Category: Students

Michigan Tech Team Places 4th Overall in TiM$10K Challenge

A team of five Michigan Tech students received Honorable Mention honors in the second annual SICK Inc. TiM$10K Challenge, a national innovation and design competition. University students from around the country participated in the event designed to support innovation and student achievement in automation and technology.

The Michigan Tech team members — Brian Parvin (ME), Paul Allen (EE), David Brushaber (CompEng), Kurtis Alessi (CompEng) and Alex Kirchner (CompEng) — earned Honorable Mention (fourth place overall) for their project, “Evaluating Road Markings (the Road Stripe Evaluator). Their project was sponsored by SICK Inc. Watch a video about the project below.

SICK’s TiM$10K Challenge 2020 – Evaluating Road Markings (The Road Stripe Evaluator)

For the competition, teams were supplied with a 270-foot SICK LiDAR sensor and accessories, and challenged to solve a problem, create a solution, or bring a new application to any industry that utilizes the SICK LiDAR.

Each team was asked to submit a video and paper for judging upon completion of its project. A panel of judges decided the winning submissions based on creativity and innovation, ability to solve a customer problem, commercial potential, entrepreneurship of the team, and reporting.

The Tech team developed an innovative product to help resolve issues caused by poor road markings, while reducing maintenance costs and improving motorist safety. Their new software uses reflectivity values obtained using a SICK LiDAR unit to identify deterioration of road stripes and recommend timely repainting, also aiding in the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles on roadways.

The Michigan Tech Team

They constructed a prototype to demonstrate functionality, in the form of a pushable cart that evaluates road markings. An intuitive user interface displays the markings being evaluated, and indicates if they meet necessary levels of reflectivity.

Pinar said the team was well organized and demonstrated an excellent work ethic from day one. “It was exciting to watch them identify a salient problem and develop a functional proof-of-concept solution despite the setbacks that affected us all after spring break,” he said.

“This was a unique project in that the team was required to identify a problem and develop a solution to it that is based on SICK’s TiM LiDAR, while most teams are handed a problem and asked to create a solution,” Pinar noted. “I think this format allowed the team to exercise even more innovation than on a ‘typical’ project.”

The same team of students was awarded Honorable Mention honors at this spring’s Senior Design competition for their project, “Road Marking Reflectivity Evaluator.”

SICK, Inc. is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors, safety systems, machine vision, encoders and automatic identification products for industrial applications.


Jason Hiebel, The College of Computing’s First Graduate

By Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing and ICC
This is the first part of a two-part article about Jason Hiebel, Ph.D., the college of Computings first graduate. Watch this blog and College of Computing social media channels for “Part II, A Supportive and Wise Network.”

PART I | THE FAST TRACK

A Profile of Dr. Jason Hiebel: The College of Computing’s First Graduate

In fall 2007, Jason Hiebel enrolled in his first semester at Michigan Tech. He’s been studying and teaching computer science and mathematics at Tech ever since, participating in December 2019 Commencement ceremonies. Shortly after, he successfully defended his dissertation and was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science, the very first from the College of Computing.

“Graduating when I did, and becoming the first Ph.D. for the College of Computing, was really a fluke of timing,” Hiebel says. “But after all my time here in Houghton and with the Computer Science department, I am pleased to have the honor of being the college’s first Ph.D. It’s something that can be mine and mine alone, and I’m okay with being a little bit greedy about it!”

Husky Tenacity

Hiebel grew up north of Green Bay, Wis., and attended Bay Port High School, where he was active in the chess club and the marching band.

He says that during high school, “I was also the kind of person to push for opportunities far beyond those normally available. For example, while our school did offer some computer science courses, they were mostly self-taught in a small computer lab. But I wanted to be a computer scientist, and I wanted to be a professor—even if I lacked an understanding of what that truly entailed at the time.”

So, he pushed himself to complete the entire computer science curriculum before the end of his sophomore year, then took the AP exam. Following, Hiebel continued with the curriculum thanks to the State of Wisconsin, which paid for him to complete several computer science courses at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

“These were not opportunities that were typically available to me or anyone else at Bay Port,” Hiebel notes. “I had to fight for these opportunities, with the school and the state. But that Tenacity is exactly what Huskies are all about, right?”

All in all, Hiebel says he started at Michigan Tech as a junior in the Computer Science department and as a sophomore overall.

