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 2014.


Auto-Owners Insurance: Mobile Audit Itinerary and Worksheet

A uto-Owners Insurance is a Fortune 500 company with written premiums of over $5 billion. Auto-Owners is recognized for exceptional financial strength and outstanding customer service as “The No Problem People.”®

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.05.57 PMOne key to Auto-Owners’ excellent customer service is a group of mobile associates called “underwriting field service representatives” who meet in person with policyholders to audit and update policy information after a policy expires.

With our Mobile Audit Itinerary and Worksheet software, underwriting field service representatives can audit and update all of the policyholder information using a wide variety of mobile devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Our system provides maps and directions to the list of customers to be visited each day. Underwriting field service representatives can re-order their visits, which causes their maps and directions to be updated automatically.

Even if an internet connection is temporarily not available, we provide most of the system’s functionality. Auto-Owners’ representatives are able to continue to update policyholder information, view their itinerary for the day, and generate reports summarizing all of their collected information.

Our Mobile Audit Itinerary and Worksheet software runs in most modern browsers. Our web server is Apache Tomcat with JSP (JavaServer Pages). Policyholder information is stored remotely in an IBM DB2 database. Local information is stored in XML format. The maps and directions are provided using the Google Maps API.

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Team Members (left to right): Jacob Burger, Garrett Stevenson, Ladi Oyeleye


The Boeing Company: Flight Simulator Suite

With over 170,000 employees around the globe and a customer base spanning 150 countries, Boeing is the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.10.18 PMIn order to develop state-of-the-art aircraft, Boeing relies heavily on flight simulation systems to test new designs and coordinate control, thereby saving time and money, and minimizing risks for test pilots.

Our Flight Simulator Suite enables Boeing to take full advantage of all facets of flight simulation by improving the extendibility and the modularity of the open source flight simulation software FlightGear (FG).

Our system extends FG’s simulation engine by adding a message queuing subsystem that allows data exchange between FG and other software. For example, such data exchange is used to implement a GUI that communicates with FG to display information such as player positions.

In addition our Flight Simulator Suite features full menus and multiple views that enable users to take advantage of the full range of FG’s many capabilities.

Finally, our suite utilizes FG’s modular structure to improve the graphics system, incorporating an array of physics engines used to compute physically accurate flight simulations.

Our Flight Simulator Suite is written using C++ and Python. We are using the ActiveMQ library to handle the message passing and wxPython to display the Graphical User Interface.

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Team Members (left to right): Chris Ek, Stephi Stumpos, Mike Marinetti


Ford Motor Company: Mobile Approver

Ford Motor Company is an iconic American brand that has been producing automobiles for 110 years. Ford’s workforce of 170,000 employees produced 2.5 million vehicles in 2013. In order to run a large global company, Ford relies heavily on structured business processes. Many of these processes are computerized and require supervisors to review and approve actions or requests. Examples include: employee timekeeping, purchasing, expense reporting and product tracking.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.29.21 PMWhile Ford’s current approval systems do work, they require supervisors to use many different systems to approve different types of requests. Furthermore, these systems do not support mobile computing, which is common in the modern workplace.

Our Mobile Approver system replaces these disparate approval systems with a single, unified approval portal. Ford supervisors can approve any and all types of actions or requests simply by logging into a single system using their Ford credentials.

Once a supervisor is logged in, our system retrieves all actions and requests that have pending approvals and displays them in a single, easy-to-use interface. Supervisors can quickly approve or reject requests, providing comments when needed.

Our Mobile Approver system supports all modern web browsers and runs on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones.

Devices with cameras such as tablets and phones can use QR codes to interface with Ford’s inventory tracking system.

Our system is implemented using HTML5, Java, Spring MVC, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and JavaScript.

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Team Members (left to right): Nik Andrews, Anthony Russel, Tony Cooke


General Motors: The Matrix-Vehicle Simulator System

Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors is a global Fortune 100 company with over 212,000 employees on six continents. For over a century, General Motors has developed innovative technologies and shaped the future of the automotive industry.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.46.50 PMGM customers today expect their cars to have a variety of “smart” capabilities including things like navigation, social media such as Facebook, and music streaming such as Pandora.

In addition to these smart capabilities, GM is developing more and more apps that enable their customers to interact with their smart cars directly from their mobile phones or computers.

Currently, in order to test a new mobile app, GM software developers must reserve and use actual cars, which can cause delays in testing and be very costly.

