Here's a project where you can try your hand at being a detective with your computer. In this project you'll write a program to do some basic analysis of features of written text (for example, counting the length of each word in the text, or the number of words in each sentence). Then you'll see if you can use the information from your text analysis program to find measurements that can distinguish one author from another. After analyzing known samples of several authors' writings, can your…
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Use sound recording and analysis software to record voices of your family members. Can you figure out ways to identify each family member by just looking at the analyzed sound patterns from their voice (e.g., spectral frequency analysis)? Develop a hypothesis about what types of sound analysis will identify an individual. Have a helper record additional test files of your family members, without telling you which file belongs to whom. Unplug your computer speakers and see if you can…
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Learn how to edit sound files so that you can manipulate the recorded sound mathematically. You can either find specialized audio editing software or do background research to teach yourself about sound file structure so that you can write your own simple program to manipulate sound files. Try arithmetic operations on the sound values (e.g., adding or subtracting a constant, multiplying or dividing by a constant). How do these operations alter the sound? Try other mathematical operations:…
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We use passwords every day for our email and other computer accounts. How secure is the password that you use? How hard would it be for someone to guess your password? How hard is it to write a computer program to guess a password? You can see for yourself by writing a simple password guesser in the computer language Python. We will get you started with some ideas, a little sample code, and a few passwords for your computer program to try and guess.
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CompSci_p046

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Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

To complete the programming portion of this science project, students should have access to a machine capable of running Python™ 3 (Microsoft Windows™, Apple Mac, Raspberry Pi®, or some other Linux computer), permission to install software, and a basic grasp of programming (or ready access to a willing helper who knows a little Python).

Material Availability

Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.

Cost

Very Low (under $20)

Safety

Hacking into other people's password-protected accounts is a federally prosecutable offense. The program example given in this science project will only work in the context of this science project.

Have you ever wondered how it's possible to so accurately date ancient artifacts? Geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, and anthropologists use a statistical process like radioactive isotope decay to date objects through a method called radioactive dating (also known as radiometric dating). To learn more about that method, check out the geology science project
. In that particular Project Idea, radioactive decay of isotopes is modeled by rolling dice. While that procedure is a great way…
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CompSci_p045

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

Familiarity with a programming language and basic programming algorithms

Sunspot activity has been monitored continuously since about 1700. The historical data shows that sunspot activity rises and falls in a roughly 11-year cycle. This project shows you how you can use a spreadsheet program to perform both graphical and statistical analysis to look for patterns in cyclical data. You'll learn how to use a t-test, which is a measure of statistical significance. .
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Here is a project that combines Computer Science and Mathematics. The semicircle has two tangent lines that meet at point T. You need to prove that a line drawn from A to T bisects CD. You'll also learn how to create an interactive diagram to illustrate your proof, using an applet that runs in your Web browser. If you like solving problems and thinking logically, you'll like this project.
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CompSci_p009

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

You should either currently be taking or have already completed a first course in geometry. You must understand the concept and method of a mathematical proof.

Material Availability

Readily available (laptop computer helpful for live demonstration)

Here is a project that combines Computer Science and Mathematics. Prove a method for circumscribing a circle about a triangle (as shown). You'll also learn how to create an interactive diagram to illustrate your proof, using an applet that runs in your Web browser. If you like solving problems and thinking logically, you'll like this project.
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CompSci_p007

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

Must understand the concept and method of a mathematical proof

Material Availability

Readily available (laptop computer helpful for live demonstration)

Here is a project that combines Computer Science and Mathematics. Prove a method for inscribing a circle within a triangle (as shown). You'll also learn how to create an interactive diagram to illustrate your proof, using an applet that runs in your Web browser. If you like solving problems and thinking logically, you'll like this project.
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CompSci_p004

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

Must understand the concept and method of a mathematical proof

Material Availability

Readily available (laptop computer helpful for live demonstration)

Imagine yourself as a software engineer, a decade and a half from now. You are called upon to help solve the world energy crisis by programming nano-organisms (NANORGs) to extract energy from industrial sludge. Your program must be small enough to fit in the NANORGs' tiny processors, yet at the same time meet several challenges. First and foremost, your NANORGs need to navigate on their own, extract energy from the sludge, and find collection points to deliver the harvested energy. Second,…
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CompSci_p021

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Time Required

Long (2-4 weeks)

Prerequisites

Previous computer programming experience, familiarity with assembly language programming is helpful.