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    Junqiao Qiu to Present Lecture November 6

    Assistant Professor Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, will present his lecture, “Speculative Parallelization for FSM-centric Computations,” this Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., via online meeting.

    Lecture Abstract

    As a fundamental computation model, finite-state machine (FSM) has been used in a wide range of data-intensive applications, including malware detection, bioinformatics, semi-structured data analytics, natural language processing and even machine learning. However, FSM execution is known to be “embarrassingly sequential” due to the state dependences among transitions. Current studies find that speculation is a promising solution to address the inherent dependencies in FSM computations and thus enables scalable FSM parallelization.
    This talk will firstly introduce the fundamental scalability bottleneck in the current FSM parallelization, and then an aggressive speculation, a generalized speculation model that allows a speculated state to be validated against the result from another speculation, is proposed to address the scalability limitations. Finally, this talk will discuss the possibility to enlarge the applicability of the proposed approach and go beyond the FSM-based computations.

    Juneiao Qiu is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ (ICC) Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems (SAS).


    GSG to Host Grant Writing Webinar Nov. 12

    As a student or a researcher, a necessary component of your work is applying for a multitude of grants to obtain funding for future projects. Peter Larson, director of research development at Michigan Tech, will conduct a seminar on Grant Writing from 4 to 5  p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 via Zoom.

    Larson specializes in creating effective grant and research proposals, particularly in the non-technical proposal sections that researchers often struggle with. Please send any topics or questions you wish to see discussed to gsg-prodev@mtu.edu so we can structure the seminar to better suit your needs.

    Those who participate in the seminar will get a chance to enter a raffle draw. Space is not really limited but just so we know how many students to expect, be sure to register.


    GSG to Host 3MT Competition Nov. 5

    Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, hosted by the Graduate Student Government, will take place virtually tomorrow (Nov. 5). Come join us on an eventful day where research meets fun.

    Participants are judged on their communication and presentation skills, while delivering content in just three minutes with one static PowerPoint slide.

    You can watch the participants’ videos online on GSG’s 3MT website starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

    With 28 participants and 4 different heats, 8 finalists will be chosen for the final rounds. The judging panel consists of 3 different faculty/staff from different majors. The names of the finalists will be declared by Noon.

    The contestants qualifying for the next round will compete against each other from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 6) in the Rozsa Center for Performing Arts.

    There will be a limit of 200 patrons who can be seated in the Rozsa center to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis. The event will also be streamed live on GSG’s Facebook page.

    Join us in-person or virtually to enjoy the event and choose a ‘People’s Choice’ award winner. The first and second place winners will receive cash prizes of $300 and $150 respectively. Additionally, a People’s Choice (PC) award will be given to a speaker selected by the event’s audience, with a cash prize of $100. A Facebook poll and in-person voting will happen to choose this speaker.


    Leo Ureel Receives 2020 CTL Instructional Award

    by Michael R. Meyer, Director, William G. Jackson CTL

    Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, is among the Deans’ Teaching Showcase members who have been selected to receive 2020 CTL instructional Awards.

    The awardees will make presentations next spring semester to share the work that led to their nomination.

    When their presentation concludes, each will be formally recognized with a certificate and $750 in additional compensation .

    Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 — Curriculum Development: Katrina Black, Senior Lecturer in Physics

    Thursday Feb. 18, 2021 — Innovative or Out of Class Teaching: Libby Meyer, Lecturer in Visual and Performing Arts and Leo Ureel, Assistant Professor in Computer Science

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 — Large Class Teaching: Kette Thomas, Associate Professor of Diverse Literature in Humanities

    These events will take place from 3:30-4:30 on the dates listed. Detailed titles, topics, and registration links for each presentation will be circulated in anticipation of each event.

    Many thanks to the previous CTL instructional award recipients and the Provost’s office staff who were instrumental in the selection process.

    Please consider suggesting instructors whom you’ve seen make exceptional contributions in Curriculum Development, Assessment, Innovative or Out-of-Class teaching or Large Class Teaching to the appropriate chair or dean so that they can be considered for the upcoming (2021) Deans’ Teaching Showcase during spring semester.


    Briana Bettin, Asst. Prof., Part I: Neopets, HTML, Early Success

    Briana Bettin, Ph.D., Computer Science: New Degree, New Position

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

    Michigan Tech Ph.D. graduate Briana Bettin, Computer Science, is among six new faculty members the College of Computing welcomed this fall. Bettin is an assistant professor for the Department of Computer Science, and an affiliated assistant professor for the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department.

    She is teaching courses including CS1121 Introduction to Programming in C/C++, and pursuing research and other projects with faculty and students.

    In August 2020, Bettin successfully defended her dissertation, “The Stained Glass of Knowledge: On Understanding Novice Mental Models of Computing,” and was awarded her Ph.D. in Computer Science.

    “I’m excited to begin my faculty journey at Michigan Tech and I look forward to helping our students continue to learn skills that will allow them to create the future,” Bettin says. “Michigan Tech has always been an amazing place for me—the opportunity to continue to give back to this place that has given me so much is something I’m very grateful for.”

