University of North Texas
CSE Alumni Email Newsletter

September 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,

I am pleased to share with you that our B.S. in Computer Engineering has been accredited through 2014. It is very rare that a new program receives full accreditation. We should be proud of this achievement. You can read about this and other department news below. Robocamp was a big success this year and plans are being made for next summer. Congratulations to Robert Akl, Ram Dantu, and Rada Mihalcea: all received tenure and were promoted to Associate Professor for this academic year.

Our Department of Computer Science and Engineering is growing. While our enrollment is holding steady with about 632 undergraduates and 167 graduate students, our new B.A. in Information Technology program has added over 30 new students to our department. This program was initiated by our CSE Advisory Board and developed by our faculty over the past two years so we are excited to welcome these new students to our CSE family.

Alumni support is important to the future of our department. In this newsletter below, we invite you to help us build a strong network of alumni. We are thinking about hosting a retreat so you can network with other alumni and offer us feedback on our programs. I hope you will want to participate. We invite you to come back to CSE at UNT.

Krishna M. Kavi
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

B.S. in Computer Engineering Receives Full Accreditation


ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) has notified us that our B.S. in Computer Engineering program has received accreditation through 2014 and that we will be evaluated again in 2013 to extend the accreditation. It is very rare that a new program that started in 2003 and graduated its first class in 2007 receives full NGR. Next General Review means that there were no deficiencies or weaknesses in our B.S. in Computer Engineering program.

In 2007, ABET reviewed our Self-Study. Last Fall, ABET visitors came to our CSE department to review our program, including all course materials for undergraduate classes. They also met with faculty, alumni, and students about the new program. Thanks to everyone who participated in these discussions. At the end of their time here, the visitors found no deficiencies or weaknesses. They had only three minor concerns for the program that have already been addressed. During the summer, ABET approved the visitors' recommendations that our program receive full NGR.

Now the CSE Department must prepare for our accreditation review for the B.S. in Computer Science. Faculty will be collecting materials from classes this year. A Self-Study for Computer Science will be written in Spring 2008. Dr. Robert Akl is the new Chair of the Undergraduate Studies Committee and he will be leading this effort for reaccreditation of our B.S. in Computer Science program.

UNT Receives $473,000 Grant for New Center

Dr. Armin Miker

The University of North Texas has been awarded a $473,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish the Center for Computational Epidemiology. The Computational Epidemiology Research Laboratory (CERL) directed by Dr. Armin Mikler, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, will provide the computational backbone for the Center. The new Center will be led by Dr. Sam Atkinson, Director of the Institute of Applied Sciences, Dr. Mikler, and Dr. Joseph Oppong, Professor of Geography, and other collaborators at the UNT Health Sciences Center.

This grant will fund the construction of a simulation chamber that will be used to develop models and to train students and public health officials. A computer cluster will be installed at UNT's Discovery Park to run the simulation chambers. In addition, CERL will utilize a portable visualization system that can be used for research and demonstration purposes.

For more information on this new Center, please see this UNT press release. You can also visit CERL's website at

Robocamp Completes 4th year and Receives 2nd Grant from Motorola Foundation

Robocamp Logo

The CSE Robocamp program, administrated by Dr. Robert Akl and David Keathly, has received a second $30,000 grant from the Motorola Foundation. This grant, coupled with the second year funding from the Texas Workforce Commission Youth in Technology grant awarded in 2007, has assured that a full complement of camps in Denton, Dallas and surrounding communities will be held in the Summer of 2009.

In the Summer of 2008, a record number of camps were held, including ten youth camps and two adult camps for counselors and teachers. 2008 also marked the first year that camps were held for young men as well as young women. Robocamp has served over 400 young people since the program began in 2005.

The programs in the summer of 2009 will complete the fifth consecutive year for the program. Recent surveys of students who attended Robocamp and have subsequently graduated high school have shown a high percentage attending college in Science or Engineering disciplines, at least partly influenced by their camp experience. A detailed report will be released during the Fall 2008 semester.

For more information about Robocamp 2009 and to see the picture gallery and music videos from Summer 2008, see our Robocamp website at

Dr. Robert Akl Receives Professionalism Award

Dr. Robert Akl

Dr. Robert Akl received the IEEE Fort Worth Professionalism Award at the MetroCon conference in August 2008. The Fort Worth Section IEEE recognized Dr. Akl for his efforts to promote the engineering profession through the UNT Robocamps.

