News Archive 2017

Student featured in St. Peter newspaper

December 21, 2017
NDSU undergraduate student Lance Willet has been recently featured in the St. Peter Herald.  Read the article here.

Women faculty, student make news for computer science department

December 19, 2017
During a year when gender inequity in computing fields made headlines, several women have enhanced NDSU’s leadership position in the discipline.

Anne Denton became the first female full professor in a research university computer science department in North Dakota. Juan Li, associate professor of computer science, was awarded one of the largest grants in the department’s history. And graduate student Chengyao Tang made headlines when she led the university in a cybersecurity competition.

Denton’s accomplishment of reaching the highest faculty rank is seen as an inspiration for all faculty. To achieve the distinction, Denton has, among other accomplishments, published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications and 25 conference papers. Computing competition teams she coaches also have gained attention this year, winning at numerous events.

“Anne Denton is applying data analysis methods to sustainability and climate change issues and agriculture,” said Kendall E. Nygard, professor and chair of computer science. “This is an important cause of our time. She is among the very best at what she does.”

Li, along with co-principal investigators Jun Kong, Siobhan Wescott and Donald Warne, received nearly $990,000 in National Science Foundation funding to study the important public health topic of American Indian diabetes self-management. The goal of the project is to develop an integrated, accessible, cost-effective solution for improved diabetes self-management and social networking for American Indian patients. The grant number is 1722913.

“Drs. Juan Li and Jun Kong have shown great diligence and persistence in attracting funding for their important research programs. It’s gratifying that their efforts and expertise are affirmed with this grant,” Nygard said. “It leverages the research expertise that we have in the department and establishes a powerful partnership with researchers in the health professions application area.”

In NDSU’s first year in the National Cyber League cybersecurity competition, Tang took the top spot at NDSU – and was in the top 15 percent of entrants nationally. The only woman on the team, she showed that NDSU is an emerging leader in the area of cybersecurity.

“Chengyao’s accomplishment – ranking among the top students nationwide during her first year of competition – is impressive,” said Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science, who coached the NDSU team. “Given the extraordinarily male-dominated nature of the cybersecurity field, the accomplishment is all the more notable.”

Student featured in Brainerd newspaper

December 8, 2017
Peter Wells can add another accolade to his resume when he graduates from North Dakota State University, a resume already including working full time as a software engineer. Written By: Frank Lee

The Brainerd native and Brainerd High School graduate was recently named a "student of distinction" by the NDSU computer science department-an honor bestowed to 15 of the department's 600 students.

"I plan to work in mobile development when I graduate," said Wells, who was on the high school robotics team. "I feel the market for Android developers will continue growing for a while.

"Between his sophomore and junior years at the university, Wells was selected for an internship at a software development company in Fargo making Android applications. He did so well he is now a full-time Android software engineer while continuing to attend classes at NDSU.

"I started working full time at the end of this last summer and with the balance of school and work, it was really stressful ... so it validated all the hard work," Wells said of the award.

The Bachelor of Science program at NDSU was the first in the region to be nationally accredited by the Computing Science Accreditation Board Inc."My oldest brother, John, went to NDSU, and my second-oldest brother, Joseph, was at Notre Dame, so those were the two schools I applied to because when they went for a tour, I went and toured with them, and it was close enough to home without being too far away," Wells said.

The NDSU junior is the third oldest in his family-he has six siblings. His mother Cathleen is a housewife and his father is Rockwell Wells, an attorney with the Crow Wing County Attorney's office in Brainerd.

"I was in swimming up through about ninth grade and then I joined robotics after that," said Peter Wells, who graduated from high school in 2015. "We went to the regional competition each year, but we never actually won ... but it was fun though.

"Wells was a programmer on the robotics team, which he thought was "cool" despite admitting he did not know exactly what he was doing at the time.

"When I randomly got stuff to work, it just was super satisfying, so I decided to go college and learn what I was actually doing," he said with a chuckle.

Students of distinction will receive a certificate, but there is no monetary award. The students were notified weeks ago but their announcement to the public was made Thursday.

"They are recognized by their peers and instructors as student leaders-in a variety of areas-and this award serves to acknowledge their accomplishments," Professor Jeremy Straub said.

Straub manages the student awards program for the department, which offers doctorate degrees in computer science and software engineering, three master's degrees and two bachelor's degrees. Wells is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

"What we are kind of looking for is kind of the star students that may not be perfectly hitting the criteria of lots of other awards that the university has," Straub said of the selection process.

"There's no real specific criteria. It's not something where you do 'X' and 'Y' and 'Z,' and it's automatic. It starts with somebody on the faculty or administrative staff nominating the person and then we review all of the people that were nominated."

KVRR reports on student projects

December 6, 2017
News station KVRR visited NDSU's Quentin Burdick Building to view student projects related to cyber-physical system cybersecurity.  They interviewed NDSU students Joe Billstrom and Mitchell Fokken and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub.  View the report here.

KVRR reports on net neutrality

December 5, 2017
KVRR visited NDSU as part of a report on Net Neutrality.  They interviewed Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub, who explained the concept to viewers in a clip on Tuesday's evening news.  Watch the story here.

Computer science undergrads in the news

December 2, 2017
According to the Jamestown Sun, NDSU Computer Science undergrads Cody Elhard, Nicholas Snell, Devante Bell and Terrance Hanlon have a "jet powered future."  The Sun -- along with the Detroit Lakes Tribune -- featured the work of the four undergrads on a project for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The students are developing a system that will help other students around the country interact with literal rocket scientists at the NASA facility responsible for the Voyager spacecraft and Curiosity rover. 

Check out the Detroit Lakes Tribune article here and the Jamestown Sun article here.

Straub receives award

December 1, 2017
NDSU Assistant Professor Jeremy Straub was among the “high achievers from across our region” – including North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota – who were recognized by Prairie Business Magazine with the 40 Under 40 Award.  Straub, who is a faculty member in NDSU’s Department of Computer Science, was one of only two university faculty to be selected for the award.

Straub conducts research related to autonomous systems and cybersecurity for applications including spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, robots and self-driving vehicles.  His work has received national recognition, having been recently featured in Newsweek, and earned him honors including a Marquis Lifetime Achievement award and selection as a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society.

Straub holds a Ph.D. in Scientific Computing an M.S. in Computer Systems and Software Design, an M.B.A. and two B.S. degrees.  He also serves as the Associate Director of the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research.

Thanks to donors!

November 28, 2017
Computer Science department chair Ken Nygard donated $10,000 to provide scholarships as part of the NDSU Giving Day, which is currently ongoing.  He set this donation up as a challenge, asking alumni and friends of the department to match his generosity.  

We have some exciting news – with 5 hours to spare, the Nygard scholarship match has been completely ‘unlocked’ by $10,000 in matching donations.  This will provide an additional $20,000 (and possibly even more – there are still 5 hours to go!) to endowments that will provide scholarships for current and future Computer Science students.

