I'm planning to do an independent study for the spring semester upcoming in 2010, and I have a few ideas but I'm not sure where to go from here. I am a Computer Science major and have completed the majority of the curriculum. So basically what I am asking is are there any websites or information you could point me to to help develop my ideas and get a legitimate proposal for them. These aren't in any order of favorite ideas or anything, I just listed them as they came to mind. I love working with hardware (I have built my own computer), but I'm not entirely sure what kind of study I could do that would not be incredibly expensive and time consuming. Second idea would be something based along the line of robotics, I've always been interested in building a robot and I thought this would be a cool time to learn. Another idea is studying to take the Cisco Certification exams. The one thing holding me back from this is that I am only a junior so I would be sitting here for a full year with the certification (I have heard they expire every 2 years) and I will likely have time next school year for another independent study where I could do this.
I do know that I do not have strong programming skills with C++ or Java, so avoiding those is probably best. I want the study to be fun, yet useful.
Any help/suggestions/pointers to information or websites that would be helpful are greatly appreciated.
Based upon your affinity for logic puzzles such as the Rubik's Cube (I have one sitting on a table next to my bed for when I'm incredibly bored or cannot sleep), you could maybe look into something algorithmic based. As you surely know, solving the Rubik's cube is based upon algorithms and of course, what isn't algorithmic in nature in the tech world these days.
What comes to mind in my training (keep in mind I have no CS education) are data systems. For example, the IRS uses a highly algorithmic system to gauge whether or not an individual's electronic tax returns actually need to be looked over by a person by comparing past year's returns to the current return. I'm sure some things have come to mind based upon that idea that are worth looking into and at the same time, could be fun (maybe time consuming depending on the application).
Maybe someone can chime in with experience in robotics, as I haven't the slightest clue about such matters.
Just on top of my head, since you seem to have an interest in networking, why not try some kind of network related "case study" or "proof of concept" using OMNeT++. With that you could always try to make simulations of various TI technologies/topologies.