Computer Science News

Fundraising underway for transformative engineering center

11/01/2023
Doosan Bobcat and Mortenson have announced significant philanthropic investments to launch fundraising efforts toward a new Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences at NDSU.

The gifts were revealed at a special event hosted by the NDSU Foundation on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, which was attended by alumni, friends, state legislators, and university faculty, staff and students.

Doosan Bobcat and Mortenson have each pledged $5 million to boost early fundraising momentum and inspire others to get involved in the project that will transform NDSU’s College of Engineering.

“We are very pleased to be a lead investor in the new Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences that will establish a new benchmark in higher education throughout the region,” Dan Johnson, chief executive officer at Mortenson and an NDSU alumnus in construction management, said. “Engineers are a critical aspect of our workforce, and this new Center will attract and retain both students and faculty well into the future.”

Bobcat Company is one of the largest employers of NDSU graduates in North Dakota. More than 55% of its engineering staff are NDSU alumni, and 37% of its non-engineering hires are NDSU graduates. 

“As a company built on decades of engineering advancements, Bobcat is committed to investing in and developing the talent pool that will shape the next century of innovation,” Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America, said. “We are proud to support NDSU as they educate future engineers who are helping us transform how the world runs jobsites, builds cities, and thinks about a sustainable future.” Read more

 

 

NDSU team wins Cyber Cup

09/21/2023
For the second year in a row, an NDSU team won the Cyber Cup competition and the National Cyber Summit.  A team of NDSU students took first place in the academic division at the competition in Huntsville, Alabama.   

The NDSU team was comprised of students Gavin Kestner, Joshua Heeren, Keaton Hasse and Neal Buerman, who are all studying computer science.  Several dozen teams competed across the academic and industry competition divisions. Read more

Computer science students conduct summer cybersecurity research

09/14/2023
NDSU computer science students and a number of students from other engineering disciplines participated in national security-relevant cybersecurity research at NDSU during the summer.

On campus summer research activities in cybersecurity provide students with technical skill development opportunities much earlier in their careers than may be otherwise possible. It also provides students with an opportunity to take leadership roles in teams far earlier than typical and to learn while doing. This is all in addition to the valuable products of their research. Read more

NDSU cybersecurity institute awarded $1.5 million

09/11/2023
The North Dakota State University (NDSU) Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research and the NDSU Department of Computer Science have been awarded $1.5 million in federal funding through the Griffiss Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research & Engineering and the Air Force Research Laboratory-Information Directorate, as part of the Virtual Institutes for Cyber and Electromagnetic Spectrum Research and Employ (VICEROY) program.  This funding will support NDSU and its partner institutions in providing world-class cybersecurity education to students and enhance our cybersecurity, computer science and related programs.

The VICEROY program is designed to augment the traditional college curriculum through providing hands-on, experiential learning and internship opportunities that match the workforce demands of the U.S. Department of Defense and the American defense industrial base. The program aims to increase the quality and quantity of students with job-ready cybersecurity skills upon graduation.

“Our participation in the VICEROY program provides an exceptional opportunity for NDSU students to gain hands-on experience and real-world skills in cybersecurity,” said NDSU Cybersecurity Institute director Dr. Jeremy Straub, who is a faculty member in the Computer Science Department and also serves as the principal investigator for this program.  “We look forward to using the additional resources provided by VICEROY to build on our existing strengths and develop new world-class courses, labs and other resources to drive student learning.” Read more

NDSU to hold cybersecurity conference

09/11/2023
NDSU will host Fargo’s second BSides Cybersecurity Conference from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday, October 14 at the Quentin Burdick Building on campus. The community-focused conference will feature presentations and workshops.  It also will host a capture-the-flag style competition operated by Hack the Box.

In addition to the technical content, the conference provides an opportunity for networking between area cybersecurity professionals, students and others aspiring to enter the cybersecurity field.

