University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

September 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,

In Fall 2017, our Department of Computer Science and Engineering continues to grow as we now have 33 faculty, over 1,100 undergraduate students, almost 200 M.S. students, and over 100 Ph.D. students. This semester we welcome two new faculty members to our department and another new faculty member will join us in Spring 2018. Congratulations to Dr. Rodney Nielsen on receiving tenure at UNT. Since our enrollment has been growing, our space at Discovery Park has expanded and we have added new research labs and faculty offices in 2017.

In addition to our classes on the UNT Campus at Discovery Park, CSE is offering an Executive Master’s in Computer Science with concentrations in data science and cybersecurity at the New College in Frisco. Students can also earn a certificate in Game Programming at the New College through our Laboratory for Recreational Computing. You can read more about this new program and other department news below in this newsletter.

We recognized four alumni at our 45th Anniversary Celebration. The College of Engineering will be hosting an Alumni Reception on September 30 and a Tailgate Party for Homecoming on November 11. Alumni can help in many ways. Below in Alumni News is how you can help our current CSE students. Please give back if you can donate to either the Computer Science & Engineering Excellence fund or the Computer Science & Engineering Scholarship fund and search on the keyword "computer science." We appreciate your support for our CSE Department!

Barrett Bryant
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

Welcome new CSE faculty

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering welcomes the following new faculty members in Fall 2017.

Dr. Xuan Guo joins CSE as an Assistant Professor. He has been a postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory since 2015, when he graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia State University. His research areas are bioinformatics (computational biology, machine learning and data mining) and HPC (cloud computing, distributed computing and big data analytics). Dr. Guo is teaching CSCE 4810/5810 Biocomputing in Fall 2017.

Dr. Kirill Morozov will join UNT as an Associate Professor in Spring 2018. In 2005-2016, Dr. Morozov worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tokyo; then in 2006-2010 as a research scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology in Japan; then as assistant and later associate professor at Kyushu University in Japan. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science from University of Aarhus, Denmark, and focuses his research on cybersecurity and cryptography.

Dr. Qing Yang comes to UNT as an Assistant Professor. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2011 from Auburn University and then joined the Gianforte School of Computing at Montana State University where he was recently recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. His research focuses on the Internet of Things, vehicular networks, trustworthy social networks, network security and privacy. Dr. Yang is currently PI on an NSF EAGER grant. Dr. Yang is teaching CSCE 4520/5520 Wireless Networks and Protocols in Fall 2017.

CSE Alumni awards presented at 45th Anniversary Celebration

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering celebrated its 45th year in 2017. CSE celebrated this milestone with a banquet honoring alumni and current students in April 2017. Alumni Awards were presented by CSE Chair Barrett Bryant and College of Engineering Dean Costas Tsatsoulis.

Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Willie Barber (M.S. in Computer Sciences Systems, 1977)Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Don Retzlaff (M.S. in Computer Sciences Systems, 1979)
Recent Alumni Excellence Award presented to Will Parker
(B.S. Computer Science, 2007).
Laboratory for Recreational Computing (LARC) Outstanding Alumnus Award presented to Cesar Stastny (B.S. Computer
Science, 2004) also with LARC Director Ian Parberry.

Executive Master of Science in Computer Science offered in Frisco

The CSE Department is excited to announce a new opportunity for you to further establish yourself as an expert in the field and advance your career opportunities: An Executive Master of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Cybersecurity or Data Science.

The program is offered conveniently through our UNT New College at Frisco. Classes are offered in 8-week sessions on nights and weekends, during the fall, winter and spring, so you can schedule it around your work and family life. You also can earn professional certifications along the way to earning your master’s degree to distinguish yourself as an expert in data science or cybersecurity.

We’re excited about this new opportunity and hope you are, too! For more information, check out this link to the new program in Frisco.

Dr. Barrett Bryant visits Google Munich

Dr. Barrett Bryant visited Ph.D. (2010) alumna Dr. Tamara Jiménez at Google Munich on August 3. Dr. Jiménez gave Dr. Bryant a tour of the Munich facility, including a brief introduction to her work.

Dr. Jiménez remains an active research collaborator with the Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis.

Dr. Ram Dantu nominated for Tech Titan award

Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis, Dean of the UNT College of Engineering; Dr. Ram Dantu, CSE Professor and Director of the
Center for Information and Computer Security; and Dr. Barrett Bryant, Chair of the CSE Department

Congratulations to CSE Professor Ram Dantu for being a 2017 Technology Inventor finalist at the Tech Titans Gala on August 25, 2017! The Technology Inventor Award recognizes the pioneering accomplishment of a person, team or group responsible for the creation of breakthrough ideas, processes or products which have advanced the discipline(s) of the arts, education, electronics, energy, engineering, environment, medicine and/or science. Dr. Dantu was one of four people nominated for the Technology Inventor Award.

