Computer Science News

Congratulations to our recent 2021 scholarship winners

Bill Perrizo Scholarship: Francis Martinson

Nygard Scholarship: Joshua Pompa, Allison Scharmer, and Emma Cockram

Paul Juell Scholarship: Alexander Tjellesen, Jacob Rinehart, and Amanda Fetzer

Computer Science Scholarship: Alexia Schock, Alison Gonser, Dylan Miska, Brian Friedt

Niehaus Scholarship: Ryan Heilman, Alex Janssen

New online graduate certificate in computer science education starting this summer!
Graduate student to present research at ICSE 2022

04/12/2022
Anas Nadeem, a graduate student in the department of computer science, will be presenting his work titled ‘A Case for Microservices Orchestration Engine’ at the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) 2022, the premier conference in software systems. ICSE provides a forum for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, experiences and concerns in the field of software engineering.   

Microservices have become the defacto software architecture for cloud-native applications. A contentious architectural decision in microservices is to compose them using choreography or orchestration. Nadeem's research shows that orchestration engines such as Temporal make microservices easier to implement and debug by solving core issues of resilience and fault tolerance.

The research was supervised and co-authored by Dr. Zubair Malik, an assistant professor in the department who leads the Advanced Research in Software Engineering (ARiSE) group, which involves itself in exploring many aspects of modern and future computing applications.  The current focus of the group is aimed towards directly enabling advanced manufacturing, enhancing software security, and improving fault tolerance of robots and autonomous computing agents. Learn more about ARiSE Lab's interesting research and projects.

Dr. Zahid Anwar presents at Infosecurity magazine Online Summit

03/29/2022
Zahid Anwar, associate professor of computer science, and Challey scholar, appeared in “Securing the Metaverse! The Cybersecurity Industry's Call to Action”, a panel discussion involving cybersecurity experts from the US, Canada, Belgium and the UK hosted by Infosecurity Magazine on March 22nd 2022 as part of their Spring online summit. 

Despite the exciting possibilities the metaverse offers, there are substantial concerns around safety, privacy, and security. Anwar as part of a panel of cybersecurity experts explored the challenges around the metaverse, from verification and the dangers of impersonation to biometric information and how private data should be collected and used. 

The talk drew from his previous article Privacy and Safety Issues With Facebook's New 'Metaventure' published on DarkReading. In this work Anwar describes the benefits and issues of privacy and safety in the metaverse. The metaverse is a mixed reality world where users can meet up using virtual reality headsets and aspects of social media, gaming, and cryptocurrencies come together. He details how the metaverse can allow for increased tracking and the collection of personal data, and has the potential to impact physical safety and cause addiction. Anwar contends that awareness on the part of the user along with appropriate controls and regulations would be needed to protect safety and privacy without stifling the innovative benefits of this technology. 

NDSU listed among Cyber Skyline Cyber power rankings

03/24/2022
NDSU is ranked eighth in the nation and second in the central region out of more than 300 colleges and universities based on student success in the National Cyber League competition.

The NCL competition challenges students to solve problems in nine cybersecurity topic areas that are broadly representative of workforce needs.

According to Cyber Skyline, the rankings represent the ability of students to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform. Students identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit vulnerable websites, as well as recover from ransomware attacks.

“The Cyber Power rankings are a direct indication of the strength of NDSU’s cybersecurity students,” said NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research director, Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science. “Our ranking shows that our students are ready to enter the workforce and excel in key roles in the incredibly high staffing demand area of cybersecurity.”

The National Cyber League was launched in 2011 by multiple agencies to drive the development of future cybersecurity professionals. More than 12,000 students participate in NCL annually from 600 academic institutions. NDSU was ranked 13th nationally in spring 2021.

Dr. Changhui Yan receives funding to create weed tolerant corn

03/23/2022
Professor Changhui Yan was recently awarded grant funding through the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service for his research to create weed tolerant corn. The objectives of the proposal are to develop and use machine learning algorithms to identify gene expression patterns associated with competition and to identify gene networks by which corn perceives and alters its expression when presented with inter -or intra-species competition. The goal of this research is to develop testable hypotheses for altering perception of competition in order to reduce corn yield losses.

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.

Computer science professor featured on Scholars Strategy Network

03/18/2022
Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science, NDSU Cybersecurity Institute director and Challey Institute faculty fellow, was recently published on Scholars Strategy Network.

Cybersecurity Incidents can be unwelcome wakeup calls for unprepared agencies,” was published on March 18 in the website’s foreign policy and security section.

In his brief, Straub describes the implications of a cyber-Pearl Harbor event for agencies.  He also details how agencies can prepare for and respond to this type of an incident.  The work draws from his previous article on this topic, which was published in Elsevier’s Technology in Society

Strong cybersecurity practices are key to avoiding incidents happening in the first place.  However, Straub suggests that agencies should prepare for incident response. This includes avoiding activities that could be seen as covert or nefarious and cannot be explained by their mission, preparing  for inevitable breaches to occur, treating every record like it might end up in the public’s hands and actively communicating with the public about their mission, methods and tactics.