Also, in May 2008, Dr. Akl received tenure and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. Congratulations to Dr. Akl on being promoted and receiving the Professionalism Award!

Dr. Ram Dantu Named a Finalist

Dr. Ram Dantu

Dr. Ram Dantu has been named a finalist for the Innovator Award for the 2008 Tech Titan Awards given by the Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC). The Innovator Award recognizes the pioneering accomplishments of a person, team or group responsible for the creation of breakthrough ideas, processes or products which have advanced the discipline(s) of the arts, education, electronics, energy, engineering, environment, medicine, and/or science.

The MTBC is an association of technology companies dedicated to the development of the high-tech industry in North Texas. The Tech Titans Awards will be given out on Friday, September 26, 2008. For more information see this MTBC Finalists website.

In addition, Dr. Dantu received tenure and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in May 2008. Congratulations to Dr. Dantu!

Mr. Keathly Receives Sub-Award from Convergence Technology Center at Collin College

David Keathly

David Keathly, Lecturer and Advisor in CSE, has received an award of approximately $11,000 for one year from the Convergence Technology Center at Collin College as part of their NSF grant that seeks to sponsor and promote Convergence Technology education in Texas and other regions of the United States.

As part of this award, Keathly has joined the Center's Leadership Council to provide input and direction on curriculum, policy and related issues. He will also be working with Center faculty to develop custom degree programs and transfer agreements to streamline the process for students to transfer from Collin College, and other program schools, to UNT in the new B.A. in Information Technology degree.

Keathly says "the Convergence students are a perfect fit for our new degree program, and they are able to bring a much larger percentage of their class credits into that degree than any other program available." Keathly will also participate in a number of conferences and workshops as a speaker and presenter on transfer issues and IT curriculum.

The Center is currently seeking a three year follow-on award for their programs, which will include continued involvement by UNT CSE and Mr. Keathly.

News from the VLSI Design and CAD Laboratory

(L-R) Shu-Song Chen, Li-Te Lee, Dr. Mohanty, Yu-Ting Pai, and Jih-Chieh Hsu
(L-R) Shu-Song Chen, Li-Te Lee, Dr. Mohanty, Yu-Ting Pai, and Jih-Chieh Hsu

The VLSI Design and CAD Laboratory (VDCL, has reported that Dr. Saraju P. Mohanty was elevated to senior member of IEEE in May 2008. Senior member status is awarded to members who have at least 10 years of contributions to the profession. Only 8.1% of approximately 376,000 IEEE members have received this status.

Dr. Saraju Mohanty has published a book, Low-Power High-Level Synthesis for Nanoscale CMOS Circuits, along with co-authors Nagarajan Ranganathan, Elias Kougianos, and Priyadarshan Patra. This book addresses the need for analysis, characterization, estimation, and optimization of the various forms of power dissipation in the presence of process variations of nano-CMOS technologies. The authors show very large-scale integration (VLSI) researchers and engineers how to minimize the different types of power consumption of digital circuits.

The material deals primarily with high-level (architectural or behavioral) energy dissipation because the behavioral level is not as highly abstracted as the system level nor is it as complex as the gate/transistor level. At the behavioral level there is a balanced degree of freedom to explore power reduction mechanisms, the power reduction opportunities are greater, and it can cost- effectively help in investigating lower power design alternatives prior to actual circuit layout or silicon implementation.

The book is a self-contained low-power, high-level synthesis text for Nanoscale VLSI design engineers and researchers. Each chapter has simple relevant examples for a better grasp of the principles presented. Several algorithms are given to provide a better understanding of the underlying concepts.

The initial chapters deal with the basics of high-level synthesis, power dissipation mechanisms, and power estimation. In subsequent parts of the text, a detailed discussion of methodologies for the reduction of different types of power is presented including:

  • Power Reduction Fundamentals
  • Energy or Average Power Reduction
  • Peak Power Reduction
  • Transient Power Reduction
  • Leakage Power Reduction

Low-Power High-Level Synthesis for Nanoscale CMOS Circuits provides a valuable resource for the design of low-power CMOS circuits. It was written for Nanoscale VLSI design engineers and researchers; for students from senior undergraduate onwards in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science interested in low-power VLSI.

