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Seniors Earned First and Second Place at Behrend Conference

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012

Westminster College senior computer science majors Dylan Karas and Timothy Matyas earned first and second place, respectively, at the Penn State Behrend Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference April 14.

The conference included participants from 12 colleges and universities in western Pennsylvania for 72 oral presentations and 92 posters on a variety of fields.  Karas and Matyas presented in the Computer Science, Engineering, and Physics session. 

Karas' presentation, "A Puzzle Game Controlled by Live MIDI Input," researched the creation of a video game controlled by musical performance.  Most musical video games instruct the player by providing a sequence of notes that must be played.  Karas' project allows the player to discover what music to play by creating levels of objects that respond to the played music.  The player successfully completes each level by determining how each object responds to the music and using the objects to achieve the level's objective.  Once the level's solution is discovered, the music required to perform the solution will fit into a musical score.

Karas is a son of Charles and Josie Karas of Aliquippa and a graduate of Hopewell High School.

Matyas created "An Autonomous Room-Navigating Robot" capable of negotiating its way around and through a maze to a specific object.

Matyas is a son of Timothy and Robin Matyas of Houston and a graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School.

Both projects were advised by Dr. David Shaffer, associate professor of computer science, who accompanied the students and served as a judge.

Contact Shaffer at (724) 946-7292 or email for additional information about the research or the conference.

Karas and Matyas received undergraduate research grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning to help fund their projects.

The Drinko Center for Experiential Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Visit the Drinko website for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Tim Matyas (l) and Dylan Karas