University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

November 2009  

CSE News
Alumni News
Student News
College of Engineering News
UNT News

Greetings from the CSE Interim Chairman

Interim Chairman Ian Parberry

Dear CSE Alumni and Friends,

Before the end of the Fall 2009 semester, I want to share with you more news from our CSE department. ABET visited us in October and they will inform us of our accreditation status for the B.S. in Computer Science program in Spring 2010. Congratulations to CSE faculty member, Rada Mihalcea, for receiving the UNT Early Career Award for Research and Creativity. She was the only College of Engineering faculty member to receive an award from the UNT Office of Research and Economic Development.

Congratulations to our CSE Programming Teams. UNT Team 1 consisting of Daniel Hooper, Robert Mitchell-Burke and James Pascoe has been invited to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals in Harbin, China from February 1-6, 2010. This team placed 2nd in the 2009 ACM South Central Regional Programming Competition in early November. Earlier in the semester, the UNT programming team consisting of Wyatt Chastain, Robert Mitchell-Burke and James Pascoe finished in the top ten of the IEEEXtreme 3.0 programming competition. More than 700 teams from universities in 40 countries and the ten Regions of IEEE participated in this competition. Please read below other news from our CSE department, including what is happening in our Network Security Lab.

I invite you to come back to UNT and be a "Professor for a Day" in one of our classes for National Engineers Week in February 2010. We appreciate our alumni who take the time to share their career experiences with our current students. Alumni support is important to our department. Please let us know if you want to participate.

Ian Parberry
Professor and Interim Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

ABET Update


In early October, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was visited by a team of evaluators from ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) to evaluate the B.S. in Computer Science program. While they were here, they met with CSE students, faculty members, the Dean of the College of Engineering, other UNT department chairs, and senior administrators at UNT. The visit went very well. ABET will notify us of their final decision by Spring 2010.

Rada Mihalcea receives UNT Research Award

Research Awards Reception
Research Awards Reception: (L-R) Wendy Wilkins, Provost and Vice-President for Academic Affairs; Gretchen Bataille, UNT President; Rada Mihalcea, CSE Associate Professor; and Vish Prasad, Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

The UNT Office of Research and Economic Development recognized the contributions of faculty who excel in their research, scholarly, and creative endeavors by instituting the UNT Research and Creativity Awards in Fall 2009. These faculty members received their awards at the annual UNT Research Reception on November 2, 2009.

Rada Mihalcea, Associate Professor for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, received the UNT Early Career Award for Research and Creativity. This award recognizes faculty members in their first ten years in a full-time faculty appointment whose research or creative endeavors have been truly outstanding.

The other award recipients are Prof. Kent Chapman, Biology, who received the UNT Research Leadership Award; Prof. Harlan Butt, College of Visual Arts and Design, who won the UNT Creative Impact Award; Prof. Gerald Knezek, Learning Technologies, who received the UNT Competitive Funding Award; Prof. Angela Wilson, Chemistry, who won the UNT Teacher-Scholar Award; and Prof. Paolo Grigolini, Physics, who received the Decker Scholar Award.

Congratulations to Rada Mihalcea and all the other award winners.

Network Security Lab's Fall 2009 News

NSL Members
NSL members (L-R): Mohamed Issadeen Mohamed Fazeen, Paul Sroufe, Vikram Chandrasekaran, Dr. Zuoming Wang, Dr. Ram Dantu, Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav, Kalyan Pathapati Subbu, Neeraj Gupta, Santi Phithakkitnukoon, Brett McCormick, and Huiqi Zhang.

Dr. Ram Dantu's NSL has been driven by several research projects in different areas including mobile computing, context-aware computing, social computing, privacy in online social networks, and security in VoIP networks. Here are some highlights of NSL:

Santi Phithakkitnukoon has successfully defended his dissertation entitled "Inferring Social and Internal Context using a Mobile Phone" on October 1, 2009 for his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering. Santi has a paper entitled "Mobile Social Closeness and Similarity in Calling Patterns" accepted for publication in the proceedings of IEEE CCNC'10 Conf. in Las Vegas, NV. He also has another paper entitled "Mobile Social Group Sizes and Scaling Ratio" published in October 2009 by AI and Society - Springer Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Communication. Santi will join MIT SENSEable City Lab as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in February 2010.

Paul Sroufe has defended his thesis entitled "E-Shape Analysis" on October 23, 2009 for his M.S. in Computer Science. A paper entitled "Email Shape Analysis" authored by Paul, Santi, Dr. Dantu, and Dr. Cangussu (UT-Dallas) has been named one of the best three papers at the International Conference on Distributed Computing and Networking (ICDCN 2010), Kolkata, India. The paper will be presented by Dr. Dantu in January 2010.

