|December 2014 Edition|
Department of Computer Science and Engineering News
CSE Faculty recognized at UNT Salute to Faculty Excellence
CSE selected for BRAID
L-3 Mission Integration donates equipment for CSE programs
CSE attends Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing
CSE Advisory Council meets
CSE hosts seminar with presenter from Samsung
CERL (Computational Epidemiology Research Laboratory) News
News from Computer Systems Research Laboratory
Human Intelligence and Language Technologies Lab News
News from Information Management and Knowledge Discovery Lab
Software Engineering Laboratory (SELL) News
CSE Students defend Dissertations and Thesis
CSE Graduate Student attends conference in Austria
CSE Graduate Students present at CSE and CENG Advisory meetings
CSE Students create random text generator in Software Development class
CSE Undergraduate Student participates in SURE
College of Engineering News
SWE members attend national conference
SHPE members attend national conference
UNT to offer new PhD in mechanical and energy engineering
College of Engineering joins research consortium
Dear CSE Students,
Fall 2014 will be over in a few weeks and I wanted to share some news from our CSE Department. I want to congratulate Rodney Nielsen on his Research and Creativity Award for Competitive Funding Award, sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development. He received this award at the UNT Salute to Faculty Excellence. Yan Huang, Renee Bryce and Qunfeng Dong were also recognized that evening for their promotion and tenure achievements.
I am excited to announce that our CSE Department has been selected to be one of fifteen computer science departments in the U.S. selected for the BRAID (Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity) initiative to increase the percentage of undergraduate majors that are female and students of color. Our CSE Department was also a Bronze Academic Sponsor at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We were glad to fund several CSE faculty members and students to attend this event (please see the story about it below).
In other news, L-3 Mission Integration donated equipment which will be used in our Network Security Teaching Lab and BA in Information Technology program. Please read the news from all our labs and about our students below. Check this newsletter, our Facebook page, and our website to find out more about our CSE Department. Good luck with your projects and exams at the end of this semester!
Professor and Chair
The Salute to Faculty Excellence Awards Dinner and Ceremony was held September 26 at Apogee Stadium. The black-tie dinner honored faculty members for receiving tenure and promotion, emeritus faculty status and top awards including three cash awards funded by the UNT Foundation, a co-sponsor of the faculty showcase.
CSE Faculty member Rodney Nielsen received the Research and Creativity Award for Competitive Funding Award, sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development, for the highest total amount of research expenditures on their competitive research funding during the fiscal year. Congratulations to Dr. Nielsen on this award!
In the ’Toast’ to Tenure and Promotion, Dr. Yan Huang was recognized for her promotion to Professor; Dr. Renee Bryce was recognized for receiving tenure; and Dr. Qunfeng Dong was recognized for receiving tenure and his promotion to Associate Professor. Congratulations to all three on their achievement!
|CSE faculty involved with BRAID (L-R): Phil Sweany, David Keathly, Renee Bryce, Barrett Bryant, Armin Mikler|
The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering has been selected to be one of fifteen Computer Science departments in the U.S. to participate in the Building Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity (BRAID) initiative to increase the percentage of undergraduate majors that are female and students of color. This initiative is being launched by The Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit organization focused on advancing women in computing, and Harvey Mudd College. The BRAID initiative was announced on September 24 by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her address at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), as part of the Girl’s CHARGE, a CGI commitment toward programs for girls and women. BRAID is supported by three-year funding commitments from Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd and Telle Whitney, president and CEO of ABI, will lead the BRAID initiative.
