John Pigott, a senior computer science and mathematics major, interned over the summer at the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center (ABCC), which is part of the National Cancer Institute at Fort Detrick.
He got a hands-on feel for working in an office environment with professionals, where he learned multiple computer languages that he later used to create a simple simulation of a blood vessel.
“It was a great experience for me because it allowed me to learn and work with the Unity3D Game Engine,” Pigott said. “This is a piece of software I had learned about and was interested in learning, but had never had the opportunity.”
The Unity3D Game Engine is a cross-platform game engine that is typically used to develop video games for websites, consoles or mobile devices.
In addition to the Unity3D Game Engine, Pigott had the chance to work with Blender and MeshLab softwares, which were required in able for him to complete his project.
Both Blender and MeshLab are computer softwares that allow users to develop 3D models, and both are commonly used for video game purposes.
“The computer science knowledge that I gained at Hood was most helpful during my internship,” stated Pigott. “One particular example coming in handy was the technique of Karnaugh maps, which I learned in my digital logic class where we learned how to simplify circuits to save space on a circuit board.”
Karnaugh maps provide a pictorial method of grouping expressions with common factors, which eliminates unwanted variables.
While he was learning the languages at the ABCC, the theories and principles he had learned at Hood allowed him to understand the languages necessary for the completion of his project.
At the end of his internship and project, Pigott completed a 30-minute presentation to some of the doctors at the ABCC explaining his project, the challenges he faced, the technologies he used, how the project was beneficial and what he was learning.
Photo: Pigott’s blood vessel simulation running in the Unity3D Game Engine editor.