“BSides Fargo is an excellent opportunity for the local cybersecurity community to gather on the NDSU campus to learn about new tools and techniques and to network,” said NDSU associate professor of computer science Jeremy Straub, who also is director of the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research.  “It also provides an excellent opportunity for NDSU students to meet members of the local workforce and learn about job roles and opportunities in the field.” Read more

Students conduct summer research

09/07/2023
A group of NDSU computer science undergraduate students participated in national security-relevant cybersecurity research and outreach activities at NDSU this summer.  The students, which included sophomores Keaton Hasse and Sydney Deaton, and senior Mason Kornezos, developed software, conducted analysis and performed a variety of outreach activities in support of multiple projects. 

Summer on-campus cybersecurity research provides students with leadership and skill development opportunities much earlier in their careers than may be otherwise possible.  Students take leadership roles in teams and learn while doing.  They also collect and analyze valuable data. 

“I have been given many opportunities to widen my knowledge,” said Hasse, who is from Wahpeton, North Dakota and also serves in the North Dakota National Guard. “I am getting real world experience in software development.  I have been able to connect with my co-worders and learn from them.  My current position is a great steppingstone to further my career.” Read more

NDSU kicks off the new school year with welcome week

08/23/2023
This week NDSU kicked off the fall semester with a variety of Welcome Week special events. This weekend hundreds of students moved into the residence halls, and today many experienced their first official college events on campus. Led by chair Simone Ludwig, students were greeted by members of the computer science department in the morning and introduced to the faculty and staff. Students learned about what the department has to offer new students, and what to expect in the coming years. We wish all students a productive and healthy new school year, and we look forward to getting to know all of you.

New BS programs starting this fall

08/22/2023
Starting this Fall the department is offering two new programs, a BS in Cybersecurity and Software Engineering.

The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity curriculum includes courses in topics including defensive network security, networking, ethical hacking, malware analysis, programming, and cybersecurity law and policy.  It also provides a background in general education areas such as mathematics and communications. 

Cybersecurity seeks to prevent and provides the tools to respond to attacks against computing systems and organizations.  It is a field that spans numerous areas, ranging from the highly technical aspects of securing and testing the security of IT systems to preventing manual data theft by organization members.  Cybersecurity practitioners protect important private information in all areas of society – ranging from healthcare to banks to government – and secure systems that are critical to everyone’s day-to-day lives. 

The Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering is offered jointly by the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering. The curriculum includes courses in software engineering, computer science, electrical & computer engineering, along with the relevant mathematics background. 

Software Engineering is the design and application of systematic, disciplined, and quantifiable approaches to the development and conservation of software, software systems and related computing hardware. The Systems Programming track focuses on embedded systems while the Applications Development track centers on methodologies, techniques, and tools to manage the software development life cycle. 

New stackable certificates and minor in artificial intelligence this fall

08/22/2023
New this Fall the department will offer stackable certificates as well as a minor in artificial intelligence. Both offerings are designed to meet the needs of current students as well as career professionals in computer science. Our new certificate program is ideal for professionals looking to gain new skills as well as new students not ready to commit to a full degree program. The certificates provide a sequence of credentials accumulated over time to build up an individual's qualifications. 

With talk of ChatGPT, robots, self-driving cars, and artificially created images ever present in the media, understanding artificial intelligence and its implications is crucial. Our new minor will allow students to deepen their understanding of artificial intelligence and is laid out to include a concise coverage of mathematical and computational foundations, a specific course on artificial intelligence, and an elective that can be drawn from courses offered in the computer science department or any of the other departments that have broadened their machine learning and artificial intelligence offerings in recent years.

NDSU students attend cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas

08/22/2023
A group of NDSU students recently attended the DefCon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. The experience provides an opportunity for students to learn about all types of cybersecurity from world leaders and to meet with NDSU alumni who work in the cybersecurity field. 

