NDSU Hosts Regional ACM Competition

November 3, 2012

NDSU's Computer Science department hosted a site for the North Central North America Region of the Association of Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest on November 3rd, 2012. NDSU is one of many host sites in the region, spanning from Manitoba down to Kansas. The University of North Dakota, Minnesota State Univerity Moorhead, and Concordia sent teams to the site to compete, with twelve teams overall.

Students compete in a team of three to try and write programs to solve problems. Teams have five hours to complete as many as possible in programming languages Java, C, or C++.

NDSU Team 'Drop Table Teams;-- received first place honors at the site, with three of the nine problems solved correctly. 'Drop Table Teams;-- consisted of Davin Loegering, Michael Nelson, and Nathan Spanier. Teams from UND took second and third place honors.

This is the third year that NDSU has hosted a site. A photo gallery of the event can be found online, along with the PDF download: problem set. You can also find the Regional Scoreboard online here.

NDSU Team places 3rd at annual Digikey Competition

October 19, 2012
On Friday, October 19th 2012, two teams of four students from NDSU's Computer Science department competed at the annual Digikey Collegiate Computing Competition held at the Digikey corporate headquarters in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Twelve universities from the region came to compete.

This competition tests Mathematics, computer programming, and problem solving skills in three separate sessions. This year, NDSU's team Pi Rho received third place, earning each team member a $100 gift card and the Computer Science department an award of $1000.

The team Pi Rho consisted of Zechariah Anderson, a Senior double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics; Cesar Ramirez, a Senior majoring in Computer Science; Samuel Stutsman, a Junior majoring in Computer Science; and Justin Anderson, a Senior double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.

The team Dacodas ended up placing 11th place. Dacodas consisted of Cody Wass, a Senior double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics; Joseph Ching, a Senior double majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics; Ankit Kumar, a Junior majoring in Computer Science, and Michael Teubner, a Senior majoring in Computer Science.

A full picture gallery of students and the event can be found here: Digikey Image Archive.

Richard Rummelt Obituary

August 10, 2012
Richard Dale Rummelt passed away suddenly on August 10, 2012. Richard was born on September 30, 1956 in Greenville, Michigan to Herman (who preceded him in death) and Judith Rummelt.

He leaves behind his beloved wife, Li and son, Long. He is additionally survived by his mother, Judy and brother, Herman; nephews, Brent Rummelt, Nick Rummelt, and Ryan Rummelt; nieces, Teagan Rummelt, and twins, Samantha and Sydney Rummelt.

Richard received a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Grand Valley State University. At the time of his death, he was completing his Ph.D. at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

Richard was a senior lecturer in the computer science department at NDSU and was looking forward to teaching his classes this fall. He will be missed by his current and former students who rated him one of the best teachers at the University.

Faculty Granted Tenure, Receive Promotions

August 2012
Computer Science professor, Jun Kong, has been awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor. Tenure was granted by the State Board of Higher Education at its May 16 meeting. Promotions were recommended by NDSU Provost Bruce Rafert and approved by President Dean L. Bresciani. A promotion acknowledges faculty members for professional competence and service to NDSU.

New Hires for Fall 2012 Semester

Janet Olfert has joined the Computer Science department as a lecturer. She will be teaching COBOL Programming and Business Use of Computers.

Joseph Latimer has joined the Computer Science department as a lecturer. He will be teaching Computer Science Problem Solving and Computing Fundamentals.

Associate professor, Rui 'April' Dai has joined the Computer Science department and will be teaching Wireless Sensor Networks. Originally from Wuhan, China she received her Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Award-winning mobile app helps Distance and Continuing Education students find courses, navigate campus

June 11, 2012
Information on courses offered by NDSU Distance and Continuing Education now can come directly to your iPhone or iPad. The new interactive mobile application, which has a variety of useful tools, has been recognized for excellence. The app received a 2012 Gold Addy Award in the Mobile Apps category from the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota.