The Tech Titans Awards Gala, from Radius innovation and development, a Jabil company, recognizes the elite in North Texas technology — individuals currently transforming the high-tech industry and giving companies that competitive edge, as well as companies leading the way. The Tech Titans Awards Gala showcases the innovators, adopters and executors impacting the technology industry for the greater good.

Prof. Saraju Mohanty selected as IEEE Distinguished Lecturer

Congratulations to Professor Saraju Mohanty on being selected as an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer! IEEE Distinguished Lecturers are engineering researchers, engineers, and professionals who lead their disciplines in new technical developments which may in turn shape the global community. The IEEE Distinguished Lecturers specialize in the area of interest of a specific Society who may travel to various technical and regional groups to lecture at events. Professor Mohanty will have many talks including the following as a part of the Distinguished Lecturer program: (1) Everything You Wanted to Know about Smart Cities and (2) Everything You Wanted to Know about Internet of Things (IoT).

Professor Mohanty received the Society for Technical Communication (STC) 2017 Award of Merit for his outstanding contributions to IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. The STC is a professional association dedicated to the advancement of technical communication.

The Glorious India Award was conferred on Professor Mohanty in 2017. The Glorious India Award recognizes the exemplary contributions of all U.S.-based Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who have made India proud and inspired people around the Globe to further enhance their skills and chase their dreams. The award is for the Indian Americans who have made outstanding contributions in education, media, literature, medicine, law, and politics. During May 2017, the Glorious India Expo took place at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center in Edison, NJ.

CSE hosted Summer Programs for Young People

GenCyber Students

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering hosted four GenCyber Camps and one Robotics and App Programming Camp for young women and men in 8th-12th grades in Summer 2017. The GenCyber program helped students understand correct and safe online behavior, promoted diversity, and increased interest in cybersecurity and careers in the cybersecurity workforce. The Robotics and App Programming camp introduced students to Android app programming, robotics, programming fundamentals, and software debugging.

The GenCyber camp brought in Jacen R. Kohler, a cyber-security professional from Goldman Sachs, to speak to the students and inspire them to learn about related careers in industry. The camp was directed by Dr. Hassan Takabi, CSE Assistant Professor, and instructed by CSE Ph.D. student Jagannadh Vempati and CSE M.S. student Anurag Chitnis.

The Robotics and App Programming Camp was directed by Dr. Robert Akl, CSE Associate Professor, Dr. Hassan Takabi, CSE Assistant Professor, and instructed by CSE Ph.D. students Robert Tidwell and Shraddha Piparia. CSE Ph.D. student Dmitry Nurmuradov joined Shraddha Piparia in teaching basic concepts of software debugging.

CSE staff member Thomas Kanabay provided technical and administrative support to all the summer camps.

Grad Track offered for CSE Undergraduate Students

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering is proud to offer Grad Track for undergraduate students in Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs. Students who are admitted to Grad Track can enroll in up to nine credit hours of 5000-level graduate courses which will count toward BOTH the undergraduate degree and Master’s degree. This will allow students to complete both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in five years. If you are a junior or senior with an outstanding academic record, please consider applying for this opportunity. For more information about requirements and an application, please see this Grad Track website.

Top 10 Reasons for CSE Majors to Join Teach North Texas

Teach North Texas (TNT) is a program to prepare teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. If you are interested, please contact David Keathly, Principal Lecturer, with any questions. Now here are the 10 top reasons to join TNT:

1. Two for one — you get both a Bachelor’s degree in a CS subject area and teaching credentials in a four-year, 122 credit-hour curriculum.

2. The first TNT course, Step 1, includes actual classroom teaching which allows you to determine if teaching "is for you" early in your college career.

3. The collaboration and presentation skills you’ll start learning in Step 1 and refine throughout other TNT courses will make you a more valuable employee in non-teaching jobs. (One of the biggest "concerns" we hear from potential employers is that CS graduates don’t have strong presentation and teamwork skills.)

4. While teaching in Texas requires passing a certification exam, TNT graduates have traditionally done very well passing these exams in all STEM fields. (To date 98% of TNT graduates have passed the certification exam for their discipline.)

5. Step 1 is a one-hour course so it can be easily added to most academic schedules with minimal (tuition) cost.

6. You’ll be addressing a significant national need for high school Computer Science teachers. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has started a "CS 10k" project to see to it that we have 10,000 new "well-prepared Computer Science Teachers" as soon as possible. Obviously they (and others) see a significant need.

7. You’ll find multiple job opportunities once you finish your CS degree and TNT courses. (See reason 6 above.)

8. You’ll become a better college student as you’ll learn modern pedagogy (teaching techniques) and recognize it in other classes you take.

9. You’ll be working with other TNT students, a group of interesting people who are passionate about their STEM subjects and teaching as well.