The Fast Track to Teaching and Research

During his first few weeks at Michigan Tech, Hiebel’s sole major was Computer Science. But soon, he began to pursue a double major in another field he enjoys: mathematics.

Hiebel completed his B.S. in Computer Science in summer 2010, and while he was finishing his B.S. in Mathematics, he dual-enrolled as a graduate student in Computer Science. He completed the Mathematics B.S. a year later, and in spring 2012 he received his Master of Science in Computer Science.

In pursuit of his Ph.D., Hiebel was supported by graduate teaching assistantships (GTA), teaching assistantships, and graduate research stipends (GRA). He spent several summers interning at MIT Lincoln Labs, the Department of Defense, and the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI).

“As a GTA, I did my fair share of grading and also led the lab sections for the introductory courses for three semesters,” Hiebel explains. For two semesters, as an instructor, he taught the accelerated introductory programming course (CS1131) and the undergraduate AI course (CS4811). Some semesters he was both a GTA and an instructor. Finally, with the support of his advisors, Hiebel was able to advance his research full time with a GRA stipend.

As a master’s student, Hiebel worked on developing tools for AI education with Laura Brown and another graduate student. As a Ph.D. student, his focus was on building his dissertation research under graduate advisors Laura Brown and Zhenlin Wang.

“Jason’s research applies machine learning to computer system optimization. He has become an expert in both fields,” says Professor Zhenlin Wang, Computer Science.

“The nature of this type of research makes it very challenging for a student to focus, as it requires continual effort and extended skills,” Wang adds. “Throughout his Ph.D. study, Jason consistently demonstrated diligence, perseverance, and creativity. For these reasons and others, Jason has always been a stand-out among our graduate students.”

In his dissertation, Hiebel investigates the application of online machine learning methods, particularly multi-armed bandit methods, to performance optimization problems in computer systems.

“Computers offer a myriad of configurations for customizing how the system performs. Depending on what you run on the system, different configurations can have a drastic effect on performance,” Hiebel explains. “Ideally, we would like to match the configuration to the workload, but doing so requires a broad expertise of how different components of an individual system interact.”

“My work focuses on modeling this type of configuration problem and uses artificial intelligence to automatically, without human intervention, select the best-performing configurations for a given workload.”

Looking Ahead

Hiebel signed on to instruct some spring 2020 semester courses for the Computer Science department while he waited on his paperwork to process for a job with the Department of Defense. “With the growing pains of the new college, there was a need for a few more people to teach and I was happy to lend my experience,” he says.

But like many in the wake of the global pandemic, Hiebel’s plans are in flux right now. He’s teaching a Summer Track A course at Michigan Tech, and advising an undergraduate research project, as well.

“Mainly, I’ll just be waiting for things to open back up so I can get processed for the job I’m waiting for,” Heibel says. “During that limbo, I hope to tackle some research problems and continue to keep myself busy.”
Hiebel says that in the short term, he is hoping to lend his expertise to government research. But in the long term, his aspirations are to return to academia.

“Only time will tell where I end up,” he muses. “But wherever I do end up, I think I will be happy if I’m working on interesting problems and using the skills and knowledge I gained as a Ph.D. student here at Tech.”

In the meantime, Hiebel enjoys living in the Houghton community. He’s a big fan of winter, and even Houghton summers are far too warm for his tastes. “Small town life suits my sensibilities better,” he confirms.


Meet Bonnie Henderson, Data Science Master’s Student and CCLC Coach

By Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, College of Computing

Data Science graduate student Bonnie Henderson began her master’s degree at Michigan Tech in fall 2019. From Jarrell, Texas, Henderson earned a B.A. in mathematics and French at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.

Henderson is a recipient of Michigan Tech’s David House Family Fellowship, which she describes as a great honor. Her research interests are in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“The fellowship has made an incredible difference in my life,” Henderson says. “As the first person in my family to go to college, it is an amazing opportunity to pursue my graduate studies fully funded.”

This January, Henderson began managing the College of Computing Learning Center (CCLC), an undergraduate learning lab staffed entirely by student coaches and available to all Michigan Tech students in Computing classes.

“I mostly work to help manage the CCLC,” Henderson says. “I help tutor students in undergraduate computer science courses during CCLC walk-in hours, help run CCLC staff meetings, and when the time comes, I’ll help manage the interviewing and hiring process for new tutors.”