Created through a collaboration of Distance and Continuing Education staff and a student employee, it is the first app in North Dakota created by NDSU staff and students for a university or college in the state. Ludvik Herrera, new media coordinator for Distance and Continuing Education, led the project. "The app was designed for anyone interested in taking Distance and Continuing Education Courses - NDSU faculty, staff and students and NDSU visitors such as parents and prospective students," Herrera explained, noting the app is intended to be intuitive and easy to use. "It has many tools of benefit to everyone in the community, from an interactive campus map that can tell you directions to specific offices, to parking lots or bus shelters. It also has a Quick Response decoder/reader that can be of help now that QR tags are used on many publications and marketing pieces."

Student employee Saumya Singh is a graduate student studying computer science and made significant contributions to the project, making it a fine example of the outstanding creativity and quality of work offered by NDSU students. "Developing the app was a huge learning experience as it gave me insight into iPhone operating system development," she said. "I had to start everything from scratch, and finally coming up with the app, as it is today, was really satisfying."

"Getting an award for the very first app I developed feels great," Singh said, suggesting the app's easy-to-use design is what makes it stand out. "It was an elaborate procedure, taking days of brain-storming to figure out the actual presentation of the app and how to make it more usable to the targeted audience," she said. "The usability and the presentation of the app appealed to the judges, and we got the award for it." The app is free and can be downloaded at http://ndsu.me/dceapp

Fargo women find success in male-dominated field of research and technology

May 31, 2012
FARGO - Jane Schuh always keeps a picture of her 5-year-old daughter in her office at North Dakota State University for inspiration. To the associate professor of microbiology, the little girl’s fearless cry says, “I am woman, hear me roar!”

Perhaps Samantha takes after her mother, a confident, outgoing asthma researcher and immunology professor. As a woman, Schuh is in the minority in her field. Yet she, along with fellow NDSU scientist Anne Denton, want girls to know research and technology isn’t just for men. Schuh says she’s encountered little gender-specific resistance in her career, and she’s grateful for those who helped make that possible. “I’m so thankful for the women who did what they had to do to be successful in science to blaze the trail for those of us who came after,” she says. Her interest in math, science and medicine started as a youth growing up in the tiny town of Sheldon, N.D.

Schuh’s father was a farmer and high school science teacher, and the majority of her nine siblings work in medical-related fields. The married Fargo mother of two always thought she’d be a doctor, but she credits a microbiology teacher for steering her toward research. “One day, she took me aside and said, ‘You know, I think you should go into microbiology. You could work for the CDC or something like that,’ ” Schuh says. She says research science fits her through and through, right down to her shoes – snake-print platform wedges on a recent Friday afternoon. “What I’m interested in is the questions,” she says.

In her work, Schuh focuses on finding asthma candidate genes or targets and studies what initiates the disease process early and shows up later. The AgriHealth Initiative she’s working on combines state resources with national programs to provide agriculture workers with health care, safety and disability. She’s also been instrumental in securing funding for new top-of-the-line equipment for the university. Now she helps guide her own students and provides them with opportunities to help further their own careers. “It’s probably the most rewarding thing that you do as a professor,” she says. This summer, three undergraduate students and three graduate students will be doing research in Schuh’s lab. “For an undergraduate student to be able to do research, really good, hands-on, finding-the-answers-to-problems research, is a fantastic opportunity,” she says.

Schuh, who also attended NDSU as an undergraduate and graduate student, received tenure last year and was named an assistant dean a few months ago.

She continues to learn from her students’ fresh perspectives and inquisitive minds.

“Even though most of my job is research, I’ve found that every time I teach the basic immunology class, I think of things in a new way that affects my research, too,” she says.