10. You’ll have fun!

Computer Systems Research Laboratory (CSRL) News

From left: Jesse Culver, Mukundan Kuthalam, Jack Todd, and Jason Vann. Not pictured: Clement Cole

UNT Summer research Experience for Undergraduates and Veterans

The NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. REU students work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific project and works closely with faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. This summer, Dr. Krishna Kavi supported five REU students at the University of North Texas.

UNT senior Jason Vann worked on Heterogeneous Memory Architecture with his mentor, Ph.D. student Mahzabeen Islam. The purpose of his research is to improve the performance of computer systems while ensuring energy efficiency. During his summer internship, his main responsibility was to run simulations to gather datasets to support Mahzabeen’s research. He learned how challenging it is and how much determination one needs to be involved in a research project.

Mukundan Kuthalam, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, collaborated with UNT senior John "Jack" Todd on the Avian project. Ph.D. student Patrick Kamongi mentored both students. Avian identifies exploits in a computer system through machine learning by combing through Linux kernel logs. This could prove to be very useful for identifying attacks such as Denial of Service (DoS) or unauthorized privilege escalation that may have been carried out by exploiting commonly known vulnerabilities and weaknesses on Linux machines. A proof of concept was developed based on the ELK stack, and system logs that were generated from testing many malicious code examples available for public use. Machine learning models identified anomalies in the system calls of the kernel as indicators of successful exploits against test virtual machines. As an intern, Jack gained research experience he’ll be able to apply on future projects. He helped co-author a paper and read numerous articles and publications on similar projects. He also expanded and sharpened his knowledge of the Linux architecture, Git, and the ELK stack, all of which gave him an appreciation of the level of research that would be required in graduate study.

UNT senior Jesse Culver studied voice assistant security this summer. His research focused on improving the security of a smart home network using voice assistants. The objective of this project is to police access to certain privileged commands by using security questions. Despite some setbacks during the project, Jesse was encouraged by his mentors Dr. Krishna Kavi and Ph.D. student Rohith Yanambaka Venkata. He finished his ten week internship with a better understanding of his own project’s research goals and the objectives of other projects running concurrently in the lab.

Clement Cole, a grad student at UNT, is a REV student (Research Experiences for Veterans) and is mentored by both Dr. Krishna Kavi and Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil. His summer project consisted of building a neural network architectural design on an FPGA. The purpose of this project was to expose how utilizing parallelism techniques such as instruction pipelining of multiple components within the neural network can improve on the throughput of a neural network application. The application implementation aspect was to demonstrate how such hardware architecture can be used in handwriting of numeric figures can be identified using the neural networks. Based on his research exposure, Clement decided to pursue his M.S. degree at UNT starting in Fall 2017.

The REU students describe working with Dr. Kavi and their mentors as a beneficial and rewarding experience, and would recommend it to anyone looking to expand their professional growth beyond the normal curricula.

News from the NanoSystem Design Laboratory (NSDL)

Dr. Saraju Mohanty at IEEE POCO

Professor Saraju Mohanty is the Director of the NanoSystem Design Laboratory (NSDL). Following are selected news items from the NSDL. Ph.D. candidate V. P. Yanambaka co-authored the following article in a top-notch avenue of the discipline: Process Variation Analysis and Optimization of a FinFET based VCO, IEEE Transactions on Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM), Volume 30, Issue 02, May 2017, pp. 126-134.

In summer 2017, Ph.D. candidate Prabha Sundaravadivel travelled to Germany to present the following papers at the 16th IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI (ISVLSI), 2017: (1) Reconfigurable Robust Hybrid Oscillator Arbiter PUF for IoT Security based on DL-FET (2) Dopingless Transistor Based Hybrid Oscillator Arbiter Physical Unclonable Function. These papers were co-authored by V. P. Yanambaka. Professor Mohanty also travelled to ISVLSI 2017 held at Bochum, Germany.

Professor Mohanty attended IEEE Panel of Conference Organizers (POCO) in Sydney, Australia. The IEEE POCO is the annual event for leading scholarly conference organizers around the globe. IEEE organizes this event to share ideas with all scientific associations and non-profit conference organizers. Prof. Mohanty attended both the above meetings as the Chair of Technical Committee on VLSI of IEEE-CS. Prof. Mohanty would like the acknowledge IEEE-CS for sponsoring his travel.

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

NCSS Evaluations Changes to Research Focus

Since NCSS started operations in 2009, its research projects have emphasized competencies related to net-centric systems. In 2012, cloud systems and software technologies were added as industry members began to consider how these capabilities could be exploited by their respective companies. The Center will reach a major milestone in April 2019 when it completes its 10th year of operation and begins a major restructuring of research focus.

