University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

April 2017  

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,

As one of the oldest computer science programs in the nation, the UNT College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering will celebrate its 45th anniversary April 28, 2017, at Apogee Stadium. The event will also highlight the 25th anniversary of the Laboratory for Recreational Computing. The evening celebration features an award ceremony honoring past alumni and current students, talks from respected speakers, and dinner.

Also on April 28, our senior undergraduate students will present their posters and projects from their capstone courses at the College of Engineering’s Design Day. Nine teams from Computer Engineering, four teams from Computer Science and five teams from Information Technology will present their projects in front of our CSE Department from 9 am to 11 am. After lunch, each team of students will give presentations about their senior design projects. Please read about all team projects below.

Congratulations to Dr. Cornelia Caragea on receiving a prestigious NSF CAREER grant! We are pleased to also announce that our BRAID funding has been renewed. For the first time, the UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department will host a number of summer cybersecurity programs for students who are in in 8th-12th grades. CSE faculty members Stephanie Ludi and David Keathly were recently recognized in the UNT news. We are continuing to hire new faculty to serve our students. Stay tuned for announcements about our new faculty members.

Several of our alumni from three different CSE eras are featured in the first article about our 45th anniversary. Naveen Kakani, Dr. Armin Mikler’s Ph.D. student from 2000, is profiled in our Alumni Focus. Our IT graduate Kyle Taylor was recognized at the National Convergence Technology Center. We have a lot to celebrate and I look forward to greeting you at our 45th anniversary celebration on Friday night!

Barrett Bryant
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

UNT Computer Science: 45 Years of Changing Lives and Technology

UNT Computer Science Alumni (left to right) Willie Barber, Greg Thurman and Tyseanah Spell.

Happy Birthday to us! Our Computer Science program is turning 45 this year. UNT’s program is one of the oldest computer science programs in the nation. The stories of three UNT Computer Science Alumni are featured in this College of Engineering article. Willie Barber graduated in 1977 with a M.S. degree in Computer Sciences Systems. He was part of the very first class to graduate from that program. Willie talks about how everyone was so friendly, especially Dr. Denis Conrady, who taught at UNT from 1974 to 1995 and passed away in 2011. Barber is now 72 years old and still working as an IT specialist for the Internal Revenue Service.

CSE alumnus Greg Thurman is also featured in the Engineering article. Greg graduated in 1998 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Greg remembered Don Retzlaff as one of the best. Retzlaff taught at UNT from 1978 to 2013 and retired from UNT as a Principal Lecturer. Thurman spent 10 years as a developer/programmer. Now he’s the director of Clinical Information Systems for Sonic Healthcare USA and serves on the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering’s Advisory Council.

CSE alumna Tyseanah Spell is a recent graduate in 2016. She credits Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, current CSE lecturer, with pushing her to actually learn and work harder. She said the hard work paid off and now she has a position at L3 Technologies in Rockwall. While Tyseanah was at UNT, she was part of the Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the NAACP. She said these organizations helped her broaden her horizons and make friends.

The Computer Science Department became the Department of Computer Science and Engineering when it added Computer Engineering and joined the new UNT College of Engineering in 2003. The undergraduate Information Technology degree was added in 2008.

Cornelia Caragea receives NSF CAREER award

Cornelia Caragea’s research focuses on machine learning, data mining and information retrieval. As an assistant professor at the University of North Texas, Caragea has received more than $1.6 million in National Science Foundation funding for her research initiatives.

Her NSF CAREER project is aimed at designing solutions that will make information more accessible and comprehensible to scholarly web users, helping them discover knowledge more effectively and efficiently. She plans to develop an integrated framework that focuses on the extraction and utilization of scholarly knowledge graphs in online scholarly environments.

Caragea’s past projects aimed at automatic key phrase extraction from research papers, addressing online image privacy issues, and collecting and forwarding information garnered from social media to emergency response and disaster relief teams.

She earned her Ph.D. from Iowa State University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Bucharest. Prior to joining the University of North Texas in fall 2012, she was a post-doctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

For more information about Caragea and her award, please see this UNT press release.

CSE Students to present projects on Design Day on April 28

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 28, 2017. The Design Day program will begin with poster presentations in the hallways in Discovery Park from 9 am to 11 am. Following the poster presentations, each department will have project presentations.


The following Senior Design projects will be presented for CSCE 4915 Computer Engineering Design II beginning at 1:00 pm in B140:

Team Name: IRIS
Sponsor: NASA, TSGC
Team Members: Jacen R Kohler, Yale Empie, Alex Fatum, Tyler Alveraz

Internet in space is implemented using Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) transmitted over a Delay/Disruption Tolerant Network (DTN) protocol. IPv4 addresses are statically assigned to spacecraft and all network communication is done using network addresses instead of names. This requires manual interacting with address assignment and is not fault tolerant. The constantly varying line of sight and the propagation delays cause traditional TCP and DHCP handshakes to take too much time. The current Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) are merely repeaters and amplifiers, but have no routing capabilities.

The challenge is to find a way to dynamically assign Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) addresses of the TDRS using Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking practices. This will be accomplished on the ground with a proof of concept using traditional, commercial, off-the-shelf parts. A link-local network will be created to simulate space networks and incorporate rudimentary versions of DTN. The goal is to create a system that can accommodate dynamic addressing in the less-than-ideal situations presented by space networking.

While complicated and challenging, dynamic addressing in space is solvable. There exists a ground based simulated scenario that strongly resembles the actual situation in orbit. The solution to dynamic addressing over DTN does not yet exist, but through using network switches, the DTN protocol and delays can be simulated. The issue will be circumvented via simulation and a solution will filter to the top.

You can read more about this project on the GitHub page.

Team Name: Hear Me Out
Sponsor: Dr. Robin J. Pottathuparambil
Team Members: Michael Canan, Corey Smith, Mayur Kotamraju, Zac Jordan

The Bat is a wearable, indoor navigation assistant for the visually impaired. It is designed to be discreet when compared to other aids, such as a cane or service animal, which can give the user more independence. The user can use this device to freely roam around the interior of a building or enable the navigation system to be guided, with verbal instruction, to an exit.

