My name is Marcus Chow. I am currently a senior at the University of California, Merced studying Computer Science and Engineering. I am very excited to be apart of this REU program at Texas State University and I can't wait to learn from this experience and grow my knowledge regarding the process of research as well as the topic of the Internet of Things. 

 

Daily Log:

June 1st:

   I got to meet the other nine students that are part of this program. Everybody is very enthusiastic is start with there projects. I met my mentor, Dr. Ngu, for the first time as well. My group member, Micheal, and I meet with her and she gave us a brief overview of what our project is and what she expects from us. 

June 2nd:

   Another day of introductory meetings. Each professor gave a talk on what their research is and what they are trying to do over the summer. I got introduced to a previous project that students worked on to help me get familiar with GSN and how to connect sensors to the computer. I have never done anything like this, so I am learning very quickly. 

June 3rd:

   I got a gym membership today. This is the first time I went to the gym in about a month. It feels good to work out again; I could start feeling my body getting weaker. My group set a meeting with Dr. Ngu for tomorrow to get more detailed look on what the project will entail over the summer. 

June 8th

   It's the start of the second week and I feel comfortable in the direction our project is taking. We will be trying to build an application that alerts the users if a professor is available in their office or not. We will actually be trying to build the application multiple times but using different middleware. This is to compare and contrast how each middleware is implemented and how easy they are to develop for. Dr. Ngu introduced another middleware for us to get to know. The middleware is called Ptolemy II, it seems very interesting and I will be spending this week learning it.

June 11th

   So far this week as been all about researching different middleware that is available to us and deciding which ones we should use for our project. This whole process seems very slow and tedious. It doesn't seem like I have gotten a lot done, but I do feel I have deeper understanding of how middleware operates in an IoT environment. We also have a small presentation tomorrow to show what we will be doing over the summer. We went over our slides with Dr. Ngu briefly, just to give us advice on how to improve them. However, during the meeting Dr. Ngu brought up another direction our project can go if we choose to take it. So we have the weekend to think about it and we will discus it more next week.

June 15th

   We meet with Dr. Ngu today to discuss the change in our project. We were going over different ideas on how to connect other middleware together. The whole concept was very interesting to talk about. Basically, we are going to try to connect different middlewares together and try to form a system that will be able to work for any type of platform. It will be like a middleware for middleware. This is exciting to me because this is a very new idea and it is very cool to be apart of something this brand new. However, it is a little bit scary too, because we are not entirely sure if it is a viable thing to do or if creating one has any real benefit to the field. So, this week will be more of developing proof of concepts to see if this can really be done.

June 16th

   Today we went to the IBM research facility in Austin. We were given a nice tour of the place and we got to see the offices people worked at as well as the lab where they keep all of there new servers they are working on. There was a also a couple of talks that were given to tell us what kind of work is done at this place. I definitely enjoyed listing to everyone's experience with IBM. They all seemed to be very happy to work for IBM and enjoyed the type of projects that they worked on. Overall I had a great time touring IBM and I think I would like to work at a place like that. 

June 19th

   I have had to learn a lot in this short week. Our goal was to be able to read a sensor that was connected to GSN through Ptolemy II, and because I have had no experience with IoT and middleware before, trying to connect these two was difficult for me. Most of the difficulty comes from not knowing all of the documentation of the two platforms. So a lot of time is spent reading the API and going through their code to see how I could connect the two. In the end we figured it out and was able to reach our goal. The actual code we had to write was not complicated at all, but in order to write it we had to know all the different methods that was available to us. I realize that is just the natural learning curve that comes with learning a whole new topic and it is nice to know that I am able to actually complete something like this. Now I just I have apply this skill when trying to connect other middleware to Ptolemy II.