University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

April 2016  

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

Greetings from the CSE Chair

Chairman Barrett Bryant

Dear CSE Alumni and Friends,

The department has been very busy this Spring working to have our Computer Science and Information Technology programs re-accredited by ABET (Computer Engineering was re-accredited in 2012 until 2018), our graduate programs evaluated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and working with the university for re-accreditation of UNT with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). I am confident that these reviews will find all of our programs to be very healthy and improving rapidly. We have also been recruiting faculty and will have several new faculty joining us in Fall. I will have more to report on this in the next newsletter. Lastly, to raise the profile of Computer Engineering in the department, we created the position of Associate Chair for Computer Engineering and appointed Dr. Saraju Mohanty to this post. More details of this are described later in this newsletter.

On Friday, April 29, all of our senior undergraduate students will present their posters and projects from their capstone courses at the College of Engineering’s Design Day. Six teams from Computer Engineering, 14 teams from Computer Science and four teams from Information Technology will present their posters in front of our CSE Department from 9 am to 12 noon. After lunch, each team of students will give presentations about their projects. Alumni are welcome to attend! Please read about Design Day and other CSE Department news below.

How can our CSE Alumni support us? In Fall 2016, The Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing will be in Austin September 14-17 and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing will be in Houston October 19-21. Our goal is to send as many CSE students as possible to these conferences, but we do not have as much funding as we need for these events. In honor of UNT’s 125th anniversary, we ask that YOU, our alumni, consider making a contribution of $125 or more to help our CSE students attend these conferences here in Texas. Please read below in our Alumni News section how you or your company can make your contribution and help us have a great presence at these conferences. Your support is very important for our success and any amount will be very helpful!

Barrett Bryant
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

CSE Students to present projects on Design Day on April 29

Undergraduate students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering will present their projects at the UNT College of Engineering’s Design Day on Friday, April 29, 2016. The Design Day program will begin with poster presentations in the hallways in Discovery Park from 9 to 12 noon. Following the poster presentations, each department will have project presentations.


The following Computer Engineering projects will be presented for CSCE 4915 Computer Engineering Design II beginning at 1 pm in B190:

Team Name: Animaniacs
Sponsor: Jim Buchanan

Team Members: David Samaniego, Sebastian Riojas, Ester Lee, Tailyr Mack

Our Adaptive Home Automation System is a technology to improve overall home efficiency. We are devoted to create a system that can adapt and improve to a homeowner’s lifestyle. By using a combination of hardware components and software, it tracks the homeowner’s movements from one room into another. With every data of the homeowner’s movement, our software will then be able to make choices on its own to create an environment that is at the homeowner’s most convenience. The homeowner can also create their own lifestyle to their liking and override certain automation’s.

Our system that interconnects all our hardware and software component is call the HUB. Our hardware includes many sensors to track the homeowner and the temperature of the house which are interconnected with an Arduino. Sensors will set off certain automation’s according to the homeowner’s movement between the rooms. Our Arduino then stores that data into our database and gather information on the homeowner’s movement. That allows our system to turn his movement into a habit. More habits are then created and merged together as more information is gathered. We want to create a convenient and stress free environment that can enhance a healthier lifestyle.

Team Name: Work in Progress (WIP)
Sponsor: Shannon Cain

Team Members: Mitch Curran, Jarryd Shirley, Tyseanah Spell, Kiana Casebeer

The Bobwhite Quail population is declining at an alarming rate, and researchers are having a difficult time finding the cause. In order to study the problem, researchers have put an avian RF transmitter on the birds to track them. Current prominent research techniques involve pedestrian data acquisition which is time consuming, contaminates the data, and can be extremely dangerous for researchers. We have been tasked with using a UAV to autonomously acquire the animal transmitter signal, and to use that to acquire GPS, visual, and temperature information in the vicinity of the quail.

Team Name: Deep Blue
Sponsor: Dr. Hassan Takabi

Team Members: Tyler Toth, Christopher Romero, Luis Segura, Henry Flowers, Gobind Rauniyar

The purpose of this project is to design a system where a user can effectively fly a drone using simple thoughts. To decipher thoughts, EEG technology will be used to monitor electrical signals in the brain and translate them into meaningful information. This involves creating and designing a pathway for the brain to be able to communicate, control and fly a drone.

Team Name: BECK Teck
Sponsor: James Buchanan

Team Members: Carlton Allred, Brendon Knapp, Edmund Sannda, Kyle Upton

Project Muninn is an autonomous navigating, 3D mapping capable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). We have modified the Parrot- AR.Drone 2.0 with the Arduino Uno microcontroller to use LIDAR technology, in combination with proprietary and open source point cloud software, allowing it to autonomously navigate and map an indoor environment. The field of drone technology and autonomy is fast growing with a diverse range of applications. Autonomous UAV’s could be used by the police and defense industry to gain information about potentially dangerous environments. There is also great potential for architecture research and design, as well as commercial real estate applications.

Team Name: Banana

Team Members: Daniel Akintitan, Aaron Hardie, David Marquez, Jacquelyn Oquendo, Sammy Sirak

Banana’s aim was to create an electric longboard that will safely transport a user from one destination to another. The board is ideal for travelling short distances (e.g. across a university campus) and is an alternative to driving or walking. Our goal is for the board to be able to travel up to 10 miles without recharging, and to reach speeds up to 10 miles per hour.

The longboard is powered by two 11.1V lipo batteries and an electric motor. We used an Arduino, a modified wii nunchuck and an electronic speed controller as a means for the user to control the speed of the board. Since the board is electric, it is an environmentally friendly choice for transportation.

Team Name: Enlightened
Sponsor: Acculight USA

Team Members: Alex Adamcik, Maria Moreno, Matthew Davidson, Tara Thompson, Thomas Kanabay

Our client, Acculight USA, is a company that produces LED lighting solutions for commercial, residential and industrial applications. Acculight USA was looking to deploy their LED lamps as street lights worldwide. While they currently had high intensity LED lights, which were corrosion resistant and engineered to reduce heat, they wanted to offer a technologically advanced "smart street light" system that would reduce the problems of deploying lamps in that environment. In addition, they also wanted this system to deliver remote monitoring and control, maximize efficiency, and improve the ability for staff to identify failures and provide maintenance. We, the project group Enlightened, worked with Acculight USA to develop a system that provided these solutions, while incorporating their existing LED lamp models.

Our system is a prototype comprised of a Central Management Server (CMS) and four Smart Lights that communicate though Power Line Communication (PLC). The primary job of the CMS is to control and monitor the four Smart Lights and send out alerts regarding the status of the light when necessary.


The following Computer Science projects will be presented for CSCE 4901 Software Development Capstone beginning at 2 pm in D215:

Team Name: Focal Point
Sponsor: Self-Sponsor

Team Members: Wayne Wong, Jacob Kizhazeparampil, Ching Kwan Yeung, Satender Yadav

We will be creating a web-based application that handles the inventory of any restaurant. At first, business owners will be able to add their restaurant and suppliers. Furthermore, they will be also able to add items to their inventory, and each item will be linked to a specific supplier. There will be a feature that alerts the user when their items are "low" in quantity, allowing them to order more before they run out. Each individual item will have a different "low quantity" that users will have to set prior to adding to their inventory list. Any item that is low will automatically be marked in red.

