College Seeking Applications for Three Faculty Positions

The Michigan Tech The College of Computing is growing! We are currently seeking applications for three faculty positions. Please use the links below and visit https://www.mtu.edu/computing/about/employment/job-openings/ to learn more about the positions and to discover the many advantages of teaching at Michigan Tech and living in the Copper Country.

Assistant or Associate Professor, CNSA/MERET/HI Division

Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Visiting Assistant Professor, Computer Science

MTRI to Present Research Seminars October 14

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems will present four brief seminars by researchers from the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) on Monday, October 14, 2019, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in EERC 122.  MTRI research and outreach focuses on the development of technology to sense and understand natural and manmade environments.

Sarah Kitchen is a mathematician with background in algebraic geometry and representation theory. Her recent research interests include algebraic structures underlying optimization problems and applications of emerging statistical tools to signal processing and source separation problems. Her talk, “Collaborative Autonomy,” will discuss some considerations in centralized, semi-centralized, and decentralized decision-making methods for autonomous systems.

Susan Janiszewski is a mathematician specializing in graph theory and combinatorics. Her research interests lie in applying concepts from discrete mathematics to machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. Her talk, “Combining Natural Language Processing and Scalable Graph Analytics,” takes up the fast-growing field of Natural Language Processing (NLP), i.e. the development of algorithms to process large amounts of textual data. Janiszewski will discuss ways to combine common NLP and graph theoretic algorithms in a scalable manner for the purpose of creating overarching computational systems such as recommendation engines or machine common sense capabilities.

Joel LeBlanc has 10 years of experience in statistical signal processing. His research interests include information theoretic approaches to inverse imaging, and computational techniques for solving large inverse problems. LeBlanc’s talk, “Testing for Local Minima of the Likelihood Using Reparameterized Embeddings,” addresses the question: “Given a local maximum of a non-linear and non-convex log-likelihood equation, how should one test for global convergence?” LeBlanc will discuss a new strategy for identifying globally optimal solutions using standard gradient-based optimization techniques.

Meryl Spencer is a physicist with a background in complex systems and network theory. Her research interests include machine learning for image processing, applications of graph algorithms, and self-organization. Her talk, “Computational modeling of collaborative multiagent systems,” will discuss her previous work on modeling self organization in cellular networks, and some areas of interest for future work.

Download the event flyer.


College to Host Computing Week Events

The Michigan Tech College of Computing invites the campus community and the public to a series of special events the week of October 12 to 17, 2019. All events are free and open to the public.

“Computing Week events will formally introduce the College of Computing, and present opportunities to learn about Computing degrees, research, teaching, and career opportunities,” said Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College. “We’ll also launch a new recruitment video that we are very excited about.”

For students, Computing Week starts Saturday, October 12, with a Google Cloud Hero competition. In this fun experience, students will use Google Cloud Platform solutions to gain cloud skills and compete for best scores. Pre-registration is required at https://events.withgoogle.com/cloud-hero-michigan/.

On Monday, 10/14, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in EERC 122, researchers from the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) will present four brief seminars on their work and outreach, which focuses on the development of technology to sense and understand natural and manmade environments. This event is sponsored by the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC). MTRI researchers are Sarah Kitchen, Susan Janiszewski, Joel LeBlanc, and Meryl Spencer.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the College will showcase its own teaching and research. Wednesday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., in the Rozsa Center lobby, President Koubek, Dean Minerick, and alumnus Dave House will speak and a new recruitment video will be unveiled, followed by an ICC TechTalks research forum and a research poster session. Computing and ICC researchers will be on hand for discussion and Q & A. Refreshments and cash bar.

On Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in the Rozsa Center lobby, the College of Computing will host an Open House for which College programs and research will be on display. From 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., a Faculty Forum will present and discuss innovative teaching and learning methods and curriculum being used in the College.

“Faculty from across campus are invited to engage and learn more about the content in the College of Computing degree programs,” said Dean Minerick. “One-on-one conversations are encouraged around possible course and curricular coordinations to infuse computing into other disciplines. Faculty are welcome to come and go as their schedules allow.”

Schedule:

Saturday, 10/12, 12-3 pm: Google Cloud Hero
Location: Wadsworth Hall Annex, Room G11W.

In this fun learning experience, become familiar with key Google Cloud Platform solutions and gain cloud skills through a hands-on competitive lab experience. Register at https://events.withgoogle.com/cloud-hero-michigan/

Monday, 10/14, 11am-12 pm: MTRI Research Forum
Location: EERC 122. Researchers from the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) will present four brief seminars on their work and outreach, which focuses on the development of technology to sense and understand natural and manmade environments. Hosted by the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

Wednesday, 10/16,  3-5 pm: Keynote, Research Forum, Video Launch
Location: Rozsa Center Lobby.

