As part of my BFA Thesis project, I’ll be releasing an eBook, entitled “Advanced Hashtagging and other Social Media techniques.” Use this book to boost your presence on social media and optimize the effectiveness of your posts!

AdvancedHashtagging

2013/10/22

B.F.A Thesis

As part of my final semester here at Cornell, I am completing a thesis for my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. Over the past few years, I have immersed myself in Computer Science, having taken David Griess’ into to Java on a whim. During this time, I stopped painting and drawing, my time being absorbed with my engineering projects and fascination with data structures, algorithms, and programming languages. However, as an intensely visual person, I never relinquished my appreciation for color, design, and the emotions that art can induce.

This thesis gives me the opportunity to combine these guiding interests and experiment at the interface between design and programming. I’m most interested in the design elements and choices that saturate the online and digital experience. These sounds and sights are highly contextual, and exist to streamline a user’s actions. Taking these elements out of their intended contexts and examining their function objectively poses an interesting problem for me.

As a beginning project, I have taken iconic computer- and internet-related sounds and mashed them together into a game. This represents the beginning of many possible directions for me to take, and I will be refining and presenting my ideas here as the semester progresses.

The Game: Use the W, A, S, D keys to navigate and collect likes.

Click on the screenshot to play!

LikeMeGame

1/5
Carousel Horse
This WordPress plugin uses CSS3 3d transforms to create a rotating image carousel gallery.

The gallery shows all images attached to the current post or page. To show the desired images in the post, simply add the images as attachments. These images do not need to be inserted into the post to be displayed in the gallery.

When the front face is clicked, the image is shown in a new window, expanding to full size. This window provides navigation arrows and displays the image caption and description.

To download this plugin for use on your own blog, go to its WordPress homepage.

At Cornell’s BOOM (Bits On Our Minds) event, an annual student showcase of cutting-edge technology project, 6 Degrees of Bacon won the “Googliest Project” award. This award is given by Google software engineers in recognition of interdisciplinary achievement and personal initiative. Getting that recognition, plus some nice prizes, was a wonderful experience!

To read more about BOOM 2013 and 6 Degrees of Bacon, visit here: BOOM home page, Gannett Article and an article in the Cornell Chronicle

This is the first app that I created. I started programming this after my first computer science class here at Cornell. Having learned graphs and graph search algorithms, I wanted to try my hand at some real-life implementations. So, the Wikipedia game seemed like a good place to start: it revolves around finding the shortest path between two pages, which could be thought of as nodes on a graph.

I decided to fix the end node and simply find all shortest paths to that single node. In this case, I chose the page for bacon, the food, as a little pun in reference to the Kevin Bacon game, which involves finding the shortest path to Kevin Bacon between people.

To accumulate all the relevant data, I had to first iterate over all articles in Wikipedia and store the set of links on each page. This became my graph representation of Wikipedia. After experimenting with several algorithms to compute the shortest paths, I finally came up with the following: I inverted the direction of each edge. Then, using the target node, bacon, as the start node, I ran Breadth-First-Search, subsequently inverting every path computed
and storing it. This algorithm runs in O(|N| + |V|) time, since both inverting the graph and running BFS are proportional to the number of edges and nodes in the graph.

To make this exciting to the rest of the world, I used this opportunity to create a playful, bacon-themed UI, which led to the creation and publication of this app.