Professor Manaris releases new book, Making Music with Computers: Creative Programming in Python

Bill Manaris, a CofC Computer Science Professor, has been busy during his sabbatical for the past year.  As Director of Computing in the Arts program, he has recently published and released his first collaborative textbook with Andrew Brown, Making Music with Computers: Creative Programming in Python.  The focus of the book is to teach students how to use computing to explore powerful and creative ideas.  

The book provides an introduction to creative software development in the Python programming language. It uses innovative music-creation activities to illustrate introductory computer programming concepts, including data types, algorithms, operators, iteration, lists, functions, and classes. The authors also cover GUIs, event-driven programming, big data, sonification, MIDI programming, client–server programming, recursion, fractals, and complex system dynamics.

Requiring minimal musical or programming experience, the text is designed for courses in introductory computer science and computing in the arts. It helps students learn computer programming in a creative context and understand how to build computer music applications. Also suitable for self-study, the book shows musicians and digital music enthusiasts how to write music software and create algorithmic music compositions.

Visit here to purchase, Making Music with Computers: Creative Programming in Python.


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Computer Science Officially Moves Into Harbor Walk


Welcome to Silicon Harbor!

The Department of Computer Science has officially moved into the third floor of Harbor Walk East, the building closest to the Cooper River.  The new space will provide all faculty offices and feature three classrooms,  five research labs, two student labs, and a conference room. Oh…and breathtaking harbor views! WiFi will be available and a P.O.D. Market, providing on-the-go snacks, beverages, and meals, will be on site.  Starting Fall 2014, all major Computer Science courses will be hosted at Harbor Walk East.

Less than a mile from campus, courses at Harbor Walk will begin at a 30-minute delayed interval from the main campus schedule.  This delay is to ensure faculty and students have enough time to travel from the main campus to Harbor Walk.  While the Aquarium Garage is located across the street, faculty and students are encouraged to walk, bike, or catch a ride with CARTA DASH.  DASH, a free service, conveniently stops on Concord St at the SC Aquarium, just steps from Harbor Walk.  Simply show your current College of Charleston ID as you board the bus for your free ride!

DASH route

Harbor Walk East
Third Floor
360 Concord St
Charleston SC 29401


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CIRDLES Launches Topsoil – A community driven open source replacement for ISOPLOT

Topsoil is a desktop application and Java library that creates data visualizations for geochronologists and other earth scientists. The project is led and maintained by, an undergraduate research lab at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Topsoil” is an anagram of “Isoplot”, the name of an enormously successful Microsoft Excel Add-In with similar capabilities that now works only in older versions of Excel.
The College of Charleston Undergraduate Research Program and the Computer Science Department have provided seed money to get Topsoil up and running as an open source community project.
Please visit and read the instructions and wiki, then download the latest release.  
If you want to contribute ideas, join GitHub and send your user name to Jim Bowring and we will include you in the team.
Be sure to explore the GitHub tutorials.  
If you are interested in assisting with the actual code development or test case development, please chime in.
If you want to raise issues, use the issue tracker.
We have a small team and lots to do, so there will be plenty of triaging.  Please welcome CIRDLES student developers John Zeringue (  and Florent Pastor, an intern from the University of La Rochelle, France.  These two are doing the heavy lifting!
The current release is meant to show what is possible, and we hope it inspires you to embrace the potential here of replacing Isoplot over the next couple years with a platform-independent open source solution.
We hope to release weekly, so stay tuned to the GitHub repository.
-Jim Bowring
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Congrats to CSCI 115 Hackathon Winners!

Dr. Munsells’ CSCI 115  students participated in an in-class Hackathon. In the website design class, students were challenged to develop a Pixar Renderman webpage within 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The results are in! Congratulations to Team Blue Community: Cris Segundo, Ian Plotnick, Jaclyn McKelvey, Jessica Rabon, and John Bleacher!

Team Blue Community completed their Pixar webpage in the shortest amount of time with the highest score (91%).

Scoring was based on how well the webpage matched the provided webpage. Scoring criteria included: layout (structure), format (colors, fonts, etc.), content (images, text, links, etc.), and W3 validation (HTML and CSS) checks.

Check out Team Blue Community’s work: Screenshot 2013-11-21 16.35.24

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Employer Spotlight: Annex Studio

Meet Annex Studio! “Annex is an integrated branding, graphic design, and web development firm in Charleston, SC”. The Annex Team: Brad, Jason, Geoffrey, and Colin are all graduates from the College of Charleston. Brad is a 2012 graduate from the Computer Science Department with a BS in Computer Science. After re-connecting with Annex at Pecha Kucha, Brad offered the CS Department valuable insights on Annex Studio’s startup development, lessons learned, and advice for current students.


Who is the team behind Annex Studio? 

Born in 1987 in Atlanta, GA, Jason Emory Parker had a keen interest in science and technology from a young age. After relocating with his family to Greenville, SC, he spent most of his middle and high school years learning about web design and development. He got his start at serious web development in the easily 00′s helping to administer a popular discussion forum run by technology host and author, Leo Laporte. In 2006, he left home to attended the College of Charleston where he earned a B.S. in Biology. While at the College, he spent much of his free time working at the campus newspaper and would go on to build, a student-run multimedia news and information portal. After graduating in 2010, he moved briefly to South Korea to teach English before returning to Charleston to work at a research lab at MUSC. In 2013, he became a founding partner in Annex Studio, LLC. His interests include science fiction, journalism, analysis of pop culture phenomena, and baked goods.