Many Opportunities for Learning

Henderson says her work with the CCLC often presents computer science issues and computing problems that are not always common in data science, providing her with many opportunities for learning.

“Studying data science, I work a lot with programming,” Henderson says. “However, I often work with problems related to mathematics in programming and not always the typical undergraduate programming issues.”

What Henderson likes best about tutoring is what she learns along the way. “Since I did not complete my undergraduate degree at MTU, I’m not always familiar with the problems that students are facing when they come in for tutoring. Everyone looks at a problem a little differently, and I get the opportunity to be exposed to many different thought processes and unique solutions.”

New Methods of Virtual Support

Not surprisingly, the plans for the CCLC have changed a lot since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year. “Before this news, we were planning on hosting workshops and other events for students in the College of Computing and other departments, such as guided study groups, exam review sessions, and specialized support for individual classes,” Henderson says.

But since the CCLC cannot offer conventional face-to-face tutoring right now, these plans are changing and Henderson and the CCLC are responding with new methods of virtual support. “We have started sending out a weekly CCLC email to students, which shares coding tips and tricks, quizzes, and news, and we are working to encourage more student involvement, especially with the current difficulties we are all facing,” Henderson explains.

So, instead of hosting face-to-face events, CCLC walk-in hours are now being hosted through Zoom, and the Learning Center is maintaining a Canvas page where students can find help and find information on their own. They also hope to host some virtual workshops soon. Students can sign up for the CCLC Canvas page here: https://mtu.instructure.com/enroll/KWFTJ9.

Balancing Life, Work and School

Henderson says the most challenging thing about balancing life, work, and school is finding a separate time and place for each one.

“I’ll often be looking at one thing, and something in it reminds me of a problem from something else. I have a tendency to hop around a lot, and sometimes things may get lost,” she says. “It has become increasingly difficult working and studying from home, as everything is now sharing the same physical space.”

To help with that, Henderson says it’s helpful to try to have different spaces for the things she has to do. “Like one chair for working and another chair for schoolwork, even if they are in the same room. Some sort of distancing between everything is definitely needed.”

Learn More About the CCLC

Visit the CCLC website here. Visit the CCLC’s Infinite Loop: Resources to Explore, Learn, Code, Repeat.

The Dave House graduate student assistantships provide $30,000 annually for three years to each of three graduate assistants in Michigan Tech’s Master of Science in Data Science program.

About Dave House ’65, University Friend and Donor

Dave House ’65 (EE) is a longtime friend and generous donor to Michigan Tech.

“I support Michigan Tech because I believe in the critical importance of higher education, not only for the state and the nation, but most importantly for our graduates, House says in an EE department alumni profile.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution changes everything, and Michigan Tech is perfectly positioned to prepare our students for these changes. I support fellowships in data science because of the role that sensing, networking, big data, artificial intelligence and human/machine interfacing has in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Supporting graduate and research activities is critical to keeping Michigan Tech agile and at the cutting edge of this revolution.”

The Data Science Master of Science

The Data Science Master of Science degree is offered jointly by the College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. Associate Professor Laura Brown, Computer Science, is director of the program.


Ford Mobility Funds A.I., Acoustics Research

Imagine if your car could tell you when you are passing by an area occupied by rare migratory birds, or if it could listen to roads and bridges to determine when infrastructure repairs need to be made.

A recent gift of $149,518 from Mobility Research at Ford Motor Company is funding research that could make this possible.

Dr. Timothy Havens, Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, and Dr. Andrew Barnard, Great Lakes Research Center, will lead an exploration of how future connected vehicles could use AI and acoustics to detect, classify, and localize external sound events, and evaluate and monitor transportation infrastructure.

The gift will fund two graduate fellowships, a team of undergraduate students in the SENSE Enterprise, and build and develop a mobile acoustics test bed that will allow students, Havens, and Barnard to conduct cutting-edge research in AI and acoustics.

Michigan Tech would like to thank Chad Esselink (’94, Computer Science) and Tavan Eftekhar at Ford Mobility Research for making this possible.

The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) is the research arm of the College of Computing at Michigan Tech. The ICC provides faculty and students the opportunity to work across organizational boundaries to create an environment that is a reflection of contemporary technological innovation. This collaboration allows for a convergence in communication, control and computing that mirrors today’s industry and society.