Under BRAID, the 15 academic institutions’ computer science departments have committed to implementing a number of approaches that have demonstrated success at Harvey Mudd and other institutions. These approaches include expanding outreach to high school teachers and students, modifying introductory CS courses to make them more appealing and less intimidating to students from underrepresented groups, building community among underrepresented students, and developing joint majors in areas like CS and biology to encourage interdisciplinary approaches. Each of the 15 departments will receive $30,000 per year for three years to help support their efforts.
|Keith Seawright, Director of Technology Development for L-3 Mission Integration, and Ram Dantu, Director of the CSE Network Security Lab.|
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering received a donation of equipment from L-3 Mission Integration, a prime contractor in aerospace systems and national security solutions. L-3 donated Cisco servers to the Network Security Teaching Lab and Dell servers for our BA in Information Technology program. Based in Greenville, Texas, L-3 Mission Integration is a division of L-3 Communications, which is the sixth largest defense company in the United States and is headquartered in New York City.
Thanks to L-3 for their donation to our CSE Department! ↑
|(L-R) Back row: Fahmida Hamid, Yuan Li, Andrea Godea, Cornelia
Caragea, Danielle Gaither, Lisa Reynolds.|
Front row: Stephanie Shu, Renee Bryce
The Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing was held in Phoenix, AZ October 8-10, 2014. The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering was a Bronze Academic Sponsor and was well represented by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members. CSE organized a table at the career fair for recruiting applicants for our graduate program and faculty positions.
The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of
women technologists. Inspired by the legacy of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
and co-founded in 1994 by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney, the Grace
Hopper Celebration is designed to focus on the research and career
interests of women in computing. The 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration will be
held October 14-16 in Houston, Texas. ↑
|CSE Advisory Council meeting on October 24, 2014. Front row (L-R): CSE faculty members Robert Renka, Ram Dantu, Hassan Takabi; Sudhir Rao, MIT Concepts; Leticia Benavides, Raytheon; Kathy Foster (UNT M.S. Computer Science, 1979), Texas Instruments. Back row (L-R): CSE Chair Barrett Bryant; Philip Heath (UNT Math BS, 1997), Southwest Airlines; Donny Johnson, NVIDIA; Mike Mainard (UNT B.S. Computer Science, 1985), Capgemini; John Rozeboom (UNT B.S. Computer Science, 1991), Genesis PURE; Joe Wright (UNT BCIS, 1995), Masergy Communications.|
The CSE Advisory Council met on October 24 in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The group’s purpose is to give advice and support for our CSE programs from members of industrial companies. Several CSE alumni serve on this Council. At the recent meeting, Dean Tsatsoulis gave a brief report on the College of Engineering followed by Dr. Barrett Bryant’s review of activities in the CSE Department. Dr. Robert Renka, Coordinator of the Undergraduate Committee, reported on undergraduate programs. Dr. Bill Buckles, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, reported on graduate programs. Dr. Hassan Takabi made a presentation about his research.
The Council members learned about research in our department from poster
presentations by five CSE graduate students: Song Huang, Srujan Kotikela,
Chen-Yu Lee, Jason Powell, and Wes Solomon. After lunch with the students,
the Council members continued their discussion about how to improve our CSE
programs for our students. A media gallery page about the meeting is
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering hosted a CSE Seminar with Sridhar Rajagopal on the last day of October. His presentation was "mmWave Mobile Communication for 5G Challenges and Opportunities." Following is an abstract of his presentation: With the possibility of GHz of available spectrum and ability to provide multi-Gb/s data rates, mmWave mobile communication is being actively researched in academia and industry for 5G communication. This talk provides an overview of the opportunities and research challenges for enabling this spectrum.
Sridhar Rajagopal is currently a Senior Staff Engineer at Samsung Research
America in Dallas, TX. He received his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical and
Computer Engineering from Rice University. He has previously worked at
Nokia Research Center and at WiQuest Communications, and has contributed to
multiple communication standards. His research interests are in algorithms
and architectures for short-range, high throughput and low power
technologies, mmWave and optical wireless communication. ↑
|(L-R): Yiheng Liang, Timothy DeReuse, Joshua Urbanovsky, Joseph Helsing (Lost and found), Dr. Armin R. Mikler, Dr. Chetan Tiwari, Bradley Slayter. Missing in the photo: Joan King and Dr. Marty O’Neill.|
Dr. Armin Mikler, Dr. O’Neill, Josh Urbanovsky, Yiheng Liang, Bradley Slayter, Timothy DeReuse, Joan King, and Joseph Helsing attended the annual Supercomputing convention held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana. The group listened to a brilliant keynote lecture given by Dr. Brian Greene about the future of quantum computing and then wandered the expo floor viewing the stalls of the many companies, groups, and universities. Additionally, Dr. Mikler and Dr. O’Neill gave a presention alongside the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, entitled HPC: A Matter of Life or Death, during the HPC Impact & Emerging Tech Showcase. The group looks forward to attending next year’s convention in Austin, Texas.
TAMS Student Aditya Vaidya is working with Dr. Armin Mikler on a
computer model that could help cities better manage mosquito-borne illness
outbreaks. Aditya presented his research at the ACM Conference on
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Health Informatics in Newport
Beach, CA on September 23, 2014. Read this
TAMS press release
for more information. ↑
Dr. Krishna Kavi traveled to Nice, France and Barcelona, Spain in October. He attended the 9th International Conference on Software Engineering Advances (ICSEA-2014) held in Nice, France, October 12-16, 2014. He presented the following two papers at the conference:
1. Security Through Software Rejuvenation by Chen-Yu Lee, Krishna M. Kavi, Mahadevan Gomathisankaran, Patrick Kamongi.
2. Performance Engineering Using Performance Antipatterns in Distributed Systems by Chia-En Lin, Krishna Kavi.
In addition, he presented a seminar at the Barcelona Super Computer Center (BSC) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). The talk highlighted Computer Systems research conducted at the Computer Systems Research Laboratory (CSRL) of UNT. BSC houses a supercomputer called MareNostrum that is ranked among the top 500 fastest computers. This computer is housed inside a deconsecrated Chapel Torre Giorna at the university. Kavi is exploring collaborations, faculty/student exchanges with BSC at UPC.
The semi-annual Industrial Advisory Board Meeting of the NSF Net-centric and Cloud Software and Systems (NCSS) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) was held on Oct 8-9, 2014 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. The meeting was attended by more than 50 industrial and university participants and showcased research conducted by faculty and students at UNT, UTD, ASU, SMU and MST—these universities are members of the NCSS I/UCRC.
Kavi and his students are continuing their collaborations with various industrial partners conducting research on next generation processor and memory technologies, and evaluation of security risks associated with hardware and software systems. The CSRL group welcomes motivated and interested students to join us in any of the exciting research projects. More details can be found on Dr. Kavi’s home page.
The pictures below show Dr. Kavi inside the supercomputer center at BSC, the computer is known as MareNostrum (or Mediterranean Sea), and the second picture shows the Chapel Torre Giorna that houses the supercomputer.
|HiLT Lab members in back (L-R): Hamed Khanpour, Darius Simmons, Austin Lane, Wes Solomon, Milad Pejmanrad, Dr. Rodney Nielsen, Dr. Eduardo Blanco, Adam Hair, Kevin James, Tanner Van De Walle, Tailyr Mack, Amitava Das. Front (L-R): Daniel Jarvis, Frank Paiva, Kate Farmer, Bandita Sarma, Daniela Caballero, Natalie Parde, Nishitha Guntakandla, Karen Mazidi, Jacob Figueroa. On the table are HiLT Companionbots Bobby and Grace.|
Awards and Papers
Dr. Rodney Nielsen was honored with the 2014 Competitive Funding Award this Fall at the Salute to Faculty Excellence awards dinner on September 26. This is one of the Office of Research and Economic Development’s highest honors and is part of UNT’s Faculty Research and Creativity Awards recognition process. The Competitive Funding Award goes to the Principal Investigator who promoted the mission of the University of North Texas in being responsible for the highest total amount of research funding on their competitive extramural grants during the preceding fiscal year.
Amir H. Kargar B., Ali Mollahosseini, Taylor Struemph, Wilson Pace, Rodney D. Nielsen and Mohammad H. Mahoor. (2014) Automatic measurement of physical mobility in get-up-and-go test using Kinect sensor. In the Proceedings of the 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’14). Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 26–30, 2014.
Xiao Zhang, Ali Mollahosseini, Amir H. Kargar B., Evan Boucher, Richard M. Voyles, Rodney D. Nielsen and Mohammad H. Mahoor. (2014) eBear: An Emotive Bear-Like Robot. In the Proceedings of the 23rd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (IEEE RO-MAN 2014). Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, August 25–29, 2014.
Kate Farmer presented work with Jacob Figueroa, Austin Lane, Hamed Khan Pour and Rodney D. Nielsen: "Topic Identification: Is that a Car or is it a Honda" at the DFW Metroplex Linguistics conference in Texas A&M University-Commerce, Rockwall Center, Dallas, Texas, November 1, 2014.
John Wes Solomon and Rodney D. Nielsen. (2014) Predicting changes in systolic blood pressure in longitudinal patient records. Submitted in AMIA 2014 Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2) workshop on Challenges in Natural Language Processing for Clinical Data. Washington, D.C., November 14, 2014.
Nishitha Guntakandla and Rodney D. Nielsen (Accepted). Modelling Turn-Taking in Human Conversations. In AAAI 2015 Spring Symposium on Turn-taking and Coordination in Human-Machine Interaction. Palo Alto, California, March 23-25, 2015.
New Members in the HiLT Lab
Alakananda Vempala is a first year Masters student. She is working with Dr. Eduardo Blanco on semantic relation inference and improving semantic representation of text in general. Her interests lie in topics related to Natural Language Processing and she would like to gain knowledge in related fields, which will enable her to pursue further research.
Erin Eversoll is a sophomore at the University of North Texas pursuing
a Bachelor of Science of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of
Science in Mathematics, and is expected to graduate in Spring of 2019. Erin
is a new lab assistant working with Dr. Nielsen and other members of the
HiLT lab. While Erin’s own career focus is finance, working in the
HiLT lab has broadened her interests and is providing many opportunities to
make connections between business and computational linguistics. ↑
|UNT at ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014: (L-R) Top row: Phuc Nguyen, Bill
Buckles, Guangchun Cheng;|
Middle Row: Yang Zhou, Yiwen Wan, Wasana Santeerakul;
Bottom Row: Chengyang Zhang, Yan Huang, Zhi Liu
Dr. Yan Huang was the General Chair and Dr. Bill Buckles was the Local Arrangement Chair of the 22nd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014). The conference was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, November 4-7, 2014. PhD student Zhi Liu was the programming contest CUP master and Phuc Nguyen is the proceedings chair of the Geostreaming workshop associated with the conference. Dr. Huang and Zhi Liu also presented a poster "Community Detection from Location-Tagged Networks." The University of North Texas CSE Deaprtment sponsored the shuttle buses for Tuesday’s dinner.
|Dr. Huang with her NSF Travel Grant Awardees|
|UNT was a sponsor of ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014.|
The ACM SIGSPATIAL conference is the leading international forum for original research contributions covering all conceptual, design, and implementation aspects of geospatial data with more than 300 attendees, 12 workshops, 1 poster session, and 1 CUP competition. This year’s keynote speeches were "Mapping the World with Street View" by Luc Vincent at Google and "Interactive Crowd Simulation for Spatial Analysis of Indoor and Outdoor Environments" by Dinesh Manocha from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.↑
|Dr. Bryant at Dagstuhl Castle|
Dr. Bryant was an invited participant at the Dagstuhl Seminar on "Globalizing Domain-Specific Languages," held at Dagstuhl Castle near Wadern, Germany, October 5-10. The 27 participants worked during the 5 days to create a first draft of a book on the use of multiple heterogeneous domain-specific languages which are needed to build various aspects of a large software system and how these languages need to be integrated to improve the construction of such systems. Dr. Bryant worked on a chapter related to software language engineering.
Dr. Paul Tarau has been recently elected as an Executive Committee
member for the Association of Logic Programming that also serves as the steering
committee for the top conference of the field, ICLP. Dr. Tarau has served
on this year’s ICLP program committee, which was held In Vienna, as
part of the Vienna Summer of Logic federated conference
(http://vsl2014.at/). He has also been
invited to be an area editor for the Logic Programming Newsletter which is
distributed electronically to the members of the association at
Congratulations to these PhD students for successfully defending their dissertations!
Dissertation: Uncertainty Evaluation in Large-scale Dynamical Systems: Theory and Applications
Major Professor: Dr. Robert Akl and Co-Major Professor: Dr. Yan Wan
Defense Date: August 29, 2014
Verónica Pérez Rosas
Dissertation: Exploration of visual, acoustic, and physiological modalities to complement linguistic representations for sentiment analysis
Major Professor: Rada Mihalcea
Defense Date: October 17, 2014
Mohamed Fazeen Mohamed Issadeen
Dissertation: Modeling and Analysis of Intentional and Unintentional Security Vulnerabilities in a Mobile Platform
Major Professor: Dr. Ram Dantu
Defense Date: October 20, 2014
Dissertation: Trajectory Analytics
Major Professor: Dr. Bill Buckles
Defense Date: November 24, 2014
Dissertation: Segmentation, Recognition, and 3D Reconstruction of Objects Based on LiDAR or MRI
Major Professor: Dr. Bill Buckles
Defense Date: November 25, 2014
Congratulations to this MS student for successfully defending her thesis!
Thesis: A Pilot Household Travel Survey by a Solely Smartphone-based Method to Collect Data
Major Professor: Dr. Yan Huang
Defense Date: October 22, 2014
A memorable and busy trip to Vienna, attending ICLP conference
The International Conference on Logic Programming (ICLP) is a top-rated conference on logic programming. It was a great experience for me to attend the 30th event of ICLP. It is a huge conference, which is affiliated with the 5th Answer Set Programming Competition, Doctoral Consortium and Summer School. The main ICLP program spanned into four consecutive days, July 19th to 22nd. I (along with my supervisor Dr. Paul Tarau as the first author) had a technical paper, "Interclausal Logic Variables", on Prolog track accepted for this year. I felt honored since my advisor supported and encouraged me to attend the conference and present our work. It was a huge experience. I have seen how research teams from well-known universities are working in different fields of logic programming and where the current research trend is flowing. It was interesting to listen to the debate between ’Constraint Programmers’ and ’Answer Set Solvers.’
I worked as a volunteer for the conference. It was fun to meet new people, help them and be a "technical-support provider" of one of the workshops. The venue "Technical University of Vienna" is a well-known university with a large campus. I explored different academic buildings though most of my related sessions were held in the Department of Computer Science. I attended a two-day long summer school. It consisted of four half-day tutorials on the following topics:
The Summer School Scholarship and the FLoC travel support helped me pay the registration fees and other expenses.
The culture and weather of Vienna is dramatically different from Texas. The public transport system (Bus, Tram, Train) was so good and well organized that I decided to use it rather than call a private taxi. Vienna is very nice to visit. People love to walk and explore the city. It has lots of gardens and parks where a people can spend some time. Besides visitors, I found people from different cultures working in grocery stores, streets, construction sites, etc. Vienna is a city of museums and sculptures — I visited the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum), the Schönbrunn Palace, and Vienna Zoo. The Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum), with its vast array of eminent works and the largest Bruegel collection in the world, is considered one of the most eminent museums in the world. Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the famous Vienna zoo founded in 1752, is the oldest zoo in the world. Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most important cultural monuments and tourist attractions in Austria. The park around Schloss Schönbrunn is a great little oasis in a busy city.
It was a very pleasant and unforgettable experience to meet so many
scholars of Logic Programming at the same time in such a wonderful place. I
look forward to joining the next event of ICLP. ↑
|Jason Powell with his poster at the CENG Advisory Board. To see other students with their posters, please visit this media gallery page.|
Five CSE Graduate Students presented posters about their research at the
CSE Advisory Council meeting on October 24 and the College of Engineering
Advisory Board meeting on November 11, 2014. Song Huang, Srujan Kotikela,
Chen-Yu Lee, Jason Powell, and Wes Solomon were the graduate students
who presented posters. Members of these councils had an opportunity to learn
about the research of our CSE students. Thanks to these students for
presenting their posters! ↑
CSE undergraduate students Vinh Pham and Logan Widick, both students in Dr. Ryan Garlick’s CSCE 4410 Software Development class, created an Android app that randomly generates text using a context-free grammar. It can load a context-free grammar from an XML file, add random dictionary words as terminal symbols in the grammar using the Wordnik API, and then randomly generate text. After the text is generated, it can be used as input for a second context-free grammar if desired.
This feature can be used to create random passwords and keys. You can also
randomly generate a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) file or a
bitmap, but whether the resulting file actually sounds like music or looks
like art is in the eye of the beholder. In addition, you can share the
randomly generated text itself or a
Pastebin containing the randomly
generated text. The app is not currently on the Google Play store, but they
hope to get it submitted for review before finals. ↑
Adam Hair participated in the College of Engineering’s
Showcase of Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) on November 11.
His poster was titled "Machine Learning and I Spy Accuracy." Adam is an honors
college student finishing his last year of undergraduate study in computer
science with minors in accounting and Spanish. He is a member of the Human
Language Technologies (HiLT Lab,
directed by Dr. Rodney Nielsen). After he graduates, he plans to pursue a PhD
in computational finance or a related field. ↑
|(L to R): Michelle Gilbert, Jessica Hampton (Recruitment Chair), Bria Miles (Event Coordinator), Dr. Nandika D’Souza (Faculty Advisor)|
The SWE 2014 Annual Conference took place October 23-25 in Los Angeles, California. The weekend long convention was in downtown Los Angeles in the convention center and had thousands of attendees. The conference included many professional development workshops, panel discussions, lightening talks about innovative science and a large career fair. Three UNT SWE members had the great opportunity to attend this conference. Jessica Hampton, UNT SWE Recruitment Chair, received a Toyota co-op position from the career fair.
Now UNT SWE is preparing to send members to the 2015 Region Conference in Austin, Texas. This conference will be February 6-8 and is hosted by the collegiate SWE section at University of Texas at Austin.
|(L-R) Juan Gonzalez (Engineering Technology), Jacob Acosta (Mechanical
and Energy Engineering) and|
Alfonso Barajas (Electrical Engineering)
Members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineering (SHPE) attended the annual SHPE National Conference in Detroit, Michigan November 5-9. Those who attended got to speak with over 100 different companies from across the nation who were looking to hire undergraduate students for internships, co-ops, and full-time positions. Some of the companies present at the conference were General Motors, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Microsoft, NASA, Intel, IBM and many more.
Members also got the opportunity to showcase their engineering skills and compete with other students in engineering competitions. They also got the opportunity to network with employers, other undergraduate/graduate students, and professional engineers from across the country. Attending the SHPE National Conference was a great for everyone who was able to attend. SHPE UNT hopes to take more members next school year.
SHPE is a diverse student organization with members from every ethnic background.
The College of Engineering now offers a PhD in mechanical and energy
engineering, the first degree of its kind in Texas and one of the only
doctoral programs specializing in energy applications in the field of
Mechanical Engineering in the United States. The degree program’s
first students will begin in Spring 2015. For more information, see this
College of Engineering news article. ↑
The College of Engineering has joined the Cold-Formed Steel Research
Consortium (CFSRC), which brings together leading research teams across
North America to provide the world’s most comprehensive research on
cold-formed steel structures. For more information, see this
College of Engineering news article. ↑