University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

December 2006  

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

Greetings from the CSE Chairman

Dear CSE Alumni and Friends,

At the end of this Fall 2006 semester, I am excited to share with you all the news in our CSE department. In 2006, we received $1.2 million in research funding. Just before this edition was sent, we received news that Dr. JungHwan Oh, a new faculty member whose research focuses on medical imaging, was awarded a NSF grant for $73,708 for his project, "Endoscopic Multimedia Information." With this grant, our research funding for 2006 has more than doubled from 2005.

Since we began publishing this newsletter two years ago, I have been inviting you to support our department. There are many ways you can continue to be involved with us. Several of our alumni are serving on our CSE Advisory Council. In this newsletter, you will read about four of our CSE alumnae who recently participated in a panel sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers. Last spring, we included a donation envelope with our printed newsletter and some of our alumni responded by sending a contribution.

We will continue to ask for your support. National Engineers Week is coming in February 2007. You are invited to come back to UNT to be a "Professor for a Day" and share your professional experiences with our current students. But you don't have to wait until then. We invite you to come back to UNT at any time and get involved with our program. Your participation can help our CSE program become the best in North Texas.


Krishna M. Kavi

Department of Computer Science and Engineering News

CSE Department Named Finalist for Texas Higher Education Star Award

Texas Higher Education Star Award The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering was one of eight finalists nominated for the Texas Higher Education Star Award, established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to recognize exemplary contributions toward closing the educational gaps that challenge the state.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recognized the CSE department for its recruiting and retention efforts. Dr. Krishna Kavi credits the recognition to two innovative programs sponsored by grants from the Texas Technology Workforce Development program. Dr. Kavi says, "We have been named a finalist based on our summer RoboCamp program for young women in high school to encourage them to consider careers in computers and technology. Also, we have been recognized for the CSEagles program where female computer science majors help at recruiting events, talk about their experiences, and serve as mentors to other students."

Dr. Huang Involved in Multidisciplinary NSF Environmental Research Project

Dr. Yuan Huang The proposal titled "Engaging Local Governments, Teachers and Students in Cyber-Infrastructure for Environmental Monitoring and Modeling" has been recently funded by the National Science Foundation ($249,419). This project is a multidisciplinary effort involving researchers from the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Participant departments include Electrical Engineering (Co-PIs: Dr. Shengli Fu and Dr. Xinrong Li), Geography and Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) (PI: Dr. Miguel Acevedo), Computer Science (co-PI: Dr. Yan Huang), Biology and IAS (co-PIs: Dr. Ruthanne Thompson and Dr. Tom Waller). It includes support by the Computing and Information Technology Center (CITC), CAS Computing Support Services, the Center for Distance Learning (CDL), and the Elm Fork Education Center. In addition the project includes collaborations with the City of Denton, Texas, the National Weather Service (Fort Worth Office), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Lewisville Independent School District.

This project expands the application of the Environmental Sciences ECOPLEX web site and propels it into the Texas Environmental Observatory (TEO). The newly funded NSF project aims at demonstrating how to empower local governments, policy-makers, students and K-12 teachers to take advantage of cyberinfrastructure (CI) in the environmental arena. Educational modules will be developed and centered on innovative CI integration of new technologies for environmental monitoring and modeling. Research activities based on innovative development will include: a wireless sensor network to monitor soil moisture over a watershed; a low-cost total column ozone automated monitor; and a web portal that supports sophisticated analysis and modeling tools.

Dr. Kavi Presents Keynote Speech at PDCS-2006 and Makes Three Visits as IEEE Distinguished Scholar

Dr. Krisha Kavi & Earl Wells
Conference Chair, B. Earl Wells of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, presents Dr. Kavi with a plaque in appreciation for his presentation.
Dr. Krishna Kavi delivered the Keynote address at the 19th International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing Systems (PDCS-2006), held in San Francisco, CA, September 19-22, 2006. The title of Dr. Kavi's presentation was "Is it time to revive dataflow as a model of parallel computing?" PDCS-2006 is a major forum to address, explore and exchange information in all areas of Parallel and Distributed Computing Systems, their modeling and simulation, design, use and performance, and their impact.