Sonar sensors are mounted on a wireless headset detect the walls around the user and adjacent hallways. Another sensor is mounted on a belt and is able to detect obstacles on the ground that could be a hazard. If an obstacle is detected the device will give the user a verbal response of what the obstacle is and, if necessary, how to avoid it. The navigation system uses GPS to find the user’s location in comparison to the exit and will map out a simple route for the user to follow. The detection of obstacles will still be in effect while the navigation system is enabled to guide the user out of the building safely. A small computer is used as the central control unit for the system. It controls how to interpret the sensor data and deliver messages to the user. The user interacts with the device via smartphone. Once connected, the user can enable navigation, and select between exits. The app also has an area for advance users to add maps to the system.

Team Project: Remote Embedded Systems Lab (RESL)
Team Name: Remote Systems Online
Sponsor: Dr. Robin J. Pottathuparambil
Team Members: Johnathan Auringer, Fernando Mosquera, Peter Ogunrinde

The Remote Embedded Systems Lab (RESL) is a development environment for embedded systems. This lab is remotely accessible through web browser, and allows users to upload compiled code to an embedded systems board, and to monitor the board’s outputs by camera, microphone, and serial port. The lab includes hardware capable of interacting with the target board, to activate sensors and buttons, through the web interface. This includes relays, peltier modules, and LEDs, to manipulate buttons, temperature sensors, and light sensors on the target boards. The Remote Embedded Systems Lab also features an extensive database, permitting the management of boards, users, permissions, and statistics of usage. This lab provides a web-based method of developing embedded systems, which opens paths to distance education as well as helping to reduce the required number of workstations and boards in the traditional Labs

Team Project: Algorithmic Stock Trading System
Team Name: Pythia
Sponsor: Dr. Robin J. Pottathuparambil
Team Members: Clement Cole, Chris Roche, Enrique Torres, Elijah Adedapo

The Algorithmic Stock Trading System uses historical stock data to make predictions for future stock high and low trading values. Team Pythia developed and adapted a predictive algorithm based on the genetic model to run in both software and hardware.

The software implementation is programmed in C++ and runs in a Linux environment on an x86 architecture CPU. The hardware implementation is in VHSIC Hardware Description Language (VHDL) and runs on a Xilinx Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

The stock trader can use a graphic user interface (GUI) to select up to ten stocks at a time to analyze. The analysis and performance results are displayed for the user on the GUI. Both implementations are compared to identify performance gains from the hardware implementation of the predictive algorithm.

The VHDL implementation takes advantage of the hardware level parallelism of the FPGA which results in lower latency than the software implementation. Therefore, stock traders can make better informed sales and purchases, faster. This project serves as a proof of concept that FPGAs are a viable solution for stock trading.

Team Name: Spatium Lucis
Sponsor: NASA’s Texas Grant Space Consortium
Team Members: Zach Simpson (Team Leader), Jeremy Trammell, Chukwuebuka Nwankwo, Terry So
Project Name: Intelligent Lighting Control System

The Intelligent Lighting Control System (ILCS) is a response to a project proposed by NASA to address lighting in spacefaring vehicles. An intelligent lighting system is needed not only for allowing sight in the blackness of space, but to also maintain the circadian rhythms of the crew to keep them mentally and physically healthy. The ILCS will be customizable to the personal and working spaces of individual crewmembers and attempt to maintain healthy circadian rhythms of said crewmembers by modeling light intensity and color values. In addition, the ILCS will be capable of monitoring light intensity and color values and be capable of compensation for any degradation of said values. Any intensity measured below the correct value from 8 feet away will cause the system to compensate by increasing output or activating a secondary source and will cause the system to emit auditory and visual warnings.

The ILCS will consist of three subsystems in order to accomplish these tasks: The Control Subsystem, Sensor Subsystem, and Lighting Subsystem. The Control Subsystem uses a mini-PC to host a webserver and houses a database which will allow the user to view the status of the system from anywhere in the spacecraft using a browser enabled device. The Sensor Subsystem uses a Raspberry Pi 3 to interact with an RGB color sensor, a range sensor, and a motion sensor by using Python in order to check the status of the lights and provide feedback. The Lighting Subsystem also uses a Raspberry Pi 3 and Python to interact with an RGB LED network to provide light to the user based on the time of day. Since the system will theoretically be distributed throughout the entire spacecraft, a wireless communication network will be developed to tie the systems together and send all information to the central "hub" of the user interface.

Team Name: Team MARS
Sponsor: Dr. Robin J. Pottathuparambil
Team Members: Alex Bilozertchev, Eric Suedmeier, Michael Palmer, Didier Munkindji

With SpaceX, NASA, ESA, and Roscosmos all proposing and developing technology to establish a colony on Mars, there will inevitably be communication issues between Earth and the red planet. The colony would have all the essential data available to them on local storage, but they would still need to be able to retrieve data from the internet on Earth. Limited by vast distances and connectionless transmission protocols, the colonists need a way to access the terrestrial internet.

The main focus of this project is to create a priority-driven, connectionless file distribution network between the Mars colony and the global internet on Earth. This network would be able to accept data and website requests from the colonists on Mars, securely and efficiently download the data from Earth, and store it on the Martian servers. During the course of this project, the development would include a connectionless software communication system, an interface to request content from Earth, and compression/encryption algorithms to ensure secure communication and achieve minimal data loss.

The simulation environment will be built to mimic the bandwidth and transmission window limitations Martian colonists will experience, and adjust to these constraints. As interplanetary communication technology improves and allows for more uptime, higher bandwidth, and lower latency, the system’s simulation environment can be adjusted to best utilize these improvements.

Team Name: Navigators
Sponsor: Dr. Robin J. Pottathuparambil
Team Members: Sadman S Ahmed, Amr Naser, Anthony Munoz

Our project named Beacate is an indoor navigation and user interaction iOS application using the Bluetooth Low Energy Signal. We are looking forward to building an indoor navigation system that can be used in a specific indoor environment but can be implemented on different locations all around the world. We will be using Beacons to get the signals and using that signal the application will find the user’s location and help them to navigate and a lot more such as save parking spot, add notes, add reminder, etc.

We found that there is no practical application that is used to describe the user’s position within inside the buildings and stores, and that the Satellite technology that is used on roadmaps is not an alternative since it lacks on the tight places accuracy, where it’s unable to determine an accurate position inside a specific building due to many factors. So we are trying to find a solution by using Beacons to locate the user inside the building and help them navigate inside the building precisely.

