Carnegie Mellon University

2021 Project Overview

By Jen Potter

Projects play an integral part of the MSE program. The MSE flagship program participates in a year-long studio project and the MSE-SS/MSE-ES programs participate in a one-semester practicum during the fall semester. In 2021, students had the opportunity to work with a variety of industries through the studio and practicum projects ranging from healthcare software to consumer robots that teach children to program to helping send a rover to the moon

The projects give the students an opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply those principles to a real, complex problem. MSE student, Changdo Song, worked on a studio project sponsored by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute in partnership with Astrobotic. The team's task was to extend the functionality of MoonRanger Mission Control Software. The Mission Control Software will be used by a small team of operators to command and monitor the MoonRanger micro rover during its lunar south pole mission. Changdo shared, “The decisions we made and the actions we took all had consequences so trying to make each one count was a big learning process. When working with our client, we were not only working towards a goal together, but also building a relationship in the process, and that made this more than just a technical project.” In addition the the benefit of working on a real-world project, Changdo noted that "Coordinating with teammates from different backgrounds and leveraging each one's strength was what made this journey more meaningful and unique."

MindTrace worked with both a studio and practicum team, where the students had the opportunity to work on the development of a 3D neuro imaging platform to help neurosurgeons be more effective during surgery. Hugo Angulo, Chief Technology Officer, and his colleagues commented that they “were extremely satisfied with the results delivered by the team of graduate students. Despite being a small group, they were able to deliver a functional system that has been deployed in a cloud service. The system is functional, and there are several features that we can improve and expand, however I must emphasize that the base structure for future growth is in a position that allows us to test the solution with potential customers of our technology. Despite the difficulties they constantly faced, the team demonstrated that they were resourceful in handling a project that changed drastically. They made strategic decisions that helped them adapt quickly to generate progress on the project."

Delphi, a research group based out of Carnegie Mellon University dedicated to developing the theory and practice of epidemic tracking and forecasting, maintains a large number of real-time public health surveillance data streams available to the public. The Delphi group asked the practicum team to address faults in the datastreams. KathrynMazaitis, Research Programmer for Delphi said, "The student team delivered a product that was compatible with the existing Delphi Brand, fits nicely with our existing tech stack, and will be easy to extend as our needs change. I plan to use several of their diagrams, artifacts, and methods on future projects as exemplars for best practice. I was consistently impressed with the students' professionalism and rigor. The team was flexible to my requests. I'd be pleased to work with this group or any other similarly-equipped MSE student team again." 

Thank you to all of the 2021 sponsors and best of luck to the graduating class of 2021. The MSE program looks forward to continuing to work with past sponsors and welcomes new partnerships in the future!