Friday, October 25, 2019

STIP Student Jae-Moon Hwang Assists in Translating Significant Biological Data through a Novel, Intuitive Graphical User Interface

Hello! My name is Jae-Moon Hwang, and I am a Computer Science major. Over the summer, I worked in one of the team’s part of the Summer Team Impact Projects. The project I was in, “Translating Significant Biological Data through a Novel, Intuitive Graphical User Interface”, was tasked to create a website. The goal of the website is to analyze biological data while also helping the user interpret and visualize the results.

I am part of the back-end team of the project, which helps develop the algorithms to do the actual analysis of the data. I am not really interested in Biology, but the technical aspect of the project seemed interesting and a great chance to learn more technological skills. Going into the first week, I had a general idea of what the work was going to be like, but only a very general idea. Fortunately, the project had a clear goal, and I found a good work “stride” by the end of my first week working. I have limited knowledge of the field of biology, but the technical challenges that pop up from analyzing data and building websites is something I can easily contribute towards. There is more so a typical work cycle rather than a typical work day or week. A good amount of time is spent talking and planning about what an algorithm should do and how to do it. Only after a good amount of planning, the code is then written up. The biggest time sink is then testing the code, fixing bugs, and then integrating the code with the front end so that the results can be shown on the website. The cycle then repeats if a task is done or if there needs to be modifications to the whole task as most likely some part of the task was more complex than expected.

This project was a great experience for me. It helped give experience in bridging the gap of what I have learned as a Computer Science major and other fields that are increasingly becoming reliant on technology. The problems I had to solve while coding, testing, and planning were interesting, and it was not simply easy grunt work. The most interesting part is learning how to manage the data that we have and solving the problems that come with the large amounts of data that has to be processed. The experience was invaluable, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in this project.