Finally, we welcome a team of four researchers, Shu-Song Chen, Li-Te Lee, Yu-Ting Pai, and Jih-Chieh Hsu, who are here at UNT visiting VDCL. They are with the research group of Professor Shanq-Jang Ruan from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. They have been funded by their university for up to a year to conduct research at VDCL in the areas of low-power digital design and digital watermarking.

LIT Group News

Back row (L-R): Ravi Sinha, Hakan Ceylan, Samer Hassan, Ben Leong, Naveen Kovelamudi, Michael Mohler<br />
Middle row: Carmen Banea, Rada Mihalcea, Tze-I Yang<br />
Front row: Miguel Ruiz, Kino Coursey, Paul Tarau
Back row (L-R): Ravi Sinha, Hakan Ceylan, Samer Hassan, Ben Leong, Naveen Kovelamudi, Michael Mohler
Middle row: Carmen Banea, Rada Mihalcea, Tze-I Yang
Front row: Miguel Ruiz, Kino Coursey, Paul Tarau

The Language and Information Technology ( group had an active summer. Among their accomplishments:

Carmen Banea, Rada Mihalcea, Janyce Wiebe from the University of Pittsburgh and Samer Hassan's work on machine translation for multilingual subjectivity analysis has been accepted for publication in the Conference on Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing. Carmen and Samer will attend the conference this fall in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kino Coursey will attend the American Society for Information Science and Technology in Columbus, Ohio, to present his work (joint with Rada Mihalcea and William Moen) on keyword extraction for learning object repositories.

Andras Csomai (now at Google, Inc.) and Rada Mihalcea's work on linking documents to encyclopedic knowledge has been accepted for publication in the IEEE journal of Intelligent Systems, for a special issue on "Natural Language Processing for the Web."

Paul Tarau and Brenda Luderman's work on combinational logic synthesis has been published in the ACM conference on Computing Frontiers. Paul presented the paper this summer in Ischia, Italy.

Dragomir Radev from the University of Michigan and Rada Mihalcea's paper on networks and natural language processing will appear this fall in the journal of Artificial Intelligence.

In other news, Hakan Ceylan has completed an interesting summer internship at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, California. The LIT group welcomes back Ben Leong. After completing a Masters degree at the University of Delaware, Ben came back to UNT to work on his Ph.D. He is the recipient of a Ph.D. fellowship from the Graduate School.

Rada Mihalcea has recently received an NSF grant to support a research project to explore the relation between words senses and subjectivity analysis. In addition, she also received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor.

New Faces in the CSE Department

Richard Goodrum

Richard Goodrum is working on his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at Southern Methodist University with a research interest in Concurrent Flow (Graph Theory with applications in Social Networks). He received his B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Houston.

Mr. Goodrum has been an Adjunct Professor for Southern Methodist University where he taught a course on Digital Computer Design. He has mentored numerous customers and colleagues in many different aspects of computing and taught industry courses on programming languages and operating systems including courses at the Naval Research Institute. Additionally, he taught several industry courses including a course on High Performance FORTRAN at the University of Singapore.

Mr. Goodrum spent over thirty years working in industry (Petroleum Exploration, Computer, Defense and Aviation) where he worked for Control Data Corporation, Compagnie Générale de Géophysique, HNSX Supercomputers, Alliant Computer Systems, MasPar Computer Corporation, Adaptive Solutions, Andrew SciComm, Lynx Real Time Systems, Alaiki, DNA Computing Solutions, and Sierra Nevada Corporation/PMI Business Unit.

Mr. Goodrum works with embedded, mini, mainframe and supercomputers. His experience includes scalar, vector, parallel and distributed computers. The vector computers had vector lengths from 64 to 65535 elements. The parallel computers had from 2 to 16,000 processors. These systems were SISD, SIMD and MIMD.

He is teaching CSCE 3030, Parallel Programming; CSCE 3612, Embedded Systems Design; and CSCE 4620, Real-Time Operating Systems for the CSE Department.

Dr. John Tabor

John Taber joins our CSE Department as an adjunct professor. Dr. Taber holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College, an M.S. in Engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Engineering from Utah State University where his research concentrated in decision support systems.

Dr. Taber has taught as an adjunct professor at Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University. Meanwhile, he runs a consulting engineering firm and a software development company that specializes in applying intelligent systems to highway and city planning. Research interests include expert systems, artificial intelligence, and GIS. Dr. Taber is also active in the open source software community.

