University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

May 2018  

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,

At the end of Spring 2018, our Department of Computer Science and Engineering celebrated our CSE Outstanding Students and Alumni at our CSE Awards Banquet on April 20. Congratulations to all of our outstanding students and alumni! On April 27, our senior undergraduate students presented their capstone projects at the College of Engineering’s Design Day. We congratulate all of those students on their accomplishments in their senior design classes! We would also like to recognize Dr. Robert Renka who is retiring after 34 years as a faculty member in our department.

We are proud that CSE had three computer engineering student teams compete in NASA’s Design Challenge at the Texas Space Grant Consortium in April. This semester we sent another team of CSE students to participate in the Southwest Regional CCDC competition. Registration for our CSE Summer Camps is now open. Please read all the information below about the activities and events happening in our CSE Department.

We thank Pamela Taylor, Ph.D. 1997, for being our Alumni Focus. She has an amazing story and we are glad that she came to UNT for her Ph.D. If you feel like we have helped you in your journey, please know that you can help others by Giving to CSE. We ask that you support us by giving to either our Scholarship Fund or our Excellence Fund. Thank you for helping us to be one of the best CSE Departments!

Barrett Bryant
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

CSE celebrates Outstanding Alumni and Students

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering held its annual CSE Awards & Scholarship Dinner on Friday, April 20, 2018 at Buffalo Valley Event Center. Congratulations to all of our Outstanding CSE Students and Alumni!

Dr. Ranette Halverson (Ph.D. 1993) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Barrett Bryant. Dr. Halverson is now in her 38th year of teaching at Midwestern State University – from graduate teaching assistant to full professorship and chair of the Computer Science department at MSU. Her distinguished academic career has been highlighted by teaching courses from ‘Introductory Topics in Computing’ to graduate level ‘Automata Theory’, publishing numerous research papers, and receiving several grants and awards, including being named the Hardin Professor - MSU’s highest award to a professor. Her outstanding leadership, scholarship and service to the Texas Computer Science community is why Dr. Halverson received this the UNT Computer Science and Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Edward Pershwitz (Ph.D. 1994) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Barrett Bryant. Dr. Pershwitz’s story is marked by his ‘returns’ to UNT. Dr. Pershwitz completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at UNT in 1994, just 3 years after emigrating from Russia to settle his family in the United States, including his 4 year-old son. He would later return to the UNT campus for the Texas Academy of Math and Science orientation with his son. His 27 year career in industry has included 15 years with Nortel, 3 with Cisco, and his present position at Huawei in Plano, where he is the Principal R&D Tools Infrastructure Architect. He recently returned to campus again to serve on the College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board.

Larry Sullivan (B.S. 1992) received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Barrett Bryant. Larry graduated from the Computer Science program at UNT in 1992 and began work at Microsoft that same year. His now 25 year career at Microsoft has culminated in his current role as the Engineering Leader for Microsoft Azure’s Internet of Things, where he is making "Things that Move" like cars, trains, and ships, smarter. He is working with automotive and other companies on autonomous driving and movement, incorporating location-based services, HD Maps and predictive routing. Larry has also been awarded 4 patents for novel software innovations.

Kyle Taylor (BAIT 2012) received the Recent Undergraduate Alumni Award from Dr. Barrett Bryant. Kyle has distinguished himself in his professional career, his service to the Denton tech and startup community, and through his own entrepreneurship. He has organized dozens of hackathons, startup weekends, coding workshops, and recently co-founded the TechMill non-profit to back new technology ventures. He built his own startup company that makes whiteboard laptop covers with just $13 in seed money, and in all of his spare time, he is currently a Solutions Architect building content management platforms.

Dr. Courtney Corley (Ph.D. 2009) received the Recent Graduate Alumni Award from Dr. Barrett Bryant. Court has compiled an impressive record of technical innovation in both academia and industry. He is presently the Chief Data Scientist and Team Lead at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a position that has been made possible by his exceptional scholarship, publications, and contribution to the field of data science. Court is regularly sought out for talks and highly regarded by his peers and colleagues in the areas of biosurveillance and deep learning. He played an important role in the development of the "Pacific Northwest Partnership for Biomedical Computing," a collaboration which spans Fred Hutchison Cancer Center, Washington State University, Oregon Health Sciences University, and Stanford University.

Dr. Barrett Bryant with CSE Alumni at the CSE Awards & Scholarship Dinner on April 20, 2018. (L-R) Dr. Edward Pershwitz (Ph.D. 1994), Vaughn Parker (B.S. 2013), Willie Barber (M.S. 1977), Larry Sullivan (B.S. 1992), Don Retzlaff (M.S. 1979), Kyle Taylor (BAIT 2012), Ranette Halverson (Ph.D. 1993), Courtney Corley (Ph.D. 2009), and Kathy Foster (M.S. 1979).

Dr. Song Fu on the left end and Dr. Barrett Bryant on the right end with CSE Graduating Ph.D. Students (L-R) Natalie Parde, Hamed Khan Pour, Patrick Kamongi, Yassir Hashem, Sultan Alotaibi, and Joseph Helsing.

CRA-W Graduate Cohort (L-R) Zhaochen Gu, Shiva Ebrahimi, Dhivya Chinnappa, Dr. Yan Huang, Dr. Barrett Bryant, and Harsha Gwalani, and Namratha Urs

The CRA-W Grad Cohort for Women program aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing-related studies and research by building and mentoring nationwide communities of women through their graduate studies. The Grad Cohort Workshop, held this year in San Francisco, welcomed women graduate students in their first three years of graduate school into the community of computing researchers and professionals, including 6 women Ph.D. students from our department. Since this is highly competitive, we would like to recognize these women for being selected to this prestigious workshop.

Natalie Parde received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student from Dr. Barrett Bryant.Rahul Padidela received the Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Engineering award from Dr. Barrett Bryant.
Vivek Reddy Doudagiri received the Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Science from Dr. Barrett Bryant.Pavan Kumar Amara received the People’s Choice Award for the 3MT M.S. Student Competition at the Toulouse Graduate School from Dr. Barrett Bryant and Dr. Robert Akl.
Ryan Michaels received the Outstanding Teaching Fellow award from Dr. Mark Thompson and Dr. Barrett Bryant.Zhaochen Gu received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant award from Dr. Barrett Bryant and Dr. Mark Thompson.
Charles Goff received the Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering award from Dr. Barrett Bryant.Jeff Anderson received the Outstanding Junior in Computer Engineering award from Dr. Barrett Bryant.
Kevin Spracklen received the Outstanding Junior in Information Technology award from Dr. Barrett Bryant.Wesley Davis Coffman received the Benjamin T. Hamilton Memorial Scholarship from Dr. Barrett Bryant.

Dr. Robert Renka retires after 34 years at CSE

CSE Chair Dr. Barrett Bryant presented Dr. Renka with a gift at his last faculty meeting on May 9, 2018.

Dr. Robert Renka retired at the end of the Spring 2018 semester after 34 years of service to the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. Following his graduation, he worked as a Numerical Analyst at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN. Dr. Renka joined the UNT Department of Computer Science in 1984 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989. He achieved the rank of Professor in 1999.

Dr. Renka served on the Undergraduate Committee and became Chair from September 2012 until this semester. He also served on the CSE Department Personnel Affairs Committee since 2006 and the Executive Committee since September 2008. He has served on the College of Engineering Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and Scholarship Committee since September 2012. For UNT, Dr. Renka has served on the Oversight Committee on the Core Curriculum since January 2013.

In Spring 2018, Dr. Renka taught CSCE 4230, Computer Graphics, and CSCE 4930/5933, Quantum Computing. His areas of expertise are in Computational Geometry, Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations, and Curve and Surface Fitting.

Thank you, Dr. Renka, for your service to our CSE Department!

CSE holds UNT memorial service for Dr. Philip Sweany

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering hosted a Memorial Service for Dr. Philip Sweany on Wednesday, April 11, at Goolsby Chapel on the UNT Campus in Denton. Dr. Sweany died March 29, 2018 of neuroendocrine cancer.

He joined the CSE Department in 2004 and was very involved in creating curriculum, particularly to allow our CSE students to earn their teaching certificate to teach computer science in high schools through the Teach North Texas program.

For more information about Dr. Sweany, please see this College of Engineering press release or his CSE faculty website. You are invited to leave a message at this Phil Sweany Memorial Page.

CSE Capstone Students present projects on Design Day

Undergraduate students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering presented their projects at the UNT College of Engineering’s Design Day on Friday, April 27, 2018. The Capstone Program in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering provides students with an opportunity to interact with industry partners to define, design, build and deploy real-world systems. The department provides a two-semester capstone experience in each of our three undergraduate major programs. These experiences integrate all of the technical knowledge and skills from their courses and internships, as well as providing valuable experience in team-building, project management, oral and written communications, and problem solving.


Team Name: PRiSM

(L-R) Samantha Akos, Matthew Maddox, Roshan Karki and Prajwal Waiva.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Clement Cole

Stock plays a vital role in any company/country’s economy. It provides capital for companies and reflects financial health of any country. To be able to predict highs and lows of any company’s stock would help in profitable investment. Use of neural network as part of algorithm for prediction comes from two different source, i.e., software and hardware for comparing the most precise values. This is hoped to create opportunities for economic growth.