Thanks to donors that have given $10,000 and fully unlocked the Ken and Gloria Nygard Computer Science Scholarship match (and of course to Ken and Gloria Nygard for their generous donation and challenge)!

We've set up a Facebook post for messages of thanks to Ken and Gloria Nygard and other donors, here

NDSU students build, design and compete with drones

November 27, 2017
Six students sit at a conference room table. They are members of an interdisciplinary unmanned aerial systems team at NDSU, and they are absorbed in their work.

“How much power do we need to get this off the ground?” someone asks. They are building a six-foot long airplane from 3-D printed parts and items from online specialty stores.

They talk about engine amps, battery watts and calculations of how fast and how long the aircraft might travel before taking off. They look at computer screens and jot notes in spiral notebooks as the conversation intensifies. Every detail matters, and every detail is discussed.

The project is in the beginning stages, slowly building to a prestigious yearly collegiate contest on a Naval base in Maryland. The team is one of several that combines the talent of students from different STEM disciplines, such as engineering and computer science, to design and build unmanned aerial systems for competition against the top universities in the world.Members of NDSU’s unmanned aerial systems team hone their technical skills while showing potential employers creativity and leadership ability.

Competing globally, adding job skills

The students building and perfecting unmanned aerial systems at NDSU already have been successful on an international stage.

Earlier this year, they competed at the International Aerial Robotics Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the world’s oldest aerial robotics competition for colleges and universities, and challenges students to design a drone and software that can carry out several tasks autonomously at the push of a button. NDSU students designed and built a helicopter drone with four rotors and earned the only Best Technical Paper award at that event.

“Learning to code outside the boundaries of my computer science classes and opening up my mind to the interdisciplinary aspects of engineering taught me more technical skill than I could have imagined,” said sophomore computer science student Abdullah Almosalami, who served as the team leader for the quadcopter project at the international competition. “One of the biggest takeaways for me was to never give up. There were so many moments where we thought we ought to just try it next year. But we came through. Those are the types of things that defines character. That’s why you go to college.”

Students benefit from the team activities in several ways. They learn detailed technical aspects of engineering and computer science by doing hands-on work. They model the drone on technology currently used in the field, become adept at using a 3D printer, and work hand-in-hand to overcome adversity and solve problems. They use the skills taught in the classroom to build a working machine that can carry out intricate commands.

All of it adds up to vital experience employers look for when hiring.

“I think our project helps as I move toward my profession by giving me the experience of working on a large-scale, open-ended task,” said freshman engineering student Jacob England, who is leading the airplane drone project. “It’s shaped my NDSU experience by forcing me to become more of a leader, to be more decisive and to not fear failure. These are lessons I needed to learn that will help me throughout my life and my next years at NDSU.”

Persevering over problems

The six students huddle around two laptop computers, scouring the internet for an engine to power their drone. They finally settle on a choice after some back-and-forth. By the end of the week, they should have the motor, battery and propellers ordered. They are on their way to beginning construction.

Some of the parts will be 3D printed in a faculty research lab. They have already started this process and the meeting stops to try and solve a problem they’ve been working to fix for a couple days. The whole team heads into the lab to check it out.

“I think the nose cone is stuck,” a student says as he opens the printer door.

Almosalami, who isn’t part of the airplane team but uses the lab for other projects, tries to pry the layers of plastic off its base with a tool. It won’t budge. Another student gives it a try. Nothing. It’s eventually released and the students are back in business. The entire team of eight students will meet for about an hour, two to three times a week in preparation for the Maryland competition in June.

Students pile back into the conference room to go over some details one last time.

“This team came together and was funded for the purpose of winning competitions,” England said. “That’s what we plan to do.”

The hands-on nature helps students show what they know and can do. “At the end of the day, most employers aren’t hiring people to come take quizzes and tests. They are hiring someone to come in and deal with the challenges that exist in their environment,” said Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science and the team adviser. “Our project teams allow potential employers to see our students from a different perspective.”

Cybersecurity institute hosts week of speakers

November 21, 2017
Regional cybersecurity leaders participated in the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research’s speaker series Nov. 13-18. Speaker presentations throughout the week highlighted National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week.

Kendall Nygard, professor of computer science at and institute director, kicked off the series on Monday with a discussion of academic careers and educational opportunities. NDSU’s chief information security officer Enrique Garcia talked on Tuesday about careers in information technology and how to prepare for them.

Tim Jensen, senior penetration tester with AppSec Consulting, on Wednesday discussed careers in security consulting. He gave students a firsthand perspective on working in an area that is constantly changing to find and respond to security vulnerabilities. On Thursday, Jerry Wynne, vice president of security and chief information security officer at the Noridian Mutual Insurance Co., provided a management perspective, discussed responding to incidents like the Fargo flood and explained how to get jobs in the field.

Marine Corps Maj. Terry Traylor, who has worked in electronic warfare, finished the series on Friday with a presentation about U.S. military and intelligence agency careers in cyber intelligence and security.

Most of the presentations were recorded and are available for viewing online.

Department alum recognized for lifetime achievement

Bhabani Misra, who completed both his Master's degree and Ph.D. at NDSU, has been recognized for his contributions to STEM education in Minnesota with a Tekne Lifetime Achievement Award.  The Minnesota High Tech Association recognized Misra for being "instrumental in the transformation of cutting-edge programs that have produced more than 4,000 master’s degree students in the software engineering, data science, information technology and software management fields."  His work with industry was also highlighted. Misra is currently the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at The University of St. Thomas.  Read more here.

Valley News Live focuses on cyber security

October 10, 2017
NDSU students Chengyao Tang and Isaac Burton and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub were interviewed by reporter Kristi Larson in a report airing on Valley News Live's morning program.  The report focused on cybersecurity.  Burton and Tang, who recently placed among the top 15% of students nationwide in the National Cyber League competition, discussed what they had learned as part of preparing for the NCL competition.  View the report here.

Computer science student Chengyao Tang featured in Fargo Forum

November 10, 2017
Calling her a "virtual victor," the Fargo Forum featured NDSU Computer Science graduate student Chengyao Tang and her teammates Isaac Burton and Steven Karschnia.  The three placed in the top 15% nationwide in the recent National Cyber League "regular season" individual competition.  Read the article here.

DigiKey visits to present trophy

November 7, 2017
After the NDSU teams' win at the DigiKey programming contest, DigiKey came for a visit on November 7th to present the traveling trophy and the checks for the students' prizes. While here, they also told students all about career opportunities at the company.

NDSU computer science students on winning streak

November 1, 2017
NDSU computer science students have earned several awards during recent national and regional events.

Two NDSU teams excelled at the Mech Mania contest hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The first-place team included computer science sophomores Wyly Andrews, David Schwartz and Eric Myers. Computer science senior Aaron Buchholz, junior Chris Bernard and electrical engineering senior Haiming Lou made up the third-place team.