Many of our member companies have told us that net-centricity has become less of a priority for them as cyber-physical and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, particularly security, dominate their current business interests. For example, TI is expanding its services to enable IoT designs and applications ranging from sensors to cloud connectivity in the industrial, consumer and automotive domains. Raytheon researchers want to leverage new technologies to assess vulnerabilities, reduce threat surfaces and maximize security effectiveness, including identifying avenues of attack to develop mitigation plans. Armor is focusing on delivering a set of validated methods and technologies for enabling security and trust in large-scale IoT conditions and defining frameworks to support development of secure and trusted IoT applications.

To meet these emerging technology needs, NCSS is looking to create a new research center to complement IoT R&D efforts. The center would provide the same advantages as the NCSS I/UCRC in terms of reduced project overhead costs, multi-company collaboration opportunities, and access to faculty and student resources available from member universities. The scope of the new center will be explored over the coming months with the involvement of current NCSS academic and industry members. We are also reaching out to connected colleagues on LinkedIn for thoughts regarding preferred research goals, operational expectations for the new center, and its value proposition.

As the Internet of "Things" morphs into the Internet of "Anything", making it possible to design smarter physical systems, the need for research competencies to support cyber-physical systems is compelling. There are implications for any company involved in the design of systems to augment human capabilities. A research center devoted to these technologies is an appropriate evolutionary step for the NCSS I/UCRC.

Pitch Competition at the 2017 NSF Biennial Conference

UNT Ph.D. students, Rohith Yanambaka Venkata
and Patrick Kamongi
The 2017 NSF I/UCRC Biennial Meeting provides an opportunity for Center Directors, Operations Personnel, Assessment Coordinators, NSF I/UCRC program staff, and other stakeholders to interact and exchange ideas to promote center improvement, growth, and collaboration. This year’s conference included NSF-sponsored students from each I/UCRC who participated in a poster session, numerous training sessions, as well as the first Innovation Pitch Student Competition. NCSS was one of the few centers permitted to bring two sponsored students, both of whom were from UNT and are Ph.D. students – Patrick Kamongi and Rohith Yanambaka Venkata.

Students participated in a training delivered by Neil Sheridan of SVPI to help students produce a content-rich and interesting 3-minute pitch to help foster further discussions about their ideas. A renowned business speaker, Neil walked them through the structure of a successful pitch including diction, time management, and being persuasive. He also taught them about what investors look for in a pitch.

During the training, Patrick Kamongi learned that the key elements of a good "elevator pitch" involve using a custom formula with a focus on a value proposition, and the best practices needed to present it to potential investors or customers in 3 minutes or less. His view of what constituted a good elevator pitch before the training was limited to his academic research experience, but after the training, he was able to incorporate the business interests of a commercial client into his proposal.

Rohith Yanambaka Venkata learned to start the pitch off with a "punch in the nose", a dramatic introductory sentence that would captivate the listener, followed by the value proposition and finally, the "ask". He gained first-hand experience about the intricacies of a startup creation, from the initial pitch to product development and marketing.

The elevator pitches presented during the actual competition were structured around the learning outcomes from Neil’s training and feedback received from peers and mentors. The presenters had first-hand experience with judges grilling them with questions. Throughout the conference, they gained key skills to apply to their class projects, market their research, present to potential investors, and better represent the research objectives of our center.

Dynamic Multi-Group Secure Data Sharing Scheme for Cloud

The Netcentric I/UCRC received funds from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in lieu of membership, using federal MIPR agreement. These funds will be used by Professor Sanjay Madria of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, by means of a subcontract from the University of North Texas. The primary focus of the project is securing data shared via cloud, social media or online blogs. Such sharing is significantly different and more challenging than that of a traditional trusted server model. In a trusted server model, servers are normally housed within the organization’s premises and protected by the network and firewalls. Thus, these servers can be reasonably trusted to act properly for access control including addition and deletion of users. However, this cannot be assured with data hosted in the cloud. For example, cloud can alter or expose some sensitive data to users that were removed or to some other adversaries motivated by financial incentives. Moreover, cloud is prone to both insider and outsider attacks. Thus, secure group data sharing in cloud requires the data to be encrypted and remain hidden from cloud as well as potential adversaries. In addition, fine-grained access control on shared data is desirable since different members of the group can have different levels of privileges. Additionally, data owner may not know the specific identity of each of the user s/he shares his data with. Yet, s/he should have some degree of control on who can access the shared data.

In this project, we will provide the first solution for secure cloud data sharing in multi-group setting. Our solution will be distributed and scalable in nature that is preferable for cloud platforms.

Research Innovations in Software Engineering (RISE) Lab News

RISE Lab Ph.D. student David Adamo received the Best Paper Award for a student presenting a research paper at the International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations (ITNG): D. Adamo, R. Bryce, T. King. Randomized Event Sequence Generation Strategies for Automated Testing of Android Apps, Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations (ITNG) (April 2017). Support for this project was provided by Ultimate Software.