The students who attended brought information that they will share with others at NDSU through activities of the Cybersecurity Student Association and a variety of local events. Six NDSU students – Cameron Kolodjski, Elsa Bernard, Jack Hance, Jonathan Rivard, Neal Buerman and Sydney Deaton – attended the conference in 2023. 

“DefCon was an incredible experience,” said NDSU undergraduate student Elsa Bernard.  “There is so much to be learned and explored in just four days.  It will definitely have me coming back.”  Read more

Department hosts cybersecurity camp for high school students 

08/22/2023
The NDSU computer science department recently hosted its annual Bison Cyber Camp, which provided a week of fun-filled cybersecurity and computing education to approximately thirty-five high school students.

Students attended core sessions related to programming, robotics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. They also selected electives to participate in, got to visit NDSU’s dining center and the NDSU campus Wellness Center’s pool. 

This was NDSU’s fifth year of offering cyber summer camps.  Instruction was provided by computer science faculty members Pratap Kotala, Simone Ludwig, Zahid Anwar, Joe Latimer and Jeremy Straub. Staff members Ben Bernard, Cayden Schmandt and Dylan Schaefer and students Anthony DeFoe, Elsa Bernard, Gavin Kestner, Danielle Hanson, Mason Kornezos, Ryan Patterson and Sydney Deaton also played integral roles in the camp. Read more

Fundraising launch for new computational sciences building

08/18/2023
The North Dakota State University Foundation is pleased to announce an ambitious fundraising initiative to raise philanthropic gifts in support of a new, $84 million Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences at NDSU. This state-of-the-art facility will advance hands-on, interdisciplinary engineering and computational sciences curriculum, research, and learning to develop technical talent for tomorrow's workforce needs.

"Preparing highly skilled, practical engineers and computational scientists is central to our 1862 land-grant mission for North Dakota," NDSU President Dave Cook said. "We're ready to launch a new, expanded era to address the grand challenges we face in the 21st century and believe that Bison-educated engineers and scientists can make a real difference." Learn more and get involved by visiting the NDSU Foundation News webpage.

Dr. Zahid Anwar receives innovation in teaching award

08/09/2023
Zahid Anwar, associate professor of computer science and Challey Scholar, was named 2023 Innovation in Teaching Award recipient from the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning. This award was presented at the 2023 Teaching and Learning Conference.

The Office of Teaching and Learning has established this monthly Innovation in Teaching Award to expand recognition and awareness of instructors who are successfully using innovative teaching strategies. This award recognizes individuals who have exhibited creativity to elicit high levels of student engagement and learning in their classroom environment.

MS and PhD in Software and Security Engineering program now offers two distinct tracks

These days computer science majors have a wealth of career options available to them. With rapid and considerable growth in the fields of software development and cybersecurity, the computer science department at NDSU is now offering two tracks to its MS and PhD programs, which are now called Software and Security Engineering, to offer a more focused area of study. The program started this fall and it is designed to deal with the different training and knowledge base required in each field. Students choosing the software engineering track will study topics such as Software Requirements Definition and Analysis (CSCI 715), Software Testing and Debugging (CSCI 718), and Introduction to Database Systems (CSCI 765). Those pursuing a cybersecurity track will study topics such as Ethical Hacking (CSCI 604), Cybersecurity Law and Policy (CSCI 609), Computer Crime and Forensics (CSCI 610), and Foundations of the Digital Enterprise (CSCI 773).

 

Computer Science students earn fourth at cybersecurity competition

07/28/2023
A team of NDSU students earned fourth place in the spring National Cyber League team competition in the advanced-level “experienced students bracket.” Hundreds of colleges and universities and thousands of students participated in the competition this spring.

The National Cyber League competition provides students with an enjoyable and exciting competition environment in which to learn and demonstrate their cybersecurity skills.  Participants perform real world-relevant tasks as part of the competition’s challenges which correspond to tasks performed in cybersecurity industry job roles. 