Team Name: 2B|!2B - Spacecraft Lighting Network System

(L-R) John A. Todd, Gladys Hernandez-Amaya, Taylor Shinn, and Jorge Cardona.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Adam Chamberlin

External Sponsors/Mentors: George Salazar – NASA

Our project goal is to use off-the-shelf commercial devices to implement the DMX-512 lighting protocol for managing a network of LEDs. We demonstrate the utilization of this network by simulating the circadian lighting patterns as a proof of concept for future deep space missions. At this time commercial lighting bus standard chip sets are not suitable for intense cosmic radiation environments. Our solution in the Space Lighting Network System is for all clients to implement the Open Lighting Architecture (OLA) framework for DMX-512, and the server to relay all commands from a central graphical user interface using Raspberry Pis. The reason for doing so with programmable devices, is so that hardened or radiation tolerant devices can then be implemented. A few limitations that led to our design plan is the weight of hardware currently used in stage lighting. The SLNS will be a robust, fault tolerant, dynamically scalable network of cost effective microcontrollers.

Team Name: ACE – Emergency Life Detection System

(L-R) Shobin David, Justin Jacob, Abdullah Almofeez, and Huy Ly.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Thomas Kanabay

The Emergency Life Detection (ELD) system will aid first responders in detecting individuals inside a building. The ELD system will be a building installed service and composed of three main components: Building Entrance, Building Rooms, and Cloud data. The entrance system will use facial recognition technology to track and recognize people entering and exiting a building. The building room component of the system is able to monitor room activity and determine the location of people in the event of an emergency using a sensors system composed of thermal, ultrasonic, and microphone sensors. The final component of the system will involve the cloud to backup and process the data at all times. The sensor data will be analyzed and used to provide information on the location of individuals inside the building. The data can only be viewed by authorized personnel to ensure building safety.

Team Name: Apollo’s Legacy – Intelligent Lighting Control System

(L-R) Charles Goff, Scarlett Jones, Cory Fairweather, and Jesse Boswell.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil

External Sponsors/Mentors: George Salazar – NASA

As mankind attempts to travel deeper into space, the need to have spacecraft with intelligent lighting systems is on the forefront. Lighting systems need to be reliable, use less power, compensate for outages or degradation of lights, and help astronauts be more productive by helping maintain their circadian rhythms. Longer missions will require sources of food for the crew members. We propose that we add the ability to grow vegetation, control system settings using voice control, and increase the networking abilities for the current lighting system.

Team Name: The Cavalry - Detecting Disease Contacts

(L-R) Simmer Bajwa, Travis Shatto, Deepkumar Mistry, and Julian Bugarin.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Armin Mikler (Sponsor), Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil (Project Manager)

The Disease Contact Detectives (DCD) team (UNT, 2016‐2017) accepted a proposal to create a research tool to assist in research directed by Dr. Armin Mikler from the University of North Texas. This research tool, known as the Detect Disease Contacts Initiative (DDCI) tool, is capable of measuring the number of contacts a person encounters in an average day. This is achieved by detecting the presence of an individual (or multiple people) within a 6 feet, 360‐degree field of view by using a variety of commercial components.

A volunteer will wear the DDCI tool for a period up to 12 hours. During this period the tool collects data on the contacts the volunteer encounters. Once the volunteer is finished with the tool the research data is collected by the use of two mobile Android applications; one mobile application is designed to transfer the research data to an AWS storage service while the other application is used to display the final results of the processed data. Ultimately this data can be analyzed by Dr. Mikler and his research team. To facilitate this functionality the tool sustains the power and data requirements for the 12‐hour period. This research data has many applications but it is primarily focused on the potential to identify where airborne illnesses are commonly spread.

Our team has improved the functionality of the DDCI tool by moving the post‐processing procedure to an online system using several Amazon Web Services (AWS), upgrading the infrared thermal sensor for greater accuracy, creating a more discreet and compact platform for the system to be placed, and developing two mobile applications capable of transferring raw data and viewing processed data.

Team Name: Computer Security Investigators - Hardware Based Trustworthiness System

(L-R) Jeremy York, Eric Salas, Charles Rasmussen, and Spencer Igwe.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Dr. Krishna Kavi

The intent of this project is to create a hardware‐based computer security system. We are attempting this because we want to find a faster and more stable way to protect a computer. We believe that the current solutions are too slow and require too much power from the computer that it’s protecting. We also believe that our way is much more difficult to trick because no new algorithms are required to check for any new viruses.

The project is designed around an external device (an FPGA in this case) that communicates with the computer using a USB connection. We created an application to push all relevant files on a computer to the external device to check whether any file has been modified. Each file will be passed through an algorithm in order to create a base "integrity measurement" that will be checked against in future scans. Our intent is to use the parallelism of the FPGA to create a much faster algorithm than a regular PC would allow.

Team Name: Eclipse – Smart Home and Security System

(L-R) Isa Adeyemi, Gibran Castaneda, Miguel Hernandez, and Alejandro Olvera.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Dr. Mark Thompson, Dr. Pradhumna Shrestha

External Sponsors/Mentors: Intelativ

Currently, Smart Home and Security systems rely on third-party software and hardware to function. An internet connection might also be required in order to process voice commands and other vital system information. This presents a risk since it exposes the system to outside attackers, and also compromises home security when internet or other services are unavailable.

Our system aims to solve this problem by using a private secure network that processes voice commands locally. We have prototyped several types of sensors and controllers to demonstrate basic smart home functionality. Our system also includes the use of a console and an Android application to control the system. This project required working as a team of four, and we all used our skills in programming, networking, hardware, application and GUI design to complete it.

Team Name: FroZone – Medicine Minder

(L-R) Brian Pullen, Andrew McAllister, Zack Watkins, and Aaron Mayville.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Dr. Thomas Derryberry, Thomas Kanabay

The problem we are trying to solve is being able to cool medicines portably in a timely fashion. Once the medicine is cool, our device will then keep the medicine at its desired temperature range. The Medicine Minder will help preserve prescription drugs and ensure that medicines are secure and consumable. Our project is unique because of its portability, and its ease of use. Once the user selects a medicine, the Medicine Minder does the remainder of the work. This makes our device user friendly and easy to learn how to operate.

Team Name: Insomnia — Enhanced Bike Safety System (E.B.S.S.)

(L-R) Aaron Arthur, Rickey Proby, Brady Almond, and Edward Reyna.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil, Thomas Kanabay

There are many bicycle accident cases that happen every day, because either the rider loses balance or they are not focused on the road. Our goal for this project is to reduce the chance of an accident, and it improve the time for help to arrive when they do happen. We will accomplish this by having a built-in turn signal, and a crash detection system on the helmet. The turn signals will allow the user to signal without removing their hands from the handlebar, therefore allowing them to keep their balance better. The crash detection system will inform the user’s emergency contacts that they were in an accident, which allows the emergency contacts to call help for them. The E.B.S.S also has a set of cameras to allow the user to always see what’s going on behind them, and to record video so the user can use it if they get into an accident that was caused by someone. The bike will be self-powered to allow the user to ride without any worry of battery life. The user can also view his/her speed and heart rate will biking.

Team Name: Rhyno

(L-R) Hamdi Hmimy, Yessenia Ramos, Ryan Kaakaty, and Rickey Dixon.

Internal Sponsors/Mentor: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil

External Sponsors/Mentors: Don, Triumph Group, Inc.

Large structures of aircraft like fuselage, wings, and other parts are built by riveting aluminum, steel, or titanium sheets together. These are very large structures and require 100s of rivets to combine and construct various structures needed for the aircraft. These rivet locations are marked by technicians using stencils and then verified and drilled to place the rivets. The markings needs to be very accurate, within .003 inches and a small error could make these large sheets unusable. The goal of the project is to automate the entire rivet process by using a robotic arm and a mechanical slide (designed and fabricated by the mechanical engineers) to precisely mark the rivet locations.

Team Name: Snooze — Sleep Apnea Monitoring & Diagnostic System

(L-R) Andrew Asdel, Yale Empie, Tyler Anderson, and Jason Van.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil

External Sponsors/Mentors: Edwin Simon, MD

Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S.A suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This is an ailment that causes a person to cease breathing for small periods of time throughout their sleep. It is a large risk factor that can lead to development of other, worse conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, depression, and even dementia.

Current sleep studies are done in‐lab in an unfamiliar environment, with diagnostic tools that cost upwards of several millions of dollars. It is also incredibly labor intensive and difficult for a patient to get into a sleep study for diagnosis due to the number of available sleep study locations in a region.

Our project set out to create a solution that would allow for a patient to do an effective sleep study within the confines of a familiar environment, such as their home, so that the patient can be properly diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Team Name: K-RAM – VIEC Network System

(L-R) Kaothar Sowemimo, Alberto Olvera, Richard Ervin, and Marco Duarte.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil

External Sponsors/Mentors: George Salazar – NASA

Whenever a space shuttle goes into space, a number of controllers are needed to control the various systems in the craft. If a controller breaks, it will need to be replaced. One option is to send replacements, but for a shuttle far away from earth, this would be too time consuming. Taking extras of each type of controller is also an impractical option because they add to the weight of the cargo, which translates into a greater cost to get enough fuel to send it all into space. The Vehicle Interchangeable Electronic Controller (VIEC) Network System aims to alleviate some of this burden by creating a system of interchangeable controllers (IC) that can be interchanged into the network at any time. The server that manages this system loads the appropriate application IC whenever a new one has been plugged in. A universal connector will be used to interface the ICs with the corresponding input devices. The simulated systems will be a Habitat Lighting System, Environment Monitoring System, and a Reaction Control System.


Team Name: EP.CF: Inventory Management System (IMS)

(L-R) Ethan Pomish and Cameron Fullerton.

Internal Sponsors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Mom and Pop shops are the backbone of America, though they frequently lack the resources to pay for complicated and expensive inventory management systems. Most of these systems are tailored to suit larger store fronts and are feature rich at the expense of simplicity and usability.