Team Name: Disease Contact Detectives (DCD)
Sponsor: Dr. Mikler
Team Members: Paul Garmer, Jerad Stewart, Christopher Smith, Scott Visser

A project called Detect Disease Contacts Initiative (DDCI) has been created to assist in research directed by Dr. Armin Mikler from the University of North Texas. The team Disease Contact Detectives (DCD) accepted a proposal to work on this project for Dr. Mikler. A research tool was requested that would allow for the measurement of the number of contacts that a person receives in an average day. This research data has many applications; but is primarily focused on the potentiality of airborne disease spread. The tool that was requested will focus detecting the presence of an individual (or multiple people) within 6 feet of a subject with the tool.

A volunteer will wear the DDCI tool for a period up to 12 hours collecting data of the contacts that they acquire during that period. Once the period has lapsed the data will is then collected and processed by Dr. Mikler and his research team. To facilitate this, function the tool or tools will cover a 360 field of view and sustain both power and data requirements for the 12-hour period. The tool has a software component that processes the data from the sensors and delivers that data to the research team in a workable format.

The DDCI tool allows Dr. Mikler and his team to accurately measure person to person contact over a period of time. This data is instrumental in forming an algorithm of the ways certain diseases spread in a population.

Team Name: Team Lux
Sponsor: AcculightUSA
Team Members: Konner Gonzalez, Davonta Hubbard, James Goines, Saud Alkhelaiwi

AcculightUSA is a light manufacturer with a focus on sustainability and efficiency. The company creates custom built LED lighting solutions for industrial, commercial, and public use. They have reached out with the University of North Texas to implement a "smart street light" system that will provide greater functionality and positively impact the communities served by their products.

Team Enlightened (UNT, 2015-2016) implemented a prototype version of the design, which features a Central Management Server that communicates using powerline communication (PLC). Streetlight features implemented include dimmable LED control, light-sensitive LED control, temperature monitor for overheat detection, a camera, a motion sensor, and a sleek, user-friendly web interface. The web interface allows for the control of the LED lights and the ability to live stream and record video from the camera.

AcculightUSA agreed to continue its partnership with the University of North Texas and provide another year for prototype design and testing. Our team will augment the design by adding a speaker system, with the capability for announcements; a network attached storage device, for backing up video feed from the onboard camera for later review; solar panel and battery backup, for powering the LED; networked lighting detection, for automatically brightening the area when car or pedestrian traffic is detected, and dimming when there is none; and finally, a Wi-Fi access point, for public internet use.


The following Computer Science projects will be presented for CSCE 4901 Software Development Capstone beginning at 1:00 pm in D212 on Friday, April 28:

Team Name: Lyst:Recipe
Sponsor: D. Struble (Instructor)
Team Members: Tristan Dang, Cassiee Latshaw, Eddy Rodriguez, Dilip Shah

This project is a web-based recipe system where users may enter a list of ingredients that they have available and will be given a list of recipes they could make with those ingredients. The user will select from abridged lists of ingredients to avoid validating user entry, and will be subject to several criteria such as food groups (meat, grain, vegetable, fruit, dairy), meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, dessert), and required preparation time. The system is predicated on the concept of being a social network in that its content is heavily user-based. Recipes will initially be sourced by developers to ensure trusted content, but will eventually be more self-regulating by its users as the consumer base grows. This is done by allowing users to submit their own recipes as well as comment and rate existing ones. Recipes entered by developers from known sources (such as Food Network,, or McCormick) will be marked as trusted, and user submissions will require a certain number of positive ratings to be marked as trusted in order to ensure a certain level of quality.

Team Name: Geosocial System (Front-end UI)
Sponsor: Prof. Melinda Levin, UNT
Team Members: Zach Poycattle, Miguel Martinez, Grant Miller, Colton Wood

We created a front-end website for a prototype social network referred to as Geosocial System. The website will display a map of transects which are specific areas that a user controls (referred to as Homer). Descriptive data in the form of video, audio, pictures, etc. can be uploaded by Homer to characterize multiple points within a transect. The data will be pulled from the back-end Geosocial System database(s) and collected via API calls (see description of the Back-end project below). The website can be used by Homers, which are the users that produce content for the website, as well as regular’ users who view contents produced by the Homers, but do not produce content for the website.

The point of the Geosocial System concept is to allow a user, over a specified time period (normally one calendar year), to "tell their story" of a physical place on earth, through time (historical content), current day observation/interviews/documentation, cultural analysis, personal narrative and citizen-driven data, including hard data archival information. The goal is to tell and archive a complicated tale of a place through multilayered narratives, images, audio, and text. The site exists not just as an archival repository, but also serves to create a sense of "agency" and to make a bridge between nature’s drama and humans.

Team Name: Geosocial System (Back-end)
Sponsor: Prof. Melinda Levin, UNT
Team Members: Blues Henderson, Josh Allen, Jared Anderson, Mindy Nguyen

This is a companion project to the Geosocial System Front-end and implements the database functionality of the Geosocial System web application, a social media and research tool to help users tell the story of a location through varied types of media, and introduce new users to an area through the stories of Homers. Users will be able to browse data points via a map that will automatically populate itself with transects that Homers will create and populate with data they find interesting about their area of interest. Search criteria and granularity are filtered through an engaging front-end interface and supported by our back-end data management techniques. We use the google maps API for our map-related data requirements.

Team Name: Rippetzar (Visual Programming Environment)
Sponsor: Dr. Stephanie Ludi, UNT
Team Members: Isaias Delgado, Cole Dapprich, Brashad Hasley, Zachary Martin, Keyur Patel

The purpose of this project is to combine an existing open-source visual programming paradigm, PencilCode, with support for the programming language Not Exactly C (NXC) and the hardware and software contained in Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. This will allow users, primarily children and adolescents, to program the robots using the PencilCode interface. Additionally, the system provides screen-reading capabilities to easily accommodate visually impaired users.


The following Senior Design projects will be presented for CSCE 4925 Information Technology Capstone II beginning at 1 pm in D201:

Team Name: Allys
Sponsor: Dr. Stephanie Ludi, UNT
Team Members: Casey Carroll. Zachary Rice, Matt Holladay

Pencil Code is a powerful learning tool for youth learning computer programming. Pencil Code combines a puzzle-like visual representation of code and raw text input, making it a hybrid of code representation that’s easy for beginners to comprehend. Unfortunately, this powerful tool is not designed to work with assistive technologies and the user interface strictly requires mouse input. This limits Pencil Code’s utility as an education software because its features are not accessible for users with disabilities.

Our team will implement the necessary accessibility enhancements to Pencil Code by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG, a specification that is standard in all web browsers.