At the DigiKey programming contest, NDSU teams took first and second place. This is only the second time in the competition’s history that both first and second place were won by the same school. Buchholz and Bernard were members of the first-place team. Juniors Riley Conlin and Ajay Brown and sophomore Wren Erickson earned second. The teams brought home nearly $10,000 in prizes for themselves and the university.

NDSU took first place and third place at the local competition for the Association for Computing Machinery-sponsored International Collegiate Programming Contest in October. Brown, Conlin and Buchholz won the top spot. Andrews, Myers and senior Jeremy Jaeger earned third place.

“Our programming teams have had a fabulous competition season,” said computer science professor Anne Denton, who coached the Mech Mania, DigiKey and programming constest teams. Denton also serves as the adviser for the student Association for Computing Machiney chapter, which sponsors participation in the events.

The streak started this summer during the International Aerial Robotics Competition. Computer science sophomore Abdullah Almosalami’s team took home the top award for technical achievement at the prestigious contest.

On the national level, two NDSU students on the National Cyber League team that competes in a contest of cybersecurity challenges went into the pre-season games ranked 24th and 26th nationally, out of 3,176 competitors.

“These contests give students more than just bragging rights,” said computer science assistant professor Jeremy Straub, who is coaching the National Cyber League team. “Being able to show that you were the best in the region or the best in the nation can be a real ‘leg up’ when students are trying to get their first job, when graduating.”

The DigiKey contest is sponsored by regional employer DigiKey, as part of the company’s recruiting efforts. The National Cyber League provides scouting reports on players to prospective employers. Contest participation demonstrates students can appropriately apply the material learned in classes.

The NDSU computer science department was founded in 1988, although computer science courses were offered as part of mathematical sciences since 1973. It offers doctoral degrees in computer science and software engineering, three master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degree programs.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

NDSU teams win first and third in local programming contest

October 28, 2017
Computer Science Students from the North Dakota State University continued their winning streak at the local competition for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, taking first and third places.  The competition, hosted at NDSU, had teams from schools including the University of Minnesota, Morris, and the University of North Dakota.

Students on the first place team included Ajay Brown, Aaron Buchholz and Riley Conlin.  Students on the third place team included Wyly Andrews, Jeremy Jaeger and Eric Myers.  Both teams were coached by ACM faculty advisor Professor Anne Denton.

Computer Science Instructor Joseph Latimer and Systems Administrator Guy Hokanson served as co-site directors.  Computer Science faculty members Otto Borchert and Jeremy Straub also helped to run the event.

NDSU team wins first and second in major regional programming competition

October 20, 2017
Two student teams from the North Dakota State University Department of Computer Science and Association for Computing Machinery chapter took both first and second places at the Digi-Key regional programming competition today.  According to the contest website, this is only the second time in the competition’s history that a single school has won both top spots.  NDSU is the only school to accomplish this feat, winning both this year and in 2007.

The competition, held at Digi-Key headquarters in Thief River Falls, MN, requires students to demonstrate their programming skills in response to multiple types programming problems, under time constraints.  By winning both spots, the team has won $8,000 in prize money for the university and a $300 prize for each first place team student and a $200 prize for each second place team student.  The team also brings home a traveling trophy for the year.

Digi-Key competition teams are allowed to have up to four participants.  The first place team included only two: senior Aaron Buchholz and junior Chris Bernard.  The second place team was comprised of junior Riley Conlin, junior Ajay Brown and sophomore Wren Erickson.  Both teams were coached by Professor Anne Denton.

Including this year, NDSU has won first place four times and second place five times, since the competition’s inception in 2000.  Twenty-two teams competed in this year’s competition.

Department featured in Prairie Business magazine article

October 10, 2017
"Cyberopportunity: That’s how to think of cybersecurity ..." is the apt title of a recent article in Prairie Business Magazine that featured the NDSU Computer Science Department and the Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research.  The article discusses the demand for employees with cybersecurity skills and educational opportunities at NDSU (and other institutions) to allow students to learn these skills.

NDSU software engineering program ranked #4 nationally

October 6, 2017
North Dakota State University’s Software Engineering master’s degree programs have been recognized as among the top in the nation by, a popular college and program ranking website.  NDSU’s programs have been ranked as the fourth best in the United States.  The website ranks programs based on a value score that focuses on program value to recognize the “distinction between the programs that appear cheap up-front and those that will pay off in the long run.”

The NDSU Computer Science Department offers both online and traditional on-campus software engineering programs.  A Master of Science degree, with thesis and project options, is offered, as is a coursework-based Master of Software Engineering degree.  The department also offers Ph.D. degrees in software engineering.  All three are popular options.

“It’s a very applied software engineering program, where students hone their software development skills,” noted software engineering program coordinator and associate professor Gursimran Walia.  “The way we set up courses – we use case studies and real world software problems – lets the students see how the work relates to software industry practices.”

As part of the master’s program, students go through the entire software development process. They begin with talking with clients to gain an understanding of their needs and take a system all the way through development completion.  Many students begin with the master’s program – either online or on campus – and continue to complete the Ph.D.

“We developed the software engineering graduate programs in 2002,” noted professor and department associate chair Kenneth Magel. “These programs have advanced with the rapidly changing needs of industry, both locally and nationally.  We review every course each year and update the material and approach as needed.”

The software engineering degree program that can be completed entirely through distance education was added to the department’s on-campus offerings in 2009. 

Ph.D. student attends international congress in Adelaide, Australia

October 5, 2017
Ph.D. student Andrew Jones attended the International Astronautical Congress where he presented work on the use of self-replicating robots for planetary exploration and small satellite development.  The Congress is an international forum sponsored by national space agencies and professional societies worldwide.  The event featured 1750 authors from 70 countries and included 179 technical sessions featuring 1600 oral presentations and 400 interactive ones.  The 2017 International Astronautical Congress was held in Adelaide Australia.

Computer science department biannual employer breakfast a big success

September 29, 2017
The NDSU Computer Science Department continued its tradition of sponsoring an annual employer-student networking breakfast before the NDSU Career Expo.  The breakfast, organized by Dr. Oksana Myronovych, provides an opportunity for students to meet prospective employers in a more casual and less rushed atmosphere, before the start of the expo.  Employers come seeking student candidates for internships and permanent positions.  A large number of employers attend this event annually, demonstrating its value.

Denton gives invited presentation to NDSU's women in research group

September 28, 2017
Computer Science Professor Anne Denton was invited by NDSU's Women in Research group to give a presentation on September 27th .  The presentation, entitled "Challenges in the Data Science for Food," discussed the use of data science for food, energy, and water.  Denton reviewed the challenge this presents, noting that, while this topic is increasingly recognized as a topic of high global relevance, it may not always be clear what types of research results will ultimately improve the outlook for our planet. 