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.


Computing Convocation Honors 109 Grads

The College of Computing presented a Convocation Ceremony on May 1, 2020, to honor and recognize Spring and Summer 2020 graduates. At the virtual event, undergraduate student achievement awards were announced, graduates were congratulated, and faculty and staff congratulatory videos were viewed.

Michigan Tech Computer Science alumnus Brian VanVoorst ’93 presented the Convocation address. VanVoorst is a Lead Scientist at BBN Technologies, a member of BBN’s Distinguished Scientists, and a Raytheon Technologies Fellow.

The College’s inaugural class of 109 graduates comprises 5 doctor of philosophy, 14 master of science, and 90 bachelor of science degrees. The College of Computing Class of 2020 is nearly 20% women, 27% of the class graduated with honors, and the average undergraduate GPA is 3.28.

View the Convocation video below and on YouTube.

College of Computing Convocation 2020

See a lists of all the graduates here. Two undergraduates completed dual majors: Lucas Catron, who majored in Computer Science and Humanities, and Mark Heinonen, Electrical Engineering Technology and Audio Productions and Technology.

View faculty and staff congratulatory videos, read student and faculty profiles, and discover all things Class of 2020, on the College of Computing webpage: mtu.edu/computing/class-of-2020.

The Department of Computer Science awarded Class of 2020 undergraduate awards to the following Computer Science (CS) and Software Engineering (SE) graduates:
Christina Anderson, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Keith Atkinson, CS: Award for Exceptional Community Service and Leadership
Dean Bassett, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jack Bergman, CS: Award for Exceptional Leadership
Lucas Catron, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Crystal Fletcher, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Chris Holmes, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Mads Howard, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jacob Jablonsky, SE: Award for Excellence in Teaching, Award for Excellence in Teaching
Maddie Le Clair, SE: Award for Exceptional Leadership
Amy Slabbekoorn, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Emily Winkleman, CS: Award for Excellence in Teaching
Parker Young, SE: Award for Exceptional Leadership and Teaching, Award for Excellence in Teaching

Award for Exceptional Community Service and Leadership: Keith Atkinson
Keith has helped older adults in the Houghton community become comfortable with digital technology through one on one tutoring through the BASIC (Building Adult Skills in Computing) program. He taught several cohorts of middle school students about computer programming through the Copper Country Coders organization, and served as president of that organization. Keith developed and deployed a food inventory system for the Husky Food Access Network, which helps combat hunger issues on Tech’s campus.

Award for Exceptional Leadership: Jack Bergman
Jack has served as the president of MTU RedTeam, a student organization dedicated to promoting cybersecurity education among Tech students. Under his leadership, RedTeam organized students to participate in national cybersecurity competitions. In Fall 2019, the MTU Red Team was ranked 8th out of 689 in the NCL cyber competition. Jack led RedTeam to host a cybersecurity competition at MTU in Spring 2020, which attracted 35 students competing on 15 different teams.

Award for Exceptional Leadership: Maddie LeClair
Maddie has been a highly effective leader of the Women in Computing Sciences (WiCS) student organization.  Under her leadership, the group has increased its visibility, holding regular events on campus to highlight the opportunities for women in computing fields.  She led the effort for the WiCS group to become affiliated as an ACM-W chapter, and she has been active in supporting departmental efforts to diversify our undergraduate student body, both individually and as a leader of WiCS.

Award for Exceptional Leadership and Teaching: Parker Young
Parker served as president of not one, but two student organizations: Copper Country Coders and the Michigan Tech Pep Band.  Under his leadership, the Coders group made great strides in its organization and sustainability through revising its charter. Parker is passionate about teaching others, whether it is young students learning to mod Minecraft at Copper Country Coders or older adults learning to Zoom with their families in the BASIC program.  His leadership skills also facilitated his Senior Design team’s  successful completion of the Dragonfly app, an offline app developed for the North Carolina Natural History Museum’s after-school program to assist children monitoring the weather and counting dragonflies.

Award for Excellence In Teaching: Christina Anderson, Crystal Fletcher, Chris Holmes | Mads Howard, Jacob Jablonsky, Parker Young
Christina, Crystal, Chris, Mads, Jacob, and Parker have been mainstays at the College of Computing Learning Center, which provides peer assistance for Michigan Tech students in their computing studies. Learning Center coaches help students from a wide range of backgrounds in a wide array of topics, and must be able to quickly assess and deploy the right tutoring strategy for the situation.

