Summer Research Spotlight: Andrei Papancea

July 10, 2012

Under the supervision of Professor David Bunde, senior Andrei Papancea's on-campus summer research involves learning parallel programming languages, developing educational materials, and evaluating how suitable they are for the classroom and actual applications. The ultimate goal is to aid the adoption of appropriate languages into courses at Knox and elsewhere. Andrei is a computer science and economics double major and a native of Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania. His project is sponsored in full by the Baker-Velde Award, which he received at the Honors Banquet this past spring.

Senior Andrei Papancea is researching parallelism under Professor David BundeDescribe your day-to-day experiences so far.
I have been working with another student, Michael Graf '15, and so far we have revised two tutorials that were initially written by other Knox students. We brought them up to date, added more conclusive examples and explanations, and we changed the layout to make it more reader friendly. The second tutorial that we worked on -- for programming language called Chapel -- has already gotten positive feedback from a professor at another university who has expressed his interest to use our tutorial for teaching.

What inspired you to pursue the project?
Besides the fact that I am accumulating experience in computer science and doing research, due to this project I am strengthening my graduate school applications considerably.

What do you expect to learn?
I have two goals for this project: to learn more about parallel programming languages, and to get a better grasp of what research entails.

Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom and/or out-of-the-classroom experiences at Knox have benefited you in the project?
Knox professors strongly recommend their students to pursue independent projects, so I took their advice. So far, I have conducted four independent studies that are somewhat related to computer science. These experiences have given me more drive to pursue a more ambitious project, which is my summer research.

What has been the best part of your project so far?
The fact that it is flexible, and that we quickly got to a point where we know what we are doing.

How do you think this research experience will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.?
[In addition to strengthening my graduate school applications] I am pursuing an Honors project starting this upcoming fall term, and I am confident the experience during this summer will help me tackle it better.

Read more about Andrei's research with Professor Bunde.