Computer Science Departmental News

NDSU Computer Science Announces Participation in Cyber Fast Track National Competition

As part of its support for the North Dakota-wide K-20W effort, the North Dakota State University Department of Computer Science announced today that it will have students participate in the Cyber Fast Track program.  The K-20W initiative is a collaborative effort with more than 40 public and private sector partners who are advancing statewide efforts to provide computer science and cybersecurity training and resources to North Dakota’s educators and students ranging from kindergarten through Ph.D. students and into the workforce.  The Cyber Fast Track program allows students to assess and demonstrate their skills to succeed in cybersecurity careers through a specialized online assessment tool and game. 

North Dakota is one of only 26 states eligible for students to participate in the program.  Students competing in the Cyber Fast Track program can win prizes from a $2.5 million prize pool including scholarships and access to professional certifications and specialized instructional materials.

“The Computer Science Department at NDSU has been actively participating in the state-wide K-20W initiative,” noted department chair Kendall E. Nygard.  “We are excited to be part of this program and encourage our students to engage in the game environment when it becomes available later this spring.”

NDSU Computer Science Graduate Named VP Technology for Forum Communications

NDSU Computer Science graduate Rodney Holm has been hired as the Forum Communications Company vice president of technology.  Prior to joining Forum Communications, Holm worked as director of IT and engineering at Email on Acid in Denver and vice president of engineering at FocusVision Worldwide.  He joined FocusVision when they acquired the assets of QualVu, which he co-founded and served as the chief technology officer of.

According to the company, Holm will “lead the organization in development and maintenance of digital products, content delivery systems and Informational Technology systems.”

Holm is originally from Jamestown, North Dakota and graduated from NDSU with a B.S. in computer science in 1997.

Read more at Inforum.

NDSU Computer Science Graduate Attends State of the Union Address

NDSU Computer Science Department Master’s graduate Betty Gronneberg attended the State of the Union address in Washington D.C. on February 5th.  Gronneberg was a guest of North Dakota senator John Hoeven at the event.

Betty Gronneberg completed her Master’s degree at NDSU under the advisement of Dr. Kendall E. Nygard.  She now runs uCodeGirl, an organization that seeks to drive girls’ interest in computer programming and inspire the next generation.  She is also the recipient of a Bush Foundation Fellowship in support of this work.

She was born and raised in Ethiopia and 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 since worked extensively in the software industry.  Gronneberg serves on Gov. Doug Burgum's Innovative Education Task Force, is an adjunct instructor at Concordia College, was recognized by the Women Economic Forum and was named the 2018 YWCA Woman of the Year in Science and Technology.

Gronneberg is still active in the NDSU community.  She has returned to NDSU to give students tips for success.  She inspire students through her presentations with one saying that it was “inspirational to learn from Betty’s diverse experiences.” 

Read more at Informum.

Dr Lu Liu featured in NDSU's Office of Research and Creative Activity's RCA Update

The full RCA Update can be found here.

NDSU Hosts 2018 ICPC North Central NA Regional Programming Competition.

NDSU was a site host for the 2018 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).  Twenty-seven teams from North Dakota State University, University of North Dakota. Minnesota State University Moorhead, Concordia College, and University of Minnesota Morris attended the five hour event.

Site Results:             Regional Results:
1 - North Dakota State University
2 - University of North Dakota
3 - University of Minnesota Morris

1 - South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
2 - University of Nebraska Lincoln
3 - University of Wisconsin Madison

NDSU Takes Second Place in the 2018 Digi-Key Programming Contest.

The NDSU team of Riley Conlin, Ajay Brown, & Chris Bernard with Anne Denton as Academic Advisor took second place at the annual Digi-Key programming contest in Thief River Falls, MN.

Computer Science alumni publishes fifth book

NDSU Computer Science alumni, Annette Godtland (Schauer) publishes her fifth book: Do-It-Yourself Multiplayer Java Games: An Introduction to Java Sockets and Internet-Based Games.  This is the fourth book of her Do-It-Yourself Java Games series of books in which she teaches computer programming through writing computer games..  A press release for the book can be found here.

Annette graduated from NDSU in 1980 and have lived in Rochester, MN, ever since.  I worked as a computer programmer at IBM for 20 years, then at Kingland Systems Corporation for 5 years, before I retired to pursue my own programming interests.  In 2004 I started my own company, Godtland Software Corporation, through which I sell some of my own programs on my Web site, In 2010 I wrote a book about writing and selling software on the Internet. In 2013 I started writing books that teach computer programming through creating games.

She has previously published four other books: Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Computer Programming, More Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Graphics and Event-Driven Programming, Advanced Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Threads and Animated Video Games, and This Little Program Went to Market: Create, Deploy, Distribute, Sell, and Market Software and More on the Internet at Little or No Cost to You.

WDAY Interviews Kendall E. Nygard, Kelvin Boatey

WDAY interviewed Computer Science Department Chair Kendall E. Nygard and undergraduate student Kelvin Boatey regarding cybersecurity education at NDSU.  The segment discussed the ongoing need for cybersecurity professionals, given the magnitude of recent attacks and stated that "NDSU has quite the pool to pull from, and Bison computer science students more than prepared to answer the call."

Valley News Live Interviews Miller, Straub on 'App Based' Digital Parenting

Computer Science freshman Lucas Miller and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub were recently interviewed by Valley News Live regarding the use of an app that can help parents track their kids' activities online. Check out the news report here.

Computer Science Undergraduate Meets Governor at Drone Focus

Computer Science undergraduate student Nick Snell got the opportunity to briefly meet Gov. Burgum and tell him about the drone business that he and three other NDSU students are starting. Burgum was speaking at the Drone Focus conference in Fargo today, which Nick was attending.

Computer Science students help motorists in flipped car

Valley News Live reported on several NDSU Computer Science students who aided a motorist in a flipped car in Wyoming. Terrance Hanlon, Nicholas Snell and Richard Frisch were mentioned in the report.  Read the report here.

CS Department Newsletter


Student Interviewed by WDAY Regarding Cybersecurity

NDSU Computer Science freshman Michael Gibbons and Asst. Prof. Jeremy Straub were interviewed by WDAY to give advise to the public regarding an ongoing Facebook scam.  Check out the news story here.

Computer Science student featured in Fergus Falls Daily Journal

Chris Bernard was featured, today, in the Fergus Falls Daily Journal. Check out the article here.

