SUNY Oswego Junior Major in Computer Science and Minor in Logic Dominique Altamura recently received a student scholarship and creative pursuits for research that he hopes will help demystify computer concepts and applications for mainstream users.
Altamura’s project, “Concurrent Symbolic Integration”, first began with his use and interest in symbolic integration calculators which he used during the Calculus 1 course.
“For those who haven’t studied differential calculus, symbolic integration is just a procedure used to derive a formula used to calculate the area under a line on a graph. To check my answers when troubleshooting symbolic integration problems, I often used a symbolic integration calculator found online,” Altamura said. “Over time I had become interested in how these calculators worked, as I was used to computers being able to solve numerical problems, but being able to solve a problem based on mathematical linguistics was to me completely alien.”
The more Altamura looked for information on how these calculators worked, the more he realized that there were no accessible and concrete solutions or answers. After turning to multiple resources, Altamura decided to carry out his honors thesis project on “the implementation of a symbolic integration calculator and the use of the thesis itself as a complement to the calculator which explains in detail the theory and algorithms involved in the development of such a project. ”
Although many people use computers or aspects of computing in their daily lives, they may not really understand the intricacies. And while many may feel that computing is a subject they could never understand, Altamura hopes to show that at the root of fascination can come understanding.
“I think it’s human nature to want to understand how things work. In my experience over the past few years, computing has been an area of fascination for many people that they find unexplainable,” Altamura said. “When I say that, I don’t mean that there are people who are actually unable to understand how computing concepts work, but I find that a lot of people just feel like they can’t understand it because that theory and algorithms seem out of their field of knowledge. I want to show people that computer science is not an inaccessible field of knowledge for them and that it just requires research and practice as no any other major.
Altamura notes that his teachers’ guidance has been essential to his progress. Mathematics professors Ioana Coman served as Altamura’s faculty mentor, with Elizabeth Wilcox as secondary advisor.
“I obviously wrote articles throughout college, but this project is much larger than anything I’ve ever done because of the time – about a year and a half – it takes to prepare an honors thesis.” says Altamura. “Their advice was extremely beneficial because it is really the first time that I undertake such a project. Along with that, just having two people who believe in you is a huge source of support for something like this.
Other funding fall 2021 Scholarly and creative student activity subsidies included:
- “The Costs and Benefits of “The Hyperbrain”: How Intelligence, Anxiety, Overthinking, and Rumination Interact” by Quinn Ceilly, with faculty mentor Leigh Bacher, psychology;
- “Using Automated Recording Units to Study Northern Cardinal Vocal Behavior” by Brooke Goodman, with faculty mentor Daniel Baldassarre, biological sciences;
- “Estimating the detection rate of Strix Varia during a spring snowmelt event” by Jamie Perrin, with faculty mentor Nicholas Sard, biological sciences;
- “Boys can wear pink too!” by Justin Fischnich with Faculty Mentor Ritu Radhakrishnan, Curriculum and Instruction
Watch for upcoming stories on other funded projects.
For more information on these and other funding opportunities to support scholarly and creative pursuits, visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Program Internal Grants website..