Betty Gronneberg makes inspirational presentation to NDSU students

September 24, 2017
NDSU graduate Betty Gronneberg returned to the university to give students tips for success on Friday, September 22nd.  Gronneberg, who was born and raised in Ethiopia, earned a degree in Computer Science and Statistics at Addis Ababba University.  She also worked at the United Nations.  She completed her master’s degree at NDSU and has worked extensively in the software industry.  Through a Bush Foundation Fellowship and the uCodeGirl  organization that she founded, Gronneberg is working to drive girls’ interest in computer programming and inspire the next generation.

Introduced by her former master’s advisor, Computer Science professor Dr. Kendall E. Nygard, Gronneberg went on to tell students that, to increase their chances for success, they should find a mentor, be experiential, and network.  There were over fifty in attendance at the event.

One student in attendance commented that it was “inspirational to learn from Betty’s diverse experiences,” calling the presentation “encouraging.” 

During the presentation, Gronneberg talked about information technology being the fourth industrial revolution.  She also showed students how they can find their purpose and reason for being – how they impact themselves and others.  She stressed the importance of dreaming and dreaming big enough to have an impact, encouraging students to start every day by striving to be better than mediocre.  Gronneberg also discussed the challenges that students’ might face and how they can prepare to prevail and persevere to reach success.

“Having the event was designed help students feel more connected to their program and create a network of their own that could help them become better and more successful in their STEM major,” commented Computer Science Academic Advisor and Lecturer Joan Krush, who helped organize the student-focused event. “Hearing from someone who is a graduate of our program helps students think about the opportunities available to them now and what impact they can have in their future.”

The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and NDSU’s Information Technology Division.  Refreshments were also partially sponsored by a donation from Fast Enterprises.

National cyber league team featured on Valley News Live

September 22, 2017
NDSU undergraduate students Kelvin Boatey and Isaac Burton and Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub were interviewed by Valley News Live about NDSU's new National Cyber League team on the September 22nd newscasts at 9:00 (WB affiliate KXJB) and 10:00 PM (NBC affiliate KVLY and CBS affiliate KXJB).  The group discussed the educational value and benefits of participation.  View it online here.

Master's student presents at international conference

September 19, 2017
Computer Science Master's student Karanam Dayananda recently returned from presenting at the IEEE Autotestcon Conference in Chicago, IL.  While at the conference, he made two presentations.  As part of one presentation he served on a panel that was part of the conference plenary.  Visit the conference website for more details.

Computer science student's events app featured on NDSU web site

September 19, 2017
Computer Science undergraduate student Mukai Selekwa's work on an App called "Webblen Events" has drawn attention in the form of an article on the front page of the NDSU website.  Selekwa serves as the Director of Technology for the company.  He worked with fellow undergraduates Nathaniel Thoreson and Austin Braham, who are studying marketing and economics and finance, respectively.  All three are from the Fargo area and saw a challenge.  As Selekwa is quoted in the article, “there are usually things to do around Fargo, but a lot of times, people don’t know about them.”  The app, which went live on the Apple App Store on September 12th, aims to make it easier for area residents and visitors to find out what is going on around town.  The team is also planning to launch an Android app, which will be made available at a later point.  Check out the NDSU web feature, here.  Selekwa was also previously featured on the Emerging Prairie website - read that article here.

Tech shield features NDSU national cyber league cyber "warriors"

September 18, 2017
NDSU will participate in the National Cyber League (NCL), for the first time, this Fall.  A recent article in popular cybersecurity website Tech Shield features the team, including NDSU undergraduate students Everett Kuntz, Kelvin Boatey, Andrew Wickoren, Isaac Burton, Michael Gibbons, Steven Karschnia and Zach Kunz.  Participation in NCL is not only an exciting extracurricular activity, it also allows students to demonstrate their cybersecurity skills to potential employers.  Read the article here.

Eclipse ballooning project featured in press & newspapers

September 14, 2017
NDSU undergraduate student Evan Gjesvold flew to Columbia, Missouri to conduct an experiment during the full solar eclipse.  The experiment, mentored by Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub, focused on ascertaining the impact of reduced light on the lift capabilities of a solar balloon (a balloon whose ability to rise comes from sunlight-generated heat).  Read more about the experiment in the Press & News article.  A video of the balloon experiment and the eclipse is available here.

Student featured in Cavalier, Grand Forks newspapers

December 30, 2017
NDSU undergraduate student Isaac Flage was recently featured in the Cavalier Chronicle and the Grand Forks Herald.  Read the Grand Forks Herald article here and the Cavalier Chronicle article here.

Hokanson recognized for volunteer efforts

September 14, 2017
NDSU Computer Science staff member Guy Hokanson was recently featured on the National Science Olympiad Alumni Network Facebook Page and recognized in the Digital Journal, a global digital media network, with contributors from around the world. Hokanson was described as the unsung hero of volunteering for the Computer Science department. Hokanson has, among other things, served as director of the North Dakota Science Olympiad for numerous years.  Despite being the 4th least populous state, the event typically ranks number 16+ in the country, in team participation, each year. This has been largely attributed to Hokanson's efforts.

NDSU computer science department focused on ‘giving back’

September 14, 2017
Contribution to society is a big theme in the Computer Science Department at the North Dakota State University.  Leading the charge is Department Chairman Kendall E. Nygard who, in addition to sponsoring the Nygard Scholarship for Computer Science students, has recently pledged $10,000 to encourage matching donations from others.  For Nygard, ‘giving back’ goes beyond monetary donations.  He was honored with the Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award, in 2016, recognizing his “substantial service contributions to the community and the region.”  He also served as a Jefferson Science Fellow to the U.S. State Department’s USAID program, where he used his scientific skills to advance the agency’s mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies while advancing American security and prosperity.

While both the depth and breadth of activities in the department are impressive.  Perhaps the unsung hero of volunteering in the department is staff member Guy Hokanson who, among other things, has served as director of the North Dakota Science Olympiad for numerous years.  This event brings 750 middle school and high school students and 150 volunteers to the NDSU campus and is one of the largest NDSU outreach events each year.  Despite being the 4th least populous state, the North Dakota event typically ranks number 16 in the country, in team participation, each year.  This is, in no small part, due to Hokanson’s efforts.

“I am so very proud of the many examples of department faculty and staff giving back,” said Nygard. “One excellent example is the North Dakota Science Olympiad, which staff member Guy Hokanson has organized so professionally for many years.  These activities build on our mission, first and foremost, to consistently deliver very strong programs in both Computer Science and Software Engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

Department activities don’t just focus on helping the next generation.  Some have a broader focus.  Students in Lecturer Alex Radermacher’s Modern Software Engineering class are helping the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board by developing a piece of software that will help them monitor and increase the effectiveness of the funds that they grant.