NDSU Computer Science Receives 15% of New 2017 National Science Foundation Awards to North Dakota

The level of federal awards received is a key metric for departmental research productivity. The National Science Foundation is a lead – if not the principle – federal funding agency for most sciences, besides medicine.  In 2017, the North Dakota State University Department of Computer Science received approximately 15% of all new NSF awards to North Dakota-based institutions.  Investigators within the department were awarded $1.35 million of the $9.07 million awarded to institutions within the state.

Federal funding to universities, like NDSU, is used to support faculty research efforts that benefit society at large.  It also benefits student researchers who receive employment, stipends and tuition payments from the grants.

“I am extremely proud of the recent successes of our Computer Science faculty members in securing grants from the National Science Foundation,” said NDSU Computer Science professor and department chairman Kendall E. Nygard.  “Securing Federal grants is very difficult in today’s competitive environment. Our faculty members excel and are determined to succeed in research, particularly in application areas that serve our citizens.”

Research in the computational sciences serves to advance computing itself, through the development of new techniques and algorithms.  In many cases, the research also advances an area of application, which benefits from the development and use of computing capabilities to solve a problem in this domain.  In 2017, one such NSF award received by faculty within the department focused on the advancement of diabetes self-management for Native Americans. 

“Shortly after I joined NDSU in 1977, I got an NSF grant and that was the first NSF grant in the history of Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences NSF grants at NDSU,” commented Nygard.  “That award was for $19,970 and I purchased graphics terminals and developed instructional models using them.  Now the department regularly receives much larger NSF awards.  The prospects for continued success in the future are bright.”

Computer Science freshman featured in West Fargo Pioneer

NDSU Computer Science freshman Nicholas Snell was featured in the West Fargo Pioneer today. The article focused on Snell's work on a project to develop a website for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Read the article here.

Student featured in Cavalier, Grand Forks newspapers

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.

Student featured in St. Peter newspaper

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

Computer Science adviser recognized at an NDSU Men’s Basketball game.

Joan Krush, Adviser/Lecturer in Computer Science was recognized recently at an NDSU Men’s Basketball game. She was nominated as someone who “makes a difference” in student-athlete’s undergraduate experience. Joan was nominated by student-athlete Jordan Meidinger, a sophomore Computer Science major.

Women faculty, student make news for computer science department

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

NDSU Undergraduate Peter Wells has been recently featured in the Brainerd Dispatch. Read the article here.

KVRR Reports on Student Projects

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

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

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.

Assistant Professor Receives Award

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 Development, 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!

11/28/2017 - 10:00 PM
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

Competition Teams Featured

NDSU drone competition teams, including multiple Computer Science students, were featured on the NDSU homepage.

Check out the article at:

Cybersecurity institute hosts week of speakers

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 Cybersecurity

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

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

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

NDSU computer science students have earned several awards during recent national and regional events.
Read more here.

NDSU Teams Win First and Third in Local Programming Contest

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

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

"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.  Read the article here.

NDSU Software Engineering Program Ranked #4 Nationally

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

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

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

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

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 and department chair 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

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

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 Website

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"

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 & News Newspaper

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.

Hokanson Recognized for Volunteer Efforts

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’

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.

Kendall E. Nygard Interviewed on KFGO

Computer Science Department Chair and NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research Director Kendall E. Nygard was recently interviewed on KFGO's It Takes 2 with Jack & Amy.  The interview covered the institute, new programs and plans for the future.  Listen to the interview here.

Straub Interviewed by WDAY about Equifax Hack

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.  Watch the segment online, here.

Asst. Prof. Straub Interviewed in Brazilian Tech Publication

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

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 $988,114 Grant to Study American Indian Diabetes Self-Management

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Kendall E. Nygard is serving as Co-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

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

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

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.

Nygard featured in Prairie Business Magazine’s Prairie People

Dr. Kendell E. Nygard’s appointment as Computer Science Department chair and appointment as founding director of the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research was featured in Prairie Business Magazine’s Prairie People for the week ending July 14, 2017.  Read the article at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 and

On-A-Slant shown on the Archaeology Channel

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

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.

Congratulations to our graduates

Congratulations to the Graduate students who received degrees in Fall 2016.

Degrees Awarded:
Certificate - Software Engineering
Master of Science – Computer Science
Master of Science – Software Engineering
Master of Software Engineering

LastFirst NamePlan DescriptionResearch Advisor
DayHonoraCERT-Software EngineeringDr. Gursimran Walia
BaduSadhanaMS-Computer ScienceDr. Anne Denton
GottimukkulaVijaya Chander RaoMS-Computer ScienceDr. Simone Ludwig
QormoshBassam M MMS-Computer ScienceDr. Saeed Salem
ReddyVijay ReddyMS-Computer ScienceDr. Kenneth Magel
ZamanEshitaMS-Computer ScienceDr. Saeed Salem
BischoffNancy MarieMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
BuvaneswaranNivasMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
JonesAndrew BurkardMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Jeremy Straub
NimmoEric JamesMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
RicksHarrington NamuMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
VasilyevAndreyMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
YericherlaHebsibha Dimple DayanaMSE-Software EngineeringDr. Kenneth Magel
LuYangMS-Software EngineeringDr. Kendall Nygard
NuthulapatiSri LalithaMS-Software EngineeringDr. Kendall Nygard
SinghAshish KumarMS-Software EngineeringDr. Gursimran Walia

Students building satellite to test 3D printing in space

October 31, 2016
Students at NDSU are building OpenOrbiter 1, a satellite that can upload apps to test how a 3D printer works under Earth orbit conditions. 

The satellite is called a cubesat and could be launched to the International Space Station as soon as early next year. The satellite — called a cubesat — resembles a Rubic's Cube on steroids. It is 10 to 11 centimeters on each side and is the first satellite made in North Dakota, Straub said. Creating and testing the cubesat took about 90 students and faculty from NDSU and UND in various fields. Each school is working on their own version and the best components will be included in the satellite that will be launched. As the cubesat continues to be tested, the printing unit is also being built along with its software. The goal is to determine how materials behave in low Earth orbit. If the experiment proves successful it could have big impact on space exploration, with the long-term goal being able to create a spacecraft using these printers. This is especially useful because these spacecrafts can be lightweight since they will not need to be launched from Earth into orbit.

About $450,000 in funds from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense were available to UND's computer science department for the Research Experience for Undergraduates program, Straub said. Only a few percent of those funds paid stipends to students who contributed expertise to OpenOrbiter 1, he said. Most of the work by REU participants is early-stage development for future satellites, Straub said.

Straub hopes OpenOrbiter 1 will be a positive demonstration of the hardware and software of the satellite that eventually leads to "space qualification," where the design is accepted as reliable for use on future missions.

