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Welcome to Simpson College Computer Science!

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Students place 2nd in programming contest

On April 13 - 14, Dr. Lydia Sinapova and Dr. Mark Brodie attended the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium (MICS 2012) at UNI with 12 students, all majors and minors in Computer Science. The students presented two papers and participated in the programming contest. Adam Smith and Joel Gawarecki presented "Optimization of Tile Sets for DNA Self-Assembly", co-authored with Linsey Williams and Jaris Van Maanen.

See games created by the Spring 2012 CmSc 150 class!

Click here to view a YouTube playlist that shows off the games created by students in CmSc 150. In four months time, students went from not knowing any programming, to understanding if statements, loops, functions, objects, lists, searching, sorting, graphics, and detecting object collisions. And they created a final project to show it.

Students Learn How to Build Computers

On Tuesday March 12, 2012, the Computer Science department hosted a Computer Building Workshop to assemble three computers and help students learn the basics of building computers through hands-on experience.  Students worked together to build three computers while eating pizza and had the opportunity to fly a remote controlled fish around Carver Science Center. Many students attended the workshop and learned a great deal while having fun.

Project Management Students Teach Cub Scouts about Robotics

On December 7, 2011 students in CIS 300, Project Management, used the project management skills they learned in class to host a meeting about Lego Robotics. Students collaborated to teach Cub Scouts how to build a robot with Legos and introduce them to computer science. In the photos below, Cub Scouts and Project Management students  work together to build robots and have fun with computer science.

Students Create Pictures Using Python

Students in CMSC 150 are learning how to program using the Python programming language. They used their introductory Python knowledge to create images, some of which are shown below. For their final project in CMSC 150, the students will use Python and Pygame to create video games.


CIS Students Develop Websites

In Web Development, CIS 305, students developed the knowledge and skills necessary to develop Web applications with Web development tools and technologies such as JavaScript, Perl, etc. Students also practice the fine art of debugging, and address several other development issues. The final product of the class is a website programmed by each student that allows them to apply the knowledge and skills gained throughout the class.

Adam Smith to Present Research at NCUR

Adam Smith is a junior Computer Science major, and has been researching algorithms with Dr. Lydia Sinapova this year. Adam will present his research on “Applying Genetic Algorithms to the 2D Hydrophobic-Polar Protein Model” at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research later this year.

Natural Sciences Holiday Party

    On Friday, December 2nd, 2011 the Division of Natural Sciences hosted their annual holiday party in the Carver atrium. It was a great opportunity for students and faculty to get together at the end of the fall semester and celebrate while partaking in delicious food.


Project Management Students Learn How to Conduct an Interview

Students in CIS 300, Project Management, took some time recently to learn how to conduct an interview. They learned several basic interview skills including: how to create interview forms, how to select areas to interview candidates on, and what kinds of questions to ask and not ask. Students then did mock interviews to apply their new skills and worked on refining their interviewing technique.

Computer Science Students Teach Robotics

Students in the CIS 300 Project Management class decided to teach a group of Boy Scouts about Lego robotics. Students in the project management class are using the project management skills they learned to work together as a team and put on a program for Boy Scouts. In the photo below, the students are preparing to teach the meeting by familiarizing themselves with the robots. 

Students Work on Designing Video Games

This semester, Dr. Craven’s Simpson Colloquium class is learning about designing video games, and writing specifications for them. This freshman-level class helps students learn college-level critical thinking and writing skills in the context of creating video games. Recently, the students reviewed each other’s specifications for the settings of their video games, similar to reviewing the settings of each other’s stories. 

Joseph Mather Succeeds in Development

Joseph Mather is a senior Computer Information Systems and Business Management: Finance and Insurance major with a minor in Philosophy. He     completed a Web Development internship at Marsh and McLennan.


Robert Trimble and Ethan Eller move software forward for the State of Iowa

During the summer of 2011, Simpson College Computer Science students Ethan Eller and Robert Trimble interned as software developers for the State of Iowa Legislative Service Agency - Computer Services Division.  Robert and Ethan worked with a wide variety of software development platforms. Projects included developing web applications using ASP.NET 4.0, SQL Database management, Microsoft Reporting Services, and creating windows applications using the new Windows Presentation Foundation.  

Computer Science Cookout

On Tuesday, September 20th, computer science students, faculty, and enthusiasts had a cook-out at Dr. Van Wyk’s house. It was a great opportunity for all the computer science students to get to know one another, and good times were had by all!

Internships in Computer Science

This past summer, Blaise Mikels and Hannah Benson completed computer science internships.

