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 were the project sponsors and projects for Spring 2016:


Amazon: Comment Ranking & Smart Adverts is a website that provides a platform for entertainers to stream their activities live. Recently acquired by Amazon for nearly one billion dollars, Twitch is ranked above Facebook in peak Internet traffic websites in the United States.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.08.45 PMSimilar to live television, Twitch grants viewers real- time access to a variety of channels. However, being web- based, Twitch also offers additional unique live features, such as chatrooms where viewers of an individual channel can chat among themselves and with the channel host.

Viewing and interacting with channel chat rooms is an important feature of the overall Twitch viewing experience. Our Comment Ranking system improves viewers’ chat experience. Rather than scrolling through long lists of continuously scrolling comments, viewers are presented with a short list of the most popular ones for quick and easy viewing.

Our Smart Advertisements feature listens to both what’s being discussed on the channel and what’s being discussed in chatrooms to identify products being discussed. After identifying the most talked about products, it displays links to those products on Amazon’s website.

Given our two new features, Twitch viewers are able to digest and interact with chat seamlessly while relevant advertisements receive a rise in traffic, which is a win-win for both Twitch viewers and advertisers.

Our Comment Ranking and Smart Advertisements system is written in PHP and C++ and uses a MySQL database and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Amazon Web Services.

Team Members (L-R): Michael Chen, Max Reuter, Cash Compton, Chaz Schooler, Po-An Tsai

Team Members (L-R): Michael Chen, Max Reuter, Cash Compton, Chaz Schooler, Po-An Tsai


Auto-Owners Insurance: Catastrophic Claims Unit Mobilization

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

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.12.19 PMAuto-Owners is committed to providing efficient, timely service to its policyholders affected by severe weather events that cause large amounts of damage. Our Catastrophic Claims Unit Mobilization system streamlines the entire process of handling large volumes of claims resulting from severe weather events.

Our web app displays where policyholders’ properties are located on a map. Auto-Owners claims adjusters utilize overlaid weather radar to locate its customers in high damage areas. Information about these customers is sent to our companion iPad app.

In addition, our web app determines the most centralized location within the high damage area to deploy the mobile claims unit vehicle so the claims adjusters are readily available to assist their policyholders.

Auto-Owners claims adjusters process claims using our companion iPad app. The adjusters file claims on-site, with or without an internet connection. Once connected to the internet, claims that are filed off-line are uploaded to Auto-Owners.

Auto-Owners management can view a statistical analysis of the claims as they are being filed and processed using our web app.

Our web app is written in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. Our iPad app is written in Swift. Both are supported by a MySQL database with JSON used to communicate between the two.

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Team Members (L-R): Matt Wiechec, Nick Reuter, Jason Steele, Nicole Lawrence


GE: Cloud Management Portal

General Electric is the world’s digital industrial company with global locations in more than 170 countries and a workforce of 305,000 employees. GE operates in many industries including appliances, power and water, oil and gas, energy management, aviation, healthcare, transportation and capital.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.15.21 PMGE businesses rely on compute servers to handle large amounts of data. Servers are used for various applications such as storing files, hosting databases and handling email. Servers are also used to distribute information and run apps via the Internet. Today, computing services are often provided by an outside company at a remote location “in the cloud.” GE relies on such cloud servers to manage their apps and deliver services quickly and efficiently.

Managing cloud services is important. Unfortunately, existing cloud management tools are often too complex for many users. Our Cloud Management Portal is a tool designed for use by non-technical users to manage and leverage a wide variety of cloud services. Users experience a simplified approach to cloud resource management with the flexibility of handling multiple cloud resource providers.

Our easy-to-use cloud portal makes cloud service management accessible to non-technical people, which increases the use of cloud resources, thereby enabling hospitals, manufacturers and other businesses to function faster and more efficiently.

Our Cloud Management Portal is written in CSS, HTML, JavaScript and Python, and utilizes the Scalr API, Amazon Web Services and the Django MVC framework.