The NDSU team was comprised of students Jack Hance, Cameron Kolodjski, Cayden Schmandt, Jonathan Rivard, Matthew Tassava and Jordan Milbrath. Read more

Cybersecurity students attend New York conference, competition

07/20/2023
A group of 16 NDSU students attended a cybersecurity conference and competition in New York.

NDSU cybersecurity students recently visited New York City to attend the BSides NYC cybersecurity conference and competition. While there, the 16 students attended technical sessions, met with potential employers and participated in a cybersecurity competition.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said NDSU graduate student Matthew Tassava. “Exploring the city was a blast. The competition was challenging, which I appreciated.”

The conference, which was hosted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, is part of an international collection of community-oriented BSides cybersecurity conferences.  It was a one-day event and featured presentations on topics ranging from technology law to ethical hacking to artificial intelligence. Read more

Dr. Jeremy Straub is in the Challey spotlight

06/30/2023
The Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth highlights the impact of our faculty and students at NDSU and in the community. In June the spotlight was on Senior Faculty Fellow, Jeremy Straub who is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at NDSU, Challey Institute Senior Faculty Fellow, and Director of the NDSU Cyber Security Institute. He teaches courses in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Most of his research focuses on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity and looks into the policy and management implications of those areas. Read/watch the full interview here.

Dr. Anne Denton talks about AI

05/19/2023
Anne Denton, NDSU Computer Science, was in the studio on Afternoons Live with Tyler Axness about the recent hearings in Washington D.C. about artificial intelligence and how we can make smart choices to regulate the new technology. You can listen to it here.

Dr. Changhui Yan receives funding for soybean selection using machine learning

05/18/2023
Professor Changhui Yan was recently awarded grant funding through the MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council for his proposal "Increasing the Efficiency of Selecting High-Quality Soybeans for Tofu Processors and Breeders with Machine Learning."  The MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council's aim is to increase Minnesota soybean farmer profitability.

Dr. Yan is a full professor in the computer science department. Some of his research interests include bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, machine learning, data mining, big data, and cloud computing.

NDSU ranked 3rd in 2023 most affordable school for Software Engineering

05/12/2023
North Dakota State University has been identified as one of the Third Most Affordable Online College for a Master's in Software Engineering by OnlineU. The ranking used manually researched online tuition for 2022 - 2023 and found that NDSU is a great value for students. OnlineU mission is to help aspiring students accomplish their education and career goals by finding the online degree with the best value. They conduct manual research on thousands of online degrees each year to provide accurate, detailed cost information and salary information of alumni of these colleges, collected reviews from over 13,000 online students, and has been recognized by over 475 colleges as a leader in higher education rankings.

Software Engineering at NDSU is focused on the application of systematic, disciplined, and quantifiable approaches to the development, operation, and maintenance of software systems. Inclusive of computer programming but going well beyond, Software Engineering is concerned with methodologies, techniques, and tools to manage the entire software life cycle, including development of requirements, specifications, design, testing, maintenance, and project management. The advent of Software Engineering is a natural result of the continuous quest for software quality and reusability, and the maturing of the software development industry.

Come visit Alan Turing!

04/18/2023
April is Pride Month at NDSU, and to celebrate the computer science department recently participated and won the "student choice" category in the campus-wide office decorating contest. The goal of the competition is to have a more visually inclusive campus environment leading up to National Day of Silence on April 14th. The department chose to honor the founder of computer science, Alan Turing, an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist.Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. He is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Turing was homosexual, for this sole reason, he was arrested in 1952 for indecency. He was chemically castrated and had developed a depression that might have caused his suicide. This tragic fate is a classic example of how society’s prejudice robbed him of a dignified and fulfilling life. Let us not forget this tragic example and keep fighting to promote a more egalitarian culture in honor of Turing’s and so many lives wasted to intolerance.  Stop by the department this month to view the decorations and celebrate Pride with us!

