Simmons Student Recognized for Data Research

August 10, 2017

Pam Qian and Nanette Veilleux

We chatted with Peizhu (Pam) Qian '19 about being selected to present her research at SURPASs17!

Out of over 40 entries, computer science and mathematics double major Peizhu (Pam) Qian '19 was chosen to present her research project in a timed pitch at The Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Simmons 2017 (SURPASs17) Pitch Slam on June 28, 2017. Her presentation was chosen as one of three winners of Dunkin Donuts gift cards for their stellar work. 

Can you describe your project in a few sentences?

My project studies the relationship between rowers' physical characteristics and their pacing over a 2,000-meter rowing test. For now, my participants are limited to the Simmons Crew team: female collegiate rowers, age 18 - 24. I plan to use the results found in this project to build a computer algorithm that gives rowers pacing advice based on their body shape. 

How did you come up with the idea for your research project?

One day during crew practice, while I was erging [using an indoor rowing machine], I came up with the idea of researching something about rowing. Pacing is critical in rowing as well as all other sports, and it varies among people. As a novice, I always wanted to receive advice on pacing so that I could perform better and maximize my potential. 

Where are you now in the project?

I have concluded some relationships and I’m now working on the algorithm. My mentor, Professor Nanette Veilleux, suggested I use data mining as a tool so I did not calculate everything by hand. I started to learn about data mining since the beginning of SURPASs but there is more to learn. 

Where are you hoping to go with your research?

I hope to finish my first algorithm by the end of this summer, so I can ask my teammates to test it out in fall. I also want to reach out to other institutions and rowing clubs to enlarge my dataset. I hope to bring my research to some conferences, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, to get more ideas. The most ideal scenario is to make a business out of this research. 

Peizhu (Pam) Qian with her adviser, Professor Nanette Veilleux.