Additionally, there will be a feature that allows users to send an email to the supplier manually, unless the item is set to automatically notify the supplier once it’s low by sending an automated email. Users can also view the purchase history, track sales, and item popularity displayed as a graph or chart. When items arrive, users can confirm their order and the program will then update the user’s inventory list with the newest quantity. Users can also see the top 10 items that have been ordered the most, to identify what is popular among customers.

Team Name: Bowie
Sponsor: Dr. Parsons

Team Members: Matthew "Phil" Escobedo, Alexandra Woods, Johnathan Morgan

We need a way to capture output from a game controller and/or steering wheel. One route to this goal would be to use a raspberry pi or similar hardware to build an embedded system that can act as a bypass for a USB controller.

The device needs to read input from the game controller and pass it on to a computer that is running a simulation (e.g., videogame, virtual environment).

Simultaneously the data from the controller needs to be output via an Ethernet port to another computer — on which a program records with a timestamp which button was pushed on the controller

Team Name: Mediamancer ™
Sponsor: Stryker Communications

Team Members: Dan Biwer, Tommy Conto, Dustin Eaton

Stryker® is one of the leading providers of technology solutions for the medical field. The Stryker Media Engine (SME) was created as an addition to Stryker’s media management system to assist hospitals and medical professionals in modifying media. SME is a RESTful API that allows users to edit, convert, and annotate different forms of media. It was built in Node.js using the Express framework, making requests fast and easy. This, in conjunction with Stryker’s Studio 3 archiving capabilities, will provide a simple interface for the following services:

  • Converting videos and images to different resolutions, formats, and bitrates
  • Merging video files of different formats
  • Cutting and splicing video files
  • Burning annotations onto image files

The Mediamancer team is excited to demo SME, and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Team Name: Omelet Whispers

Team Members: Chad Smith, Thomas Lee, Wade Powers

Home Room will be a web-based teaching and tutoring tool designed to help teachers communicate assignments, offer guidance, and administer tests and quizzes to their students. Students will be able to complete and upload assignments to the website for grading and review. Parents will be able to take a hands-on role in their child’s education by monitoring assignment progress and communicating with their child’s teacher. We envision this website to be utilized by professional, private tutors, and large school districts with a high number of students in the 3rd Grade through High School age group.

Team Name: Nova Elite

Team Members: Jason Hoang, Imran Akhtar, Kai-Chuan Chan, Sabrin Thamed

This project consists of a teacher app and student apps that communicate directly with each other, giving the teacher the ability to guide the students who spread across the marching field/rehearsal room via a single device and allowing students to ask questions and take notes with ease. The program will focus on compiling all of the paperwork, sheet music, and coordinate sheets involved with students learning, rehearsing, and performing a marching band show onto their own personal devices and tablets.

This will make the process of teaching easier and help the students stay organized with all of their papers. All apps will also have access to vital learning tools for a performing ensemble so that the students can practice with the app on their own. These apps will be designed for marching bands across the United States, but they can be adjusted to satisfy other indoor rehearsals for any type of ensemble.

Team Name: UNSC

Team Members: Charlie Pipes, Matthew Hermes

With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft has included a voice "companion" called Cortana. Cortana has a function that allows you to open an app/program by simply uttering the phrase "Hey Cortana, Open ". However, this functionality is very limited as Cortana will only open programs and apps that have embedded this functionality in their software or those that are created by Microsoft. Many programs are excluded from this function as well as common folders in Windows 10.

Our proposal is to create a piece of software that will allow Cortana to open and close any App, Program, Drive, or File on your computer with the "Hey Cortana" voice command. The software would allow the user to input the file path and then allow the user to give their program a name so that Cortana knows what the file is called.

We want to include a CPC History functionality would be to allow the user to see what has been changed as well as revert any changes made.

There is a degree of flexibility to allowing the user to call a program whatever they wish. For instance, Skype could be called "Skype" or if there are conflicts with that word then you could use something as arbitrary as "Apples".

There are a few extra functionalities we would like to implement such as opening multiple programs at once or simply closing files using a voice command. These extra features would apply to all programs and files as well.

The customer base for this project is rather vast. Any person that uses Cortana will be able to use this program. Windows is a common OS that many people use and the use of this application allows Cortana to be used to her fullest extent.

Team Name: Team Pudding

Team Members: Charles Alan Macon, Jordan Sanders, Hunter Ross

We are creating a "smart" mirror that uses a monitor behind a one-way mirror to display various types of information including the time, weather, RSS feeds, and greetings. It will also include useful features such as a motion sensor night light, automatic screen shut off, and built in music player functions.

To keep costs low, we will be using a raspberry pi for the internal computer and cheap sensors available for the platform. The monitor will be housed inside a custom wooden frame with a two way mirror placed above the screen panel. All necessary materials will be provided by Jordan.

This is the first draft feature list:

  • Weather Display with image/animation
  • Digital/Analog Clock
  • Greeting messages based on time with user’s name
  • RSS Feed chosen by user
  • Have Pandora music capabilities
  • A motion sensor for screen on/off
  • Light sensor with and LED for temporary night light
  • Picture display for comparison (Hairstyle, makeup, etc.)
  • A power button
  • Air Play Mouse support for iPhone and android so a user could configure the mirror (Login to Pandora, select station, move UI elements)
  • Startup animation
  • Pause and play button for music

Team Name: Pump You Up

Team Members: Christian Schwartz, Jacob Donnelly

Next Pump is a mobile sharing application where users have the ability to build and find workout playlists. The aim of this project is not only to help new users easily find workout routines, but also set up a community where users are able to share their fitness knowledge. It will help new users find a place to start and stick to routines that have been proven to work. It will also allow more experienced users to find new workouts to keep them engaged.

Users will be able to build workout routines by selecting exercises which will be organized by muscle groups and target area. If an exercise cannot be found the user has the ability to create their own and share it with the Next Pump community. User can then build a schedule in order to plan out their activity. Next Pump is a social application, if someone has no idea where to start they can find preset workout routines others have shared or simply discover new exercises. Once a workout has built users can save it for later use as well as share the entire workout or individual exercises to others.

Team Name: Breadcrumbs

Team Members: Zachary Serna, Manuel Vargas, Bereket Teweldebrhan, Loc Huynh

This application is an android mobile program that creates a map of walkable locations that services like Google Maps have not charted before such as campuses, theme parks, etc. Once these places have been charted, the application can provide paths from location to location to anyone who visits the previously mapped area.

The application will utilize the mobile phone location to create paths that users can submit; using graph theory, paths will eventually be built to create a working map of the locations. Once these maps have been built, our algorithm will find the shortest walkable distance and help the user arrive at their destination.