NDSU hosts 2023 ICPC regional programming competition

03/02/2023
NDSU was a site host for the 2023 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Facilitated by Senior Lecturer Joseph Latimer, teams from NDSU, Bemidji State, and MSUM competed in the five hour event. NDSU Computer Science teams had a strong showing in our region of 116 teams, with the team of Elijah Satrom, Jean Eckelberg, and Eathon Jablon placing 11th, newcomers Brady Vogt, Andrew Fergel, and Colin Campbell placing 12th, and the team of Carson Miller, Brandon Gasser, and William Saksoda placing 37th.

The International Collegiate Programming Contest is an algorithmic programming contest for college students. Teams of three, representing their university, work to solve the most real-world problems, fostering collaboration, creativity, innovation, and the ability to perform under pressure. Through training and competition, teams challenge each other to raise the bar on the possible. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. The contest has raised aspirations and performance of generations of the world’s problem solvers in the computing sciences and engineering.

Dr. Jeremy Straub talks with Valley News Live about new Snapchat AI chatbot

04/28/2023
A new AI chatbot is causing a lot of buzz both locally and nationally. It’s receiving praise by some, while raising safety concerns by law enforcement and cybersecurity experts.

‘My AI’ from Snapchat is now free for all users, whether you want it or not, claiming to ‘make your life easier’ by answering questions and giving advice.

We tried it for ourselves, and it can feel like talking to a friend when messaging with the bot. And that’s why cybersecurity experts like Jeremy Straub are reminding you what you say in an AI chat will likely live forever.

“It’s really difficult to put the genie back in the bottle with a lot of this stuff,” Straub, who is the Director of NDSU’s Institute for Cyber Security, said. “This can be stuff that comes back to create problems for them when they’re trying to get a job. Something that somebody writes at 10 or 12 or 14 may be nothing like their views and beliefs when they’re 30.” Read/watch the full story here.

CS professors Jen Li and Anne Denton among panelists discussing AI in the classroom

03/10/2023
In this discussion panelists talked about what artificial intelligence (AI) is and how it is currently being used in the classroom. You may have heard about AI technologies like ChatGPT, which have value in certain arenas, but can present challenges in other arenas. New technology often brings challenges and this panel addressed some of the challenges they have seen or anticipate seeing with the growth in use of AI technologies. Panelists provided information on additional technology tools that facilitate alternative assessments that are AI resistant and what NDSU's current AI policies and best practices are. 

Dr. Anne Denton talks about AI

03/10/2023
Anne Denton, NDSU Computer Science, was in the studio on Afternoons Live with Tyler Axness to answer some questions about the ever changing landscape of artificial intelligence. You can listen to it here.

Byte-le Royale 2023 winners announced

02/22/2023
Mama Mia! Can you cook the best pizza's faster than the competition? This kitchen is only big enough for the best! That was the theme of this year’s Byte-le Royale, hosted by the NDSU student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The 12-hour programming competition challenges competitors in teams of up to 3 to write an AI to play a video game and compete against each other to see who can create the best AI. The “Papa Rivard’s” team of Elijah Satrom, Enoch Satrom, and Chris Tupper took first place, “No llambda's” Brandon Gasser and William Soksoda took second, “IntelliBeans” Brennan Gerstner finished third, and “SIMS” Jace Weishaar and Mason Myles took fourth. Additionally, the team “Fan Mention” made up of Jack Hance, Matthew Tassava, and Cameron Kolodjski were the graduate team winners.

This was the first competition for NDSU computer science sophomore Ian King. “For the first time competing, it was a lot of fun. I'm still learning a lot about programing being new to computer science, so it was a bit overwhelming, but it was fun in the sense that like, okay, let's see what we can do and then we'll see what happens in the end. The ACM did have a meeting beforehand introducing Python and that personally really helped me, and the competition was a big help with getting better with coding. I definitely want to partake in more competitions in the future.”

