University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

November 2008  

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

Greetings from the CSE Chairman

Chairman Krisha Kavi

Dear CSE Alumni and Friends,

As the Fall 2008 semester winds down, I want to take this opportunity to tell you more about our new Information Technology program. We expect this program to grow as we add more courses in the future. You can read more information about this program below, along with an introduction to our new CSE faculty member dedicated to the IT program at the Dallas campus.

The Network Security Lab is featured in this issue. Dr. Ram Dantu leads this research group of six graduate students. We recognize their many achievements during the past year. Also in this newsletter, we celebrate Don Retzlaff's 30th anniversary and welcome a visiting scholar to the Computer Vision and Intelligent Systems (CoVIS) lab.

I invite you to come back to UNT and be a “Professor for a Day” in one of our classes for National Engineers Week in February 2009. Alumni support is important to our department. You can read below how we are thinking about hosting a retreat so you can network with other alumni and offer us feedback on our programs. Please let us know if you want to participate. I hope we can count on your support.

Krishna M. Kavi
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

New BA in IT Program Underway

The new BA in Information Technology is off to a great start with a total of 34 students as of the beginning of the Fall semester. We expect that number to grow quickly into the Spring and Fall of 2009. It is already very popular at the area community colleges, and our advisors are burning up the road as they make recruiting visits and presentations based on requests. The word is spreading quickly!

New courses are being offered each semester. Some of these courses are also available as electives for Computer Science and Computer Engineering students. For example, CSCE 3055 IT Project Management is being offered in the Spring of 2009 and requires only CSCE 2050 as a prerequisite. Consider some of these courses for your electives. Currently we have a large number of new students at the UNT Dallas Campus enrolling in this new program and attending classes with their Denton counterparts via video conference.

Afrin Naz

We also have a new faculty member dedicated to the IT program at the Dallas campus. Afrin Naz is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Information Technology Program on the UNT Dallas campus. Dr. Naz received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNT in August 2007. Following her graduation, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Math and Computer Science at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.

Dr. Naz joined UNT in Fall 2008. This semester Dr. Naz is teaching CSCE 1035, Information Systems I; CSCE 2900, Special Problems in Computer Science and Engineering; and CSCE 2410, Programming Lab. Her research interests include computer architecture, parallel and distributed systems, and embedded system designs.

CSE Network Security Lab News

(L-R) Xiaohui Yang, Paul Sroufe, Lonnie Langle, Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav, Santi Phithakkitnukoon, and Huiqi Zhang
(L-R) Xiaohui Yang, Paul Sroufe, Lonnie Langle, Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav,
Santi Phithakkitnukoon, and Huiqi Zhang

Dr. Ram Dantu directs the CSE Network Security Lab. The NSL was featured in THIS article in the Fall 2008 Research Texas magazine. Dr. Dantu was the Faculty Focus in the THIS September 2008 edition of The UNT Insider.

Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav joined the Network Security Lab (NSL) in Fall 2007, and he is pursuing his Ph.D. in CSE. His research interest is in Online Social Networking (OSN) and the future vision of OSN. His work is concentrated on improving and developing the next generation of OSN. His work on group recommendation system for Facebook has been published at the OnTheMove conference in November 2008 in Monterrey, Mexico. In addition, his other work on privacy management systems has been accepted for publication at the 4th International Conference on Information Systems Security (ICISS) in December 2008.

Lonnie Langle received a B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology from UNT. He worked at Maxim Integrated Products (Dallas Semiconductor) for three years developing TR&D and Gate Oxide Integrity software. He is currently pursuing a M.S. degree in Computer Science and plans to build a framework for SPAM detection on cellular phones. He has one publication in Computers in Education Journal (January 2008). Lonnie was president of UNT's chapter of Tau Alpha Pi in 2005.

Paul Sroufe received his B.S in Computer Engineering from UNT and won outstanding undergraduate for 2008. He is currently pursuing an M.S. degree in Computer Science. His current research is on email, spamming botnets, and VoIP spam behavior. He has published papers in IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS) in May 2008 and IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC) in January 2009.

Xiaohui Yang is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at George Mason University, and works as a visiting scholar at UNT. Her research area is VoIP security and social computing. She is currently working on achieving peer-to-peer telecommunication services through social hashing, which aims at using a social network based collaborative approach to building trust, executing supervision, and achieving efficient routing in P2P VoIP networks. She has recently published a paper in IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC) in January 2009.

Huiqi Zhang is a Ph.D. student in CSE. He is working on discovering social activities based on call detail records. He will be presenting the paper “Discovery of Social Groups using Call Detail Records” published in Proceedings of the International Workshop on MObile and NEtworking Technologies for social applications (MONET 2008) at Monterrey, Mexico in November 2008. His paper “Opt-in Detection based on Call Detail Records” is accepted by the sixth Annual IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC) in Las Vegas in January 2009.