Inventory Management System (IMS) by EP.CF hopes to provide an easy to use and EXTREMELY inexpensive method of managing inventory for small businesses. Simple inventory management procedures with minimal keystrokes and click- counts allow these businesses to reduce training cost and manage their inventory on older machines with less available resources.

IMS allows multiple levels of users to access different levels of functionality depending on their role in the business. A standard user will only have the ability to check-in the weekly truck shipment, modify item descriptions, and ensure the accuracy of inventory during cycle counts. An elevated user will have the ability to add and remove user access, shrink inventory, and even delete an entire store’s inventory.

Team Name: Pencil Breakers — DigitalAdvisor

(L-R) Anthony Hicks, Benjamin Meaders, Andrew Harres, Jacob Hanson, and Brennan Schamberger.

Internal Sponsors/Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Ludi, David Lowell

Currently, the busiest students in our community are held at a great disadvantage as they often don’t have the time to attend an advising appointment. They are left on their own to attempt to decipher their degree audit and course catalog, and could possibly run into the problem of taking courses that they don’t have to, wasting time and money in the process. DigitalAdvisor solves this problem by recommending courses to students based on their current progress through their degree and lines up all of their semesters until they graduate.

Team Name: Team Lenny – UNT Onboarding

(L-R) Justin Penny, Steven Wyman, Edgar Sanchez, and Tsung-Han Hsieh.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

External Sponsors/Mentors: UNT Grad Students

Most UNT CSE grad students come from outside of the DFW area (or even the US). It would be great to have a web app that they could use as they plan to relocate here and once they arrive to help them settle into the area, UNT, and the department.

UNT Onboarding will provide a way for CSE grad students to have a central location to find invaluable information related to their new University and surroundings such as information regarding UNT, CSE grad student programs, Denton transportation, and city life.

Team Name: Tesla Boyz – Bloom: Healthcare Made Easy

(L-R) Thomas Miller, Victor Musasia II, Steven Harris, Miguel Melendez, and Michael Bido-Chavez.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

External Sponsors/Mentors: Sylvia Musasia, RN

There are several problems with existing electronic medical record systems (EMRS). These problems include the dependence on legacy software, poor user interfaces, and the lack of information access and control for patients. Bloom solves this by providing a new environment for instant access to patient records for both medical staff and patients. Patients are able to share record access by adding practices, schedule appointments to meet with their doctors, and minimize the amount of paperwork involved with their healthcare.

As a web application built on ReactJS, Bloom provides users access from anywhere with an internet connection and a javascript enabled web browser. As users work with this system, their work is backed up by Google’s Firebase, to ensure secure remote storage. Additionally, Bloom provides a modern platform that is independent of legacy systems unlike other EMRS.

Team Name: Team Viper — Ecommerce Solution for Nepal

(L-R) Roshan Pandey, Upawan Khadka, Sandip Gurung, and Anjan Shrestha.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi, Amar Maharjhan

External Sponsors/Mentors: Yuvraj Budhathoki (IAM Access Administrator Process Engineering, AIG—Houston, TX)

Online shopping in Nepal is currently is still a new concept and limited to country’s borders. People have no easy medium to shop online, and make purchase through websites, such as Amazon, E-Bay or any other online retail store. There are several obstacles which contribute to this factor. Firstly, debit cards and e-checks are not allowed for online shopping or any foreign transaction. Credit cards are the only way to purchase merchandise online, but credit cards are only issued to people with substantial wealth. Furthermore, big monetary transactions done online (usually more than $1000) are blocked by the banks or credit unions that issue the credit cards under various government regulations. The goal of this project is to create an online shopping platform that will enable and make it easier for people in Nepal to make buy merchandise online. This website will attempt to provide a fast and restriction proof way for the people in Nepal to order item globally through websites, such as Amazon, E-bay or any other retail websites.

Team Name: 3-Factor Authentication

(L-R) Brandi Werner, Daniel Jimenez, and Gabrielle Cordray.

External Sponsors/Mentors: Vicki White-Community and Family Relations Coordinator of Cottrell Halfway House Texas Juvenile Justice Department

The Cottrell house is part of the State Juvenile Justice Department. Once county resources cannot support the youth with felonies in their system, the youth are transferred into the state system where they will be enrolled into a state school. Typically, the youth are transferred into a halfway house before they are released on parole. Halfway houses bring the youth from a closed facility to an open facility with integration programs. These homes serve the residents by aiding them to adjust to normal life. The hope is that the halfway home experience rehabilitates the youth and gives them foundations to become productive members of society. Unfortunately, once they leave the halfway home they may not stay on the right track.

We have proposed an idea to supplement the support given to the youth. We will be creating a web friendly and mobile friendly website to serve as a support system for the juvenile offenders to use during their time in the halfway home and after they leave the Cottrell house. The website will connect the youth to a mentor to ask questions, as well as peers to have discussions and seek support. The aim of our project is to have a positive social impact on juvenile offenders who are in, or have left halfway homes, to ensure they stay on a positive track, and are aware of resources they have for help.

Team Name: CodeQuest — megabite

(L-R) Mohammed Abdali, Kevin Hinson, Malesa Williams, and Hailey Burleson.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

We are making megabite in order to show preferred food restaurants along a route. You simply put in where your destination is and the type of food you’re interested in, as well as restrictions like vegetarianism or Kosher friendly locations, and our app will query Google Maps (for routing), and Foursquare (for more information on found locations) in order to find locations that are along the route. In addition, menu and venue information will be shown for places selected.

Team Name: TECLA – Home Chores

(L-R) Tai Nguyen, Luis Chaparro, Alish Shrestha, Esteban Delasancha, and Cameron Cook.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Social Function theory suggests that we all serve a purpose in society in order to keep harmony within the society, and this harmony is what our team intends on facilitating in the home setting. The Home Chores application serves to allow a household leader to organize and maintain order throughout the home through the scheduling of chores and utilization of reminders. With the home database at the push of a button, users can better organize their family’s tasks, manage household upkeep, and increase overall productivity within the home.

Team Name: Drop Table Teams

(L-R) Jay Bishop, Tara Boyle, Hansaj Patel, and Kamyak Addagatla.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

External Sponsors/Mentors: Team members’ mothers and Tara’s friend who is a mother

Track My Baby is intended to be a mobile application to allow new parents/caregivers to track milestones and everyday life occurrences involved in caring for babies. Life occurrences include events such as feedings, diaper changes, and sleeping. With this application, our goal in its implementation is to allow for potential users to be able to sync the milestones and data collected across multiple devices as well as be able to share needed data with a pediatrician (or the parents if being used by a caregiver). Track My Baby will be an essential tool that will aid parents in raising and caring for their babies.

This will help parents keep up with their babies’ needs. Help everyone using the app and the baby to remember their medication and allergies. The tracking done will help doctors diagnose illness with their baby easier and more accurate.

Our app stands out due to sharing baby track data with doctors and caregivers. Also stands out with illness tracking and friendly user access.

Team Name: Team Four — Baby Aid

(L-R) Naumaan Hassan, Nathan Cramer, Aaron Batch, and Jaylan McLendon.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Taking care of children is known to be a very tough job. In this task, a parent/caregiver must be able to take care of multiple things such as feeding sessions, napping sessions, medicine-giving sessions, and many other things for the child/children that they are taking care of. Many people do these activities without recording the important information that can be acquired from them, and when they do, they must use potentially annoying methods like pen and paper.

The purpose behind this application is to keep track of the many caretaking activities and the important information in those activities a child’s caretaker finds themselves engaging in (feeding sessions, napping sessions, etc.). This app endeavors to ease that burden upon the caretaker by providing a means where they can log, view, and share important data regarding the child they are taking care of.

With this tool, a parent/caregiver can potentially bring some more organization into their parenting/caregiving lives while also allowing them to improve some of their many parenting/caregiving skills.

Team Name: Team Savage – BabyLog

(L-R) Aisha Shrestha, Pedro Miranda, Danny Salas, Arturo Rodriguez, and Erick Ortiz Barrera.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Our app helps the busy parent track their baby’s activities. The first month of the baby development is an exhausting period for those parents that are adjusting keeping track of their newborn daily schedule. The BabyLog app will help parents reminding/tracking about feeding, sleeping time, vitamin supplement and diaper change time while visualizing the data via graphs.

Our goal is to provide an easy to understand user interface. Where the user is able to learn how to navigate the menus and screens fluidly. As a busy parent, we want the user to quickly record their baby’s information. Then at the end of the day be able to see all the important details in the summary page and also view this information in graphs to better understand their baby’s development.

We created a unique design using big fonts and buttons to help the busy parent navigate the system as easy as possible. One of our goals is to help the user be able to use our app in a one-handed motion and use shortcuts to quickly access the important features of the app. Keeping everything concise and easy to understand is what makes our app different from other apps in the market.

Team Name: Team Hydra

(L-R) Nohemi Gonzalez Lopez, Robert Torres, Jose Salazar, Aaron Bucklin, and Russel Price.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

With the integration of technology into every aspect of our society and with there being no industry in which computers have not taken a central role, there is a push in education to teach younger generations about the fundamental concepts of programming and computer science. While there have been some curriculum shifts to include the subject in various schools and grades, the trend has been slow to spread. Outside of the classroom, searches for games and apps both online and in the phone market have shown that there is no medium that is targeting this age group in a relatable and engaging way.

