Senior Project Opportunities

2023-2024 Projects

Still Looking for a Senior Project Advisor?

Activity Contact: James Mealy |

Activity Contact: Hugh Smith  |

Are you still looking for a senior project advisor? Send James Mealy or Hugh Smith an  email! 

Choose Your Own Project!

Activity Contact: Andrew Danowitz |

Have an idea for a senior project and are looking for an advisor? Send me an email! I specialize in working with students to turn their ideas into full senior projects. I support both technical projects and projects focusing on engineering education.

FitBit For Dogs!

Activity Contact: Rich Murray |


Dog owners need assistance in order to protect the health and well-being of their pets. Owners could use wireless details on their pet’s current location and condition, especially the pets body temperature while also having the latest exercise like number of steps, much as humans often require.


Design and build a mobile collar held device that a pet dog wears that continuously monitors location (through GPS), body temperature, and a record of current database of exercise by number of steps – daily, weekly, monthly. Design a smart phone App to communicate to smart collar which the pet owner carries around. Stretch goals include recommended exercise by breed, emergency broadcast of location and condition during duress.


It is possible that this CPE senior project could continue as a Capstone or interdisciplinary project next Fall..

Activity Contact: Maria Pantoja  |

  1. Accelerating Uncertainty estimation on Deep Learning
  2. Accelerating Hyperparameter Optimization for Deep Learning
  3. Using Uncertainty to improve Adversarial Atacks in ViT
  4. Using Uncertainty with Active Learning to improve image classification robustness
  5.  Fail Tolerance on MPI
  6. Scheduling Optimization in High Performance Computing
  7. Using OpenMP for multicore, distributed computing, and offloading; with failure detection
  8. RISC-V GPU (although this one is Joseph Callenes and Andrew Danowitz’s project, but I can help with them)

Activity Contact: James Mealy  |

Non-Music Related 

RISC-V Otter Assembler & Simulator: This project entails writing an assembler/debugger and hardware simulator for the RISC-V Otter. The new semester version of the course will teach assembly language without actual hardware. This project will provide a graphical display that simulates the input and output hardware found on the Basys3 board. This is a multi-person project based on the overall scope of the project. The final result of this project will be primarily used by students in the new semester version of this course, but also can be used by current CPE 233 and CPE 333 students.


Automatic Guitar Tabulature Generator: Many guitar players do not read music but do know how to read guitar tabulature. Generating tabulature is a tedious process at best which means most people don’t do it which results in less tabulature being out there. This project would automatically generate tabulature as the player played the instrument. This project would require somewhat extensive digital and analog circuit design, which would mean two people. The output could be a third SP, primarily software-based.


Automatic Guitar Strummer: Many guitar players develop repetitive stress injuries caused by strumming a guitar. The project would entail developing a mechanism that “strums” the guitar. Button presses directed from the strumming hand could actuate this device. There are many possibilities and features possible from such a mechanism, particularly it gives some handicapped people the ability to play guitar.


Guitar Bowing Device: Instruments such as violin and cello are bowed; the bow is made from horsehair, which provides a constant agitation of the string. This device would provide constant agitation of string based on which string are being played. I envision this as working in two modes: a single-string mode and a multiple string mode. There are several issues to work out on this project but it should create a rather cool and versatile addition/effect to a guitar.


Music Meter Measurement: Live music always has an issue of “changing meter”. The sign of less than skilled musicians is to start a song, they change the meter once the song starts. This device would note the starting meter and finishing meter of a song. This device would also indicate how the meter is changing as the song progresses. This function would be similar to electronic tuners that indicate real-time whether a given tone is more sharp or more flat from a target tone. This project requires a modest amount of intelligence programmed into the device as it would need to detect the main beat of music from the various sub-beats in music.


Foot-Pedal Controlled Electronic Metronome: This device would have all the features of a normal metronome, but it would have the meter controlled by a foot-pedal. This would allow musicians to practice with a meter that would be changing based on user input (namely, the foot pedal). This would be a great practice aid for repetitive type practice such as learning new techniques such as alternative strumming styles.


