New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Cave Swallow Data Mining

Team: 111

School: School of Dreams Academy

Area of Science: Data Analysis

Interim: Problem Definition:

Today, not much is known about the cave swallows from Carlsbad Caverns, NM. Where do they migrate to? Or how long do they live? These are some of the questions still unknown to the local scientists.
For the past thirty years the birds have been banded and their traits have been documented; wing span, tail length and birth year are examples of the information taken. All this information has been recorded in binders along with some sketches of unusual or deformed birds. Recently it was archived onto an excel spreadsheet. However the format of the data makes it very difficult to understand exactly what information is useful and if it can be applied to the real world.
I plan on creating a database that will be able to categorize and make connections in the data. The program will identify each bird by its band number and sort them into categories such as hatch year, tail length, and wingspan. This will make the data much easier to read and the scientists will easily be able to see what the biggest bird was or how many were born that year. They can determine the approximate life span by tracking the birds from their hatch years to the last time banded.

Solving the problem:

I plan to use the programming language MUMPS to create this database. MUMPS has and is being used as databases in large cooperation’s and hospitals. I will start with writing the program and imputing only a couple years of data. With only a small amount of data imputed I can more easily alter the program to it meets the required specifications. I will then analyze the data and determine the best ways to categorize it. When I have the program running accurately the rest of the years will be added. Furthermore, I plan on making this database available online so information can be added on site when banding the birds.


So far I have figured out a plan for creating this database. I am in contact with a couple professionals that are mentoring me and helping me obtain the resources I need to complete this project. I have verified all the data in the excel spreadsheets with the original books so I can copy the information strait to the MUMPS program. However, I am still in the beginning stages of writing the program.

The results:

I expect to obtain useful information about the Carlsbad Cave Swallows that can be applied to real world scenarios. By creating this program the local scientists will have an easier and more reliable way of storing and analyzing the information documented. It will use the data to its full potential and give the scientific community a better understanding of the cave swallows.

1. "Signs of Spring: Report Your Observations!" Signs of Spring: Report Your Observations!N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2012.

2. Gorenzel, Paul W., and Terrell P. Salmon. "Swallows." Scott E. Hygnstrom, n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2012.

3. "Cave Swallow (Petrochelidon Fulva) - HBW 9, P. 684." Cave Swallow (Petrochelidon Fulva). IBC, n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2012.

4. West, Steve. "Cave Swallows in the Northern Chihuahuan Desert: A 26-Year Journey." Cdri. N.p., 2005. Web. 21 Aug. 2012.

5. "All About Birds." Cave Swallow, Life History,. Cornell University, 2011. Web. 23 Aug. 2012.

Team Members:

  Maria Troyer
  Chloe Grubb
  victoria troyer

Sponsoring Teacher: Creighton Edington

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