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 spring of 2015.


Amazon: SIFT Seller-Forums Information Filtering Tool

Amazon Marketplace provides a platform for individuals and businesses to sell products to hundreds of millions of online customers. Currently, more than 40% of Amazon sales result from third-party sellers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.22.39 AMIn order to improve and optimize the experiences of their third-party sellers, Amazon provides Seller Forums on which sellers can post questions and answers to questions.

Worldwide, Amazon sellers post about 65,000 questions and 2,100,000 answers per year. Without an automated way to analyze these posts, it is very difficult for Amazon to get a sense of trending topics, pain points and areas to be improved.

SIFT, Seller-Forums Information Filtering Tool, analyzes the Seller Forums using natural language processing to classify the posts into groups clustered around common themes. These clusters identify currently trending topics within the seller forums, thereby helping the Amazon Seller Services team to resolve potential issues for their sellers.

The clustering of posts into topics can be refined by specifying the number of clusters to be created, a date range and other cluster-specific settings.

SIFT’s dashboard displays the current state of trending topics on the Seller Forums. Amazon Seller Services team members can view, search and filter posts related to each cluster.

SIFT is written in Python using the Django web framework. A MySQL database is hosted on Amazon’s Relational Database Service, which is hosted on Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing through Amazon Web Services.

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Team Members (left to right): Max Goovaerts, Benjamin Taylor, Luke Pritchett, Johnny Zheng, Carl Johnson


Auto-Owners Insurance: Claims First Notice of Loss Application

Auto-Owners Insurance, a Fortune 500 company founded in 1916, is the 15th largest insurer in the country. Auto-Owners is known for its exceptional financial strength and customer service among the nation’s largest insurers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.26.16 AMThe experience of a loss of any kind can be a very difficult time. Auto-Owners is committed to providing its policyholders with claim service that is as simple and as stress free as possible during these difficult times.

Using our Claims First Notice of Loss Application Auto-Owners’ policyholders can submit their initial claim information, called their “first notice of loss,” using their mobile phones at any time and from anywhere.

Our application supports both home and automotive claims. Policyholders can attach photos, location data, damage descriptions and audio. Nearby emergency services can be located and contacted. Policyholders can communicate directly with Auto-Owners customer service representatives.

Our software system includes a separate web application that independent Auto-Owners agents use to view claims submitted through the mobile application. Agents set notification preferences specifying how they would like to be notified about claims. The agents can choose between email, text message and automated voicemail notifications.

Our Claims First Notice of Loss Application is a cross-platform CSS, HTML and JavaScript mobile application that submits data to a Django web service. The claim data is stored in a MySQL database.

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Team Members (left to right): David Kircos, Anthony Tesorero, Alex Morton, Si Wang


The Boeing Company: Business Developer’s Electronic Sales Bag

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft, defense systems and missiles. This wide array of products and services is marketed at customer meetings, trade shows and other forums by Boeing business developers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.40.25 AMToday pilots no longer carry heavy “flight bags” full of printed maps. Instead, small tablet computers serve as “electronic flight bags” providing pilots with hundreds of maps on a single mobile device.

Similarly, our Business Developer’s Electronic Sales Bag provides Boeing business developers with access to all of their sales tools using a single tablet computer, replacing “sales bags” full of printed materials with electronic versions.

In addition to providing electronic versions of marketing materials, our electronic sales bag enables Boeing business developers to manage all aspects of the business development process including scheduling meetings, organizing materials for specific customers, and documenting meetings.

Everything within our Business Developer’s Electronic Sales Bag is available to Boeing business developers regardless of Internet connectivity. Business developers no longer need to worry about forgetting any marketing materials because the entire collection is available at anytime from anywhere.

Our Business Developer’s Electronic Sales Bag is a native Windows Surface Pro 3 app. It is written in C# and uses an underlying SQLite database.

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Team Members (left to right): Mike Gerard, Andy Lieblich, Jourdan West, Dan Roman


Ford Motor Company: Electric Vehicle Charging Station App

Ford Motor Company manufactures and sells Ford and Lincoln cars and trucks across six continents with 224,000 employees and 90 plants worldwide.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.42.15 AMFord has begun producing and selling electric vehicles like the Ford Focus Electric. As the popularity of electric vehicles increases, so does the need for charging stations.

To meet the increased demand at their headquarters, Ford provides numerous charging stations throughout their Dearborn campus.

Our Electric Vehicle Charging Station App enables Ford employees to locate unoccupied charging stations on their Dearborn campus via a map and set notifications for when a charging station becomes available, all using their iPhone.

In addition to finding charging stations, our app reminds employees to move their car after it has been parked at a station for more than four hours. A leaderboard keeps track of who follows this recommendation and displays it in the app.

Our system uses Bluetooth devices called Estimote Beacons. Employees obtain and register a Beacon, which they place in their car. The charging station senses the presence of their Beacon and marks the station as occupied by that employee, which updates the employee’s iPhone app.

Our Electric Vehicle Charging Station App is written in Objective-C. The web services backend is written in Java using the Spring framework. An OpenLDAP server handles our user authentication and storage. A Microsoft SQL Server database stores all other relevant data.

