Mike Holcombe - 3rd year Projects 2006-7

WMLH-1: easyTest

Project description.

Testing is the most expensive part  of the software development process consuming at least 50% of time and money in any typical project. Yet,
despite this, testing is rarely dealt with in any detail, if at all, in programming courses. New approaches to software development, such as
eXtreme Programming (XP) require you to write your tests FIRST, before starting to code and to run these tests regularly on the code as you
develop it. This gives you much more confidence that your code is good. However, it is not easy to write tests and if the tests are poor the
code will also be poor (buggy).
 
This project will create an on-line test support system, easyTest, which will be both a learning tool and a practical test tool. The focus is a
'learn and do' approach for use in a first Java programming course.
 
Part of the tool will be some simple pages of information and guidance on how to write simple tests with many examples and a practical and
structured approach to thinking about simple programs and classes in order to create tests. The second part will be an integrated tool which
will store tests and provide a mechanism for applying these to the developing code with minimal effort.
 
There is already a popular program for running tests in this way – Junit - and we will build on this. This is available from: 
www.XProgramming.com
 
The final product should be a powerful aid to novice programmers that will guide them in writing tests and provide a friendly environment so
that they can do their testing as they try to develop their code. The tool must support programmer activity and not 'get in the way'
 
Resources.
 
K. Beck, "eXtreme programming explained - embrace change" Addison-Wesley.
 
M. Holcombe, The Book of Genesys Solutions.

 

 

WMLH-2: Epidemiology modelling

Project description. This will involve the use of the X-agent computational framework

http://www.dcs.shef.ac.uk/%7Estc/

in the modelling of a social network – a number of individuals together located in various positions with transport links between them. We will investigate how a disease, such as Avian Flu, Foot and Mouth etc. can spread through the interactions of individuals in locations where there is movement along specific routes. Currently all the modelling of the spread of disease that is done by governments etc. is based on the use of systems of differential equations that track changes at the population level. However, to catch a disease the individual will normally have o come into close contact with a carrier. We will model this process and investigate a variety of scenarios including the use of vaccination etc.

Resources.

Books of epidemiology from the library.

The X-agent framework – this involves the use of the C programming language and, possibly, the use of parallel computers.

 

 

WMLH-3: Modelling economic and social behaviour

Project description. This will involve the use of the X-agent computational framework

http://www.dcs.shef.ac.uk/%7Estc/

in the modelling of a social network – a number of individuals and organisations together located in various positions with transport links between them.

The project will be in collaboration with Dr. Dimitris Ballas of the Geography Department. We will use an agent-based approach to investigate how a social and economic system adapts under changing circumstances. We will use a case study which contains data about the effect of a factory closure in Leeds has on the local community – individuals and families, suppliers, local shops etc.  We will design agents to represent all of these and use available data to create realistic models. These will include spending patters, receipt of benefits etc. movement away form the area etc. Such simulations will be valuable for policy makers in Governments and industrial companies.

 

Resources

 

http://www.jrf.org.uk/bookshop/details.asp?pubID=659

 

 The X-agent framework – this involves the use of the C programming language and, possibly, the use of parallel computers

 

 

WMLH-4: Development of the NASA Communicating X-machine framework

Project description. NASA have identified the specification technology to be used by the designers of their future generation Smart satellites. See

NASAANTS5.pdf

This technology was developed in Sheffield and has been chosen by NASA after an exhaustive survey of existing approaches. The project will build on the X-agent simulation software developed in the Department

http://www.dcs.shef.ac.uk/%7Estc/

The project will develop examples of small scale satellite swarms and mechanisms for reorganising the roles of the different satellites in the event of significant losses.

The framework requires some knowledge of C programming.

Resources

Follow the above links