Hendry ’10 Receives CRA Distinction – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Hendry ’10 Receives CRA Distinction

Rob Hendry ’10 was awarded Honorable Mention in the Computing Research Association (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Award competition. This prestigious and highly competitive award recognizes undergraduate students in North American universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computer science.

Hendry was recognized in part for his work on a project with Marc Corliss, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science. In particular, Hendry is conducting a senior honors project with Corliss in the area of compilers (a software tool for translating high-level programs into machine code). He is designing and implementing a complete compiler generator (software that can automatically build a compiler from a concise specification), which can generate all of the compilation phases. 

“Existing generators typically only build some of the compilation phases,” explains Corliss.  “A goal of our work is to generate ‘clean’ compilers that are easy to modify and extend even after they are generated. Although this tool may or may not be suitable for commercial languages and compilers, we believe that it will be useful in research labs where computer scientists often develop new languages and extend existing ones, such as to add security features.” The two intend to submit a paper describing this work for publication.

Corliss and Hendry

Hendry also did some previous work with Corliss, helping design and implement an architecture for the classroom called Larc (short for Little ARChitecture).  It enables students in a course on computer architecture (the study of how computers are built) to build and extend several architectural tools, which gives these students a much deeper understanding of the course concepts. Hendry’s work, in particular, was to design this architecture along with some of the tools.

“This was a significant undertaking, especially given that he had only completed his first year of college at the time,” says Corliss. In April, Corliss and Hendry published a paper describing this work in the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges. Furthermore, the architecture and tools that Hendry and Corliss built are now being used at HWS in CPSC 220. “We hope instructors of architecture courses at other institutions will also incorporate them into their classes. Rob’s work on this project was significant and critical to its success.”

Hendry was also recognized for work over the past two summers as an intern at Analog Devices, Inc., in Boston. Analog is a hardware design company and Hendry worked in the Digital Audio Unit group. In his first summer interning at the company, he designed scripts for testing one of its products. The infrastructure he developed is still being used by the company and his design influenced other Analog Devices testing developers. In his second summer, Hendry designed serial ports for a car audio system. He successfully implemented these ports and his design was reconfigurable in several ways.

Previously, the Colleges had another student, Lori Pietraszek in 2008, who received a CRA honorable mention.  

“The CRA honorable mention is a very significant accomplishment,” explains Corliss. It is an award given to computer science students across the country who have made significant research achievements in computer science.  

A complete list of CRA winners is available online. http://www.cra.org/Activities/awards/undergrad/2010.html

Hendry is currently in the process of applying to PhD programs in either computer science or computer engineering.  To learn more about him, check out his “Experience Map” http://www.hws.edu/experience/map_hendry.aspx.