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Team Members (left to right): Ryan Switzer, Kevin Karabon, Justin Grothe, Brian Jurgess


General Motors: Employee Companion Mobile Application

With over 100 years of experience in developing and manufacturing innovative vehicles, General Motors is a global leader in the automotive industry.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 10.47.34 AMGM provides convenient Information Technology (IT) Service Centers where employees can go for help with their computers and mobile devices. With over 212,000 employees worldwide, GM supports many IT Service Centers across the globe.

Our Employee Companion Mobile Application provides GM employees with quick and easy access to information about IT Service Centers.

After using our app to locate the nearest IT Service Center, GM employees can schedule an appointment by selecting a desired date and time. In addition, they can provide reasons for the appointment along with attached screen-capture images that show examples of their problem.

Once an appointment is scheduled, users can view appointment details including directions to the IT Service Center, building layouts and contact information.

In addition to its scheduling features, our app includes a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section where GM employees can post questions as well as view answers to previously posted questions.

Our Employee Companion Mobile Application runs on iPhones, iPads and in web browsers. The iOS app is built using Xcode with the Swift programming language. The web app is written using CSS, HTML, JavaScript and PHP. Both use the same MySQL database backend.

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Team Members (left to right): Nate Seifert, Jake Ray, Yutaka Iwasaki, Ryan Boyce, Derrick Dunville


Meijer: Product Availability Check using Glassware

Meijer is one of the country’s largest supercenters that provides high quality food and merchandise to several states across the Midwestern United States. With their headquarters located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Meijer has over 200 stores, 60,000 team members, and is continually revolutionizing today’s shopping experience by utilizing cutting-edge technology.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.00.54 AMOur Product Availability Check using Glassware system enables Meijer team members to check the availability of products for Meijer customers. Our application supports searching via barcode scanning or voice input and it provides visual feedback regarding availability, quickly and hands-free.

In addition to the Glassware, our system includes a native Android application that also provides barcode scanning capabilities and the ability to view previously scanned products to reduce duplicate scans. While the Glassware screen is only visible to Meijer team members, customers can view product information using this Android application.

The third component of our product availability system is a web application that displays analytics showing the usage of the Glassware and Android apps. Meijer team members can look up products to see how many times they are searched for, including how many times the scans are successful.

The Glassware and Android applications are written in Java with the open source ZBar scanning library. The web application is written using CSS, HTML and JavaScript. Our backend services are hosted on Microsoft Azure, which includes a SQL server and mobile services features.

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Team Members (left to right): Scott Rucinski, Ethan Ettema, Jim Howell, Luan Tran


MSU Federal Credit Union: Financial 4.0 Interactive Budgeting Tool

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) is the largest university-based credit union in the world, serving Michigan State University, Oakland University and their surrounding communities.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.14.08 AMAs a university-based credit union, MSUFCU is committed to educating students about their finances. To this end, MSUFCU is building a suite of apps called Financial 4.0 designed to teach students about a variety of important economic topics.

As part of the suite, our Financial 4.0 Interactive Budgeting Tool enables students to create and manage personal budgets. In order to make this more appealing and more fun for students, our app includes game-like features.

Students can compete in a variety of financial games such as the “52-Week Money Challenge” and the “Shopping Spree on a Budget.” Winners are awarded points that determine a player’s rank. Future versions of these challenges may include prizes provided by MSUFCU.

In addition to budgeting and gaming, our app provides students with a financial “Tip of the Week.”

This version of Financial 4.0 Interactive Budgeting Tool is styled after MSUFCU apps. Our system is designed to be adapted easily to produce a future version styled for Oakland University Credit Union as well.

Our Financial 4.0 Interactive Budgeting Tool runs on iPhones, Android devices and within any web browser. It uses HTTP requests to communicate with our server, which in turn are handled using our PHP-based back end.

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Team Members (left to right): Josh Cornett, Vinny Sabatini, Ashlee DeLine, Matt LaBrenz, James Estell


Quicken Loans: Parking Allocation and Expense Reconciliation

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

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.16.44 AMAs it rapidly expands its workforce, Quicken Loans faces the continual challenge of meeting the parking needs of its team members, many of whom commute by car.

Quicken Loans is frequently overbilled due to discrepancies between garage managers’ invoices and Quicken Loans’ records. These discrepancies are reconciled manually by the Quicken Loans Parking Team through a number of processes including spreadsheets and emails to garage managers.

Our Parking Allocation and Expense Reconciliation dashboard automates this process by ingesting data from each garage and identifying points of contention. Our system also provides an easy way to communicate problems to garage managers by generating and sending issue reports.

The dashboard manages invoices and visualizes numerical data such as the number of spots billed each month, which are used to track and monitor parking expenses. It also includes the ability to monitor team member parking by communicating with badge scan readers located in several garages and displaying parking activity, thereby enabling the Parking Team to optimize usage and allocate spots as needed.

Our dashboard is written in C# using the .NET Framework. The underlying database is Microsoft SQL Server 2012. The front end uses Google Maps, AngularJS and jQuery.