Huiqi Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, is working on social networks modeling and focusing on quantifying social relationships based on call detail records. His paper "Quantifying reciprocity in social networks" has been published in the proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Social Computing Workshop on Social Mobile Web. He presented this paper at the conference in Vancouver, Canada on August 29-31, 2009.

Mohamed Issadeen Mohamed Fazeen, Ph.D. candidate in CSE, is currently doing research in Online Social Networks where he is focusing on relationship strength in social networks.

Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav, Ph.D. student in CSE, is currently a teaching assistant. Enkh-Amgalan has research interest in privacy in online social networks. He has a paper entitled "Are You My Friend?" accepted at IEEE CCNC'10 conference in Las Vegas. He will present his paper in January 2010.

Kalyan Pathapati Subbu, Ph.D. student in CSE, has been doing research in mobile computing in which he is developing signal processing and multi sensor fusion algorithms for data obtained from in-built sensors on mobile phones. His recent publications include "iKnow Where You Are!" at SocialCom 2009, "SFRP:A Selective Flooding based routing protocol for Clustered Wireless Sensor Networks" at IEEE RWS 2010, and "Confounded Factors effects on battery life in Wireless Sensor Networks" at NISSC 2009. He has recently received the Texas Public Education Grant from UNT (TPEG).

Neeraj Gupta, Ph.D. student, is working on Next Generation 911 system. The system incorporates new telecommunications technologies of Voice over IP and he is trying to study the problems that it creates. For example, when a 911 operator receives a call from someone using VoIP, the location of the caller may not be easily accessible. In such a situation, it is hard for emergency responders to help.

Brett McCormick, undergraduate student in Computer Science, is currently working on learning about computer network administration at NSL. He has recently received an award from the NSF called "Advanced Technological Education Student Award for Excellence" while he was in Washington DC. It was for his work with his two-year school, Collin Community College, and the ATE center called Convergence Technology. Brett is also a journalist for the College of Engineering. You can read his blog here.

Nikhil Gupta worked at NSL during summer 2009. He was involved in online social networking project with Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav and Aliasgar Amin with whom he wrote a paper entitled "Are You My Friend?" which will be presented at IEEE CCNC'10 conference. He received his B.E. in Operations Research from Columbia University, NY. He is currently in the M.S. program in Operations Research at Cornell University, NY.

CSE hosts NACLO — North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad

NACLO 2009: Students prepare for the competition to begin.

The regional competition for the 2010 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad will be hosted by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering on February 4, 2010. NACLO is an educational competition in Computational Linguistics, the science of designing computer algorithms to solve linguistic problems. It challenges students to develop strategies for tackling problems in real languages and formal symbolic systems.

Rada Mihalcea, Associate Professor, will supervise this event. For more information about this competition, see

Dr. Armin Mikler is Program Co-Chair

Armin Mikler

Dr. Armin Mikler has been named the Program Co-Chair for the ACM International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ACM-BCB 2010) which will be held August 2-4, 2010 in Niagara Falls, NY. Following the success of the International Joint Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Intelligent Computing (IJCBS'09) which was held in Shanghai, China in August 2009, ACM has taken over the IJCBS conference and changed this conference to be ACM International Conference On Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (ACM-BCB). ACM-BCB will be ACM's annual conference starting in 2010.

Through ACM-BCB conferences, ACM hopes to build the bioinformatics and computational biology community and establish an ACM Special Interest Group in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (SIGBCB). A community meeting will be held during the ACM-BCB2010 conference at Niagara Falls to assess and develop the support for forming the ACM SIGBCB. For more information, go to

Convergence Technology Center grant renewed for 3 years

(L-R) David Keathly and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.)
(L-R) David Keathly and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.)

The NSF ATE grant for the Convergence Technology Center which develops programs and curriculum for Unified Networking, Green IT, mobile devices and related topics to share with other community colleges and universities across the U.S. UNT is a partner in the CTC along with El Centro College and Collin College. The Center also currently supports approximately 13 mentored colleges with an additional 21 to be added over the next 3 years. The renewal grant is for approximately $1.56 million over the three years. The CTC is beginning its ninth year of operation. David Keathly is the UNT Co-PI for the CTC program, with other faculty including Ryan Garlick participating in curriculum development and related activities.

Mr. Keathly also attended the recent NSF ATE PI Conference in Washington, DC in support of this program. During the conference, he had an opportunity to meet with Congressman Frank Lucas (R - Okla.) who is a member of the House Science and Technology Committee (and Mr. Keathly's former college friend).