Straub recognized with science award

October 26, 2016
Jeremy Straub, assistant professor of computer science, was one of three NDSU faculty recognized with Publons’ Sentinels of Science Awards on Sept. 23. The recipients were acknowledged as being within the top 10 percent in their field for contributions to the peer review process for journals and conferences during the past year.

“The review process is critical to maintaining the quality of and trust in scientific publications,” explained Straub, who earned his doctorate at the University of North Dakota. “Acknowledgement of this work, such as the Publons Sentinels of Science awards, can drive increased interest in participation in this important process. Given this, I’m very pleased to be included among those receiving this year’s awards,” Straub’s research interests include artificial and computational intelligence, aerospace applications of computer science, additive manufacturing and cybersecurity.

Department attends the 2016 Fall Career Expo

CS Faculty, Students, and Dean of the College of Science and Math, Scott Wood, attend the Fall Career Expo on September 28th, 2016. The Engineering & Tech Expo is an annual event attended by students in engineering, design, science and technology majors. The expo provides an excellent opportunity to connect employers with students to discuss or interview for current and/or future career-related employment and co-op/internship opportunities. 221 employers and 1,752 students took part in this event.

The Engineering & Tech Expo is open to NDSU students and alumni and current students from area four-year universities.

Tree planted in memory of Dr. Perrizo

An Oak tree has been planted in front of Hultz Hall in Dr William Perrizo's memory. Dr. William Perrizo was 73 when he died on July 16, 2016 in Fargo, North Dakota. He was surrounded by his loving family.

Bill was born on June 19, 1943 in Minnesota to Julian and Alice Perrizo. He was a University Distinguished Professor at North Dakota State University where he taught for 43 years in the Math and Computer Science departments, specializing most recently in Data Mining. He loved visiting his grandchildren, research, trees, mountains, thinking about multi-dimensions, mentoring, and baseball.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Perrizo, his daughters Tracy and Jessica, his son Joshua, and his grandchildren, Gavrielle, Sigal, William and James. He is also survived by his brothers and sisters: Jack, Mary, Mike, Jim, Joe and Ken.

Please consider sending a memorial to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo (820 4th Street North, in Fargo, North Dakota). Special thanks to Ann Perrizo and to Dr. Preston Steen, his oncologist, for their loving care over the years. To remember Bill, please consider planting irises in your garden.

Computer Science alumni publishes fourth book

NDSU Computer Science alumni, Annette Godtland (Schauer) publishes her fourth book: Advanced Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Threads and Animated Video Games.  This is the third book of her Do-It-Yourself Java Games series of books in which she teaches computer programming through writing computer games.  A press release for the book can be found here.

Annette graduated from NDSU in 1980 and has lived in Rochester, MN, ever since.  Annette worked as a computer programmer at IBM for 20 years, then at Kingland Systems Corporation for 5 years, before retiring to pursue her own programming interests.  In 2004 she started her own company, Godtland Software Corporation, through which she sell some of her own programs on its Web site,

She has previously published three other books: Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Computer Programming, More Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Graphics and Event-Driven Programming, and This Little Program Went to Market: Create, Deploy, Distribute, Sell, and Market Software and More on the Internet at Little or No Cost to You.

Computer science department represented at the 2016 STARS Celebration Conference

Student Ayushi Saxena, Associate Professor Simone Ludwig and Advisor Joan Krush attended the 2016 STARS Celebration Conference held in Atlanta, GA August 13-14. STARS: Students in Technology, Academia, Research and Service.

Mathematics and Computer Science double major senior, Ayushi Saxena, presented a poster at the conference. STARS is Students in Technology, Academia, Research and Service and hosts a few outreach activities both on and off campus throughout the semester. The mission of the STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service) Alliance is to increase the participation of women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in computing disciplines through multi-faceted interventions focused on the influx and progression of students from middle school through graduate school in programs that lead to computing careers. The Alliance is organized as a national constellation of regional stars that include research universities, minority and women's universities & colleges, K-12 educators, industry, professional organizations, and community groups. Stars implement "best practices" interventions with an integrated focus on: Recruiting to motivate students to enroll in computing disciplines or computing prerequisite programs of study through engagement and clear articulation of career opportunities and potential career paths. Bridging to provide support systems and extra-curricular training for students without computing prerequisites to become eligible to enroll in computing disciplines. Retention to support students in computing, as well as potential computing students at the freshman/sophomore university level, community college, and middle to high school students, to persist towards matriculation.

Distance and Continuing Education (DCE) courses discontinued

May 15, 2016
Effective with the second summer session 2016 and continuing into the fall semester and beyond, there are no more Distance and Continuing Education (DCE) courses.  Instead, you should consider online courses, if you need to or want to take a course off-campus.  Tuition for those courses will be the instate tuition for all students just as it used to be for DCE courses.  Tuition waivers do not apply to those courses.

Congratulations to our graduates

Congratulations to the Graduate students who received degrees in Spring 2016.

Degrees Awarded:
Master of Science – Computer Science
Master of Science – Software Engineering
Master of Software Engineering
PhD-Software Engineering

 Last Name

 First Name

 Plan Description

 Research Advisor



 PHD-Software Engineering

 Dr. Do



 MS-Software Engineering

 Dr. Nygard



 MSE-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Ludwig



 PHD-Computer Science

 Dr. Perrizo



 MS-Software Engineering

 Dr. Kong



 MSE-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel


 Shashi Kanth

 MS-Software Engineering

 Dr. Ludwig



 CERT-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel



 MS-Software Engineering

 Dr. Kong



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Walia



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Ludwig



 MSE-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel



 MSE-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Ludwig



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Li



 MS-Software Engineering

 Dr. Walia



 MSE-Software Engineering

 Dr. Magel



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Kong



 MS-Computer Science

 Dr. Ludwig



 PHD-Computer Science

 Dr. Li

Computer science student commissioned

Sam Mayer is a member of Air Force ROTC and will commission as a second lieutenant on Friday. Then he will graduate with a degree in computer science on Saturday. "College and Air Force ROTC had a transformative impact on me over the past four years. I found greater accountability for my actions, increased responsibility and wonderful opportunities with each semester. If my underclassmen years taught me how to live with more autonomy, then my upperclassmen years taught me how to live a balanced life." Following graduation, Mayer will serve as a cyberoperations officer at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and start work on a masters degree. 