Team Name: Twenty
Sponsor: David Keathly

Team Members: Philip Bright, Danny Stieben, Brian Mauldin

Project Twenty is the calendar of social media. Users can put all their work, events, classes, and all other schedules into the calendar with the address of each event. Using Twenty to schedule appointments at the doctor’s office is a breeze, instead of going through several dates/times to find the one that works patients just give their calendar ID or login information to the receptionist and Twenty will calculate all the times they are available to come in. Since it includes addresses it will calculate drive time, including traffic calculated by Google. When the receptionist books the appointment it puts it straight on the patient’s calendar and their set. This is just one of the many scenarios where Twenty makes troublesome scheduling a thing of the past.

Team Name: The Tutors
Sponsor: The Gideon Foundation

Team Members: Erika Gutierrez, Scott McKeefer, Paul Yapobi, George Ndede, Christopher Cruz

The Gideon Foundation is a community based organization that involves parents and their children in advancing both reading and math skills so that children are prepared to enter college or the job market. The goal is to help the students by not only offering specific skills building exercises, but also to give parents and their child achievable work sessions that serve as a guide for efficient use of study time. The Foundation provides a safe after school program to children and young people in our community especially to those families are not able to pay for the services.

Our job is to design a web application where users students can get access to the instructor through tablets provided by the Gideon Foundation. The application will provide live sessions with instructors, share screen to monitor activity progress and student progress report elaboration that will help instructors when presenting to the parents the students progress over time.

Team Name: Closed Loop
Sponsor: David Keathly

Team Members: Addison Mink, Jackson Kelley

EnGen makes every adventurers’ job easier. Using the standard system and guidelines of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, EnGen allows users to produce procedurally generated encounters. Encounters can be generated using user made content or by downloading opensource material made by the D&D community. User made content will include: Monsters, environments, loot, and room types. Allowing Dungeon Masters to fully customize the generated encounter, and help in making it a fun and unique experience.

Team Name: Cloud Control

Team Members: Jacob Pebworth, Luis Alvarez

Our client has asked for a website that utilizes an inventory database to set items on the site as sold out or in stock. We have decided on using the MVC 6 and Azure services to deliver a website that is able to be used long-term and with plenty of scalability. Our plan has plenty of room for expansion of functionality and appearances.

Team Name: The Absolutists

Team Members: Travis Allan, Chris Fitch, Ian Henderson

For our project, Maker’s Board, we felt inspired to create an online community and marketplace for artists and art enthusiasts to share, rate and sell original works. We hope our project will be like an online art gallery or coffee shop where people will gather to share their love for Art. It will be especially beneficial for new artists who are seeking exposure. Our site will focus on community, an intuitive interface, and a secure form of payment (or donation) with PayPal.

Our design incorporates a web-based app with individual accounts, a server database, a search engine, and posting boards with different categories. Users will be able to upload works, complete with a description, price, and location. Users will be able to rate and review other user’s artwork. Pieces can be listed as "for sale," while others could be simply uploaded to receive feedback from the community. The site will aim to become a cultural hub for artists.


The following Information Technology projects will be presented for CSCE 4925 Information Technology Capstone II beginning at 1 pm in D215:

Team Name: Travel Bug
Sponsor: Bilbrey Tours

Team Members: Jordan Luper, Tyler Page, Yesenia Montano, Michele Hindman

Team Travel Bug has been contracted to create a front-end and back-end website for Bilbrey Tours. This website is designed to increase efficiency, reduce the load on the staff workers, and eliminate forms to send in payments. The website will streamline the process of customers browsing available tours, creating an account, opting for travelers insurance, signing up for a mailing list, reserving a tour, and making a payment online.

Bilbrey Tours has been around since 1990 and this year they are celebrating 25 years of business. To date, Bilbrey Tours has traveled to 47 countries and continues to look for new and exciting destinations for their travelers. Right now, Bilbrey Tours has a current website that allows customers to view travel packages and then they have to download two forms. One of the forms is for payment on the deposit and the other form is for travelers insurance. Both of these forms have to be mailed into their office and then the staff deals with the payment and enters in the customer’s information in the system.

Our goal is to make this website user friendly for both their senior citizen customers and for their staff members when they need to update the website for future usage. When creating the website we want to keep the owner and her staff members involved.

Team Name: The Squad
Sponsor: John Franklin

Team Members: Duy Tran, Julie Quiroz, Shaddy Zayour, Victor Akinnawo

We are in development of a social media website for athletes and sport organizations looking for leagues or teams to be a part of. Our concept, is to create a user friendly web application for those who are sport enthusiasts or athletes that want to show off their skills in an atmosphere that others can openly appreciate. The site will include basic social media functionalities like messaging and user dashboards along with the integration of personal stats, thoughts, and a sport themed feed. Our application is going to be run by Drupal with their offered plugins for group management, user relationships, and inviting friends. Our hopes are to later expand on this project through other mediums like android/apple applications or standalone computer applications; and imputing advertisements at the ends of development that is currently working as an incentive for our group. We hope to take on Design Day with an awesome application to exhibit to our audiences and promote it all in the same day!

Team Name: Digital Defenders
Sponsor: Jim Buchanan

Team Members: Cody Abbott, Ben Sunny, Andrew Day, Emanuel Taylor

The purpose of the project is to develop an application that can help our client better communicate with his student athletes and their associated parents without having to go through some other type of medium. The Denton3c Website (D3C) will be the hub of the communication as well as a go to area for student athletes to check on the latest scheduled events, check what events the student athletes might be participating in, as well as getting feedback from the coaches. Athletes and parents will also be able to view how the athlete is doing by being able to view the list of achievements associated with that athlete.

Team Name: CODA
Sponsor: Hasan Takabi

Team Members: Corbin Watkins, Oanh Ngyuen, David Loughran, Alejandro Luna

This is the concept of how our headset will connect to the android device and perform its task. We will develop a connection between the headset and the android device (tablet) with an on and off switch. Once a connection is developed the user is able to send a thinking command of choice. It will reiterate until the user is done performing tasks and powers off the device.

Dr. Mohanty named Associate Chair for Computer Engineering

Dr. Saraju Mohanty was named Associate Chair of Computer Engineering on March 1, 2016, to raise the profile of Computer Engineering within the department. His duties will include developing collaborations with related departments in UNT as well as Computer Engineering programs at other universities, to facilitate the growth in research and students in Computer Engineering.

As part of his new role, Dr. Mohanty joined CSE Chair Barrett Bryant in attending the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) conference March 18-22, 2016 in La Jolla, CA. The Association is composed of heads or chairs of departments offering accredited programs in electrical and/or computer engineering. The purpose is to help advance the field, facilitate member interaction and idea exchange, and to improve communication with the profession, industry, government, and others.

CSE hosts Summer Camps in 2016

The UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department is hosting a number of summer programs to introduce young women and young men entering the 8th thru 12th grades to Game Development, Mobile Apps Development, and Computer Science and Engineering. Registration is open now HERE.

Our Summer Camps incorporate elements from many of our previous summer programs into a week that focuses on mobile app development or game development depending on the camp. The one week day camp includes lunch and snacks each day and is a great opportunity for our students and faculty to interact with tomorrow’s engineers. Please refer to the table below for this summer’s schedule.

