Two freshmen in the School of Computational Sciences, Sakthisundar “Sakthi” Kasthurirengan and Kathleen “Katie” Lamkin successfully presented their work at this year’s Python Conference (PyCon 2014) in Montreal, Canada. The annual PyCon conferences are the largest and most prestigious within the Python software community.
The work they presented was an offshoot of their class project in their introduction to computer science (CPSC 230) class in fall 2013. Below, they tell us about their experience.
For Computer Science 230, also known as Computer Science I, an option for the final project was to create a simulation of a ball being thrown off the roof of a building. Since Sakthi and I (Katie) were both in Physics 101 together, we took the projectile motion equations that we learned in that class and applied them to the simulation we were building. As a result, we used VPython to create the scene in which a ball was being thrown off a roof.
This final project led to something more. Our professor informed us of a programming conference named PyCon, to which we could submit an abstract. So, we did!
Our abstract was about an idea we named the Battle of Trafalgar. Instead of launching a ball from a roof, we transformed the building into two different ships and made them launch cannonballs at one another. The user may input the velocity of the cannonball in the x-direction and the angle that the ball shall be launched at. This allows experimentation with the velocity and angle relationship and how it relates to the distance traveled by the cannonball.
When our abstract was accepted in the conference, we learned we would be presenting a poster and were excited! It meant so much to us that our work was good enough to be accepted into such a prestigious conference.
Since the conference was in Montreal, travelling to another country was such a wonderful experience, but what was even more amazing was retaining an endless amount of information from Guido van Rossum, the inventor of Python himself! Hearing him speak opened up so many doors as a programmer that we didn’t even know existed.
As freshmen, going to another country and representing Chapman while teaching many people about VPython and what we were able to learn from using it was an indescribable experience. Going to this conference was an amazing experience. We cannot wait to go back to PyCon and learn more about all the things we can do with Python.