Blaise Mikels is a senior Math and Computer Science major with Economics and Ethics minors. He completed an intensive 12 week math and computer science internship. He worked with another intern and collaborated with a few full-time employees on a problem that involved some algorithm analysis. When asked about his time at the internship, Blaise replied “It was a very neat experience, and I was amazed at how much I learned in just three months. I was challenged intellectually every day, but I left the internship feeling like I made a lot of good progress on the project I worked on.”

Hannah Benson is a senior Math and Computer Science major. She completed a computer science internship this summer doing web development programming and developed an Android mobile phone app. She is also currently working at a computer science internship for John Deere.  For the internship Hannah is currently doing, “[Hannah has] been updating and redesigning John Deere’s employee webpage. Working at John Deere has helped to teach me how to apply what I have learned in school in the real world, and has [taught] me that I will never stop learning.”


Simpson Colloquium Class Helps Out

Simpson Colloquium is an introductory college course that seeks to help new students in the transition to college life during their first semester on campus. In addition to class, students participate in other activities focused on engaged citizenship, like community service projects.

How is the job market in Des Moines?

Today I got an e-mail from a recruiter in Des Moines. It started with:

Hello everyone!

Every quarter I seem to ask the SAME question. Where are all the java developers??? With 18 years in this business under my belt it's never seemed so tight around our town.

Recent Computer Science Alumni

Wondered how recent alumni are doing?

2011 Chris
Information Systems and Technology Specialist at Rounds and Associates.
"Work is great, doing C# programming for windows apps, and ASP.NET for some of our websites."

NACE Lists Computer Science As 2nd Top Paid Major For 2011

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2011 survey for the best paid majors puts computer science as #2. Computer Information Systems comes in at #8. All of the top 10 degrees are technology related. See the top ten here.

Students Create CG Movies During May Term

These students had three weeks during May 2011 to learn how to use 3D modeling software, create and render still images or animations. All the movies created in the class are shown below:

Students create video games for final projects in CmSc 150

Students in the introductory programming class at Simpson College used Python and Pygame to create video games for their final projects. Check out this video of their projects:

Workshop with Iowa State Lab for Nanoscale Self-Assembly

On April 21 Professor Jim Lathrop of Iowa State led a workshop at Simpson to demonstrate the use of tile-assembly software developed at their Laboratory for Nanoscale Self-Assembly. Our students were extremely enthused and were soon busily getting binary counters, Sierpinski triangles and carpets, and Fibonacci numbers to self-assemble. More pictures to follow...

MICS Programming Contest Huge Success

This year's programming contest was a huge success for the Simpson College teams.

On Friday April 8 six students participated in the programming contest at the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium, Duluth, MN - Jaris Van Maanen, Joel Gawarecki, Whitney Thompson, Adam Smith, Blaise Mikels and Zach Huebener.

Out of 45 teams, Jaris Van Maanen, Joel Gawarecki and Whitney Thompson got the 5th place. Adam Smith, Blaise Mikels and Zach Huebener got the 9th place. Both teams solved 3 out of 7 problems.

Professor gives presentation at DAMA meeting

Professor Craven gave a presentation on the "Dark Side of Service Oriented Architecture" at the DAMA meeting in Des Moines on March 17. Slides from the talk are available here.

iPhone Programming Projects, Fall 2010

By: Greg Votava

As the mobile app business expands, several of Simpson’s computer science students took to the challenge of writing and programing their own iPhone applications.



Spring 2011 student animations

Students in the introductory class have been making computer animations for their labs.

Below is a collection of labs from week 5:

Week 6 labs add bitmapped graphics and user interaction via mouse, keyboard, or gamepad. Sometimes students also incorporate sound:

Install Games From First Semester Students

Students in Dr. Craven's introduction to programming class create video games as their final project. A selection of these games is now available for download! Click here to download and install the games! Or click here to see a video of last semester's games.

Games include:

AstroSmash! - Shoot incoming astroids. Higher levels include cruise missles and alien ships with guided bombs. (Note: hit a key to

Breakout - A twist on the old classic breakout game.

Evening and Weekend Students Create Video Games

Simpson College students in the 2010 Fall semester of the introductory programming class created video games for their final project. The students in this class start with no programming experience, and end the class by creating a simple video game using the Python programming language that can be installed and run on most computers. Here is a video showing their final submissions.

Project Management Students Teach Girl Scouts

By: Grant Rodgers: Students in Assistant Professor Paul Craven’s Project Management class finished a semester long project on Wednesday, December 1 when they taught the technology badge to a group of Indianola Girl Scouts. The goal of the project was to give students experience in working with teams in a manner similar to what they will face in a future workplace.



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