Notable Achievements

Computer Science majors Caleb Highsmith ’24, Alejandro Medina ’24, Travis Rafferty ’24, and Noah Zamarripa ’24 presented a poster on “SNITCH: Southwestern’s Newest Innovation to Cultivate Honor” which earned 3rd place at the 34th Annual Conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges: South Central Region on April 5 in Nacogdoches, TX. Their work, done in Professor of Computer Science Barbara Anthony’s capstone course, develops a web-based tool allowing a person to upload assignments and make judgments about the likelihood of the result having been generated by AI, with machine learning models that are constantly being evaluated and are automatically configured based on their performance. Travis also presented a poster on “Using Multi-Objective Quality Diversity to Evolve Complex Machines in Minecraft” that was joint work with Joanna Lewis ’24 done through a SCOPE project with Associate Professor of Computer Science Jacob Schrum.

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Expertise

Artificial Intelligence and Computer Games, specifically Evolutionary Computation, Neural Networks, Neuroevolution, and Procedural Content Generation.

Dr. Schrum majored in Computer Science, Math, and German as an undergraduate at Southwestern University, and graduated in 2006. He then attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his PhD in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence. In particular, Dr. Schrum applies Evolutionary Computation to video game domains. As a graduate student at UT, he won the BotPrize competition in 2012, which was a Turing Test for bots in the game Unreal Tournament 2004, and his dissertation focused on the evolution of Neural Networks to play the classic game of Ms. Pac-Man. Since returning to Southwestern University as a professor in 2014, he encourages active learning and participation in the classroom. He has filmed over 80 short instructional videos for students to watch before class, so that in-class sessions can be focused on problem solving. He is also a regular mentor for Southwestern University’s SCOPE summer research program, and has published several research papers with Southwestern University students. He also interacts with students outside of class as a member of both the CS Club and German Club.

Education

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin 2014
MS, University of Texas at Austin 2009
BS, Southwestern University 2006

Honors & Awards

  • First place in Ms. Pac-Man vs. Ghosts competition 2018, a competition to design controllers for a challenging partially observable version of Ms. Pac-Man.
  • Grand prize in BotPrize 2012, a competition to design human-like agents for video games.
  • UTCS Department’s 2012 Teaching Assistant Excellence Award.
  • Inaugural Paideia Scholar at SU in 2006.

Affiliations

  • Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • SIGEVO: Special Interest Group on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation
  • SIGCSE: Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • IEEE Computational Intelligence Society
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), Computer Science Honorary Society
  • Pi Mu Epsilon (PME), Mathematics Honorary Society
  • Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), Academic Honor Society
  • Alpha Chi (AX), Academic Honor Society

In the News

  • Patience, Grit, and an Open Mind

    Lauren Gillespie ’19 reflects on what it takes to research, present, and publish successfully as a chemistry and computer science double major.

  • Hands-on Learning

    Alumnus Jacob Schrum ’06, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, reflects on his time as a student at SU, what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk, and chimes in with his thoughts on Artificial Intelligence. Spoiler alert: we’re not doomed.

  • Computer Science Majors Develop Artificial Intelligence for Video Games

    SCOPE project focuses on developing intelligent agents using video games and creating visual patterns on a computer screen.