Dr. Ali Ebnenasir Received NSF Award

Dr. Ali Ebnenasir has been awarded $254,015.00 from the NSF (National Science Foundation) in support of his research. This research focuses on facilitating the design of Self-Stabilizing network protocols, where a SS protocol eventually recovers from any troubled configuration to a legitimate configuration and stays in legitimate configurations as long as there are no perturbations.

This is an important problem as today’s complex distributed systems frequently reach illegitimate configurations due to the occurrence of the transient faults that perturb protocols without causing permanent damage. Most existing methods are based on the manual creation of an initial design and after-the-fact verification of the manual design. This research presents a paradigm shift based on a philosophy of synthesize-in-small-scale-and-generalize.

Dr. Ebnenasir and his students study the automatic generation of small instances of SS protocol, and the generalization of the synthesized instances to larger protocols. This project will fund one PhD student and two hourly-paid undergraduate students, and is expected to take three years.

WiCS to Host BonsAI

Put your AI to the test! On April 9th, 2011 the 4th Annual BonzAI Brawl programming competition will take place in the CS department at Michigan Technological University. The programming will be an all day event, where teams of 1 to 3 contestants will implement an AI player for a game. The contestants will be given the details of the API the day of the competition and must design a winning strategy within the 8 hours allotted. After coding ends, the AIs are pitted against each other, in a tournament (known as the BRAWL). Spectators are welcome to attend and cheer for their favorite AI at the BRAWL. For more information about BonzAI Brawl or to register your team, visit http://wics.students.mtu.edu. All teams must register by March 30, 2011.

Sponsored in part by a donation from LaSalleTech, Consistacom, Jackson, GE Aviation and the CS Department.

ACM SIGSOFT Retrospective Impact Award Received by Dr. Linda M. Ott

Dr. Linda Ott is co-author of a paper recently selected to receive one of ACM SIGSOFT’s Retrospective Impact Paper Awards in 2010.

This award recognizes papers that have been particularly influential in software engineering research. The paper “The Program Dependence Graph in a Software Development Environment”, co-authored by Karl Ottenstein, was published in 1984. This paper is one of four papers, published prior to 1998, to receive the Retrospective Impact Award this year.

NSF Award Received by Dr. Chaoli Wang

Dr. Chaoli Wang was recently awarded $207,283 from the National Science Foundation in support of his research on visualization. His project is entitled “Collaborative Research: An Information-Theoretic Framework for Large-scale Data Analysis and Visualization”. The goal of this project is to develop an information theory based solution to assist scientists in comprehending the vast amounts of data generated by large-scale simulations.

Dr. Wang will work with Dr. Han-Wei Shen at The Ohio State University in this collaborative research project. The project will fund two graduate students, one from each institution, and is expected to take three years.

Complier Research Funded

Drs. Steve Carr and Zhenlin Wang were recently awarded $18,215 from LSI Corporation in support of their research. Their project is entitled “Compiler Evaluation for the PowerPC 476 Processor”. The goal of this project is to assess the quality of code generated by the GCC PowerPC 476 compiler and to look for potential missed opportunities to apply 476-specific optimizations.

The project will fund 2 graduate students and is expected to take approximately 3 months.

Best Paper

Computer Science doctoral student Bryan Franklin and Professor Steven Seidel received the Best Paper Award for their paper, “A Parallel Longest Common Subsequence Algorithm in UPC”, at the High Performance Computing Symposium, April 12-14, in Orlando, Florida. Franklin presented the paper at the conference. The paper describes the design, implementation, and performance of a parallel algorithm for the longest common subsequence problem, an important problem in bioinformatics. This is the second consecutive year that Michigan Tech authors have won the best paper award at the HPC Symposium.

The LCS algorithm was expressed in the new programming language, UPC. UPC is based on C and expresses parallel computation in a partitioned global address space. Languages such as UPC are being developed to make programming the coming generation of peta-scale supercomputers easier and more reliable. The UPC implementation developed in this work is simpler than a similar implementation using MPI, which is currently the most widely used way to express parallel algorithms.

Dr. Wallace Wins Fulbright Scholarship to Chile

Dr. Charles Wallace has been named a Fulbright Scholar. Beginning January 2010 Dr. Wallace will spend six months teaching and conducting research in the Computer Science Department at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile.

The highly competitive Fulbright Program is the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the US government. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries.

While at Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Dr. Wallace plans to help the university develop a software engineering specialty curriculum there. He is also looking forward to investigating the complexities that non-native speakers of English encounter when trying to communicate with the English-dominated software industry. Dr. Wallace’s research interest is in software engineering, particularly the challenges of communicating about software.

The full story about Dr. Wallace is online.

Software Engineering Research Funded

Drs. Ali Ebnenasir and Steve Seidel were recently awarded $106,000 from the National Science Foundation in support of their research. Their project is entitled “Towards the Model Checking of the Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) Applications”. The goal of this project is to use model checking techniques to increase the dependability of High Performance Computing (HPC) applications based on the Partitioned Global Address Space (PGAS) model of shared memory parallel computing. The project is expected to take approximately 18 months.

Faculty Updates

The Department welcomes three new faculty members, Dr. Chaoli Wang, Dr. Scott Kuhl, and Laura Brown.

Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. in computer and information science from the Ohio State University in 2006. He recently completed two years as a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Davis. His research focuses on large-scale data analysis and visualization, high-performance computing, and user interface and interaction.

Dr. Scott Kuhl received his PhD in computer science from the University of Utah in 2009. His research interests include computer graphics, immersive virtual environments, and human space perception.

Laura Brown is completing her Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests are in machine learning, bayesian networks and variable selection.

And, congratulations to Dr. Zhenlin Wang who has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Computer Science.

CS Alum Recognitions

We send congratulations to two of our Computer Science alums.

Dan Wakeman, B.S. in Computer Science 1990, was named to Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders list for 2009. According to Computerworld’s website, “Computerworld’s annual list of the men and women shaping the IT industry showcases the best talent in the industry.” Dan is currently the Chief Information Officer at Educational Testing Service.

Dr. Janet Burge, B.S. in Computer Science 1984, recently received a prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. Janet’s proposed research is entitled, “CAREER: Rationale Capture for High-Assurance Systems”. Janet is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Systems Analysis at Miami University of Ohio.