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CU students present their capstone project

Sometimes burning the midnight oil isn't enough when your computer capstone project is approaching deadline.

"I think our record is two in the morning," said Nicholas Gautier, computer science lead for one of the two teams for this year's project, as the teams prepared to face off in presenting their work to Fort Sill information technology staff. 

"Not proud of that," he said, "but sometimes you have to do it."

In all, the 50 or so Cameron students on the two teams put about 2,300 man-hours into their projects. Team No. 1, led by Kier Wallace compiled 955.7 hours. Before the presentation, Gautier didn't know how many hours his team had put in; it turned out that the team had spent 1,399 hours, with Gautier accounting for 269 of those hours.

The capstone project is designed to give students an opportunity to work as a team with a real-world client to develop software. A key aspect is that not all team members are computer scientists. In an effort to make the project as realistic as possible, each team also included a security team and technical writers from the English Department. The goal is to present a finished project just as a team in private industry would.

This year's client was the Fires Support Branch of the Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center and the students worked on an application to administer an online repository for documentation of training materials. 

It was the second consecutive year that Fort Sill participated; this year's teams were actually building on a product created by last year's capstone classes.

It was a new experience for Gautier.

"I never worked with a team like this before," he said. "I'm usually the one who likes to work alone. With this class, you can't."

Wallace said the students eagerly anticipate the project  and are relieved when they make their final presentation.

"It's something you really want - and then you really want out," he said.

If it was new experience for the students, it was an opportunity to build on success for the Fort Sill computer folks, who've dedicated a lot of time over the course of two years to working with the students and the project.

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