The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Andrew Solis

Computer Science

Andrew’s undergraduate research topic is Digital Humanities for Large Data Visualization.

“The most rewarding part of my research was being able to see it used by real users to analyze large data sets.”

Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Weijia Xu, Dr. Maria Esteva, Robert Turknett, and Heriberto Nieto, Texas Advanced Computing Center

Briefly describe your research project.

My research deals with software tools that help connect the humanities with the most recent technology available. This includes but is not limited to data mining, data visualization, and digital publishing as a means to help strengthen the use of technology in the investigation of different academic disciplines, as well as real world usage by patrons.

How did you initially get involved in research?

I came to TACC (Texas Advanced Computing Center) as a student proctor and was placed on a team focused on data mining and data visualization for large data sets. I was immediately fascinated by the complexity and immense size of the data and was curious about how best to depict this data while maintaining standards of efficiency and visual beauty as well as easy and smooth interaction.

What has been the most rewarding part of your research experience (so far)?

The most rewarding part of my research was being able to see it being used by real users to analyze large data sets. Our main focus of one particular project was to add new functionality to a visual application for the Institute of Classical Archaeology here at the University of Texas. Actually seeing this tool in action gave me a sense of accomplishment and gratitude that I could help create something useful in the real world.

What surprised you during the research process?

Probably my biggest surprise was how collaborative it became. As a software developer you learn to work in groups and have good communication but don’t really see the real world value of this. With my research, we maintained constant communication and evaluated our process diligently, which overall gave me appreciation for just how important communication is, not only as an asset to research, but in the rest of your life too.

Do you think having been involved in research as an undergraduate will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

Being able to do research has allowed me access to tools and individuals I would never have the privilege of working with. The amount of knowledge I have learned and lessons that my research has taught me is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.