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Team Members (left to right): Tim Hasselbeck, Elizabeth Florian, Chelsea Bridson, Matt Soulliere


Spectrum Health System: Mobile Appointment Check-In and Payment

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health care system serving more than one million patients every year. Spectrum Health offers a variety of services that involve hospitals, treatment facilities and physician practices.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.18.43 AMSpectrum Health is working to become the national leader in health care by the year 2020. One component of their strategy to improve the patient experience is the use of innovative mobile technologies.

Our Mobile Appointment Check-In and Payment system revolutionizes the check-in process by allowing patients to check in for appointments and make payments using their personal mobile devices.

Upon arrival at a Spectrum Health facility, our system sends patients a notification informing them that they have an appointment available for mobile check-in. Once signed into the app, patients verify their personal and insurance information making any corrections directly from their mobile device. Patients can also sign any waivers or compliance agreements that may have changed since their last visit.

After the check-in process is complete, patients can process their copayment along with any other balance on their account using PayPal. A floor map of the facility guides patients to their appointment.

Our app is written using Angular JS, HTML and C# using Apache Cordova to produce versions for iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets.

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Team Members (left to right): Joe Reeder, J. J. Peter, Eric Drews, Justin Rush


TechSmith: Enterprise Learning Activity Capture

TechSmith is a leading software developer of screen and video capture and editing software including the very popular Snagit and Camtasia Studio, which are used by companies and educational institutions around the world.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.22.34 AMCreating such a wide variety of software requires TechSmith software developers to use an equally wide variety of technologies. When faced with the challenge of learning a new technology, it is helpful to find a colleague who already knows it. Yet finding the right person “in the know” is hard to do.

Our Enterprise Learning Activity Capture system captures the learning activities, and hence the skillsets, of TechSmith developers and records these activities in a special database called a Learning Record Store.

Implemented as a Microsoft Office application, our system runs seamlessly within the entire Microsoft Office suite, appearing as a task pane within Office. Users only need to log into our system once, after which it runs unobtrusively in the background.

While looking through Office documents, TechSmith software developers can search for other developers who already know particular technologies and have the skillset of interest. After a user enters a search topic, our system points developers to their colleagues who can help them the most.

Our Enterprise Learning Activity Capture system uses the Advanced Distributed Learning’s Learning Record Store, the TinCan API, CSS, HTML5, JavaScript and Bootstrap.

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Team Members (left to right): Drew Murray, Ben Blazy, Mariah Gilman, Stephan Hutecker


Urban Science: Global Dealer Census and Market Share Viewer

Urban Science delivers consulting and software solutions that help automotive clients increase market share and boost profitability through high performing retail networks.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.25.32 AMAt each of Urban Science’s automotive partners, the global marketing managers are responsible for understanding what cars are selling where and how these sales relate to their competition.

These automotive marketing managers review market statistics through a variety of metrics, providing their assessments to executives who use them to make strategic investments in new products and dealerships. Currently, this information is obtained using multiple disparate systems.

Our Global Dealer Census and Market Share Viewer system is a robust multi-platform application that consolidates and visualizes global market share data in one convenient place.

Using a map interface, managers can drill down to region and country level statistics, and analyze the data using a variety of metrics. Graphs and charts provide helpful visualizations. Managers can receive push notifications when updated market share data become available.

The CEO view shows a high-level summary report of a company’s market and franchise share versus its competitors.

Our system includes a web app along with native apps for iPad and Android tablets. The web app is written in JavaScript using ASP.NET MVC with a Microsoft SQL backend database. The iPad application is written using Swift and Objective C. The Android application is written in Java.

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Team Members (left to right): Lucas Madill, Abdulla Alkawai, David Pusdesris, David Warner, Dhruv Rajput


Whirlpool Corporation: Laundry Room Tablet Payment System

Whirlpool is a global leader in the design and manufacture of appliances including an innovative line of Smart Appliances, which are Wi-Fi enabled and connected to the Internet.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 11.54.30 AMWhirlpool’s commercial washers and dryers are widely used in public laundry facilities such as college dorms and apartment complexes. Using their Internet connectivity, these machines can provide lots of useful information, such as the price of a wash or the time when a load in a washer or dryer is done.

Launder, our Laundry Room Tablet Payment System, is a payment and information terminal for Whirlpool washers and dryers. It runs on dedicated tablet computers in unattended public laundry facilities. Launder is simple and easy to use, even by customers with no experience using mobile apps.

Launder enhances customers’ laundry room experiences in a variety of novel ways. Customers receive text messages when a machine becomes available or when their wash or dry is done, reducing the hassle of waiting in the laundry room.

Customers can send feedback to their laundry room manager, say to report broken machines, and they can gain rewards for consistent use of Whirlpool machines.

Launder centralizes payment by allowing customers to pay with their credit cards instead of coins, tokens or other payment methods. Launder optionally emails receipts to users.

Launder is written in C# and XAML, and runs on Windows 8 and Android tablets.

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Team Members (left to right): Angie Sun, Alex Kambeitz, Evan Swinehart, Sam Bentzel