February 2008 Edition

Department of Computer Science and Engineering News ————————————
Juniors and Seniors Invited to Graduate Studies Open House
Engineering Week Forum on the New B.A. in Information Technology
CSE Sponsors Guitar Hero 3 Tournament
NSF Grant Expands Environmental Sensor Program
RoboCamp Enters Its Fourth Year
Net Centric Software and Systems Consortium to Sponsor Planning Meeting
CSEagle Ambassador Funding Renewed
Dr. Parberry Named Microsoft MVP for 5th Consecutive Year
Dr. Hu is a Visiting Scholar in CSE Department
UNT Wins Computer Security Contest
Dr. Kavi Named SMU Distinguished Alumnus
Student News ——————————————————————————————
December 2007 Ph.D. Graduates
Programming Team Recognized at CSE Advisory Board Meeting
College of Engineering News –———————————————————————
National Engineers Week to be held February 17-23, 2008
Nominations for Awards Due February 14

Greetings from the CSE Chairman

Dear CSE Students,

Welcome to the Spring 2008 semester. I hope your classes are going well and you are making progress toward your degree. There are many activities going on this semester. The Net Centric Software and Systems Consortium will sponsor a NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Planning Meeting on February 20-22 in Plano, TX. Dr. Yan Huang is leading a new NSF grant that expands the environmental sensor program. Welcome to Dr. Hu, a visiting scholar from China with our department. Congratulations to Dr. Parberry for being named a Microsoft MVP again.

Our CSE department will take part in National Engineers Week by hosting a forum on our new degree program, the B.A. in Information Technology, on Tuesday, February 19. Craig Berry is on our CSE Advisory Council and he will speak at the forum about Professions in IT. If you are a junior or senior thinking about graduate school, then you are invited to our Graduate Studies Open House on Thursday, February 21, at 11 a.m. Dr. Mikler, Graduate Studies Coordinator, has invited his first Ph.D. graduate, Naveen Kakani, back to UNT to tell you why you should get your graduate degree. You can read about other activities the College of Engineering is planning for E-Week below.

RoboCamp has received new funding to allow that program to grow in 2008. Funding for our CSEagle Ambassador and Mentor program has been renewed. Both of these programs will offer students opportunities to get involved with our program. Other groups, such as the ACM and IEEE Computer Society, serve important roles in our department too. You are invited to join these groups and make your contribution to our CSE department.

I hope you have a good semester and I look forward to seeing you around the department.

Krishna M. Kavi
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and Engineering News
 
Juniors and Seniors Invited to Graduate Studies Open House

Naveen Kakani received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNT in 2000. Dr. Armin R. Mikler was his major professor during his time in the CSE department. Naveen joined Nokia Research Center as Senior Research Engineer and now he is a "Specialist for WLAN," responsible for WLAN evolution research and industry activities. Dr. Mikler has invited Naveen back to UNT to speak about the importance of graduate education. Juniors and seniors are invited to attend the Graduate Studies Open House hosted by the Graduate Program of the Computer Science and Engineering Department on Thursday, February 21, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. in Research Park room F223.

The CSE Department offers M.S. degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Take advantage of this opportunity to find out more about getting your graduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering here at UNT.

If you cannot attend, but would like more information about our graduate degree programs, check our website HERE If you have further questions, contact Dr. Armin R. Mikler, Graduate Studies Coordinator, at mikler@cse.unt.edu

Engineering Week Forum on the New B.A. in Information Technology

The Computer Science and Engineering Department will host a forum on the new B.A. in Information Technology on February 19, 2008 from 12:30 to 1:30 in Research Park room B155. Craig Berry, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Siemens PLM Software will give a talk about Professions in IT.

Following this presentation, undergraduate advisors David Keathly and Ryan Garlick will provide an overview of the requirements for the new degree and will answer questions. Following the program they will be available to discuss specific degree requirements with individuals and process change of major requests. This program will be presented via Video Conference at the UNT Dallas Campus in room 222.