Nygard receives Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Faculty Service Award

Kendall Nygard, Ph.D. received the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Faculty Service Award which recognizes NDSU faculty members who have attained distinction in their profession while providing substantial service to the community and the region through volunteer work or other activities that directly benefit the community. The recipients of this award also have superior teaching and publishing records, awards, offices in national organizations and editorships, and financial and other support for scholarly activities from external sources.

Congratulations, Dr. Nygard!

Computer science student's capstone projects

As computer science majors our students are expected to learn many different technical skills.  In the process they learn how to learn new skills quickly and on their own.  A good example of where this comes in handy is in the Capstone Projects course that is taken in their senior year.  For example, this year alone the following technologies are being used on capstone projects:

Architecture Analysis and Development Language (AADL)
Eclipse based Open Source AADL Tools Environment (OSATE2)
Trade Space Visualizer (TSV) from Penn State
AWS - Hosting
Asterisk - OSS PBX
Python - SIPTT
Celery - Python task-runner
Silex - PHP micro-framework
Marionette - JS Framework
Web Mapping Service (WMS)
Web Feature Service (WFS)

Visual Studio – Xamarin
Active Directory
Oracle LDAP integration (OID)
Machine Learning
Google Site Search
Web crawlers
Banana Pi Pro
TI.COM SensorTag
Predictive Analytics


April 28th 2016

The NDSU chapter of UPE (Upsilon Pi Epsilon) inducted new members Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Quentin Burdick Building 104.

UPE is a member of the International Honor Society for the Computing and Information Disciplines. It recognizes academic excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate and is a member of College Honor Societies (ACHS). UPE  is endorsed by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEE-CS). Membership in UPE is lifetime.

The new inductees are:
Tyler Michael Matthew Johnson
Du Yang
Md Faisal Kabir
Amber Rose Willenburg
Erik Robert LaVanier
Joseph Keith Moses
Honggang Bu
Joshua Sweet

April 19th 2016

Computer Science Scholarships awarded 2015-2016 Academic year.

Microsoft Scholarship

A scholarship awarded to students majoring in computer science, completion of 36 semester hours of work at NDSU, and with a minimum GPA of 3.4.

  • Mi Huynh
  • Alex Job
  • Samuel Mayer

Nygard Scholarship Endowment Fund

A scholarship awarded to students majoring in computer science.  Students must be an undergraduate that has completed at least four computer science courses that count toward a computer science major.

  • Rose Jackson

Computer Science Department Scholarship

A scholarship awarded to students majoring in computer science.  Students must be an undergraduate that has completed at least twenty four credit hours in computer science courses.

  • Mi Huynh
  • Tyler Johnson
  • Rose Jackson

Computer Science Department Freshman Scholarship

A scholarship awarded to a promising freshman student majoring in computer science. 

  • Peter Wells

Paul Juell Scholarship

A scholarship awarded to students majoring in computer science with preference to an active ACM member with 3.0 GPA or higher.

  • Mi Huynh

April 13th 2016

CS Grad continues to lead the way in machine learning and advanced computing

Matt Berseth, a 2005 graduate with an M.S. in Software Engineering started NLP Logix with two colleagues. NLP Logix is an advanced analytics and machine learning data product and services company.

Matt says, “I started the company with two colleagues who worked with me at a medical services company developing and applying predictive models and advanced analytics into its workflows. Instead of using SAS, SPSS or some other machine learning tool, we developed our own called LogixStudio, which allows us and our customers to develop, deploy and monitor the predictive models.”

Matt recently competed in an international computer vision competition, called the CAMELYON16 tumor recognition challenge.  This contest required contestants to train computers to accurately identify cancerous tumors on slides.

Matt’s submission garnered a top-5 finish and he presented his findings today in Prague, Czech Republic where his wife, Katie joined him as well. There were very prestigious research organizations, universities as well as large companies like Google participating.

Matt and his wife, Katie, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their three children.

Here is a synopsis of Matt’s work:

March 24th 2016

The Bush Foundation believes the future well-being of our region is directly impacted by investing in individual leadership.  Bush Fellows are leaders with records of achievement and extraordinary potential to make significant contributions in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations that share the same geography.  A total of 465 people applied for the 2016 Bush Fellowship. These 24 Fellows were selected through a multi-stage process involving Bush Fellow alumni, Bush Foundation staff and established regional leaders. Applicants described their leadership vision and passion and how a Bush Fellowship would help them achieve their goals. Go to Bush Foundation website for more information:

Gronneberg sees the gender disparities in computing and engineering jobs, and knows girls can be the driving force in technology, not just the basic consumers of it.  Inspired by the question, "how can I see more of me in the technology industry?" Betty plants to foster opportunities for girls to connect with the world of coding, the global language of the future. To build and foster an organically growing enrichment program with an ecosystem of individuals, educators, clubs, organizations and the community at large.  

“uCodeGirl is a non-profit organization based in Fargo, North Dakota. It is a sisterhood of empowerment, and aims to activate the innovator in every girl by equipping them with computational thinking skills, leadership qualities and entrepreneurial mindset," explains Betty Gronneberg, Founder and Executive Director, uCodeGirl

The Bush Fellowship is distinctive in its flexibility, allowing Fellows to articulate what they need to become better leaders and providing them with the support to make it happen. Betty will use her Bush Fellowship to strengthen her leadership expertise, study model organizations in the field and research ways to attract more girls to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Website:  Facebook: Twitter:

February 9th, 2016

Ken Nygard named 'the godfather of computer science' in North Dakota

Watch the video

February 10th, 2016

CS Faculty and Students attend the Spring Career Expo on February 10th, 2016.

Fall 2015

CS Department Fall 2015 newsletter released.

October 2015

NDSU ACM students took second and third place at MechMania

NDSU ACM students took second and third place at the 21st annual MechMania competition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. The competition ranks 'cyberwarriors' by pitting them against each other in simulated cyber-warfare environments. Teams of up to four students have 24 hours to build, test, and deploy an AI strategy to compete against other teams AI's in a network security challenge. MechMania is a great experience for freshman and sophomore students as it builds interest in computing and provides experience in solving problems under stress and deadlines.

   2nd place:
        - Kyle Merfeld
        - Haiming Lou
        - Nick Hilger
3rd Place:
        - Kyle Ryan
        - Ian Leith
        - Matthew Fevold
        - Jordan Goetze

This years winning solutions relied on early fast expansion combined with good defense.