Team Name: Bytesized
Sponsor: Dr. Thomas Derryberry, College of Engineering
Team Members: Christian Betancourt, Miranda Eston, Jennifer Keller, Eric Phonasa, Ricky Romero, Satvir Singh,

This project is about removing access barriers to labs. Safety cannot be emphasized enough both in the real world and laboratory environments. Providing all CENG students access to the various labs (e.g. ET machine shops, MEEN machine shop, MTSE labs, EE labs, common labs, etc.) further enhances their practical skills while simultaneously fostering more creativity. However, removing barriers to provide greater student access can only be successfully accomplished provided an appropriate safety training and tracking mechanism is in place. Students successfully completing a series of safety training not only qualifies them to obtain less restrictive access to the labs, it also can be used for developing their own personal/professional skills portfolio.

Team Name: Codenics
Sponsor: David Keathly
Team Members: Michael Hinderman, Jimmy Perez, Andrew Anstaett, Garren Wilson,

PDX, Inc. currently provides software solutions for 20% of all prescriptions filled in the US. They provide support to 40 different customers and 8,000 pharmacies. A common problem that pharmacies run into are shortages in certain drugs. This can result in lost sales, unsatisfied patients, and excessive stock. Pharmaceutical Inventory management is currently in need of a powerful application that can provide a complete solution. The system we created is one that customers can view, transfer, and manage Real-Time On Hand inventory levels. The system will provide control back into the customers’ hands. This will result in increased sales, patient satisfaction, and reduce overstocking of drugs.

Team Name: Dynamic Nodes
Sponsor: David Keathly
Team Members: Olivia Hughes, Edwin Torres

Local Nomads is a business that strives to connect people with local food providers in their area, including farmers and restaurants that specialize in using local ingredients. They plan to do this by creating a place for people to connect with the individuals who run these businesses.

Team Name: Umbrella
Sponsor: David Keathly
Team Members: Alejandro Cruz, Robert Dobbs, Taylor Gauthier, Jacob Seiz

KidID a database that will allow parents to store the vital information about their children that is always available and accessible anywhere there is internet. We are here to put your mind at ease knowing that if the worst happens it is a simple process to access important information and even to send it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Computer Engineering Teams win top awards at Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge

Team Iris (L-R) Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Tyler Alvarez, Alexander Fatum,
Jacen Kohler, and Yale Empie.
Team Spatium Lucis (L-R) Faculty Advisor: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Jeremy Trammell, Zachary Simpson,
Terry So, and Chukwuebuka Nwankwo.

Congratulations to our two Computer Engineering teams on winning the top awards at the Design Challenge at the Texas Space Grant Consortium sponsored by NASA in Houston on April 23-24, 2017! They competed with a total of 13 teams from other Texas colleges and universities to win multiple awards. CSE lecturer Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil was the faculty advisor for both teams. He would like to thank Dr. Nandika D’Souza for supporting these NASA teams with supplement funding in Fall 2016 through the Undergraduate Student Professional Development Fund (USPDF).

Team Iris’s project was "Dynamic Addressing in Space Networks." Team members were Jacen Kohler (team leader), Alexander Fatum, Yale Empie and Tyler Alvarez. Team Iris won Top Overall Design Team, Best Model, Best Poster, and Second Best Oral Presentation. Their mentor was Chatwin Lansdowne, NASA JSC.

Team Spatium Lucis’s project was "Intelligent Lighting Control System." Team members were Zachary Simpson (team leader), Chukwuebuka Nwankwo, Terry So and Jeremy Trammell. Team Spatium Lucis won Second Best Model, Fourth Top Overall Team, and Fifth Best Poster. They were mentored by George Salazar, NASA JSC.

The TSGC Design Challenge is a unique academic experience offering undergraduate students an opportunity to propose, design, and fabricate a solution towards solving research objectives that are of importance to NASA and its mission. More information about this Design Challenge is available at this Texas Space Grant Consortium website.

BRAID funding renewed

In 2014, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering was one of fifteen computer science departments in the U.S. to be selected to participate in the Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID). We are pleased to announce that our BRAID funding of $30,000/year has been renewed. The College of Engineering has agreed to provide sponsorship support for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing and Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing again so we can send as many students from underrepresented groups as possible to these events. Additional alumni and corporate donations to support this effort would be very welcome. To make a donation, please visit this website.

Dr. Barrett Bryant is PI and Co-PIs are Dr. Renee Bryce, Mr. David Keathly, Dr. Armin Mikler and Dr. Phil Sweany. The BRAID initiative was launched by the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College to support computer science departments to help increase the percentage of women and underrepresented minority students in their undergraduate computing programs.

BRAID is funded by Facebook, Google, Intel, and Microsoft, with additional research funds provided by the Computing Research Association (CRA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) are nonprofit partners on the BRAID initiative.

CSE Graduate Students in 3MT® competition

UNT students in the final round of the 3MT® competition. CSE students Anurag Chitnis is third from the left and Sreedevi Koppula is fourth from the right.

Congratulations to Sreedevi Koppula on winning the People’s Choice Award at the 3MT® Three Minute Thesis competition at the UNT Toulouse Graduate School on April 22, 2017. We are proud that two CSE graduate students, Anurag Chitnis from the CSE Network Security Lab and Sreedevi Koppula from the Research Innovations in Software Engineering (RISE) Lab, made it to the final round of the competition.

Sreedevi’s presentation of "Automated Testing of Mobile Applications" won her the People’s Choice award and a prize of $1,000. Her major professor is Dr. Renée Bryce. Anurag’s presentation was "Smart Auscultation" and his major professor is Dr. Ram Dantu.

The first 3MT® was held at The University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 PhD students competing. PhD, DMA and Master’s students had three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. 3MT® is not an exercise in trivializing or ’dumbing-down’ research, but challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

Developing High School Teachers of Computer Science Principles

(L-R) Mitchell Pavel (UNT student), Garren Wilson (UNT student), Dr. Barrett Bryant (Chair),
Tim Shoopman (UNT Alum and State Farm Agent – Denton), Haritha Bandi (Sr. Manager – IT) and
Stephanie Herd (IT Analyst & Recruiter)

At a recent CSE faculty meeting and photo opportunity to celebrate a gift that State Farm provided to the CSE department, Tim Shoop (UNT Alum and State Farm Agent in Denton) described how State Farm believes in giving back to the communities it serves, particularly in its hub locations. This gift of $28,700 is being used by Dr. Phil Sweany to help prepare both current public high school teachers and current CSE undergraduate students to teach a new high school/college CS curriculum called CS Principles (CSP). CSP has become the focus of a new Advanced Placement Exam in the 2016-17 school year. The gift is being used to provide professional development in CSP for current teachers and also to encourage and prepare current computer science students for future service as high school computer science teachers. As part of the effort to train current UNT computer science students for service as teachers, Mitchell Pavel and Garren Wilson have been designated to receive scholarships supported by State Farm’s gift.