    Bettin says that she is excited about several interesting research projects already being planned, and she looks forward to helping the College advance its educational and research visibility and standing.

    Bettin is a member researcher of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ new Center for Computing Education, which promotes research and learning activities related to computing education.


    Neopets, HTML, CSS. Here’s how Briana Bettin got everything started.

    Video games caught Bettin’s interest at a young age and as she grew older, she became interested in online games like Neopets, which allows the user to develop a profile using HTML.

    “So, I became excited to learn about HTML and CSS in order to express myself in those online spaces,” she says. “This also got me interested in graphic design, and both of these things combined got me hooked on the idea of creating expressive virtual spaces.”

    Bettin earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, with an Application Area in User Experience and Marketing, from Michigan Tech in spring 2014. Following, while working full time as a front-end web developer at a consulting firm, in summer 2016 she completed her master’s degree online. In fall 2016, Bettin began her Ph.D. studies.

    The right fit.

    “I wasn’t always sure if Computer Science was ‘right’ for someone like me,” Bettin reflects. “But my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Linda Ott, would encourage me by reminding me of the vast opportunities in technology. And since I became aware of the interdisciplinary area of User Experience, my interest in programming has only grown!”

    “Dr. Ott is absolutely amazing,” Bettin says of Professor Linda Ott, chair of the Department of Computer Science. “I am thankful for her, and I knew that having her as my adviser would be one of the best things I could hope for. Our working styles are very complementary, and she is a great motivator and supporter. Laura Brown and Nilufer Onder have also been great mentors, offering me wonderful advice and support whenever I talk to them.”

    Bettin adds that Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, was “wonderful in helping me develop my research vision. We often bounce ideas, and he has supported my ideas and given me many opportunities to implement research ideas in the classroom. Our talks give me so much perspective and energy.”

    Early teaching success, fellowships, and awards.

    Bettin was a CS 1121 lab instructor from fall 2016 until fall 2019, when she became the instructor of record, teaching her first semesters as a lecturer in fall 2019 and spring 2020. That fall, she received outstanding “Average of 7 Dimensions” student evaluation scores, one of only 74 such accolades earned by faculty that semester.

    But Bettin’s excellence was recognized long before, in fall 2017, when she received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award from Michigan Tech’s Graduate Student Government.

    Bettin was awarded the King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship from the State of Michigan in fall 2018. She received several doctoral consortium stipends from organizations including Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), the Frontiers in Education Doctoral Symposium (FIE), and the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).

    A Google Scholar award made it possible for her to attend the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration, which supports women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. In fall 2019, Bettin was nominated for the prestigious MAGS Teaching Award.

    Part II of this article will be published soon. In the second installment we’ll learn about Briana’s teaching and research, and the faculty and peer mentors who supported her as she completed her Ph.D.


    Hongyu An: Curious About the World and Exploring the Unknown

    by Karen S. Johnson, Communications Director, ICC

    “A scientist should be a person who is always curious about nature and the world, and who tries to explore the unknown.” –Hongyu An, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Hongyu An, Assistant Professor, ECE

    Exploring science and technology is always exciting for new Assistant Professor Hongyu An, Electrical and Computer Engineering. He says he is “very pleased to have the chance to mentor the next generation and share my knowledge and experience with undergraduate and graduate students.”

    Several things drew Hongyu An to Michigan Tech, including his observation that as an institution Michigan Tech cares about its employees. “The excellent professors, smart students, and the supportive environment are the main reasons I joined Michigan Tech,” he says. “As a new faculty member, I am facing a lot of new challenges. There is great support in my department (ECE) and through the ICC.”

    Hongyu is a member of two Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) research centers: Human-Centered Computing and Scalable Architectures and Systems. He also sees synergies with the Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.

    “It is my great pleasure and honor to be a member of the ICC,” Hongyu says. “ I can collaborate with the experts in HCC for exploring the brain and artificial intelligence, and the professors in SAS for hardware and architecture designs. Moreover, the neuromorphic chips I am working on can potentially be applied to Cyber-Physical Systems.”

    Hongyu’s primary research area is hardware design for AI and neuromorphic systems. He believes that Artificial Intelligence is probably one of the most challenging research topics in science, noting that recent work in deep learning and artificial neural networks is demonstrating great progress in approaching artificial intelligence. 

    “But the traditional computers under von Neumann architecture cannot keep up with the development of neural networks and deep learning,” he cautions. “My research is addressing this challenge by using a new hardware design, from device to architecture levels.”

    Hongyu’s teaching interests include VLSI, Circuits, and Electromagnetics. Desribing his teaching philosophy, he notes that making complicated things simple is more challenging than making simple things complicated, and that he strives for the former. This academic year, An is teaching EE 4271 VLSI Design and mentoring ECE master’s student, Sarvani Marthi Sarvani, whose project aims to design a silicon retina through CMOS and Memristors.