GET WITH THE PROGRAM

A couple buildings over from Schuh, Denton teaches classes such as bioinformatics and comparative programming languages. The associate professor of computer science says maybe 5 percent (at most) of her undergraduate students are women. “I find that really disappointing,” she says. “I don’t know where it comes from.” She says younger girls seem more open to math- and science-related fields but lose interest around middle school. “If girls stick with it, I think it’s a very good environment to be in,” Denton says. The Fargo woman encourages her own children as well as her classroom “kids” to learn programming.

Her 14-year-old son recently earned the guitar he wanted by completing a programming book. Now her 11-year-old daughter is building Web pages with her sights set on an e-reader. Denton, who grew up in Germany, started learning to program as a teenager. “I was lucky I was exposed to computers fairly early on,” she says. She originally went into physics – up to the Ph.D. level – but switched to computer science. In 2003, she completed a master’s in computer science and was hired at NDSU, where her husband also teaches. Why the change? In computer science, “it’s a lot easier to get jobs wherever you are or whatever your situation,” Denton says. However, it wasn’t as much of a switch as it may seem. “Even in physics, most of what I was doing was working with computers, programming computers,” she says.

Now she’s combining research and education to benefit her students. “Professors are the ones who, by definition, have to be at the cutting edge,” she says. Her data-driven work includes “smart farming” and plant genomics. Essentially, she makes mountains of data useful in real applications. She works with companies such as American Crystal Sugar, John Deere and RDO Equipment that rely on her findings. “They want to be really sure if I tell them something, they can make decisions based on it,” she says. During the summer, Denton gives students the opportunity to get real research experience.

Denton says there’s a misperception about technology jobs going abroad. “The reality is that in this area, people are desperately looking for people who can do programming,” she says. Even for those who aren’t interested in a career in IT, a programming background opens up so many doors, she says. Denton says she’s never regretted going into a male-dominated field. For her, it’s never been an issue. “If you can solve problems, you’ll get a job,” she says. “It’s as simple as that.”

Nygard added to NDSU Tapestry of Talents

May 4, 2012
Dr. Kendall Nygard is one of the latest recipients of the campus recognition for the NDSU Tapestry of Diverse Talents. The Tapestry of Diverse Talents is a pictorial mosaic that recognizes students, faculty, staff and alumni for the diversity and contributions they bring to North Dakota State University. Each semester individuals are inducted into the Tapestry. Inductees reflect the ages, classes, abilities, ethnicities, genders, races, regional differences, sexual orientations, beliefs and values of the University community. The Tapestry program kindles the spirit to diversify diversity.

Dr. Nygard has served on the NDSU Computer Science and Operations Research faculty since 1977. His research areas involve combinatorial optimization methods, with applications to management of networks and sensor networks, cooperative mission control for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), computer-based transportation analysis, and bioinformatics.

NDSU Computer Science Department selected as a STARS Alliance Member

April 25, 2012
The department was just awarded membership of the STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service) Alliance for the 2012-2013 academic year. The mission of the STARS Alliance is to increase the participation of women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in computing disciplines through multi-faceted interventions. The STARS Alliance is a group of 20 colleges and universities and 88 regional partners. A few of the STARS Alliance activities include developing a STARS Leadership Corps (SLC) as a multi-year curricular program that catalyzes regional partnerships through the tiered participation of students, professionals, and educators in research and civic engagement and also to advance faculty through SLC participation and mentoring. Dr. Simone Ludwig, Associate Professor, and Joan Krush, Advisor/Lecturer, serve as academic liaisons for the STARS Alliance.

Goldwater Scholarship recipient named

April 2012
NDSU junior Zechariah Andersen is among 282 awardees nation­wide selected for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year. He is a Computer Science undergraduate student of Dr. Saeed Salem.

The scholarship is awarded annually to college sophomores and juniors and covers the cost of tuition, housing, fees and books up to $7,500 per year. Students are nominated by faculty members and selected through an independent review process. Andersen is the sole North Dakota University System student to receive the scholarship in 2012.