The aim of this project is introduce to children between the ages of seven and eleven the basics of Boolean Algebra as well as fundamental coding concepts such as if-else statements, while loops, and for loops. Through an interactive and progressive learning style, it is our hope to ingrain these core concepts in an immersive and fun environment that will spark a lifelong interest in a diverse and rewarding field.

Team Name: Team Root — UNT Events Package

(L-R) Zachary Langley, Zach Eisenhauer. Charles Bido, and Axel Yates.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Classroom Support Services

We are trying to solve the segregation of events on campus. We believe it is hard to advertise and find events at UNT due to the amount of sources and lack of unification. Our solution is to build a REST API for events that can take in from multiple sources and send all the information needed to any application that wants to display the events. This is innovative because there aren’t officially supported adapters for tools like Ad Astra, EMS, and University Tickets. In order to unify events at universities, the school would just have to try to pick a catch all system instead of being able to utilize different systems for different catches. Also, REST APIs are a newer concept, but easy to work with as a developer so events can be viewed in unique ways. For example, students can look at a map to see events around them and their schedule rather than a calendar. Students can also explore events by groups rather than time. We believe consolidating and giving access to information this way opens a lot of opportunity for UNT and other universities in the future.

Team Name: Double-O-Seven — Fi Message

(L-R) Chase Parker, David Walker, Kristopher Duran, Aaron Hamilton, and Keith Santamaria.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Looking at encrypted messaging applications we noticed a few things. Either you can only message users with the app, the messages get stored on a database, data is being sold to companies for advertisements, or the app is owned by Facebook. Our goal is to create the best and most secure messaging application on the market. Our team of developers is doing this by solving problems other messaging apps have by creating an all in one application that allows users to communicate with friends and family without the app, sending encrypted messages directly to other users, and not collecting users’ meta data. Having one application is user oriented because it helps keep all their messages in one place. Having the messages being sent directly from peer to peer instead of being sent through a server and stored gives the users piece of mind that unauthorized parties will not be able to read their private conversations. Our app does not have data to sell to users because we cannot read their messages, so they do not have to worry about data mining.

Team Name: Infinity

(L-R) Spencer Ronshagen, Andrej Rosolak, Benjamin Jimenez, and Saina Baidar.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

External Sponsors/Mentors: Antonio Chamorro

Life can be busy and full of responsibilities. Whether being a parent, college student, having a full-time job or any combination of these, it can be overwhelming. Owning a pet will only add to those responsibilities. Sometimes, owners forget to walk their pet or get food for their pet. Also, pet information such as medical records can be hard to keep track of. Creating an app to help keep up with pet duties will lighten the load of work needed to take care of pets. Pets will be in a happy state due to their needs being fulfilled. The app will be an innovative way to take care of your pet. Pet owners will be able to set reminders when to perform certain task. When taking them to the veterinarian, important information will be accessible quickly through the app. When having a friend pet sit, allergy information can be easily shared. Overall, the app will make it easier for pet owners since it reduces the stress of having to remember and keeps information organized.

Team Name: Team Green – Supplies for Teachers

(L-R) Tevin Mosley, Syed Tuaha Asad, Sundos Nasser Said Al Subhi, and Rawdhah Alshaqaq.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Stephanie Ludi

Free supplies for teachers is a website which allows donor to post supplies of different sorts that can be useful for school/teacher. K12 teachers will conveniently look for stuff that they want to use in the class from the website. The goal is helping teachers by donating the supplies through the website. The unique thing about our project is that we are trying to help schools and teachers to obtain what they need for classes, we are also helping parents to spend less money for their children while giving students the opportunity to have all the supplies they need and lastly giving people the opportunity to donate stuff.


Team Name: The Usual — Food Recommendation Platform

(L-R) Tyler Duff, Rey Castro, and Roger Gray.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Ricky Yamashita

The Usual is a website that allows users to browse restaurants as well as track, save and share their favorite selections. It also features a recommendation feature to help the food selection process, which can oftentimes be harrowing. There are three main features:

  • Profile: A user may set a profile picture, display personal information, and save favorite food items to their profile. From here they have the option to share their selections on several social media sites.

  • Browser: The browser features a map of restaurants in the area along with a menu of food items that they serve. In the browser, the user may select any food item as a favorite and save it to their profile.

  • Prim Recommends: Our website also features a recommendation page. In it, we implement a swipe-left/swipe-right stack to have our mascot, Prim the Cat, choose a food item for a user based on past choices and favorites saved.

Team Name: Team Dynamo – Giganto Inventory

(L-R) Tavon Hayes, Brandon Hastings, Reginald Barnes, and Juhn Baek.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Josh Bell – Meridian Business Solutions

We were given the opportunity to work with Meridian Business Solutions to create an inventory system to keep track of important assets. This product is unique in that it can keep track of assets in multiple locations but also provide reports to help determine what assets are needed to be replenished as well as which individuals have made changes to the system.

Team Name: Strategic Gravity — UNT Factory

(L-R) Matthew Partida, John Knowles, Chrise Doublin, and Cody Johns.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: The Factory at UNT – Judy Hunter

Our group worked towards creating a new website for the UNT Factory to use. The Factory is a 3D printing lab that allows students to submit files that are then 3D printed for the students. We worked on creating an entirely new website both the front end and the back end. In the process we created a login portal for the site admin and users. We also created forms that allow a student to submit a file and have it approved by the staff at the factory. One of the biggest obstacles we had involved connecting to the payment portal. We had to interface with an existing payment system so that the students can pay for their 3D prints.

Team Name: Rook IT — ITSS Status Board Refresh

(L-R) Jacob Shafer, Rayneil Williams, Nicholas Partridge, Tyler Cook, and Cyrus Bahrami.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Andy Mears, Michael O’Rourke, Gordon Albury, Christopher Hutson

We are trying to demonstrate the first integration of an enterprise service bus with the UNT ITSS department. The ITSS department has dozens of services that are actively being monitored and tested at any one time. The problem with this, is that with every new service that is added: there must be a new set of customized options and protocols for it to be integrated correctly into the UNT network. Having a service bus with a set of defined protocols that enables any new service to only be customized to the service bus, as opposed to every interlocking application of the network would be a great step forward for the department.

Team Name: ResqueMe

(L-R) Zach Newman and Joseph Tye.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Kamesh Namuduri

ResqueMe is a web-based platform that allows first responders and volunteers the ability to work together during natural disasters and major emergencies providing a framework for collaboration, communication, and information dissemination between personnel. ResqueMe uses lessons learned during recent disasters and utilizes technology to mitigate the problems often seen in large-scale disaster response.

Team Name: Mean Green IT — CSE Scheduling Assistant

(L-R) Donald Jones, Alexandra Martinez, Alexander McCulloch, Jesse Culver, and Andrew Manley.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Dr. Armin Mikler

Problem: The process is done manually without computer assistance forming several problems.


  • Enrollment vs Room Capacity

  • Instructor Assignment

  • TA and Grader Assignment

  • Dynamic Data: Waitlists

  • Room Assignment/Reassignment

Solution: A web based user interface that will allow a conditional search that returns filtered data in an organized fashion easing the process significantly.

Team Name: Makes Sense — Foot Traffic Analysis

(L-R) Andrew Johnston, Grant Jackson, George Tipton, and Travis Johnson.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Signal Aware: Adam Perschke, Adam Kila, Brooks McMilin

The University of North Texas is an ever expanding grounds for both students and staff to grow, learn, and work. With the addition of new facilities, expanding and changing infrastructure, and implementation of better accommodations to University staff and students.

In order to ensure efficiency in commuting and that community members are taking full advantage of University resources and offerings, it’s important to analyze traffic patterns on our University walk-ways and recreational/break areas.

We, paired with a sensor-based research company Signal Aware, gathered significant traffic-related data on campus in order to generate ideas for how to make our walk-ways more efficient, make staff and student accommodations more effectively located, and identify prime areas for placing advertisement and marketing material on both UNT’s main campus, as well as at UNT’s Discovery Park campus.

Team Name: GADG(IT) — GM Tile & Coping

(L-R) Alejo Ponce, Daniel Martinez, Gustavo Martin, Jr., and Gezim Kashtanjeva.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Gustavo Martin, Sr., GM Tile & Coping

Mr. Martin was in need of an online portal/e-commerce store, for his clients as well as future clients, where his company could advertise, estimate, showcase and be reached via email at any time. Through modern designs, as well as ease of internet tools, my team and I have designed, per spec, what was needed by Mr. Martin. Being exposed to online environments allows for optimum use of resources available. The addition of a web based platform for the company allows for global reach if ever decided by Mr. Martin.

Team Name: Beyond Denton

(L-R) Tyler Thornburg, Brandon Reid, Garrett Crowe, and Sean Van Zanden.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Habib Abdulrahman (Open Denton)

Large cities are complex organizations and it can be difficult for residents to know who to call or what to do in a nonemergency situation. There is a tremendous need for coordination and communication between citizens and the City of Denton to utilize modern technologies in order to better report non-emergency situations. Our project will consist of creating a working prototype 311 mobile application to propose to the City of Denton. This will be an attempt to show the City of Denton that an application like this can be both feasible, and beneficial to the city and its citizens.

Team Name: Fantastic Four — Project Aero

(L-R) Breuna Riggins, James Sabetti, Alyssa Thurston, and Travis Goral.

Internal Sponsors/Mentors: David Keathly

External Sponsors/Mentors: Denton Techmill – Dan Minshew and Kyle Taylor

Due to the large amounts of traffic from various highways, many large businesses, and two universities it is quite shocking to find that there is only one air quality sensor in Denton. The next closest is over 15 miles away. Given these facts, we don’t know just how bad the air quality is in the city. It is the goal of this project to rectify the lack of air quality data. This project, upon completion, will help the citizens of Denton become publicly aware of the air quality, the standards set by the EPA, and take civic action. This project’s innovation is derived from the fact that the data collected is publicly available. Additionally, citizens can elect to create their own sensor and contribute data collected from it.

