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Josh Daymude earned an honorable mention for exemplary research as part of the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program, which recognizes students with outstanding potential in computing research across North America.

Josh Daymude, a senior earning concurrent degrees in computer science and mathematics, earned an honorable mention for exemplary research from the Computing Research Association.

Josh Daymude, a senior earning concurrent degrees in computer science and mathematics, earned an honorable mention for exemplary research from the Computing Research Association.

Daymude conducts research in self-organizing particle systems under the supervision of computer science associate professor Andrea Richa, who nominated him for the award program.

“We are looking at the computational algorithms that underpin future forms of programmable matter,” said Daymude, a senior earning concurrent degrees in computer science and mathematics. Programmable matter refers to physical materials that can gather continuous information from their surroundings and then adapt and respond to their environments based on algorithmic rules.

Daymude’s research focuses on the particles that make up the computational units within the larger programmable matter system.

“We try to take very simple particles/computational units and make them work together to create a larger, more robust programmable matter system,” said Daymude.

Specifically, he researches the compression of these particles in order to structure the larger system as tightly as possible.

This effort involves developing algorithmic primitives (rules that the particles follow) to coordinate particle movement in order to achieve a desired configuration and to validate those primitives through analysis and simulations.

The applications of these self-organizing particle systems could be used in order to coat the surface of a bridge to monitor tension, to fill a crack in a nuclear reactor or to stop internal bleeding by covering the affected area.

“Josh is a highly enthusiastic, independent and competent researcher. The research problems he has addressed would be challenging for a Ph.D. student,” said Richa, who also complimented him for being a great team player.

Last summer Daymude had the opportunity to conduct some of this research in Germany through a prestigious Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) summer research scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

He conducted research with two doctoral students at the University of Paderborn who are part of a larger international research collaboration between Richa’s group at ASU and the University of Paderborn.

Daymude was invited to speak at a conference for all RISE interns in Heidelberg, Germany, and used the program’s travel stipend to attend the International Colloquium on Structural Information and Communication Complexity (SIROCCO 2015) conference in Montserrat, Spain.

His work on the compression problem is being developed for his honor’s thesis at ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College.

His efforts were also supported by a stipend from the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) in spring 2015, and he presented his work at the FURI Symposium.

Josh’s research efforts are also supported in large part by a supplementary Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation. This grant is a year-long stipend that funds undergraduate support in a faculty member’s NSF-funded project.

Daymude hopes that his recognition will spark interest in the power of theoretical abstraction and computer science.

“For me the satisfaction in research is the thinking and sense of discovery that goes along with it,” he said.

An awardee, runner-up, five finalists and 16 honorable mentions were recognized in this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program in the Ph.D.-granting institution, male category, for which Daymude competed.

He is among students from Cornell University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Rutgers University and the University of California, Berkeley in the honorable mention recognition category.