The Matrix is a vehicle simulator that creates virtual cars, which GM developers use to test their applications without the need of actual cars. GM can prototype and test their apps against real-world situations without real-world limitations.

Using The Matrix, GM app developers can create virtual cars traveling along specified map routes. The mobile app being tested receives regular updates of GPS coordinates along with other notifications such as a seat belt being buckled, the wipers being turned on or the air bags being deployed.

Our simulator runs on .NET, and clients connect to it via a RESTful API or through a WCF library. Our companion .NET WPF demo application shows off the features of the API.

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Team Members (left to right): Duncan Young, Sam Moore, Matt Wein


Google: Change Management Software

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

As such, Google operates a very large and very complex infrastructure of networks, databases and servers that store and distribute vast amounts of information throughout the world.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.49.56 PMGoogle’s complex data infrastructure must be maintained and customized to their needs. Naturally, all Google engineers need to be aware when services are down or have been changed in some way.

Our Change Management Software system schedules, approves and alerts users to computing infrastructure changes using a web app and email notifications.

Google’s engineers use our system to create change requests, which include the purpose of the change along with a proposed date. The requesting engineer receives regular email updates about the status of their requests.

After requests are created, supervising engineers receive email notifications of pending requests, which they can approve, deny or edit.

Once requests are approved, email is sent to the requesting engineers and to all affected users. In addition, notices may be added to an online board called Google Helpdesk where users can view infrastructure changes affecting wide audiences.

Our Change Management Software is built using AngularJS and Python to communicate with Google App Engine’s Datastore.

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Team Members (left to right): Nick Vogt, Ben Bonnen, Albert Guo


Meijer: Mobile Customer Satisfaction App

Meijer is a family-owned chain of supercenters committed to providing quality food and general merchandise products to its customers throughout the Midwest. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Meijer has over 200 stores and approximately 60,000 employees.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.17.51 PMCurrently, Meijer collects feedback from its customers on their shopping experience through the corporate website.

Our Customer Satisfaction App is a mobile application that enables Meijer customers to give immediate feedback on their shopping experience while they are in the store.

They can respond to a general survey, provide information about specific issues, view store details and view frequently asked questions. Feedback is automatically associated with a store by our app.

Using our mobile app while in the store, Meijer customers can provide feedback about their shopping experience in a timelier manner, thereby enabling a shorter delay between the time a problem arises and its resolution.

Our system includes a companion internal website that Meijer associates use to view the collected customer feedback. Issues can be sorted by severity and status.

Meijer team members can contact customers if requested using the email address they submitted. This way, Meijer can respond to customers faster and improve their experience.

Our Customer Satisfaction App is a native Android application written in Java using Eclipse. The companion website and database are hosted with Microsoft Azure.

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Team Members (left to right): Taylor Jones, Kaleb Friskey, Noor Hanan, Ahmad Kamel


MSU Federal Credit Union: Mobile Financial Education App

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union is the largest university-based credit union in the world, serving more than 181,000 members. Many of their members are students and recent graduates of Michigan State University and Oakland University who are new to the complex world of finance.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.23.49 PMTeaching students and recent alumni the importance of fiscal management and fiscal responsibility is very important, especially in our increasingly complex financial world with a wide variety of often complicated and confusing options.

Our Mobile Financial Education App provides students and recent graduates with concise information about a wide variety of timely financial topics quickly in the palm of their hand.

Students can personalize their use of our app while navigating through topical reference materials and financial tools relevant to their needs and challenges such as student loans, credit scores and travel expenses.

Additionally, our app includes an “Ask an Expert” feature, which enables users to email questions directly to experts at the MSU Federal Credit Union.

Our Mobile Financial Education App supports a wide variety of mobile devices providing native apps for iPhones and iPads as well as Android phones and tablets.

Our iPhone and iPad apps are written in Objective-C using Xcode. Our Android apps are written in Java using Android Studio. The content for the apps is served from a knowledge base curated by MSUFCU.

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Team Members (left to right): Drew Dakin, Jenny Manning, Kyle Ladd


Quicken Loans: Mobile RFID Inventory Tracking System

Founded in 1985, Quicken Loans is a financial institution headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. Quicken Loans is the nation’s largest online mortgage lender.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.36.21 PMAs part of its commitment to innovation, Quicken Loans is continually developing new mobile apps. To test these apps, team members may borrow a wide variety of mobile devices.

Our Mobile RFID Inventory Tracking System uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to automate the process by which team members check in and check out mobile devices.