CSE Advisory Council meets on Design Day

The CSE Advisory Council met on April 27, 2018 following Design Day. (L-R back row): CSE Associate Chair of Computer Engineering Dr. Song Fu, Philip Heath (UNT Math B.S. 1997), Southwest Airlines; John Rozeboom (UNT Computer Science B.S. 1992), Genesis Pure; Julio Ortega, IBM; Greg Thurman (UNT Computer Science B.S. 1998), Sonic Healthcare; and Craig Berry, Siemens. (L-R front row): Zina Townley (UNT Computer Science B.S. 1987), Southwest Airlines; Cesar Stastny (UNT Computer Science B.A. 2004), Activision; Trisha Geye-Wilcox, Apex Capital; Lance Marshall, Apex Capital; and CSE Chair Barrett Bryant.

The Mission Statement for the Advisory Council is "to enhance the quality and content of the computer science’s research and educational programs through active practitioner-educator partnering. The department will look to the council for advice, supervision, and recommendations to further its research, educational, and professional programs. The faculty will benefit from the industrial experience of the council members."

Three Computer Engineering Teams compete at NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge

Congratulations to our three CSE Computer Engineering teams who competed in the Design Challenge at the Texas Space Grant Consortium sponsored by NASA on April 22-23, 2018 in Houston, TX. The TSGC Design Challenge is a unique academic experience offering undergraduate students an opportunity to propose, design, and fabricate a solution to a toward solving research objectives of importance to NASA and its mission.

CSE Faculty Sponsor Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil with Team Apollo’s Legacy (L to R): Charles Goff,
Cory Fairweather, Scarlett Jones, and Jesse Boswell.

Project: Intelligent Lighting Control System

Awards: 2nd Overall Top Design Team, 1st Best Model, and 3rd Best Oral Presentation.

CSE Faculty Sponsor Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil with Team 2B|!2B (L to R): Taylor Shinn, Jorge Cardona,
John Todd, and Gladys Hernandez-Amaya.

Project: Spacecraft Lighting Network System

Awards: Best Patch, 4th Best Poster, and 4th Best Model.

CSE Faculty Sponsor Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil with Team K-RAM from (L to R): Richard Ervin,
Alberto Olivera, Marco Duarte, and Kaothar Sowemimo.

Project: Vehicle Interchangeable Electronic Controller (VIEC) Network System

Awards: 4th Overall Top Design Team, 3rd Best Model, and 2nd Best Poster.

All three teams were mentored by George Salazar, NASA Johnson Space Center. CSE faculty member Robin Pottathuparambil was the advisor for the teams. He said, "This is a great experience for undergraduate students as they are solving problems faced by astronauts in the space shuttle."

CSE hosts two Distinguished Speakers in April

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering welcomed Dr. WenZhan Song as our Distinguished Speaker on April 6, 2018. Dr. Song’s presentation was on Cyber-Physical Data Analytics and Security in Energy and Environment Systems. Dr. Song is the Chair Professor of Computer Engineering and Director of the Center for Cyber-Physical Systems in the University of Georgia. His research focus on big data and security in cyber-physical systems and their applications in energy, environment and health, and has been leading large multidisciplinary research projects on those issues with multi-million grant support from NSF, NASA, USGS, and industry. Dr. Krishna Kavi, CSE Professor and Director of Net-Centric IUCRC hosted Dr. Song’s presentation.

Dr. Weisong Shi was the second Distinguished Speaker on April 30, 2018. Dr. Shi’s presentation was on Edge Computing: A New Computing Model for Internet of Everything. Dr. Shi is a Charles H. Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Fellow and a Professor of Computer Science at Wayne State University where he directs the Mobile and Internet SysTems Laboratory (MIST) and Connected and Automouse dRiving Laboratory (CAR) investigating performance, reliability, power- and energy-efficiency, trust and privacy issues of networked computer systems and applications. Dr. Song Fu, CSE Associate Professor, hosted Dr. Shi. Dr. Fu directs the Dependable Computing Systems Lab.

UNT CSE Summer Camps

It is time again for Summer Camps! The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering is offering camps this summer in Robotics, Mobile App Development, Animation and Gaming and CyberSecurity. Registration is now open for camps in Denton and Frisco. Visit this UNT Robotics & App Programming Summer Camp page for more information.

The CSE Department will be hosting a number of summer cybersecurity programs to introduce young women and young men in 8th-12th grades to cybersecurity. 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. More information on this UNT GenCyber Summer Program page.

UNT CSE Diversity Activities

The Diversity Summit activities for young women are sponsored by the University of North Texas Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The efforts are funded in part by a grant from the National Convergence Technology Center as part of the NSF Advanced Technology Education program.

The Diversity Summit effort is intended to create interest among young women for pursuing education and careers in Computer Science and Information Technology. Our efforts are targeted at smaller school districts, Home School Cooperatives and Community College Transfer students. Young women in Grades 9-12 are invited to participate in these activities.

All events are free of charge. For open house events, we welcome parents and siblings as well. The one day camps will expose participants to engaging activities in Game Design, Animation, Robotics and App Development. Campers will also learn about programs at UNT in Computer Science, Engineering and Information Technology. Camps will include lunch and snacks.

For more information, see this Diversity Summit website.

Dr. Bryant and Dr. Fu attend ECEDHA

Dr. Barrett Bryant and Dr. Song Fu attended the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA) conference and ECExpo March 16-20, 2018 in Monterey, CA. ECEDHA is composed of heads or chairs of departments offering accredited programs in electrical and/or computer engineering. The conference is to discuss the latest trends and advances in professional development, global branding, educational innovation, and shared experiences. In this year’s conference, the Director of IBM Research, the CEO of Semiconductor Research Corp., the Chair of Computing Community Consortium, and more provided keynotes. The Assistant Directors of NSF CISE and ENG presented NSF updates.

The ECExpo is to discover the latest advances in ECE technology. 39 leading corporations showcased their products and services to ECEDHA members. Also in the ECEDHA conference, Ph.D. candidates from 20 universities presented their dissertation research and attended the iREDEFINE Workshop which aims at increasing the number of women and under-represented minorities in faculty positions at ECE departments.

UNT at Southwest Regional CCDC Competition

CCDC Team (L-R) Zachary Langley, Zachary Eisenhauer, Chad Leito, Brayden Cloud, Justin Greco, Jesse Culver, Chalet Shelton, Jeremiah Dickens, and Dr. Mark Hoffman.

By Zach Eisenhauer

The Southwest Regional CCDC competition (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas) was held March 23-25, 2018 in Tulsa, OK. It is one of the hardest regional competitions in CCDC, the largest security competition in the country. For our competition, we were in an IT environment for a fake company called Crypto Casino for two 9:00am to 6:30pm shifts (including an overnight presentation assignment) and protected services like a mail server, website, and slot machine from 30 professional hackers while a crazy CEO kept us heated and gave us work to do. Many companies sent out their tech people to play roles during the competition which was cool because after the competition there was a career mixer and the recruiters were people we knew from the game and could easily talk to. It was fantastic! We got to network with some of the best security professionals in the country in a really unique way.

Thank you so much for the support from the CSE department and we are beyond grateful for having this opportunity!

Hackathon starts a UNT tradition

1st place winners Nathaniel Propp and Daniel Reiling for GoToClass ID Verification Attendance App.2nd place winners Michael Bido and Hansaj Patel for UNT Focus Group Assistant Tool.
3rd place winners Alejandro Bacallao, Timothy Stern, Casey Kinnamon, Skylar Werner for CSE Help Lab Queue.

By Zach Eisenhauer

HackUNT was a great success and a start to a UNT tradition! HackUNT was held April 6-8, 2018 at Discovery Park. We had students travel from all over DFW, as far as UT Austin and OU, to compete in UNT’s inaugural hackathon and first continuous 36 hour event. For 3 days, students got access to full meals (thanks to our sponsor, Chiloso), snacks, swag, shirts, hardware (thanks to the Factory), workshops, and social events while our attendees competed for sponsored prizes.

JCPenney was one of our sponsors and asked students to think about the "store of the future" and incorporate technology that JCPenney could use to get ahead. There were a lot of submissions and we were excited to see the winners create an Augmented Reality Fitting Room that auto detects your size based on a 3D scan and lets you try on clothes from the comfort of your own home!

Our main challenge for HackUNT attendees was to solve a problem that university students, faculty, and staff face. We were astonished by the submissions. From a full blown parking lot counter to a cheat-proof way to force students to GoToClass, students showed off creativity, solved difficult problems, and learned how to take classroom knowledge to industry.

We were excited to host workshops, including one from Samsung Internet, about how to use WebVR/WebAR to make virtual reality and augmented reality applications. Nancy Hong from CoWork Incubate taught students how to transition their ideas into a startup. And the creator of the UNT Bus Tracker showed off how to use the Google Maps API in your own apps. We feel students learned a lot at the event, made a lot of business connects with companies including Tyler Technologies, StandardUser Cyber Security, Samsung Internet, JCPenney, and internal development teams at UNT like University Information Systems (UIS), Data Analytics and Institutional Research (DAIR), and Classroom Support Services (CSS). We were happy and humbled to be able to bring such a cool experience to UNT and are eager to see how much bigger HackUNT 2019 will be!