State Farm has one of its three major business hubs in Richardson, TX, including about 7,000 employees. The hub is largely focused on information technology and computer science support of State Farm’s headquarters in Bloomington, IL, its insurance business, and its many agents and customers. State Farm began recruiting CS and IT majors at UNT in Spring 2016 to support its operations in the Richardson hub. Similar hubs exist in Atlanta, GA and Phoenix, Arizona.

CSE Faculty participate in Pathways to Careers

CSE faculty members Phil Sweany, Ryan Garlick and David Keathly participated in the STEM Vertical Accelerator in the Pathways to Careers program on March 4, 2017. They worked with a team of math and computer science faculty from community colleges, business people and a facilitator to identify how they can impact problems in the classroom.

Dr. Sweany was in the Wave 1 group which started a year ago in Spring 2016. Dr. Garlick and Mr. Keathly are in Wave 2 which started in Fall 2016. Each team has developed specific activities to address the problems they have identified and they are implementing them in their classrooms. The Workshop was primarily for the Wave 1 group to report their activities and results thus far, as well as discuss some other work. The Wave 2 group will have their report out sometime in Summer or early Fall 2017.

CSE will host UNT GenCyber Summer Program

The UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department will host a number of summer cybersecurity programs for students who are in 8th-12th grades. The goal of the summer camps is to help students understand correct and safe on-line behavior, increase diversity and interest in cybersecurity and careers in the cybersecurity workforce of the Nation. The "UNT GenCyber Summer Program: Inspiring the Next Generation of Cyber Stars in North Texas" is directed by Dr. Takabi and Dr. Akl and jointly funded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Please see this link for more information.

David Keathly recognized in Faculty Success Newsletter

CSE faculty member David Keathly was featured in the April 2017 UNT Faculty Newsletter. David joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in 2004. Since that time he has raised the awareness of UNT through his robotics and information technology summer camps for children held at UNT and other locations in the Metroplex.

Since 2008, Professor Keathly has been partnered with Collin College and 65 other community colleges as part of the National Convergence Technology Center, an effort funded by the National Science Foundation. Thanks to Professor Keathly’s involvement, the B.A. in Information Technology program offered by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering has become part of the National Convergence Technology Center.

Congratulations to Professor Keathly on his UNT Faculty Success story! Please read more in the UNT Faculty Newsletter.

Stephanie Ludi helps Visually Impaired Students

CSE Professor Stephanie Ludi was featured this month in the UNT News. Dr. Ludi joined the CSE faculty in Fall 2016. Dr. Ludi knows how simple tasks can be difficult for a person who is visually impaired because she is also visually impaired. She struggled to follow lectures and labs due to not being able to see the board.

Ludi learned from her struggle and helped to create a curriculum and tools to help visually impaired students to overcome obstacles in studying computer science. Her program caught the attention of the White House, which recently touted Ludi in a news release stressing the importance of giving every American child the opportunity to learn computer science.

Ludi offers all her educational tools and curriculum online for free so that they can be used by any student. Her biggest hope is to have some impact for some teachers to present the curriculum in a more inclusive way and to help kids who want to pursue computer science. For more details, please see this UNT press release.

Dr. Armin Mikler is Keynote Speaker for ACM SIGAPP Symposium

Dr. Mikler at the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a former Islamic college, in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Dr. Armin R. Mikler was the keynote speaker for the 32nd ACM SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing held April 4-6, 2017 in Marrakech, Morocco. The title of his keynote speech was "RE-PLAN: A Computational Framework for Response Plan Design and Analysis." His presentation provided the highlights of RE-PLAN, a computational framework for placing facilities based on different optimization criteria. He also explored computational methods to address plan limitations and access disparities from specific demographic characteristics such as distribution vulnerabilities in the population. For more information about Dr. Mikler’s keynote address, please see this SIGAPP website.

Dr. Bryant and Dr. Fu attend ECEDHA

From left to right: Dr. Barrett Bryant, Dr. Song Fu, and Prabha Sundaravadivel

Dr. Barrett Bryant and Dr. Song Fu attended the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) conference and ECExpo March 17-21 in Miramar Beach, FL. ECEDHA is composed of nearly 300 ABET accredited ECE university department heads and chairs from across the United States and Canada. The conference is to discuss the latest trends and advances in professional development, global branding, educational innovation, and shared experiences.

The ECExpo is to discover the latest advances in ECE technology from more than 40 leading corporations showcasing their products and services to ECEDHA members. This year, Ph.D. candidates from 23 universities including UNT presented their dissertation research. CSE Ph.D. candidate Prabha Sundaravadivel, working with Professor Saraju Mohanty on smart healthcare, presented a poster at the conference. Please read her report in the student section below.

Prof. Saraju Mohanty Guest Edits an ACM JETC Special Issue

Professor Saraju Mohanty was a guest editor for a Special Issue of ACM Journal of Emerging Technology in Computing (ACM JETC) published in March 2017. The special issue titled "Nanoelectronic Circuit and System Design Methods for Mobile Computing Era" presented a set of articles to cover design methods for nanoelectronic circuits and systems. To address new massive markets of the Internet of Things (IoT), high performance with energy constraints, low leakage dissipation, as well as reliability and security still remain critical challenges in the circuits and systems design. Imagine, the life of a battery in a smartwatch is a matter of only 24 hours! The special issue specifically presents design challenges and solutions facing current designers for fast performing, energy-efficient, and reliable computing platforms.

NanoSystem Design Laboratory (NSDL) recent Ph.D. graduate Dr. Umar Albalawi joined University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia as an Assistant Professor. NSDL M.S. (Thesis) student member Nagaraju Mukka who received Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Engineering Award for year 2015-2016 joined Sirius XM Satellite Radio. NSDL Ph.D. candidate Prabha Sundaravadivel recently attended iREDEFINE workshop in Florida and presented her research as poster titled "Design of Application Specific Architectures for Smart Healthcare." Prabha, who has co-authored half a dozen of peer-reviewed articles, was funded for her travel. NSDL M.S. (Thesis) student member Vandana Dhayal recently defended her thesis titled "Exploring SimscapeTM Modeling for Piezoelectric Sensor Based Energy Harvesters." NSDL members have recently published the following articles:

  • Swing-Pay: One Card Meets All User Payment and Identity Needs, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2017, pp. 82-93.

