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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

2005 Honors Theses

computer science

Author: Michael Ahern
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Title: Coevolving Quidditch Players Using Genetic Programming
Advisor: Sergio Alvarez
Ever since the invention of the computer people have been fascinated by the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Although general purpose AI remains science fiction, AI and Machine Learning (ML) techniques have been used to develop everything from autonomous Martian rovers to computers that drive cars. Although it is ideal to build physical systems to test algorithms, often times cost constraints require initial development to be done using rich game-like simulators. Building upon this line of research, my thesis describes the automatic programming of simulated agents playing a "Quidditch-like" game using genetic programming.
Author: Joel Barciauskas
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Title: Extensions to Polyphonic C#
Advisor: Edward Sciore
Synchronization mechanisms in concurrent programming have progressed very slowly over the years. Semaphores and monitors are still the most widely used tools for solving these problems. We discuss in this paper a new type of synchronization mechanism called "chords." Previous papers have discussed a few areas in which chords are well-suited to replace semaphores and monitors, including asynchronous method execution and return value retrieval and the reader-writer problem. We will attempt to solve a number of other traditional synchronization problems using chords, and make suggestions as to possible extensions to the rules governing chords that would make them even more useful.
Author: Doyle Hunt
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Title: Free Riding in a Peer to Peer Networked Environment
Advisor: Robert Signorile
Peer to peer networks have become very popular as file sharing and distributed systems have been adopted by everyone from children in elementary school to academic professors. As these networks have continued to grow, the .Free Riding. problem, which has always plagued society, has surfaced in these decentralized networks. In one study of the Gnutella Network, approximately 70% of users consume, but either provides undesirable or no resources at all. The main factor that allows this type of behavior to exist is the lack of authority to govern the group as a whole. As this problem continues to grow, P2P networks may either destroy themselves, or require some form of central governance to prevent rampant shirking. This paper attempts to show the history and development of P2P networks, the inherent problems these networks face, and what solutions have been developed or suggested as a way to address the issues that could potentially limit the scalability and power of a distributed P2P network. I will present a solution that I have proposed along with solutions by other P2P network providers, and the results which have been achieved.
Author: Andrew Logan
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Title: distCVS: A Distributed Peer-to-Peer Versioning File Storage System
Advisor: Robert Signorile, Elizabeth Borowsky
The current layout of resources on the internet suffers from the fact that there is generally a single point of failure for data access. Peer-to-peer applications promise to change this by distributing resources, and therefore network routes and load, across the network itself. The problem is that the development and testing of such a system is often a hard and tedious chore, especially since the technology is still rapidly evolving. In this paper, I present distCVS, a peer-to-peer system for the storage of versioned data. distCVS is unique because it is an application built by using the Bamboo peer-to-peer networking framework to pass messages for an unmodified version of the CVS source control system. The development of this type of peer-to-peer system allows the designer to not only rapidly assemble a working system, it also allows him or her to take advantage of any future improvements that may be made to either Bamboo or CVS.
Author: Edmond J. Murphy
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Title: Assorted Attacks on the RSA Cryptographic Algorithm
Advisor: Howard Straubing
This thesis concentrates on the vulnerabilities of the RSA Cryptographic Algorithm when it is not securely implemented. While it has been proven that a brute force attack on the algorithm is not practical there remain aspects of the algorithm that require proper use to prevent back-door attacks. The attacks performed in this thesis attempt to exploit both mathematical and inherent timing vulnerabilities of the algorithm. Furthermore, simple practices which prevent theses attacks are discussed.

Author: Gregory Pavlov
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Title: Intelligent Entities in a Distributed Simulation Environment
Advisor: Robert Signorile
In addressing the growing model sizes used in simulation environments, I examine adding machine learning techniques to the entities in a model in an effort to produce such side effects as emergent behavior. Distributing the environment in order to increase the efficiency of the simulation also plays an important role in this thesis. The added intelligence of entities may have some affect upon the speed at which a model may be executed, as additional computation will be required. Taking a model-based approach, I attempt to solve some of the problems of interaction between components in a distributed simulation.
Author: Daniel Shaw
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Title: An Eye-Tracking Evaluation of Multicultural Interface Designs
Advisor: Jim Gips  
This paper examines the impact of a multicultural approach on the usability of web and software interface designs. Through the use of an eye-tracking system, the study compares the ability of American users to navigate traditional American and Japanese websites. The ASL R6 eye-tracking system recorded user search latency and the visual scan path in locating specific items on the American and Japanese pages. Experimental results found statistically significant latency values when searching for left- or right-oriented navigation menus. Among the participants, visual observations of scan paths indicated a strong preference for initial movements toward the left. These results demonstrate the importance of manipulating web layouts and navigation menus for American and Japanese users. This paper further discusses the potential strengths resulting from modifications of interface designs to correspond with such cultural search tendencies, and suggestions for further research.
Author: Darren Yeung
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Title: Voice Over Peer-to-Peer Telephony Service
Advisor: Robert Signorile
The purpose of this project is to build a telephone service that operates over a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. That is, a service that does not require a centralized server to allow two or more clients to communicate with one another. Rather, each peer is an independent entity with .equal. power and capabilities in terms of using this application. P2P systems allow networks to sustain a lot more peers than current server-client models of networks. Each peer will have capabilities such as the ability to find users connected to the network, accept or reject calls, store peers in a phonebook for future reference, have an answering machine, and record messages during a call.

This has the potential to completely change the business, home, and mobile phone industries. Imagine you have a mobile phone or any mobile device that supports Wi-Fi technology. Whenever you are within range of a wireless hotspot, you are able to call any peer connected to the network, even peer in your phonebook halfway across the country (assuming they are connected to the network). Of course, all of this is free because the fantastic group at Sun Microsystems in charge of Project JXTA created a platform enabling P2P communication with no cost to us, the consumers. Using several protocols defined in JXTA, I was able to establish a completely decentralized telephone network with many functions that are available on current mobile phones. I decided to use JXTA because it provides the basic building blocks to produce peer-to-peer applications.