Personal Minimalistic Metronome: This device would be a blinking LED that could be mounted on a instrument. This device would be small, battery driven, and would have a minimum of controls (in an effort to keep it small and thus mountable on an instrument). There would be no sound output associated with this device.


Programmable LEDs for Guitar Fretboard: This device would have one LED per fret and could be used to show scales or new riffs on the guitar fretboard. There is a guitar out there with these features, but the implementation is not efficient. This project would require extensive modifications of a guitar fretboard and would necessarily be MCU-based.

2022-2023 Projects (previous years projects listed for information purposes only]

Cyber Physical Systems

Activity Contact: Stephen Beard |

Operational Technology (OT, think factories and power plants) have long been the realm of analog control with some isolated digital systems. Thus, the threat model that such systems have classically faced has excluded many of the classical threats that the Information Technology (IT, think laptops and servers) realm has dealt with. With the increasing connectivity in our world and the business desire for more and more “big data” driven decisions, many OT spaces are being driving towards connectivity. This clashing of worlds has serious consequences for security that we have already begun to see — the damage caused by a cyber incident in a power plant, water treatment plant, or hospital has serious risk of injury and loss of life.

In recognition of the need for more research and education in this area, PG&E has graciously donated a Critical Infrastructure Cyber Security Lab to Cal Poly. This lab will hopefully serve as the basis for many exciting courses and projects. It is currently a fantastic framework upon which we can build, consisting of several workstations, servers, data diodes, and Programmable Logic Controllers (think the OT version of an FPGA). We currently need a few projects to help flesh out this skeleton. These include projects to create some cyber physical systems that can serve as demonstrations and attack targets, as well as some projects to bring the network side of the lab up to full functionality. Note that many interested attacks require targets of some sort, so there is a natural ordering to some of these projects. I, in addition to a few other faculty, are interested in advising projects in these areas.
Some example projects include:
  • Closed Loop PLC Controlled Systems
    • Traffic light control system
    • Simulated power plant / distribution system
    • Suspend ping pong ball in a column of air
  • System Administration
    • Imaging and backup of servers and workstations
    • Racking and installing hypervisor-based server
    • Network IDS configuration and analysis
  • Attack Exploration
    • Attacks circumventing data diode-based networks
    • Human Machine Interface PLC attacks
    • Hardware trojan based attacks

Architectural Security

Activity Contact: Stephen Beard |
Trusted systems require the faithful execution of secure software by secure hardware. Today’s systems have neither. Essentially all software contains bugs that attackers can find and exploit. The complexity of hardware, combined with the large attack surface presented in its development, manufacturing, and deployment processes make it nearly impossible to secure every component. My dissertation focused on leveraging a small, trusted, and potentially formally verified set of hardware and software to contain the potentially ill effects of untrusted/buggy/malicious hardware and software. This wholistic system-based approach has the potential to guarantee the correctness of communication from a system without major impacts to its performance. We have historically called this system TrustGuard and the small, trusted, hardware verification unit the Sentry. There are still many open areas that deserve further investigation in this area, and I would be thrilled to advise student projects that will help me further explore this area. Note that many of these projects will contain a strong research emphasis.
Some example areas and projects
  • Architectural simulations for security
  • FPGA based implementations of hardware security-based techniques
  • Formal verification of hardware and software designs
  • Exploration of security policy-based communication verification
  • Further exploration of software with clear specification between inputs and outputs for verification-based protection

Whale Detangler

Activity Contact: Bridget Benson |
Looking for 1-2 students to make Rev2 of a whale detangler system made by past senior project students.  The bulk of the project involves designing a new PCB that combines a microcontroller with a strain gauge, accelerometer, and digital switch.  Students will also work with the client to perform at sea tests of the system.  


Activity Contact: Chris Lupo |

Pitch2programmers is a hybrid event that will be held on November 17th, 2022, from 3:30 to 6:30 PM in the advanced technology lab at Cal Poly (Building 7).  It aims to bring senior students at Cal Poly and stakeholders/advisors/project managers/faculty together for creative and unique learn by doing senior project experiences. In order to receive up to date information, the schedule, and the Zoom link, we require students register their interest in the event: 

Link | Pitch2Programmers Event | CSC Senior Project Description