A Day in the Life of Charlie McGuffey ’15

Hello, everyone.  My name is Charlie McGuffey.  I am a rising sophomore in the Clarkson Honors Program.  I am working on a double major in Computer Engineering and Computer Science.  I just recently added the Computer Science major, and I decided to stay up at Clarkson this summer to do research so that I could get a better understanding of the applications of the major.  I hope to learn about what sort of research goes on in the field of computer science and make sure that Computer Science is the right choice for me.

My research project for the summer is to implement and test a new logical search algorithm that my faculty mentor, Professor Christopher Lynch, discovered.  I am developing this algorithm using a programming language called Maude, and will be doing the majority of the testing of the algorithm on problems in my mentor’s field of study.  Approximately the first week and a half of my research involved learning and experimenting with Maude, and I have been working on the implementation of the algorithm since then.  My first accomplishment for the summer was the completion of an initial version of the algorithm that works with terms that have the same variable names, and I am currently working on adding additional functionality to the code.  After my first three weeks of research, I have learned a lot and am very happy with how my research has gone.

Of course, there’s more to life at Clarkson during the summer than research.  Summer is a great (if somewhat short) time up here in Potsdam, and there is plenty to do.  On campus, Frisbee, wiffleball, kayaking or canoeing on the Raquette River, and other outdoor activities are common.  Off campus, there are great opportunities for hiking or camping in the Adirondacks, going to the beach, taking a trip to Canada, or just spending time in Potsdam.

My average day starts when I wake up around 7:30.  I go downstairs and grab breakfast before firing up my computer.  I generally start work on my research between 8 and 8:30.  My professor doesn’t have a lab that I’m supposed to work in, so I can get my hours in whenever and wherever, but I usually try to stick to a regular schedule.  On some days, usually twice a week, I’ll have a meeting with my professor at 10:00 so that I can update him on my progress and he can give me any information I need or help me with any issues I’m having.  I generally take my lunch hour from 11:45 to 12:45, and usually have time to visit my friends before I have to go back to work.  Since we are all living in the townhouses, it is really convenient to go see each other and plan the group activities I mentioned earlier.  After I finish my afternoon of work around 4:30, I have an hour or two of free time before I make myself dinner.  After dinner, my friends and I have several hours of free time to play Frisbee or volleyball, go to the beach, or watch a movie before we go to bed and to start the next day.

If you have any questions about summer research, my project, the Honors Program, or Clarkson in general, feel free to send me an email at mcguffcj@clarkson.edu .  Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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