Dr. Mikler and CENG Dean explore collaborations in Thailand

Dr. Santi Phithakkitnukoon, Dr. Armin Mikler, Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis on the left side.

CSE Professor Armin Mikler and CENG Dean Costas Tsatsoulis visited Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Dr. Santi Phithakkitnukoon graduated from UNT with his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering in 2009 and is now an Assistant Professor at Chiang Mai University. Dr. Mikler and the Dean were exploring the possibility of collaborating with Chiang Mai University and other universities in Thailand in March 2018.

CSE Faculty and Students at SAC 2018

(L-R) Dr. Armin Mikler, Faris Hawamdeh, Dr. Barrett Bryant, Dr. Paul Tarau, Sampson Akwafuo

CSE faculty and students attended the 33rd ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing April 9-13, 2018 held in Pau, France. Dr. Barrett Bryant was on the Steering Committee and the Student Research Competition Program Committee. He was also a Chair for the Technical Track on Programming Languages, the 25th year of this track which he started in 1994. Dr. Armin Mikler was the Chair of the Student Research Competition Program. CSE Professor Paul Tarau presented a paper on "Declarative Algorithms for Generation, Counting and Random Sampling of Term Algebras." Dr. Bryant first met Dr. Tarau at SAC 1994 when Dr. Tarau presented a paper at the very first SAC Track on Programming Languages.

Ph.D. students from the Computational Epidemiology Research Lab (CERL) presented papers in the Student Research Competition Program. Sampson Akwafuo was in the Bioinformatics Track with her paper on "Modelling the Impacts of HIV Intervention Programs for Key Population." Faris Hawamdeh was in the Knowledge Extraction from Geographical Data Track with his presentation on "Quantifying Walkability of Roads using Digital Elevation Models." See their pictures below in the Student Section.

CSE Faculty and Students participate in NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Awards Ceremony

High School students from the DFW Metroplex Region received awards at the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Awards Ceremony at UNT Frisco on March 29, 2018. These high school women were honored for their computing-related achievements and interests. Award recipients were selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing; leadership ability; academic history; and plans for post-secondary education.

CSE Department Chair Dr. Barrett Bryant and Ph.D. students Natalie Parde and Prabha Sundaravadivel attended the awards ceremony at UNT’s Frisco campus to interact with the award recipients and their families. Natalie Parde also gave a demonstration of the HiLT Lab’s Companionbots project to expose the students to fun, real-world research applications of artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT is a national non-profit organization that works to increase the meaningful participation of girls and women in computing. NCWIT Aspirations in Computing provides a long-term community for female technologists from K-12 through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement at each pivotal stage of their education and professional development.

CSE Student wins People’s Choice Award at 3MT

Congratulations to Pavan Kumar Amara (first on the left) on winning the People’s Choice Award at the 3MT® Three Minute Thesis competition at the UNT Toulouse Graduate School on April 7, 2018! We are proud that two CSE graduate students, Pavan and Pruthvi Teja Anumadla (third from the right) made it to the final round of the competition. Pavan’s presentation was on "Wearable Sensing System for Detecting Interactions" and Pruthvi’s presentation was on "Smart Stethoscope: Hear Your Heart."

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.


(L-R) Yassir Hashem; Ehsan Hesamifard; Robert Podschwadt; Dr. Hassan Takabi, INSPIRE Lab Director; Shoaib Khan; Himan Namdari; Shiva Ebrahimi. Not pictured: Manar Alohaly, Justin Greco and Masoud Narouei.

INSPIRE Lab welcomes a visiting scholar, Himan Namdari from La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Researchers at INSPIRE Lab have published several papers in highly ranked venues including IEEE TDSC, PoPETs, ACM SACMAT, IEEE ISBA:

  • Hassan Takabi, Yassir Hashem and Ram Dantu, "Prediction of human error using eye movements patterns for unintentional insider threat detection," 2018 IEEE 4th International Conference on Identity, Security, and Behavior Analysis (ISBA), Singapore, 2018.

  • Hassan Takabi, Ehsan Hesamifard, Mehdi Ghasemi, and Rebecca N. Wright, "Privacy-preserving Machine Learning as a Service", In Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PoPETs), 2018.

  • Masoud Narouei, Hassan Takabi and Rodney Nielsen, "Automatic Extraction of Access Control Policies from Natural Language Documents," in IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, 2018.

  • Manar Alohaly, Hassan Takabi, and Eduardo Blanco, "Towards a Top-down Policy Engineering Framework for Attribute-based Access Control," In Proceedings of the 23rd ACM on Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT ’18)

  • Yassir successfully defends his PhD Dissertation. Congratulations Dr. Hashem!

  • UNT’s CCDC team advanced to the regionals and traveled to Tulsa, OK to compete in the regional competitions. Only 8 team from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas advanced from qualifiers round and this is a great accomplishment for our CCDC team.

Dr. Takabi, Director of INSPIRE Lab, has received two new grants totaling $460K.

A $360K grant from National Science Foundation (NSF) with Dr Bryce will support Research Experience for Undergraduates in Software Assurance and Security in Emerging Technologies. Another $100K grant from National Security Agency (NSA) will support our GenCyber program in summer 2018 which provides free summer camps in cybersecurity for middle and high school students.

News from Laboratory for Recreational Computing

(L-R) LARC members Curtis Chambers, Ryan Pritchard, William Parker, Latravious Mayfield

Dr. Ian Parberry is on Faculty Development Leave this semester and is currently visiting the University of Warwick, England where he is working with Emeritus Professor Michael S. Paterson, who was his PhD supervisor almost 35 years ago. While Dr. Parberry has been gone, Teaching Fellow Curtis Chambers has been teaching CSCE 4220, Game Programming 2, and CSCE 4250, Topics in Game Development, this semester.

The LARC Lab and Game Programming students hosted a Game Appreciation open-house event on Thursday, May 10, and also on the morning of the UNT Commencement on Saturday, May 12. The LARC lab offered video games, board games, and Virtual Reality (HTC Vive) games. Guests could also interact with UNT student video games and projects.

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

Members of the NSF Net-Centric & Cloud Software & Systems (NCSS) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) made presentations at their semi-annual meeting at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona on March 27-28, 2018. Dr. Krishna Kavi, Director of the IUCRC, attended the meeting with the following Ph.D. students who presented posters: Patrick Kamongi, Robin Chataut, and Rohith Yanambaka Venkata.

CSE Ph.D. student Patrick Kamongi presented his poster "COCKATOO — A holistic suite of security tools for assessing and mitigating threats facing cloud systems" at the IUCRC meeting at Arizona State on March 27, 2018.

CSE Ph.D. student Robin Chataut presented his poster "Optimization for Massive MIMO Systems" at the IUCRC meeting at Arizona State on March 27, 2018.

CSE PhD student Rohith Yanambaka Venkata presented his poster CLIPS: Customized Levels of IoT Privacy and Security" at the IUCRC meeting at Arizona State on March 27, 2018.

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CSE Alumni News

Alumni Focus on Pamela Taylor

In 1959 at the end of my senior year in high school, I heard a speaker during career day talk about how a woman had designed the bridge that arched over I-30 southwest of downtown Dallas. That was when I decided I wanted to become an engineer and design bridges. Big problem! I had just been given a full music scholarship on oboe to TCU, but TCU did not have an engineering school. SMU was too expensive, Texas A&M was all male, UT was too large for a small town girl like me, and it was too late to get into Rice. So, sight-unseen, I decided to go to Texas Tech. My high school band director father and elementary school teacher mother were not at all delighted that I had given up a full scholarship, but they did drive me to Lubbock (I was not allowed to have a car until I could pay for one) and dropped me off at the curb of my dorm.

During registration, I was noticeably the only girl standing in line with my IBM cards waiting to sign up for engineering classes. A well-meaning Civil Engineering advisor/faculty member counseled me that I more than likely would not be able to master the courses and most certainly would not be given a job in engineering, even if I did successfully complete the required curriculum. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, I decided to enter the field of engineering through a different door – Industrial Engineering. Four years later, I received the degree and was the only woman in the nation at that point in time to be inducted into Alpha Pi Mu, the Industrial Engineering Honor Society. However, the scholastics of college did not dominate my time. I was a twirler in the Goin Band of Raiderland for four years, played oboe in the concert band, pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma social sorority, and was elected to Tech’s student government. During the spring semester of my senior year, I interviewed for and was offered jobs across the nation, but decided on a position with IBM in Dallas as a Systems Engineer.

Six months after graduating, I married my husband of 55 years, Mark. We had dated off and on at Tech for three years. Mark obtained a law degree from SMU after three years and then had to fulfill a four year commitment to the Air Force due to his ROTC training while at Tech. So my three and a half years at IBM ended and my career as a full-time mom for the next fifteen years began. We had a two year stint in Tucson, Arizona, then two years in Karamursel, Turkey, during the Vietnam conflict. We settled in Mark’s hometown of Winnsboro where his ancestors settled in the 1850s and built our dream home on some land we had purchased after law school.

Fast forward those fifteen years and four children later when my oldest son received his driver’s license and could help me with my many chauffeuring duties, I decided to go back to school. I enrolled at the University of Texas at Tyler – now one of the fastest growing universities in Texas – to get a computer science degree to try and bring my IBM experience up-to-date. My first year there I was offered a position as an Instructor. I enthusiastically accepted UT Tyler’s teaching position, but noted that I made well below what other faculty members made who were doing much the same as what I was expected to do. So, after receiving both an undergraduate and graduate degree in computer science in the space of three years, I began looking for a school within commuting distance from which I could obtain a PhD. The University of North Texas was the only university with an accredited computer science program in the state of Texas at that time. So, I applied and was accepted.