For more pictures of Mr. Keathly's trip, visit in our Media Gallery.

CSE and EE Department Faculty receive Undergraduate Research Grant

A group of faculty from the CSE and EE departments in the College of Engineering was recently awarded a UNT internal Undergraduate Research grant of $8,000 to support a project developing a micro-UAV (unmanned air vehicle) capable of carrying small payloads such as cameras and GPS units for surveillance and surveying type activities.

Students from both departments will work together on the project as part of the Senior Capstone project courses in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering Undergraduate programs. The following faculty members from CSE are participating: Robert Akl and David Keathly. The following faculty members from Electrical Engineering are participating: Kamesh Namuduri, Oluwayomi Adamo, Shengli Fu, Zinrong Li, and Parthasarathy Guturu.

Conference on Information Technology Workshop presented

David Keathly and Ryan Garlick
CSE Advisors David Keathly and Ryan Garlick

Dr. Ryan Garlick and David Keathly recently presented a workshop on "Mobile Devices in the Classroom" at the annual League for Innovation Conference on Information Technology in Detroit, Michigan. The conference is attended by community college and university faculty from across the country. The workshop provided participants with an opportunity to try various social networking and online mobile tools that are useful to encourage student participation, as well as providing an overview of mobile device applications development tools for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android based handsets.

News for Alumni

Alumni Focus

Nanette de Hoyos Esparza

Nanette de Hoyos Esparza received her M.S. in Computer Science in 1992. Following her graduation, she also took courses for the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Information Science at UNT. Nanette became a professor and returned to Mexico. She moved to the state of Hidalgo, where she continued teaching at different universities and presenting research at national conferences. Her research areas are artificial intelligence, regional development and gender, and distance education. In addition, she is married with a son in high school.

Nanette's goal is to make a contribution to society by creating local development opportunities through the design of social projects which require innovative ideas, funding, technological transfer, and classroom or distance education to succeed. She accomplishes her goal by working as a consultant, project coordinator, and systems analyst, to join together her vision, knowledge and passion of helping to create a better world to live in.

Her personal challenge is to develop the best work she can. She has developed a "life-long learning experience" to continue her professional training. Nanette has been a teacher and a professor at various educational institutions in Mexico teaching Computer Science, English and Spanish. She has also taught how to use a computer to develop social projects through Microsoft Project, SPSS and Geographical Information Systems.

Nanette recently presented "The Role of the Information Society in the Struggle for Recognition of the Identity of Indigenous and to Promote Non-Discrimination" given in October 2009 at the Second National Meeting on Indigenous Peoples organized by the Mexican Network of Indigenous Population Studies at the Autonomous University of Chiapas on the campus in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

In late November, Nanette will present "Digital Cities: A Project to Boost Local Development Considering an Urban and Socio-Economic Approach" to the Fifth National Congress of Social Research organized by the University of the State of Hidalgo through the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities Academic Area of Sociology and Demography in the UAEH, Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.

Nanette is now working to find out how to develop or use software which applies Artificial Intelligence techniques for agricultural applications. If someone is interested in this topic or knows someone who has worked on similar projects, please contact Nanette at

Be a "Professor for a Day" at UNT

Andy Borman
Professor for a Day Andy Borman (M.S. in Computer Science in 2006) with Don Retzlaff in CSCE 4410 and 4420

The UNT College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering will celebrate National Engineers Week during February 14-20, 2010. Once again we would like to invite our alumni to be a "Professor for a Day" by coming back to UNT to share your knowledge and experience with an undergraduate or graduate class.

We would welcome the opportunity to have you discuss your career experiences in Computer Science and Computer Engineering related fields with our current students. There are many class times available in the morning, afternoon and evening. You can check out our schedule for Spring 2010 here. Please contact Genene Murphy if you would like to be a "Professor for a Day".

We want to hear from you! What have you been doing since graduating from UNT?
Please send a few paragraphs and a picture to

Student News

CSE Programming Team News — UNT Team 1 invited to ACM World Finals in China

CSE Programming Team
CSE Programming Teams (L-R) back: Coach Michael Mohler, Daniel Piers, Russell Yermal, Stuart Callison. Front: Daniel Hooper, James Pascoe, Robert Mitchell-Burke

UNT Team 1 consisting of Daniel Hooper, Robert Mitchell-Burke and James Pascoe has been invited to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals in Harbin, China from February 1-6, 2010. This team placed 2nd in the 2009 ACM South Central Regional Programming Competition at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma on November 6-7, 2009. Two teams of CSE students attended the competition. The UNT 2 Team members were Daniel Piers, Russell Yermal and Stuart Callison. Both teams were coached by graduate student and former programming team member, Michael Mohler.