In his role as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for the IEEE Computer Society, Dr. Kavi made three presentations during the Fall 2006 semester. On October 18, Dr. Kavi presented a seminar on Multicore Low Power Architectures for the IEEE Long Island Section Computer Society in Farmingdale, NY. On October 19, Dr. Kavi presented a colloquium for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State University entitled "Billion Transistor Chips-How to Garner the Silicon Real-Estate for Improved Performance." On November 29, Dr. Kavi lectured on "Scheduled Dataflow Architecture" for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida.

Following the Fall 2006 semester, Dr. Kavi will visit five universities in Taiwan to promote the CSE department to an international audience. He will visit National Taiwan University, National Chiao-Tung University, Fu Jen Catholic University, DongHwa University, and TungHai University. Dr. Kavi's visit will inform others about our CSE department and possibly recruit some international students for our graduate program.

David Keathly Invited to Present at TACRAO

David Keathly, CSE Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor, was invited to speak at the 85th Annual TACRAO conference held in Austin during the first week in November. He gave a presentation entitled "Using Summer Academic Camps for Recruitment" that focused on the CSE department's experience with RoboCamp during the past two years. TACRAO is the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Faculty and admissions staff members from Texas universities and colleges at this conference session talked about programs targeting under-represented populations. Summer camps that target these students can be a useful recruiting tool for academic programs. David Keathly's presentation explored how summer camps and other learning opportunities can help engage faculty to develop these kinds of recruitment programs for students.

Alumni News

December 2006 CSE Advisory Council Meeting

CSE Advisory Council
(L-R) Dr. Freeman Moore (Ph.D. 1995), Dr. Robert Brazile,
and Dr. Krishna Kavi at the CSE department luncheon.

The CSE Advisory Committee met December 8, 2006. Dr. Kavi presented an overview of the CSE department including plans for future changes. Three new CSE faculty members, Bill Buckles, JungHwan Oh, and Xiaohui Yuan, made presentations about their research. Current members from the CSE Advisory Council represent industries such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Texas Instruments. Two CSE alumni attended this meeting: Kathy Foster (M.S. 1979) and Freeman Moore (Ph.D. 1995). Following the meeting, the CSE Advisory Council joined the CSE faculty and teaching assistants for a department luncheon.

The purpose of the Advisory Council is to enhance the quality and content of the computer science and engineering research and educational programs through active practitioner-educator partnering. The primary roles of the Advisory Council are:

  • Provide advice to the department's chair on undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Provide advice to the faculty on desired program objectives, outcomes, and other educational issues, as constituents representing the community of employers of graduates.
  • Provide advice on the needs of and trends in industry and business.
  • Provide advice to the department chair to increase the department's relationship with local industry.
  • Assist the department to identify qualified adjunct instructors for possible instructional needs.
  • Provide advice concerning the department's research program and projects.
  • Help identify resources for the department.

If you are interested in serving as a member of the CSE Advisory Council, please contact Dr. Krishna Kavi at for more information.

CSE Alumnae Join SWE Professional Panel

SWE Panel
SWE Panel (L-R): Elizabeth Otenaike, Rachel Forsyth, Enrri Smith, Kathy Foster, Diane Rutherford, Hasina Masha Aziz, Nergis Soylemez, and Liz Tinch.

Four CSE alumnae returned to UNT on Tuesday, November 28, 2006 to serve on a panel of professional UNT College of Engineering Alumni Women Engineers. About 20 students, both female and male, gathered to hear the panel talk about being a woman in the workplace. Students asked questions and the panel members gave some excellent advice on career and family. They encouraged students to get involved in student engineering organizations and to attend regional conferences. All panel members stressed the importance of networking in the workplace.

Elizabeth Otenaike earned her B.S. in Computer Science in 1984 from UNT and has been in the defense industry for the past 22 years. She has been at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth since July 2000 and is a Software Product Manager. She has Masters of Arts degrees in Counseling and Education. Elizabeth is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology with a special emphasis on multicultural and industrial/ organizational psychology. She is also a Coach and Change Consultant.

Rachel Forsyth has had her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology from UNT since 2002. She has worked in product design as well as manufacturing engineering. In her most recent role as group lead for the manufacturing engineering department at Peterbilt Motors Company, she has had the opportunity to implement a robotic fuel tank weld manufacturing cell, play key roles in developing new tooling for the production floor, work as a liaison to design engineering to help them make robust designs for manufacture, as well as utilizing lean manufacturing techniques to reduce assembly costs and improve efficiency.