“It provides an opportunity for organizations to get a software system to aid them in their mission,” said Radermacher. “It also lets students have an opportunity to develop a system for a customer.”

The NDSU Computer Science Department was founded in 1988 (though computer science courses were offered as part of Mathematical Sciences since 1973). It occupies 7,460 square feet in NDSU’s Quentin Burdick Building and has approximately 600 graduate and undergraduate student majors.

Straub interviewed by WDAY about Equifax hack

September 8, 2017
When WDAY wanted expert input on the Equifax hack for their nightly newscast, they came to the NDSU Computer Science Department's Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research.  Institute Assoc. Dir. and Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub was interviewed by WDAY reporter Ty Filley for a segment that aired on the September 8th 10 PM newscast.

Straub interviewed in Brazilian tech publication

September 6, 2017
Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jremy Straub was recently interviewed in Epoca, a popular Brazilian tech media magazine.  Reporter Paula Soprana asked Straub about current cybersecurity challenges as well as discussing future threats.  You can read the article online here.

New computer science undergraduates arrive in record-breaking numbers

August 21, 2017
Department chair Dr. Kendall E. Nygard welcomed the new computer science first year students on August 21st.  This year's group of new computer science undergraduates is over 30% larger than last fall's record-breaking group.  Nygard and Asst. Professor Jeremy Straub gave the new students a tour of the department after Nygard's welcome remarks.

Computer science faculty get grant to study american indian diabetes self-management

July 31, 2017
Computer Science Assoc. Prof. Juan Li is the principal investigator for a newly announced grant from the National Science Foundation to study self-management of diabetes in Native Americans, along with co-investigator and Computer Science Assoc. Prof. Jun Kong. Siobhan Wescott, an NDSU Asst. Prof. of Practice in Public Health, and Donald Warne, a Professor and Chair of the Public Health Department, are also co-investigators on the grant. 

The epidemic of diabetes in American Indian communities is a serious public health challenge. The goal of the project is to develop an integrated, accessible, cost-effective solution for improved diabetes self-management and social networking for American Indian patients. Considering the quasi-ubiquitous use of cell phones in most American Indian communities, a cell phone-based platform is proposed to provide smart and personalized service. 

The project benefits from the combined experience of the investigators in multiple related areas. Dr. Li's expertise lies in eHealth, knowledge management, social networking, and semantic web technologies. She has published in the field of disease prediction, smart eHealth mobile application, eHealth cloud, eHealth security, and healthcare social networking. Dr. Kong's expertise lies in Human computer interaction, especially context-aware mobile interaction. Dr. Warne's expertise lies in family medicine, public health, American Indian Health and disparities research. Dr. Wescott's expertise lies in Native American health education and American Indian health. Especially, being American Indian, both Dr. Warne and Dr. Wescott have extensive experience providing diabetes education for American Indians. 

This project will provide valuable research opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, especially from underrepresented populations.

Project receives nationwide media attention

July 31, 2017
Work at NDSU with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to enhance 3D Printing technologies has gotten national attention via an Associated Press article. Coverage Includes US News & World ReportThe Charlotte ObserverThe Huston ChronicleThe San Francisco Chronicle and over 50 other newspapers.  The project includes multiple Computer Science students and is advised by Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub.

NDSU team wins technical prize at international drone competition

July 28, 2017
A team of North Dakota State University students competed, for the first time in the university’s and state’s history, in the International Aerial Robotics Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, and won an award recognizing their technical design.  The IARC is the world’s oldest aerial robotics competition for colleges and universities.  NDSU’s team was recognized for excellence in the design of the air vehicle, payload, operations and risk reduction. 

The team was the sole recipient of the Best Technical Paper award at the competition.  This award recognizes the overall technical solution developed by the team as well as its presentation in the paper.  The paper was presented by NDSU Computer Science freshman Abdullah Almosalami at the competition; Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub was the team’s faculty advisor.  The team plans to continue working on its aerial vehicle to prepare to compete again at next year’s competition. 

Students’ work on development of 3D printing algorithms featured in newspaper

July 21, 2017
An article in the Wahpeton Daily News featured ongoing work within the NDSU Computer Science Department (in conjunction with students from Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and other departments) to reduce the amount of material that is consumed in 3d printing.  The work is being conducted in conjunction with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who is helping to mentor the student participants and supervised locally by Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub.  Read the article at:

Cyber Security Institute web site goes live

July 20, 2017
Another large step in the launch of the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research occurred today with the launch of the institute website.  Visit the website to learn more about the institute and its members at

Kendall E. Nygard serves as co-editor of journal special issue

July 20, 2017
Dr. Kendall E. Nygard is serving as guest-editor of a special issue of The International Journal of Computers and Their Applications with co-editors Drs. Eugénio C. Oliveira of the University of Porto in Portugal and Maximilian M. Etschmaier of San Diego State University. The theme of the special issue concerns the relationships between humans and autonomous or semi-autonomous systems. Given the rise of artificial intelligence, and deep learning in particular, the argument for systems to carry out autonomous actions with little or no human involvement becomes more compelling. The ethical, social, and legal issues that arise involve the concept of system trust, which is intertwined with cybersecurity. The special issue of the Journal will be available in December of 2017.

Software engineering Ph.D. student’s project featured in industry publication

July 19, 2017
Software engineering Ph.D. student Andrew Jones’s work on the development of a self-replicating 3d printing robot and the required software for commanding it was recently featured in 3D Printing Industry, a well-known 3d printing news source that bills itself as “the authority on 3d printing.”  Jones’s work, supervised by Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub, has the potential to facilitate more capable and responsive missions into space, for terrestrial scientific exploration and military applications.

Read the article at:

Student, faculty member present at World Congress

July 18, 2017
Graduate student Aakanksha Rastogi recently returned from The 2017 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering & Applied Computing where she presented a paper entitled “Cybersecurity Practices from a Software Engineering Perspective” co-authored with Dr. Kendall Nygard.  Rastogi also presented a paper entitled “An Empirical Study on a Con Resistant Trust Algorithm for Cyberspace” which was authored by graduate student Md Minhaz Chowdhury and Nygard.  Also attending was Dr. Oksana Myronovych who presented a paper entitled “Publishing and Consuming RESTful Web API Services” which was co-authored with Yurii Boreisha from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Governor’s Schools students learn about computer science

July 14, 2017
For the past six weeks, students from the North Dakota Governor’s Schools’ IT program have been lead in computer science learning by three faculty from the Computer Science Department.  Computer Science instructor Joe Latimer serves as the director of the IT program and also provided the students with instruction related to programming.  Instructor Otto Borchert also instructed the students in programming and the development of a video game.  Asst. prof. Jeremy Straub led the students in building and programming robots.  The Governor’s Schools experience ended in an open house where the students demonstrated their games and robots.  IT student Hunter B. was featured on the KVRR evening newscast talking about his experience at NDSU.  Management Information Systems lecturer Enrique Garcia also participated in the Governor’s School IT program, providing the students with instruction in cyber forensics.