Santi Phithakkitnukoon, Ph.D. candidate in CSE, is interested in applying machine learning techniques in real-world problems. His research is thus composed of an interdisciplinary blend of the fields of computer science, sociology, psychology, and statistics. He is currently working on VoIP spam mitigation, email botnet detection, and mobile social computing. He has received a doctoral dissertation award in Fall 2008 for his dissertation proposal entitled “Mobile Social Computing, Behavioral Modeling, and Predictions.”

Santi has published his works and served as program committee member or reviewer for several international journals and conferences such as IEEE and ACM. His recent publications include Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective (August 2008), ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS) (accepted in June 2008), ACM Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) in August 2008 in Las Vegas, IEEE Consumer Communications and Networking Conference (CCNC) in Las Vegas in January 2009, and OnTheMove (OTM) in Monterrey, Mexico in November 2008.

The Network Security Lab has had many achievements this year. During Summer and Fall 2008, NSL has published 13 journals/conference papers and several more under review. Dr. Dantu was named a finalist for the Innovator Award for 2008 Tech Titan Awards. NSL student members have won Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Computer Engineering Award (Paul Sroufe) in 2008, Outstanding Master's Student in Computer Science Award (Husain Husna) in 2008, Outstanding Ph.D. Student in Computer Science Award (Prakash Kolan) in 2008, Doctoral Dissertation Award in Fall 2008 (Santi Phithakkitnukoon), and Doctoral Award from Federation of North Texas Area Universities of 2007-2008 (Santi Phithakkitnukoon).

Members of the MIT DFW Club visited the Network Security Lab in October 2008 when they visited the College of Engineering. Pictures of that visit can be found HERE. You can learn more about the NSL on their WEBSITE and see more pictures in our media gallery HERE.

Don Retzlaff Celebrates 30 Years

Don Retzlaff

Don Retzlaff, lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is celebrating his thirtieth (that's 30th!) anniversary with the department and the university. Don was hired by the department's original chairman, Dr. Jim Poirot, in 1978. Don has now been in the department longer than any other current faculty member.

Over the years, Don has taught a variety of undergraduate courses. He is best known for teaching 4410/4420 (Software Development) and various programming language lab courses, including 1020, 2050, 3300, and 3410. In addition to his teaching duties, Don is the department's webmaster, a position he's held since the department has had a presence on the web, and he assists Genene Murphy with the creation and distribution of both the student and alumni newsletters.

His current plans are to retire after the Spring 2009 semester and continue teaching half-time under the university's Modified Service program.

Dr. Shahrokhi Named Guest Editor

Dr. Farhad Shahrokhi

Professor Farhad Shahrokhi will be the guest editor for a special issue of the journal Algorithmica. The special issue will publish the proceedings of the workshop on Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Geometry (ACG) that was hosted by UNT, and was organized by Dr. Shahrokhi in November 2007. For details of the workshop, see

Dr. Paul Tarau Presents at NKS 2008

Dr. Paul Tarau

Dr. Paul Tarau presented “Shapeshifting Data Types with Isomorphisms and Hylomorphisms” at NKS 2008. The conference featured keynote speakers Charles Bennett, David Deutsch, Sir Anthony J. Leggett, Gregory Chaitin and Steven Wolfram under the unifying theme: "What is Computation? How Does Nature Compute?" and brought together researchers from emerging fields like quantum computing, digital physics, and foundations of computer science and mathematics. HERE is a link to a group picture at the beautiful University of Indiana campus.

Visiting Scholar Joins CoVIS

Ye Yu

Ye Yu joined the Computer Vision and Intelligent Systems (CoVIS) lab in the department as a visiting scholar in October and will stay with the lab for 12 months. Ms. Yu is currently a senior Ph.D. student at the Hefei University of Technology (HUT), China. She will be working with Dr. Xiaohui Yuan on 3D urban model reconstruction and error analysis. Her expertise in graphics and visualization complements the skills of the research team of Dr. Yuan. Her visit strengthens the collaboration between the CoVIS and the HUT.

News for Alumni

Alumni Focus

Steve Crozier

Steve Crozier was among the first group of students to graduate from UNT's then-nascent undergraduate program in Computer Science. At UNT from 1976 to 1980, he was fortunate to be mentored by professors Denis Conrady, Tom Irby, Don Retzlaff, taken under the wing of then graduate student Sharon Perkins, and guided by the wonderful Dan Scott and Jim Poirot, chairmen of the department while he was there. It was a wonderful time in the history of computer science and of UNT's program. It was also a great time for music, and Steve studied piano with Dr. Jack Roberts (deceased), then the head of the piano department in the School of Music.