  • Pay-Cloak: A Biometric Back Cover for Smartphone with Tokenization Principle for Cashless Payment, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2017, pp. 78-88.

  • Low-Cost Security Aware HLS Methodology, IET Computers & Digital Techniques (CDT), Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2017, pp. 68-79.

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

Congratulations to Dr. Krishna Kavi on his 15 years as a Professor with the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering! Dr. Kavi was Chair of the CSE Department from 2001 to 2009. He founded the NSF Net-Centric & Cloud Software & Systems (NCSS) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center and became the Director in 2009.

Dr. Krishna Kavi traveled to the 30th International Conference on Architecture of Computer Systems (ARCS 2017), held at the Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria in April 2017. While there, Dr. Kavi presented papers co-authored with two Ph.D. students in the Computer Systems Research Laboratory (CSRL), Mahzabeen Islam and Marko Scrbak. Mahzabeen and Marko have been working on a collaborative project with AMD Research and recently got their papers accepted at ARCS 2017. In her paper titled "HBM-Resident Prefetching for Heterogeneous Memory Systems," Mahzabeen has shown that memory-resident prefetching is an effective optimization technique for next generation heterogeneous memory systems involving emerging high-bandwidth memory (HBM) and non-volatile memory. Dr. Kavi also presented Marko’s paper titled "DVFS Space Exploration in Power Constrained Processing-in-Memory Systems."

The next Net-Centric I/UCRC Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting will take place in Richardson, Texas on April 26-27, 2017. The meeting will be held at The University of Texas at Dallas in the Synergy Park North (SPN) Building at 3000 Waterview Parkway in Richardson, TX. There will be presentations by faculty and graduate students on the research that is currently supported by the NCSS I/UCRC. We welcome any industry visitors, faculty, and students. More information is available on the net-centric website.

Research Innovations in Software Engineering (RISE) Lab News

Dr. Barrett Bryant attended the 32nd ACM SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing April 4-6, 2017 in Marrakech, Morocco. He is a member of the conference Steering Committee and also co-chairs the track on programming languages. This is the 25th consecutive SAC conference he has attended and he was joined this year by Dr. Armin Mikler who gave the conference keynote lecture.

RISE Lab members (L-R): Paul Tarau, Evan Rodrigues, Danielle Gaither, Hyunsook Do, Barrett Bryant,
Stephanie Ludi, Ryan Michaels, Dmitriy Nurmuradov, Quentin Mayo, Phil Sweany, Kaushik Madala,
Maral Azizi, David Adamo, and Sreedevi Koppula.

The RISE (Research Innovations in Software Engineering) Lab hosted the 2nd annual TEASER (TExAs Software Research) Doctoral Symposium on February 10, 2017 in the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Myra Cohen from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln was the Keynote Speaker. Faculty and students attended from Baylor, SMU, UTA, UTD, SMU, and UNT.

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CSE Alumni News

Alumni Focus on Naveen Kakani

Naveen Kumar Kakani (2000, Ph.D. Computer Science) has been pioneering advances in Wireless Communication area for over close to two decades now. His key contributions to the connectivity of Mobile Devices allowed for both, reduced power consumption, and cost for communication when using the Mobile Devices. This enabled proliferation of Cell Phones and other portable Devices as connectivity devices which was used to provide basic services like Health, Education to be made available even to rural areas around the world. Success in developing and pioneering technology that can be used broadly was noticed by the Industry and elevated him to Leadership positions in Industry Alliances. In these roles, he could identify technologies that are in infancy stage, build an eco-system of industry leaders, which in turn could realize and commercialize the full potential of the technology and its use for broader community. Along with his career he pursues entrepreneur opportunities that involve working with diverse group of people and learning together both Leadership and Entrepreneurial skill set. Even today he spends good amount of time doing the actual technology development work, interacting with individuals on a one on one basis to know and learn things related to his area of work or leadership development. He believes there is no replacement to getting your hands dirty, and never stop learning, to know what it takes to move forward in all aspects of life.

Naveen joined the Master’s Program at UNT as a foreign student. He was in the Computer Science and he came to work with Dr. Sajal K. Das. For his Master’s program he worked in the areas of VLSI, and Wireless Communication. His work with Dr. Weiping Shi in the area of VLSI, received the best paper award at 35th Design Automation Conference. After his Masters, he went on to work in the Industry but returned back to UNT to complete, his Ph.D. Dissertation in Wireless Communication with Dr. Armin Mikler.

As a foreign student, life at UNT was the first exposure of USA to Naveen. Although he was living far away from his family (back in India), pursuing his education, working on the campus either as a Research Assistant or as a Teaching Assistant, and actively involved with students, allowed for a smooth transition. This he believes is the true foundation for him to excel in his career after UNT. Even today when he visits the campus to spend time with Dr. Mikler, he takes time out to know the research work that is going on, talk to students to know their background and, more importantly to hear to their ideas which sometime can be naïve but he believes are the foundation for the future. He misses the opportunity to be able to think freely because of the constraints that come with working in the Industry.

Naveen has more than one reason to thank UNT as he found his wife at UNT (Business Major), and they live in Coppell, Texas with their two boys who are 9 and 4 years old.

CSE Alumnus Kyle Taylor featured at National Convergence Technology Center

Kyle Taylor graduated from our B.A. in Information Technology (BAIT) program in 2012. Kyle is a successful Web Developer with a Dallas area tech company, but is also an entrepreneur in his own right. He gives back to the Tech Community through his involvement with TechMill and other groups that support and encourage entrepreneurship and technical innovation. The National Convergence Technology Center featured Kyle’s story about his experience in our BAIT program.

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

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 21, 2017.

Outstanding Doctoral Student in Computer Science and Engineering — Zhi Liu

Zhi is a 5th year Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Engineering. Prior to joining UNT, he received his bachelor’s degree in Harbin Institute of Technology in China. He joined Dr. Yan Huang’s research group in 2012. He has made the most outstanding contributions in the area of geo-social networking, community detection, data mining on social media data, and events/topics detection. He has more than 10 research and demo papers published on well-known international conferences, and he also served as reviewer and cup master in about 20 international conferences.

He worked in a big data startup company for almost one year from 2016 on real time recommendation system and location-based services. Now he is starting a new company on Artificial Intelligence with his friends. When he is not working, he would like to play soccer and card games.