David Adamo successfully defended his Ph.D. Dissertation "Online Construction of Android Application Test Suites" on August 18, 2017. His Dissertation Chair was Dr. Renee Bryce and his Co-Major Professor was Dr. Barrett Bryant. Other committee members were Dr. Hyunsook Do and Dr. Philip Sweany. David has a position as a software test engineer at Ultimate Software Group, Inc. in Weston, Florida.

Dr. Paul Tarau has obtained the best paper award of the Logic-Based Program Synthesis and Transformation: 26th International Symposium, with selected papers published in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science, also coming with a 500 Euro prize from the publisher, for the paper "A Hiking Trip Through the Orders of Magnitude: Deriving Efficient Generators for Closed Simply-Typed Lambda Terms and Normal Forms".

The paper "Boltzmann Samplers for Closed Simply-Typed Lambda Terms" written by Dr. Tarau in collaboration with Maciej Bendkowski and Katarzyna Grygiel has obtained the best student paper award of the "Practical Aspects of Declarative Languages - 19th International Symposium, PADL 2017", coming with a 250 Euro prize from the publisher to Maciej Bendkowski, who presented the paper at the conference.

Dr. Tarau has presented his paper "A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reinventing a Prolog Machine" at the 33rd International Conference on Logic Programming in Melbourne, Australia, where he has also chaired a session and participated in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Association of Logic Programming.

Sreedevi Koppula completed her thesis under Dr. Renee Bryce in Spring 2017. She received the UNT CSE Department Outstanding M.S. Student award. She also received the UNT 3 Minute Thesis People’s Choice Award for her work that applies Q-learning to automated GUI test generation for Android applications.

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CSE Alumni News

Alumni Focus on Paul Tidwell

I started at UNT in 1985. I have fond memories of working in the computer lab, wearing a red vest to identify me as hired help, and helping students who just had to get through CS 101 to meet their degree requirement. It was a lot of fun. I also worked at IBM in Southlake, TX where I traded the red vest for a tie.

I graduated UNT in 1990 with a BSCS in Computer Science, and started my first job at Ericsson Network Systems a few days later. I was prepared to spend my work days indoors in front of a computer, but to my surprise, I was almost immediately sent to Norway for five weeks. That was just the beginning; my career at Ericsson opened the world to me in terms of the places I traveled, people I met, and my perspective of our place on this planet. There were some cool problems solved along the way, and products created with some really smart people too. In 2002, I moved my family to Stockholm Sweden, so I could work at Ericsson’s headquarters on 3G cellular and VoIP projects.

In 2004 I decided to take my family back to the USA, and landed a job at Microsoft in Seattle. There I worked on Microsoft’s business communications platform, which gets a new name every three years. It was called Office Communications Server (OCS) at that point in time. The nice thing about Microsoft, is it is a company that does a lot of different things, and so after leaving my mark on OCS 2007, I found an opportunity to follow a long held dream and work in the video game business. Shortly after my 40th birthday, I joined the Xbox team.

At Xbox I helped create a system that allowed indie game developers to self-publish their games on the Xbox 360. It was the first time a video game console opened their system and their market to anyone who wanted to be a game developer. My colleagues at Xbox created the XNA Developers Studio along with tutorials, examples, starter kits, videos, and everything else they could think of to get indie developers started. I was really proud to help bring the joy of game creation to eager developers and enable them to put their creations into the hands of millions of people. We went on to adapt the same system so musicians could get their songs into the popular play-along video game Rock Band via Rock Band Network.

In 2013 I joined Bungie to start my current job. Back then it was to work on the then secret project "Destiny." Since then Destiny has launched and been played by millions of people for billions of hours. Earlier this month Destiny 2 launched and is set to be even bigger than Destiny. My team is responsible for the website and (iPhone and Android) apps that help players find their way in the game, manage the huge amount of armor, weapons, and dance moves they accumulate, as well as communicate with other players. Bungie has about 700 employees doing everything from game engine development, hard core 3D graphics, real-time game networking, and audio engineering, server engineers, mobile app developers, and testers. Add to the mix dozens of artists, animators, game designers, composers, musicians, fiction writers, story tellers, voice talent producers, community managers, translators, marketing, and merchandising. It is an amazing place, full of talented and passionate people, and so far my favorite place to work.

When young people ask me how to get a job at a video game company I always recommend they start with a computer science degree. Every kind of company needs software engineers, and video game companies are just as desperate to find and hire talented computer science graduates. Video games put every aspect of a computer science education to work: physics, calculus, geometry, networking, graphics, artificial intelligence. A game like Destiny uses the whole kitchen sink of computer science in vast quantity. Besides, a computer science degree will pay the bills until you can find your dream job. (A game design degree will not do the same.)

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

CSE Alumni invited to College of Engineering Alumni Reception

Dean Costas Tsatsoulis invites all CSE alumni to a College of Engineering Alumni Reception on Saturday, September 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Maggiano’s Little Italy, 6001 W. Park Blvd, Plano, TX 75093. Stop by for cocktails, appetizers, and a chance to connect with old friends and catch up with your favorite faculty. Attire is business casual. Please R.S.V.P. by September 25 at this College of Engineering link.