This semester Dr. Taber is teaching CSCE 2050. Dr. Taber's website is located at

News for Alumni

Calling All Alumni

We want your help!

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 (

Retired Faculty Member Visits CSE Department

Denis Conrady visit to Discovery Park
Don Retzlaff, Denis Conrady, Robert Brazile, Kathleen Swigger, and Tom Irby

Dr. Denis Conrady was one of the first faculty members in the Computer Science Department. He joined the faculty in 1974. He retired in 1998 and he and his wife Catherine moved to Terre Haute, Indiana. The department's printed Alumni Newsletter included an article about Denis in Spring 2006.

During this past summer, Denis visited the department for the first time since the department moved to Discovery Park. After having lunch with fellow retired faculty member Tom Irby, Tom's wife Jackie, and current faculty member Don Retzlaff and his wife Elisa, they visited the department and Discovery Park. Don and Tom showed Denis around the facility, including several of the department's labs and classrooms. He was also able to visit with several of the faculty.

He was quite taken with the complex, remarking that it seemed like there was more room in one office that we used to have in the entire department. Although he enjoyed the visit, no one could convince him to come out of retirement. You can see more pictures of Dr. Conrady's visit in the website media gallery here.

How Alumni Can Help Student Organizations

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

  • Volunteer as a guest speaker or recommend someone at your company or in your “network” that would be interesting and educational
  • Help organize a field trip to your company for something interesting
  • Volunteer as a mentor to work with a small group of students to develop their leadership skills and invite them to the DFW area section meetings of the various societies if you are a member
  • Donate funds or materials to help the organizations provide programming and host special events, or sponsor a scholarship to subsidize the membership fees for students.
  • Encourage your company to sponsor an event or other funding for these organizations in exchange for advertising and opportunities to recruit potential employees
  • Sponsor a student to attend one of the Student Leadership conferences or a technical conference sponsored by a society
  • Be a part of our National Engineers Week activities
  • Visit a student group meeting once a year so the students will begin to understand their importance and potential impact on their immediate and long term career success

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

Please consider helping us create an active, supportive and vibrant collection of student professional and honor organizations. Contact David Keathly for more information on these organizations at

DC BEST 2008 Invites Alumni Support

Texas Best

DC BEST (Denton County Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) is a non-profit organization and a hub of BEST Robotics providing middle and high school students a learning opportunity that is fun, while growing in the knowledge of engineering, science, technology, and team building.

DC BEST will hold its local competition in October 2008. Then for the first time, the UNT College of Engineering will host the state competition known as Texas BEST on November 14 and 15, 2008. More about this state tournament can be found in this UNT press release.

High school teachers and instructors from the UNT College of Engineering volunteer their time to make this important competition possible. DC BEST relies on industry support to make the event possible and free to the local schools. This recent article in the Denton Record-Chronicle describes this importance of this competition.

CSE alumni can help in two ways. The first way is for you or your company to donate money to this worthy cause. This event is not possible without support from alumni and industry. Checks can be made payable to DC BEST and mailed to DC BEST, c/o Leticia Anaya, University of North Texas, 3940 N. Elm  F115M, Denton, TX 76207.

The second way you can help is to volunteer your time. Volunteers serve as judges, referees, and provide overall support to make this event possible. The Kickoff was held here at Discovery Park on Saturday, September 13. At the Kickoff, the rules of the game were explained, the gamefield was demonstrated, and the robotic supplies were given to the schools.

The second event of the competition is Mall Day, which is Saturday, October 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Golden Triangle Mall in Denton. The teams test their homemade robot on the actual game field. This trial allows the teams to debug or correct problems before the actual Game Day.

The final event of the local competition is Game Day, which is Saturday, October 25, at the UNT Coliseum. The teams gather for a robotics tournament that continues until a champion is declared through a process of point elimination.

If you would like to volunteer to help with DC BEST or Texas BEST, please contact Mr. Bill Stamm, DC BEST Director at or Ms. Leticia Anaya, Assistant DC BEST Director at

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

Two Ph.D. Graduates in Computer Science

Rada Mihalcea and Andras Csomai at graduation
Rada Mihalcea and Andras Csomai at graduation

Andras Csomai received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Spring 2008 UNT graduation. Rada Mihalcea was his major professor and advised his dissertation: "Keyword in the Mist: Automated Keyword Extraction for Very Large Documents and Back of the Book Indexing." on Friday, March 28, 2008. Andras is now working for Google in Mountain View, CA.