Straub is the first faculty member from NDSU to be included in SSN’s network of America’s top scholars.

NDSU hosts 2022 ICPC north central NA regional programming competition

02/28/2022
NDSU was a site host for the 2022 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Facilitated by Senior Lecturer Joseph Latimer, teams from NDSU, Bemidji State, and MSUM competed in the five hour event.The 'Yesql' team with members Sean Hagen, Erick Bickler, and Jack Hance placed 17th out of 95 teams in our region. Their team was also honored separately for having been the first team to solve one of the 13 problems.

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. Pratap Kotala gives introduction to the dual credit course CSCI 160

02/09/2022
High school students in North Dakota are now able to take dual-credit classes online through NDSU's Office of Teaching and Learning.

There are currently 15 classes with more in development. These dual-credit classes are selected to offer exploratory experiences and to help students meet college course requirements. School districts, educators, and parents are encouraged to review the list of classes below to help students determine which classes fit with their student's high school requirements as well as the student's area of interest. Learn more on the Office of Teaching and Learning's website.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program

The departments of Computer Science and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at NDSU as well as North Carolina A&T State University are pleased to offer a special research experience for undergraduates in Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning with an international experience in Chile that will be offered this summer (May 31 – August 5, 2022).

Some of the highlights are: exciting research projects, stipends up to $6,000, room and board provided, and travel funding up to $2,200.

LEARN MORE

Winners announced for Byte-le Royale 2022

02/04/2022
This past weekend, the NDSU student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) hosted Byte-le Royale, a 12-hour programming competition.  Competitors in teams of up to 3 had to write an AI to play a video game and compete against each other to see who could create the best AI. The team of Elijah Satrom, Jean Eckelberg, and Carson Bring took first place, with Dylan Zapzalka and Daniel Johnson taking second, and Joshua Pompa, Deborah Pompa, and Ryan Doering finishing third. This year the competition had 8 teams compete, both remotely and in person.

"It was fun. I feel like we improved in our collaborative skills and using git. We worked hard and took first place," stated Elijah Satrom.

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.

Recently funded grants

01/11/2022
Congratulations to three department members who recently received funding. 

  • ND EPSCoR $4,978.72 –  Dr. Lu Liu
  • National Security Agency $11,293 – Dr. Jeremy Straub
  • ND EPSCoR $14,395 – Dr. Jun Kong
  • ND EPSCoR $5,768 – Dr. Jun Kong
  • ND EPSCoR $5,395 – Dr. Jeremy Straub
  • Funding of 2 TAs for online course development for CSCI 372 – Dr. Zubair Malik

The ND EPSCoR State Office provides leadership and coordination to broaden and diversify ND's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce pathway from elementary through graduate school; supports and grows statewide STEM research efforts and competitiveness at participating institutions of higher education; and conveys the impact of STEM research, outreach, and workforce efforts to ND stakeholders.  

NDSU program ranked 6th among the top 10 most affordable online master's in software engineering

11/08/2021
North Dakota State University has been identified as one of the Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master's in Software Engineering by Master’s Programs Guide. The ranking considered affordability, graduation rate, earning potential, selectivity, and online graduate offerings. Master’s Programs Guide mission is to help find the best Master’s degree programs by providing rankings, resources, and information.

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.

NDSU computer science students take third place in Digi-Key's 2021 collegiate computing competition

10/27/2021
The NDSU “Yesql” team made up of Sean Hagen, Erick Bickler, Jack Hance, and Braden Rayhorn placed 3rd in this year’s Digi-Key Collegiate Computing Competition VERSION 2.0.21. The competition held on October 15 in Thief River Falls consisted of three main events—two programming sessions and one word problem session. This is the fifth 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 NDSU’s ACM student organization.

October is cybersecurity awareness month!

10/22/2021
In honor of cybersecurity awareness month, Computer Science Associate Professor Zahid Anwar recently spoke with North Dakota Today about cybersecurity best practices. The theme for this year is "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart." It encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability and importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.

“It’s important for everyone to have a basic knowledge of cybersecurity so as to be able to make informed decisions about their personal security, but the bottom line is that we have a data breach almost every week, and many Americans have experienced data theft, so it is something to be aware about,” Anwar said. He advised everyone "to update your software as soon as updates are available, keep backups of your data in two places, and just close accounts that you don’t use all that often.”

Paying careful attention to passwords is also important. "Instead of having small passwords and recycling them over and over again," Dr. Anwar noted, "have longer passphrases and have them be unique." Also, be very cautious about giving out your credit card information or, especially, your social security number!

View the entire interview at Valley News Live.

Dr. Anne Denton gives seminar series presentation

10/21/2021
Professor Denton recently presented "Rethinking the Processing of High Resolution Geospatial Raster Data" as part of the department's seminar series. High resolution raster data from small satellites, drones, and airplanes has become increasingly common in recent years.Her presentation demonstrated that new raster processing techniques are needed to effectively analyze such data. Denton described the process of deriving topographic variables such that the resulting algorithm scales to large window sizes without reducing the resolution of the output image, introducing artefacts, or substantially reducing performance. Additional she showed that the same ideas can be used for a vast set of derived attributes including fractal dimensions and regression coefficients, provided that only additive measures are needed in their computation. The effectiveness was demonstrated for real and artificial landscape models.