It was grueling. I had a 60 mile commute to UT Tyler from my home. I would teach one or two classes, drive the 135 miles through Dallas to Denton, usually in the thick of the going home traffic, attend class, then drive the 114 miles back home often not arriving until one in the morning. Then of course, there was the extra UNT work added to my teaching preps. Oh yes, and then there was my husband, the Criminal District Attorney for Wood County, and my four children in their various stages of before, during, and after college life. During one span of time, there were 4 of us in college; however, we all worked together to make it happen.

One of the most difficult periods was the summer I had to live in the dorm to fulfill the "residence" requirement. I tried to go home each weekend to see my family, pay bills, and just play catch up. However, that was not always possible when there were projects to complete or major exams on the horizon. I was so very home sick and would cry over the phone to my husband. I am sure that helped him a lot.

It took me roughly five years to complete the course work and exams and another five for the dissertation. The five for the dissertation was in part due to the fact that I lost my major professor two years into trying to develop a database project. I was terrified!! I talked to other faculty who taught or seem to have expertise in the database area, but no one would take me on for one reason or another. My last resort was to take my dilemma to Dr. Paul Fisher, the head of the department. As we Southern Baptists would say, "Praise the Lord." Dr. Fisher came to my rescue. Although I had to start from scratch, I am very grateful to him for his down-to earth demeanor and the sincerity in his concern for students. After receiving the highly prized terminal degree in 1997, I continued teaching, eventually retiring as an Associate Professor. I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching, but I am enjoying retirement even more.

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 network at CENG reception

Samuel McGregor, CS 2016, on the left, talking with Dr. BryantVaughn Parker, CS 2013, on the left
Todd Samuels, CS 1990Jason Kohler, CE 2017
Chase Przilas, CE 2011, on the leftReza Alirezaei, CS 1993, on the left, talking with CENG Dean Costas Tsatsoulis
Jamie Reeves, CS 1981, on the right, talking with Dr. Bryant

CSE Alumni attended the UNT College of Engineering’s Alumni Reception and Networking Event on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Plano, TX. The following CSE alumni attended the event: Todd Samuels, CS 1990; Chase Przilas, CE 2011; Jamie Reeves, CS 1981; Samuel McGregor, CS 2016; Vaughn Parker, CS 2013; Jason Kohler, CE 2017; Reza Alirezaei, CS 1993.

The College will be planning more UNT Engineering receptions as well as two UNT Engineering pre-game tailgaters this fall. For more information on upcoming events please contact Angus McColl, Senior Director for Development at the College of Engineering, at We would be pleased to have even more of our CSE Alumni participate in these events!

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 20, 2018 and later that day at our CSE Awards Dinner.

Outstanding Ph.D. Student in Computer Science and Engineering – Natalie Parde

Natalie Parde is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and a member of the Human Intelligence and Language Technologies Laboratory working under Dr. Rodney D. Nielsen. She also completed her M.S. and B.S. (summa cum laude) in Computer Science at UNT. Her primary research interests are in dialogue systems and their applications, computational processing of figurative language and other forms of linguistic creativity, and grounded language learning.

Natalie is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Google Grace Hopper Scholarship, and the UNT Golden Eagle Award. She has presented her scholarly work across the United States and internationally, at venues including the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing. In her spare time, Natalie serves as President of UNT Women in Computing, and (in her even sparer time) she also enjoys reading and writing creative fiction.

Natalie would like to thank her adviser, Dr. Rodney D. Nielsen, for his support and guidance throughout the course of her Ph.D. She would also like to thank the many other UNT faculty members with whom she has interacted during her time at the university, both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, for their roles along the way in shaping her academic career. She will be joining the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago in Fall.

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Engineering – Rahul Padidela

Rahul Padidela received his Bachelors in Electronics and Communication Engineering from V.R.Siddhartha Engineering College, India in 2013. Later he worked as a Systems Engineer at Tata Consultancy Services Limited for almost 3 years in Hyderabad, India. His industry experience includes development and maintenance of complex Data Warehouses for the client Arris, Inc.

Rahul joined UNT in Fall 2016 as a master’s student in Computer Engineering. He was intrigued by the way Computer Engineering program was setup and selected Embedded and Real Time operating systems as his graduate track. He is currently working under Dr. Song Fu on a deep learning using neural stick/raspberry pi project which helps in autonomous car systems. He also worked as an Instructional Assistant under Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi and currently working under Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil.

Rahul would like to thank his major professor Dr. Song Fu for the guidance/advising he provided throughout his study. He would also like to thank Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi for his guidance and support. He would also like to thank my family and friends for their continuous support and motivation.

Outstanding Master’s Student in Computer Science – Vivek Reddy Doudagiri

Vivek Reddy Doudagiri received his Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from the Institute of Aeronautical Engineering in Hyderabad, India in 2010. Later he worked as senior software engineer for 5 years in India with different roles. His industry experience includes software development in SAP.

Vivek joined UNT in Spring 2016 as a master’s student in Computer Science. He used to work at Dr. Blanco’s lab (Human Intelligence and Language Technologies - HiLT) and started working on his Thesis research on extracting temporal relations from Twitter from Spring 2016. With the guidance of Dr. Blanco, Vivek defended his Thesis in November 2017. He also worked as an Instructional Assistant with Dr. Barrett Bryant and Dr. Paul Tarau. Now Vivek is working for Allstate Insurance as Senior Machine Learning Engineer. He was a runner up at IIM Calcutta in a national wide competition and also a volunteer at eSwecha which is a Linux regional distribution.

Vivek would like to extend his gratitude to his Major Professor Dr. Eduardo Blanco for his guidance and Dr. Bryant for his support throughout the journey at UNT. He would also like to thank his lab mates, family and friends for their support and motivation.

Outstanding Teaching Fellow in Computer Science and Engineering – Ryan Michaels

Ryan Michaels received his B.S. in Computer Science at Texas Lutheran University in 2011. He has been a doctoral student working under Dr. Renee Bryce in the Software Testing Lab since 2013. His interests include Software Development, Software, Web, and Mobile Testing, and Computer Science Education and Outreach. Currently he is working on research aimed to improve the analysis of mobile application test suites.

This year Ryan has worked as a Teaching Fellow for the CSCE 2110 class, a sophomore level introduction to data structures and representations, algorithms, and program analysis. As a Teaching Fellow Ryan was the instructor of record for the class, and was responsible for all lectures, assignments, and tests. He was part of the team which helped to update the course, reorganizing the content across both CSCE 2100 and CSCE 2110.

Ryan would like to thank everyone at UNT who has given him the opportunity to teach multiple courses throughout the past three years, especially his advisor Dr. Bryce for her advice and support throughout the journey!

Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Computer Science and Engineering – Zhaochen Gu

Zhaochen Gu received her B.S in Computer Science with honors and a minor in Mathematics from UNT in May 2017. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Song Fu. Her research interests include machine learning, high-performance computing, and Internet of things. She works in the Dependable Computing System Lab (DCSL) and her research has been focused on predictive analysis on disk management and monitoring system.

Zhaochen was one of the teaching assistants for sophomore-level computer science class CSCE 2100: Computing Foundations I in Fall 2017. She was responsible for running recitations and grading quizzes, homework and exams. In addition to completing her assigned work, she went above by providing reviews in her recitation. She also helped Dr. Sweany lecturing some of his classes during the second half of the semester.

Zhaochen would like to thank the UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department for all the support and her advisor Dr. Song Fu for guidance and motivation. She would also like to thank her family, friends and lab mates for all their help and encouragement.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering – Charles Goff

Charles Goff is a senior with a double major in Computer Engineering and Mathematics. He has already been accepted and started the graduate program in Computer Engineering. He is a U.S. Army veteran and joined UNT in Summer 2015. He works as a Grader for Reconfigurable Logic and Embedded Systems Design. He has also taught courses for the Math Department. He volunteers in the Autonomous Vehicle Lab and is doing biology research in metagenomics by writing new software that will hopefully allow faster identification and proportion of microbes in a microbial community. He is also on one of three teams representing UNT at the Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge, which works with NASA solving real world problems in space exploration. After graduation Charles hopes to work in the robotics industry or start his own business.

Charles enjoys designing embedded hardware and software, working with sensors, and robotics. His extra-curricular projects include building a 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 his help with advising and Senior Design, Mr. David Keathly for his help with undergraduate advising, and Dr. Song Fu for advising and guidance.

Outstanding Senior in Computer Science – Gabrielle Cordray

Gabrielle Cordray is a senior completing her B.S. in Computer Science (with a Cyber-Security Certificate) as well as a B.A. in English (Creative Writing Concentration) and a minor in Music. Notwithstanding her varied interests and heavy course load, she has managed to make either the Dean’s List or the President’s list each semester both at UNT and at the college she transferred from, Tarrant County College. She also works as a piano teacher at her own studio.

Gabrielle always knew that she wanted to focus on software development, but through her time at UNT she found her niche as a full-stack web developer. She likes to view development both as a puzzle to be solved and as a problem to be solved creatively by thinking outside the box. She has also worked as a peer mentor in the Computer Science department and has enjoyed imparting her knowledge to students just beginning their journey in the technology field.

This past summer, Gabrielle got the opportunity to intern at Fidelity Investments. Given her heavy course load each semester with the never-ending homework stress, she was pleasantly shocked by the entire concept of going to work for 8-9 hours, then leaving work at work, and not having to worry about it at all after hours! After graduation, she plans to transition to a full-time job with Fidelity through their LEAP program.

