Computer Science


The Capstone Experience provides the educational capstone for all students majoring in computer science at Michigan State University. Teams of students build software projects for corporate clients. For information on becoming a project sponsor, see Project Sponsorship or contact Dr. Wayne Dyksen. The following are the project sponsors and projects for the fall of 2015.


Amazon: Twitter Trending Effects on Amazon Sellers

Amazon Marketplace provides a platform for individuals and businesses to sell products to hundreds of millions of online customers. Since more than 40% of Amazon unit sales now result from third-party sellers, Amazon is committed to improving and optimizing their experiences.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.33.10 PMOne of the main challenges faced by Amazon sellers is that of determining what products to stock and in what quantities. To assist them, the Amazon Seller Services team would like to provide its sellers with a free and fast alternative to traditional market studies, which are expensive and time-consuming.

Our Twitter Trending Effects on Amazon Sellers system analyzes Twitter tweets to determine what Amazon products consumers are talking about, what they think of them, and what products Amazon customers are buying.

These Twitter trends are displayed in a responsive, real-time dashboard that Amazon sellers customize for their specific needs, adjusting timeframes and overlaying data sets for comparison. Information about a particular brand or product includes the volume of tweets, the overall positive or negative sentiment and the sentiment of tweeters who mention owning it or purchasing it.

Using our dashboard to forecast the popularity of brands and products, Amazon sellers can make better-informed decisions for the types and quantities of products they stock.

Our system is written in Java using the Kinesis, Redshift, and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Amazon Web Services with a cloud hosted Ruby on Rails web interface.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Paul Stanos, Caitlin McDonald, Michael Chouinard, Erin Hoffman, Justin Vrooman


Auto-Owners Insurance: Navigation Assistant and Accident History App

Auto-Owners Insurance is a Fortune 500 company working with more than 6,200 independent agencies in 26 states. Founded in 1916, Auto-Owners continually improves their products and services for their policyholders.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.38.48 PMOur Navigation Assistant and Accident History App gives customers tools to help them practice safer driving habits. By learning and suggesting safer driving routes, as well as tracking and displaying basic driving statistics, it helps users reduce the likelihood of getting into accidents.

In order to do this, the mobile app keeps track of a user’s frequently visited locations via GPS. Once the app learns a user’s frequent locations, the app analyzes the routes between them. After the safest option is found, the user is sent a notification before departing to their next location. This notice provides the user with new directions to their destination.

Each customer has a profile that includes information about their driving habits. They can view how often they take safer routes, maps of frequently visited locations, as well as their acceleration and deceleration patterns. This information is available using either the mobile app or the online web app.

The web app gives Auto-Owners administrators an overview of general driving statistics, which enables them to gauge the effectiveness that the mobile app has on creating and encouraging safer driving habits.

The Android and web apps are written in Java; the iOS app is written in objective-C. Customer data is stored using SQL Server and accessed through a web service written in C#.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Isaac Vogler, Zach Ray, Tim Sloncz, Megan Frankel, Austin Huynh


Bosch: Mobile App for XCP Measurement and Calibration

Bosch is a global engineering and electronics company with products sold in 150 countries worldwide. In addition to its industrial and building lines of products, Bosch is the world’s leading supplier of automotive components.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.47.30 PMToday’s cars and trucks include up to 50 computers which monitor, control and regulate many things such as fuel efficiency, emissions and braking.

Our Mobile App for XCP Measurement and Calibration gives automotive engineers a quick and easy way to interact with a vehicle’s computers wirelessly using any Android device.

A vehicle’s computers provide a wide variety of measurements about performance such as the wheel speed or the steering angle. Using our app, these values can be viewed in real-time or stored for analysis later.

Our mobile Android app gives users the ability to identify problems quickly. The measurement and calibration features of our app can be used to adjust settings to improve a vehicle’s overall performance.

