Variety of Programming Languages

At Lehigh if you are a computer science or computer engineering major, you will be exposed to a variety of programming languages and coding environments. Freshman year I learned Matlab, Arduino coding, and Java. Matlab and Arduino coding were taught in Engineering 10, which is required for all engineering majors to give everyone a brief background of programming. CSE 2 (Fundamentals of Programming) taught Java and is required for a variety of majors in all colleges. Sophomore year I took a second class on Java and began studying Scheme and Prolog up to this point. Scheme is being studied in CSE 262 (Programming Languages) and we will soon be getting into Python and C. This class is only required for computer science majors, but it is a great class to take for anyone interested in programming. Some environments that I have programmed in so far are Dr. Java and Dr. Racket which are used for Java and Scheme respectively. Next year I will be studying C++, JavaScript, as well as many other languages. Each language has its own advantages and disadvantages which are important to know in order to decide which language is best for the desired goal for your program.

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Spring Break

This is the final week before Spring Break and I do not have any more midterms or large assignments due before the break. After a pretty busy week last week, I needed the break to come soon. Although I do not have any planned vacations for this break, I still plan to visit some friends who attend other schools over break. This year, our Spring Break comes at the same time as most other colleges, at least ones that many of my friends go to, so there should be a lot of  my friends back home. The ones who have a different break than me said some of my friends and I can go visit them over the break. Although I would prefer to go somewhere warm over the break, it still should be a lot of fun visiting other schools. I have found it to be very interesting visiting other schools that are in much larger cities than Bethlehem.

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Circuit Design

In ECE 121, the sophomore electrical engineering lab, we had to design three circuits for our fifth lab of the semester. Previously, we were given the circuits and had to find different values. This time we were given the requirements that were needed for the circuit and then we had to design it. Personally, this was one of my favorite labs because it allowed you to be a little creative and not just follow a procedure. The first two circuits were pretty simple. We had to create an amplifier or filter with a certain amount of gain and had 3 decibel frequencies at certain points. For the final circuit, we were given a Bode Plot graph of the circuit we had to create. The graph was much different from ones we’ve had seen before and we had to try different ideas. This lab ended up taking longer than most of the others, but I think I learned more in this lab than any of the others. When you are actually doing experiments on your own without a procedure telling you roughly what to do, you learn a lot more. I believe that the final two labs for this class are similar to this lab where we are told what we need to design.

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Housing

Yesterday, housing selection for rising upperclassmen (rising 3rd, 4th, and 5th year) began. My group of roommates was lucky enough to have a low enough number that we could choose from any building that we preferred. Our top preference was Campus Square with Trembley being our second choice. At first, we were anxious because our number was 69, and the total number of 4 person apartments available for Campus Square was 49. By the time our housing time selection began, there were at least 15 Campus Square 4 person apartments left. We had assumed that if we got to choose Campus Square, we would be choosing from the leftovers. We actually got to choose which building within Campus Square that we wanted to live in. Three out of four of my roommates are either in CSB or IBE, so we preferred to be somewhere in between Rauch and Packard in terms of walking distance. Also, we made sure to avoid building A as that is the closest to the road and also the middle school. The middle school students make quite a ruckus in the morning (I usually wake up sometime around 7-8 am because of the noise). If you are ever considering living in Brodhead or Campus Square, keep in mind that the middle school is right next to you…

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Goose

Since I live in Brodhead, I am literally right next to the Goose. The Goose is a small family run deli that is known for its hidden sandwiches and good service. The Goose is very popular among Lehigh students and residents around the area. There is a “secret menu” that contains a list of sandwiches that are not on the main menu (I put quotes because the menu is not exactly secret). The names of the sandwich are quite amusing and creative; some names include Charzard, Anikan, Leia, White Dragon, Krabby Patty,  Wooly Mammoth, and many others. Most of the sandwiches are loaded and satisfy whatever craving you have. Recently, one of my friends tried this sandwich called the five star which is an extremely STACKED sandwich that contains five pieces of bread all on top of each other. The five star is an absolute monster, and I was extremely impressed that my friend could finish it (it actually took him 3 attempts on 3 separate days to actually finally finish it).  Here is a link to the secret menu.

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Senior Project HotLava Update

Throughout this school year I’ve discussed my senior project, called HotLava, numerous times. The Senior Project course, CSE-379, is only a one semester course that senior computer science students take the Fall semester of their senior year. However, my friend, who I worked on the project with, and I were excited about the potential for our idea and wanted to keep going, so we were approved to continue working on our project as an independent study this semester.
For any readers not familiar with our project, HotLava is a real-time mobile safety app that will let Lehigh students know what areas off-campus are the least safest and will alert them in real-time if they enter a dangerous “hot spot.” This semester we’ve been working feverishly on our app ironing out any bugs and improving features we already had in place. We are at a point in which we’ve set a deadline for ourselves to get our app on the Google Play Store (Android’s App Store) before Spring Break. Our app will only be available for Android phones, and not iPhone’s, since that it what we developed it for. Regardless, we are hoping to have our beta release no later than next Friday.
Once we publish it to the Google Play Store, our plan is to have as many people as possible test it out and provide feedback. This will help us gauge what people think of it and what improvements need to be made. The next week will be hectic, but crucial, as we put the finishing touches on it. We want our app make a good first impression to help it gain traction among Lehigh students.

I’ll be sure to keep the blog updated as my friend and I get closer to our beta release!

-Ryan ’15

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Models

In ECE 123 (Electronic Circuits), Professor Haller always talks about creating models for any kind of circuits. He stresses in every lectures that engineering is not about being exact; its about making a simpler model that is close enough to the actual that the difference is not noticeable. Most of electrical engineering can be simplified by using a model. Most problems that we do deal with ideal op-amps or ideal diodes although they do not exist. The real parts are close enough to the ideal that the ideal model is good enough. The circuit problems that we do often have both AC and DC models which vary pretty significantly. Models are easier to work with because the equations are much easier. Also models can often be improved to be more precise or easier to work with. In other classes I have seen and used models, but they were not emphasized as much as they are in ECE 123. Professor Haller always models a problem before he begins doing any calculations.

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