September 19, 2015

NDSU ACM takes first place at HackISU

The NDSU ACM piloted a trip to HackISU, at Iowa State University, to determine if it’s a candidate for future travel competitions.
The event was a 36 hour hackathon (an event where people who are excited about programming come together and collaborate to build cool things.) which required that participants come up with an idea for a hardware or software hack, develop that idea and build it within 36 hours. After which point, the products were judges by several business.
Jordan Goetze and Kyle Ryan took first place with a project that performed live sentiment analysis on twitter messages and plotted them in one minute slices of time, on a map of North America to allow live sentiment tracking of topics by region. The competition was deemed good and ACM will be bringing more people to future hackathons. The next is in March 2016.

Spring 2015

College of Science and Mathematics Awards — 

Excellence in Service Award

CS Dept Portrait of Ken MagelKenneth Magel, professor, was awarded the Excellence in Service Award. The service award is not given annually; rather, awarded only when there is evidence of exceptional service to the department, the College of Science and Mathematics, and/or North Dakota State University.  Nominations can be made for faculty or non-faculty who meet the criteria.  The award includes $1000 for the individual as a personal gift. 

The recipients of College of Science and Mathematics awards are determined by the College Nominations and Awards Committee and approved by the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Gursimran Walia, associate professor, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award.

The criteria used to determine the nomination are:

  • Outstanding performance in the classroom at the undergraduate or graduate level as indicated by knowledge, organization and presentation of the subject matter in an interesting and stimulating fashion, with continued impact or influence on the students.  This needs to be documented by student and peer evaluations.

  • Significant contribution to his/her discipline as evidenced by publication or other written works relating to the educational process and/or recognition by educational groups in the state(s) and/or community.

  • Important contributions to the fulfillment of the mission or further development of the person's department, the College of Science and Mathematics or North Dakota State University.

The College Nomination and Awards Committee select the recipients of these awards.  The committee consists of Alan Denton, Physics, Marinus Otte, Biological Sciences, William Perrizo, Computer Science, Michael Robinson, Psychology, and Wenfang Sun, Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Yan and Salem on Faculty Committees

Changhui Yan, associate professor, is on the 2015-16 College Promotion, Tenure, and Evaluation Committee.

The PTE committee reviews, evaluates, and votes on each candidate's application for promotion and/or tenure.  The Committee prepares an evaluation of the application, including recommendations and an explanation of the basis for them, which is included in the candidate's application.




Saeed Salem, associate professor, was elected to the Faculty Senate Committee for 2015-16. The Faculty Senate is the University's legislative body responsible for the review and approval of policies regarding academics, admissions, research, degrees and anything else that pertains to the faculty.




Congratulations to the following professors who have obtained tenure:

  • Wei Jin
  • Simone Ludwig
  • Saeed Salem
  • Gursimran Walia

Congratulations to the following professors who were promoted to Associate Professor:

  • Wei Jin
  • Saeed Salem
  • Gursimran Walia

April 27, 2015

Finding connections in big data

Wei Jin, assistant professor, received a five-year Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation.

Jin will receive up to $498,433 to conduct research on developing smarter, more efficient methods to search for connections across documents in a    large-scale setting. The final research generated by this project potentially could impact areas such as biomedical and health care applications, homeland security and aviation safety.

Current online search methods may result in discovery of information limited to each individual document, without exploring knowledge across documents, according to Jin. Textual information is growing at astounding rates, creating a challenge for analysts trying to discover valuable information that is buried across documents.

“The goal of my research is to explore automated solutions for sifting through these extensive document collections to detect interesting links and hidden information that connect facts, propositions or hypotheses,” said Jin.

Existing search paradigms excel at keyword matching and document ranking, but lag in handling some emerging information discovery needs, such as relationship queries. Jin’s research will explore implicit connections between concepts across documents and work to integrate information from correlative documents into one relevant and meaningful answer. Information analysts currently perform such tasks with limited assistance from Web search engines or domain-specific search systems, said Jin.

Through her research, Jin seeks to develop algorithms and tools that find the individual links of information that are not always obvious, yet form a chain which winds through mountains of data. The techniques also will attempt to integrate domain knowledge and relevant information from Wikipedia to complement or enhance existing information in text collections.

Through the research project, four graduate students will participate in education and training opportunities to prepare students in information analysis and discovery. Jin also will develop a series of data mining courses to introduce students to the frontiers of text and web mining research.

The research is funded by Award No. 1452898 from the National Science Foundation.

Jin earned a doctorate and master’s degree in computer science and engineering from State University of New York, Buffalo.

The National Science Foundation CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of scholars who are likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. Recipients are chosen on the basis of creative career development plans that integrate research and education within the context of their university’s mission.

April 17, 2015

CSM Honors Day

The CSM Honors Day event was held Friday, April 17th. The students pictured are Angela Alean (Nygard Scholarship) and Nicholas Meske (Microsoft Scholarship). We had 5 students receive the Microsoft Scholarship this academic year (2014-2015):

Alex Job
Madeline Gordon
Mi Huynh
Samuel Mayer
Nicholas Meske

The Microsoft Undergraduate Scholars  are students majoring in computer science, who have completed 36 credit hours of work at NDSU and have a minimum GPA 3.5.

The Nygard Scholarship is awarded to students majoring in computer science. Students must be an undergraduate that has completed at least four computer science courses that count toward a computer science major.

August 1, 2014

Dr. Gursimran Walia was recently awarded an NSF grant for $180,242.00.

Dr. Walia’s research employs the tried-and-true perspective of Human Error (i.e., mistakes in the human thought process) to address a serious problem in software engineering: mistakes made during software development. His work integrates research from software engineering with research from psychology to develop a deeper understanding of the human errors that occur during the software development process and to develop techniques that detect and prevent those errors early in the software development lifecycle. Through the application of human error research from psychology, Dr. Walia’s work will improve developers’ ability to identify, classify, and eliminate software development errors and provide a solid structure and theoretical basis upon which to build. In addition to its impacts on software quality, this project will provide a venue for software engineering researchers to interact with cognitive psychologists, producing more diverse PhD students.

The link to the NSF grant is

February 25, 2014

Outstanding Advising Award

Joan M. Krush has been awarded Winner of the Outstanding Advising Award - Primary Advising Role category by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).  Established in 1983, the NACADA Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising.  NACADA is a representative and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education.

The NACADA Association has grown to over 10,000 members and hosts an Annual Conference each fall that has attracted over 3,000 attendees, as well as 10 Regional Conferences, and intensive study of advising through various other events held throughout the year. NACADA publishes a scholarly Journal, a quarterly e-Publication, and occasional special publications. Most of all, NACADA provides a network and professional identity for the thousands of faculty, full-time advisors, and administrators whose responsibilities include academic advising.

