Research Highlight – Steven Tra
Hello CSS Community: My name is Steven Tra and I am currently a sophomore majoring in Computer Science with an intended minor in Mathematics. This past summer, I was accepted into a research program at The Ohio State University known as the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP). I was selected to attend the program, conduct research with a faculty member at OSU, and present the findings of my research to the SROP staff and other fellow SROP scholars. Overall, this experience was very fulfilling for me because it allowed me to perform research in an area of computer science that I was interested in and acquire a sense of what graduate school will be like.
SROP was a ten week program that started in late May of 2016 and ended in late July of 2016. While I was there, I was matched with an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Dr. Huamin Wang, and conducted research alongside him in computer graphics. Specifically, I studied different simulation algorithms for physically-based deformable body simulation. Deformable bodies are computer-generated 3D models that react realistically to different stresses and forces (e.g. cloth, fluids, muscles, etc.), so my research was looking at how we could make the simulation of these deformable bodies more efficient. I learned several things from this experience, not just concerning my research but concerning myself as well. I learned that I should accept criticisms from my peers and colleagues regarding my research, avoid overworking myself during times of disappointing results, and always stay open to new opportunities as they arise.
Although I initially did not consider attending graduate school, as an option, after completing my bachelor’s degree, this experience has made me consider it as a viable option. I enjoyed the flexibility, independence, and satisfaction derived from working as a “graduate” student, and I would definitely like to conduct research in future summers or receive employment at an internship where I can work at my own pace.