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Research@Mines Archive:
July, 2018

SD Mines Students Develop Free Robot Programming Simulator

The RoboScience Simulator looks like a rudimentary video game on the screen, but gets the job done when it comes to teaching students to code. Pictured below: Members of the RoboScience Simulator senior design team include computer science majors (pictured) Samuel Williams, Kendra Deziel and Ryley Sutton. Team members not pictured are Christopher Smith, a master’s student in computational sciences and robotics, and computer science major Andrew Stelter.

Robot Programming Simulator

When it comes to programming actual robots, things get very expensive, very quickly.

“Robots are unforgiving,” says Dr. Jeffrey McGough, professor of mathematics and computer science at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “And maintenance of robots is painful.”

Students learning to program autonomous robots often spend more time repairing them after they are damaged as a result of coding mistakes than they do learning to actually program. An incorrectly programed robot might drive off a table top or crash into a wall, requiring hours of hands-on repair work, McGough says.

McGough began looking for curriculum and/or software to teach his students robot programming seven years ago. He quickly realized there was little available. He experimented with a Roomba Robot Vacuum, but the maintenance costs quickly added up.

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Last Edited 7/31/2018 07:56:20 AM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Scientists and Students Contribute to IceCube Breakthrough

In this artistic rendering, based on a real image of the IceCube Lab at the South Pole, a distant source emits neutrinos that are detected below the ice by IceCube sensors, called DOMs. Credit: Icecube/NSF

An international team of scientists, including researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, have found the first evidence of a source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, ghostly subatomic particles that can travel unhindered for billions of light years from the most extreme environments in the universe to Earth.

Detecting high-energy cosmic neutrinos requires a massive particle detector, and IceCube is by volume the world’s largest. Encompassing a cubic kilometer of deep, pristine ice a mile beneath the surface at the South Pole, the detector is composed of more than 5,000 light sensors arranged in a grid. When a neutrino interacts with the nucleus of an atom, it creates a secondary charged particle, which in turn produces a characteristic cone of blue light that is detected by IceCube and mapped through the detector’s grid of photomultiplier tubes. Because the charged particle along the axis of the light cone stays essentially true to the neutrino’s direction, it gives scientists a path to follow back to the source.

The observations, made by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the U.S. Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station and confirmed by telescopes around the globe and in Earth’s orbit, help resolve a more than a century-o...

Last Edited 7/19/2018 12:52:02 PM [Comments (0)]