Since graduating UNT in 1980, Steve Crozier has been a technology innovator and entrepreneur. His first major project was as an employee of Sun Information Services (then, the computing arm of oil company Sun Company). As a recent graduate, he wrote SunRPF (Sun Remote Printing Facility) a 25,000 line IBM 360 assembly language (look it up in the history books) program to control remote printing for Sun's network of 2000 remote workstations. An entrepreneurial opportunity came up, and Crozier formed his first company, Crozier-Smith, Inc. Its first contract was in supporting SunRPF for companies like General Motors, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Since starting Crozier-Smith at the age of 23, Crozier has never strayed from the entrepreneurial path. His ventures have employed hundreds of people and spawned new market segments. He's also been the technical brains behind innovations in remote computing, higher education administrative software, early multi-user database systems, 4GL development tools, web content management, and technical training. He founded or co-founded four companies: Applied Collegiate Systems (now part of Diebold, Inc.), Populi, Luminant Worldwide--which went public in 1998 as a market leader in full-service IT, Internet, and Web professional services--and Black White Read, LLC.

At age 45, after a nostalgic Denton lunch with Dr. Irby and Don Retzlaff, Crozier returned to school to get back to programming, and received a graduate degree in molecular biophysics from University of Texas Southwest Medical Center. His work involved the creation of a massively parallel hardware and software architecture for the analysis of protein and RNA structure.

But the entrepreneurial bug was too strong: Crozier is currently the President of Black White Read, which as developed a web-based publishing and ad serving system for online community newspapers (using Ruby on Rails). The publishing system has been licensed by the Presbyterian Church nation-wide, and Black White Read is developing a franchise model to publish online community newspapers, of which there are currently six online in the east Dallas area (see

Crozier currently lives in Dallas with his wife, Donna Persaud, MD, who is the Pediatric Medical Director for Parkland Health and Hospital System. Their two daughters are in college.

Be a “Professor for a Day” at UNT

Naveen Kakani as Professor for a Day
Naveen Kakani, M.S. 1997, Ph.D. 2000, receives his “Professor for a Day” certificate from Graduate Studies Coordinator, Dr. Armin R. Mikler. In February 2008, Naveen was the guest speaker at the Graduate Studies Open House.

The UNT College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering will celebrate National Engineers Week during February 15-21, 2009. Once again we would like to invite our alumni to participate in the festivities. One of the programs most appropriate for 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 Genene Murphy at if you would like to participate in this "Professor for a Day" program.

Still Calling All Alumni


The CSE department at UNT would like your thoughts and suggestions about how we can build a strong network of alumni. The department of CS (and now CSE) existed for more than 30 years with a large number of graduates. We would really like you to actively participate in the departmental activities and take an active role in shaping its future. We are thinking about a short retreat to create a networking among alumni and seeking feedback from you. One option would be start the event on a Friday afternoon and wrap up by Saturday evening, but you are welcome to suggest other options.

We will set aside time for you to network with other graduates. We will have brainstorming sessions on what is important to you. We will have several small groups working on different issues that will have an impact on the department's future. We want to hear if you would be interested in participating in such an activity, and if you would be willing to help us with the event. Please let us know by emailing your thoughts to Genene Murphy (

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

Ping Yu Defends her Dissertation

Ping Yu with Dr. Tate
Ping Yu with Dr. Tate

Ping Yu defended her dissertation, “Direct Online/Offline Digital Signature Schemes,” on Monday, October 20, 2008. Her major professor was Dr. Stephen R. Tate. Other members on her committee were Dr. Ram Dantu, Dr. Armin R. Mikler, and Dr. Ian Parberry.

This dissertation introduces new techniques for online/offline signing, applies those in a variety of ways for creating online/offline signature schemes, and produces five different online/offline signature schemes that are proved secure under a variety of models and assumptions. Two of the five schemes have the best offline or best online performance of any currently known technique, and are the most efficient techniques for embedded device authentication and bursty server authentication, respectively.

CSEagle Ambassador Program Expands

CSEagle Ambasssador Program members
Front row L-R: Nitya Kandukuri, Jonathan Holman, Kaci Irvin
Back row: Laura Gonzalez, Brittany Bruno, Gary Tartt, Russell Yermal, Alan White, Daniel Piers

The CSEagle Ambassador and Mentor program was started in 2005 with a grant from the Texas Workforce Development program. Students selected receive a $1000 scholarship while they assist with recruiting and outreach activities such as NT Preview. They also mentor incoming freshman students on an individual basis. Each year to date there have been 10 students in the program. Starting in Spring of 2009 funds will support 15 students. The application period will begin November 15 and run until December 1, 2008. Newly selected ambassadors will be announced in January.

Recently the ambassadors met with their mentees and shared pizza at Discovery Park. Pictures from the meeting are available HERE in the CSE Media Gallery. For more information contact David Keathly at or visit HERE.