A member of NACADA since 2005, Ms. Krush has been involved as a Region Conference Proposal Reader (2009, 2010), Conference Volunteer (2008- 2015), Steering Committee Member – ND Liaison (2012-2015). Various conference planning: Winter Drive-In Conference Planning Committee Chair (2012),  National Conference Planning Committee - Concurrent Session Chair (2014) and Region Conference Chair (2015). In addition to presentations at regional conferences, she co-authored an article in Academic Advising Today. Professional Advisors and Faculty Advisors: A Shared Goal of Student Success. December 2010. Volume 33, No. 4.

In addition to the application, CV, and philosophy of advising statement, letters of support were provided by advising colleagues, Computer Science department faculty, the college dean, current students and recent alumni of the Computer Science program.

As a NACADA Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the Primary Advising category, Ms. Krush will be honored at the special Awards Ceremony and Reception being held at the annual NACADA Conference in Las Vegas this fall as part of the 2015 Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising.

Ms. Krush has been with the NDSU Computer Science Department as Advisor/Lecturer since August 2009. In 2014 she was nominated by students and received NDSU’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising of Undergraduates.

November 27, 2013

Aiding agriculture: Computer scientists help in the field

Agriculture is continually evolving. In today’s world, farmers are required to do much more than buy seeds, plant them and harvest a crop to stay competitive. Acquiring and analyzing data is becoming a high-tech tool in the industry.

Anne Denton, James A. Meier Junior Professor of computer science, is leading two separate but related projects that use data mining techniques to improve agricultural production in the Red River Valley. Both projects involve sugar beets – one of the area’s biggest cash crops.

For the past three years, researchers have been partnering with American Crystal Sugar Co., John Deere and RDO Equipment Co. to determine and predict the expected sugar beet harvest yield while the crop is still in the ground. The project is part of the Department of Computer Science’s Industry-University Consortium Program.

American Crystal Sugar, the region’s largest sugar beet cooperative, already collects and maintains data from its growers’ several thousand fields. The problem is making the data understandable and functional. Traditionally, Denton said, predicting sugar yield was a statistics regression problem. However, data mining techniques have helped researchers discover and analyze the most important attributes. “That was the key breakthrough,” Denton said. “We’ve been able to analyze information with data mining techniques rather than statistical.”

Denton and two other professors from the computer science department also were awarded a $599,722 National Science Foundation – Partnership for Innovation grant. It marks the first time a North Dakota institution is the lead institution for the this type of grant. Denton is the principal investigator along with David Franzen, Extension soil specialist; John Nowatzki, agricultural machine systems specialist; Kambiz Farahmand, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering; Phillip Boudjouk, retired vice president for research and creative activity; and Dean Knudson, associate professor.

The Smart Farm project includes a data-driven decision support system incorporating sensor data, satellite images and weather information to allow farmers to respond flexibly to production and environmental needs. In the initial phase, sugar beets are the prototype application thanks largely to the previously established industry-university consortium partnerships.

Techniques and results from either project might one day aid other crops, such as corn and soybeans. It’s an interesting application for Denton, who remains involved in both ongoing projects. Her research is largely comprised of developing data mining techniques for diverse problems, ranging from bioinformatics to optical luminescence.

“I didn’t have an agriculture background,” Denton said. “I jumped into whatever was needed. Data mining holds it all together.”

Mathematics, Computer Science major receives Goldwater scholarship

NDSU student Zechariah Andersen was among 282 awardees nationwide selected for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2012-13 academic year.

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

“I’m honored to receive this scholar- ship,” 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.

In addition, Andersen 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.

November 2013

Walia Best Paper Awards

Computer Science Assistant Professor Gursimran WaIia attended the 24th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering in Pasadena, CA and won two best paper awards!

BEST RESEARCH PAPER AWARD for the paper, Goswami, A., Walia, G. "An Empirical Study of the Effect of Learning Styles on the Faults found During the Software Inspection" Proceedings of the 24th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering - ISSRE'2013, Research Track. Pasadena, CA, USA.   [Acceptance Rate = 35% (46/131)]

Goswami, A. is a Ph.D student working under the direction of Dr. Gursimran Walia at North Dakota State University

BEST INDUSTRY PAPER AWARD for the paper, Walia, G., Carver, J. "Using Capture-Recapture Models for Make Objective Post-Inspection Decisions" Proceedings of the 24th IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering - ISSRE'2013, Industry Track. Pasadena, CA, USA. [Acceptance Rate = 35% (46/131)]

Dr. Jeffrey C. Carver is a research collaborator and associate professor at the University of Alabama.

Congratulations, Dr Walia!

November 4, 2013

Congratulations Dr Yan!

Dr Changhui received two exciting grants —Congratulations!

  1. ABI-Innovation: Computational Methods for Macromolecular Binding Analysis
    Funding agency: National Science Foundation
    PI: Dr. Changhui Yan
    Sponsored period: 8/1/2013-7/31/2016
    Total Award: $301,702
    Project Abstract: In this project Dr. Yan develops computational methods for automated discovery of structural and physical-chemical elements contributing to the affinity and specificity of macromolecular binding. To achieve this goal, Dr. Yan develops graph models for the representation of protein structures and graph kernel-based machine-learning methods for the analysis and prediction of binding sites. The proposed graph models provide a succinct data structure to encode a range of structural and physical properties germane to molecular interactions. Dr. Yan uses an innovative graph-kernel-based approach to investigate the modular organization of binding sites and discover characteristic patterns associated with the modules.

  2. II-NEW: ABC—A Biology Cloud.Funding agency: National Science Foundation
    PI: Dr. Changhui Yan. Co-PIs: Dr. Anne Denton, Dr. Christopher Colbert, and Dr. Sangita Sinha.
    Sponsored Period: 9/1/2013-8/31/2016
    Total Award: $314,774
    Project Abstract: The ongoing revolution in next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and large-scale structural genomics projects has led to dramatic increase in genomic sequences and protein structures. This has brought biological research into a data-driven era, where computational methods and facilities are needed for handling and analyzing the huge volumes of data. In this project, the PIs develop a cloud computing infrastructure called A Biology Cloud (ABC) to support research in the areas of bioinformatics and computational biology. ABC is built based on the OpenStack, which is supported by more than 180 large companies and has quickly become the standard for cloud infrastructure. ABC will enable researchers at North Dakota State University (NDSU) to conduct pioneering research in their respective fields and promote and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations among them.