CSE Alumni invited to CENG tent for UNT Homecoming

CSE Alumnus Greg Thurmond (B.S. Computer Science 1998) brought his family to the College of Engineering’s Welcome Back Tailgate Party on September 2, 2017.

CSE alumni and friends are invited to join the UNT Homecoming celebration on November 11, 2017. The UNT Mean Green football team will play the University of Texas at El Paso in the Homecoming game at 4 pm at Apogee Stadium in Denton.

The College of Engineering will again host a tailgate tent at Homecoming from 1:30 to 3:30 pm before the game on November 11. Alumni are invited to join us for the party before the game. Come out and meet College of Engineering faculty members and students and find out what is going on in your Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The College of Engineering will announce a website to RSVP your attendance if you plan to attend.

Live Happier and Longer

There is a dark joke about where the inflection point lies when a public university becomes private. Most state governments are cutting funding for public universities such that an increasing portion of operating expenses are born by the private sector. This has occurred at a time when many companies have reduced charitable giving to universities, although companies continue to sponsor scholarships and research. UNT’s alumni are increasingly stepping up to make charitable gifts. We hope our growing population of CSE Alumni will join in as they are able. A few already have.

Research has shown again and again that those who give regularly to causes that interest them are happier. There is growing evidence that they also live longer. Brain scans done with functional MRI technology show that the brains in those who give to a charitable cause in which they believe "light up" and behave in a similar manner to that observed in sexual pleasure. Most people in fact discover joy in giving. A global study documented by Harvard Business School reports that giving to charity produces as much of a boost in happiness as doubling one’s income (see "Prosocial Spending and Well-Being: Cross Cultural Evidence for a Psychological Universal," Lara B. Aknin, et al).

Wealth building adviser Dave Ramsey notes that there are four perks to being a generous person in his blog article "Why Giving Makes You Feel Good": 1. Generosity is good for your brain. 2. Generosity makes you – and those around you – happier. 3. Generosity can help you live longer. 4. Generosity Counters Depression. Please see this Dave Ramsey article about Giving.

If you are reading this newsletter chances are you have some interest in the UNT Department of Computer Science & Engineering. Why not put the hypothesis described above to a test and make a gift? You can give online to either the Computer Science & Engineering Excellence fund or the Computer Science & Engineering Scholarship fund. Please search on the keyword "computer science" to find these two funds.

The Excellence Fund allows the Department Chair to fund new initiatives to serve our students that are outside our operating budget. The Scholarship fund helps CSE Department students with financial need. You may choose either fund or other engineering activities by selecting OTHER in the Area of Support menu, and typing in the specific information. Examples of other engineering activities include travel funds to help send our women students to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and student chapters of engineering professional societies.

Every gift is useful to UNT. Even a small gift will help. Our hope is that our UNT Engineering Alumni will become regular donors who give back to the university each year, and who will give more in future years as their means increase. You can also find the same portal on the UNT Engineering home page by simply clicking the "Giving" button.

Many alumni work for companies with an "employee matching gift benefit. But research shows that only about one third of employees with this benefit who make a charitable gift will actually complete the paperwork or on-line application for the company to make the matching gift? Please check if your company offers a matching gift benefit for any gift you might make to UNT, and then follow through.

Please contact Angus McColl at 940-565-2180 or with questions or for more information on charitable giving options to the Department and the UNT College of Engineering.

CSE Alumni meet with CENG Dean in Seattle

In June 2017, Costas Tsatsoulis, Dean of the UNT College of Engineering and Angus McColl, Senior Director for Development, traveled out to the West Coast to meet with Alumni from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Mechanical and Energy Engineering. The visit was filled with laughter, storytelling, and visits to Bungie and Google.

Top Row (L-R) Vardhman Sheth (MS EE), Guangchun Cheng (PhD CSE), Shania Jackson (BA Journalism), Cassie Chin (BS CS), Qian Wang (MS CS), Samu Chakki (MS EE), Suhas Chandrasekhar (MS CS).

Middle Row (L-R) Bayaner Arigong (PhD CSE), Sarat Indrakanti (PhD CSE), Jin Shao (PhD CSE), Nicholas Stradford (BS CS), Arielle Antoine (BA Education), Jordan Simleness (BS EE), Siri Yenigalla (MS CE), Dushyant Vipradas (MS CE).

Bottow Row (L-R) Costas Tsatsoulis (Dean of Engineering), Angus McColl (Sr. Director of Development).

CSE Alumna visits after 10 years

Jessica Hayden Everett and David Keathly

Jessica Hayden Everett graduated in the first Computer Engineering class in Spring 2007, and was part of the very first six-person Capstone/Senior Design Team in the two semester sequence. This was the first time a capstone sequence had been offered for any CSE degree programs. Now CSE has three capstone sequences and six to ten teams per year in each program. Jessica is shown here with her instructor David Keathly and with the Wall of Fame picture which includes her teammates back in 2006-2007.