DatesLocation/FacultyFundingCamper Limit
June 6-10
Frisco/KeathlyTWC (Pending)20
Age 14-18
June 13-17
Age 14-18
July 11-15
Age 14-18
July 18-22
Age 14-18
June 27-July 1
CCCC-Frisco/KeathlyCTC Grant20
Age 14-18
July 25-29
Age 14-18

Ph.D. students attend CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop

(L-R) Nishitha Guntakandla, Junfei Xie, Natalie Parde, Andreea Godea, Alakananda Vempala, Parisa Kaghazgaran.
Not pictured: Zahra Sarabi and Shuwen Liang.

UNT’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering recently sent eight Ph.D. students to the CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop in San Diego, California. CRA-W Grad Cohort is an annual workshop for women in their first three years of pursuing graduate degrees in computer science. The workshop offers sessions that provide career advice for both academic and non-academic career paths, as well as sessions that provide advice for different aspects of students’ graduate school careers, targeted specifically toward women studying computer science and related technical fields. Sessions noted by UNT’s attendees this year as being particularly valuable included "Balancing Graduate School and Personal Life," "Ph.D. Academic Career Paths and Job Search," and "Strategies for Human-Human Interaction."

The workshop also included numerous opportunities for students to network with their peers and with faculty mentors in their own research areas, through highly interactive sessions, Birds of a Feather luncheons where students could share meals with faculty and other students having common research or mentoring interests, and a Friday night dance party attended by all of the students and faculty at the workshop. The workshop also hosted a poster session, where two of UNT’s Ph.D. students, Natalie Parde and Alakananda Vempala, presented the following posters:

  • Natalie Parde and Rodney D. Nielsen. (2016). Getting to the Heart of Metaphors: Dependency-based Detection of Metaphoric Juxtapositions. Poster at the 2016 CRA-Women Graduate Cohort Workshop. San Diego, California, April 15-16, 2016.

  • Alakananda Vempala and Eduardo Blanco (2016). Complementing Semantic Roles with Temporally Anchored Spatial Knowledge: Crowdsourced Annotations and Experiments. Poster at the 2016 CRA-Women Graduate Cohort Workshop. San Diego, California, April 15-16, 2016.

Natalie Parde                                                 Alakananda Vempala

UNT’s students had a fantastic time attending the workshop and sightseeing in San Diego, and are grateful for the financial support that enabled them to attend. UNT’s students’ attendance at the CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop was generously funded by CRA-W, the BRAID Initiative, Natalie Parde’s NSF GRFP fellowship, and CSE professors Drs. Song Fu and Rodney Nielsen.

CSE Women attend WiCyS conference

(L-R) Shanti Thiyagaraja, Paula Mears, Hsia-Ching Chang, Professor Ram Dantu, Parisa Kaghazgaran, Dralia Tulley-Patton, Garima Bajwa, Im Lai, Quynh Nguyen and Lola Obamehinti

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering was well-represented at the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference held in Dallas March 31st to April 2nd. Parisa Kaghazgaran and Lola Obamehinti presented posters at the conference. Eight of the ten students who attended are Ph.D. students.

Thanks to the CSE department for sponsoring the booth at the conference. Also, the registration was sponsored by the CSE department, Fidelity Investments and NSF SFS grant (PI, Ram Dantu, Co-PIs, Suliman Hawamdeh and Dan Kim).

Dr. Dantu said, "It is interesting to note that around 50% of the PhD students pursuing cyber security in UNT are women. Also, around 30% of the PhD students pursuing cyber security in UNT are from minorities."

Computational Epidemiology Research Laboratory News

Dr. Marty O’Neill and Dr. Armin Mikler conduct a 90 minute learning session they were selected to organize
at the 2016 Preparedness Summit.

Students and faculty from the Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis (CeCERA) attended the 2016 Preparedness Summit in Dallas to disseminate their research results to the approximately 1,800 federal, state, and local preparedness planners in attendance. At the summit, Dr. Armin R. Mikler (CSE Professor and CeCERA Director), Dr. Marty O’Neill (Research Associate Professor, Institute of Applied Science), and Dr. Susie Ramissety-Mikler (Research Associate Professor in CSE) organized and presented a 90 minute learning session entitled, "Identifying Patterns of Vulnerability: A Data-Driven Approach for Accommodating At-Risk Populations".

They were joined in the summit exhibition hall by Dr. Chetan Tiwari (Associate Professor, Geography), Dr. Barrett Bryant (CSE Chair), and CSE students Joshua Urbanovsky (Doctoral Candidate), Joseph Helsing (Doctoral Candidate), Sultanah Alshammari (Doctoral Candidate), Cree White (Ph.D. Student), Faris Hawamdeh (Ph.D. Student), Harsha Gwalani (Ph.D. Student), Tim de Reuse (M.S. Student), and Clayton Rowe (M.S. Student). At the CeCERA booth, hundreds of planners from across the country participated in guided tours of how the data-driven methods developed at CeCERA could enable them to build more efficient response plans to increase the resiliency of their regions.

Cree White and Dr. Marty O’NeillJoseph Helsing

Human Intelligence and Language Technologies (HiLT) Lab News

HiLT Lab directors: Drs. Rodney Nielsen and Eduardo Blanco. More information at the HiLT Lab website.

HiLT Lab Ph.D. Student Natalie Parde Wins Inaugural Golden Eagle Award

Natalie Parde, a Ph.D. student working with Dr. Nielsen in the HiLT Lab, won an Inaugural Golden Eagle Award — the most prestigious award that UNT bestows on a student leader. The recipients are those who show a tremendous commitment to co-curricular activities and enhancing campus life at UNT by engaging in considerable service and displaying great leadership, all while achieving excellence in the classroom. Among many roles, Natalie’s considerable service and leadership includes being president of UNT’s Women in Computing organization, outreach to K-12 students, volunteering for the National Center for Women & Information Technology, and mentoring TAMS students.

HiLT Lab Undergrad Dralia Tulley-Patton Wins SWSIS Scholarship

Dralia Tulley-Patton was awarded a scholarship by the Applied Computer Security Associates, the CRA-W, and the Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) supports exceptional students in their final two years as an undergraduate. Dralia became passionate about working at the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Security, after she attended several related talks at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference. Specifically, Dralia plans to advance research in the area of insider threat detection, exploring the use of NLP and ML in analyzing the differences between the language of a typical employee and the language of an insider who poses a security threat. Dralia is pursuing this research with Drs. Rodney Nielsen and Hassan Takabi.

HiLT Lab Undergrad Dan Jarvis Wins this Year’s CSE Department Award for Outstanding Senior in Computer Science

Congratulations to HiLT Lab undergraduate student Daniel Jarvis for winning the 2016 Computer Science and Engineering Department’s award for Outstanding Senior in Computer Science. Dan is a research assistant with Dr. Nielsen working on classroom engagement technology.