October 2013

NDSU student team takes second place at ‘MechMania’ competition

The NDSU student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (NDSU ACM) recently took second place in a prestigious Midwest programming competition. The group participated in “MechMania” at the annual “Reflections | Projections” ACM conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Oct. 7-9.

MechMania is a 24-hour artificial intelligence programming competition of which the NDSU ACM has been a perennial competitor. The contest is an outstanding learn-by-doing experience that prepares competitors for the deadline pressures of the workplace.

This year, MechMania teams developed artificial intelligence players for “Thrust Wars,” a game where players must control their fleet of “Asteroids” style space ships and score points by gathering resources, building ships, refineries and bases while battling or destroying the other team’s ships, refineries and bases.

NDSU’s PiRho team of students Zechariah Andersen, Benjamin Bechtold and Justin Anderson took second place in a photo finish to a team from UIUC.

“The MechMania competition gave us good insight on how to rapidly develop software efficiently,” said Andersen, a junior from Velva, N.D.

Bechtold, a senior from Velva, N.D., described the experience as a great way to get ready for upcoming career challenges. “This competition helped me prepare for the job market,” he said. “I was able to collaborate with a team to solve problems and implement solutions.”

For Anderson, a senior from Frazee, Minn., the competition held important lessons. “Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was it built by one person. Working with Zech and Ben at MechMania taught me that teamwork is crucial for success, especially when time is a big factor,” he said.

Team members received an Amazon Kindle and 100GB of space from Dropbox for life as prizes for placing second.

The team was sponsored, in part, by the NDSU Department of Computer Science.

For more details on NDSU ACM events, visit

September 8, 2013

NDSU ACM Members teach PowerPoint to 4th Graders

NDSU ACM members went to Madison Elementary School in Fargo to teach PowerPoint to 4th Graders on September 25.

It was the first time members of ACM has taught PowerPoint in a school. They will be teaching again the end of October, November, and possibly December.

Computer Science receives the 2013 Advance FORWARD Department Award

The Computer Science department received the 2013 Advance FORWARD Department Award at the annual FORWARD kickoff event held Sept. 4. The $5,000 award is presented annually by the NDSU Commission on the Status of Women Faculty to recognize and reward significant department efforts to improve campus climate and gender equity within the faculty ranks. A review panel evaluated nominations/applications, guided by a weighted rubric reflecting each of FORWARD’s five target areas: climate, recruitment, retention, promotion and leadership.

The review panel noted Computer Science’s exceptional commitment and progress to the recruitment and retention of women within the department. Six of 12 hires since 2004 have been women. The resulting 37.5 percent women faculty in Computer Science is more than double the 17.6% national average and also represents a dramatic increase over the 7.1% proportion in the NDSU computer science department a decade ago.

August 2013

Ludwig Co-hosts IEEE Conference

Simone Ludwig co-hosted two IEEE sponsored conferences. The Fifth World Congress on Nature and Biologically Inspired Computing (NaBIC2013) and the Fifth International Conference on Computational Aspects of Social Networks in August. NaBIC2013 is organized to provide a forum for researchers, engineers, and students from all over the world, to discuss the
state-of-the-art in machine intelligence, and address various issues on building up human friendly machines by learning from nature. The CASoN conference provides an opportunity for researchers to meet and discuss the latest solutions, scientific results and methods in solving intriguing problems in the field of Social Networks.

June 2013

STEM Kids Camp

A Computing and Games workshop was held as part of the STEM kids summer camp 2013 during June 10-13. The NDSU STARS (Students in Technology, Academics, Research and Service) group introduced 5th-8th graders to computing, problem solving, and games. Scratch and RPG maker were used to build interactive stories and games.

March 2013

Computer science professor named Jefferson Science Fellow

Kendall Nygard, professor of computer science and operations research, has been selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow for 2013-14.

He was notified of the prestigious appointment by the U.S. Department of State March 25.

Jefferson Science Fellows serve as science advisers on foreign policy issues. Appointees spend one year at the State Department or the U.S Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C., and also may have extended stays at U.S. foreign embassies or missions.

This year, 13 academic scientists, engineers and physicians from institutions of higher education were selected for the important positions.

"There are so many important policy issues for which the U.S. Department of State is responsible that are grounded in scientific and engineering areas in which I have an interest, including such things as energy, environment, security, arms control and the expanding role of communication and social media in shaping societies. I am very enthused about the opportunity and the trust placed in me to serve as a science adviser on such matters," Nygard said. "I officially begin my work on Aug. 19 and will work from Washington, D.C., for one year. Following the upcoming year, I will return to NDSU and be available for an additional five years on a consultant basis."

The fellowship program was initiated in 2003, designed to engage American science, technology, engineering and medical experts from academia in the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

"By any major research university measure, this is an outstanding recognition of Dr. Nygard's nationally respected expertise, and it is a strong acknowledgment of the quality of our NDSU faculty," said NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani. "He will be an outstanding science adviser as our nation sets critical foreign policy."

NDSU Provost Bruce Rafert praised his distinguished record of teaching, research and service. "He is one of NDSU's very best," Rafert said. "His work spans a remarkably broad range of topics, from simulation to logistics, and artificial intelligence to distance education, and Petri Nets to software engineering. He has earned distinction by the breadth of thesis topics he has supervised and the range of graduate students he has seen through to graduation."

Nygard is one of two NDSU faculty members to be selected for the post. He joins Kalidas Shetty, associate vice president for global outreach and professor of plant sciences, who was a fellow in 2004.

"Jefferson Science Fellows provide our diplomats the scientific advice, rationales and tools to nderstand complex issues ranging from telecommunication technologies to food safety to biosecurity," Shetty explained. "It is a great honor for Dr. Nygard and NDSU that he is among the select few chosen to serve as an adviser to help our diplomats navigate complex challenges to make our world better for all its citizens. I am thrilled Ken has been chosen; he fully deserves this honor."

Nygard joined the NDSU faculty in 1977, and served as the computer science department chair from 1996 to 2005. In 1994-95, he was director of the Scientific Computing Center at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. He previously was a visiting scientist at the Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and a research fellow at the Air Vehicle Directorate of the Air Force Research Lab.

Nygard's research interests include combinatorial optimization methods involving management of networks and sensor networks, cooperative mission control for unmanned air vehicles, and bioinformatics.

He earned his bachelor's degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead, his master's degree in mathematics from Mankato State University and his doctorate in operations research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Ludwig hosting IEEE

The 5th World Congress on Nature and Biologically Inspired Computing (NaBIC2013) will be held August 12-14, 2013 at NDSU in the Memorial Union.