Enrri Smith grew up in a small, south-central Texas town and graduated in the top 5% from her class. She spent her first year in college at Baylor University where she majored in Mechanical Engineering and was part of the Air Force ROTC Program. She finished her Mechanical Engineering Technology degree at UNT in 2002, where she was a member and then student chair of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Upon graduating, she worked for a manufacturing plant in Dallas. After being laid off, she took a contract position with Siemens Energy and Automation as a manufacturing engineer on high visibility projects to redesign switchboards and power panels. In 2004, she joined Peterbilt Motors Company as a design engineer. She is part of the CMP (Cost Management Partnership) Chassis/Powertrain group where they work with suppliers to reduce PACCAR cost through new design and re- engineering projects. She is happily married and has a 1 year old baby girl.

Kathy Foster earned her B.S. in Computer Science from Stephen F. Austin State University and then her M.S. in Computer Science from UNT in 1979. She has two sons, ages 25 and 27, whom she has raised as a single parent since they were 4 and 6 years old. She worked as a research programmer for UNT for five years and as a programmer and Database Analyst (DBA) for Texas A&M University for six years. She has been a DBA for Texas Instruments for 20 years. She is also a senior member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments. She builds and maintains IMS and DB2 databases that run on the zOS mainframe, as well as Oracle databases that run on Unix platforms. She is on the CS Advisory Council for Stephen F. Austin State University as well as the CSE Advisory Council for UNT.

Diane Rutherford is technically not an alumna of UNT yet. Diane received her B.S. Mechanical Engineering degree from UTA in 1998. While working on her undergraduate degree, Diane was employed at Siecor in Keller, TX as a Manufacturing Engineering intern. Upon graduation, she worked as a Manufacturing Engineer for Litton EOS (Garland, TX), then moved on to Retractable Technologies, Inc. (Little Elm, TX) where she is currently a Senior Product Development Engineer. In this position, she designs new products, improves the design of current products, investigates materials for use in both new and current products, and evaluates the effect of these activities in reference to the requirements of the heavily regulated medical device industry. She is currently working on her M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at UNT.

Hasina Masha Aziz earned two Computer Science degrees from UNT: a B.S. in 2001 and a M.S. in 2004. She is a Programmer Analyst for the Student Records team at the UNT Computing and IT Center since Feb 2006. Prior to that from 2004 to 2006, she was working as a Software Engineer at a Medical Software Company in Plano, TX. She became a single mother in 1998 of a two year old son. She was able to get her degrees while raising a child alone. During her senior year as an undergraduate, she was the Student Ambassador for the Computer Science department. While working on her M.S. degree, she was also a teaching assistant for the CSE department. She is thankful to the professors for doing a great job in teaching and always making time and effort for students.

Nergis Soylemez came to the United States as an international student from Turkey six years ago. She lived in Michigan for two and a half years and finished her senior year in high school. She transferred to UNT in 2003 from Lawrence Technological University and graduated in May 2006 with honors and an Electronics Engineering Technology degree. She has received many scholarships and awards since she came to UNT and she was selected as the Outstanding Engineering Technology Student in her senior year. She enjoyed her college years at UNT very much and being a part of student organizations added more joy to her student life. She currently works at Thermadyne as a Quality Engineer and she will always appreciate the help and encouragement that the College of Engineering Faculty provided for her to succeed, reach her goals, and aim higher.

Liz Tinch worked full time at Hewitt Associates while pursuing her Master's Degree in Computer Science at UNT. She graduated in December 2003, had a child in April 2005, and joined BNSF Railways in April 2006. She is a Senior Analyst in the Finance, Technology Management group, where she is able to use her technical skills as a liaison between the programmers and user groups.

Kathy Foster and Yan Huang
Kathy Foster (M.S. 1979), Senior Member
of the Technical Staff at Texas Instruments,
received her "Professor for a Day"
certificate for her presentation in
Dr. Yan Huang's database class. Kathy is
also a member of the CSE Advisory Council.

Alumni Invited to Come Back to UNT as a "Professor for a Day"

The UNT College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering will celebrate National Engineers Week February 18-24, 2007. Once again we would like to invite our alumni to participate in the festivities. One of the programs well suited to our alumni is the "Professor for a Day" program in which you have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with an undergraduate or graduate class of students during the week.