HiLT Lab Hosts NACLO Invitational

The HiLT Lab hosted the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) Invitational Round on Thursday, March 10th. NACLO is an educational competition in Computational Linguistics, the science of designing computer algorithms to solve linguistic problems and process natural human language. Six of the 35 students who originally competed in NACLO’s Open Round at UNT made it to the invitational round, which allows the highest-scoring 10% of NACLO participants nationwide to compete for a place on the North American team in the International Linguistics Olympiad in Mysore India, July 25-29.

Pictured left-to-right are HiLT Lab Ph.D. students Nishitha Guntakandla and Natalie Parde, HiLT director Dr. Rodney Nielsen, undergraduate lab assistant Erin Eversoll, and (not pictured) Genene Murphy supervised the event. More information is available at this HiLT page.

Andreea Godea, Nishitha Guntakandla, Natalie Parde, Zahra Sarabi, and Alakananda Vempala all received CRA-W Grad Cohort awards

Congratulations to HiLT Lab Ph.D. students for winning CRA-W Grad Cohort awards, left-to-right, Zahra Sarabi, Andreea Godea, Natalie Parde, Alakananda Vempala, and Nishitha Guntakandla.

HiLT Lab TAMS Student Sara Adams Wins NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award

Sara Adams won a DFW NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award! The Aspirations in Computing Award is a prestigious award sponsored by the National Center for Women & Technology that honors female high school students for their exemplary achievements in computer science. Sara, a TAMS student, has been a member of the HiLT Lab since the Spring 2015 semester, working on the lab’s I Spy project.

HiLT Lab Ph.D. Student Natalie Parde Serves on NCWIT Panel

Natalie Parde was selected to be the graduate student panelist at the DFW NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award Ceremony! The panel brought together female leaders from academia and industry from across the DFW metroplex to speak to award winners and their guests about the challenges and exciting opportunities for women in STEM fields.

HiLT Lab TAMS Student Noelle Davis in the North Texan

Noelle Davis was one of a handful of UNT students featured in the article "Women find STEM research opportunities, leadership roles at UNT." Noelle was interviewed about her experiences as a TAMS student and how working at the HiLT Lab has helped her in her success. Read more in this North Texan article.

The HiLT Lab Welcomes New Member

Namratha Urs, M.S. C.S. student, joined the HiLT Lab this Spring. Namratha is working with Dr. Nielsen on ML and NLP algorithms to improve the effectiveness of communication between our Companionbots and their human counterparts.

The HiLT Lab Bids Farewell to Kevin James

We wish last year’s CSE Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Computer Engineering awardee, Kevin James, the best of luck in his new job at Seagate! We will miss you Kevin, and have no doubt you will continue to excel!

News from Information Security and Privacy: Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) Lab

INSPIRE lab members Parisa Kaghazgaran (in red shirt) and Dralia Tulley-Patton (on the far right end)
attended the WiCyS conference.

Dr. Hassan Takabi is the Director of the INSPIRE Lab.

  • INSPIRE Lab researchers published several journal papers including two papers in ELSEVIER Computers & Security.
  • Manar F. Alohaly joined the INSPIRE Lab as a new Ph.D. student in Spring 2016.
  • INSPIRE Lab’s undergraduate researcher Dralia Truley-Patton has been selected as a SWSIS Scholar by the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) program. The SWSIS program is a partnership of the Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA) and the CRA Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), with sponsorship from ACSA and the Hewlett-Parkard Enterprise (HPE).
  • Members of INSPIRE Lab attended the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference held in Dallas, March 31st–April 2.
  • Parisa Kaghazgaran won an award from CRA to attend CRA-Women’s Grad Cohort Workshop which was held on April 15-16, 2016 in San Diego, California.

NSF Net-Centric & Cloud Software & Systems (NCSS) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) News

The Net-Centric and Cloud Software and Systems (NCSS) I/UCRC held its semi-annual Industry Advisory Board meeting on March 2-3 at Arizona State University. There were 66 attendees representing industry and government. The plenary session on the first day included presentations on six new project proposals, eight in-progress reports, and five industry roadmap presentations.

At the recommendation of the NSF Center Evaluator, a panel discussion was conducted with the industry members on the subject of "wicked" technical problems faced by each company. The members identified problem areas spanning topics that included machine learning, big data, cyber-security, and man/machine interfaces in high complexity systems. Each of these figure prominently in the NCSS I/UCRC list of competencies and present immediate opportunities for engaging with the industry members on related research projects.

UNT computer science graduate students Charles Shelor, Patrick Kamongi and Marko Scrbak also gave presentations on their respective areas of research. More than 35 poster presentations were made available following the plenary session and were well received by the attendees. The next semi-annual IAB meeting will be held at UNT on October 19-20, 2016.

Software Engineering Laboratory (SELL) News

Barrett Bryant in Pisa, Italy

Barrett Bryant attended the 31st ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC 2016) in Pisa, Italy. Dr. Bryant is a member of the SAC Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Programming Languages Track at SAC.

LIKE UNT Computer Science and Engineering to get all the latest news from your CSE Department!

You can also register on our Alumni application or update your alumni informationon our CSE website.

CSE Alumni News

Alumni Focus on Lloyd Smith

Lloyd Smith
Professor, Computer Science
Missouri State University

I came to Computer Science by a circuitous route, having enrolled at UNT to study Music. I was a singer so I was interested in how the voice works and why I couldn’t make enough noise to be an opera star. So, after graduating with a degree in Music, I started a master’s degree in Speech Communication. In the Speech Department I met Brian Scott, a psychologist who had some theories about how to get computers to understand speech. Brian got me interested in computing so, even before I finished the MS in Speech, I started studying Computer Science.

I had a number of great teachers in Computer Science. I can’t do justice to all of them but I saw Don Retzlaff’s name in a recent Alumni Focus, as well as a picture of Tom Irby. Both were fantastic teachers. Chuck Adams had the most entertaining computer industry war stories. I still remember his cautionary tale about the company that fixed an overflow problem in their billing software — and found they had been regularly undercharging their best customer by $100,000. A couple of teachers stand out for me. I learned about barbershop music, as well as automata theory, from Denis Conrady. Kathleen Swigger guided me through two degrees and taught me about time management, telling me how she managed her PhD studies while caring for a small child. That helped me understand the challenges faced by women faculty members — a lesson I hoped I used to good effect when I later served as head of Computer Science departments.

Not long after I started studying CS, I went to work for Scott Instruments, a company started by my mentor from the Speech department. There, my UNT education was augmented by working with Gary Goodman who, many years later, taught Computer Science as an adjunct at UNT. We were developing speech recognition products in assembly language for the Apple II. I remember light bulbs going off in my brain daily as I more fully understood what I had learned in classes. I worked for Scott Instruments while I finished my MS in Computer Science. At that time, UNT didn’t have a doctoral program but I kept taking classes for interest, and because I had to be enrolled to use the racquetball courts. Eventually, of course, a doctoral program was started; I believe I was in the first or second PhD class, graduating in 1988.