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Team Members (L-R): Lyle Fann, Vincent Ma, Nick Rutowski, Aaron Rosenwinkel, Will McPeek


General Motors: IT Expert Live Help 

General Motors is a multinational automotive company that sells vehicles in over 120 countries worldwide. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, GM produces nearly ten million vehicles per year and employs over 210,000 people.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.18.08 PMGM’s Global Service Desk (GSD) provides information technology (IT) support to GM employees worldwide. With so many employees, GSD handles a large volume of trouble tickets every day, which sometimes results in long wait times and lost productivity.

Our IT Expert Live Help system provides GM employees with an alternative to the current GSD system. When IT help is needed, a GM employee can use our app to search for a self- help article to fix the problem themselves or they can request immediate help from a volunteer IT expert.

When assistance from a volunteer expert is requested, our app locates an available expert and initiates a Skype call between the person requesting help and the IT expert.

Using Skype, participants can video chat, exchange texts and images such as screen shots. At the conclusion of the help call, users can rate their experience.

Volunteer IT experts manage their availability via our companion web app. They can edit their areas of expertise, their hours of availability and their current availability status.

Our IT Expert Live Help mobile and web apps are written in Swift and JavaScript, respectively, interfacing with a SQL database.

Team Members (L-R): Joe Dinkha, Jenna Sanocki, Jake Price, Zack Keith, Shuhao Zhang

Team Members (L-R): Joe Dinkha, Jenna Sanocki, Jake Price, Zack Keith, Shuhao Zhang


MSU Federal Credit Union: Money Smash Chronicle

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, Oakland University and their surrounding communities.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.20.31 PMAs a university-based credit union, MSUFCU is committed to educating its customers about finances. To improve financial literacy among people of all ages, Money Smash Chronicle educates players while providing a simple yet fun and engaging gameplay experience.

Money Smash Chronicle is a tile-matching puzzle game similar to other popular games such as Candy Crush. Like other puzzle games, our app uses the gameplay design philosophy of being easy to learn yet difficult to master. However, in lieu of requiring payments for extra lives and power-ups, players earn these bonuses by taking quizzes covering topics ranging from financial terminology to financial responsibility.

In addition, gameplay obstacles and goals are modeled after real world situations like surprise expenses and bills with upcoming due dates. These obstacles keep gameplay exciting for all skill levels while giving players more “hands-on” financial knowledge.

Money Smash Chronicle can be played in any web browser, as well as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and Android tablets. Our web app is written in JavaScript and WebGL. The mobile versions are native apps written in Swift for iOS and Java for Android.

Team Members (L-R): Yuming Zhao, Cory Madaj, Wyatt Hillman, Brandon Max, Amy Leung

Team Members (L-R): Yuming Zhao, Cory Madaj, Wyatt Hillman, Brandon Max, Amy Leung


Quicken Loans: Game of Loans

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

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.22.42 PMOur web-based game, Game of Loans, educates Quicken Loans team members on the loan process by taking players through a mock mortgage process.

The objective of the game is to close as many loans as possible in a set number of turns. A player’s ability to acquire and close a loan is influenced by three in- game statistics: income, assets and credit. A player’s statistics are raised or lowered through in-game chance events, such as getting a pay raise or losing a job.

As a player progresses through the loan process, sub-goals appear and indicate passing steps in the actual mortgage process, such as getting conditionally approved.

At the end of a game session, a player is given a score that is based on a combination of the number of loans closed, the difficulty associated with closing each of those loans, and the player’s statistics.

A player’s score is ranked against other players’ scores on a leaderboard, which is managed by a Quicken Loans system administrator.

Game of Loans is written in C# using the Unity game engine, which utilizes WebGL as a platform. A SQL database stores players’ scores.

Team Members (L-R): Art Barajas, Tim Taviano, Andrew Barnett, Shane McCloskey, David Rulestead

Team Members (L-R): Art Barajas, Tim Taviano, Andrew Barnett, Shane McCloskey, David Rulestead


Spectrum Health: Mobile Rounding App

Spectrum Health, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides high quality, high value healthcare through its twelve hospitals, more than 180 ambulatory and service sites, and Priority Health, a health plan with over 700,000 members.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.24.53 PMOur Mobile Rounding App is designed to improve the patient experience during their hospital stay after surgery. Our system consists of two distinct parts, a mobile app and a web app.