He would like to thank his advisor, Dr. Yan Huang, for her guidance and support on both his research work and career.

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Engineering — Evan Rodrigues

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Science — Sreedevi Koppula

Sreedevi Koppula received her Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from JNTUA, India in 2011. Later she worked as a Software Engineer at Infosys Ltd. for 3 years and as an Associate-Projects at Cognizant Technology Solutions for 1 year in Bangalore, India. Her industry experience includes automated testing and development of test tools and frameworks. She also received two Spot Awards at Infosys for her contribution towards Automated Testing for the client Cisco.

Sreedevi joined UNT in Fall 2015 as a master’s student in Computer Science. After learning about the active research in the area of Software Testing under Dr. Bryce, she was eager to be a part of it. She started her thesis research on automated GUI testing of Android applications using reinforcement learning technique in Spring 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Bryce and recently defended her thesis successfully. She also worked as an Instructional Assistant under Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi and Dr. Martin O’Neill. After her graduation in May 2017, she will be joining Veritas Technologies as a Software Developer.

Sreedevi would like to thank her major professor Dr. Renee Bryce for the encouragement and guidance offered throughout her thesis research and Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi for his support. She would also like to thank her lab mates, family and friends for their continuous support and motivation.

Outstanding Teaching Fellow in 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 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.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Computer Science and Engineering — Nishitha Guntakandla

Nishitha received her B.S. in Information Technology from JNTUH, India in 2012. She joined UNT as a Computer Science M.S student in Fall 2012 and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Rodney D. Nielsen. Her research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Generation, Cognitive Science, and Dialogue Systems.

Nishitha is a member of Human Intelligence and Language Technology (HiLT) group at UNT and her doctoral research has been focused on modeling human behavior during conversations and generating Complex Reflections, a form of a therapeutic dialog that Counselors would adapt to help change client’s behavior for a better living. She was also a recipient of the College of Engineering Graduate Scholarship for the year 2015-2016 and the BRAID Scholarship for the years 2014-2016.

She would like to thank her advisors Dr. Rodney D. Nielsen and Dr. Eduardo Blanco for their support and encouragement.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering — Chukwuebuka Nwankwo

Chukwuebuka is a senior studying Computer Engineering with concentration in Software Development, Computer Networks, and Security. He is also pursuing a minor in Mathematics. He has worked as a Peer Mentor for the Computer Science and Engineering department and volunteered as a tutor for the Learning Center since Spring 2015, helping other students understand their programming and Algebra course works.

Currently, Chukwuebuka is working on an Intelligent Lighting Control System project with three other students. The project is a response to a proposed problem by NASA to address lighting and circadian rhythms of space crew members in spacefaring vehicles. The model design of the project won third place in best design when presented to NASA in fall 2016.

When Chukwuebuka graduates, he hopes to work for a reputable company. Chukwuebuka would also like to thank the Computer Science and Engineering Department, his professors (Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil and Dr. Mark Thompson) for their support and guidance in ensuring that he succeeds in his academic career.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Science — Dralia Tulley-Patton

Dralia is a senior pursuing her B.S. in Computer Science with focus on security and natural language processing. After initially being undecided on her path she came to find the cat and mouse chase of security to be interesting enough to begin research in it. Through this she participated in the Brain to Computer Interface REU experience and made connections with professors in the department. Later that year she attended Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Since the first Grace Hopper she has been working with Dr. Nielsen on the Comprehension SEEDING Project classifying Questions and Responses and on the CompanionBots Project classifying resistance within participants. She also began working with Dr. Takabi in Insider Threat Detection using Natural Language Processing and AI. Following this semester she intends to work for PDX on their security team and pursue a graduate degree soon after.

Outstanding Senior in Information Technology — Olivia Hughes

Olivia is a senior pursuing a degree in Information Technology with a concentration in business and network security. She is currently the president of the UNT Cyber Security Club. During her time at UNT she has worked as a tutor for both UNT students and K-12 students. She intends to pursue a career as a cyber security analyst after graduation this May.

Outstanding Junior in Computer Engineering — Charles Goff

Charles is junior with a double major in Computer Engineering and Mathematics. He is a US Army veteran and worked in the Middle East for 11 years prior to joining UNT in Summer 2015. He has made the Dean’s List or President’s List every long semester at UNT. He will start the Grad-track program in Fall 2017, and has already been accepted the Toulouse Graduate School to pursue an M.S. degree in Computer Engineering. He works as a peer mentor for the CSE department and as a grader for the Math department.

Charles enjoys Embedded Systems Design, Computer Organization and complex Probability Problems. He is also interested in Robotics and Machine Learning. His extra-curricular projects include building a 16-bit breadboard computer, a robotic arm, and a self-driving model car. Charles also enjoys cooking, playing video games from the 1980s and 1990s, and watching professional football. Charles would like to thank Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil for help answering all the crazy questions he comes up with, Mr. David Keathly for his help with undergraduate advising, and Sally Pettyjohn, Stephanie Deacon, and Diana Farris for all their help with grad-track admissions process.

Outstanding Junior in Computer Science — Daniel Merlino

Daniel Merlino is a bright and thoughtful student whose patience and integrity have aided in his achievements in life and in work. Daniel is currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science. Before beginning his collegiate career, he served in the United States Navy for six years as an F-14 and F/A-18 Aviation Structural Mechanic.

As an undergraduate student, Daniel has developed software tools for air traffic management while interning at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, as well as maintained analytical software for the Center of Network Neuroscience at UNT. Daniel gained industry experience through a software development internship at L3 Technologies Mission Integration in Greenville, Texas.

His plans before graduation include an upcoming research position with Dr. Bryce in the Software Testing Lab at UNT, and federal service in the Pathways Intern Employment Program at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Go Dan!

Dan spends his time with his two dogs, Lacey and Pepperoni. His somewhat-neglected hobbies include playing drums, riding his motorcycle, studying Jiu Jitsu, and indoor rock climbing.

Outstanding Junior in Information Technology — Brandon Hastings

Brandon Hastings transferred from Tarrant County College in Spring 2015 and expects to graduate in Spring 2018. He has been an intern at OneSource Virtual since 2012 and has transitioned from an IT Intern to a Systems Administrator full-time. He is currently Cisco CCENT and CompTIA Network+ certified.