Another programming competition, IEEEXtreme 3.0, was held on October 24, 2009. More than 700 teams from universities in 40 countries and the ten Regions of IEEE participated. The UNT programming team consisting of Robert Mitchell-Burke, James Pascoe, and Wyatt Chastain finished in the top ten. More details can be found here. Congratulations to our CSE programmers on both of these competitions!

Santi Phithakkitnukoon defends his dissertation

Santi Phitakkitnukoon
(L-R) Phil Sweany, Ram Dantu, Santi Pithakkitnukoon, João Cangussu, and Parthasarathy Guturu

Santi Phithakkitnukoon defended his dissertation "Inferring Social and Internal Context using a Mobile Phone" on October 1, 2009. His major professor was Ram Dantu, Associate Professor in the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Other members on his committee included Phil Sweany, Associate Professor in the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Parthasarathy Guturu, Assistant Professor in the UNT Department of Electrical Engineering; and João Cangussu, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. Santi will join MIT SENSEable City Lab as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in February 2010.

Kino Coursey defends his PhD dissertation

Kino Coursey
(L-R) William Moen, Rada Mihalcea, Kino Coursey, Paul Tarau

The most exciting news in the Language and Information Technologies group is a new doctor: Kino Coursey successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on October 23 on "The Value of Everything: Ranking and Association with Encyclopedic Knowledge." His committee consisted of major professor Rada Mihalcea and committee members CSE Associate Professor, Paul Tarau; William Moen, Associate Professor of the UNT School of Library and Information Sciences; Doug Lenat, founder of the CYC project and the President of Cycorp and Michael Witbrock, Vice President of Research at Cycorp.

College of Engineering News

Texas BEST needs volunteers December 4 and 5

DC Best
A student competes at DC BEST (Denton County Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) in October 2009.

The UNT College of Engineering will host the regional robotics competition known as Texas BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) on December 4 and 5 at the UNT Coliseum. The teams from high schools and middle schools in Texas and New Mexico have advanced from local competitions to this regional championship. About 40 teams comprising 1,000 students will gather at the Super Pit for this robot rumble. Alumni are invited to serve as referees, mentors and judges. If you would like to volunteer for Texas BEST, please contact Dr. Miguel Garcia-Rubio.

BEST aims to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math through participation in a fun, sports-like competition. The robots, which are built and operated by students, compete to solve a set of tasks established by organizers. Six weeks ago teams received standardized sets of building materials at no cost to be used in constructing a robot that's programmed to collect various items needed for creating "synthetic fuel." Teams are judged on how well their robots are programmed to push buttons or send infrared signals to collect the necessary items needed for creating the mock fuel.

BEST Robotics, Inc. was organized in 1993 by engineers from Texas Instruments. Today more than 10,000 students participate nationwide. Regional championships are held in Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama. For more information about the competition, go to the Texas BEST website at

National Society of Black Engineers at CENG

Black Enginners
Attendance at NSBE meeting in October: (L-R) Thomas Johns, Kismet Iheke, Oluwaseun Adeyemi, Chris Stallings, Kiefier Hunter, Jasmine Breedlove, Bryan Hall, Okafor Uzochukwu, Jonathan Brown

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE, pronounced "nez-bee") has been meeting twice a month on Thursday evenings this semester at Discovery Park. The last meeting of the semester will be held Thursday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. in DP D215. You are invited to drop by and check them out.

NSBE is partnering with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
NSBE National Logo
NSBE National Logo
(SHPE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to conduct Engineering Study Hall sessions on the Main Campus and at Discovery Park.

  • On Mondays, they have Study Hall in Wooten Hall 318 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • On Thursdays, they have Study Hall in DP B185 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. and DP D215 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. (on Non-Meeting Thursdays).

Here are NSBE's remaining general body meeting days:

  • November 5, 2009
  • November 19, 2009
  • December 3, 2009

NSBE and SHPE will be wrapping gifts at Barnes and Noble's at Golden Triangle Mall between November 27, 2009 and December 24, 2009 to raise funds for the chapter. If you are an excellent gift wrapper and are willing to dedicate your time to wrapping gifts for holiday shoppers, please email Bryan Hall at

SWE will have their Regional Conference at the University of Texas at Dallas, February 5-7, 2010. Because NSBE, SHPE, and SWE are nationally related organizations, you are in encouraged to join all three organizations and maximize your networking opportunities. If you cannot make it to NSBE's Fall Regional Conference or SHPE's National Conference, make sure that you do not miss SWE's Regional Conference. Contact Brittany Caldwell for more information.

