Computer Science in Michigan Tech News

Students, Employers, Schools Match Skills, Opportunities using New Career Networking Program
March 21, 2016
Three Michigan Universities Receive Pacesetters Awards to Attract More Women to Computer Science
January 28, 2016
Schneiders Establish Professorship, Fellowships in Computer Science
October 28, 2015
High School Students Host Computer Programming Workshop for Middle School Girls
October 16, 2015
Chuck Wallace Shares How to Break Digital Barriers at White House Conference
July 17, 2015
Shokuhfar, Ott receive Diversity Awards
June 15, 2015
Michigan Tech’s Peace Corps Students Weather Horrendous Storms
March 24, 2015
Michigan Tech Adds New Peace Corps Master’s International Programs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, GIS
November 20, 2014
Programmers Score Russian Success: Finished as Top Michigan School
July 21, 2014
Michigan Tech Couple Sees the USA on a Tandem Bike
July 11, 2014
Linda Ott Receives Michigan Tech’s Inaugural Diversity Award
June 17, 2014

Husky Game Development (HGD) wins at Design Expo 2014

Husky Game Development (HGD) Enterprise competed against twenty other Enterprises at the Michigan Tech Design Expo 2014 and won 3rd place. At Expo, HGD members demonstrated the mobile and desktop games that students have developed over the course of the school year. Faculty, professionals, and alumni judged each enterprise based on the clarity of their presentation, the technical quality of their work, and the potential commercial impact of the projects.

Husky Game Development is an interdisciplinary Enterprise hosted by the Computer Science department. HGD aims to design and develop games for business, education, and fun. For more information, visit:

For more information about Design Expo 2014, visit:

20th Annual Student Leadership Awards

On Friday April 18th at the 20th Annual Student Leadership Awards, Abhilash Kantamneni (Computer Science, Ph.D. Student) won an award for Exceptional Community Service Project. The honor came from his leadership in bringing together community stakeholders to participate in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a competition to award $5 million dollars for communities to innovate in energy efficiency.

Abhi would like everyone to know that he could not have done this without the support of his advisor, Dr. Laura Brown.

News about the awards is available here:
News about the Energy Prize is available here:

15th Annual NMU Programming Contest

Eight teams from Michigan Technological University competed in the 15th Annual NMU Programming Contest in Marquette on March 29, 2014.  The team of Brandon Gafford, Taylor Scanlon and Xin Zhang placed first in the competition.  In second place was the team of Adam Funkenbusch and Stuart Larsen.  Additionally, Michigan Tech teams placed, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th.  The strong overall performance of the teams resulted in a 1st place school ranking for Michigan Tech.

Additional information on the programming competition, rules and full results are available at

North American Invitational Programming Contest 2014

Left to right: Eric Rinkus, Jason Hiebel (coach), Tom Holmes, Ryan McNamara

The Michigan Technological University team of math major Ryan McNamara and computer science majors Eric Rinkus and Thomas Holmes took their programming skills to Chicago on March 26 and finished 10th out of 21 in the North American Invitational Programming Contest. They now move on to the world finals in Russia in June.

by Dennis Walikainen, senior content specialist

A Michigan Tech team of computer programmers took tenth place out of 21 teams at the North American Invitational Programming Contest 2014 in Chicago this weekend. The team of Eric Rinkus, Coach Jason Hiebel, Tom Holmes (CS) and Ryan McNamara (Math) solved five of 15 problems and finished ahead of Northwestern, Southern California, Virginia Tech Wisconsin-Madison and others.

“Above them were some of the best teams in North America: MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon,” said Hiebel. “I’m proud of their performance. They did a fantastic job, and I think this was a good practice for the world finals in Russia [in June]. The entire team is graduating this year, and they will be missed. It will be hard to find a team with as much talent and dedication to take their place.”

In Marquette, a Michigan Tech team of Brandon Gafford, Taylor Scanlon, and Xin Zhang (CS) placed first in the 15th Annual NMU Invitational Programming Contest. In second place was the team of Adam Funkenbusch and Stuart Larsen (ECE). Additionally, Michigan Tech teams placed fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth. The strong overall performance of the teams resulted in a first-place ranking for Michigan Tech, whose award was accepted by faculty coaches Laura Brown and Leo Ureel (CS).

They competed against 16 other teams from Northern Michigan University, Lake Superior State University and the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth). Teams worked over five hours on six programming problems.

In both competitions, the final ranking is determined by the number of problems that are completed correctly with ties broken by the number of minutes taken to solve the problems.

“The continued success of Michigan Tech teams has benefited greatly over the years from professor David Poplawski’s direction and creation of an elective course on competitive programming, CS1090,” said Brown.

View the final Chicago scoreboard. Additional information on the NMU programming competition is available here.

Tech students headed to world finals of International Collegiate Programming Contest

A team of Michigan Tech undergraduates (Computer science students Tom Holmes and Eric Rinkus and math major Ryan McNamara) have earned the right to go to Russia to compete in the world finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest next June, by finishing fifth in the North Central regional qualifying contest. Holmes, Rinkus and McNamara will be making the trip to Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg with coach and Computer Science PhD student Jason Hiebel.

You may read the full story online in Tech Today.

Jackson Blended Learning Award

Computer Science Lecturer Leo Ureel is the recipient of a $5000 Jackson Life Blended Learning Grant from the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning. Grants were awarded to blended learning projects that are strategically transformative, have demonstrated need, and will have broad impacts. Mr. Ureel’s project, “Canvas Teaching Assistant”, will provide students with a highly interactive environment for testing and obtaining immediate feedback about their code.

The way students currently approach homework is similar to the outdated “waterfall” development model, progressing in a one-way, linear fashion: students are given program specifications, they go away and work on the code, the assignment is submitted when they are done, then they wait for grades and possible feedback. As one student said, “We work in isolation, then chuck the program over the wall and hope for the best.” Mr. Ureel wants to make the process of learning to program a more iterative, agile process that interleaves coding with testing and rewards interaction. This will bring our introductory computer science education closer to current “agile” methods of software development.

The project will leverage the department’s existing grading software and the Canvas course management system to provide students with immediate feedback prior to submitting programs for grading. This will encourage students to “code a little, test a little” in an iterative fashion that will empower them to tackle bugs and resolve functional problems earlier in the learning process. Additionally, the project will add intelligent assessment of programming style and comments, helping students mature into professional software engineers. When combined with new curriculum designed to teach agile development, students will be better prepared for a 21st century career in computer science.