CS50 Students Present Projects at Fair

CS50 Fair
Barbara Carvalho

Complete with candy, balloons, popcorn, prizes and music, the CS50 fair attracted many visitors on Friday. The fair, which showcases the final projects of the students in the popular computer science course, was held in Northwest Labs.

A hot potato game for Android-powered devices, an app that lets you know when a Facebook friend defriends you, and a tool called “Puritas” were just three of the hundreds of final projects on display at the CS50 Fair on Friday.

In its fourth year, the fair, which concludes Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I,” showcased projects developed by Harvard students to their peers and others from the surrounding community.

Music was blasting as observers headed down the stairs into the basement, greeted by enthusiastic teaching fellows wearing costumes to resemble the Angry Birds characters from the popular game.

Head TF Matthew J. Chartier ’12 said the fair gives students an opportunity to show off their projects.

“The fair is a way to demonstrate to the community at large what students are able to achieve with just one semester of computer science under their belt,” he said. “The only real constraint is the student’s imagination.”

Grace G. Gee ’15 developed an online problem set tracker, which matches up students working on the same problem set with the hope that they will be able to help each other. The tool, she said, was inspired by a hectic first semester.

“I couldn’t keep track of my problem sets, and by the time I found people to do them with, they were all already finished,” she said.

Gee used the knowledge she had learned in the CS50 lectures, as well as through the optional seminars hosted by teaching fellows that were specific to different areas in programming.

William Z. Chen ’14, Changlin Li ’14, and Felix J. Wong ’14 created a database of 7,000 colleges through which prospective college applicants can search according to parameters they set.

Chen said the database is currently available online and fully functional at the web address atcollege.info.

The fair is the culmination of a course that has become a sort of brand on campus, with its own set of merchandise that students were wearing at the fair and a culture that celebrates the technical and nerdy.

“When you’re just brought into a new school environment, it’s nice to have a class that has a really strong culture to it and let’s you feel like part of a community,” CS50 student Sarah C. Rosenthal ’15 said.

Some students plan to continue to improve their projects over the winter recess and launch them on the internet for public use.

For her problem set tracker, Gee said she plans to integrate it with Facebook and purchase her own domain name.

“Maybe if it works well here, I’ll expand it to other colleges,” she said.

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