  • 3:00-3:30 pm: ICC TechTalks
    3:30-4:00 pm: Remarks from President Koubek, Dean Minerick, alumnus Dave House and Video Release
  • 4:00-5:00 pm: Posters and Q & A with researchers and faculty
  • 4:00-5:00 pm: Complementary Food, Cash Bar

Thursday, 10/17, 10 am-12 pm: Open House and Faculty Forum
Location: Rozsa Center Lobby.

  • 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.: Faculty Forum. Learn about innovative teaching and College of Computing programs and initiatives.
  • Network with Computing industry employers.
  • Virtual Reality Demonstrations
  • Occulus Glasses Demonstrations
  • Robot Demonstrations
  • HIDE Enterprise Demonstrations
  • Free donuts while they last!

Download the event flyer.


Charles Wallace is Associate Dean for Curriculum and Instruction

Charles Wallace

Charles Wallace, Associate Professor of Computer Science, has been appointed Associate Dean for Curriculum and  Instruction for the College of Computing, effective immediately. Wallace has been teaching in the Department of Computer Science for 19 years, and he has a long track record of education research and building collaboration with Cognitive & Learning Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

“Chuck brings to his new role an extensive breadth of experience that spans from outreach to curricular development to collaborations with multiple units across campus,” says Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College of Computing. “In this new role, he will help build campus collaborations to create additional pathways for Michigan Tech students to engage with computing curricula, and facilitate conversations within the College of Computing that enable creative, agile options for our students.”

“Barriers between computing and other disciplines are artificial and unproductive,” Wallace says. “Computing competencies are essential for Michigan Tech graduates in all fields, and the College and University should commit to building educational options housed in the College of Computing but available and accessible to all students.”

Wallace adds that students in the College of Computing should be free – and actively encouraged – to explore application areas where their skills can be used. He also wants to explore ways to build flexibility into Computing academic programs, maintaining the solid technical core that Michigan Tech graduates are known for, but also allowing students to pursue applications of their computing competencies in other disciplines.

Vision Statement from Charles Wallace:

Here are a few points that I consider vital to the future of computing education, based on 19 years of experience in the Computer Science Department, a long track record of education research, and extensive collaboration with Cognitive & Learning Sciences, Engineering, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Barriers between computing and other disciplines are artificial and unproductive.  Computing competencies are essential for Michigan Tech graduates in all fields.  The College and University should commit to building educational options housed in the College of Computing but available and accessible to all students.  This will require an earnest and focused investment in personnel – we cannot do it solely with the current cohort of instructors, who are already stretched thinly with increased enrollment in core computing programs.

Conversely, students in the College of Computing should be free and even encouraged to explore application areas where their skills can be brought to bear.  Complex degree requirements can hinder such exploration.  We should explore ways to build flexibility into our programs, maintaining the solid technical core that Michigan Tech graduates are known for, but also allowing students to pursue applications of their computing competencies in other disciplines.

Computing students are citizens, not just producers.  The degree programs in Michigan Tech’s Computer Science Department have a long and venerable tradition of preparing students who can “produce” – hit the ground running in the workplace and build high quality solutions. That is a precious gift, and we should not deprive future students of it – but the future demands more. Our world is increasingly dominated by computing – and by extension, dominated by human beings who understand computing. Michigan Tech graduates of the College of Computing must be known not only for the technical “value” that they produce, but also the ability to question and critique digital technology, to be empathetic and articulate ambassadors and leaders in the new digital order of the future.

There are two promising ways in which we can build better computing citizens. First, an awareness of the social and ethical consequences of computing must be woven into our curricula, not just taught as external service courses.  Second, service learning is a way to expose students to the human contexts of computing technology. There are many ways to get students involved in our community, but these have not been harnessed outside of ad hoc outreach efforts. Interaction with the community should be built into the academic experience of computing students.

Computing competencies include values and attitudes, not just skills and knowledge. Alumni of our degree programs acknowledge that collaboration and communication are essential components of their professional lives.  These competencies involve not only skills but also values and attitudes – willingness and even eagerness to engage with others, resilience in the face of uncertainty or ambiguity, and adaptability in the face of changing requirements.  To prepare students for the highly collaborative computing workplace, courses in the College of Computing should embrace the opportunities and challenges of working in diverse teams. As with ethics, issues of teamwork and communication must be integrated into “disciplinary” courses, not left to service courses or external experiences like internships.

These curricular pathways hold promise not only to develop competent computing professionals of the future, but also to attract a more diverse constituency to the College of Computing student body.


Play Google Cloud Hero, Saturday, October 12, 12-3 pm

It’s Game Time! Google’s Cloud Hero is coming to the Michigan Tech College of Computing!