North Dakota Lt. Governor, Brent Sanford, visits NDSU Computer Science

July 12, 2017
Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford visited the NDSU Computer Science Department today.  He met with professor and department chair Kendall Nygard, who provided an overview about ongoing department initiatives in cyber security and unmanned aerial systems.  Nygard also provided Sanford with information about the strong job market for Computer Science graduates in North Dakota and beyond.  Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub also briefly described ongoing research efforts in autonomous vehicles, robotics and spacecraft development.

Larson receives NDSU scholarship

July 9, 2017
FARGO, N.D. -- Christopher Larson, son of Todd and Deb Larson, Bemidji, recently received the North Dakota State University Presidential Honor Scholarship in the amount of $10,000. The scholarship recognizes high academic achievement. Larson will enter NDSU in the fall and plans to major in computer science.

KVRR News Broadcast Features Student Project

July 7, 2017
KVRR News recently reported on a group of NDSU students who are working on a project with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The students are developing and refining software algorithms to make it possible to print suitably durable 3D objects using less printer filament.  By requiring less material, more objects can be created or space can be freed for other supplies.  Thomas Cameron, Andrew Gabler, Aaron Gordon, Matthew Johnson, Haiming Lou, Joseph Manning, John McMillan, Ryan Nelson and Skyler Slusar were featured on the KVRR newscast on Friday July 7.  The project was reported on during both the 6:00 and 9:00 PM newscasts.  Recent NDSU Electrical Engineering graduate Matthew Johnson and Computer Science Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub were interviewed for the report.

Kendall E. Nygard named Chair of Computer Science at NDSU

July 5, 2017
Professor Kendall E. Nygard has been named Chair of the Department of Computer Science at North Dakota State University.  Nygard was previously and remains a Professor in the same department and serves as Director of the new NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research.  He is also a U.S. State Department and USAID Jefferson Science Fellow.  Nygard was selected as Chair due to his extensive background which includes authoring more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles and papers and a recent book on the Smart Grid.  He holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Virginia Tech University, an M.A. in Mathematics from Minnesota State University Mankato and a B. S. in Mathematics and Physics from Minnesota State University Moorhead.  Nygard was also recently selected as the 2016 recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Faculty Service Award.

Computer Science student will spend the summer at a REU program in Florida

June 19, 2017
Ayushi Saxena has been selected to participate in the Florida Institute of Technology BioMath REU program this summer. Ms. Saxena will be working as part of a team with Drs. Munevver Subasi, Ersoy Subasi, Lisa Moore, and David Carroll, on a project that involves understanding the molecular basis of cancer cell growth. Florida Institute of Technology is in Melbourne, FL.

EPSCoR NATURE students learn about research labs

June 16, 2017
Four students from the North Dakota EPSCoR NATURE program recently learned about research in the laboratories of Computer Science faculty members Jun Kong and Jeremy Straub.  Ryan and LaShae, who did research in Kong's lab, studied human computer interaction.  Rick and Anthony, who researched in Straub's lab, focused on the design and control of 3D printed high altitude UAVs.  Kong and Straub were honored with certificates of appreciation from ND EPSCoR and the NATURE program for guiding the students.  Computer Science faculty members Anne Denton, Simone Ludwig, along with Kong and Straub, also gave presentations to the NATURE students as part of their research tour on June 7th.

Computer Science faculty and staff recognized by students

May 23, 2017
The 2017 NDSU graduating class recognizes faculty and staff for their efforts in creating a terrific NDSU experience. Anne Denton, Joan Krush, Joe Latimer, Simone Ludwig, Kenneth Magel, Oksana Myronovych, Kendall Nygard, Alex Radermacher, and Gursimran Walia from the Computer Science Department were identified as having a positive influence on the NDSU student undergraduate experience. 

Congratulations to our graduates

May 13, 2017
Congratulations to the Graduate students who received degrees in Spring 2017.

Amuge,Betty ElizabethComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Dawar,PriyankaComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Emamian,PeymanComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Hu,PingComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Killada,Bala Venkata Rama KishoreComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Muttineni,DivyaComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Narra,Sravan Raghu KumarComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Nekkanti,Om PrakashComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Roy,ArighnaComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Soni,GauravComputer ScienceMS-Computer Science
Dass,PranavComputer SciencePHD-Computer Science
Gong,JiaweiSoftware EngineeringCERT-Software Engineering
Thomas,RyanSoftware EngineeringCERT-Software Engineering
Brown,Rance ThomasSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Carlton,Bobby AllanSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Chagonda,Arthur TafadzwaSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Day,HonoraSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Patterson,Dale JaySoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Selimovic,MigdadSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Stone,Jason BlackwoodSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Williams,Robert CSoftware EngineeringMSE-Software Engineering
Arora,AmitSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Bhurale,LohitSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Hegde,Shishir SSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Kumar,PranaySoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Rashid,RumanaSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Simley,Judi LynnSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Sun,LirenSoftware EngineeringMS-Software Engineering
Asgar,TalukdarSoftware EngineeringPHD-Software Engineering
Attaallah,Abdulaziz AhmadSoftware EngineeringPHD-Software Engineering


Computer Science students commisioned as Air Force officers

May 12, 2017
Congratulations to two recently commissioned Air Force Lieutenants: 2017 Computer Science degree graduates Jestin Jacobs and Isaiah Nicolai. A commission ceremony was held May 12, 2017 at NDSU’s Benson Bunker Fieldhouse. Lt. Jacobs will attend pilot training at Joint Base San Antonio, TX and Lt. Nicolai will participate in Cyber Operations at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS.

Robot Day covered by local media

May 11, 2017
Multiple Computer Science students (as well as students from electrical and mechanical engineering) were recently featured on WDAY’s and KVRR’s nightly news when both stations came out to visit ‘Robot Day’.  During this, students showed off their semester-long projects in CSCI 491 and 783 to the classmates and, with WDAY and KVRR’s arrival, to the public.  Projects featured on the newscasts included drones, self-assembling robots, human mood and movement sensing systems.

Original coverage:

MPR highlights NSDU's work with drones

May 3, 2017
NDSU Student Brady Goenner and Computer Science Asst. Professor Jeremy Straub were recently featured in a news story by Minnesota Public Radio.  MPR reporter Dan Gunderson’s article titled “To see the future of drones, look to student competitors” highlights the importance of student work to advancing technologies like UAVs.  Goenner’s work on the drone project is part of a contest entry, which Straub is advising. He is working in conjunction with computer science students Abdullah Almosalami and Brian Kaldova, along with undergraduate students from computer, electrical and mechanical engineering.  Goenner and fellow undergraduate Tyler Blanchard started work on this contest entry as part of their robotics term project for Straub’s CSCI 491 course.