Denton teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in database systems and computational technologies for environmental sustainability. She earned a master’s in computer science from NDSU and holds a doctorate degree in physics. She joined the NDSU faculty in 2003.

NDSU to field largest ever National Cyber League team

10/13/21
NDSU is a recognized leader in the National Cyber League. The university took 13th place nationally, out of hundreds of participating U.S. colleges and universities, in the spring 2021 NCL Cyber Power Rankings. Read full article

NDSU welcomes students back to campus

08/23/2021
Today 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 this 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. With the onset of COVID last year, this is the first time many have been in a classroom setting for quite some time. We wish all students a productive and healthy new school year, and we look forward to getting to know all of you.

Department welcomes three new members

08/12/2021
The Department of Computer Science is happy to announce three recent additions our faculty and staff.

Dr. Zahid Anwar joins the department as an associate professor and will also serve as a faculty scholar in the Challey Institute for Global Innovation & Growth. Zahid’s research focuses on cybersecurity policy and innovative cyber defense, and he has authored over 80 publications in peer-reviewed conferences, journals, and magazines. He is a CompTIA Certified Penetration Tester, Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional, Security+ Professional, and an AWS Certified Cloud Solutions Architect. Prior to working in Academia, he worked as a software engineer and researcher at IBM T.J. Watson, Intel, Motorola, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, xFlow research, and CERN. He arrives from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, where he worked as an associate professor. He received his MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his BS in Computer Systems Engineering from GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. You can learn more about Zahid at his website.

Dave Froslie joins the faculty with a half-time appointment as a lecturer leading the senior capstone program. Froslie states “ I am excited to join the NDSU faculty and lead the computer science capstone program. My previous employer was Microsoft where I had a variety of Dynamics related product development roles for almost 20 years.  My most recent role was working as a principal AI architect.  I was the Microsoft capstone mentor for many years so am familiar with the program from the company perspective.”  He spent the last 20 years at Microsoft after 13 years at MTS Systems, received his BS in electrical engineering from NDSU, his MBA from the University of Saint Thomas, and his MS in Data Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Froslie and his wife live in the Pelican Rapids lakes area and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. Their daughter recently graduated from NDSU with an MA in English and now works in the area. You can learn more about him at his website.

Melissa Bethard joins the department as an administrative assistant after recently relocating back to Fargo. Bethard worked at Citibank for 16 years in San Antonio, Texas and more recently in the accounting office at John T. Jones Construction in Fargo. She is enjoying working at NDSU and especially enjoys the opportunity to interact with faculty and students.

Salem and Latimer recently honored

08/12/2021
We would like to congratulate Dr. Saeed Salem on his promotion to full professor. Salem received his Ph.D in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York in 2009  and joined in the department shortly thereafter. His research interests include bioinformatics and data mining, and he serves as graduate coordinator for the department.

A big congratulations also goes to Joseph Latimer, the 2021 College of Engineering winner for the Excellence in Teaching award. This award is based on the quality of teaching, student mentoring and advising, as well as teaching innovation and excellence. In addition to this award, Latimer was also recently promoted to senior lecturer. He received his MBA from California Polytechnic State University in 1988 and teaches courses on topics such as UNIX, Java, and operating systems. Read the NDSU News Article.

NDSU computer science alum awarded outstanding teacher

08/12/2021
Former NDSU computer science student and lecturer, Otto Borchert has been awarded the 2021 Outstanding Teacher Award by his current university, Missouri Southern State (MSSU) in Joplin, MO. Students make the nominations for the annual award, which honor the instructors who have made a positive impact in front of the classroom and in an advising capacity.

“I am truly humbled by the award. I just make sure I am available when students have questions, try to keep my content and delivery methods current in a rapidly evolving field, and stay responsive to student educational needs. It’s incredibly satisfying to see students learn and grow. The students are why I do what I do. I’m always thankful for the education I got at NDSU from both Computer Science and STEM Education that led me down this path, and to both Gonzaga and NDSU for letting me practice my craft as a Lecturer.”

Borchert has been an assistant professor at MSSU since the fall of 2018. He graduated from NDSU with a BS, MS, and PhD in computer science and served as a lecturer in the department. He received the Ambassadors Excellence Award at NDSU in the spring of 2018.

Department hosts CyberBison camp for high schoolers this summer

07/31/21
In July the NDSU computer science department hosted BisonCyber, a two-day, on-campus summer camp for high school students in grades 9-12. Topics of the free camp included programming, networking, cybersecurity and robotics. All high school students were welcome, including those who are entering freshman year and recent spring high school graduates. Approximately 50 campers attended each day. 

NDSU computer science students take third place in Digi-Key's 2020 collegiate computing competition

01/15/2021
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.

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