

    I was thinking about how she'd visualize whatever she ended up doing, and as cool as having a gui would be it would probably be a lot for her to learn. Maybe I'll install Apache with her and then and let her go to town with a web interface if she needs interaction. She already has strong skills with html/css, so that seems like a natural fit.

      I strongly advise using a gui such as Tk. Sure there is some learning to do, but the amount of code involved is likely to be much less and more directly pertinent to providing the UI than anything CGI based. There is a larger disconnect between code and effect in CGI than using a gui like Tk which makes the creation of the code and debugging it harder.

      Heh, maybe there's your science project right there - test the assertion that a Tk based gui is easier to develop than a CGI based one. Metrics in terms of time spent, lines of code, perceived difficulty, ease of maintenance, ...


      Perl reduces RSI - it saves typing
Re^2: [OT] Perl / Computer Science Science Fair Projects
by jhourcle (Prior) on Sep 08, 2008 at 17:52 UTC

    If you want to get the "wow" factor from a science project.... use a gui of some sort. Of course I recommend Tk or Gtk2. ;-) How about something cool like simulating an instrument on a satellite and logging the data on a strip chart recorder on earth? See Tk Realtime data aquisition Maybe monitor solar wind? You could connect right to the spacecraft data-servers like solar data server Have the data recorder and maybe make a 2-d visualization of the magnetosphere at the current moment, that could be done with animated gifs.

    You can get most of that data in closer to real time from CDAWeb, and it'll generate plots, too. (I'm not a fan of their interface, though ... you can also get their data via a web service or see VSPO for other sources. I know of other solar weather plotting software ... but much of it's not in Perl (IDL, Java, etc) or is tied up with legal questions about distribution.

    One that is more real-life, and could lead to a career ...

    I'm just going to assume that you're just saying that heliophysics data won't lead to a career as they normally have physics phds write the code ... who have no formal programming education. (and they tend to write data systems that only answer their own questions, without considering data reuse ... but I'll probably complain about that more at the fall AGU)

    ... and as my boss just saw me looking at NASA websites and asking what I was doing, he suggested taking a look at the Stanford Solar Center, as they've had students turn some of their project ideas into winning science fair projects.

      lead to a career ...

      What I meant was there are (probably) many more openings in Operations Research than space physics, since it is more down to earth.


      I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth Remember How Lucky You Are
        What I meant was there are (probably) many more openings in Operations Research than space physics, since it is more down to earth.

        You'd be surprised. Part of the problem, however, is that the funding can be unsteady, as so much gets funded from grants from NASA or NSF. Even ESA has been cutting back in certain areas. But with this whole push to put a man back on the moon and later mars, there's seems to be more of a shift towards 'Space Weather'. ... and of course, "global climate change" is a hot study area right now.

        Although the original person in question is a little young for it, NASA does run an undergraduate intern program, and they're already taking applications for next spring ...

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