Ph.D. student presents at the CalPoly CubeSat Workshop

May 3, 2017
Abdulaziz Alanazi, a Ph.D. student in the NDSU Computer Science Department, has recently returned from San Luis Obispo, California where he made a presentation at the CalPoly CubeSat Workshop.  His poster, entitled "CubeSat Systems Engineering Methodology and Tools for Reducing Mission Failure" presented an overview of the work that he is conducting on his dissertation topic.  While at CalPoly, Alanazi conducted a survey that will help him to further refine his work by incorporating information based on the experiences of CubeSat developers at the conference.

Computer science freshman presents at NDSU symposium

May 3, 2017
Computer Science Freshman Abdullah Almosalami presented at the NDSU Unmanned Aircraft System Symposium hosted by the NDSU Division of Research and Creative Activity.  Abdullah presented his team’s ongoing work on the development of an autonomous drone for use in the International Aerial Robotics Competition.  For 2017, this competition seeks to have teams demonstrate autonomous path planning and other activities without the use of positioning data or simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technologies.  The competition entry was started by two students in Asst. Professor Jeremy Straub’s CSCI 491 course in the Spring of 2017.  Abdullah was elected as the new project lead towards the end of the semester and is working on completing the custom-designed and built UAV in conjunction with students from Electrical, Mechanical and Computer Engineering.

Professional writing awards for computer science students

May 01, 2017
Two computer science majors have been selected as winners or honorable mentions in the annual W-Challenge writing competition. Jesse Wiesenborn was the top winner in Professional Writing, and Griffin Birmingham was an honorable mention in Creative Writing.  The W-Challenge is a writing competition for undergraduate student writers in any department, and gives students the chance to share their creativity and skill. The competition includes five categories, academic writing, professional writing, everyday writing, creative writing, and writing in foreign languages. Students  may make one submission per category, but have no more than three total entries. Winners receive prizes of up to $200, and were awarded May 1st.

Computer science student research paper earns exemplary distinction

April 28, 2017
An NDSU doctoral student’s research paper was selected as an “Exemplary” paper in “Best CS Educational Research Papers” at the 48th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education held March 8-11 in Seattle.

The paper’s lead author is Vaibhav Anu, a doctoral student in computer science. It is titled "Incorporating Human Error Education into Software Engineering Courses via Error-Based Inspections." The paper was co-written by Gursimran Walia, Anu’s faculty adviser and associate professor of computer science, and Gary Bradshaw, professor of psychology at Mississippi State University.

According to Walia the software engineering discipline and curriculum are devoid of educational content on human errors, while other human-centric disciplines such as aviation, medicine and process control have developed human error training and other interventions. “This paper illustrates the ability and value of applying human error research to a software engineering problem that resulted in the development of a theoretically sound taxonomy of the types of human errors that requirements engineers can commit,” Walia said. “The resulting error taxonomy was then used to deliver requirements validation knowledge (a key industry skill) to students by focusing the software review process on identification and removal of the faults caused by human errors.”

The study was supported by National Science Foundation Awards 1423279 and 1421006

The symposium is the largest computing education conference worldwide organized by ACM SIGCSE. It attracts around 1,300 researchers, educators, and others interested in improving computing education in K-12 and higher education.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

Here's pie in your eye!

April 27, 2017
Faculty took pies to the face today for a good cause. NDSU's Delta Upsilon hosted its first ever "Pie Your Professor" event with all proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club. The event hosted professors from various department and gave students the opportunity to plant a face full of whipped cream on your favorite instructor. If you weren't able to attend the event you may be able to find the videos on the Delta Upsilon Facebook page, where you can see Joan Krush, Joe Latimer, and Otto Borchert representing the computer science department, and taking it on the chin for a good cause.

NDSU hosts Science Olympiad's state competition

April 24, 2017
This weekend NDSU was host to Science Olympiad's state competition. The event was led by North Dakota State Science Olympiad director and computer science employee, Guy Hokanson. For the past 33 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education. What began as a grassroots assembly of science teachers is now one the premier competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to 7,600 teams in 50 states. Science Olympiad's ever changing line-up of events in all STEM disciplines exposes students to practicing scientists and career choices, and energizes classroom teachers with a dynamic content experience.

Computer Science student speaks at SPIE Expo

April 13, 2017
Computer Science undergraduate Brandon Rudisel spoke this week at the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 Expo in Anaheim, CA. SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, and the expo is estimated to have approximately 5000 attendees. In addition to his own presentation, Rudisel presented the work of NDSU colleague Jacob Reimers in fused fabrication (FFF) 3D printing in space.  This presentation and work was featured on the SPIE website.  The work provides a practical solution for reducing the mass and volume required for bringing materials into orbit.  You can read more about his talk at

Computer Science students awarded scholarships

The College of Science and Mathematics held a Scholarship and Awards event to acknowledge those students who were awarded scholarship during the 2016-2017 Academic year. Congratulations to the following Computer Science students who received academic scholarships this year:

Computer Science Department Scholarship: Aaron Buchholz, Rose Jackson
Rahul Devabhaktuni Graduate Scholarship: Anurag Goswami
Paul Juell Scholarship: Benjamin Weller
Microsoft Scholarship: Aaron Beyer, Damon Hage, Timothy Hepokoski, Mi Huynh, Jordon Pansch, Aditya Sinha, Peter Wells
Nygard Scholarship Endowment Fund: Aaron Sletten

NDSU faculty member named to journal post

March 31, 2017
Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science, recently was named information director for the ACM Computing Surveys Journal.

The journal is published by the Association for Computing Machinery, a key professional organization for the computer science discipline.  According to Thomson Reuters, it has a five-year impact factor of 6.559 and is the number two journal in its category of Computer Science, Theory and Methods.

“The journal is a key publication in computer science as it is one of a select few journals specifically dedicated to publishing survey articles,” he said. “These articles can greatly aid those starting new research projects by bringing all relevant prior work, up to a given point, together in one place to serve as a springboard. I’m pleased to be able to contribute to this publication.”

Straub earned an MBA at Mississippi State University, a master’s degree in computer systems and software design from Jacksonville State University and doctorate in scientific computing at the University of North Dakota.

His research interests include artificial and computational intelligence; autonomy applications in aerospace; cybersecurity; 3D printing command, control and assessment; and educational assessment in computing disciplines.