Geoffrey W. Yost is a communications specialist in Charleston, S.C., and an expert in digital strategy. Geoff has held major leadership roles in several fields, relying on his expertise in design, media, marketing, public relations, and event planning. He has helped plan high stakes political events, including the 57th Presidential Inauguration, President Obama’s 2012 Election Night celebration in Chicago, and the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He has also worked in communications at a D.C.­based trade association and on South Carolina political campaigns. An accomplished graduate of the College of Charleston, Geoff was the editor­-in-­chief of the College’s student newspaper, majoring in Communications and Political Science.

Colin Johnson is a Denver native, and a junior in the Arts Management Department at CofC. Currently acting as the photography editor for Cisternyard News at student media, Colin manages a small staff to produce images for print and online distribution. Outside of the college, he works as a freelance photographer, having contracted with local designers and national corporations alike. In 2013, Colin became a founder of Annex Studio, LLC with three partners, all graduates of the College of Charleston. When he isn’t in school or at the office, Colin enjoys music, cigars and fine gastronomy.

 Bradley M. Woods, an accomplished student leader, graduated cum laude from the College of Charleston in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. His experience as an analyst and project leader at a top tier software development firm, as well as his college work has allowed him to acquire proficiency in many languages including Java, Python, SQL, and PHP. Brad has assisted with the development of CLForJava, as well as contributing to several other open source projects including Shotwell. In 2013, Brad co-founded Annex Studio, LLC. Brad’s interests include responsive design, politics, and music.

 What prompted the formation of Annex Studio?

In the Fall of 2011, Jason and Geoff first discussed the possibility of starting their own business. Geoff’s entry into politics pushed back the timeline through early 2013. In March, Jason and Geoff resumed discussing the idea, bringing Colin and myself into the fold shortly thereafter. Formally incorporated on May 29, 2013, Annex Studio proceeded to quickly acquire its first client, and the business has continued to operate since.

From the beginning, our motivation to start our own business stemmed from the desire to work for ourselves. This allows for the maximum amount of creative and professional freedom. A strong desire of each of us.

How did you take the plunge into starting your own business?

Originally, our biggest concern was funding. We investigated several options for loans, lines of credit, and an office space. After some further research, we realized that we didn’t need any of these things. With minimal capital injection, we would be able to legally incorporate, and acquire the software necessary to operate without having to take on debt or look for investors.

This means that for time being, we do business after our day jobs and on the weekends. We decided that we were more comfortable giving up more of our time, rather than taking on a large financial burden, and were prepared to start the company this way.

We spent some time with a local lawyer, who helped us straighten out an operating agreement and square away our paperwork with the state.

What experiences at the College of Charleston formed a foundation for what you are doing today?

Each of us gained a great deal of experience while working at the student media organization on campus. At various points through his college career, Geoff was the PR Director for CofC Radio, General Manager of CofC Radio, Editor in Chief of the George Street Observer, and Chairman of Cougar Media Network.

Jason started as a volunteer at Cougar Television. He was then a Producer at Cougar Television, then the Director of Online Publishing for Cougar Television. Colin is the current Photography Editor for The Yard magazine. I (Brad) started as Beat Writer, covering the Student Government Association, and was later the Advertising General Manager for Cougar Media Network.

Each of these experiences exposed us to various opportunities that refined our creative skills in various ways. I already had technical experience from my ongoing education, but I learned a great deal about sales, design, and management through my advertising position. Jason created one of the previous iterations of (available at singlehandedly, combining technical and design work. Colin expanded on his already impressive photography skills and acquired new skills in visual design. Geoff learned everything the rest of us learned combined.

Looking back were there personal projects that you worked on outside of the classroom that helped you with resume building and professional development?

The four of us worked on many projects through student media that led us to where we are today. All of our projects there have helped to build or resumes. Furthermore, I helped to flesh out the technical side of my resume with my independent study, and Bachelor’s essay (Outside the classroom, technically, but still classes)..

What advice would you pass on to Computer Science students that are preparing to graduate and apply for jobs?

There are two things all Computer Science students should do before they graduate. Coincidentally, these are two things that I did not do, and they bit me in the end.

  • The first and most important thing all CS students should do is to take on internships in Computer Science. Real world experience with programming is immensely helpful when out searching for jobs. One of the biggest concerns employers had with my resume was my lack of internship experience. I did internships, but they would have looked much better on an application for a job in hospitality and tourism management. On more than one occasion, a company told me that they really liked my resume, and that I interviewed very well, but my lack of internship experience was why I did not get the job.
  • Secondly, all CS students should take a class on databases. I didn’t know that databases would be important, and the class wasn’t required, so I didn’t take it. This was another major hurdle for me when looking for job. In every single job I applied for, the technical interviewer asked how much I knew about databases or SQL. The only thing I could say was that I really didn’t know much about it at all. I don’t have concrete evidence for the importance of this, as I do for the first point, but I am fairly confident that my lack of SQL knowledge was detrimental to me finding a job.

A Special Thanks to Annex Studio!

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