We would welcome the opportunity to have you discuss your career experiences in Computer Science and Computer Engineering related fields with our current students. There are many class times available in the morning, afternoon and evening. Please contact Dr. Robert Akl at or (940) 565-2804 if you would like to participate in this "Professor for a Day" program.

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

Student News

Ph.D. Students Defend Dissertations

Peng & Brazile
Xiabo Peng (L) with his doctoral advisor, Dr. Robert Brazile. Peng defended his dissertation on September 20, 2006. The title of his dissertation was "Mediation on XQuery Views."
Harrington Defense
Brian Harrington defended his dissertation on October 18, 2006. His dissertation, "A Netcentric Scientific Research Repository," was approved by his committee shown here with him (L-R): Dr. Robert Brazile, Dr. Kathy Swigger, Brian, and Dr. Yan Huang.

CSE Programming Teams Compete

CSE Programming Team
UNT flskhuv (L-R): Hector Cuellar, John Rizzo, Michael Mohler.

Four UNT programming teams competed in the 2006 ACM South Central USA Regional Programming Contest at the University of Texas at Arlington on November 4, 2006. The top UNT team finished in fourth place with 6 problems solved out of 8 in 711 minutes. The fourth place winners were UNT flskhuv with John Rizzo, Michael Mohler, and Hector Cuellar. This team also won an award for finishing one of the 8 problems first.

Other UNT teams competing were UNT pwnz0rz (Ben Cloutier, Richard Lundberg, Deanna Peterson), UNT BSoD (Tze-I Yang, Andrew Ellis, Tyler Cole), and UNT segfault (core dumped) (William Garner, Jordan Bonn, Vincent Liguori).

In the TopCoder Collegiate Challenger 2006, three of our top students competed individually (John Rizzo, Michael Mohler, and Hector Cuellar) in an initial field of about 2000 competitors worldwide. All three made it to the second round, and two made it to the third round which narrowed a field of 2000 down to 450. One student, John Rizzo, qualified for the fourth and final round which was narrowed to 150 participants. John finished 130 overall, ninth in the U.S. John and the other third round student, Michael Mohler were the #1 and #2 rankings in Texas.

Another programming competition, Google Code Jam 2006, started with about 6000 competitors worldwide. Two UNT students, John Rizzo and Michael Mohler, advanced to the second round, which narrowed the field to 1000 participants. Rizzo finished 113th place overall and 6th in the US, and #1 in Texas in a field which included both students and professional developers. Students from UTD, UT-Austin, Texas A&M and Trinity competed from Texas. It is worth noting that Rizzo finished ahead of the two top ACM Team members from MIT.

College of Engineering News

UNT Receives $4 Million for Nanotechnology Research

CSE Programming Team
This was a recent visit of Dr. Michael Burgess (leftmost), US Congressman of Texas Distric 26, to the UNT College of Engineering Research Park. From left to right after the Congressman,Tom Fitzmaurice, Dean Garcia, UNT President Bataille, Eric With (Congressional Staff) and Provost Johnson.

Founding Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Oscar Garcia, has announced that the Advanced Research and Technology Institute (ARTI) at the College of Engineering recently received $4 million for nanotechnology research. ARTI was formerly known as the Center for Advanced Research and Technology.

The money was obtained in the 2007 Department of Defense Appropriations bill which was recently passed by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The provision for UNT in the bill was secured by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressional Representative Michael Burgess.

Dr. Garcia said this money will be used by ARTI researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to develop the infrastructure necessary for it to become a nationally viable state-of-the- art research and development facility. Its pursuits will include the study of biomaterials and bioelectronics.

With more than $11 million in Defense appropriation funding in 2004, 2005, and 2006, ARTI has acquired a focused ion beam microscope, a high resolution analytical transmission electron microscope, a local electrode atom probe, and numerous other analytical and processing tools. This equipment has made the UNT College of Engineering one of the premier materials research facilities in the nation.

First SWE Meeting Held and Officers Selected

SWE Panel
From L to R, Carol Bachman, Project Engineer for Peterbilt, is the UNT SWE Professional Advisor and SWE Region C Professional Leadership Coach; Telissa Townsend, Construction Engineering major, is the SWE Treasurer; Laura Gonzalez, Computer Engineering major, is the SWE Vice President of Communications; Elena Lassandro, Computer Engineering major, is the SWE President; and Michelle Clarke, Manufacturing Engineering major, is the SWE Vice President of Fundraising.