Our mobile app enables patients to contact their surgeon with concerns and questions. Patients can do this through a video call or a text message within our app. Each patient is provided with a personalized tablet to be used during their hospital stay.

In addition to contacting their surgeon, patients can view educational materials that pertain to their surgical procedure. They are also provided with a daily checklist of tasks they are expected to complete each day while they are recovering.

Surgeons like Drs. Jason Slaikeu and Peter Beaulieu, vascular surgeons at Spectrum Health and our project collaborators, use the Mobile Rounding App on their tablets to answer video calls from their patients and exchange text messages with them.

Spectrum Health configures tablets and mobile apps for patients using our companion web app. Patient information is entered along with the checklist of tasks to be completed during recovery from surgery.

Our Mobile Rounding App is written in Java and C. The web app runs on the ASP.NET Web API and is written using JavaScript with the AngularJS framework, HTML and C#. Our platforms are supported on the backend by a MySQL database.

Team Members (L-R): Andrew Kellams, Jinguang Li, Anna Pucel, Alexander Hill, Ben Tiefenbach

Team Members (L-R): Andrew Kellams, Jinguang Li, Anna Pucel, Alexander Hill, Ben Tiefenbach


TechSmith: Cloud Based Video Face Tracking

TechSmith provides countries all around the world with screen capture and recording software for individual and professional use. Their products make it easy to create compelling, polished content that’s ready to be shared with anyone.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.27.17 PMWhen sharing videos in a public or legal setting, the need to blur faces often arises. A typical process of blurring faces in a video requires frame-by-frame editing, which is extremely tedious and very time consuming.

With our Cloud Based Video Face Tracking software, face blurring is done automatically, quickly and with ease.

For example, suppose a user needs to produce a video containing the faces of protected witnesses for a court hearing. A user begins by logging onto our website and uploading their video into their video library.

Once selected, the video is displayed with all faces automatically tracked. On a face-by-face case, the user then chooses to blur the face, highlight it or leave it as is.

Manual editing is available in case a face is lost or tracked incorrectly.

When finished, the blurs and highlights are rendered into the video. The user can either save it for further editing or export it.

Our Cloud Based Video Face Tracking software is an ASP.Net MVC 5 web app written in C#. The app along with the underlying SQL database is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Face tracking and video encoding, decoding and editing is supported by the OpenCV API via EMGU.

Team Members (L-R): Eric Newman, Alyssa Werner, Alex Cramer, Kayla Grotsky, Ryan Zahm

Team Members (L-R): Eric Newman, Alyssa Werner, Alex Cramer, Kayla Grotsky, Ryan Zahm


Union Pacific: Oculus Rift Inspection and Training Tool

Union Pacific Railroad is the principle operating company of Union Pacific Corporation. Connecting 23 states in the western half of the country with over 32,000 miles of track, it is one of America’s leading transportation companies.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.30.09 PMWorking with large machinery such as locomotives is dangerous, especially for new employees. To minimize the risk of job-related injury, Union Pacific uses sophisticated training simulators to help trainees familiarize themselves with the operation of railroad equipment.

Our Oculus Rift Inspection and Training Tool is the latest in virtual reality training software, providing an immersive experience for Union Pacific employees without the risk of working with dangerous equipment.

Our system features two modes: Free View and Guided Lessons.

In Free View, trainees explore the structure of locomotives and other railroad equipment. They interact with these models by rotating them, playing animations of moving parts, and “exploding” the models to view individual components.

Guided Lessons provide trainees with a structured tour of the models complete with audio voice-overs and periodic quizzes to test their knowledge. For example, a trainee might be asked to identify a broken part of a locomotive before continuing.

Our Oculus Rift Inspection and Training Tool is an app for both Macs and PCs, powered by the Unity3D gaming engine and written in C#. It uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and Myo Armband gesture controllers to give users a hands- on feel.

