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Students named finalists in international software engineering competition

A team of Washington State University Everett students were finalists in an international software engineering competition.

The students, seniors majoring in software engineering, were one of five teams selected as finalists in the competition that was held as part of the International Conference on Software Engineering, a top research conference in the field.  The competition is hosted every couple of years and draws participants from all over the world.

WSU Everett students Aric Monary, Emily Cawlfield, Phong Bach, and Nain Galvan

“This is a very competitive event, and being recognized is a great achievement for our team,” said Bolong Zeng, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at WSU Everett who advised the students. “I wanted to show that we have a program with the best students who can be successful in such a high-quality competition. I am immensely proud of their achievement.”

As part of the competition, the students developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-supported tool that uses AI to analyze raw text into actionable and itemized items. The tool can help software engineers produce better quality products, while making their jobs more efficient and consistent. The project was also part of the students’ senior design project.

“We like to call it a ‘meta software engineering project,’ as they are using their software engineering knowledge to develop a tool to improve software engineering,” Zeng said. “A tool like this could definitely help improve productivity in the software development industry by a significant degree.”

As part of the project, the students worked with Skip Baccus, a WSU alumnus and senior manager at Microsoft, who served as industry mentor and learned valuable lessons in software engineering principles for their future careers, Zeng said.

“People often have the mistaken idea that software is all about programming and nothing else, while the truth couldn’t be further from that,” he said. “They have to work efficiently as a team, cooperate with their clients and customers, while tackling various technical challenges. That’s the ideal quality of successful engineers.”

The students on the project were Aric Monary, Emily Cawlfield, Phong Bach, and Nain Galvan. Cawlfield and Monary have since graduated.

“I am thankful that our professor, Bolong Zeng, gave us this opportunity to participate in the competition and mentored us throughout the process,” Bach said.