After graduating with a PhD, I saw an ad for a faculty position at the University of Waikato, in New Zealand, and sent them a letter (remember those?) asking how I might apply. A week later they called me up and somehow my wife and I talked ourselves into moving halfway around the world to take a job without ever having visited the country or seen the university. Within a year I was head of the Computer Science department. I had wonderful colleagues at Waikato. The ringleader was Ian Witten, who became a Fellow of the ACM not long after joining our faculty (being a big shot, he got to visit before taking the job). Ian has a way of making the people around him more productive and, thanks to him, I was part of two internationally prominent software/research projects. The first resulted in WEKA, the Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis, which became the most widely used open source software for machine learning. The second was the New Zealand Digital Library project; the underlying software is used by UNESCO to disseminate agricultural and humanitarian aid information to third world countries.

At Waikato, I had my 15 minutes of fame when I supervised a graduate student in developing one of the first query-by-humming systems — a user would sing a few notes into a microphone and the system searched a database of 10,000 folksongs, returning a list of songs that closely matched the notes sung by the user. Somehow news of our system leaked out of the music research community and I was interviewed by the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and TVNZ, the national television network in New Zealand. I got emails from all over the world asking about applications of our system. One person wanted to use it to check for copyright infringement; another wanted to make an arcade-style name-that-tune game to put in pubs (I told him he needed to find some quiet pubs). I found I was getting a bit too famous when the Australasian copyright organization sent me a formal letter warning us not to use music under copyright in our system.

My wife and I loved New Zealand but we had a child and it was hard to have him so far away from his grandparents. We returned to the states in 1999 and I took a position at New Mexico Highlands University. There I had a couple of excellent graduate students who worked on automatically extracting themes from classical music. It’s one thing to exhaustively search 10,000 folksongs for approximate matches but, if you have 10,000 symphonies, it’s better to have a database of themes, which is what people remember from a symphony (we proved that in an experiment). I moved to Missouri State University in 2002, where I served as head of the Computer Science department for eight years. And here I had a bonus few minutes of fame when I collaborated with my UNT roommate, Jim Downey, who is an MIS professor at the University of Central Arkansas. We developed a system (using WEKA) that predicts which baseball players will be elected to the Hall of Fame. A sportswriter saw our paper and wrote us up in the Wall Street Journal, and once again I was getting emails — this time from all over the US and Latin America, asking about the chances that somebody’s favorite player would be elected to the Hall of Fame. One of the emails was from a major league team and we did a bit of consulting with them on player development. Several years ago I stepped down as head of department and was reminded that being an administrator is worthwhile because of how good it feels when you stop being one.

Looking back, I have to say I’ve been extraordinarily lucky — lucky to have received a great education at UNT, and lucky in the people I’ve worked with. I had a great group of fellow students and great teachers at UNT, great coworkers at Scott Instruments, and great students and colleagues at the three universities I’ve taught at.

Editor’s note: See all of our Ph.D. graduates at this Ph.D. Page. Send updates to

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

Alumni Support needed to send CSE Students to conferences

In October 2015, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering sent 21 women students and five faculty members to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The Grace Hopper Celebration is an annual conference designed to bring together women technologists and to highlight the contributions of women in the field. The conference includes numerous networking events, career development workshops, technical sessions, undergraduate and graduate student poster contests, and a career fair representing more than 200 companies and universities. In 2015, the Grace Hopper Celebration boasted more than 12,000 attendees from 66 countries around the world.

In February 2015, Dr. Bryant and four students attended the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. The goal of the Tapia conferences is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate the diversity that exists in computing; to connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, and gender so as to create communities that extend beyond the conference; obtain advice from and make contacts with computing leaders in academia and industry; and be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds.

Both of these conferences will be in Texas in 2016. The Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing will be in Austin September 14-17, 2016. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing will be in Houston October 19-21, 2016. Our goal is to send as many CSE students as possible to these conferences, but we do not have as much funding as we need for these events. In honor of UNT’s 125th anniversary, we ask that YOU, our alumni, consider making a contribution of $125 or more to help our CSE students attend these conferences. This amount would pay for a bus trip for one student or a couple of hotel nights. However, any amount will be very helpful and very much appreciated! To make a donation to the Computer Science and Engineering Discretionary Fund, which supports student travel, please click here. If you wish to donate to the Computer Science and Engineering Scholarship Fund, please click here.

Student News

Outstanding CSE Students recognized on Honors Day

CSE faculty members selected the following outstanding students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering who were recognized at the UNT Honors Day on April 1, 2016.

Outstanding Freshman in the CSE Department - Katie Ouellette

Katie is pursuing a B.S. degree in Computer Science. Since coming to UNT, she has joined the Eagle Technical Communication Organization, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society, and has made the President’s List. She has also participated in UNT’s intermural program, specifically soccer and basketball. In her spare time, Katie likes to travel, read, and run. She also likes to snowboard in New Mexico and Canada.

Katie plans to graduate a semester early. After completing her undergraduate degree, Katie would love to move to New York City and make her mark working for a reputable company in Cybersecurity. Katie would like to thank Dr. Thompson for inspiring her and giving her a foundation for success in Computer Science.

Outstanding Sophomore in the CSE Department - Jonathan Roosa

Jonathan is a sophomore currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science, having begun his undergraduate career in August 2014. He has worked as a peer mentor since the Fall 2015 semester for the CSE department, helping other undergraduate students with their labs and homework. He plans to develop software for either the space or medical industries upon graduation.

In his free time, Jonathan enjoys programming, reading science/speculative fiction novels, and photographing old buildings. He is also the web and fundraising officer for UNT Future Without Poverty."

Outstanding Junior in Computer Science - Jacob White

Jacob graduated with an associate’s degree in Graphic communication in 2008. Using the skills learned during his first academic venture, he worked in advertising for eight years for Dillard’s, Dr. Pepper and finally teaching as an adjunct instructor at TCCD. He returned to school at UNT to earn a B.S. in Computer Science. He has received the following accolades: 2014 Terry Foundation Scholarship recipient, 2013 TCC Foundation Scholarship recipient, 2012 Distinguished Student Foundation Scholarship recipient, and participated in 2012 as the Math Club Media Chair at TCC NE Campus.

When not deeply involved in his academic pursuits, Jacob works part-time, freelancing from home and tutoring Photoshop on location around the DFW area. During rare moments of free time, Jacob’s favorite activity is spending time with his family and playing with his four kids. For example, he keeps scooters, badminton racquets, and beanbag bowling equipment in his trunk so he can play with his kids no matter where he is.

Outstanding Junior in Computer Engineering - Zachary Simpson

Zachary is currently a junior level student pursuing a B.S. in Computer Engineering. He started going to college in 2012 at NCTC Corinth, and transferred to UNT in the fall of 2014. Throughout all of his education, he has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working full time during the weekends to allow him to go to school. He enjoys all of the engineering courses that have had to do with FPGA’s, VLSI Design, electronics, and Digital Logic. When Zachary graduates, he hopes to work for a company that creates new hardware for mobile devices, or something related to the field of digital electronics.

Outstanding Junior in Information Technology - Matthew Holladay

Matt is currently a junior level student pursuing a B.A. in Information Technology. He serves as a Positivity Ambassador for UNT Compliments and works with students as a Supplemental Instruction Leader. He intends to work in the field of User Experience Design after graduation.