First place winner Elijah Satrom says it was definitely worth the effort, with each of the first-place team members winning $456. “It’s fairly easy to get into as long as you have a basic grasp of programing, logic and such. The API to interact with the game was very easy to use and it was fairly well documented. It was definitely a fun experience and for a 12-hour competition it was very well-designed. No one's going to be closing out the competition with that feeling of, well, I've been working on stuff for 12 hours and I still did almost nothing. It's a good middle ground for the amount of time you have and there was still stuff at the end that we could get done. I'd say it was very well put together.”

Second place winner Braddon Gasser added “the first hour of it is always really stressful. You get the game, you get the manual and you've got no idea what to do. This was my fourth AI competition, and it's pretty fun. Even if you don't win, it's a good time.”

The current chair of the ACM Amanda Fetzer stated that development of the game takes close to a year. “Additionally, we did do a bit of game balancing during gameplay because we noticed some parts of the code we thought were working weren't. But we kind of gave ourselves a rule where we can do game balancing within the first half, but then after that we just don't touch the code because then otherwise it won't give teams enough time to adjust to those changes. There were five updates and only one of them was balancing in the first couple of hours.”

The ACM has been hosting the event since 2018 with the initial computational infrastructure built by computer science alum Jordan Goetze. The AI competition is a very well kept secret each year, which means that the objective and structure of the each year’s game are not revealed until the day of the event. You can learn more about the competition, including previous gameplay at the ACM website.

NDSU faculty member invited to cybersecurity panel

02/21/2023
NDSU Cybersecurity Institute director and Challey Institute faculty fellow Jeremy Straub recently was asked by facilitators at SUNY University at Albany and the Society of Actuaries to be part of an expert panel related to catastrophic cybersecurity risks.

Straub, who is also an assistant professor in NDSU’s Department of Computer Science, helped SUNY and the society understand the types of factors that could contribute to increased damage from cyberattacks and, thus, cost to insurance companies. Read more

 

Dr. Anne Denton talks about AI

01/23/2023
Dr. Anne Denton, NDSU Computer Science, is on The Drive Time News with Jack Sunday to chat about the advancement of AI and how it may impact classrooms. you can listen to it here.

Computer science students shine at cybersecurity competitions

01/11/2023
NDSU freshman Conor Quinn won first place in the cybersecurity “Scavenge-The-Flag” competition at the BSides Dallas-Fort Worth conference in Texas. NDSU junior Cayden Schmandt also took second place in a physical cybersecurity competition at the conference.

The “Scavenge-The-Flag” competition combined cybersecurity knowledge questions with scavenger hunt activities and in-person challenges. The physical security competition included several challenges related to locks and lockpicking.

“It was a very informative conference. The speakers were very knowledgeable and taught about some interesting attacks. It really expanded my knowledge of various aspects of cybersecurity,” said Schmandt. “It was an overall fun conference. I’m glad that we were able to bring a large group of freshmen and to get them more excited about cybersecurity and broaden their knowledge.”

BSides conferences are held around the world. The BSides conference in Dallas-Fort Worth has been held annually for more than a decade. Read more

Department welcomes new academic and career advisor

01/11/2023
The department is happy to announce Jill Stromsborg who will serve as an Academic and Career Advisor. Jill will work with 1st and 2nd year Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Software Engineering students.

Jill graduated with her Bachelors in Child Development and Family Science from NDSU and is excited to be back on campus again!  She has over 10 years in higher education, starting out in Financial Aid and eventually finding her home in Advising.  Her favorite part about advising is connecting with students to build those relationships and helping them find a solution to help them be successful in their program and get them to graduation.

Jill lives in North Fargo with her husband her 3 children: Abigail, Henry, and James.  When she isn’t taking her kids to activities and events she loves getting out to the lake when the North Dakota weather allows, spending time with her large extended family, and getting together with friends.

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