Computational Science & Engineering

CU-Boulder researchers use video games to spark kids' interest in coding

In grade school classrooms across the country, students have been hard at work this semester trying to figure out how to smash a virtual frog with a virtual truck. They’re building their own video games—inspired by the 1980s classic Frogger—and there are a thousand details to work out. 

In the end, the students will have built a video game. But more important, the students will have learned how to code—whether they knew it at the time or not.

CU, MIT breakthrough in photonics could allow for faster and faster electronics

A pair of breakthroughs in the field of silicon photonics by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Micron Technology Inc. could allow for the trajectory of exponential improvement in microprocessors that began nearly half a century ago—known as Moore’s Law—to continue well into the future, allowing for increasingly faster electronics, from supercomputers to laptops to smartphones.

Insect eye-inspired camera captures wide view with no distortion

When praying mantises, dragonflies, ants and other insects peer out at the world, their bulging, compound eyes allow them to see an incredibly wide field of view with an almost infinite depth of field.

Imitating the functionality of an insect eye — which is really a collection of many tinier eyes, known as ommatidia — in a camera has been a long sought-after goal for engineers. Now, camera lenses with wide fields of view, such as fisheye lenses, create distortion around the edges of the image.

Next-generation Wi-Fi service available on campus buses

CU-Boulder researchers are helping develop the next generation of the Internet—a more mobile version—and the campus’ Office of Information Technology is using this new technology to provide mobile wireless Internet service on campus buses.

The university recently used the WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) wireless protocol to extend its wireless network to the campus buses running between the main Boulder campus and student residence halls at Williams Village, located about a mile to the east.

Advancing the uses of laser technology

CU-Boulder professors Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn lead an interdisciplinary research group at JILA, a joint institute of the university and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where they have made groundbreaking strides in laser science by developing new ultra-fast lasers and X-ray sources for experiments in physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering. Their pioneering research resulted in the development of ultra-fast optical and coherent soft X-ray sources.

Saving lives with online communications

A new approach to social media called “Tweak the Tweet,” conceived by CU-Boulder graduate student Kate Starbird and deployed by members of CU’s Project EPIC research group and colleagues around the nation, helped Haiti relief efforts by providing standardized syntax for Twitter communications.

Through consistent use of specially placed keywords, or “hashtags,” in Twitter posts to communicate critical information such as location, status, and road conditions, the “Tweak the Tweet” approach made information computationally easier to extract and collate.

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