Award for Excellence In Teaching: Dean Bassett, Lucas Catron, Jacob Jablonsky, Amy Slabbekoorn, Emily Winkleman
Dean, Lucas, Jacob, Amy, and Emily have served as lab assistants for our introductory courses. These programming labs are where some of the most important learning moments happen for our beginning students. Lab assistants play a crucial role in providing peer support and guidance. These four individuals have shown great commitment, compassion, and patience in this role.


The CMH Division presented Class of 2020 undergraduate awards to the following students:
Michael Dabish: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award for exceptional performance as a research and laboratory assistant.
Bernard Kluskens: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award for exceptional performance as a teaching assistant.
Gary Tropp: Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award, for excellent student academic mentoring in the College of Computing Learning Center.
Emma Davidson: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for exceptional service as a laboratory assistant and grader.
Mark Heinonen: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for an exceptional Senior Design project in audio system design.
Spencer Thompson: Outstanding EET Graduate Award for exceptional service as a teaching assistant in the transition to remote instruction.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Michael Dabish
For exceptional performance as a research and laboratory assistant. 
Michael’s work in the lab has been very helpful in fulfilling our needs to provide the best lab environment for students. He has shown that he is always willing to put in the work necessary to get the job done.
In 2018 Michael became a research/teaching assistant, working with the CNSA faculty on two NSA grants to create and update course content regarding cyber ethics and cybersecurity.
Michael is constantly collaborating with CNSA faculty and students to discover new ways to implement popular technologies in system administration and security.
He has even created a YouTube channel to document and share methods of implementing these technologies.
What Michael learned in these jobs has inspired him to pursue graduate school in the hope of becoming a teacher right here at Michigan Tech.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Bernard Kluskens
For exceptional performance as a teaching assistant.
Bernard was teaching assistant for four classes taught by Todd Arney, who nominated Bernard for this award.  Arney says Bernard took the lead on answering lab questions, and then even made calendar appointment slots for students to get one-on-one help using Zoom online. Arney says he would not have been able to manage his  classes with Bernard’s help with grading, fielding questions, and reviewing material before posting to Canvas.

Outstanding CNSA Graduate Award: Gary Tropp
For excellent student academic mentoring in the College of Computing Learning Center.
Gary is the first CNSA student to work as a “Student Academic Mentor” (SAM) in the new “College of Computing Learning Center” (CCLC), offering in person one-on-one help with two of the lab intensive classes in the CNSA program and then even continuing to offer online personalized help for students.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Emma Davidson
For exceptional service as a laboratory assistant and grader.
Emma has been helping faculty and students in the lab for over three years, and she also helped with “texting day” to reach out to prospective students.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Mark Heinonen
For an exceptional Senior Design project in audio system design.
Mark designed a 4-way passive electrical circuit specifically tuned for a pair of loudspeakers he created as part of his Audio Production and Technology degree.  He started out with a design based on the latest in digital signal processing, but in the end he discovered the value in “old school” analog electrical circuits built from resistors, capacitors, and inductors – what used to be considered mainstream electrical engineering but is now something of a lost art.

Outstanding EET Graduate Award: Spencer Thompson
For exceptional service as a teaching assistant in the transition to remote instruction.
Spencer has been lab assistant for most, if not all of the EET labs. He was nominated for this award by new faculty member Jungyun Bae, who pointed out his dedication to helping students with labs and homework in the EET data acquisition course. After mid-semester, Spencer actively helped the students during lab hours through emails and Zoom meetings. He also took videos of all the labs left within the semester when we transferred into remote instruction and, thanks to him, the course went smoothly even after the campus was locked down.