As a student-focused, land grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

NDSU team works to create cybersecurity systems for self-driving cars

A group of North Dakota State University students is developing software to ensure that when self-driving cars tool down our roads, they will be safe from cyberattacks.“You really want to make sure that how you protect this is thought of very early in the game,” said Jerry Straub, an assistant professor of computer science who is guiding the effort.“This is the type of technology where you don’t want to wait for the attacker” to make his attack, he said.Some people might see hacking the operating system of a vehicle or transportation system as a thrill or a symbol of prestige, with deadly consequences.“If a car is hacked, you might have someone seriously injured or dying within minutes,” Straub said.The push for autonomous vehicles is accelerating and the U.S. is expected to be a huge market, though there is much work and coordination to be done by automakers, governments and other firms.Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has said fully autonomous Teslas could be ready by 2018 and gain government approval by 2021.Volkswagen, Audi, Toyota, Honda, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Ford and other automakers are working on self-driving vehicles. Google is also developing autonomous vehicles.Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said on Twitter he expects his firm’s fleet to be fully autonomous by 2030.

John McMillan, a sophomore from Vadnais Heights, Minn., is one of a handful of students on the NDSU software design team. Each student works on a different aspect of cybersecurity, including management of vehicles if there is an accident; identifying and dealing with emergency vehicles; control among vanets (groups of vehicles) and identifying attacks; security systems for individual cars; and security for roadside units or towers that coordinate the transit system.

The challenge is magnified by the fact that there are no fixed systems in place. But that is also the allure, McMillan said.“To really be the first people to research into this was super appealing,” he said. “We’re defining this as we go and defining questions no one has looked at yet.”Straub said the initiative has not required a lot of money, so it has been funded by NDSU. But as self-driving car coordination evolves, Straub hopes NDSU is positioned to receive federal funds for advanced research and real-world testing.Freshman Abdullah Almosalami, is working on protecting vehicles when they are not connected to a network,.Efficient traffic management, highway control and preventing accidents “require security for networks,” he said. “That’s something that definitely needs to be resolved, and hopefully, by us.”Almosalami said he wants to see a future with self-driving cars.“I want to see a future that’s smarter. ... Humans can make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are real costly,” he said. “But If we have a machine that doesn’t make mistakes and handles things in a better way, we have a better world. The goal is progress.”IHS Automotive estimates that nearly 76 million vehicles with some level of autonomy will be sold globally by 2035, with sales of 21 million autonomous vehicles in 2035 alone.The students use computer simulations and model vehicles for testing. Over the next six or seven weeks, they’ll work to flush out problems in their system, McMillan said.

“We’re just plugging and chugging and figuring things out as we go,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Bismarck Tribune on March 25, 2017.

North Dakota satellite takes slower route to orbit than anticipated

A satellite built by students from North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota could be launched to the International Space Station sometime this summer, an NDSU professor said.Vibration testing, fixing problems found in those tests, and lots of paperwork remain before OpenOrbiter 1, a tiny cube-shaped satellite, will become part of a payload package to be sent to the International Space Station, said computer science instructor Jeremy Straub.“Just in the last week or two, we have been quickly responding to a lot of queries from NASA … so we can continue to move forward at the rate we need to,” he said.Organizers hoped OpenOrbiter would be launched early this year, but given all of the testing and safety requirements, “You never say an exact date with a satellite,” Straub said.The “cubesat,” which is 10 to 11 centimeters on each side, is designed to upload apps for science and engineering experiments, and to test a miniature 3-D printer exposed to the conditions of low Earth orbit, he said. It is the first satellite made in North Dakota, Straub said.He said much of what will be done with the satellite in coming months is being handled by a firm called NanoRacks, which on its website bills itself as the “concierge to the stars,” saying it will take care of all necessary details “to place your payload into space.”Straub said the hardware is set, though there might be some software updates required.When OpenOrbiter passes all of its tests and is approved by each group that must sign off before launch, NanoRacks will put it into a tube with several other satellites, then into a padded bag to be handled by astronauts.A spacewalk must be scheduled to install the satellite for launch from the International Space Station. It must move away from the space station before it can begin transmitting data, Straub said.“We’re aiming to be ready to launch in the summer,” he said.It is a “secondary payload,” so it can be bumped to a later launch date by other items or missions deemed more important.“There are a lot of things that have to go right to hit the nail on the head with the schedule,” Straub said.The satellite program involves dozens of students and faculty from each campus in computer engineering, computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering, and other fields, he said.

Each school built a version of the satellite. The best components of the two cubesats will make up the satellite that gets launched. The satellites also serve as back-ups for each other, with the potential of swapping out parts, Straub said.

This article was originally published in the Bismarck Tribune on March 25, 2017.

Team wins third place at the NDSU Innovation Challenge

February 28, 2017
Santipab ‘Ruben’ Tipparach and his multi-disciplinary team (including students from the art and music departments) won third place at the NDSU Innovation Challenge.  The team, called Vacuum Door Interactive, included members Santipab ‘Ruben’ Tipparach (Creative Director & Programmer), Jon Bell-Clement (Lead Voice Actor & Concept Artist), Matthew Neururer (Lead Concept Artist), Matthew Schneider (Lead Composer & Sound Engineer) and Austin J. Haayer (Composer).  Their project, which provides “the ultimate adventure to the edge of the universe” is a video game called Fleet Hackers: Breach of Contracts.  They were awarded a $500 prize.


Computer science student wins award

February 24, 2017
Computer Science Ph.D. student Rahul Gomes won the NDSU Graduate School’s 2017 Graduate Research Symposium’s Oral Presentations.  Rahul won with a presentation on his dissertation topic: analysis of multispectral imaging data and genetic algorithm based approach towards disaster management and recovery.  Rahul is in his second semester of Ph.D. studies at NDSU.

Professor Straub featured for his research on self-driving cars

February 22, 2017
NDSU Computer Science Assistant Professor, Jeremy Straub, was recently interviewed on two different TV stations about research he is conducting on self-driving cars. You can view the interviews at 

On-A-Slant shown on the Archaeology Channel

February 13, 2017
The video, On-A-Slant: Miti-bah-wah-es,  created by Brian M Slator and Jeffery T Clark will be shown by Strata, a half-hour monthly news magazine show on The Archaeology Channel on February 15, 2017. You can catch it at

On-A-Slant: Miti-bah-wah-es is a visual immersion into a previous era on the Great Plains and provides a means to travel through time and walk through a Mandan Village as it existed around 1776. The animated village reconstruction is based on scholarly research of the site, the native population and the era. It is as historically accurate as the documentation allows.

Department attends the 2017 Career Expo

February 8, 2017
CS Faculty, Students, and Dean of the College of Science and Math, Scott Wood, attend the 2017 Career Expo, February 7-8. The Career Expo is a two day event. Day one is geared toward students majoring in business, agriculture and liberal arts disciplines.  Day two is geared toward students majoring in engineering, design, science and technology disciplines.

The Career Expo provides an excellent opportunity to connect with students to discuss or interview for current and/or future career-related employment and co-op/internship opportunities. Last year, over 300 employers and 1,500 students and alumni attended this event.

NDSU alumni are invited to attend this event and we also invite students from several area four-year universities. The Fair is not open to the general public.

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