The computers in cars and trucks communicate with each other using a network protocol called the Universal Measurement and Calibration Protocol or XCP. Our Android app abstracts the details of this protocol, making access to the computers transparent and easy for the user.

Our Mobile App for XCP Measurement and Calibration is written in Java for the Android platform. The primary component of our project is a standalone Java library with an Android application used as a control interface.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Neil Wu, Phil Plachta, John Adams, Jake Lange, Andrew Tomaka


Ford Motor Company: Vehicle Audit Analytics

Ford Motor Company manufactures and sells Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks across six continents with 181,000 employees and 70 plants worldwide.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 4.40.20 PMFord takes a data driven approach to all aspects of designing, developing and manufacturing vehicles by critically evaluating Ford and Lincoln products against their global competitors to ensure that Ford designs are the very best.

Called “vehicle audits,” this evaluative process is currently done manually by designers using spreadsheets and, in some instances, even paper forms.

Our Vehicle Audit Analytics software automates and simplifies the vehicle audit process with an easy-to-use mobile web app. Ford designers compare Ford and Lincoln products against those of their competitors using their mobile devices.

Vehicle audit analytic data is generated by responding to survey questions simply with the touch of a finger. Users can augment responses by adding video, photos and audio.

By automating and simplifying the audit process, our Vehicle Audit Analytics application decreases audit and analysis time. All of the audit data is consolidated into a central location, which results in better data and faster audits.

Our web app works seamlessly both with and without an Internet connection.

Our Vehicle Audit Analytics software uses HTML5, Bootstrap, AngularJS, and Java, SQL Server 2012 and Apache Tomcat.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Aaron Torres, Peng Zhang, Zachary Madejek, Jake Prickett, Tyler Olsen


General Motors: Productivity Toolbar (aka Fast App Launcher)

General Motors is one of the world’s foremost designers and manufacturers of cars and trucks sold in more than 120 countries. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, GM’s 212,000-plus employees work in 396 facilities spanning six continents.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 5.11.04 PMGM employees depend heavily on desktop and web applications including hundreds developed by GM. With so many applications, finding and launching those most important to a particular person’s work is challenging.

Our Productivity Toolbar, also known as Fast App Launcher, enables GM employees to find and launch the computer applications most important to their work quickly and easily.

Using the Productivity Toolbar, employees create personalized pages displaying icons of their most used apps.

The toolbar is used to launch both desktop apps and web apps. In addition to launching apps, the Productivity Toolbar can be used to personalize the location and appearance of the apps.

Applications written by GM are added to the Productivity Toolbar from the General Motors Application Store. Employees use the toolbar to search for apps by name, category and tags, and then add them to their personalized launcher.

Our Productivity Toolbar runs both as a native desktop app on Windows 7 and as a web app in Internet Explorer. Application information is maintained in a MySQL database. The desktop app is scripted in C#; the web app is written in JavaScript with AJAX.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Ruoqing Chen, David Barrie, Kevin Piotrowski, Kan Zhou, Justin Rucinski


Meijer: Mobile Location-Based Product Promotion

With over 200 stores, Meijer serves the Midwest as one of the largest supermarket chains in the country. Having created the first modern supercenter in 1963, Meijer is known for customer service and continual innovation.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 5.25.26 PMMeijer is revolutionizing today’s shopping experience in many ways including the way that product promotions are delivered to its customers.

Our Mobile Location-Based Product Promotion system features an iPhone app that shows product promotions based on a customer’s location within any Meijer store. For example, when walking down the cereal aisle, a customer may be alerted that their favorite cereal is on sale.

Our iPhone app determines a customer’s location in a store using strategically placed devices called iBeacons, which communicate with iPhones using Bluetooth. When a customer walks within range of an iBeacon, a notification appears on their phone showing all nearby product promotions and sales.

In addition to our iPhone app, our system includes a web app with which Meijer team members create, edit and delete iBeacon product promotions and sales.

