Welcome to Superquest 2006

January 14, 2014

Welcome to Superquest 2006!

The Computer Science Teachers Association of Oregon (CSTA, pronounced “siesta”) and the Software Association of Oregon Foundation (SAOF) welcome you to Superquest 2006.

Where else are you going to get the opportunity to talk “computer science” with a fellow educator, without that colleague’s eyes glazing over and rolling up into their head?

The opportunity to learn new computer related skills and knowledge, develop friendships, discuss computer science education, and interact with like-minded people is a genuine treasure.

As such, we hope you enjoy the experience that is Superquest Bateaux gonflables.
About Superquest

Superquest exists to help computer science teachers teach computer science. This annual event is brought to you by CSTA, and funded by the SAOF. The main Superquest workshop classes typically occur over a two-week time-span (see the Poll at right) at the end of July and early August.

The event typically takes place at an Oregon college/university. In the past, these venues have included George Fox College, Willamette University, and Western Oregon University (the last 4 years).
SAOF’s Role in Superquest

The majority of the funding for Superquest is provided by the Software Association of Oregon Foundation. The SAOF is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation. Please take some time to visit their web site. Consider making a financial contribution yourself to the SAOF.

The SAO Foundation has also generously donated staff time and expertise, in the guise of our go-to/do-all person, Kathryn Schwartz. Kathryn handles publicity, registration, information packets, id-cards, venue logistics, Western Oregon University coordination, and a million other things. Kathryn serves as Educational Programs Coordinator for the SAOF.

CSTA/Superquest is indebted to the SAOF for financial and personnel assistance. The Oregon Software Industry cares about computer science and engineering in our schools in Oregon, which is amply demonstrated by their continued support over the years.
CSTA’s Role in Superquest

CSTA, SAOF, and college and industry representatives collaborate to pick a mix of class offerings. Teachers of successful programs are asked to share their expertise and model best practices in how to lead students into understanding the concepts. Each teacher at Superquest impacts over 150 students during the following year.The quality of classroom experiences for thousands of students are directly affected by Superquest.

Superquest 2006 Information

Superquest 2006
August 1 – 12
Western Oregon University, Monmouth Oregon

Thank you for registering for SuperQuest 2006. We look forward to your participation. If for some reason you are not able to attend or you need to make changes in class schedule or lodging please call me immediately.

This letter contains important information, please review carefully and contact me with questions.General Information


Map (must have PDF reader installed)

All SuperQuest 2006 classes will held on the Instructional Technology Center (ITC) 3rd Floor or Annex on the Western Oregon University campus. Classes begin at 9:00 AM and end at 4:00pm (times may be adjusted by the instructor). An optional lab may be added to the day to allow some participants to earn additional credit; check with your instructor.
Monday Check-in:

ALL Participants please check in between 8:00 – 9:00am in the Instructional Technology Center (ITC) 3rd Floor lobby.
Wednesday’s Luncheon:

This is a special event with guests to present information of interest to participants. Please be our guests for lunch at the Columbia Dining Room in the University Center.
Academic Credit/Oregon PDU/Washington Clock Hours:

Western Oregon University will award up to 3 credit hours per one-week class. WOU staff will handle registration and payment for credits ($45 per credit). There will be a table located in the ITC 3rd Floor Lobby at 8:00 AM on Tuesday to process applications for credit. PDU’s will be handed out the last day of class. Washington State Clock Hours are available by arrangement.

Resident Participant Information:

Resident Check-in:

Check-in at the Residential Service Center, located onthe lower level at the north end of the Valsetz Dining Hall. At that time you will pick-up your key, meal card, and parking pass. Full week participants can check in Sunday evening.
Residential Service Hours:

Sunday: 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Monday – Friday 7:30am – midnight

Resident participants will use their meal card for breakfast in the campus dining facilities (Valsetz). Please note that the continental breakfast in the ITC building is for commuters.

Conference registration for Residents includes lunch for all attendees Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the campus dining facility (Valsetz Hall) and must be purchased with a meal card picked up at check-in. You can also choose to eat meals off campus at your own expense.
Note: Dinner is not included.

Lot J is the most convenient place to park to reach Residential Service Center and Gentle Hall.
Resident Check-out:

You can check out either Friday morning or at lunch time. Check out and return your key to the Residential Service Center between 7:30am and 8:45am.
Evening Activities:

We’ll be getting together for evening fun. Activities will be posted on the bulletin boards at ITC and the Gentle Hall Common Area. Usually we gather in the dorm commons area and decide on an activity.
Meet and Greet

On Thursday August 3rd there will be a meet-and-greet with industry representatives – and refreshments – from 4:00 to 6:30pm in the Werner Center. Please plan to attend.
Residence Hall Computer Lab:

There is a 12 person computer lab, with internet access, at Landers Hall available for resident use from 6:00pm to 10:00pm Monday through Thursday.
Weight Room:

Resident participants can use the weight room from 6:00pm to 10:00pm Monday through Thursday.
Room Extras:

If you contracted to add a micro-fridge, microwave, or internet access to your dorm room and you have any problems with these items – please immediately contact Residential Services and let me know about it as soon as possible. The charges for these services are passed along from WOU and any dispute of those services/expenses must be registered right away or we will both be billed.