NaBIC2013 is organized to provide a forum for researchers, engineers, and students from all over the world, to discuss the state-of-the-art in machine intelligence, and address various issues on building up human friendly machines by learning from nature. The conference theme is "Nurturing Intelligent Computing Towards Advancement of Machine Intelligence".

All accepted and registered papers will be included in the conference proceedings to be published by the IEEE.

The event is hosted by Simone Ludwig, NDSU Computer Science and Ajith Abraham NaBIC 2013 General Chairs.

November 3, 2012

NDSU Hosts Regional ACM Competition

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 problem set. You can also find the Regional Scoreboard online here.

October 19, 2012

NDSU Team places 3rd at annual Digikey Competition

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.

August 10, 2012

Richard Rummelt Obituary

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.

August 2012

Faculty Granted Tenure, Receive Promotions

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.

May 2012

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

Fargo Forum, Thursday, 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.


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.”

May 4, 2012

Nygard added to NDSU Tapestry of Talents

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.

April 25, 2012

NDSU Computer Science Department selected as a STARS Alliance Member

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.

April 2012

Goldwater Scholarship recipient named

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.

March 7, 2012

Helsene Receives Campus Kudos Award

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.

February 22, 2012

Computer science capstone course goes international

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.

January 17, 2012

Researchers develop disaster management system

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.

November 12, 2011

The ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest

Students from NDSU, MSU, and Concordia compete in the ICPC competition at NDSU.

October 2011

NDSU student team takes second place at ‘MechMania’ competition

The NDSU student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (NDSU ACM) recently took second place in a national programming competition. The group participated in “MechMania” at the annual “Reflections | Projections” ACM conference held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Oct. 7-9.

MechMania is a 24-hour artificial intelligence programming competition of which the NDSU ACM has been a perennial competitor. The contest is an outstanding learn-by-doing experience that prepares competitors for the deadline pressures of the workplace.

This year, MechMania teams developed artificial intelligence players for “Thrust Wars,” a game in which players must control their fleet of “Asteroids” style space ships and score points by gathering resources, building ships, refineries and bases while battling or destroying the other team’s ships, refineries and bases.

NDSU’s PiRho team of students Zechariah Andersen, Benjamin Bechtold and Justin Anderson took second place in a photo finish to a team from UIUC.

“The MechMania competition gave us good insight on how to rapidly develop software efficiently,” said Andersen, a junior from Velva, N.D. Bechtold, a senior from Velva, N.D., described the experience as a great way to get ready for upcoming career challenges. “This competition helped me prepare for the job market,” he said. “I was able to collaborate with a team to solve problems and implement solutions.”

For Anderson, a senior from Frazee, Minn., the competition held important lessons. “Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was it built by one person. Working with Zech and Ben at MechMania taught me that teamwork is crucial for success, especially when time is a big factor,” he said.

Team members received an Amazon Kindle along with 100GB of space from Dropbox for life as prizes for placing second.

The team was sponsored, in part, by the NDSU Department of Computer Science.

For more details on NDSU ACM events, visit or

September 15, 2011

Interactive device research, media effects lab effort receive funding

The National Science Foundation has presented a $300,000 grant to NDSU to develop new interfaces for interactive devices such as smart phones and tablets and start building a media effects lab to benefit social scientific work at the university.

The project, titled "MRI: Development of a Cross-Platform Infrastructure for Natural Interaction Research," is led by principal investigator Jun Kong, assistant professor of computer science. Co-principal investigators are Nan Yu, assistant professor of communication; Jing Shi, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering; and John Cook, interim chair/head of industrial and manufacturing engineering.

"The primary objective of this proposal is to develop a cross-platform infrastructure that supports the research of natural interaction," said Kong. "This infrastructure, when applying to different computing and communication devices, will provide a new way of human-computer interaction by automatically choosing the optimal modalities under various interaction scenarios. It provides the necessary instruments for developing novel interfaces, especially on newly released mobile devices."

According to Yu, the research group will build a media effects lab that allows NDSU scholars and students to investigate a variety of new technologies and media, and observe how users may interact with them.

"This grant will be used to carry out research on designing new interfaces for devices like smart phones or tablet PCs which may improve the interaction between users and electronic devices," Yu said. "Additionally, the grant allows us to examine the usability and effectiveness of these new designs and to understand how they could be modified to adjust to various needs in different interaction contexts. It is our hope that this grant can support the enhancement of creativities and innovations related to research on new interaction devices."

In a notification communication dated Sept. 9, John C. Robey, NSF grants and agreements officer, said the grant is effective Sept. 15 and expires on Aug. 31, 2014.

May 2011

Anne Denton named James A. Meier Junior Professor

Congratulations to Anne Denton on receiving the James A Meier Junior Professorship for the College of Science and Mathematics. The Meier Professorships are funded through the generosity of James A. Meier, a graduate of the College and North Dakota State University. The award winner carries the title, James A. Meier Junior Professor, plus receives $2500 for a three-year term (Fall semester 2011 through Spring semester 2014). The professor is referred to as a James A. Meier Junior Professor for life. It recognizes either an associate or assistant professor who has contributed to teaching through his or her research program.

Dr. Denton's research is largely comprised of developing data mining techniques for diverse problems ranging from bioinformatics to optical luminescence. As such her work balances the theoretical underpinnings of clustering algorithms to the applied discovery of gene and protein sequences.

As a consequence, in just a few years Anne Denton has published nearly 40 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications, and has participated in eight funded research grants: five internal and three external, four as PI. Equally impressive, these publications and grant awards represent at least five fundamentally different and highly varied research domains.

April 2011

Dean Knudson wins Peltier Award

Our congratulations go to Dean Knudson, associate professor of computer science, for receiving the Peltier Award for Teaching Innovation. Dean replaced Elvin Isgrig in 2004 as coordinator of the capstone program. Capstone projects pair students with industry and government to give them real life experiences. The students work in teams and use their technical knowledge on projects for their assigned business.

Dean estimates 250 students have participated in Capstone. He continues to take them to a higher level as he adds more companies and projects.

Brian Slator, professor and department head of computer science, says "Over the years, this course has been refined and expanded, following industry initiatives, and providing students with authentic 'learn-by-doing' experiences using modern tools and methods borrowed from the regional companies that sponsor the projects," Slator wrote. "Students do real projects for real companies, drawing on their NDSU course work and training in order to effectively learn company methods and tools."

To read the announcement, go to This website lists the previous Peltier award winners

Top of page