BeagleBoard/GSoC/2020Proposal/HydraulicSheep

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PocketBeagle Covert Mathematical Solver

Implementing a covert UI and Stepwise mathematical solver on the PocketBeagle in order to act as a compact utility device.


Student: Patrick Grave
Mentors: Coming soon.... Code: https://github.com/HydraulicSheep
Wiki: http://elinux.org/BeagleBoard/GSoC/2020Proposal/PatrickGrave
GSoC: GSoC entry

Status

This project is currently just a proposal.

Proposal

About me

IRC: HydraulicSheep
Github: HydraulicSheep
School: The University of Melbourne
Country: Australia
Primary language: English
Typical work hours9AM - 5PM GMT+11
Previous GSoC participation: Tell us why you want to participate in GSoC here. I have not participated in GSoC previously but I did partake in 'Google Code In' with Zulip.

About my project

Project name: PocketBeagle Covert Mathematical Solver

Description

The project involves implementing a Stepwise mathematical solver on the PocketBeagle in order to act as a covert calculator modification. The key value of the project is twofold: 1. Implementing a mathematical solver on the PocketBeagle. This makes inroads into more symbolic algebra and perhaps SAT-related computation on the small board. 2. Working within covert constraints (e.g. an unassuming UI without compromising UX). This may aid future efforts in other similar ventures (such as networking on such a device) or even security-related fields (an unassuming device for war walking).

Goals beyond the suggested ideas: 3. Add high-level scripting functionality (e.g. in lua or something similar). This would allow users with little low-level experience to increase the device's functionality. For example, a user could implement a solver for geometric problems which cannot be written symbolically.

4. Extend the device's UI capability. This has a great software value as it lends this device far more utility. This interface could allow web-browsing capability (but such an extension is likely out of the scope of this proposal) or pentesting/security modules as a pocket-calculator is a relatively unassuming device to carry around.

Timeline

Provide a development timeline with a milestone each of the 11 weeks and any pre-work. (A realistic timeline is critical to our selection process.)

Mar 30 Proposal complete, Submitted to https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com
Apr 27 Proposal accepted or rejected
May 18 Pre-work complete, Coding officially begins!
May 25 Milestone #1, Introductory YouTube video
June 1 Milestone #2, Setup calculator environment. This includes interfacing with the screen and capacitive keyboard (as well as physically fitting in the case).
June 8 Milestone #3, Create the UI and control systems that hide the secret features of the device while allowing easy interaction.
June 15 18:00 UTC Milestone #4, Mentors and students can begin submitting Phase 1 evaluations
June 19 18:00 UTC Phase 1 Evaluation deadline
June 22 Milestone #5 Finish implementing algebra system.
June 29 Milestone #6 Extend featureset to include basic Calculus and matrix-related operations.
July 6 Milestone #7 Implement advanced mathematical functionality (The extent of this is adaptable).
July 13 18:00 UTC Milestone #8, Mentors and students can begin submitting Phase 2 evaluations
July 17 18:00 UTC Phase 2 Evaluation deadline
July 20 Milestone #9 Finish high-level scripting functionality.
July 27 Milestone #10 Conclude by tidying up any documentation and neatening the UI so it is accessible and adaptable to new features.
August 3 Milestone #11, Completion YouTube video
August 10 - 17 18:00 UTC Final week: Students submit their final work product and their final mentor evaluation
August 17 - 24 18:00 UTC Mentors submit final student evaluations

Experience and approach

I have a wealth of experience working with electronics and small boards like Arduino. Further, I am comfortable with the Linux environment and low-level toolchains (assemblers, cross-compilers, linkers etc.) For this project, I think my previous attempts at implementing math solvers will guide me. Although these involved many trials and tribulations, I believe my experience overcoming similar issues will guide me in making solid design choices. I have many years of programming experience in Python, Javascript, C# and Java. Importantly, I have been steadily working on my low-level knowledge over the past few months, learning C and some workable Intel assembly. I have worked on Open Source projects before (Zulip and Unitystation on GitHub) and I have coded remotely in a team environment through competitions like BattleCode and Halite. I am an independent worker who is more than willing to ask for feedback/help when I get stuck. On the whole, I believe myself more than capable to carry out the 4 goals of this proposal.

Contingency

What will you do if you get stuck on your project and your mentor isn’t around?

I think, particularly for a project such as this, there are three alternate avenues to overcome obstacles: Firstly, the internet provides a great wealth of guides, videos and tools that should be able to aid me, no matter the problem. It is highly likely someone will have encountered my problem before and I should be able to learn from their experience. Secondly, I am not afraid to turn to a reference manual or datasheet in order to get things done. Although often dense and challenging, given the time, I am sure I can find the answers I need. Thirdly, if all else fails, there is always the option of applying strategies to diagnose the problem and tinkering to resolve it. Although this may take longer, it will ultimately give me a greater understanding of the project and help with future dilemmas.

Benefit

If successfully completed, what will its impact be on the BeagleBoard.org community?

From this proposal, the BeagleBoard community will receive a platform for covert and compact systems. Such a system has value both for security and for compact integrated applications. A valuable component of this system is its UI which will hopefully provide inspiration to potential creators and guide them in creating compact, covert interfaces.

Further, this calculator project is likely to bring more people into the BeagleBoard community as it has utility, is an entertaining concept and is made from easily accessible components.

(Quotes from community members coming soon)

Misc

Pull request link coming soon.