Category Archives: News

CS Creativity Contest

The Computer Science Department is hosting a Creativity Contest, looking for artwork, designs, and anything creative to adorn the walls of Rekhi Hall. The contest is open to Software Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Systems Science, and Computer Engineering students of all levels, as well as department faculty and staff. Any questions can be sent to or posted on the Michigan Tech CSCC Facebook wall (

Submissions will be accepted until November 27th at 11:59pm. When submitting a piece, the following will need to be provided:

* Name of Student, Faculty or Staff Member
* Major of Student, or Faculty/Staff title
* Name of Piece/Entry
* Category for Entry to be placed in: Artwork, Digital Artwork, Computer Art, Photography, and Other Pieces.
* A short description of the piece.
* Finally a Thumbnail, snapshot, or photograph of the piece. The actual piece does not have to be scanned in to be submitted. For example: Photographs of paintings are acceptable for submission.

Winning entries will be placed throughout Rekhi Hall to help bring a more creative and inspirational mood to the Computer Science building!

All entries, including those sent to, will be placed in albums on the Facebook page. Judging for entries will be both based on the amount of “Likes” the entry receives from Michigan Tech Students and the collaborative opinions of the CS Department Faculty and Staff.  All entries will receive a free MTU/CS Dept T-shirt.

CS Professors Pastel and Wallace Involved in NSF-sponsored Citizen Science Project

Dr. Robert Pastel and Dr. Charles Wallace
Dr. Robert Pastel and Dr. Charles Wallace

Dr. Robert Pastel and Dr. Charles Wallace of the Computer Science Department are co-principal investigators on a $249,840 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) titled “Environmental Cyber Citizens: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Global Environmental Change through Crowdsensing and Visualization”.

Citizen science aims to bring citizen scientists, ordinary individuals and groups, directly into the scientific inquiry process through legitimate and meaningful activities that are useful to the scientific community. The goal of the NSF-sponsored project is to use current computing technology to develop tools for environmental citizen scientists. A multi-disciplinary team of faculty and undergraduate students will collaborate with citizen scientist end users to develop and deploy data collection and visualization tools to monitor the critical ecosystems of Lightfoot Bay in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These users will effectively engage in crowdsensing: supplying useful data over space and time through “strength in numbers” that would be difficult for individual scientists to collect.

One goal is to develop and use smartphone applications that make it easy to acquire environmental information: e.g., digital images, in-situ measurements of water quality parameters, and personal narratives. In addition, applications will be developed for transferring the acquired data synchronously or asynchronously to an interactive visualization website. On the visualization website, users will combine quantitative data in meaningful ways while framing or annotating it with qualitative data. The smartphone applications and visualization tools will be developed in undergraduate design courses within the Computer Science Department.

The project is highly interdisciplinary, involving Dr. Alex Mayer (principal investigator) of Civil & Environmental Engineering, as well as faculty in Chemical Engineering and in Forest Resources & Environmental Science. In addition, it will build upon existing educational programs at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, several local high schools, and the Keweenaw Land Trust. Research scientists at IBM researching crowdsensing will also collaborate.

Dr. Soner Onder Awarded $153,000

Dr. Soner Onder was awarded $153,000.00 from the NSF (National Science
Foundation), division of Computer and Communication Foundations,
Software and Hardware Foundations Program in support of his research.
This research focuses on developing a framework in which compilers and
processor architectures can collaborate efficiently and effectively.

The project will support two Ph.D. students for one year. Dr. Onder
and his students will be investigating single assignment program
representations in which each variable is assigned at a single point
in the program. The direct support of these representations through
micro-architecture implementation is the key concept that can break
the barriers between the compilers and architectures. This new
approach will have a significant impact on the design of future
processors, design of compiler internal representations as well as the
back-end of the compilers. It can also change how parallelism is
exploited at various granularities and how various optimizations are
carried out.

Dr. Onder also expects that the investigated framework will help
revitalize computer architecture and compiler optimization research by
opening up unexplored paths for research in high-performance systems.
Consequently, it can affect every field of science and commerce which
relies on high-performance computation.

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 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.