CSE Students Compete at ACM Regional Contest

ACM Programming Team
(L-R) Daniel Piers, J.R. Razmus, Stuart Callison, Robert Krause, Robert Mitchell Burke,
Coach Michael Mohler, and Russell Yermal.

Two teams of students attended the 2008 Association of Computing Machinery South Central Regional Programming Competition at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma on October 17th. The teams faced heavy competition this year from UT-Austin, Texas A&M, Baylor, and many others, and were coached by graduate student Michael Mohler.

The team "UNT Even Meaner Green," consisting of Robert Mitchell Burke, Stuart Callison, and Russell Yermal, completed 2 out of 7 problems to finish 11th out of 60 teams. UNT's second team (composed of all first-time competitors) fought hard and placed 47th. This team consisted of Robert Krause, Daniel Piers, and J.R. Razmus.

College of Engineering News

CENG Sponsors Texas BEST at UNT

Texas BEST

The College of Engineering sponsored the regional robotics competition known as Texas BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) on November 14 and 15, 2008. Teams from high schools and middle schools in Texas and New Mexico competed at the UNT Coliseum. The teams competing advanced from local competitions to this regional championship. About 40 teams comprising 1,000 students gathered at the Super Pit for the robot rumble.

BEST aims to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math through participation in a fun, sports-like competition. The robots, which are built and operated by students, compete to solve a set of tasks established by organizers. This year, the robots assembled an airplane. Student teams received kits of equipment and parts, then spent six weeks designing and building their radio-controlled robots and practicing how to make them move.

BEST Robotics, Inc. was organized in 1993 by engineers from Texas Instruments. Today more than 10,000 students participate nationwide. Regional championships are held in Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama. For more information about the competition, read this UNT press release or go to the Texas BEST website at

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at CENG

SHPE Group
(L-R) Richard Akins, Isaac Anderson, Jorge Arriaga, Miguel Garcia, Raul Asencio, Erwin Guillermo Fernandez

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers is brought together by heritage, social responsibility, and the desire to improve the equality of all people through the use of science and technology. We value excellence in education, professional pursuits, and leadership. We obtain excellence through integrity, empowerment, achievement, diversity and continuous improvement.

During the meeting that took place on October 28, 2008, the group discussed the upcoming national SHPE conference that will take place in Phoenix, AZ. The group also talked about new fundraising ideas and setting up the new website. SHPE is a great organization for students and alumni looking to get involved and help the UNT College of Engineering grow.

Miguel Garcia-Rubio, Associate Dean for the College of Engineering, is the faculty advisor for SHPE and is committed to improving the organization and helping it grow. Alumni who would like to take part in SHPE or other College of Engineering organizations can get more information at

CENG at UNT Homecoming 2008

Kids at Homecoming playing Rock Band

The College of Engineering hosted a tent during UNT's Homecoming Weekend in the Mean Green Village on October 25, 2008. Several departments hosted displays and activities for alumni, students and other visitors to the tent. The Computer Science and Engineering department's Rock Band game was a hit with visitors to the College of Engineering Homecoming tent. Competition was fierce on vocals, drums, and guitar.

Pictures are posted HERE in the CSE media gallery.

University of North Texas News

UNT Receives Funding for New Institute for Science and
Engineering Simulation

(L-R): Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rep. Michael Burgess<br />and
UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille
(L-R): Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rep. Michael Burgess
and UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille

UNT received $2.2 million this year and will receive an additional $6.36 million next year to fund the new Institute for Science and Engineering Simulation (ISES) to study the causes of jet engine failure and to develop stronger, more durable jet engines. The money will come from the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio. This project was made possible through congressional appropriations.

Raj Banerjee, associate professor of materials science and engineering at the College of Engineering, will direct ISES. Dr. Banerjee said, “The research at UNT will help maintain and extend the life of aging aircraft, prevent catastrophic engine failure and aid the Air Force in developing better materials for the next generation of aircraft.”

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Michael Burgess helped secure the funding. Both spoke at the event announcing the funding on October 22. UNT President Gretchen Bataille also spoke and thanked Senator Hutchison and Representative Burgess for their commitment to this research. For more details, see this UNT press release.

UNT Jazz Reunion Concert on November 22

Neil Slater
Neil Slater directing the One O'Clock Lab Band last year.

Alumni will return to the UNT campus to honor two recently retired UNT jazz legends—former One O'Clock Lab Band Director Neil Slater and former Two O'Clock Lab Band Director and professor of saxophone James Riggs. The current One O'Clock and Two O'Clock Lab Bands also will perform in honor to Slater and Riggs. Proceeds will help establish jazz studies endowed scholarship funds.

The concert will be held on Saturday, November 22, in the UNT Coliseum. The program will begin at 6 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information about this event, go to THIS website.

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 — November 2008