Thesis Portfolio

Manandhar, Shiva, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Sullivan, Kevin, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

My Technical Report and STS Research Paper are connected through the notion that there are overlooked features within technology that can have a major influence on its social aspects. Both projects utilize the ANT framework to examine overlooked features within software development to emphasize the overarching problems within each case. Software development practices are prominent within both my Technical Report and STS Research Paper; both go through the practices that were not emphasized within software development and how they can have social and technical consequences. However, the Technical Report goes over proposed changes within a social construct- UVA’s Computer Science Department- that overlook software development practices for groups of individuals. The STS Research Paper delves into the software practices within the Tay Chatbot case that were neglected and caused the Chatbot to become rogue. Even though both focus on different aspects of software engineering, both of the projects are stringed through the ideology of the importance of having proper software development practices.
My Technical Report discussed the proposed reconstruction of UVA’s Computer Science curriculum to include new changes based on difficulties I had while working on my Network Dashboard during my internship in Verizon. While at Verizon, I was not familiar with the software development tools that were used to collect data, such as Splunk, and software development practices to ensure the software I am developing is meeting key needs of Verizon engineers, such as asking for feedback on user testing. Due to my lack of understanding of data collection tools and software development practices, I advocated the needs of a redesign within the Computer Science department to ensure that students are more prepared within the workforce when developing software. Specifically, I used ANT to show the need for classes to focus on user experience and software tools to have a better comprehension of software development in the workforce..
In my Technical Report, I analyzed the factors that were overlooked within the Tay Chatbot case to illuminate other areas of software development within Artificial Intelligence that needed to be addressed, such as the developer’s testing practices and the algorithm within Tay. Tay was a Chatbot that was developed by Microsoft to facilitate conversations with users on Twitter. The Chatbot, however, developed hostile results due to malicious users taking advantage of Tay’s algorithm and teaching it inappropriate language. Many individuals believe that Tay went rogue due to the aggressors on Twitter. But through ANT, I demonstrated that other factors must be taken into consideration, specifically the algorithms used within Tay’s software and software practices that were not focused on. Demonstrating there were other actors involved in the downfall of Tay can clarify why Tay did not function properly and lead the public and engineers to focus on areas that are liable to causing Chatbots to become malicious.
Working on both of these projects has improved my ability to understand both software development and the need for software practices. The Technical Report helped me zoom in on overarching topics to learn more about critical details that may need to be readjusted, which lead to me using the Tay Chatbot case to fully understand as to why the Chatbot went rogue. These projects have made me more aware of how technology will interact with consumers, and thus made me aware of making the software and code I write more user friendly. Overall, the projects I have done in my 4th year at UVA helped emphasize the needs of proper software practices to ensure that the software that is being continuously integrated and maintained meets the needs of the consumer while also ensuring that it is functioning properly.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Issued Date: