Computer Science Students Return from France

A group of Arkansas students spent six weeks of their summer vacation in France this year. But instead of relaxing, these future computer scientists spent their time at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) at Rouen, working on computer applications and hardware designed to improve container shipping and associated logistics.

The students – seven from UALR and one from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville – each were assigned a portion of the complete project, which dealt with container security, monitoring, and logistics. One of the main focus areas for their research was the feasibility of the use of sensor networks using sensors such as radio frequency identification (RFID) in shipping containers.

Rouen is located on the Seine River, which is home to three individual ports, so these students’ work is particularly applicable there. However, their work has broader implications for all countries engaged in international trade.

The UALR students worked alongside with students from INSA who began creating a transportation-on-demand system that would allow individuals to call public transit to their location at any time.

UALR students stayed in a dormitory at Rouen, but they were able to spend each weekend traveling throughout France and into other European countries. Next year, the program should expand, according to Dr. Srini Ramaswamy, chair of the Department of Computer Science.

“We have three years of funding for the program from the National Science Foundation (NSF),” he said. “We hope to send more students next year, and they will have the opportunity to continue the research begun this year. Eventually, the students’ work could have broad applications for shipping throughout the world.”

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