Our web app also displays customer analytics enabling Meijer and its vendor partners to evaluate the impact of location-based promotions on buying decisions.

Our iPhone app is written in C# while our administrator interface is built with HTML, CSS and AngularJS. Microsoft Azure hosts the administrator website and database which uses SQL Server 2012.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Dan Leclerc, Jason Bull, Xavier Durand-Hollis, Kevin Pauly


MSU Federal Credit Union: Refer A Friend Website and Mobile App

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) is the world’s largest university based credit union, offering a full range of personal and business related financial services to Michigan State University and Oakland University faculty, staff, students, alumni association members, and their families worldwide.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 5.30.54 PMMaintaining and growing membership is a priority for MSUFCU. Our Refer a Friend Website provides a means to keep current members happy while also growing the MSUFCU family by encouraging new individuals to join.

Our Refer a Friend Website assigns each existing MSUFCU member a unique referral code, which they can share quickly and easily through Facebook, Twitter and email.

When the referrer’s friends or family members click through the shared link, they are presented with the choice either to print out the referral code to bring into a local credit union branch or to begin the process of opening an account online.

After a referred account is created, both the existing member and the new member are given their reward.

Referring members are able to track how many of their referrals result in new accounts and the reward they receive on the main page of the referral website.

Our Refer a Friend Website is responsive and works well on both mobile and desktop browsers. It is written in PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and uses the Bootstrap framework. It runs on an Apache webserver and uses MySQL database.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Chris Benoit, Sahil Tandon, Josh Shadik, Yaxing Li


Quicken Loans: Enterprise Architecture Visualizer

Quicken Loans, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, is the largest online retail mortgage lender and the second largest overall retail lender in the US. With almost 30 years of experience, their customers include over 2 million American families.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 6.06.21 PMThe term “enterprise architecture” refers to the components that make up an enterprise’s information technology (IT) system, and the relationships and dependencies between those components. For large organizations, enterprise architectures are very complex and often difficult to grasp.

Our Enterprise Architecture Visualizer displays the enterprise architecture of Quicken Loans using an intuitive graphical user interface, making it easier to understand, maintain and grow.

Each IT component, such as a server or an app, is represented by a graphical icon. Once selected, a component is centered in the window and displayed with its dependencies, showing its place within the overall IT system.

Administrative users can add, remove and edit components along with their dependencies as changes are made or planned. Snapshots of the entire enterprise architecture can be saved and retrieved by date including future dates for envisioned plans.

Our Enterprise Architecture Visualizer is a web app targeted for Google Chrome on desktops and laptops.

Our system is written using Visual Studio 2012. The backend database is Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. The website is hosted using Microsoft Internet Information Services.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Ari Polavarapu, Jeff Johnson, Minh Pham, Garret Smith, Steve Choo


Spectrum Health: Employee Discount Mobile App

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in Grand Rapids Michigan, offering a full range of care throughout the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 11 hospitals, 170 ambulatory service sites, and over 1080 employed physicians.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 6.12.23 PMSpectrum Health employees enjoy discounts on goods and services from a variety of vendors. While previously only accessible using a website at work, our Employee Discount Mobile App now gives Spectrum Health employees access to these discounts from anywhere using their mobile devices.

Spectrum Health employees start at the Employee Discounts landing page shown in the left iPhone image. A task bar allows a user to search through all the discounts either by name or by category.

After selecting a particular discount, a user is given more information than the original snippet found on the landing page. This additional information, shown in the right iPhone image, may include the address of the location offering the discount and sometimes a special discount code.

By providing a mobile way of searching and viewing discounts, Spectrum Health employees can now take better advantage of the employee discount system.