The UNT College of Engineering held its first informational meeting about forming a collegiate section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on October 17, 2006. Carol Bachman, Project Engineer for Peterbilt, and Susanne Nickerson, Associate Design Engineer for Peterbilt, spoke about forming a SWE collegiate section at UNT.

The objectives of SWE are:

  1. To inform young women of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them.
  2. Assist women in preparing themselves for the work force.
  3. Serve as a center of information on women in engineering.
  4. Encourage women engineers to attain high levels of education and professional achievement.
  5. Establish network opportunities for student engineers with professional engineers.

To form a SWE collegiate section, UNT must have a minimum of 10 students who are freshmen, sophomores, or juniors to join SWE. Seniors and graduate students may also join, but they cannot be counted towards the minimum number to be a collegiate section. Male students are also invited to join. Student membership in SWE is only $20 and students can join at

For more information about UNT SWE at the College of Engineering, please contact Ms. Anaya at or (469) 831-2453.

CENG Students Participate in UNT Homecoming

Dean Oscar Garcia and UNT Provost Howard Johnson
Dean Oscar Garcia (L) and UNT Provost Howard Johnson (R) enjoy Homecoming 2006

Students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering participated in the College of Engineering's Homecoming festivities on October 7, 2006. CENG students built a float for the Homecoming parade that was powered by a Nitrogen-fueled car designed and built in the Department of Engineering Technology. Dean Garcia rode in the car that towed a float with the Mean Green Scrappy Eagle in a boxing ring with a Panther, the mascot of Florida International University.

Students from the Council of Engineering Organizations were excited about building the first-ever float for the College of Engineering. Mitra Mahdavian, one of the student organizers, said, "It was fun and exciting to get engineering students to work together on something other than class projects!" Another student, Danny Hall said "There are a lot of students and people in the community that don't even know that UNT has a College of Engineering - now they will!"

After the parade, the float was driven to the Mean Green Village where the College of Engineering had a tent to showcase the accomplishments of the CENG departments. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering had larger robots waving UNT flags and smaller robots from RoboCamp doing RoboArt. To see more pictures and a video about College of Engineering's activities during the UNT Homecoming, please go here.

University of North Texas News

UNT Event Calendar

UNT Announces Presidential Tour

UNT President, Dr. Gretchen Bataille, will travel from Los Angeles to New York City on a national tour. The first of its kind for a UNT President, the tour kicked off in November 20 in Chicago and followed with a trip to New York City on December 13. Other dates are as follows:

  • January 10 - Denver
  • January 22 - Washington, D.C.
  • February 21 - San Antonio
  • February 24 - Houston
  • March 8 - Los Angeles

Dr. Bataille hopes to connect with UNT alumni and friends and share her vision of UNT's future. "UNT has a great story to tell," Dr. Bataille said. "We need to be sure we are sharing our successes as well as our needs for scholarships and other support to those who care about the campus. The goal is to solidify our friendships with alums and donors which will result in greater support for our priorities."

The tour leads up to Dr. Bataille's inauguration as president, which is scheduled for April 12-14, 2007 in Denton and will focus on raising scholarship money. Dr. Bataille said the tour was primarily her idea because she has seen it work with other new presidents who want to get to know alumni and donors who are not on the campus or in the city or state.

For more information about Dr. Bataille's tour, please go here.

New Mean Green Football Coach Selected

Todd Dodge

Rick Villareal, UNT Athletics Director, announced on December 12 the appointment of Todd Dodge as the next head football coach at the University of North Texas. Dodge, 43, is one of the nation's most successful high school football coaches. As head coach at Carroll High School in Southlake, TX, Dodge won three state championships and compiled a 77-1 record.

This is Dodge's second stint with the UNT football team. He served as the offensive coordinator for the UNT football team during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Dodge said, "I've been coaching for 21 years and the two years I spent at North Texas were two of my favorite. I am so excited and so thankful to have this opportunity to return as head football coach."

For more information on this announcement, please go to

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

If you would like to receive this newsletter as text rather than formatted in HTML, please contact Don Retzlaff at UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department — December 2006