After graduation, he hopes to become more skilled in computer networking and become a master in Cisco. Brandon aspires to become a corporate IT Director. He is currently in the Phi Kappa Phi (UNT Chapter) and Phi Theta Kappa (TCC Chapter) academic honor societies.

Brandon’s hobbies include LOTS of sports (primarily baseball and football). He likes to play intramural softball with friends in the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity and for OneSource’s corporate softball team. He also likes playing poker on Friday nights with his friends.

Outstanding CSE Sophomore — Luis Alba

Luis is a sophomore majoring in Information Technology with a supporting area in security. Currently he is spending a majority of his time making sure that he completes his class work so that he can have free time to work on side projects that he started, such as working on a podcast app for phones. When he is not doing that, he helps his younger sisters with their school work, play video games, and seeks out new music artists.

Outstanding CSE Department Freshman — Chris Jones

Chris is pursuing a B.S. degree in Computer Science, with a double minor in Electrical Engineering and Math. Although only recently transferring to UNT, he has made the Dean’s List and is a constant figure at any computer science campus event. Outside of school and work, he enjoys mountain biking, fitness, spending time with his friends and dog, hanging out at Eastside, and playing guitar.

Following graduation, Chris plans to move to Colorado, Seattle, or California to pursue a job with a major technical corporation. Having spent many years in the industry already, he hopes to save some money and open his own programming company in the near future. He would like to thank John Cobb, Mr. David Keathly, and his other Computer Science mentors for helping him achieve his goals.

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. Ryan Garlick
Dr. Yan Huang
Mr. David Keathly
Dr. Armin Mikler
Dr. Rodney Nielsen
Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil
Dr. Mark Thompson

CSE Students defend Dissertations and Theses

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

Venkata Kishore Neppalli

Dissertation: Extracting Useful Information from Social Media Data during Disaster Events

Major Professor: Dr. Cornelia Caragea

Defense Date: March 21, 2017

Congratulations to these M.S. students for successfully defending their theses!

Sreedevi Koppula

Thesis: Automated GUI Test Generation for Android Applications Using Q-learning

Major Professor: Dr. Renée Bryce

Defense Date: March 20, 2017

Vandana Dhayal

Thesis: Exploring SimscapeTM Modeling for Piezoelectric Sensor Based Energy Harvesters

Major Professor: Dr. Saraju Mohanty

Defense Date: March 21, 2017

Krishna Chaitanya Sanagavarapu

Thesis: Determining Whether and When People Participate in the Events they Tweet About

Major Professor: Dr. Eduardo Blanco

Defense Date: March 24, 2017

Ph.D. student presents at ECEDHA Conference

Prabha Sundaravadivel, a Ph.D. candidate advised by Professor Saraju Mohanty from Nano System Design Laboratory (NSDL), was nominated for the 2017 iREDEFINE workshop which happened in cooperation with the ECE Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) at the ECEDHA Annual Conference during March 17-18, 2017 at Miramar Beach, Florida. The main focus of this workshop was to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities (W-URM) in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the US. As part of this initiative, 40 Ph.D. students were selected from Universities across the United States and Canada, and they were given guidance on effective teaching, writing NSF proposals, difference between various types of institutions and how to prepare application materials for a faculty position.

In addition to that, the workshop gave insights on the expectations from the hiring committees from different institutions. This two day workshop also included a poster session where students were allowed to display their work to the Department Heads and interact with them regarding potential job opportunities. Prabha said it was a unique experience to meet and network with Department Heads, representatives from industries such as Mathworks, Mouser electronics, Texas Instruments etc. and other doctoral students from leading universities. This workshop also requires quarterly e-meetings targeting at establishing a community of support.

Evan Stone was Professor for a Day in CSE classes

Evan Stone, Partner and Co-Founder of Stone & Vaughan, PLLC, was Professor for a Day in Joseph Helsing’s Computer Science and Engineering Ethics Classes (CSCE 4010 and CSCE 4011) on April 14, 2017. Mr. Stone lectured about intellectual property, copyright, and protections for content creators and programmers within our digital age. Thank you to Mr. Stone for being a CSE Professor for a Day!

College of Engineering News

College of Engineering Events       College of Engineering News

CENG Professor named 2017 UNT Distinguished Research Professor

Congratulations to Dr. Raj Banerjee, Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, on being named as the 2017 UNT Distinguished Research Professor. This award recognizes tenured faculty at the rank of professor who have achieved an exceptionally outstanding record of creative activities or research productivity and who demonstrate a record of continued extraordinary productivity. To find out more about Dr. Banerjee, please see this website. To learn more about this award, see this page.

College of Engineering Graduate Student creates exoskeleton to make walking easier

College of Engineering graduate student Jenn Cao is studying mechanical engineering and has created a working prototype aimed at helping those who struggle to walk because of osteoarthritis in their knees. She has an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and has found a mentor and inspiration in Vijay Vaidyanathan, founding chair of UNT’s biomedical engineering program.

In addition to going to school full-time, Jenn also works full-time at Abbott Laboratories in Plano. She said, "I’m working as a mechanical engineer in medical devices, It’s a dream job!" To read more about Jenn Cao and her work on making exoskeletons, see this UNT press release.

University of North Texas News

UNT Chancellor Lee F. Jackson to retire

University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee F. Jackson today announced plans to retire before the end of 2017 from a position he has held for 15 years. Jackson, the second Chancellor in UNT System history, is currently the longest-serving university system chancellor in the State of Texas and has guided UNT and its three universities through a period of unprecedented growth since being appointed by its Board of Regents in 2002.

The son of two UNT graduates, Jackson was appointed Chancellor of the UNT System in August, 2002, following 15 years as Dallas County Judge. He began his career working as an assistant to the Dallas City Manager and won honors during ten years of service in the Texas House of Representatives. Jackson’s current contract runs through August 31, 2017 but he will remain in his position until the arrival and transition of his successor. For more details, please see this UNT press release.

UNT Alumnus presented with 2017 Wings of Eagles Presidential Award

UNT President Neal Smatresk presented the 2017 Wings of Eagles Presidential Award to G. Brint Ryan at the Wingspan Gala held on March 25, 2017. Brint graduated from UNT with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in UNT’s five-year accounting program in 1988. 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.

Ryan is founder and chairman/CEO of Ryan, an award-winning global tax services firm with the largest indirect and property tax practices in North America and seventh largest corporate tax practice in the United States. He has previously served on the UNT Accounting Advisory Board and the UNT College of Business Advisory Board. To read more about this Wings of Eagles Presidential Award, see this UNT press 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 2017