Daniel Polak – Blankenbach
Daniel Polak At the beginning of the first term, when I was scrolling through the wide range of subjects offered at Wellington High, I found Information Science on the list, which sounded pretty interesting to me. I remember the first periods of Mr Brannigan’s Information Science class as quite boring. The topics treated were particularly dry. Learning Java, a programming language, from scratch is like learning English – every beginning is hard. For the first ½ of the first term, we had to go through all the learning processes, but fairly quickly I got the hang of it and it became more and more exciting. Only 2 weeks later, I had some amazing results, such as a program, giving out sound over the PC speakers of a certain frequency, given by the user. This usually sounded horrible, especially the high pitch noises, but it was a hell of lot fun for all of us, mucking around with it. Right from the beginning of term I knew that the class will soon start a big project that needs to be submitted by the end of the year. Being aware of the fact that I’ll be leaving half way through the year and not being able to finish the project, I was almost about to drop the subject. One I was trying to find a program for Mathematics that can plot graphs. As I found hardly any good results on the web, I decided to make it my task for the remaining time to build a program, plotting mathematical functions.
After having introduced my new idea to my INS teacher, I started building a Graphical User Interface, which is the design of an application including all the buttons, frames, sliders and much, much more. When that was finished, which took about 3 weeks – and I did work at home as well – I carried on with the harder part, the function parser. Without going into too many details, a parser is way of evaluating a mathematical function. When I had finished this massive step, which most probably involved the most time, I had to deal with stuff like scaling and rendering problems and finally I was able to plot my first graphs on the screen-what an exciting moment after almost 2 months of hard work. Many improvements had to be done, since the first compiled version of my function plotter, until sometime in May when I introduced it to the Principal of Wellington High School, Prue Kelly. Using a smart board and a projector I was able to show the full power of my application in high quality and with amazing results on the big projection. The smart board enabled me to simply move the cursor, by dragging my fingers over the board. What a technology!!! Finally I created my own webpage to publish my program, called FXPlotter, on one of the school servers. The webpage can be found under the URL:www.fxplotter.uni.cc. Since the end of March, when I started writing my code, I have developed some really good programming skills, and full of enthusiasm I’ll be able to go back to Germany, knowing I have achieved something I would have never been able to do without the help of Wellington High. …..No question Information science was the perfect choice for me… Daniel was awarded a Silver Crest Award by the Royal Society for his work.