Q- How did you get involved with Solar Decathlon?
AM- I requested to join the Solar Decathlon for my senior design project and was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the representatives of my major.
Q- Are you excited for the Xpo in Irvine, California?
AM- Yes! I’m thrilled. I’ve never been to the west coast so while I’ll probably be on hand to help out at the house, I also want to do some sight seeing.
Q- How are you contributing your computer science skills to the project?
AM- I’ve been doing a bit of everything, which is common with my team. I’ve done some coding of both the software and the internal website we use for testing. I’ve done documentation. I’ve attended meeting on behalf of our team. I usually just try to help out with whatever needs done.
Q- What is your specific role in the project? What innovations have you personally made to the house?
AM- My specific role is to work with my team to make Ecohabit a “smart house”. We connect to the Electrical Engineering Team’s sensors all over the house and monitor energy usage, turn on appliances and lighting, we take in historical data, make calculations, and we implement reinforcement learning algorithms to have the house learn from the user, and to have the user learn from the house. It sounds a lot like something out of a sci-fi movie in theory but in practice it’s not as refined. Learning algorithms take time to take effect but we will have the tests and simulations done so that the house begins learning in advance of the competition.
Q- Are you planning on aiding in the construction of the house?
AM- I’m not trained in engineering but I’ve installed a lot of computers on construction sites as part of a job as a computer tech so if they need any help that I can provide I’d be glad to lend my time.
Q- What skills have you acquired throughout the preparation for Solar D? How will you use these skills in your future career in industry or academia?
AM- I’ve become better at working with a team of people outside of my major. I’ve worked with other Computer Science majors on several projects and we speak the same language. Working with engineers, and artists, and business, and music majors is a whole different experience because our expertise doesn’t always match up and it was a challenge to get everyone on the same page in the beginning. I think it will definitely help me when I graduate Stevens because I’ll have to communicate with people from different businesses who may have no technical background and the Solar Decathlon has definitely prepared me for that.
Q- What keeps you motivated to stay on the team and continue to work on the house?
AM- Well, one my fellow computer science majors, Laura, always keeps me motivated. She works really hard as our team leader and she keeps us all in line so seeing her almost every day always helps. I also love Stevens and I’d like to help win the Solar Decathlon if possible because it would be great for the school. I like being a part of something and I feel that with the rest of the Ecohabit team.