Dr. Soner Onder Receives NSF EAGER award

Dr. Soner Onder received an NSF Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) award in the amount of $97,944 in support of his research investigating alternative execution paradigms. The project is titled “EAGER: Combining Data and Instruction Level Parallelism through Demand Driven Execution of Imperative Programs”.

Dr. Onder states that demand-driven execution can potentially lead to the development of multi-core processors in which multiple processors can collaboratively and efficiently execute a single threaded program, eliminating the need to develop parallel versions of programs. Funding will be used to evaluate the feasibility of, establish theoretical performance bounds for and identify the key scalability aspects of demand-driven execution paradigm.

According to NSF, “EAGER awards can be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work could be considered especially “high risk-high payoff” in the sense that it involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.”

Computer Science Student Pursues Peace Corps Master’s

Science and technology are transforming the way we live, and Tim Ward is working to make sure this transformation reaches everyone. Tim is the first student to pursue the Peace Corps Masters International (PCMI) in Computer Science at Michigan Tech, working in the remote Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Students in the program take courses on campus during the first year of the program, then they spend two years in the Peace Corps applying their knowledge within their Peace Corps community. You can read more about Tim and his work at his blog.

Emeritus Status

The Michigan Tech Board of Control granted emeritus rank to Steven Seidel, a professor of computer science, who died in June. Dr. Seidel played a substantial role in the growth of the Computer Science program throughout his career at Michigan Tech.

In the Headlines

The Detroit News published a front-page story about crowdfunding at Michigan universities, focusing on Michigan Tech’s Superior Ideas crowdfunding site. The story quotes Natasha Chopp, Superior Ideas’ research development and marketing manager; alumna Linda Wittbrodt ’83; and Associate Professor Charles Wallace (CS).

Using “Superior” Supercomputer for Advanced Research

Michigan Tech is home to a supercomputer known as “Superior” and this computer is used for a variety of projects by research faculty right here in the Department of Computer Science:

Laura Brown, Towards a reliable method for comparing large scale machine learning algorithms

Ali Ebnenasir, Computational synthesis of self-stabilizing protocols

Chaoli Wang, High-performance parallel analysis and visualization of Big Data

Read more at insideHPC.

Graduate School Announces Doctoral Finishing Fellowships for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that the following students have earned:

Jun Ma, PhD candidate in computer science
Evgeniy Kulakov, PhD candidate in geology
Colin Gurganus, PhD candidate in atmospheric sciences
Suntara Fueangfung, PhD candidate in chemistry
Fang Chen, PhD candidate in electrical engineering
Xiaohui Wang, PhD candidate in electrical engineering
Jennifer Riehl, PhD candidate in forest molecular genetics and biotechnology
Stephanie Ogren, PhD candidate in biological sciences
Tayloria Adams, PhD candidate in chemical engineering

Computing in Russia: Taking on the Heavy Hitters

It’s a mass of computer-programming brainpower. Teams from Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the South Pacific will be joined by North American contingents, including our Michigan Tech team.

How big is it? It began last fall with over thirty thousand students from more than 2,300 universities and 91 countries. Regional qualifying contests reduced it to 366 students from 122 universities for the finals.

Those students are now in Ekaterinburg, Russia, at Ural Federal University for the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) International Collegiate Programming Contest. The event runs through Saturday, with the actual contest occurring on Wednesday, and “intense” hardly describes it.

“This is the premiere global programming competition conducted by and for the world’s universities,” says computer science’s Dave Poplawski, longtime competition coach. “With 122 of 10,000 teams remaining, only the best of the best are left. For most Asian and Eastern European teams, winning this contest is akin to winning the World Cup in soccer or the Super Bowl in football. This is a BIG DEAL!”

In the competition, each team of three students is given one computer and five hours to solve 10 to 12 “fairly difficult” programming problems. A jury prepares tests to see if the programs were written correctly to solve the problems. The team that solves the most problems wins. If there are several teams that solve the same number of problems, the winner is determined by which team solved them the fastest.

The Michigan Tech team consists of midyear 2013 math graduate Ryan McNamara and computer science majors Eric Rinkus and Thomas Holmes. Their coach is computer science PhD student Jason Hiebel. The team qualified for the finals via the North Central Regional qualifying contest last November. They took their programming skills to Chicago in March for the North American Invitational Programming Contest, as one of only two Michigan teams invited. The other was from the University of Michigan.

“The Chicago Invitational was good practice and a good test of the team’s abilities,” Poplawski adds. “They finished tenth out of 21, beating teams from larger and more prestigious universities such as Northwestern, the University of Southern California, the University of Wisconsin (a traditional rival) and the University of Virginia. This Wednesday, the years of study and practice will be on the line against the best in the world.”

Nerds Are Us!

NerdScholar, a financial literacy website for students, has named Michigan Tech’s software engineering programs in the Department of Computer Science the “most engaging” in the nation. Six schools were singled out in categories that include most engaging, most balanced, most variety, most innovative, most interdisciplinary and most real-world experience.

The website highlights Tech’s Enterprise and Senior Design programs and Pacesetters, an initiative to attract more women to computing careers.

NerdScholar helps college and university students make wise financial choices. The website walks students through the process of choosing a best-fit college, applying for financial aid, getting student loans, paying back those loans and landing a job. It also provides a step-by-step tuturorial on applying for federal financial aid.

Dr. Chaoli Wang receives CAREER award from NSF

Dr. Chaoli Wang, Associate Professor of Computer Science, has received a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.  This award will provide $489,245 of support over five years for his project titled “Effective Analysis, Exploration, and Visualization of Big Flow Data to Understand Dynamic Flows”.

The goal of this CAREER project is to pioneer a comprehensive framework toward effective visual understanding of flow fields. It contributes to the state of the art flow visualization by promoting an innovative database approach to shape-based field line modeling and classification, investigating new string-, sketch- and graph-based interfaces and interactions for flow field exploration, and exploring occlusion and clutter reduction through unconventional streamline repositioning and automatic tour generation. The general approach developed in this research is expected to substantially improve our ability to visually understand a wide spectrum of flow fields, ranging from the traditional application of fluid flows to new applications such as traffic flows, cash flows and message flows. The success of this research will benefit a wide variety of applications within and beyond graphics and visualization, such as shape analysis, visual perception, database organization, game development, and visualization in education.