Recently, Matt led a service project to thank over 100 of UNT’s academic advisors. Additionally, he helped other students show appreciation to UNT bus drivers for their service to the UNT community. Both projects were very well-received.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Science - Daniel Jarvis

Dan expects to graduate in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Dan has been working as a research assistant for Dr. Nielsen in the HiLT lab focusing primarily on the comprehension SEEDING project since January of 2013. He has also been running his own business hosting and developing websites for small businesses such as TownSquareBuzz and CodeNameGreen. In his free time he enjoys developing iOS, Android and Chrome apps as well as skateboarding and cycling.

After graduation Dan plans to continue his education in computer science focusing on machine learning.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering - Thomas Kanabay

Thomas is a senior studying Computer Engineering at the University of North Texas. His interests include embedded systems, communications and networking, and software engineering. Outside of studying and working on projects, Thomas works full-time, so time is of short supply for him. After graduation, he will continue to work, and he is strongly considering pursuing a Master’s degree to further expand his knowledge in engineering. He would like to thank the CSE Department and his professors and lecturers for their combined leadership and support, and for creating a positive environment to learn and grow in.

Outstanding Senior in Information Technology - Michele Hindman

Michele is passionate about making websites accomplish defined, measurable goals. She works right here at UNT as Senior Web Architecture Manager for the College of Arts & Sciences, leading a team that designs, develops, and administers all of the college’s web services.

Over the last 9 years, she has advocated user’s needs over internal politics for over 100 websites. She has also expertly delivered all aspects of creating websites, including visual design, front-end development, back-end development, IA, copywriting, and overall UX.

She returned to school in 2013 to get a B.A. in Information Technology. She plans to attend graduate school to research human-computer interaction, with the intent to make the web a better, more useful place.

Michele would like to thank the faculty of the Computer Science and Engineering Department for their support and encouragement, especially Dr. Bryce and Dr. Swigger. She’d also like to thank her co-workers and superiors at CAS IT Services for the mentoring she’s received over the last 9 years. Last but not least, she’d like to thank her fiancé, Kevin, for all the really nice things he says about her and all the amazing meals he cooks for her. She would not be the person she is today without any of these people.

When not working or in class, Michele relaxes by speedpainting and gaming. You can find her online at LinkedIn and Twitter.

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Science - Rajendar Mudam

Rajendar received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Vasavi College of Engineering, Hyderabad in 2012. Before joining UNT, he worked for two years as a Software Engineer for Accenture Services Private Limited in Hyderabad, India.

Rajendar joined UNT in Spring 2015 and started his graduate program in Computer Science. His area of interest is Database Management and Data Mining. He worked as a Research Assistant in the EE department, which involved developing a game. Currently he is working as a Teaching Assistant in CSE department.

Rajendar would like to thank professors Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi and Dr. Eduardo Blanco for their guidance and support.

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Engineering - Nagaraju Mukka

Nagaraju pursued his Bachelors in Electronics and communication engineering from JNTUH in the year 2013. He was an outstanding student in his undergrad as well. After his Bachelors, he worked as an EVM Engineer, at India’s renowned electronics company named ECIL. He worked on converting manual voting process to electronic voting which is a big challenge and also a revolutionary change in a country like India.

His passion towards electronics made him decide to pursue his Masters and enhance his career opportunities. He started his journey at UNT in Fall 2014 working as a student assistant at a dining hall. Later he worked with UNT’s graduation department and HR department. He is currently working as an Instructional Assistant in the CSE department. He served as Treasurer for the India Students Association, an organization which helps Indian students sustain their early days at UNT. He also served as volunteer in several organizations at UNT such as UNT International and the UNT learning center. He is now working on his thesis on "IOT Applications - GPS Sensor."

Nagaraju is known for his humble and patient behavior. He is a quick learning, self-motivated smart individual. Five years from now, he would like to see himself grow as a potential leader in the field of RF engineering, or emerge as a more experienced and skilled employee by developing strong techniques and process specific skills to make his contribution to the world.

Nagaraju would like to thank his Professor Dr. Saraju Mohanty who has been supportive throughout his Masters. He also wants to thank his family and his friends for holding him at all times.

Outstanding Doctoral Student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering - Garima Bajwa

Garima received her bachelor’s degree in technology, electronics and communication engineering from Mody Institute of Technology and Science in India. She learned about Dr. Dantu’s research on a new 9-1-1 software system using smart phone technology while she was earning her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She came to UNT specifically to work with Dr. Dantu and joined his group in Fall 2011.

She is involved in interdisciplinary research including Computer Science, Neuroscience and Signal Processing. Her doctoral research has been focused on shifting the paradigm of existing brain-computer-interfaces from just ‘control’ to ‘monitor, control, enhance, and restore’ in three main areas: healthcare, transportation safety and cryptography. In her free time, she loves to dig deep into things that grab her attention, spend time hiking and exploring nature. She is strongly influenced by her parents and major professor Dr. Dantu to pursue a career in research. Garima loves her UNT family here who keeps her grounded and motivated.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering - Jagannadh Vempati

Jagannadh received his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from JNTU in 2010. He worked for nearly 2 years as a Software Engineer for Cognizant Technology Solutions.

He began his Doctoral study in Spring 2014 under Dr. Ram Dantu. His research focuses on modeling, analyzing and identifying security vulnerabilities in a network. He also worked on integrating VoIP services in SDN (Software defined networks) architecture. He was awarded with the College of Engineering Graduate Scholarship for the 2014-15 school year.

He would like to thank his major advisor Dr. Ram Dantu for his guidance and also David Keathly and Dr. Hassan Takabi for their encouragement. He also would like to thank his fellow lab mates and parents for their constant support and love.

Outstanding Teaching Fellow in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering - Joseph Helsing

Joseph received his B.A. in Computer Science, with a minor in Philosophy, from Austin College in 2010. He joined UNT as a Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Engineering in 2011 under the tutelage of Dr. Armin Mikler, and received his pass-through M.S. in Computer Science in 2013. His research interests are in Simulation and Model Validation, Machine Learning, and Social Issues in Computer Science and he works in the Computational Epidemiology Research Lab (CERL) under Dr. Mikler. His Ph.D. research is on Validation Methodologies for Emergency Response Plans.

Joseph is currently teaching Social Issues in Computing along with Engineering Ethics in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. He encourages his students to think critically about, and develop effective, logical arguments for current topics in computer science and engineering through writing, activities, and Oxford style, in-class debates.

When he is not building simulations or lectures, he spends time with his two dogs, Chance and Chewy. He also makes his own jam and occasionally brews beer and mead.

CSE Faculty recognized by Outstanding Students

On Honors Day, the following CSE faculty members were recognized by the Outstanding Students as a positive influence in their college career:

Dr. Renee Bryce
Dr. Ram Dantu
Dr. Ryan Garlick
Mr. David Keathly
Dr. Armin Mikler
Dr. Saraju Mohanty
Dr. Rodney Nielsen
Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil
Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi
Dr. Mark Thompson

CSE Students defend Dissertation and Theses

Congratulations to this Ph.D. student who successfully defended his dissertation!