CSE Sponsors Guitar Hero 3 Tournament

Guitar Hero 3 As part of National Engineers Week, the CSE department will sponsor a Guitar Hero 3 Tournament on Friday, February 22, 2008, beginning at 11 a.m. in Research Park room F204. Certificates and prizes will be awarded and pizza will be served to all participants. Dr. Robert Akl, faculty sponsor of the tournament, says we have guitars or bring your own. To register, contact Dr. Akl at rakl@cse.unt.edu. The first 50 registrants and the first five alternates will be notified.

NSF Grant Expands Environmental Sensor Program

Motorolla Dr. Yan Huang is leading a new $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that expands the ECOPLEX system of environmental sensors which will allow researchers to monitor conditions in soil, air and water, as well as model future environmental conditions.

The team for the project includes researchers from the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Xinrong Lie and Shengli Fu from Electrical Engineering, and Ruthann Thompson from Biological Sciences. Also included are Miguel Acevedo from the Biological and Environmental Engineering program and the City of Denton, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the National Weather Service.

Developed in 1999 by UNT and the city of Denton, the 18 ECOPLEX stations monitor a number of environmental factors on a real-time basis, including exposure to ultraviolet rays, ozone levels, water quality, soil moisture and weather conditions. The grant expands the ECOPLEX system to a large Texas Environmental Observatory, or TEO, through the development and addition of seven wireless sensor networks and 110 nodes. Those nodes will measure environmental data about soil moisture, air and water.

"This is yet another example of our faculty working collaboratively with faculty from other disciplines and creating shared research facilities," says Krishna Kavi, Chair of UNT's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. For more information on this research group, see http://groucho.csci.unt.edu/cri/.

RoboCamp Enters Its Fourth Year

Robocamp Logo This summer will see another round of the increasingly popular RoboCamp summer programs thanks to the efforts of CSE Faculty members Robert Akl, David Keathly and Chair Krishna Kavi. The summer program has once again received a number of grants including one from the Motorola Foundation ($30,000) and another from the Texas Workforce Commission ($102,000) for a two-year period. "This year, the program will include some mobile camps where we will actually take the robots and our student workers to schools in various districts as part of the Motorola Foundation grant," according to Robert Akl, the principal investigator.

Plans also include offering the CSExperience programming camp and the Eng-inuity! engineering design camp started in 2007 as part of an expanded program. 2008 will also see the addition of a camp for high school and middle school counselors and teachers that will educate them about science, technology and engineering degrees and careers and expose them to elements of the different camp settings. "This camp will better equip the teachers and counselors to work with students who have the interest and aptitude to pursue engineering and technology degrees and careers," according to Akl. The camp will utilize paid student assistants to help with the program.

Details of the camp dates and locations will be published in March, and applications will be taken beginning at that time for participants as well as for student workers. For more information contact Robert Akl at rakl@cse.unt.edu or David Keathly at dkeathly@cse.unt.edu and watch the department web page (http://www.cse.unt.edu) for future announcements.

Net Centric Software and Systems Consortium to
Sponsor Planning Meeting

The Net Centric Software and Systems Consortium will sponsor a NSF Industry University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Planning Meeting on February 20-22, 2008 at Southfork Hotel in Plano, TX. These research centers aim to promote cooperative research between industry and universities. The main objectives of the centers are:

  • To pursue fundamental engineering and scientific research having industrial relevance.
  • To produce graduates who have a broad, industry-oriented perspective of their research and practice.
  • To accelerate and promote the transfer of knowledge and technology between university and industry.

The consortium is a joint venture involving academic, federal and state government, and commercial institutions to collectively promote and undertake research, education, technology development, technology transfer, and technological workforce development to enable the nation to transition into the new net-centric operation paradigm.

Currently the University of North Texas, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Dallas, and University of Texas at Arlington as well as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin Aero, and several other companies are in the consortium. For more information about this consortium, go to http://netcentric.cse.unt.edu/index.php.

CSEagle Ambassador Funding Renewed

CSE Logo The CSE department has received funds to again support the CSEagle Ambassador and Mentor program for a two year period. This program provides a $500 scholarship per semester for female students with at least 30 credit hours. These students serve as ambassadors for the department at recruiting events around the DFW area, as well as mentoring 2-3 freshman students during the academic year.

The current grant requires students to be 21 years of age or younger, although students up to and including 22 years of age are encouraged to apply. For more information, contact David Keathly at dkeathly@cse.unt.edu or find the information forms at http://www.cse.unt.edu/~dkeathly/CSEagles/CSEagles.htm.

