2017 Northwest Advanced Programming Workshop Recap
This summer marked the 2nd year for the Northwest Advanced Programming Workshop (NWAPW). Like the inaugural 2016 NWAPW, students with advanced computer science skills were recruited and recommended by their teachers to participate in this summer’s free project-based workshop. This year 48 new high school students were recruited to work in teams of three on a project of their choosing. For 3 weeks (weekdays from 9:00a until 3:00p) students worked as a member of a small team on their chosen project and along the way developed and enhanced their skills in designing, documenting, coding and managing a project of their choosing. At the end of the workshop, 16 student teams presented their projects to an audience of parents, friends, faculty and students of Portland State University in the atrium of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science Building. Jason Galbraith, OCSTA instructor and one of the NWAPW’s current faculty, has a NWAPW page which provides details and links to this year’s projects.
In addition to the 48 first year students, 17 students from last year’s program returned to work in larger groups on a more complex problem of creating an autonomous car. These 2nd year students broke into two teams to work on some of the challenges for autonomous vehicles. One group of students worked on the problem of identifying pedestrians using a coded approach. The second group worked on the problem of steering a vehicle within a defined path or lane on the road using a neural net. At the end of 4 weeks, these students also presented their prototype solutions of these problems to an audience of their parents and friends as well as faculty and students of Portland State University at the auditorium of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science Building. Here are 2 videos which 1) describe the autonomous driving vehicle challenge posed to the students and 2) showcase the solution presentations given by these 2 groups of students.
Designed as 3 year program, next summer, NWAPW plans to have the returning third year students work on the autonomous car as leaders and senior programmers for teams of returning second year students. The plan is to complete steering solution, test it on a model car and be in a position to field a full sized vehicle that can drive itself on a closed course in 2019. First year students will again form small teams to work on projects of their choosing and prepare themselves to be part of the next cycle of NWAPW.
Additionally, NWAPW plans to roll out the first year of a middle school program in the summer of 2018. This will allow students who don’t have access to a programming course in their high school to get the necessary computer science experience and be eligible to attend the workshop the following summer.
NWAPW is a partner and sponsored program of the Oregon CSTA. Look here for future updates about this pioneering program for high school students designed to take their understanding of computer science to the next level.