Dr. Armin Mikler with Vandana Gunupudi
Dr. Armin Mikler with
Vandana Gunupudi

Vandana Gunupudi received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in May 2008 at the UNT graduation. Stephen R. Tate was her major professor. The title of her dissertation was “Exploring Trusted Platform Module Capabilities: A Theoretical and Experimental Study.” Vandana has accepted a position as a Software Design Engineer for Microsoft in the Seattle, WA area.

Santi Phithakkitnukoon Receives Award

Santi Phithakkitnukoon

Santi Phithakkitnukoon, a CSE doctoral student, has received one of the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation awards for support to begin in Fall 2008. The Thesis and Dissertation awards support outstanding masters or doctoral students who have achieved candidacy and are in the last year of actively working on their thesis or dissertation research and writing.

College of Engineering News

New Dean Joins the College of Engineering

Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis

Dr. Costas Tsatsoulis became the Dean of the UNT College of Engineering on August 1. Before his appointment, he was Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Kansas. “I am very happy to be joining UNT and the College of Engineering,” Dr. Tsatsoulis said. “I am looking forward to developing new departments and programs, supporting the existing ones, growing our research and graduate programs and continuing our service to our students, the state of Texas and the nation. The College of Engineering at UNT is growing at a rapid pace and I am excited about the opportunity to help lead it forward.”

As Chair at the University of Kansas, Dr. Tsatsoulis led the growth of the doctoral program oversaw an increase in research funding, including a $21 million award from the National Science Foundation for a Science and Technology Center in 2005; and implemented a new M.S. degree program in information technology, among other achievements.

Dr. Tsatsoulis will also hold a position as professor in the UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He earned his degrees all from Purdue University — a doctoral degree in electrical engineering in 1987, a master of science degree in electrical engineering in 1984, a bachelor of arts degree in German in 1987, and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1983.

For more information on Dr. Tsatsoulis, please see this UNT press release.

SWE Holds First Meeting

Attendance at the first UNT SWE meeting on September 4, 2008.
Attendance at the first UNT SWE meeting on September 4, 2008.
Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) educates young adults about the many professions related to engineering and the importance of engineers in society. The group at UNT has worked for the past five years to gain recognition as an official SWE collegiate section.

Leticia Anaya, Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Technology, is the faculty advisor to SWE. She said the goal for UNT SWE is to get more students involved with the College of Engineering. Carol Bachman, Project Engineer for Peterbilt, is the UNT SWE professional advisor.

At the meeting on September 4, 2008, the group discussed attending the regional SWE meeting at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The group is also making plans to attend the national SWE conference in Baltimore, MD, in November 2008.

University of North Texas News

UNT to Invest Millions in Research Collaborations

President Gretchen Bataille

President Gretchen M. Bataille announced a new investment plan during the university's annual convocation. UNT will invest at least $25 million in multi-disciplinary research collaborations. She announced the development of six research clusters and the recruitment of world-renowned faculty that will enhance and expand the innovative research already underway at UNT.

“UNT is well-known for its excellence in the arts. Through this investment we will expand our research excellence and raise our reputation as a public research university that competes at the top-level in everything we do,” said Dr. Bataille.

The six research clusters will be in the areas of bio/nano photonics, materials modeling, developmental physiology and genetics, signaling mechanisms in plants, autism spectrum disorders and advanced research in technology and the arts. For more information, please see this UNT press release.

New Symphony Conductor Debuts October 1

David Itkin, Conductor

After longtime orchestra director Anshel Brusilow retired in May 2008, David Itkin was selected to be the new conductor of the UNT Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Itkin opens the 2008-2009 concert season with Berlioz's Les nuits d'eté, Barber's Overture to The School for Scandal, Op. 5, and Dvorák's Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70.

The concert will be Wednesday, October 1, 2008, in Winspear Performance Hall of the Murchison Performing Arts Center, located along the north side of Interstate 35E at North Texas Boulevard. Ticket are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, non-UNT students, children, UNT faculty/staff and groups of 10 or more; and free for UNT students with ID. For tickets, call the Murchison box office at (940) 369-7802 or visit

Starting with this October 1 Symphony Orchestra concert, the UNT College of Music will dedicate all performances through the month of October as part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days, honoring the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed in 2002 in Pakistan. For more information on this concert, see this UNT press release.

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 — September 2008