Honors Graduates: These Department of Computer Science students graduated with honors.
Christina Anderson, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Isaac Appleby, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Daniel Carrara, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Lucas Catron, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Zach Dill, CS, Cum Laude
Peter Dukes, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Trevor Good, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Ethan Hegg, CS, Cum Laude
Mads Howard, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Sophia Jensen, CS, Cum Laude
Derek Kamin, CS, Magna Cum Laude
Alex Larkin, CS, Cum Laude
Maddie LeClair, SE, Cum Laude
James Michniewicz, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Michael Munoz, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Dante Paglia, CS, Summa Cum Laude
Brandon Paupore, SE, Cum Laude
Elijah Potter, CS, Cum Laude
Emily Winkleman, CS, Cum Laude
Kieran Young, CS, Cum Laude
Parker Young, SE, Magna Cum Laude

Honors Graduates: These CMH Division students graduated with honors:
Dina Falzarano, CNSA, Cum Laude
Timothy Graham, CNSA, Cum Laude
Mark Heinonen, EET, Cum Laude
Andrew Hitchcock, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Chris Koch, CNSA, Summa Cum Laude
Zack Metiva, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Joshua Peter, CNSA, Magna Cum Laude
Spencer Thompson, EET, Cum Laude


PhD Candidate Siva Kakula Awarded Grant to Attend, Present at IEEE World Congress

Siva Krishna Kakula, a PhD candidate in the College of Computing’s Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a grant from the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society that covers the cost of full IEEE member registration for the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence, July 19-24, 2020.

Kakula will present two papers at the conference, “Choquet Integral Ridge Regression” and “Extended Linear Order Statistic (ELOS) Aggregation and Regression,” both co-authored with Anthony Pinar (ECE), Timothy Havens (CC), and Derek Anderson (University of Missouri).

The IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (IEEE WCCI) is the world’s largest technical event in the field of computational intelligence. WCCI 2020 features the flagship conference of the Computational Intelligence Society: The 2020 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN 2020), the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE 2020), and the 2020 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (IEEE CEC 2020) under one roof. It encourages cross-fertilisation of ideas among the three big areas and provides a forum for intellectuals from all over the world to discuss and present their research findings on computational intelligence.


Husky Games Takes Honorable Mention at Design Expo 2020

Husky Game Development (HGD), a student Enterprise focused on video game development, won Honorable Mention accolades at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo 2020, presented virtually this April.

The HGD winning project, “Lost in Mazie Mansion,” is a 2D mystery-puzzle game. To win, you’ll need the help of Mazie. But you’ll have to play by the house’s rules, dodge monsters patrolling the halls, solve puzzles, and find the keys to get Mazie’s memory back.

Husky Games Group

HGD team leads are CS undergraduates Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian; faculty advisor is Scott Kuhl, Computer Science. The team was sponsored by the Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise Program. View a video about the game here.

HGD teams experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. Students explore a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.

Visit the HGD website here.


Computing Students Participate in DesignExpo 2020

College of Computing students participated widely at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo 2020, which was held virtually in April.

Participating Enterprise Teams included Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE), IT Oxygen, and Husky Game Development.

College Senior Design Teams developed a cybersecurity “Penetration Testing Course,”a “Cloud Computing Cost Analysis,” and an “Automated Distributed Configuration Management Systems.”

See project details below. Learn more about Design Expo here.


Senior Design Team: Penetration Testing Course

Team Members: Chris Koch, Joe Bartkowiak, Kelson Rose, Austin Clark, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Yu Cai, College of Computing

Project Overview: To meet the need for new courses in the new Cybersecurity degree program, our team was tasked with developing a Penetration Testing course, which includes the business how-to as well as technical skills necessary to succeed in the field as a professional ethical hacker. We delivered a completed course, including a chosen course textbook, slides, an online lab set with accompanying lab manuals, and exams. GenCyber is a Michigan Tech summer program for local younger students. We provided instructional material, utilized Google Interland activities for younger students, and created the GenCyber camp curriculum to further develop and improve this course—another step toward the future of cybersecurity.


Senior Design Team: Cloud Computing Cost Analysis

Team Members: Alex Kuhn, Austin Walhof, Ryan Jacobson, and Stephen Grobbel, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Todd Arney, College of Computing

Project Overview: Our team compared the cost of running services in a cloud environment between the three largest service providers: Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.


Senior Design Team: Automated Distributed Configuration Management Systems

Team Members: Andrew Hitchcock, Tim Graham and Derek Laker, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisor: Tim Wagner, College of Computing
Sponsor: College of Computing

Project Overview: Systems administrators working in environments of all sizes are rapidly adopting configuration management systems to automate provisioning and deployment, enforce system configuration, and streamline their work. However, it can be difficult to figure out which product to choose. Our project consisted of deploying three of the most popular products on the market today— Puppet, Ansible, and Saltstack—and comparing the computing resources that they used, their ease of use, and the scenarios that they would be most fit for.