Team Members (L-R): Wiliam Norman, Michael Aughton, Sam Berndt, Grant King, Mitch Leinbach

Team Members (L-R): Wiliam Norman, Michael Aughton, Sam Berndt, Grant King, Mitch Leinbach


Urban Science: Dealership Inventory Solution

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

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.32.27 PMAutomobile dealerships are responsible for purchasing their own inventory from their manufacturer. The dealer’s goal is to purchase the correct quantity and selection of vehicles so as to optimize profitability and provide maximum customer satisfaction.

Dealers must consider many factors before making a purchase, such as consumer demand, current inventory and manufacturer allotments.

Our Dealership Inventory Solution provides a web application that enables dealers to optimize their purchasing power by making inventory purchasing recommendations. The system considers many factors, while still allowing the dealer to make the final decisions. Our web app also consolidates multiple systems by showing dealers their current and on-order inventory.

In addition to the web application, our system includes Apple and Android phone apps for dealership customers to view a dealer’s inventory. Customers can not only determine whether a particular car is in stock, but can also find out where that car is on the dealership lot.

Our web app is built with Bootstrap, AngularJS and jQuery, with a Microsoft SQL Server database. Our mobile apps are built with Ionic, which uses AngularJS, CSS and HTML to deploy versions of our app to both Apple and Android devices.

Team Members (L-R): Anthony Santoro, Justin Girard, Joey Norwood, Tyler Huttenga, Hannah White

Team Members (L-R): Anthony Santoro, Justin Girard, Joey Norwood, Tyler Huttenga, Hannah White


Whirlpool Corporation: Mobile Product Catalog

Whirlpool Corporation is the number one manufacturer of major appliances in the world, with approximately $20 billion in annual sales in some 170 countries around the world.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.35.00 PMWhirlpool markets their products under a number of well-known brands including Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air and Indesit.

Whirlpool sells its products through a variety of retail outlets such as Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes.

Our Mobile Product Catalog provides sales associates with a quick and easy way to obtain information for their customers about any Whirlpool product using their Apple or Android phones or tablets.

Our app shows appliance specifications, key features, images and other information for every Whirlpool product. As a result, sales associates spend less time searching for information and more time guiding their customers through the purchase of a home appliance that is right for their lifestyle.

Specific Whirlpool products are found either by searching by name or by browsing through categories of appliances. Filtering narrows the searches. Appliance features can be compared side by side. Sales associates can share search results with their customers via email and text messages.

Our Mobile Product Catalog is implemented in Swift and Java for Apple and Android devices, respectively. We use Google Analytics to provide Whirlpool with big data analytics on consumer interactions with the app.

Team Members (L-R): Zhicheng Xu, Cam Merrill, Jordan Mikkelsen, Joe Schoenherr, Can Gokcek

Team Members (L-R): Zhicheng Xu, Cam Merrill, Jordan Mikkelsen, Joe Schoenherr, Can Gokcek


Yello: Syncing Mobile Data Without Internet Connectivity

Based in Chicago, Yello specializes in talent acquisition software designed for companies to collect, organize and search for information about potential job candidates.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 2.37.45 PMYello’s software includes mobile applications used globally at large career fairs. Candidates submit resumes on recruiter tablets during the career fair. Company recruiters then access candidates’ resumes and record notes about each.

Companies often have multiple recruiters at job fairs. In this case, the information on all of the candidates is kept synchronized and up-to-date across all of the mobile devices of each company using a wireless Internet connection.

Unfortunately, at some career fair venues there are no wireless Internet connections, while at others the connections are not reliable, causing information synchronization to fail.

Our Syncing Mobile Data Without Internet Connectivity system provides wireless network connectivity between mobile devices without a wireless Internet connection. Our software works for both Apple and Android phones and tablets.

At a career fair with limited or no Internet connectivity, one recruiter from a company creates a wireless private network session. Other recruiters from the same company then join that network so that all of the candidate information is synchronized between all of their devices seamlessly.

Our Syncing Mobile Data Without Internet Connectivity system uses the NSCoding and WifiDirect networking libraries and is written in Swift and Java for Apple and Android devices, respectively.

Team Members (L-R): Kiera Wheatley, Kevin Miller, Danielle Scherr, Tanner Stewart, Min Weng

Team Members (L-R): Kiera Wheatley, Kevin Miller, Danielle Scherr, Tanner Stewart, Min Weng