NEW! Focus on Eastern Washington University.

Focus on……Eastern Washington University
In the Department of Computer Science at Eastern Washington University, I'm really the
only faculty member doing modeling and simulation. I cover a lot of different interests, but
primarily it's related to aviation. I'm an airplane and helicopter pilot. My primary area is
modeling and simulation of intelligent systems. Currently I'm working on a machine-learning
project with a full-sized Robinson R22 helicopter, which I've outfitted with a variety of data
acquisition devices to figure out what I'm doing. The goal is to understand the countless
interactions in the complex, dynamical system. I have a seed grant for preliminary work with
these objectives:
• to build an acquisition system for recording flight data from a full-sized helicopter;
• to collect data from basic flight maneuvers as teaching examples of how to perform
• to investigate data processing and fusion techniques to merge data from numerous
repetitions of maneuvers done to account for variation and errors;
• to build a rudimentary software flight-dynamics model based on the nature of the
collected data; and,
• to investigate machine-learning techniques, especially genetic programming, to allow
the system to learn and explain how to perform the same actions as the human pilot.
I teach my software engineering courses from a standpoint of modeling, simulation,
visualization, and analysis. Even when the application isn't a what-if experiment in the sense
we're used to, the same process of computational scientific method does wonders for software
development, specifically for software quality assurance. I presented a paper at last year's
AlaSim on one of these projects (Multiagent Test Range: Fostering Disciplined Software
Engineering Practices in Students via Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, and Analysis). I
haven't seen anyone else teach software engineering from this perspective.
Dr. Dan Tappan