Enterprise Team: Husky Game Development (HGD)

Team Leaders: Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian, Computer Science
Advisor: Scott Kuhl, Computer Science
Sponsor: Michigan Technological University Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise

Program Background: Husky Game Development (HGD) is a student-run Enterprise focused on developing video games. Each year, Husky Game Development breaks up into subteams of around six students who experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. HGD explores a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.
Overview: Do you know that old mansion down on the corner? Of course you do. Everyone does. No one who’s entered it was ever seen again. Will you be? Lost in Mazie Mansion is a 2D mystery-puzzle game. To reform the mansion and escape, you’ll need the help of Mazie, the only one to nearly solve the mystery. Play by the house’s rules, dodge monsters patrolling the halls, solve puzzles, and find the keys to get Mazie’s memory back.


Enterprise Team: IT Oxygen

Team Leaders: Calvin Voss, Computer Science; Zack Metiva, Computer Network and System Administration
Advisors: Nagesh Hatti, Electrical and Computer Engineering; James Walker, Computer Science
Sponsors: DENSO, Ford Motor Company, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Mel and Gloria Visser, Northern Specialty Health, Michigan Technological University Pavlis Honors College’s Enterprise Program, Milan and Shailee Lathia

Background: IT Oxygen is a cross-disciplinary, student-run Enterprise that specializes in Information Technology (IT) for student organizations and businesses, with a focus on developing Information System and Information Technology solutions. Team members work on real-world projects that foster skill development and utilize business intelligence. Areas of interest include systems and information analysis, software development, database design, data sciences, cybersecurity, and web-based application development.

Overview: This year, the IT Oxygen Enterprise is working on projects sponsored by Ford, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Northern Specialty Health, and DENSO. In the area of data analytics, IT Oxygen is building predictive models and applying statistical analyses to understand the relationship between technical obsolescence and purchasing strategy for automotive electronics—thanks to support from DENSO. For Ford, a team has been working with the Wireless Communication Enterprise (WCE) to provide data analysis and storage for a smart home energy management system. Finally, IT Oxygen is also collaborating with WCE on continued efforts to improve Little Brothers’ holiday resource management and medical transportation scheduling systems.



Enterprise Team: Human Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE)

Team Leaders: Christopher Ward and Justin Martin, Computer Science
Advisor: Robert Pastel, Computer Science
Sponsor: CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center (US Army)

Background: The members of Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) come together to design, develop, and evaluate user interfaces. The goal is to make daily work more efficient and easier to manage. As a whole, the team works together to design and test different applications for industry sponsors that can be used on Android, iPhone, and other devices. HIDE accomplishes these projects by combining knowledge from multiple disciplines, such as computer science, psychology, and human factors. HIDE team members can get involved in various stages of the design process, from developing an app by programming, to evaluation by designing usability tests and analyzing data.

Overview: Tempi.st is a project from the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, a research center for the US Army located in Warren, Michigan. Tempi.st is a program designed to provide students with the opportunity to work on a real-world project, and is aimed to connect the students to an industry where they can actively participate in research in order to expand their knowledge base and deliver new ideas to the industry in return.

Our objective is to utilize Raspberry Pis to collect weather data in real time for its given location, and to send the collected data to a user through a device such as a phone, computer, or tablet in the form of an alert or by the user opening a web page. How this will be implemented is purely up to our team. We will take these basic specifications and put our own twist to it.




Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay in Touch.

Dear College of Computing Students, Families, and Friends:

In all our daily tasks and interactions, Michigan Tech and the College of Computing remain closely focused on delivering to you the best possible educational experience; we are also mindful of your over-all health and well being. We wish to do as much as we possibly can to help you successfully complete this semester, and guide and support you on your way to finishing your degree.

We’ve compiled some of the many University and community resources available to you below. All kinds of help, support, and kindness is out there, and everyone is eager to assist in this uncertain time.

You are invited to contact Dean Minerick, and any of us in Computing and across campus, with your questions and concerns, large or small.