“I’m honored to receive this scholarship,” Andersen said. “The best feeling was seeing myself on a list of students from top-tier universities like MIT and Stanford.”

Andersen is a native of Velva, N.D., majoring in mathematics and computer science, with plans to pursue a graduate degree. He is vice chair of the NDSU Association for Computing Machinery.

Andersen also participates in the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Program, which is intended to help undergraduate students achieve academic success and increase the number of professors from traditionally under-represented populations.

Established by Congress in 1986, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was created to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences or engineering to foster excellence in those fields.

Helsene Receives Campus Kudos Award

March 7, 2012
Adam Helsene, Systems administrator of the computer science department, received the NDSU Campus Kudos Award on March 7, 2012. Nancy Lilleberg, Information Technologies Service, read the nomination she submitted for Adam. Dr. Brian Slator was also present to participate in the award. Campus Kudos is a certificate of appreciation for anyone on campus including students, staff, and faculty (all-inclusive). The certificate is issued as a heart-felt thanks for contributions to campus and the people on campus. Staff Senate sponsors this program to encourage NDSU employees to recognize co-workers when they exhibit one or more of the following valued behaviors:

  • 1. Customer Service
  • 2. Continuous Improvement
  • 3. Teamwork
  • 4. Integrity
  • 5. Quality

Campus Kudos recipients receive a coffee cart gift certificate, which may be redeemed at either the Minard Hall or Memorial Union Coffee Carts. The NDSU Bookstore also recognizes Campus Kudos recipients with a $10 gift certificate to the NDSU Bookstore.

Dr Kendall Nygard delivered keynote address

March 25, 2012
Dr. Kendall E. Nygard, Professor of Computer Science and Operations Research, delivered an invited keynote address at the InfoSys 2012 conference, held March 25-30 in St. Maarten, Netherlands, Antilles. The InfoSys conference is an annual series of four co-located conferences, including The International Conference on Networking and Services, The International Conference on Autonomic and Autonomous Systems, The International Conference of Resource Intensive Applications and Services, and The International Conference on Smart Grids, Green Communications and IT Energy-aware Technologies. The InfoSys Conference is sponsored by the International Academy, Research, and Industry Association (IARIA).

Dr. Nygard's keynote address was entitled "Research Directions in Sensor Networks." In addition to the keynote address, he presented a session paper at the conference entitled "Decision Support Independence in a Smart Grid." The session paper is co-authored by graduate students Steve Bou Ghosn, Prakash Ranganathan, Md. Minhaz Chowdhury, Ryan McCulloch, Md. M. Khan, Anand Panday, and undergraduate student Davin Loegering.

Assistant professor receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award

March 24, 2012
A major national grant received by an NDSU computer science assistant professor will be used to help develop more effective methods to test software, enhance computer science curriculum and provide opportunities for student researchers.

Hyunsook Do, assistant professor of computer science, received a Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation. Do will receive a five-year, $500,000 award from the foundation to conduct research outlined in her proposal, titled "Context-aware Regression Testing Techniques and Empirical Evaluations of Their Economic Impact." She is the first member of the computer science department at NDSU to receive a CAREER award.

When developers create, enhance and update software programs, regression analysis is used to find and fix bugs in the software code, a time-consuming process that is responsible for a significant percentage of software costs. Do's research program will lay a foundation to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of regression testing techniques and strategies in practical ways. The potential discoveries made by this research are expected to promote software dependability.

The research is expected to create cost-effective regression testing strategies to address the testing process and domain contexts; create regression testing strategies that address system lifetimes; create economic models that enable the adequate assessment of techniques and strategies; and evaluate and refine these techniques and strategies through rigorous empirical approaches. Do notes that while some progress in this area of research has been achieved, three important aspects of the regression testing problem have not been considered. "Most regression testing research has focused on creating new techniques, and very little work has considered factors involving the context in which testing occurs," said Do, "but context factors are very important in practical testing situations for identifying and assessing appropriate regression testing techniques." In addition, most research has taken a snapshot view of regression testing, using an approach centering on single systems versions. "This approach, however, ignores the fact that regression testing is performed repeatedly across a system's lifetime, and techniques may exhibit different cost-benefit tradeoffs when assessed across entire system lifetimes than when assessed relative to individual versions." According to Do, most empirical evaluations of regression testing techniques have relied on limited metrics and have not considered the economic impact of the techniques. "To properly assess regression testing techniques and strategies in terms of economic benefits, we need economic models that capture important cost factors and quantify benefits."