Image Processing and Computers – A Perfect Combination

March 5, 2014

Image processing is a branch of computer graphics, referring to the way an image can be modified either to obtain better quality or to alter certain areas for artistic purposes. One of the most frequent phenomena treated by image processing is “pixilation”.

What Is “Pixilation”?

In computer graphics, displaying a section of or an entire bitmap at a large size, making individual pixels display like visible single-colored squares, is called “pixilation”. The image displayed under such circumstances is said to be “pixilated”.

This phenomenon was present in early graphical applications that ran at low resolutions and with a reduced number of colors. They had visible pixels that where especially obvious for curved objects or diagonal lines.

When the number of colors increased to 256, anti-aliasing allowed a smoother appearance of objects displayed in low resolution, not removing pixilation completely, but making it less visible to the eye. Although high resolutions make pixilation almost invisible on a screen, it still shows when a low-resolution image has to be printed on paper.

It can be a real problem in real-time tridimensional computer graphics, where bitmaps are applied as polygon textures. When a camera approaches such a polygon, simplistic applications may simply zoom in on that bitmap and create drastic pixilation. On such occasions, the “pixel interpolation” technique is used, which interpolates the color of the current pixel into that of the next adjacent pixel.

This phenomenon is unique to bitmaps. Vector graphics are an alternative to bitmaps because they can scale to the desired level of detail without altering the quality of the image. This is a strong reason why vector graphics are so popular for printing. Algorithmic textures like fractals are also a solution to pixilation.

Is Pixilation Useful on Certain Occasions?

Deliberate pixilation is used when a section of an image has to be hidden or made less clear. This effect may be used on occasions like:

  • Obscuring someone’s face;
  • Censoring vulgar gestures or nudity;
  • Obtaining an artistic effect.

Displaying a pixilated image deliberately is called “pixelization”. Pixel art relies plainly on this effect, because it consists of graphics made in low resolution.

A Computer Science Application in Artificial Intelligence: Handwriting Recognition

March 5, 2014

Computers have the ability to read and interpret handwritten input from paper documents, photos, screens and many other sources. The image of the text submitted to automatic recognition may be sensed either “off line” (written on paper and scanned, for instance) or “on line” (from a pen-based screen surface). There are a few consecutive phases in handwriting recognition:

  • Optical character recognition;
  • Formatting;
  • Accurate segmentation into characters;
  • Identification of the most plausible words.

Off-Line Recognition

Recognizing handwriting off-line involves and automatic conversion of the image of a text into letter codes than can later be used within text-processing applications. Because of the different handwriting styles people have, it is quite difficult to identify the words correctly. OCR/ICR engines require printed text or handwritten text in capital letters, no such engine being able to support handwriting recognition at a decent level as of today.

To make the recognition process more efficient, the following phases may be considered:

  • Domain reduction – implies the elimination of characters that are never used, such as letters or special signs in ZIP codes;
  • Character extraction – the separation of individual characters composing words;
  • Character recognition – the identification of each character, using recognition techniques;
  • Feature extraction – the identification of properties like the aspect ratio, number of strokes, percent of pixels above the horizontal half point and to the right of the vertical half point, average distance from the center of the image, eventual x or y axis reflection, and more, in order to provide a more exact identification of the character.

On-Line Recognition

This process involves the automatic conversion of a text written on a PDA or digitizer. The elements of on-line handwriting recognition interfaces include:

  • A pen/stylus to write with;
  • A touch-sensitive surface;
  • A software application capable of interpreting the movements of the pen across the touch-sensitive surface, and interpreting the resulting strokes into digital information.

Information like stylus pressure, velocity or changes in the writing direction are important to a correct identification of the characters.

Data Mining Applications in Meteorology

March 5, 2014

Data mining means extracting hidden predictive data from large databases. This new technology is extremely powerful and has a great analysis potential when it comes to important information that can be found in data warehouses.

Beyond collecting and analyzing information, data mining also implies prediction processes. Various tools are used to attain this goal, including mathematical algorithms, statistical models, as well as machine learning methods. The latter include algorithms meant to improve automatically their performance through experience, using decision trees or neural networks.

Categories of Network Architecture Used to Model Nervous Systems

There are three categories of signal process and network architecture used in the modeling of nervous systems, and each one streams from a different philosophy:

  • Feed forward neural network, where the input data sets the initial signals up into a set of output signals.
  • Feedback network, where the input data defines an initial state of a feedback system and, after multiple state transitions, an asymptotic final state is reached as an outcome of computation.
  • Neighboring cells in neural networks – they use mutual lateral interactions to compete in several activities, developing adaptively into detectors of various signal patterns Inflatable Boats.

Data Mining as a Tool in Meteorology

Data mining is the perfect method for meteorology, which is an interdisciplinary scientific study of the changes in the atmosphere. It performs series of observations of the changes in air pressure, temperature, wind direction and moisture.

These variables are measured by adequate instruments: barometers, thermometers, anemometers, and hygrometers, respectively. Data is collected through many methods, such as Lidar, Radar, or satellites. The meteorologists use the collected data to issue weather forecasts about atmospheric changes in the near or further future.

The main issue here is that high-dimensional characters are involved. To elaborate a forecast, the meteorologists need to analyze and simplify the information, before proceeding with further analysis. To achieve this goal, data mining techniques are an invaluable help.