How CSE Alumni can help current CSE students

The Fall semester once again brings the opportunity for students to become involved in a variety of professional societies, special interest groups and honor societies. These organizations can benefit them in many ways, as our alumni are aware. But how can you assist our student organizations to contribute effectively at UNT? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Volunteer as a guest speaker or recommend someone at your company or in your network that would be interesting and educational. Perhaps you are a member of a society that has a speaker’s bureau!

2. Help organize a field trip to your company for something interesting.

3. Volunteer as a mentor to work with a small group of students to develop their leadership skills and invite them to the DFW area section meetings of the various societies if you are a member.

4. Donate funds or materials to help the organizations provide programming and host special events, or sponsor a scholarship to subsidize the membership fees for students. Many companies have matching funds available for scholarships.

5. Encourage your company to sponsor an event or other funding for these organizations in exchange for advertising and opportunities to recruit potential employees at career fairs and other events.

6. Sponsor a student to attend one of the Student Leadership conferences or a technical conference sponsored by a society. Be a part of our National Engineers Week activities.

7. Visit a student group meeting once a year so the students will begin to understand their importance and potential impact on their immediate and long term career success.

8. Encourage your company to offer internships at UNT so that our students can gain valuable work experience and improve their technical, communications and leadership skills.

9. Suggest and mentor a project for one of our Capstone courses. Get more details on this College of Engineering page about our Senior Design Capstone Experience. We have one year sequences in IT and Computer Engineering and a one semester course in Computer Science. These students work on real projects for clients and follow a full product development lifecycle from requirements to delivery. The results are presented annually at our Design Day event in the College of Engineering in April. Come visit to see what our students are doing!

10. When you order from Amazon, you can support UNT Women in Computing by using this link.

We have a number of honor societies, including Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu. These groups also need help from our alumni in a fashion similar to those listed above. Also if you are an honor society member, you can assist with induction ceremonies and other events.

We also currently have student chapters of ACM, ACM-W, IEEE, IEEE Computer Society, SWE, as well as a Robotics Society, Information Security Group, a Linux Users group and a Competitive Programming Team associated with our department. There is also an Eta Kappa Nu honor society (Computer Engineering) and we are trying to revive the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society Chapter (Computer Science).

Please consider helping us create an active, supportive and vibrant collection of student professional and honor organizations. Contact the CSE Department for more information on how you can help.

Student News

CSE Students defend Dissertations and Theses

Congratulations to these Ph.D. students who successfully defended their dissertations!

Srikanth Jonnada

Dissertation: Analysis and Performance of a Cyber Human System and Protocols for Geographically Separated Collaborators

Major Professor: Ram Dantu

Defense Date: August 23, 2017

David Adamo

Dissertation: Online Construction of Android Application Test Suites

Major Professor: Renee Bryce

Defense Date: August 18, 2017

Congratulations to this M.S. student who successfully defended his theses!

Anarag Chitnis

Thesis: Mobile-based Smart Auscultation

Major Professor: Ram Dantu

Defense Date: June 14, 2017

ACM Student Chapter at CSE

ACM is an internationally recognized Professional Society committed to advancing computing as a science and profession. The Chapter is organized and will be operated exclusively for educational and scientific purposes to promote the following:

a) An increased knowledge of and greater interest in the science, design, development, construction, languages, management and applications of modern computing.

b) Greater interest in computing and its applications.

c) A means of communication between persons having an interest in computing.

If you are looking for intern opportunities or hackathons or curious to know about Computer Science research, join us this semester!

For meeting updates and more information, add us:

OrgSync —

Facebook —

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at

CSE Club for Cyber Security & Intelligence

Cyber Security Club meeting on September 22, 2017.

UNT’s Club for Cyber Security & Intelligence (CS&I) provides students with an opportunity to learn about the concepts and techniques of Information Security paired with the chance to network with current security professionals in the North Texas regions. We are currently involved with volunteering at the North Texas chapter of Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and the Dallas chapter of Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

These students get to attend these professional organization events and network with professionals. Several of our students have received internships and job offers because of volunteering at these events. We compete at several national InfoSec competitions including both the National Cyber League (NCL) and the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC). The training received as a result in completing this competitions help provide students with the knowledge and experience to pass various InfoSec certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and CompTia’s Security+. Our club is designed to help students with the knowledge, experience, and networking opportunities required to jump start a great career in Information Security.

The Cyber Security Club meets weekly on Friday afternoons at 4 pm. Dr. Hassan Takabi is the faculty sponsor of the Cyber Security Club. For more information, join our slack: UNT Cyber Security Club.

