The NDSU team, “Team Clever Team Name”, with Erick Bickler, Jack Hance, Alex Leska, and Trent Yetzer placed 3rd in last Fall’s Digi-Key Collegiate Computing Competition. The event consisted of a variety of programming challenges of various lengths, including word problems and short and long programming challenges. While the competition is normally held at the Digi-Key headquarters in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, this year’s event was run in a distributed fashion at the participating universities. It is the fourth year in a row that one or more teams from the NDSU Computer Science Department have placed among the top three winning teams. Each year, Digi-Key Electronics invites two 4-person teams from each of 13 regional universities to participate in the competition. In addition to prizes for the participants, the department of the 3rd-placed team is awarded $1,000, that benefits our ACM student organization.
Professor of computer science, Pratap Kotala was interviewed by Joel Heitkamp on "Down the Road with Joel" about the recent cyberattack on U.S. federal government agencies. This security breach went on for months, and experts believe at this time, given the widespread impact, that Russia is most likely responsible. Kotala states that these attacks happened despite the investment of billions of dollars to create state-of-the-art server security protections. There are multiple factors that made these attacks possible, states Kotala, including the safeguarding of the recent election. The attack was quite sophisticated and is of a type that we have never seen before. This happened at a time when the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was without a full-time director. Additionally the assistant director was asked to resign on November 12th during the time of the attacks. It is difficult to say whether or not we will ever know the details of what the hackers acquired, as they might have had access to the networks for six to nine months, which gave them ample opportunity to transfer data to their servers, manipulate programs, and potentially control the networks. Watch the video to see the full interview.
Joshua Gisi, an undergraduate in the College of Engineering(CoE), recently placed second in the ACM ESEC/FSE 2020 Student Research Competition. The ACM’s Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (ESEC/FSE) is one of the premier conferences in Software Engineering; it is currently ranked as the second most cited conference in software systems by Google Scholar. His paper, entitled “Synthesizing Correct Code for Machine Learning Programs,” presented a novel approach to AutoML (automatic machine learning) that produces state-of-the-art results using only a fraction of the computational resources. Joshua is a member of ARiSE (Advanced Research in Software Engineering), a group within the Department of Computer Science, where he works with Dr. Muhammad Zubair Malik. His research is supported by CoE and NDEPSCoR grants.
Brian M. Slator, professor of computer science, died May 1. He was 67.
Slator spent almost 26 years as a faculty member in the NDSU Department of Computer Science and was head of the department from 2007–17. During his time NDSU, he served as a mentor and friend to students and colleagues across many disciplines and was instrumental in several interdepartmental collaborations.
"He will be greatly missed by students, faculty and staff in our department and across the university," said Ken Nygard, professor and chair of computer science. “Although Dr. Slator was a recognized expert in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing, he became interested in the scholarship of learning through the use of educational games. Leveraging many collaborations, he was the primary designer and developer of multi-user games deployed for teaching in many areas, including programming, geosciences, economics and cell biology. For these highly successful efforts he was awarded the Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology [in 2000], the only NDSU professor ever recognized in this way.” Read more. Obituary | Dr. Brian Slator Memorial Scholarship Fund | Memorial