Academic Leadership
Adrienne Minerick, Dean: minerick@mtu.edu
Dan Fuhrmann, Director, MERET/CMH/Applied Computing: fuhrmann@mtu.edu
Linda Ott, Chair, Computer Science: linda@mtu.edu

Undergraduate Academic Advisors
Denise and Kay, The College of Computing’s academic advisors, are on duty and available by email, phone, and Zoom.
Denise Landsberg, Computer Science, Software Engineering: dllandsb@mtu.edu
Kay Oliver, CNSA, Cybersecurity, EET, Mechatronics, Health Informatics: koliver@mtu.edu
Advising Website:

Faculty and Staff
We hope that you always feel welcome to contact your instructors and mentors with questions, concerns, and help with an assignment. We are all standing by to help you successfully complete this semester, prepare for summer and fall classes, and get ready for for spring graduation.
Find all the Computing faculty here. Find the Computing staff here.

Finally, Michigan Tech and the College of Computing are continually populating and updating our websites and blogs with the latest news.

A few more links:

Husky Emergency Fund Application

Get the latest information and updates regarding Michigan Tech’s response to COVID-19 at mtu.edu/covid-19. View updates to this alert.

Meal Packets are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at Public Safety and Police Services.

The Dean of Students Office has compiled a comprehensive list of emergency resources for students.

Students who are experiencing unforeseen financial emergencies can apply for assistance.

More Student Resources.

Study Abroad and COVID-19.

FAQs from Facilities Management.

Info for Michigan Tech employees.

Info for Michigan Tech faculty.


ROTC Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers

The U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, has awarded Michigan Tech faculty researchers a $249,000 grant that supports the creation of an ROTC undergraduate science and engineering research program at Michigan Tech. The primary goal of the program is to supply prepared cadets to all military branches to serve as officers in Cyber commands.

The principal investigator (PI) of the project is Andrew Barnard, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Co-PIs are Timothy Havens, College of Computing; Laura Brown , Computer Science, and Yu Cai, Applied Computing. The title of the project is, “Defending the Nation’s Digital Frontier: Cybersecurity Training for Tomorrow’s Officers.”

The curriculum will be developed over the summer, and instruction associated with the award will begin in the fall 2020 semester. Cadets interested in joining the new program are urged to contact Andrew Barnard.

Initially, the program will focus on topics in cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science, and remote sensing systems, all critical to the The Naval Science and Technology (S&T) Strategic Plan and the Navy’s Force of the Future, and with equal relevance in all branches of the armed forces.

The plan of work focuses on on engaging ROTC students in current and on-going Cyber research, and supports recruitment of young ROTC engineers and scientists to serve in Navy cybersecurity and cyber-systems commands. The program will compel cadets to seek positions within Cyber commands upon graduation, or pursue graduate research in Cyber fields.

“Our approach develops paid, research-based instruction for ROTC students through the existing Michigan Tech Strategic Education Naval Systems Experiences (SENSE) program,” said principal investigator Andrew Barnard, “ROTC students will receive one academic year of instruction in four Cyber domains: cybersecurity, machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML/AI), data science, and remote sensing systems.”

Barnard says the cohort-based program will enrich student learning through deep shared research experiences. He says the program will be designed with flexibility and agility in mind to quickly adapt to new and emerging Navy science and technology needs in the Cyber domain.

Placement of officers in Cyber commands is of critical long-term importance to the Navy (and other DoD branches) in maintaining technological superiority, says the award abstract, noting that technological superiority directly influences the capability and safety of the warfighter.

Also closely involved in the project are Michigan Tech Air Force and Army ROTC officers Lt. Col. John O’Kane and LTC Christian Thompson, respectively.

“Unfortunately, many ROTC cadets are either unaware of Cyber related careers, or are unprepared for problems facing Cyber officers,” said Lt. Col. O’Kane. “This proposal aims to provide a steady flow of highly motivated and trained uniformed officers to the armed-services, capable of supporting the warfighter on day-one.”

Andrew Barnard is director of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and faculty advisor to the SENSE Enterprise.

Tim Havens is director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, associate dean for research, College of Computing, and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems.

Laura Brown is an associate professor, Computer Science, director of the Data Science graduate program, and a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Yu Cai is a professor of Applied Computing, an affiliated professor of Computational Science and Engineering, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, and faculty advisor for the Red Team, which competes in the National Cyber League (NCL).

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) provides state-of-the-art laboratories to support research on a broad array of topics. Faculty members from many departments across Michigan Technological University’s campus collaborate on interdisciplinary research, ranging from air–water interactions to biogeochemistry to food web relationships.

The Army and Air Force have active ROTC programs on Michigan Tech’s campus.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.