IEEE Computer Society invites students to join

CSE students in IEEE Computer Society

UNT’s IEEE Computer Society provides students with an opportunity to learn about different aspects of Software Development and embedded systems. They bring in speakers from companies including Google, Tyler Technologies, IBM, and USAA.

Aside from speakers, IEEE Computer Society club members compete and win at Hackathons including Earthack and Buildathon. These Hackathons provide valuable hands on experience with skill-sets learned in class, at home, or at our organization. To prep students for these competitions and for job interviews, IEEE Computer Society hosts several workshops on topics like git, scrum, google maps API, and algorithm based interview questions.

IEEE Computer Society meets weekly on Tuesday nights at 7 pm. Dr. Robert Akl is the faculty sponsor of the IEEE Computer Society. For more information, join our slack: UNT IEEECS.

Women in Computing

CSE Women at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in October 2016

UNT’s Women in Computing organization offers social, academic and career support for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, and related degree programs. It does so with the greater goal of increasing the participation of women in computing professions, both in industry and academia. Add the organization on OrgSync here to get connected and receive updates about fall events!

Women in Computing is also currently collecting resumes for its 2017/2018 resume database. If you’d like the organization to forward your resume along to interested companies, email it to along with the following information:

  • A link to your LinkedIn profile (Optional)
  • Your name
  • Your degree (e.g., Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology, etc.)
  • Your classification (e.g., Freshman, Senior, Master’s Student, Ph.D. Student, etc.)
  • Your anticipated Graduation Date
  • Your GPA (Optional)
  • Any other comments you’d like us to forward along to companies

If you have any other questions about Women in Computing, feel free to send them to or contact Natalie Parde at

College of Engineering News

College of Engineering Events       College of Engineering News

CENG Chairs attend U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command Educators Workshop

Drs. Bryant and Fu and an Osprey
Drs. Bryant and Fu on patrol

Dr. Barrett Bryant, Chair of CSE, and Dr. Shengli Fu, Chair of EE, attended the U. S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command Educators Workshop in Quantico, Virginia, June 19-23, 2017.

In addition to learning about officer training for prospective recruits who graduate from the College of Engineering, and participating in some of those training exercises, Drs. Bryant and Fu had an opportunity to ride in an Osprey hybrid helicopter/airplane which is part of HMX-1, the USMC helicopter squadron that transports the President.

Career Fair at Discovery Park on October 5

Danny Stieben (B.S. in Computer Science 2016) and Sammy Sirak, (B.S. in Computer Engineering 2016) recruited for USAA at the Spring 2017 UNT Career Fair.

College of Engineering students are invited to attend the Engineering and Computer Science Career and Internship Fair hosted by the UNT Career Center on Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 11 am to 3 pm in the Discovery Park Commons. This is a great opportunity for upper class students to find a job and the rest of the students to learn about employer recruiting activities and the interview process. For more information about this Career Fair and other opportunities for students, please see the Engineering Fair information at the Career Center website.

Showcase of Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) on November 10

CSE Undergraduate student Zacharia Poycattle received an award from Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis, Dean of the College of Engineering, at SURE in November 2016.

College of Engineering undergraduate students are invited to present their research at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) on Friday, November 10, 2017. The Showcase for Undergraduate Research in Engineering will provide an opportunity for undergraduate researchers to share the knowledge they have gained through their research as well give them experience in conducting a poster presentation.

The event will consist of a poster presentation for one hour that will be followed by lunch with the College of Engineering Advisory Board. Awards will be presented at the lunch. Students should be prepared to design a poster displaying the research project, present information about the research in a professional manner and stay for the duration of the event. For more information about SURE, contact Kathryn Beasley, Assistant Director of Recruitment for the College of Engineering.

University of North Texas News

Lesa Roe named UNT System Chancellor

The University of North Texas System Board of Regents has selected Lesa Roe, Acting Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as its new Chancellor. Ms. Roe’s formal selection was approved by the board on September 8, 2017.

The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System’s operations, including general oversight of 10,000+ employees and the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas – as well as the UNT System administration. As sole finalist, Ms. Roe is set to replace Lee F. Jackson in early October, becoming the UNT System’s third Chancellor and the first-ever woman to lead UNTS.

Ms. Roe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. In her current position with NASA, Ms. Roe partners with the Chief Operating Officer to lead strategy, execution and operations nationally across all NASA field centers for a $19.6 billion annual federal agency and $31 billion in assets.

For more information, see this UNT press release.

UNT sets record with largest enrollment

In Fall 2017, the student body of UNT grew to 38,121. The freshman class grew 2.8 percent and is made up of 4,908 students, making it our largest ever. The new freshman class includes 26 new National Merit Finalists, who join 29 returning finalists, bringing the total number of National Merit Finalists at UNT to 55.

Named a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT also saw a 5.7 percent growth in doctoral students pursuing the highest level of education in the university’s 38 doctoral degree programs.

To read more about the UNT’s enrollment including a breakdown of students, please 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 — September 2017