The problems for this year were contributed by a number of sources from inside and outside the University. Each of the problems below was submitted through a Request for Proposals (RFP) that circulated for more than a month toward the end of the summer. Although some of the RFP responses contain many of the details to get teams started on our formalized Engineering Design Process (EDP), not all do. In any case, each team is responsible for contacting the client to investigate the problem and to collect all the necessary details for initial design planning.

The first day of class is August 21, 2017. The class will be presented with a very brief overview of the problems that have been contributed for senior design. The following week, teams will be assigned the task to select three problems on which they might want to work, and will write a synopsis of the problem presented that contains:

  • Cover sheet containing a title of the project, the team name, and the members of the team
  • A background section establishing important, relevant context for the project. You should conduct a preliminary investigation of the problem “landscape” so that the reader of the proposal can understand the complete environment where the proposed system would be used. It should conclude with a clear problem that needs to be solved.
  • An executive summary of the project, written from the team perspective. Building on the background and the problem statement written, this section should focus on the identification and description of a specific computational system that can provide an elegant solution to the problem identified above. This should also motivate the need for the project, and present convincing arguments about its feasibility and value for the client.
  • An analysis of viability section containing a pragmatic assessment of the difficulties and constraints. This will demonstrate that the team can carry the project through to successful completion. This section should demonstrate that the team members have the technical skills to complete the project.
  • A section discussing the risks and legal exposures related to your project’s development and the use of the product.
  • A closing section summarizing your points and indicating the merits of your product, that is, why it is worth funding and developing.

Additionally, teams should supply:

  • An appendix containing biographical sketches of all your team members. This material is included to support the assertion that the team is qualified to undertake this project. To this end, these biographical sketches should include only previous relevant experience, known technologies, and skills.

Teams will also conduct a preliminary assessment of the Engineering Design Process applied to each problem. This gives the students a chance to analyze the problem from a software engineer’s perspective, and brainstorm possible solutions. Teams are expected to research and gather data/information necessary to understand and solve the problem. They should provide a document that contains:

  • A brief summary of the problem
  • Design criteria, with specific aims and goals that any system design should accomplish to solve the problem
  • Constraints, i.e. those things that will cause your project to fail these are not met successfully
  • Identify and outline at least three possible solutions that the team could consider. Include an analysis of the solutions, indicating its strength, weaknesses, cost estimates, etc.

The purpose of this process is to help students gain experience in formally assessing a range of problems, and work together to brainstorm ideas for possible solutions. It also serves to give students experience in expressing their thoughts and brainstorming sessions more formally on paper.This work is due on mid-September.

As students work through this process, teams generally learn that one project of the three is most suitable for them.  By mid-September, after they submit their survey, teams will select one project, and develop a formal proposal for the work to be completed. The proposal will be a complete document that ensures both the team and the client have a clear understanding of the work to be accomplished.  The final proposal will contain a detailed plan of attack, with a preliminary set of user stories (use cases), a top level set of tasks to be completed, A time schedule of tasks to be completed will be proposed.

Selected Proposals

All Proposals