On November 12, NSBE's Regional Vice-Chair, Shaney Jackson, presented a leadership workshop at the College of Engineering for UNT students.

A total of 33 UNT students and staff members attended the Fall Regional Conference (FRC) in Tulsa, OK, from October 30 to November 1, 2009. This group included:

  • Rosalyn Smith from the Career Center
  • Tonya Riley from Student Success Programs
  • The Voices of Praise Gospel Choir
  • NSBE Senators Morris Starts and Kiefier Hunter
  • NSBE Secretary Amber Branch
  • NSBE President (and FRC Special Events Coordinator) Bryan Hall
  • NSBE Members Lloyd Spaine and Saheed Oseni

NSBE is making plans to attend the 36th annual NSBE conference March 31-April 4, 2010 in Toronto, Canada, where more than 10,000 black engineering professionals and students will gather around the theme "Engineering a Global Impact."

The mission of NSBE is "to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community." Collegiate membership is open to all engineering, math, physical, applied, and computer science majors. Bryan Hall is the president and Dr. Nigel Shepherd is the faculty advisor. For more information, go to

CENG Homecoming Fun

Black Enginners
Having fun with the CENG car at Homecoming 2009

The College of Engineering hosted more than 50 guests at the "tailgating" tent during UNT's Homecoming Weekend in the Mean Green Village on October 17, 2009. CENG departments hosted displays and activities for alumni, students and other visitors to the tent. Alums from a half dozen companies visited with Dean Tsatsoulis and faculty. Student Ambassadors were available to answer questions. The Department of Engineering Technology's nitrogen-powered car was also a hit or rather splash in the mud! A fajita and grilled vegetable buffet pleased the crowd. More than a dozen guests remained for the football game against Florida Atlantic.

University of North Texas News

UNT to get new football stadium

Football Stadium

In October 2009, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved UNT's proposal to build a new football stadium. A public groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 21 before the UNT-Army game. The Mean Green will move into the new facility for the 2011 season. Located on the site of the former Eagle Point Golf Course, adjacent to the Athletics Center and directly across Interstate 35 from the Murchison Performing Arts Center, the new complex will create a distinctive and memorable gateway to campus.

The new stadium will replace 57-year-old Fouts Field, and will be the first collegiate football stadium designed by award-winning HKS Inc. Architects, the firm that designed the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. The new stadium will be the centerpiece in UNT's Mean Green Village. Plans for the multi-purpose facility include increased tailgating space, capacity for about 30,000 fans, luxury suites, an amenity-filled club level, a Spirit Store, a corporate deck and a Touchdown Terrace. In addition to hosting UNT events, it will serve the entire North Texas region as a venue for outdoor concerts, community events, high school games and band competitions.

Funding for the construction and operation of the new stadium will come from a combination of sources such as private donations, corporate sponsorships, club and suite sales, facility naming rights agreements, game guarantees, ticket sales, facility rental fees, concessions and student athletics fees. In October 2008, UNT students voted in favor of the school's first ever dedicated athletic fee, which will be implemented only when the stadium opens.

For more details, visit the new stadium website.

Grammy-winning trombonist to perform with One O’Clock Lab Band on November 24

John Mosca

Trombonist John Mosca, director of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, will perform with UNT's One O'Clock Lab Band on Tuesday, November 24, at 8 p.m. in the Winspear Performance Hall of the Murchison Performing Arts Center, located along the north side of Interstate 35E at North Texas Boulevard.

Mosca has played with the legendary Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, formerly the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, for more than 30 years. The group recently earned a Grammy for best large jazz ensemble album for Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard. A graduate of Juilliard, Mosca has served on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Connecticut.

The Grammy-nominated One O'Clock Lab Band, UNT's premier jazz ensemble, has performed and toured throughout the world. The band performs under the direction of Steve Weist, a Grammy-nominated arranger and Associate Professor of music. The UNT jazz program—the first of its kind in the nation—is housed within the College of Music, one of the largest and most comprehensive music schools in the nation.

Tickets are $8 and $10 and can be purchased by calling 940-369-7802 or by visiting Other upcoming College of Music events are also listed at this website.

The CSE Email Newsletter was assembled and produced by Genene Murphy and Don Retzlaff. It is a publication of the UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department. Contact the department at

If you would like to receive this newsletter as text rather than formatted in HTML, please contact Don Retzlaff at UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department — November 2009