Adam Koehler Statement of Purpose After taking a multitude of computer science courses over my academic career I have perceived that most of the courses tend to build a student’s knowledge of computer science outward, broadening familiarity over several areas of computer science rather than creating a concentrated depth of knowledge in any one topic. Pursuing a master’s degree in computer science will allow me to more fully develop my knowledge in two areas of particular interest to me: artificial intelligence and computer graphics.
By studying these areas in depth, I hope to resolve the disparity between having a wide scope of computer science knowledge and having a more concentrated understanding of a single computer science field. Artificial intelligence is the foremost area of interest that I wish study further. The attraction of artificial intelligence for me lies in its breadth of applicability, both as a method of problem solving in itself and in a symbiotic integration with other areas of computer science.
A broad spectrum of applications exist within the artificial intelligence field, ranging from intelligent non-player controlled characters in computer game software to a ubiquitous computing solution that intelligently reacts to a variety of users. This diversity is one of the main reasons that I feel compelled to pursue artificial intelligence further. While I have striven to develop my understanding of artificial intelligence during my undergraduate education, the choreographed requirements of a bachelor’s degree have restricted my research to only a minute sample of artificial intelligence’s applications.
During my exposure to the field, I have often been unsatisfied with the level of interaction artificial intelligence displays in response to prompts of varying complexity. I do not believe the field has been developed to its potential in any regard, and feel that considerable progress can be made to improve the interactive experience that users have with an artificial intelligence application. This genuine intrigue combined with my curiosity for the subject matter and the limitless potential of the field are the reason why I wish to pursue a greater depth of knowledge in artificial intelligence.
Through the education gained in pursuit of a master’s degree, I hope to be able to enrich the authenticity of many artificial intelligence experiences, from computer games, to interactive toys and beyond. While artificial intelligence holds the most intrigue for me, a secondary area of interest is computer graphics. Akin to artificial intelligence in that I have only touched on the subject during my undergraduate career, I hope to explore the areas of two and three dimensional rendering more acutely.
While I have always enjoyed the freedom of creative expression, and embrace its value in many aspects of problem solving in computer science, the rigidity of programming has precluded my pursuit of many artistic interests. I feel that a more in-depth review of the field of computer graphics would be very fulfilling for me, both for its creative liberties and for its application to other areas of computer science.
Specifically with regard to my interest in artificial intelligence, I envision graphics applications such as an artificially intelligent avatar, with body and facial expressions that can create more engaging interaction between two users. It is also important to understand just how quickly the field of computer graphics is changing within computer science. I believe that a deeper appreciation for the state-of-the-art in computer graphics will only help me in all future computer science pursuits, and I look forward to the new challenges while pursuing my master’s degree in computer science.
My undergraduate education has prepared me for the depth and commitment required of graduate research in the field of computer science. Two projects I have participated in would be research with the Embedded XINU team, and a senior design project also involving the XINU operating system. While participating on the Embedded XINU team I have chosen to aide in the research and development of an external analysis tool for embedded systems development. Personally, I have researched integrating the front end system with the debugging system, developed by another team member, via an open source debugging software.
Once complete, it will allow users to access many debugging features, such as single stepping through code, breaking at a certain point in the code, and continuing the execution of the code from the breakpoint. The senior design project involves the creation of a software program to allow users building a XINU operating system to directly use computers with a Windows operating system installed. Currently, a direct or remote connection to a UNIX variant needs to be used to aide development.
Both projects have allowed me to see the considerable amount of work and research that goes into software development projects. Each of the projects is team oriented; with tasks split down so that one or more researchers can contribute. The groups function with relative autonomy, without daily guidance of a professor, although guidance is provided on a semi-periodic basis. Overall, these projects have provided useful experiences allowing me to understand both graduate and undergraduate level research and implementation.
In addition to these two XINU based projects, I have also completed several course-based projects that assimilate the entire semester’s work into a cohesive project. One such project was a language interpreter written in Scheme that interprets primitive operations including add, subtract, Boolean not, and, or, and xor; as well as complex statements such as variable assignment, print statements, procedure declarations and calls and simple type checking. This and several other projects have helped me develop a wealth of knowledge in the computer science field, and have certainly broadened my interests.
However, they have lacked depth in certain areas that I feel truly drawn to exploring. Through graduate studies I hope to explore the fields of artificial intelligence and computer graphics more fully, and negotiate the requirements of intertwining the two more seamlessly than today’s efforts produce. My ultimate goal is to produce meaningful work that combines the acquired in-depth knowledge of both the artificial intelligence field and the computer graphics field, while building on the solid foundation I have created in my undergraduate pursuits.