Shital Joshi

Dissertation: Analysis and Optimization of Graphene FET Based Nanoelectronic Integrated Circuits

Major Professor: Dr. Saraju Mohanty

Defense Date: March 2, 2016

Congratulations to these MS students for successfully defending their theses!

Gunasekhar Aluru

Thesis: Exploring Analog and Digital Design using the Open-Source Electric VLSI Design System

Major Professor: Dr. Saraju Mohanty

Defense Date: March 30, 2016

Rajasekhar Ganduri

Thesis: Network Security Tool for a Novice

Major Professor: Dr. Ram Dantu

Defense Date: April 25, 2016

Garima Bajwa in the top 8 at the national Three Minute Thesis competition

Dr. Joseph Oppong and Garima Bajwa

Congratulations to CSE Ph.D. student Garima Bajwa on finishing in the top 8 out of 38 students in the national Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition! The winners were announced in this document from The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools.

After Garima won the UNT competition at the Toulouse Graduate School in November 2015, she presented her thesis "Neuro-Sign: NOT Just Another Vital Sign" at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools annual meeting on February 20 in Charlotte, NC. Garima was a finalist and won a $150 award.

Garima was with Dr. Joseph Oppong, Professor of Geography and Associate Dean for Research and Professional Development at UNT’s Toulouse Graduate School, at the conference. Dr. Ram Dantu is Garima’s major professor.

CSE M.S. Student wins People’s Choice Award in Three Minute Thesis Competition

Dr. Joseph Oppong, Professor of Geography and Associate Dean for Research and Professional Development at UNT’s Toulouse Graduate School, presents the People’s Choice Award to Rajasekhar Ganduri.

Congratulations to Rajasekhar Ganduri on winning the People’s Choice award at the UNT Toulouse Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition for M.S. students on April 9, 2016! His prize for winning the award was $1,000. Rajasekhar is a student of Dr. Ram Dantu, CSE Professor and Director of the Center for Information and Computer Security. After several preliminary contests, ten finalists emerged to explain their thesis to a general audience in only three minutes. The finalists presented their thesis research methods, findings, and its significance in non-technical language.

Rajasekhar’s winning presentation was "Network Security by YOU." He describes his thesis, "In my research, a web tool is developed to simplify the process of configuring security systems by translating direct human language (like "Turn off internet to my home from 9 am - 6 pm") input into meaningful, working security rules. The network security tool built has shown promise to both experienced and inexperienced people in the network security field by simplifying the provisioning process to result in accurate and effective network security rules."

Two other CSE students also were in the final competition. Vandana Dhayal, Dr. Saraju Mohanty’s student, and Ashwini Tonge, Dr. Bill Buckle’s student, made their presentations in the Three Minute Competition. 3MT challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. The first 3MT competition was held in Australia at the University of Queensland in 2008. More than 200 universities worldwide now host competitions, including 40 in the U.S.

CSE Students participate in Design Your World

CSE students recently participated in the Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls sponsored by The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Dallas Section and UNT SWE. 150 young women in grades 6 through 12, along with 40 parents and educators, learned more about the opportunities available in STEM fields at the Design Your World conference which was held April 2, 2016 at Discovery Park at the University of North Texas.

There were 101 volunteers who helped make Design Your World a success including the following CSE students: Eberechi Akoma, Nsoh Atanga, Gladys Hernandez Amaya, Karla Lara, Jordan Luper, Natalie Parde and Tyseanah Spell. These two CSE Alumnae also participated in Design Your World: Former UNT SWE President Mayaria Johnson (B.S. in Computer Science 2015) is a Frito-Lay Business Application Developer at Pepsico and Hollie King (B.S. in Computer Science 2015) will start her new position at USAA in June.

CSE instructors David Keathly and Jim Buchanan deserve special recognition for working with ETEC student Amber Sodikov for creating a "Polite ActivityBot" using Parallax’s curriculum as a base. It used PING))) Ultrasonic Distance Sensors to check for objects and when it found something in the way played a sound file through a speaker. The students could record their own files and edit them and load them into the robots. They were also shown how to edit their code and modify it to do other tasks.

Design Your World was enabled by the National SWE’s support of the event through a Professional Development Grant. Continued prior support was received from the following industries: Exxon Mobil (Platinum), State Farm, Lennox International and Abbott (Gold) and Rockwell Collins (Silver). Read more about Design Your World in this College of Engineering news release.

College of Engineering News

College of Engineering Events       College of Engineering News

Dr. Nahendra Dahotre elected to AIMBE College of Fellows

Congratulations to Dr. Nahendra Dahotre, on being elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows! Dr. Dahotre, a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for pioneering contributions to fundamentals and engineering of laser-material interactions during advanced manufacturing and processing of biomaterials and sustained service to the materials community. For more information about Dr. Dahotre’s recognition, see this College of Engineering news release.

Dr. Richard Reidy receives UNT Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

Congratulations to Dr. Richard Reidy, a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, on being named a recipient of the 2016 UNT Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. This award recognizes tenured faculty at the rank of professor or associate professor who are outstanding teachers, instruct at the introductory levels of their disciplines, and promote continuous development of teaching excellence and improvement among their colleagues in the UNT community. For more information about Dr. Reidy’s honor, see this College of Engineering news release.

University of North Texas News

UNT Alumnus presented with inaugural Wings of Eagles Presidential Award

UNT President Neal Smatresk presented Ernest Kuehne Jr. with the inaugural Wings of Eagles Presidential Award at the Wingspan Gala. The Wings of Eagles Presidential Award celebrates creativity, spirit and innovation at UNT. It is awarded to an alumnus or friend of the University who embodies what UNT represents: engagement, generosity and affinity. It is the most prestigious award presented by the president to someone who has made a transformative impact on the university.

Kuehne graduated in 1966 from UNT with a degree in political science and went on to earn a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Baylor University in 1969. Kuehne pledged a $1 million cornerstone gift to help with Apogee Stadium and other athletic department needs. Kuehne also helped establish the UNT Kuehne Speaker Series that brings nationally prominent speakers to UNT.

To read more about the Wings of Eagles Presidential Award and Kuehne’s contributions to UNT, please see this UNT news release.

UNT showcases top jazz ensembles at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

The Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band and other College of Music jazz and music ensembles will perform at the UNT Showcase Stage at Denton’s Arts & Jazz Festival Friday, April 29, to Sunday, May 1. Lab Band Madness which features all nine lab bands begins at 1 pm and ends at 9 pm with a performance by the One O’Clock Lab Band on Saturday, April 29. The Showcase stage will be located between the Denton Senior Center and the community pool in Quakertown Park on Bell Avenue. To see the complete schedule of all the bands performing at the Arts & Jazz Festival, see this UNT news release.

Read all the UNT News here.

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

Alumni gifts to the department make it possible to provide students with scholarships and travel to competitions and conferences. To support your CSE Department with a gift, please visit and select "Computer Science and Engineering" as the designation for your gift. UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department — April 2016