S14_FOB__Chin_Eric_051Who Eric Chin, CIS’14, majoring in computer science

Where  The U.S. Department of Defense; Special Techniques and Tactics department

When  April to August 2013   

What He Did  Wrote computer code that made communication possible between systems used by separate projects in the Defense Department. This will allow greater cooperation between groups working on related projects.

Coolest Element  “I had the opportunity to work on real problems, producing solutions that the department will actually use. From talking to friends at other schools, they often do internships where they aren’t working on real projects or where the work they produce never gets used. It’s exciting to know you’re contributing in a real way.”

Related Co-ops  All three of Chin’s co-ops were with the Department of Defense. In the first, he worked on a data-mining project (subject classified), solving mathematical problems and then translating the solutions into computer code. In the second, he worked on a web security project, exploring how the new HTML5 Web standard, which is still in development, will affect browser security.

Unexpected Connections  Chin’s three co-ops in the Defense Department have led him in an unexpected direction. First, he developed a fascination for data mining, a discipline within computer science that searches for patterns in large masses of data. After returning to campus, he took a course in urban sociology, which focused on problems in the city of Boston. “It gave me a new way to think about the world around me,” says Chin, who is now exploring ways to apply his data-mining skills to searching for solutions to urban problems. “I’m fascinated by the cross-disciplinary approach and think the intersection between sociology and computer science may be the direction I decide to go.”