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Computer Science and Espn: Sports and Technology Collide


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New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola catching a touchdown pass in the 2015 Super Bowl.

A computer science educator helped develop the K-Zone effect system that ESPN uses to generate indicators that serve to explain and amplify the action on-screen.

Credit: USA Today Sports

Connecticut College professor Christine Chung worked for ESPN before becoming a computer science educator. While at ESPN, Chung helped develop the K-Zone effect system, a computer-generated, on-screen rectangular box that serves as a strike zone for those watching TV.

"There are numerous ways in which sports and any industry intersect with computer science," Chung says. For example, she notes TV broadcasts are full of real-time special effects that are generated by programs, algorithms, and systems created by computer scientists. Algorithms also are used to analyze sports statistics and in the ever-growing fantasy sports industry.

However, Chung missed doing theoretical research because "you get to ignore all the complicated, messy real-world details that get in the way of thinking about the core underlying problem," she says.

Now, as a computer science professor, Chung gets to teach and work on challenging problems in her research. "When you can focus on that simple, clean structure of the essence of a problem, then things get really interesting and beautiful and exciting," she says.

From The College Voice
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