Join us for this fun learning experience! Become familiar with key Google Cloud Platform solutions and gain cloud skills through a hands-on, competitive lab experience. During this 3-hour session, you’ll hear briefly from Google Cloud representatives as to why cloud solutions are integral to your career, get access to further learning and career opportunities for a cloud-first world, and play an Infrastructure & Data game to be Cloud Hero Michigan Tech!

When: Sat, Oct 12, 2019 from 12:00 -3:00 pm

Where: Wadsworth Hall, The Annex Room G11W

Register: https://events.withgoogle.com/cloud-hero-michigan/

Why play?

  • Credibility
  • Industry recognition
  • Career advancement
  • Personal development

Download the Event Flyer


Keith Vertanen Is PI on $225K NSF Grant, “Improving Mobile Device Input for Users Who are Blind or Low Vision”

Keith Virtanen
Keith Vertanen

Keith Vertanen (CS/ICC-HCC) is the principal investigator on a three-year project that has received a $225,663 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is entitled, “CHS: Small: Collaborative Research: Improving Mobile Device Input for Users Who are Blind or Low Vision.”

Abstract: Smartphones are an essential part of our everyday lives. But for people with visual impairments, basic tasks like composing text messages or browsing the web can be prohibitively slow and difficult. The goal of this project is to develop accessible text entry methods that will enable people with visual impairments to enter text at rates comparable to sighted people. This project will design new algorithms and feedback methods for today’s standard text entry approaches of tapping on individual keys, gesturing across keys, or dictating via speech. The project aims to:  1) help users avoid errors by enabling more accurate input via audio and tactile feedback, 2) help users find errors by providing audio and visual annotation of uncertain portions of the text, and 3) help users correct errors by combining the probabilistic information from the original input, the correction, and approximate information about an error’s location. Improving text entry methods for people who are blind or have low vision will enable them to use their mobile devices more effectively for work and leisure. Thus, this project represents an important step to achieving equity for people with visual impairments.

This project will contribute novel interface designs to the accessibility and human-computer interaction literature. It will advance the state-of-the-art in mobile device accessibility by: 1) studying text entry accessibility for low vision in addition to blind people, 2) studying and developing accessible gesture typing input methods, and 3) studying and developing accessible speech input methods.  This project will produce design guidelines, feedback methods, input techniques, recognition algorithms, user study results, and software prototypes that will guide improvements to research and commercial input systems for users who are blind or low-vision. Further, the project’s work on the error correction and revision process will improve the usability and performance of touchscreen and speech input methods for everyone.


Edmund Schweitzer to Present Lecture October 2

Edmund Schweitzer

Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, Ph.D, president and chairman of the board and chief technology officer of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, will present a lecture titled “Creativity and Innovation” on Wednesday, October 2, at 4:15 p.m., in EERC 103.

Dr. Schweitzer is recognized as a pioneer in digital protection and holds the grade of Fellow in the IEEE, a title bestowed on less than one percent of IEEE members. In 2002, he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Schweitzer received the 2012 Medal in Power Engineering, the highest award given by IEEE, for his leadership in revolutionizing the performance of electrical power systems with computer-based protection and control equipment.

In 2019, Dr. Schweitzer was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention of the first digital protective relay.

Dr. Schweitzer is the recipient of the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award and Graduate Alumni Achievement Award from Washington State University and the Purdue University Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award. He has written dozens of technical papers in the areas of digital relay design and reliability and holds more than 200 patents worldwide pertaining to electric power system protection, metering, monitoring and control.

He is the founder of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL), which develops and manufactures digital protective relays and related products and services.

Dr. Schweitzer’s presentation is arranged and sponsored by Calumet Electronics Corporation, key supplier-partner to SEL of printed circuit boards, to share ideas, advance innovative thinking, and build new bridges.

Download the event flyer here: Schweitzer Lecture Flyer


Yakov Nekrich paper accepted by 2020 ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms

Yakov Nekrich

A paper by Yakov Nekrich, associate professor of computer science, has been accepted by the 2020 ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA 2020), the prime conference in the area of algorithms research.

The article, “Better Data Structures for Colored Orthogonal Range Reporting,” was co-authored by Timothy M. Chan of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The SODA 2020 conference takes place January 5-8, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah.



Alex Sergeyev Wins ASEE Best Paper Award

Alex Sergeyev

College of Computing Professor Alex Sergeyev presented his research article, “University, Community College and Industry Partnership: Revamping Robotics Education to Meet 21st Century Workforce Needs – NSF Sponsored Project Final Report,” at the 2019 American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) annual conference, receiving the Best Paper Award in the Engineering Technology Division.

The conference took place June 16-19 in Tampa, Florida.

Co-authors of the publication are S. Kuhl, N. Alaraje, M. Kinney, M. HIghum, and P. Mehandiratta. The paper will be published in the fall issue of the prestigious Journal of Engineering Technology (JET).