ACM Holds First Meeting of the Academic Year

Student organizations and clubs provide opportunities to meet new people with similar interests, learn new skills, share your talent, and help you become more connected to campus life.  The Department of Computer Science at the College of Charleston offers several opportunities for students to engage in organizations, activities, and immerse in the CS “code life”.  The CofC Association of Computing Machinery, or ACM, is an organization to discuss and share interest in computer science.  CofC ACM is a student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, delivering resources that advance computing as a science and a profession.

Ron Zielaznicki

CofC ACM President, Ron Zielaznicki

Overseen by Dr. Olmsted, ACM is looking forward to the 2014-2015 Academic year. The computer science club plans to reorganize and rebuild the local chapter to better serve the students and the community.  Focusing on the various spectrums of technology, the club is open to ideas and discussions driven by student interest.  As ACM Chapter President, Ronald Zielaznicki,  “hopes people will come and learn useful skills to apply toward computer science and feel more confidence in their abilities.”

The CofC ACM plans to kickstart a fundraiser initiative in order to support the local chapter.  Plans are underway, help is needed, and encouraged.  To help fundraise, contact ACM Chapter President, Ronald Zielaznicki, at

CofC ACM holds weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 12:45pm in Rm 334 at the new building for the Department of Computer Science, Harbor Walk East.   For more information, refer to the CofC ACM page.

ACM Meeting

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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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