COMPUTER SYSTEMS LABORATORY
Senior Tech Lab - Information for Juniors
WHAT KIND OF PREPARATION IS NEEDED FOR THIS LAB?
Advanced Placement Computer Science
- Recommended Electives
WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
- One period, all year
- Mentorship, two periods (Fall or Spring)
WHAT KIND OF PROJECTS DO STUDENTS DO?
The Senior Technology Research course in the Computer Systems Lab provides an opportunity
for students to use the latest high performance computing technology to investigate something of personal
interest. Projects in this lab do not have to be pure computer science, although many students will pursue
that field of research. Former students have explored topics in almost every subject area including
mathematics, physics, biology, medicine, anthropology, English, social studies, art, music, sports, and
many interdisciplinary fields. However, every project must emphasize advanced computer algorithms,
high performance or parallel computing, or graphics visualization techniques. Students may learn some
of these leading edge computing skills on their own, or in the recommended advanced electives. The
primarily computing systems used by students include high-powered Pentium systems running LINUX,
a 16-processor LINUX Cluster, and equipment in the Multimedia Sound room.
For students interested in the Mentorship program, there are over thirty firms in northern Virginia
that have worked with our students. Projects will vary depending upon the firm, but most companies
want students who know C++ or Java, and have UNIX experience. In order to do Mentorship in
Computer Systems, a student must satisfy the regular acceptance criteria for the lab.
WHAT DO STUDENTS LEARN?
As part of Senior Independent Research in the Computer Systems Lab, students learn many
valuable skills that will be useful for summer employment, college success, and eventual career choices.
Opportunities in the computing field are excellent at this time and are only expected to improve. Students
who have mastered the skills taught in this lab are usually able to obtain lucrative summer jobs in the
computer industry. The curriculum goals in the CS Lab stress advanced skills in C++, Java, Perl, PHP,
parallel computing, UNIX, X-Windows, 3-D OpenGL graphics, and various World-Wide Web and
Internet technologies. As in any Technology Lab, students will develop formal research papers during
the school year, but in the CS Lab they will also receive instruction on technical writing, visual
presentation and other communication skills. The lab also includes a short unit on career skills including
resume writing and successful interview techniques. Some students serve as system administrators on
the lab's network and Internet domain, and students in this lab manage the TJHSST webserver and
Intranet. Many students have been very successful entering their projects in science competitions and
scholarship programs including ThinkQuest, the Intel Science Talent Search, and the Science Fair.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Look at the posters on the walls of the CS Lab, ask students who are in the lab about their
projects, talk to some of our wealthy alumni, or check out the following web page: