February 2018 Edition
Department of Computer Science and Engineering News
CSE initiates new 3+2 agreements in China
Distinguished Speaker at CSE in February
Welcome New CSE Staff
NACLO hosted by HiLT Lab
Computer Architecture Research at UNT could mitigate Meltdown and Spectre attacks
Prof. Saraju Mohanty Chairs IEEE ICCE 2018 at Las Vegas
Dr. Mark Thompson in Great Conversations 2018
CSE featured on the Hosting Blog
CSE to offer Summer Camps
CSE participates in Diversity Summit Activities
Competitive Programming Teams forming at CSE
Grant Renewal for the National Convergence Technology Center
News from Computer Vision and Intelligent Systems (CoVIS) Lab
NSF Net-Centric & Cloud Software & Systems (NCSS) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC ) News
Research Innovations in Software Engineering (RISE) Lab News
News from the Smart Electronic System Laboratory (SESL)

Student News

College of Engineering News

Greetings from the CSE Chair
Dr. Barrett Bryant, Chairman

Dear CSE Students,

Welcome to the Spring 2018 semester at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering! We have been successful in initiating 3+2 agreements with two universities in China so far (equivalent to our UNT GradTrack program). In Fall 2018, we should be welcoming new master’s GradTrack students from Kunming University of Science and Technology and Nanjing Forestry University. Other 3+2 agreements will be announced in the future. We strongly encourage our own students to take advantage of this accelerated M.S. program.

Since our student numbers continue to grow, we will continue to hire faculty to keep up with this growth. We are seeking to hire a professor for the Lupe Murchison Chaired Professorship in our CSE Department. We will also be hiring more lecturers for our Discovery Park campus and also in Frisco. At the end of Fall 2017, we had a total of 1,420 students in our program, including more than 100 Ph.D. students. Congratulations to the faculty, staff and students for our success in being the largest department in the College of Engineering.

We want to welcome Diana Bergeman, Melanie Dewey and Meagan Fox-Hunter to our CSE Staff! There are many activities going on in our CSE Department. You are invited to attend our Distinguished Speaker program. Dr. Nuwan Jayasena was our first Distinguished Speaker this semester and others will be announced soon. We are planning for CSE summer camps and diversity summit events. Please read all the news below about what is happening in our CSE Department. Good luck with your classes and have a great semester!

Barrett Bryant
Professor and Chair

Department of Computer Science and
Engineering News

CSE initiates new 3+2 agreements in China

Dr. Bryant at the Stone Forest near Kunming, China.

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering is expanding its GradTrack program, which our own undergraduate students may pursue to other universities. The GradTrack program is for outstanding undergraduates who may start enrolling in graduate courses during their senior year. These graduate courses apply both toward the B.S. and M.S. degrees allowing students to complete the B.S. and M.S. degrees more quickly than if pursued separately. For more information on GradTrack, go here.

As part of this expansion, we have completed 3+2 program agreements with two universities in China to bring their top students to our M.S. programs. The two universities are Kunming University of Science and Technology and Nanjing Forestry University. Students are applying to this program and will start at UNT in Fall 2018. Dr. Xiaohui Yuan is the contact person at UNT with the Kunming University of Science and Technology and Dr. Song Fu is the contact person at UNT with the Nanjing Forestry University. Dr. Barrett Bryant visited both universities in December as well as several other universities in China with whom we are pursuing 3+2 agreements.  

Distinguished Speaker at CSE in February

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering welcomed Dr. Nuwan Jayasena as our Distinguished Speaker on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 11:30 am in NTDP F285. Dr. Jayasena’s presentation was Managing Locality in Advanced Memory Systems. Dr. Jayasena is a principal member of the technical staff at Advanced Micro Devices. His research interests include memory systems, heterogeneous computing, processor microarchitecture, and emerging technologies and applications. Dr. Krishna Kavi, CSE Professor and Director of Net-Centric IUCRC, hosted Dr. Jayasena’s presentation.

The CSE Department will host more Distinguished Speakers during the semester. Announcements about future speakers will be posted on the department’s website and Facebook page.  

Welcome New CSE Staff

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering welcomed three new staff members in Spring 2018.

Diana Bergeman is the Administrative Assistant to the Chair. Her duties also include payroll, purchasing, the department budget and anything else that might fall through the cracks.

Melanie Dewey is formerly Dr. Kavi’s Assistant in the NCSS I/UCRC and now she is the Graduate Administrative Assistant for the CSE Department. She will assist Dr. Robert Akl, Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, with Graduate Committee duties and help students with any concerns about graduate studies.

Megan Fox-Hunter is the Undergraduate Administrative Assistant for the CSE Department. She will answer the questions of undergraduate students. She also takes care of the Security and Gaming Certificates and helps our Associate Chair Dr. Armin Mikler organize the class schedules for the department.  

NACLO hosted by HiLT Lab

(L-R) Namratha Urs, Natalie Parde, Dr. Rodney Nielsen, Nishitha Guntakandla and George Mihaila

The North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO), was hosted by CSE’s Human Intelligence and Language Technologies Lab (HiLT) for 45 high school students from the DFW region on January 25, 2018. The University of North Texas has been one of the largest locations to host NACLO in the country. NACLO is an educational competition in Computational Linguistics, the science of designing computer algorithms to solve linguistic problems. More information about NACLO is available at this HiLT page.

Thanks to Dr. Rodney Nielsen, Director of the HiLT Lab and his Ph.D. students Namratha Urs, Natalie Parde, Nishitha Guntakandla and George Mihaila for running the contest. Companionbots Grace and Bobby greeted the students. CSE Staff Member Genene Murphy also helped to organize the competition. A special thanks to Dr. Ian Parberry for allowing the Laboratory for Recreational Computing to be used for the competition.  

Computer Architecture Research at UNT could mitigate Meltdown and Spectre attacks

Professor Krishna Kavi has been working in the area of computer systems architecture for more than three decades. Among his research contributions to the area of architectures is an innovative micro-architecture design that can improve execution performance without relying on out-of-order and speculative execution of instructions, which is widely used in modern processors including those from Intel, AMD and ARM. The out-of-order and speculative executions, including memory accesses, improve performance by executing instructions even before they are actually needed, but this would expose the processors to attacks such as those possible from the recently reported Meltdown and Spectre threats. His architecture, known as the Scheduled Dataflow (SDF), creates mini-threads to achieve parallelism that enables higher performance, but does not use speculative execution within threads. SDF requires a radical departure in processor designs as well as completely new compilers, which is the primary reason why SDF and other radical departures from Intel-like architectures have not been widely embraced. With effectively every processor deployed since 1995 being a potential target for a Meltdown or Spectre attack, now may be the right time to revisit such ideas.

Professor Kavi’s research in cache memory designs would make side-channel attacks very difficult. Both Meltdown and Spectre rely on out-of-order execution of memory access instructions. An access to an unauthorized memory location will be caught by the kernel, but the access is already completed due to the aggressive out-of-order execution. The data accessed may be stored in the processor’s cache memory. Using side-channel attacks, the information in the cache can be revealed (either fully or partially). A technique proposed by Kavi, for which a patent has been granted, relies on obfuscating how addresses are mapped to cache lines or sets. A traditional approach uses low order bits of an address as an index (or the location of the cache set) where the data from that address in memory will be stored in cache. This can be viewed as a type of modulo arithmetic for translating addresses to cache sets. Kavi has proposed changing the address bits used for the index, i.e., each process may use different portions of address bits for indexing, and potentially change the index bits after each context switch. This makes it very difficult to predict to which address the current data in a cache line belongs, making side-channel attacks very difficult. This technique does incur performance penalties since the cache data belonging to a process must be flushed before each context switch.

Professor Kavi welcomes motivated and hardworking students to further explore these and other architecture ideas.  

Prof. Saraju Mohanty Chairs IEEE ICCE 2018 at Las Vegas

ICCE 2018 Conference Chair and EiC Consumer Electronics Magazine Saraju Mohanty, and IEEE President James A. Jefferies conferring the Ibuka Award to Linus Torvalds.

Professor Saraju Mohanty is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. He was the General/Conference Chair for 36th IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics (ICCE 2018) which was held January 12-14, 2018 in Las Vegas, NV. ICCE is the flagship Conference of IEEE CE Society, which is co-located with International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as its research/education component; CES is the world’s largest CE show with 3,800 exhibiting companies, 300 conference sessions and more than 165,000 attendees from 150 countries.

It was a great moment for Professor Mohanty to join IEEE president James A. Jefferies to host Linus Torvalds at ICCE 2018. The 2018 IEEE Ibuka award was conferred to Linus Torvalds "For his leadership of the development and proliferation of Linux." Professor Mohanty also participated in 2 different panels at CES/ICCE 2018. At CES 2018 Professor Mohanty presented the panel talk on Smart Electronics for Healthcare. At ICCE 2018 Professor Mohanty participated on the panel titled "Energy and Security Tradeoffs in CE Systems".

Professor Mohanty and his co-authors received IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine 2016 Best Paper Award for the paper titled "Everything you wanted to know about smart cities: The Internet of things is the backbone" by Saraju P. Mohanty, Uma Choppali, and Elias Kougianos published July 2016. This article received 55 citations in a year time frame while IEEE Xplore shows more than 6000 downloads. Professor Mohanty (with M. Huebner, C. J. Xue, X. Li, and H. Li) guest edited a special issue titled "Circuit and System Design Automation for Internet of Things", for IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems (TCAD), January 2018. Professor Mohanty delivered two keynotes at International Conferences during December 2017:


Dr. Mark Thompson in Great Conversations 2018

Dr. Mark Thompson, CSE Lecturer, will host a table at Great Conversations 2018 to talk about "The Ups and Downs of Cryptocurrencies" on March 1, 2018 in the Emerald Eagle Ballroom at the UNT Union. Great Conversations is a benefit that supports the scholarship funds at the Honors College at the University of North Texas.

Dr. Thompson has been teaching in the computer science field for over 11 years with a special interest in cyber security. He is affiliated with the Center for Information and Computer Security (CICS) and is actively pursuing grants and research in cybersecurity. Prior to UNT, he worked at Bell-Northern Research, the research and development arm of Nortel Networks, for nearly 16 years on all phases of development as a senior programmer and systems architect on large, real-time telecommunications systems, focusing primarily on military and other security-based technologies.

Dr. Thompson received his Ph.D. from Louisiana Tech University in Computational Analysis and Modeling, an interdisciplinary program in mathematics, computer science, and statistics with a focus on Cyber Security. He has a Master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences and Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Tulane University.  

CSE featured on the Hosting Blog

The UNT Department of Computer Science and Engineering was featured on HostingAdvice.com in this blog post by Sean Garrity on January 24, 2018. The article talks about how the CSE department is committed to making advancements in STEM fields and recognizes how CSE’s strong emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to pedagogy and research will give students the tools they need to build successful careers in the tech sector and develop cutting-edge solutions that will shape the future of computing.

The blog post addresses how CSE bridges the gap between industry and academia, encourages students to reach their full potential in tech fields, and deals with STEM’s notorious gender and diversity problem. At the end, the post recognizes how the CSE Department goal is to foster early interest in Computer Science and Engineering by hosting summer camps to promote STEM education.  

CSE to offer Summer Camps

It will soon be time for summer camp season! The Department of Computer Science and Engineering has been offering summer camps since 2008 to middle school and high school students. UNT CSE will again be offering a number of summer camps with offerings in Robotics, Animation and Games and Mobile App Development. We will be offering camps at the new Frisco Campus as well as in Denton. Dates will be announced soon, and registration will open April 15, 2018. Visit our summer camp website to check the dates and to get the link for registrations.  

CSE participates in Diversity Summit Activities

UNT CSE is participating in a grant program with the goal of attracting more women into our engineering programs. To that end we will be hosting a number of Open house Events, Mini-Camps and High School and Community College visitations. If you have, know or are a teacher for Freshman through Senior Women who might have some interest in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Information Technology, then you will want to be sure to let them know about these events.

They are also open to young women who may want to transfer from a Community College to complete their Bachelors Degree. We are also setting up visits to High Schools and Community Colleges, as well as visits with Home School groups. You can visit www.cse.unt.edu/DiversitySummit to see the schedule and get more information. We will also be happy to discuss an event or visit at your location. Contact David Keathly (david.keathly@unt.edu) to discuss an event.  

Competitive Programming Teams forming at CSE

UNT CSE is once again planning to form some teams for Competitive Programming. This student group is open to all CSE majors at all skill levels. Principal Lecturers Ryan Garlick and David Keathly will be the faculty sponsors for these activities. In past years, UNT CSE has had teams qualify for national and international tournaments under the ACM/IBM Programming Competition, as well as the 24 Hour Programming Challenge held online followed by a final round in Budapest, Hungary. There are many other competitive opportunities as well. This is also a great way to improve your skills and get lots of practice. We also plan to host some competitions for both high school and college level students. Watch your email and the Discovery Park bulletin boards for announcements of the first meeting in early February.  

Grant Renewal for the National Convergence Technology Center

This summer UNT CSE Principal Lecturer David Keathly received a 5 year renewal grant for the UNT involvement in the National Convergence Technology Center. This center is hosted at Collin College and consists of a consortium of over 60 Community College, High Schools and Universities focused on promoting programs related to all areas of Technology, including Networking, IOT, Sensor Networks and Cyber Security. UNT has been a partner and active participant in this Center and its activities since 2008. Read more information about the National Convergence Technology Center.  

News from Computer Vision and Intelligent Systems (CoVIS) Lab

Ph.D. student Longbo Kong and Dr. Xiaohui Yuan.

Dr. Xiaohui Yuan, Associate CSE Professor and Director of the Computer Vision and Intelligent Systems (CoVIS Lab, published Automatic Feature Point Detection and Tracking of Human Actions in Time-of-flight Videos along with his Ph.D. student Longbo Kong, Dengchao Feng and Zhenchun Wei in IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinca in October 2017. This article in EurekAlert reviews his paper and how scientists have developed a method to track human movements more accurately. This research is the result of a collaboration of scientists from the University of North Texas and the North China Institute of Aerospace Engineering and Hefei University of Technology, China.

In the article, Dr. Yuan says "Our goal in this paper was to address tracking of human subject movement with high accuracy and consistency. This is beyond tracking a person or a car in a surveillance video or tracking the position of a person to estimate his or her actions." He adds, "In computer vision-based physical examination and in training, the accuracy of body part position must be ensured. In addition, given that our depth imaging device can acquire only surface data of a 3D volume, a detected extreme point could become invisible after an action (such as) rotation, which makes the consistency of detection critical."

Dr. Yuan says this paper is about Longbo Kong’s research. Longbo defended his dissertation Accurate Joint Detection from Depth Videos towards Pose Analysis on December 13, 2017 and will graduate with his Ph.D. in May 2018. A related paper of this research was recently accepted for publication in Pattern Recognition (A Hybrid Framework for Automatic Joint Detection of Human Poses in Depth Frames, Pattern Recognition, 77, 216-225, May 2018), which is a top journal in the field of Artificial Intelligence.  

NSF Net-Centric & Cloud Software & Systems (NCSS) Industry & University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC ) News

Security: Looking at the intersection of IoT and CPS

NCSS director, Krishna Kavi, presented his thoughts regarding the security of IoT (Internet of Things) and CPS (Cyber Physical Systems) at a Cybersecurity Summit organized by the University of North Texas College of Engineering on October 27. Here is a summary of the presentation.

IoTs are becoming pervasive and it is inevitable that all of us will encounter their presence throughout our daily lives. While IoTs can be used for different purposes, our focus is on their use in control, particularly in terms of making things ’smart’, such as smart homes, smart transportation, smart grids, etc. Moreover, our focus is on security, resilience and privacy of the systems comprising both the physical and cyber components, possibly excluding physical attacks. In other words, our focus is on the role of the cyber components (including the use of IoT components and data analytics) in predicting and preventing exposure of the physical system from cyber-attacks or system faults and failures. We are excluding IoTs used primarily for collecting data.

There have been several publications and opinion pieces regarding the key issues associated with IoT security. They include: lack of standardization (lack of common protocols, lack privacy and security standards and requirements), diversity of IoT implementations (hardware incompatibilities, variance in terms of computing capabilities as well as energy requirements), lack of the ability to update or patch (including the difficulty in patching IoT devices once deployed).

When IoTs are used to make physical systems intelligent, it is necessary to understand the physical system functionality, inherent resilience and weakness of the system, threat models for the specific physical domains and if physical solutions can be used to protect the physical system. This allows us to define the role of IoTs in a particular CPS domain and find solutions to prevent cyber attacks on the physical system through the IoTs (and other cyber components). It is also necessary to define device specific security levels, based on the functionality provided by the device in a CPS domain, the criticality of the device and its functionalities. It may be necessary to implement different levels of authentication, network protection (or firewalls), encryption, monitoring for malware and other security attacks. We strongly believe that it is essential to balance convenience with security (and privacy), otherwise humans will undercut the security.  

Research Innovations in Software Engineering (RISE) Lab News

Dr. Barrett Bryant at the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the tomb of the founder of the Ming dynasty, Nanjing, China.

Dr. Barrett Bryant presented a paper at APSEC 2017, the 24th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, held December 4-8, 2017, Nanjing, China. The paper, entitled "Toward Detection of Abnormal Behaviors in Timing and Security Requirements," was co-authored with Ph.D. student Danielle Gaither and Dr. Hyunsook Do. This paper is based on Danielle’s Ph. D. dissertation research on the detection of abnormal system behaviors from non-functional requirements, which include areas such as timing and security requirements. Danielle’s work proposes the beginnings of a domain-specific modeling language for requirements analysis, with a particular emphasis on detecting abnormal system behaviors.

In other RISE news, David Adamo, Jr., was awarded his Ph.D. degree at the Fall 2017 commencement ceremony. He was co-advised by Drs. Renee Bryce and Barrett Bryant and his dissertation title was "Online Construction of Android Application Test Suites." David is now employed by Ultimate Software in Westin, Florida. Dmitry Nurmuradov completed his Ph. D. defense on December 4, 2017. He was advised by Dr. Renee Bryce and his dissertation title was "Hybrid Approaches in Test Suite Prioritization." Congratulations to David and Dmitry!  

News from the Smart Electronic System Laboratory (SESL)

SESL Ph.D. candidates Venkata Prasanth Yanambaka and Prabha Sundaravadivel
with Professor Saraju Mohanty at ICCE 2018.

Two Ph.D. candidates of Smart Electronic System Laboratory (SESL), Venkata Prasanth Yanambaka and Prabha Sundaravadivel, traveled to ICCE 2018 to present their research findings. UNT got significant visibility at the ICCE 2018 with significant participation in multiple forms. Ph.D. candidates presented a total of 4 papers at ICCE 2018:


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Student News

Congratulations to CSE Graduates

Congratulations to all of our Department of Computer Science and Engineering graduates in Fall 2017 including these Ph.D. graduates below.

David Adamo, Jr.

Dissertation: Online Construction of Android Application Test Suites

Major Professor: Renee Bryce and Barrett Bryant

Srikanth Jonnada

Dissertation: Analysis and Performance of a Cyber-Human System and Protocols for Geographically Separated Collaborators

Major Professor: Ram Dantu

Zhi Liu

Dissertation: Location Estimation and Geo-Correlated Information Trends

Major Professor: Yan Huang

Uttara Mohan Sawant

Dissertation: Evaluation of Call Mobility on Network Productivity in Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) Femtocells

Major Professor: Robert Akl


Ph.D. Students defend Dissertations and Thesis

Congratulations to these Ph.D. students who successfully defended their dissertations!

Longbo Kong

Dissertation: Accurate Joint Detection from Depth Videos towards Pose Analysis

Major Professor: Xiaohui Yuan

Defense Date: December 13, 2017

Sultan Alotaibi

Dissertation: Radio Resource Control Approaches for LTE-Advanced Femtocell Networks

Major Professor: Robert Akl

Defense Date: December 7, 2017

Dmitry Nurmuradov

Dissertation: Hybrid Approaches in Test Suite Prioritization

Major Professor: Renee Bryce

Defense Date: December 4, 2017

Uttara Sawant

Dissertation: Evaluation of Call Mobility on Network Productivity in Long Term Evolution (LTE) Femtocells

Major Professor: Robert Akl

Defense Date: August 23, 2017

Congratulations to this M.S. student who successfully defended his thesis!

Vivek Reddy Doudagiri

Thesis: Extracting Temporally Anchored Knowledge from Tweets

Major Professor: Eduardo Blanco

Defense Date: November 28, 2017


National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

(L-R) Tamiah Waters, LeBarian Stokes, Shelton Childress, Bryan Hall, and Kelechi Ubani.

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), is a growing academic organization here at UNT. We promote the academic success and professional development for our members. Throughout the year, meetings include resume building, tours of local industry, and fun social outings. We hope to successfully bring in under-classmen and help them bridge the gap between the main campus and Discovery Park. Involvement in NBSE is a great way to earn leadership while always learning with the ones around you.

On a broader level, NSBE holds conventions around the country that consists of informing workshops, job fairs, and a network thousands of engineers across the country. UNT also connects with other schools in the DFW area and the NSBE professionals Dallas chapter. Some recent sponsors include GE Transportation, USAA, and Peterbilt.

CSE students can follow UNT NSBE on twitter @unt_nsbe and on instagram @untnsbe or contact the President of UNT NSBE at untnsbe.president@gmail.com.  

CSE Students invited to apply to be an Ambassador for the College of Engineering

The College of Engineering is looking for qualified students to join its Student Ambassador Team. Do you love attending events on campus and being active in events? Do you like to meet new people? Are you a hard worker and dependable? If you are interested in being the face of the College of Engineering, please contact Cassady Ogedege by email at Cassady.ogedegbe@unt.edu or by phone at 940-891-6993. Deadline for applications is March 1, 2018.  

Meet our Spring 2018 Teaching Fellows and
Teaching Assistants and Graders

College of Engineering News

College of Engineering Events       College of Engineering News

College to celebrate Engineers Week in February

The Council on Engineering Organizations and the Center for Student Affairs at Discovery Park are planning the annual celebration for Engineers Week February 19-23 to promote and educate about the field of engineering as a profession. Please see the events scheduled here.  

Engineering & Computer Science Career & Internship Fair on February 28

Mark Graves graduated in 2001 and came back to recruit for Tyler Technologies at the October 2017 Career and Internship Fair.

College of Engineering students are invited to attend the Engineering and Computer Science Career and Internship Fair hosted by the UNT Career Center on Thursday, February 28, from 9 am to 1 pm in the Discovery Park Commons. This is a great opportunity for upper class students to find an internship or a job and the rest of the students to learn about employer recruiting activities and the interview process. Students can find out more information at this Career Center website.  

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.

This newsletter has been produced every Fall and Spring semester since April 2005. The newsletter archive can be found here.

http://www.cse.unt.edu UNT Computer Science and Engineering Department February 2018