Outstanding Senior in Information Technology – Brandon Hastings

Brandon Hastings is a transfer student from Tarrant County College in Spring of 2015 and he will graduate in Spring of 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 and aspire 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, football, and golf). 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 Junior in Computer Engineering – Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson dabbles in programming and robotics. He likes working on autonomy, creating scripts that make jobs easier and more precise. He has created many python scripts that help with such things. Jenkins has become an integral part of his career in automation.

Jeff currently works for the UNT System as a Systems Administrator I for Central Web Services and manages web servers and code mainly in NodeJS.

Jeff would like to thank Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil who is probably his favorite teacher. He enjoys the subject which reflects in the classes he teaches.

Outstanding Junior in Computer Science – Jesus Rodriguez

Jesus Rodriguez grew up in small town of El Rosario in Mexico. He is a computer science major seeking a math minor as well. He has focused his classes towards software engineering, but he loves the computer science field as a whole. After graduating, he would like to attend graduate school and study ways in which A.I. can be utilized to help underrepresented groups such as low income families especially in highly impoverished nations since their experience was similar to what he experienced growing up.

During his spare time, Jesus enjoys playing his guitar and ukulele, playing videogames, learning to cook, and just spending time with his friends. Jesus says, "There have been so many people that have made an impression and influenced me in some way. I would like to thank them all individually but since there isn’t enough room, I would like to at least thank my brother, Ruben Rodriguez, and my parents, Raymundo Rodriguez and Francisca Astudillo, since they showed me just how far hard work can take one."

Outstanding Junior in Information Technology – Kevin Spracklen

Kevin Spranklen was drawn to the field of IT by a passion for technology and problem solving. He began taking courses at Tarrant County College, steadily working his way to an associate’s degree while working full time on the weekends. He transferred to UNT in 2016 to work towards a BA in Information Technology. Kevin is especially interested in networking and in the future he hopes to work in the field of network architecture. In his free time, he enjoys reading science fiction novels, watching movies, and playing with his dogs.

CSE Faculty recognized by Outstanding Students

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

Dr. Eduardo Blanco
Dr. Renee Bryce
Dr. Song Fu
Mr. David Keathly
Dr. Rodney Nielsen
Dr. Robin Pottathuparambil

CSE Students defend Dissertations and Theses

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

Srujan Kotikela

Dissertation: Secure and Trusted Execution for Virtualized Workloads

Major Professor: Dr. Krishna Kavi

Defense Date: May 9, 2018

Thiraphat Meesumrarn

Dissertation: Simulation of Dengue Outbreak in Thailand

Major Professor: Dr. Armin Mikler

Defense Date: May 1, 2018

Yassir Hashem

Dissertation: A Multimodal Insider Threat Detection and Prevention Based on User’s Behaviours

Major Professor: Dr. Ram Dantu

Defense Date: April 30, 2018

Josh Urbanovsky

Dissertation: Computational Methods to Optimize High-Consequence Variants of the Vehicle Routing Problem for Relief Networks in Humanitarian Logistics

Major Professor: Dr. Armin Mikler

Defense Date: April 27, 2018

Hamed Khan Pour

Dissertation: Computational Approaches for Analyzing Social Support in Online Health Communities

Major Professor: Dr. Bill Buckles

Defense Date: March 22, 2018

Joseph Helsing

Dissertation: Validation and Evaluation of Emergency Response Plans Through Agent-Based Modeling and Simulation

Major Professor: Dr. Armin Mikler

Defense Date: March 21, 2018

Prabha Sundaravadivel

Dissertation: Application-Specific Things Architectures for IoT-based Smart Healthcare

Major Professor: Dr. Saraju Mohanty

Defense Date: March 20, 2018

Congratulations to this M.S. student for successfully defending his thesis!

Abhinav Bhandaram

Thesis: Detecting Component Failure and Critical Components in Safety Critical Embedded Systems Using Fault Tree Analysis

Major Professor: Dr. Barrett Bryant

Defense Date: March 28, 2018

CSE students inducted into Engineering Honor Society

College of Engineering students inducted into Tau Beta Pi. CSE students are Jorge Cardona on the far left in the green shirt, Miranda Bigby on the far right in the purple shirt, and Charles Goff in the black shirt next to Miranda.

Three CSE students were inducted into the College of Engineering’s inaugural Tau Beta Pi section during Spring 2018. Congratulations to Computer Engineering Seniors, Jorge Cardona and Charles Goff, along with Computer Science student Miranda Bigby, on being inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the only engineering honor society representing the entire engineering profession.

Sampson Akwafuo and Faris Hawamdeh present posters at ACM/SIGAPP Symposium

Sampson AkwafuoFaris Hawamdeh

Ph.D. students from the Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis (CERL attended the ACM/SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC) in Pau, France held April 9-13, 2018. SAC is a premier international conference on applied computing. 2018 edition featured researchers and expert practitioners from over 50 countries. Three CSE faculty members and two students attended.

CERL Ph.D. students Sampson Akwafuo and Faris Hawamdeh participated in the Student Research Competition sponsored by Microsoft Research that was held during the conference. Sampson presented a poster on "Modelling the Impacts of HIV Intervention Programs for Key Populations." Faris presented a poster on "Quantifying Walkability of Roads Using Digital Elevation Models."

Shraddah Pipparia presents paper at ITNG 2018

Shraddah Pipparia accepts the Best Student Paper Award for CSE Ph.D. graduate David Adamo at ITNG 2018.Shraddah Pipparia during her presentation.

Shraddha Piparia presented a paper at ITNG 2018, the 15th International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations, held April 16-18, 2018, Las Vegas, Nevada. The paper titled "Test Suite Prioritization Using Clustering and Combinatorial Methods for Web and GUI applications" was a collaborative work with Dimitriy Nurmuradov for his Ph.D. dissertation research titled "Hybrid Approaches in Test Suite Prioritization." The paper was co-authored with Dr. Renee Bryce and Dr. Barrett Bryant. Shraddha also received the Best Student Paper Award on behalf of David Adamo for ITNG 2017.

Sultanah Alshammari presents paper at ICBDE Conference

Sultanah Alshammari, a Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis Ph.D. student, attended the 2018 International Conference on Big Data and Education (ICBDE 2018) in March 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She presented her paper titled "Big Data Opportunities for Disease Outbreaks Detection in Global Mass Gatherings." Dr. Armin Mikler is her Major Professor.

CSE Student wins Second Place in IEEE Software Testing Contest

Congratulations to Benjamin Sivoravong, a CSE Junior in Computer Science, on winning 2nd place and a $200 prize in the UT Dallas CS and IEEE Reliability Society Organize IEEE Software Testing Contest. The event was held at in the Department of Computer Science at UT Dallas on January 27, 2018 and winners were announced on this website on February 15, 2018.

The event brought in 180 attendees ranging from high school and college students to industry professionals. Ben said, "It was a really fun contest over a part of software development that most people tend to overlook. Getting experience in software testing is really valuable for a job in industry and most people don’t know a lot about writing software tests."

College of Engineering News

College of Engineering Events       College of Engineering News

College hosts UNT Inaugural Data Analytics Summit

CSE Associate Professor Dr. Rodney Nielsen, Director of the Human Intelligence and Language
Technologies Lab (HILT) made a presentation at the Data Analytics Summit.

The College of Engineering hosted its first-ever Data Analytics Summit on Friday, May 4, 2018, at the Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Allen at the John Q. Hammons Center in Allen. The full-day conference included guest speakers, panelists, and experts in state-of-the-art analytical / machine learning methods, business and intelligence applications, and future trends. For more information, contact Tom Derryberry, Assistant Dean for Corporate Relations, at the UNT College of Engineering.

Biomedical engineering awarded $2 million NIH grant

Associate Professor Don Zhu in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

The UNT College of Engineering recently received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a biodegradable medical stent. The Department of Biomedical Engineering will perform the research. For more information about this grant, please see this College of Engineering press release.

University of North Texas News

UNT to build new branch campus in Frisco

The University of North Texas has announced a new partnership with the City of Frisco and its Frisco Economic and Community Development Corporations to build a new branch campus to serve at least 5,000 students which will provide higher education and research opportunities for future generations.

The new UNT branch campus will be located at the southwest corner of Preston Road and Panther Creek Parkway on 100 acres of land, provided by the City of Frisco at no cost. UNT will purchase a 50,000-square foot, FEDC-owned office building, 6170 Research Road, for about $8.5 million. Under the purchase agreement, UNT will take ownership of the property Oct. 1, 2018.

For more information about this new UNT branch campus in Frisco, please see this UNT press release from May 1, 2018.

Provost announces Dean changes at UNT

Dr. Jana Hawley – New Dean of the UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism.

Jennifer Cowley, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, at the University of North Texas has announced that Costas Tsatsoulis, who most recently has been serving as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Associate Vice Provost for International Research Partnerships, is departing UNT to take on the role of Vice Chancellor of Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Missouri University Science & Technology. During Dr. Tsatsoulis’ tenure in the College of Engineering, the college saw unprecedented growth in student enrollment, launched several degree programs and earned several national rankings. Please follow UNT News for an announcement about the next Dean of the UNT College of Engineering.

Dr. Neale Chumbler will be the new Dean of the College of Health and Public Service and Professor of Rehabilitation and Health Services. He is currently serving as Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Western Kentucky University.

Dr. Jana Hawley will be the new Dean of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism. In her previous role, she served as the Director of the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Michael McPherson will become UNT’s Acting Dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism. He is currently serving as the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Success and Professor of Economics.

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.

This newsletter has been produced every Fall and Spring semester since April 2004. The newsletter archive can be found here. UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department — May 2018