Our Employee Discount Mobile App runs on all phones and tablets of varying sizes. The back end of our system is written in C#, with MVC 4.0. The front end uses AngularJS, HTML and CSS.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Aries Xue, Ruchira Ramani, Marco Botros, Emily Van Norman, Josh Pelcher


TechSmith: GroupWork for Google Chrome

Based in Okemos, Michigan, TechSmith provides over 180 countries around the world with computer screen capture and recording software. TechSmith’s tools are designed to work across multiple devices and locations.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 6.17.39 PMGroupWork for Google Chrome provides a quick and seamless way for groups of people to work collaboratively using TechSmith software, most notably Snagit and Camtasia.

GroupWork users create groups of workers and projects on which to collaborate. Groups are assigned to projects and tasks are assigned to group members.

Group members communicate by posting comments and receiving notifications within the group. GroupWork tracks upcoming deadlines by placing events on group members’ calendars.

Tracking progress is essential for any group effort. Group members can peruse through all of the tasks within a project, checking which tasks are complete and which are pending including an estimate of the time required to complete them.

GroupWork is integrated with Snagit for Chrome, a TechSmith tool used for capturing and sharing content within the Chrome web browser. GroupWork, together with Snagit for Chrome, creates an easy way to share feedback quickly and effectively.

Since GroupWork is a Chrome app, it runs on any computer that supports the Chrome web browser.

GroupWork is written in JavaScript, HTML and CSS, and utilizes AngularJS. Google Drive provides the backend.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Qijun Chen, Gerald Kizer, Justin Fila, Spencer Yi, Christian Fincher


Urban Science: HR Matters

Urban Science is a business-solutions company focused on supporting the sales and marketing needs of the automotive industry. They leverage a scientific methodology to help their client partners sell more vehicles, improve profitability, and increase customer loyalty.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 6.29.25 PMEmployees at automobile dealerships fill many roles such as salesperson or service advisor. People successful in a particular role often share a similar set of behavioral competencies such as having self-confidence or being a good communicator.

HR Matters is a software tool that enables dealers to assess the behavioral competencies of their employees. Managers rate each behavioral competency on a scale from one to five. To assist managers in this process, HR Matters displays a standard list of key behavioral indicators for each competency that corresponds to each of the possible ratings from one to five.

By knowing which behavioral competencies are shared by successful people in particular roles, automobile dealerships use these key behavioral competencies in a variety of ways.

For example, a behavioral area of weakness of an existing employee may be identified for improvement. HR Matters includes historical records of each employee’s behavioral evaluations for tracking progress over time.

In addition, HR Matters can be used to screen potential dealership employees for their suitability for particular roles.

HR Matters is a web-based application that is optimized for both tablets and desktops. It is written in C# using ASP.NET MVC and Bootstrap with a Microsoft SQL back-end database.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Jenna Cyrocki, Brandon Sartele, Kenny Massie, Michael Nelson


Whirlpool Corporation: Windows 8 Apps for Smart Appliances

Whirlpool Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of home appliances. Headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan and operating in more than 130 countries, Whirlpool has over 69,000 employees worldwide.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 6.38.57 PMConnected to the Internet, Whirlpool’s line of Smart Appliances can be monitored and controlled by customers from anywhere using mobile devices. Currently, Whirlpool provides Smart Appliance apps for Android devices and iOS devices, which include iPhones and iPads.

Our Windows 8 Apps for Smart Appliances complete the suite of apps by enabling customers to monitor and control their Smart Appliances using any Microsoft Windows 8 device, from phones to desktops. Sharing a common look-and-feel, the mobile and desktop versions provide customers with a seamless experience across multiple devices.

Our Windows Live Tiles, which are pinned to the start screen of Windows 8 devices, provide dynamic, at-a-glance information about connected Smart Appliances without requiring the apps to be open.

Cortana, the speech synthesis and recognition software for Windows Phones, is integrated with our Windows Phone app, allowing for hands-free commands and notifications.

Our Windows 8 Apps for Smart Appliances use the Windows Universal Applications framework provided by Microsoft and is written in C# and XAML.

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Team Members (Left to Right): Kathy Cummings, Chris Thomas, A. J. Sundheimer, Zachary Pauley, Robert Carpenter