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A Passion for Programming

Joseph Kurtz, a senior at Missouri University of Science and Technology, wants to improve lives through technology.

Joseph Kurtz transferred to the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing after his sophomore year of high school. The program impacted his life immensely because it was the first time he was introduced to the discipline of computer science. When his professor showed the class how to make a very basic instant messaging program, he was hooked. After completing the Missouri Academy program, he enrolled at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Kurtz was one of 46 students to present research at the Capitol Rotunda March 1 as part of the University of Missouri System’s Undergraduate Research Day. As part of the day, Kurtz was able to visit with legislators from his hometown and tour the chambers of the Missouri House and Senate.

His research project is called “Balancing Limited Resources for Speech Transcription on Mobile Devices.” Using a speech transcription mobile app, he studied the pros and cons of processing data through an external server—with the results delivered through the internet— verses processing data on the phone itself. The former consumes a lot of bandwidth, but the latter can drain battery life.

He concluded that a dynamic load balancing system is the best option — that is, a program that can elect either function based on factors such as battery charge and wireless strength.

Kurtz said that working on hands-on research has only further ignited his passion for programming. In the future, he would like to build a career making mobile apps.

“I’m not interested in designing games or ways for people to waste time with their phones,” he said. “I want to help people improve their lives.”

He said that doing research is a way to not just learn about the scientific method but to apply it.

“It involves critical thinking, and it also teaches you how to use your resources in the best way possible,” he said.

Learn more about some of the undergraduate researchers:

Aver Yakubu, University of Missouri-Columbia

Angela Gutierrez, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Patrilie Hernandez, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Posted on Mar 12, 2012.

Joseph Kurtz

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