Oklahoma City - Violent protests shut down Hong Kong’s airport as citizens sought international support in their stand against China’s communist overreach. The Boeing 777 transporting Addison Schwamb, a student at Oklahoma Christian University, touched down only two days after the airport had reopened.
In spite of ongoing political unrest the IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications hosted by the City University of Hong Kong proceeded as planned. IEEE, the world's largest technical professional organization, invited Schwamb to present research she conducted as part of a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).
“My undergraduate partner and I took an algorithm which solves a path-planning problem and wrote code to implement it with physical robots, since it had not been tested with physical devices,” said Schwamb.
Schwamb presented to professionals and students from around the world who were attending the conference to study themes of energy, manufacturing, transportation and industrial automation.
Schwamb’s research involved building robots to test the solution to a popular pursuit evasion problem. In this problem, an Attacker and a Target move about an inﬁnite plane with constant speeds. The goal of the Attacker is to capture the Target in minimum time.
“These experiments showed that the algorithm does work in real life, particularly in situations where the robots can implement air-combat tactics,” said Schwamb.
Academic and honors faculty at OC invest heavily in the success of students by opening doors of opportunity. Dr. Jim Baird, director of honors and distinguished professor of Bible and philosophy, is an endless source of support and encouragement.
“What a great opportunity for Addison! I think there were less than thirty undergraduate students worldwide who were invited to present at this conference. I'm so glad she went for the REU grant from the National Science Foundation. That research is what put her in a position to receive this amazing invitation,” said Baird.
While at the conference, Schwamb met engineering students from around the world and explored the city with them. The students discussed different countries and cultures, favorite aspects of engineering, hobbies and what engineering grad school is really like.
“I'd like to thank OC, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Honors Program for giving me the skills necessary to conduct this research, and supporting me all the way through my journey to presenting it at the CCTA,” said Schwamb.
The experience solidified Schwamb’s idea to pursue graduate school, possibly studying abroad. The paper she wrote for the REU that will be published in the conference proceedings and the selection to present at an international conference will make Schwamb a sought-after applicant.
Schwamb was able to fly in and out of Hong Kong within a brief window of peaceful order. Citizens there planned another demonstration at the airport for the day after she departed. The three-months long civil unrest continues as the five demands of citizens are ignored: withdraw the extradition bill, an independent inquiry into the protests and police brutality, a halt to descriptions of the protests as rioting, a waiver of charges against those arrested and resumption of political reform.
9/4/2019 Update: Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam formally withdrew the extradition bill.