Computer science students’ projects demonstrate innovative thinking at spring Immersion Showcase

Students in Vanderbilt’s Department of Computer Science will get a chance to show off their innovative thinking when they demonstrate more than 60 projects in the department’s spring Immersion Showcase on April 18.

The event will take place in the Adams Atrium at Featheringill Hall from 5-7 p.m. The 62 projects will come from seven CS project courses: artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, computational sustainability, machine learning, software engineering, and web-based architecture.

FortyAU, a Nashville-based software development company, is sponsoring awards for the top two projects. The company specializes in customized solutions for a wide variety of industries including fintech, health care, and nonprofit.

Vanderbilt alumnus Jay Kelley, BS ’04, is vice president of strategy at FortyAU and will be one of the judges at the event. He says he’ll be looking at the projects through a product/market lens.

“Specifically, what problem is the product solving; is the product solving the problem in a novel way, does anything like this product already exist (competition), and does the product have a path for growth,” says Kelley. “Some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years related to this is you never want to have a solution looking for a problem, nor do you want to create a product in a crowded marketplace without clear differentiators that consumers understand.”

He believes giving students the opportunity to work on such projects will better prepare them for the workforce because they get to experience real-world issues like managing constraints such as time, resources, and scope.

“Since these projects are time boxed, students face the same challenge we do in the workforce of what can I complete and by when in the most efficient way possible,” says Kelley. “Learning these lessons early as students will be tremendously helpful regardless of whether the students choose to start their own company or join a large enterprise organization.”

The CS Immersion Showcase has taken place each semester since fall 2021.


Contact: Lucas Johnson,