Graduate and undergraduate students will be involved in Do's research and will focus on two common application domains that require different testing processes: large-scale industrial applications and Web applications that require frequent patches. The overall goal of the research is to develop more effective regression testing techniques for the software industry and foster additional research in the field. Do also will use the CAREER award to enhance current graduate course curriculum and to develop a new graduate course on software testing and its economic implications. "Most important overall, the discoveries my students and I make will promote software dependability, with potential benefits to organizations and persons who depend on that software," Do said.

"Dr. Hyunsook Do provides a great example of successful work/life balance in a discipline, computer science, not known for being exceeding hospitable toward women. She has attained one of the highest honors in her profession. Dr. Do is an absolutely solid role model for young academics and especially young women. We commend her on her achievements," said Brian Slator, chair of the computer science department.

"Dr. Do is leading the way for a superb group of young investigators in a very strong computer science department," said Kevin McCaul, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Since 1996, 16 faculty members at NDSU have received prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER awards. "NDSU researchers continue a standard of excellence that reflect the institution's ability to attract the best and the brightest among new faculty researchers," said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer.

Overall, National Science Foundation CAREER awardees at NDSU have received more than $6.8 million in grants to conduct research in biology, chemistry, civil and electrical engineering, computer science, pharmaceutical sciences, and coatings and polymeric materials. NSF CAREER awardees currently at NDSU include faculty members Gregory Cook, Seth Rasmussen, Wenfang Sun, Sivaguru Jayaraman and Uwe Burghaus in chemistry and biochemistry; Sanku Mallik in pharmaceutical sciences; Magdy Abdelrahman, Xuefeng Chu, Kalpana Katti and Eakalak Khan in civil engineering; Kendra Greenlee in biological sciences; and Do in computer science.

Computer science capstone course goes international

February 22, 2012
Student teams in the NDSU Computer Science Capstone Projects course have developed more than 100 real-world industry sponsored projects for regional companies since 2004, covering everything from Web apps to cell phone apps to cloud computing to robotics to prototyping new development systems for sponsors. These companies have been local, such as Microsoft, Phoenix International and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, as well as regional companies, like IBM, Polaris, Rockwell Collins and National Information Solutions Cooperative. In addition to learning how to work remotely with sponsors, students have been on teams with students from other countries. But until now they have not had the opportunity to work directly with companies in other countries.

Since international development projects are becoming common in industries, it is deemed to be beneficial for students to gain this experience. At the beginning of this semester, the Capstone Projects course started including international capstone projects where students work from NDSU, but their sponsoring companies are international.

One NDSU student team is working for COMbridge in Hannover, Germany, and a second NDSU team is working for Syntronic in Linkoping, Sweden. At the same time, a student team from Linkoping University is working on a project for Polaris in the Minneapolis region, while a second team from Fachhochschule Hannover is working on a project for National Information Solutions Cooperative in Mandan, N.D.

Establishing these international connections has taken a few years to develop. The capstone instructor, Dean Knudson, met a German professor from Fachhochschule Hannover and a Swedish professor from Linkoping University at different conferences in recent years. In discussing what each was doing for their capstone projects, the concept of an exchange of student projects was developed. The idea was that a team from NDSU would do a project for a company in Germany while a team of German students would do a project for a company in the United States. Two of the current 13 NDSU capstone teams, consisting of three to five students each, are involved.