Dr. Parberry Named Microsoft MVP for 5th Consecutive Year

Dr. Ian Parberry For the fifth consecutive year, Microsoft has awarded its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award to Dr. Ian Parberry in the Windows-XNA/DirectX category. Microsoft presents the MVP Award to thank individuals for their exceptional contributions to technical communities worldwide. Microsoft also benefits from engaging with MVPs through conferences, user groups, code camps, the MVP Global Summit, and other events. MVPs share their independent, real-world feedback with Microsoft, thereby helping Microsoft better understand users' needs, improve current products, and develop future technology.

Dr. Parberry was on the Program Committee for the Microsoft Academic Days on Game Development in Computer Science Education (GDCSE'08) to be held February 28 to March 3, 2008. This conference is a focal point for academic efforts using computer and console games within the Computer Science curriculum. Jointly sponsored by Microsoft Research and Electronic Arts and held in cooperation with ACM SIGCSE, the conference is targeted at both computer science educators and researchers, promoting new efforts in the creation and management of courses and curriculum using game development.

The conference, now in its third year, will be held aboard the Celebrity Century cruise ship, departing from and returning to Miami, FL with port calls in Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. GDCSE '08 will include talks by invited speakers, presentation of peer-reviewed papers, hands-on tutorials and birds-of-a-feather meetings focusing on a range of topics related to the use of games in computer science education. Researchers and educators are invited to share insights and cutting-edge results relating to the use of games and game technologies in both formal and informal educational contexts.

For more on the Adventures of Dr. Parberry, please see http://ianparberry.blogspot.com/.

Dr. Hu is a Visiting Scholar in CSE Department

Dr. Liangmei Hu Dr. Liangmei Hu, an Associate Professor at the Hefei (China) University of Technology (HFUT) arrived at UNT at the end of November 2007. For the next 12 months she will serve as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering which is sponsored by the China Scholarship Council. UNT has a joint project with HFUT sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and the China National Natural Science Foundation to study terrain and structural features in urban areas that impact storm-related events such as flooding and wind damage.

Using airborne LiDAR (a terrain mapping instrument) and infrared photography, Dr. Hu will assist the team (led by Dr. Bill Buckles and Dr. Xiaohui Yuan at UNT and Dr. Xiaoping Liu at HFUT) in fusing LiDAR data with infrared in order to predict the flow path of flood waters following, say, a levee breach and to characterize the roof surface areas exposed to wind in each direction. She also plans to give a few lectures in the courses of image processing and pattern recognition.

UNT Wins Computer Security Contest

Capture the Flag Security Competition Winners
(L-R) Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav, Prudhvi Krishna Surapaneni, Dr. Ebru Celikel, Chris Gathright

On December 8, 2007, the UNT computer security team composed of Enkh-Amgalan Baatarjav, Prudhvi Krishna Surapaneni, and Chris Gathright won the Capture the Flag (CTF) computer security contest against the University of Texas at Arlingon and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Ebru Celikel served as the faculty sponsor for the team. These three students attacked and defended code and network resources over a VPN among three universities (UTA, UNCG and UNT) for six hours. Congratulations to this successful team!

Dr. Kavi Named SMU Distinguished Alumnus

Kavi receives award
Dr. Kavi in the center receiving his award with (L) Dr. Hesham El-Rewini, SMU's Chair of CSE and (R) Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, Dean of Engineering of SMU.
In the last newsletter, we told you about Dr. Krishna Kavi being honored as a Distinguished Alumnus at Southern Methodist University's School of Engineering for the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. This picture was sent later and we wanted to include it in this newsletter. Dr. Kavi received his Master's degree in 1977 and his Ph.D. in 1980 from SMU.

Student News
 
December 2007 Ph.D. Graduates

Santi Phithakkitnukoon College of Engineering Dean Oscar N. Garcia (L) shakes the hand of Prakash Kolan (R) who received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the December 2007 graduation. His major professor, Dr. Ram Dantu, is in the center. Prakash defended his dissertation "System and Methods for Detecting Unwanted Voice Calls" in July 2007.

