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New course scheduling tool launched

University students now have access to what USG president Michael Yaroshefsky ’12 called “the Swiss Army Knife of course-selection tools.” The Integrated Course Engine, or ICE 2.0, which was launched on Wednesday, allows users to access multiple sources of information related to class  scheduling all on the same webpage.

Gyeong-Sik Choi ’10, Dan Huang ’10, Becker Polverini ’11, Alan Chin ’10 and Yoonju Kim ’10 originally created the online course-scheduling tool in 2008 as a final project for COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques, taught by computer science professor Brian Kernighan GS ’69. Two hundred students initially signed up to use the program, but when the University websites that channeled information to the online tool changed, it stopped working. Kernighan is also a columnist for The Daily Princetonian.

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Choi decided to update the project almost two years later for his senior independent work. ICE 2.0 can now be accessed at ice.tigerapps.org.

ICE 2.0 allows users to read course descriptions from the registrar’s website, access reviews from the USG’s student course guide and view potential classes in a weekly schedule, all on the same page. Choi has not integrated the site with the registrar’s website to allow for automatic updates when changes are made to course offerings.

The main change Choi made from the original version of the program dealt with “rewriting the server side so that it would be maintainable and scalable,” he explained.

While ICE 2.0 has the same basic function as the early version, Choi’s rework of the site personalizes the experience by making course recommendations to fill students’ distribution requirements while fitting their schedules. The new version also includes a feature from the original site that issues warnings when students have not fulfilled prerequisites for classes.

“I think that it has the potential to be very helpful, just because it’s so personalized, and it will be good for just keeping track of things that we all know we have to do,” USG academics chair Becca Lee ’12 said.

She added that she expects it to “cut down a lot” on the amount of time students spend searching for courses.

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Yaroshefsky said that 140 students had registered within hours of an e-mail announcement he sent to the USG-News opt-in listserv on Wednesday. By Thursday, Choi said that more than 400 students had done so. He added that he is looking for students to  maintain the site.

Kim said that she hopes the  website will help students “not get too stressed by course planning, [and] not be  overwhelmed by the amount of information there is.”

The programmers’ main motivation for initially creating the program was to facilitate their own course selection.

“We basically wanted to make our own lives easier,” Kim said. “We wanted something that would bring everything together, so that we wouldn’t have to draw out new time tables every time we wanted to change our schedules.”

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Students in COS 333 often write “good” programs, Huang said, though he added that “it’s kind of sad that the projects just don’t get used because people don’t know about [them].”

Students from the class made the Point and Room Draw Guide websites, he added, noting that COS 333 students have written other scheduling programs that have not been made accessible to the general student population.

Huang, an electrical engineering major, was the project manager for the original ICE program. Choi is also majoring in electrical engineering, while Chin and Kim are math majors and Polverini is a computer science major.

Next year, Huang will attend graduate school for computer science, Choi will be working in Silicon Valley, Kim plans to work in consulting and Chin plans to take a technology job in finance. 

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