FORWARD announces mentor travel grant awards

February 22, 2012
Twenty-four faculty have been awarded Mentor Relationship Travel Grants through the FORWARD project. The grants offset the costs of meeting with mentors from outside NDSU to build long-term professional mentoring relationships. Some grants are used by NDSU faculty to travel to meet with mentors, and others are used to bring a mentor to NDSU.

Donna Grandbois, assistant professor of nursing, will use her funding to take part in the third annual Health Equity Leadership Institute: Building Collaborative Research Teams, facilitated by her mentor, Jared Jobe, former program manager at the National Institutes of Health. Jobe is a founding member of the National Institutes of Health's American Indian-Alaska Native Employee Council and the institute's Community-Based Participatory Research Scientific Interest Group. The institute is an intensive weeklong "research boot camp" focused on helping investigators, particularly investigators from underrepresented populations, engage in health equity research to achieve research funding through the National Institutes of Health.

With her funding, Simone Ludwig, associate professor of computer science, will meet this summer with her mentor, Wolfgang Banzhaf, professor of computer science at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, a leading authority in the field of genetic programming and evolutionary computation. Banzhaf and Ludwig will develop steps to advance her career and her research program in evolutionary computation and swarm intelligence.

Elizabeth Birmingham and Amy Rupiper Taggart, associate professor of English, will use their funding to travel to Philadelphia in May to participate in the 2012 Rhetoric Society of America Career Retreat for Associate Professors in conjunction with the society's conference. At the retreat, Birmingham and Taggart will work with senior members of the society serving as career mentors to analyze their current curriculum vita and develop an action plan to achieve promotion to full professor. This opportunity also will enhance the peer mentoring Rupiper Taggart and Birmingham engage in through NDSU FORWARD's mid-career mentoring program.

Other recipients for Mentor Relationship Travel Grants for 2011-12 include Senay Simsek and Kim Vonnahme from the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Kjersten Nelson, Amy O'Connor, Kathryn Samuels, Courtney Waid-Lindberg and Christina Weber from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science; Rajani Pillai from the College of Business; Stevie Famulari, Sumathy Krishnan, Annie Tangpong, Joan Vonderbruggen and Yechun Wang from the College of Engineering and Architecture; Kristen Benson, Elizabeth Erichsen, Jooyeon Ha, Christi McGeorge and Sherri Stastny from the College of Human Development and Education; and Hyunsook Do and Juan Li from the College of Science and Mathematics.

Researchers develop disaster management system

January 17, 2012
Juan Li, assistant professor of computer science, and Samee U. Khan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, have developed an elaborate cloud computing based disaster management system.

"Natural and manmade disasters require an effective and efficient management of massive amounts of data and coordination of wide varieties of people and organizations. This is where our system comes into play," Li said.

The system core is a web-based social network server that provides a platform to enable users (workers, first-responders, local disaster related non-profit organizations, volunteers and local residents) to access information, communicate and collaborate, in real-time from all types of computing devices, including mobile handheld devices, such as smart phones, PDAs and iPads.

"Our system provides a community-based, effective and self-scalable cloud computing environment in which a diverse set of organizations and personnel can contribute their resources, such as data, knowledge, storage and computing platform to the cloud," Li said. "In this way, local communities, institutions/organizations and individuals can seamlessly interact with each other to achieve massive collaboration within the affected area."

Khan said the motivation to develop the system was to enable all of the local Fargo-Moorhead area residents to become first-responders by providing firsthand, valuable and timely information to the local, state and federal governments, if a calamity, such as the 2009 flood, ever happened again. Khan witnessed massive destruction due to floods in his native country, Pakistan, and he wants the local community to have all of the tools available to fight such natural disasters.

The system was first presented to the research community at the International Conference on System of Systems Engineering, Albuquerque, N.M., in June 2011. Since then, the system has undergone further advancements, such as automatic information integration and improved interoperability between different information sources.

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