Prakash now works as a researcher in VoIP solutions for Niksun, Inc. in New Jersey. His work responsibilities include research and development of media decoding applications for measuring content/service quality and experience. The applications will be integrated into Niksun network monitoring and surveillance solutions. Currently, he is working on designing IPTV decoding architectures for Niksun's video clients. In addition to research and development, he supports and troubleshoots client issues, performs hardware and software evaluations, and recommends architectural changes where necessary in existing VoIP products.

Krishna Kavi and Wentong Li
Krishna Kavi and Wentong Li
Wentong Li also received his Ph.D. at the December 2007 graduation. He is shown to the right with Dr. Kavi, who was his major professor. Wentong defended his dissertation, "High Performance Architecture using Speculative Threads and Dynamic Memory Management Hardware" in Fall 2007.

Wentong is currently a senior staff software Engineer of ad targeting for Turn, Inc. He is responsible for developing algorithms to automatically optimize the online advertising network to achieve the best result for online advertisers and online publishers. This involves several areas in computer science like information retrieval, machine learning, data compression, and numerical computation.

Programming Team Recognized at CSE Advisory Board Meeting

Programming Team
(L-R) John Rizzo, Robbie Mitchell Burke, Hector Cuellar

As reported in the previous newsletter, UNT's top programming team consisting of John Rizzo, Robbie Mitchell Burke, and Hector  Cuellar placed first at the ACM South Central Regional Programming Competition at Texas A&M in November 2007. The students were recognized at the CSE Advisory Board meeting on December 7, 2007. This is the first time a UNT team has advanced to the World Finals in the ACM Programming Contest sponsored by IBM. Good luck at the World Finals which will be held in April 2008 in Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada.

College of Engineering News
 
National Engineers Week to be held February 17-23, 2008


Engineering Week 2008 In addition to the CSE department's activities for National Engineers Week listed above, the UNT College of Engineering has announced plans for its annual National Engineers Week to recruit students and promote the college. There are many exciting events taking place including guest speakers, festivals, food, and much more.

On Monday, February 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Center for Student Development Office at Research Park and Student Activities Office will host a Kickoff Engineering Festival to raise awareness about the events during Engineers Week and the student organizations at Research Park. The event will take place at Research Park Commons, area near Jazzman's café. Students, faculty, and alumni are invited to attend the event but the refreshments are for students only.

On Tuesday, February 19, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the College of Engineering will have a keynote speaker, Kurt Novak, from Texas Instruments. He will speak to students in Research Park room B155. On Wednesday, February 20, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., students can participate in a Paper Airplane Contest in the Research Park Commons. On Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m., the College of Engineering will host a banquet for faculty, staff, and students. There will be only 100 tickets available at $5.00 each. Contact the Dean's Office for more information.

On Thursday, February 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the College of Engineering will host an Engineering Career Fair in the corridors of Research Park. In the evening from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., the Center for Student Development office will sponsor a "Texas Hold 'Em Poker Night" in the Research Park Commons with prizes and pizza provided.

Other activities are being planned. Please see more information on the posters that will be around the College of Engineering. In addition, you may have a guest speaker serving as a "Professor for a Day" in one of your classes during that week. For an updated schedule of events, please check the CSE Engineering Week information page at http://www.cs.unt.edu/~rakl/eweek.htm. More details will be added daily.

Nominations for Awards Due February 14

Center for Student Development To recognize extraordinary student service and leadership at Research Park, the Center for Student Development announces four awards which will recognize some of the most exceptional students, faculty, and staff at Research Park. These awards will be made at the Engineer's Week Awards Banquet on Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Nominations for these awards are due on Thursday, February 14. One award will be given for each of the following categories:

  • Outstanding Student Volunteer
  • Outstanding Student Organization
  • Outstanding Student Leader
  • Outstanding Advisor

If you would like to make a nomination for these awards, please pick up a nomination packet at the Research Park Center for Student Development office, RP G140. Please note that it is permissible to nominate yourself and/or your organization. Feel free to contact Mary Pastorius, Director of Student Life for the Research Park CSD at MPastorius@unt.edu or by phone (940) 565-3807 if you have any questions regarding eligibility or selection considerations.

The CSE Student 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 csenewsletter@unt.edu.

http://www.cse.unt.edu UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department - February 2008