A team member’s ID badge unlocks the cabinet where the mobile devices are stored. Devices are checked out simply by removing them from the cabinet, and devices are checked in simply by putting them back. Team members receive email notifications when devices are checked out or checked in, or if a device must be returned.

Our system identifies mobile devices wirelessly using an RFID scanner to read RFID tags attached to the devices. The scanner enables our system to determine what devices are in the cabinet and when devices are removed or returned to the cabinet.

Our Mobile RFID Inventory Tracking System is managed using a web app that supports desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Users can view the checked-in/checked out status of existing devices as well as add new ones.

Our web application is written in the .NET MVC framework, with a Windows Web API back end. Our system uses the Impinj Speedway Revolution R420 RFID reader.

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Team Members (left to right): Jacob Riesser, Josh Rasor, K.P. Patel


Spectrum Health System: Medications Shortages Dashboard

Spectrum Health System, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides high quality, high value healthcare through its nine hospitals in West Michigan, which are maintained by 19,000 employees, 1,500 physicians, and 2,600 active volunteers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.49.09 PMSpectrum Health hospitals carry thousands of medications in various dosages. Having the right medication in the correct dosage at the right time is critical to providing high quality health care. One of Spectrum’s many important day-to-day concerns is that of potential medication shortages.

Our Medication Shortages Dashboard provides Spectrum medical personnel with an at-a-glance overview of current national drug shortages. The dashboard displays a concise color-coded synopsis that is easy to process and easy to use.

Dashboard users add the medications that they care about most to their personal watch list, which is displayed at the top of their view of the dashboard.

Our dashboard includes a details page about every medication carried by Spectrum Health’s hospitals, thereby allowing medical personnel to track the history of a drug’s shortage status and to display basic information about it.

Information about medication shortages is pulled in real time from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP).

Our Medication Shortages Dashboard is built on a Model-View-Controller architecture, using ASP.NET 4.5 with C#. Microsoft SQL server is used to store all shortage information.

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Team Members (left to right): Cam Keif, Alexander Lockwood, Alex Seling


TechSmith: ClassView

TechSmith is a software company based in Okemos, Michigan and is well-known for its screen capture and recording software, which is widely used in educational settings for computer-based learning activities. TechSmith is using the latest technology to develop a wide variety of tools to make an impact on education.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.52.50 PMOur ClassView software models a classroom environment and is built on top of the cloud file storage provided by Google Drive. Our software is comprised of two distinct applications, the Teacher Dashboard and the Student Dashboard.

The Teacher Dashboard simplifies classroom management for teachers. Teachers have the ability to create and assign projects, and to review student progress on them. Teachers can create classes, add students to classes, and create groups within each class. Teachers are also able to monitor how students are sharing files via notifications in order to ensure file security.

While using the Student Dashboard, students can work on their assignments while having the necessary limited access to the Google Drive interface. Students are able to collaborate with classmates, view their progress on current assignments and receive reminders of homework due dates.

The ClassView Teacher Dashboard and Student Dashboard are Google Chrome applications that are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The Teacher Dashboard also uses the JavaScript framework AngularJS.

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Team Members (left to right): Eric Austin, Rebecca Collins, Kyle Woodward


Urban Science: Dealer Improvement Recommender System

Urban Science is an analytics consultant to the automotive industry. Using data-backed analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs), Urban Science increases dealer sales and profitability.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 1.58.50 PMA recent addition to Urban Science analytics is the Logic Tree, which describes important KPIs, target values for dealers, potential reasons for poor performance and potential suggestions to address problems. As Urban Science consultants learn from consulting experiences, the Logic Tree must grow and evolve.

Our Dealer Improvement Recommender System provides tools to visualize and edit the Logic Tree through a robust web app. Authenticated users can create, edit and delete KPIs, causes, suggestions and relations between them. Furthermore, these relations can be weighted to generate analytically driven suggestions based on a specific dealer’s data.

Urban Science’s existing Dealer Assistant iPad app is able to query the Logic Tree to provide actionable suggestions to consultants in the field. These suggestions are used to create dealer action plans. Results from tracking the implementation of these suggestions are used to update the Logic Tree, improve the system, and yield better long term suggestions for Urban Science’s dealers.

Our Dealer Improvement Recommender System is written in C# using ASP.NET MVC with a Microsoft SQL backend database accessed via the Entity Framework. Visualizations are implemented using D3.js.

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Team Members (left to right): Ben Mastay, Collin Myers, Ty Jones