    Hongyu and his research team are also investigating associative memory learning, a new learning method that aims to create a neuromorphic system that can learn from its surroundings directly. 

    “Associative memory is a widespread self-learning method in biological livings, which enables the nervoussystem to remember the relationship between two concurrent events,” Hongyu explains. “Through this learning method, dogs can learn the sound of bells as a sign of food; people can remember a word representing an object.”

    “The significance of rebuilding associative memory at a behavioral level not only reveals a way of designing a brain-like, self-learning neuromorphic system, it is also to explore a method of comprehending the learning mechanism of a nervous system,” he adds.

    And finally, beyond his work as a professor and scientist Hongyu hopes that he is “a good husband to my wife, a good father to my sons, and a good son to my parents.”

    Hongyu completed his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Virginia Tech, his M.S. in electrical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, and his B.S. in electrical engineering at Shenyang University of Technology.

    Recent Publications

    An, Hongyu, Mohammad Shah Al-Mamun, Marius K. Orlowski, Lingjia Liu, and Yang Yi. “Robust Deep Reservoir Computing through Reliable Memristor with Improved Heat Dissipation Capability. IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems (2020).

    An, Hongyu, Qiyuan An, and Yang Yi. “Realizing Behavior Level Associative Memory Learning Through Three-Dimensional Memristor-Based Neuromorphic Circuits. IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computational Intelligence (2019).

    Founded in 2015, the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems, for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

    The ICC creates and supports an arena in which faculty and students work collaboratively across organizational boundaries in an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation. The ICC’s 55 members represent more than 20 academic disciplines at Michigan Tech.


    Hatti and Team Win Startup Competition

    by Electrical and Computer Engineering 

    Nagesh Hatti (ECE) was the lead of a startup team that took first place in a virtual entrepreneurial startup event focusing on Education, held earlier this month. The Techstars StartUp weekend was hosted virtually from São Judas University in São Paulo, Brazil. 

    Hatti and team pitched “Inter-Self” a mobile-based app that focuses on the emotional health of students, combined with their interaction with fellow students, during projects and assignments. 

    Hatti said the objective of their idea is to provide a feedback mechanism so instructors are aware of the overall emotional health of students, and then use that as an input to their instruction. 

    Techstars Startup Weekend, in partnership with Google for Startups, is a 54-hour event created for entrepreneurs of all kinds. “It was an intense but rewarding experience,” Hatti said. “There was a lot of support and encouragement to come up with new ideas and execute on them.” 

    Hatti said that many of the mentors participating in Techstars startup weekend were successful entrepreneurs who started companies at similar events.


    The Lode, Still Going Strong, After Nearly 100 Years

    by Michigan Tech Lode

    What is the Lode, anyway?

    The Lode is Michigan Tech’s student newspaper, and we’ve been serving the MTU community since 1921, when we were founded as the Michigan College of Mines Lode.

    We currently serve the campus digitally on our website and in print, though COVID-19 safety precautions have momentarily postponed our in-print issues.

    Read the Lode!

    We publish weekly on Thursday mornings. We feature local, state and national news, arts, cultural events and other happenings around campus, relevant opinion pieces, features on STEM and campus research, sports and more.

    Check us out at http://www.mtulode.com.


    Online Intercultural Exchange for Chinese and English Speakers

    by Elizabeth A. Flynn, Co-director, The Elaine Bacon Literacy Program

    New participants are welcome to join a newly-formed Chinese-English language and cultural exchange via Zoom at 4 p.m. every Friday.

    To receive a Zoom invitation or for more details, contact organizer Denise Heikinen, or call (906) 482-4944. Along with Dr. Pichai Sripaipan, retired orthopedic surgeon from Houghton, Heikinen organized the exchange forum this fall as part of continuing free offerings, tutorials and classes with the Elaine Bacon Literacy Program, a 50-year-old non-profit community organization based in Houghton.

    In the early days, the group catered to local resident adults who wished to improve their reading and writing skills. For the past several decades, however, volunteer tutors, teachers and conversation partners have offered free English As a Second Language lessons and practice opportunities for Copper Country international adults, including Tech students, exchange scholars, professors and spouses or family members of campus-affiliated residents.

    For additional information, including an online schedule of classes, see the group’s website.


    Michigan Tech Ranked Among Best Colleges in the State and the Country

    Michigan Tech is one of the top two universities in Michigan and among the best in the country, according to rankings by the website WalletHub, released Monday.

    When compared to colleges and universities in Michigan, Tech was ranked No. 2. Among the 273 midwest colleges and universities listed, Michigan Tech was rated 30th, up one from a year ago.

    WalletHub named 500 institutions on its “2021’s College and University Rankings.” Michigan Tech was ranked No. 138 on the overall list, up eight spots from last year’s ranking.

    WalletHub looks to find the top-performing schools at the lowest possible costs to undergrads. The website compared more than a thousand U.S. institutions using 33 key measures. That data is grouped into seven categories such as Student Selectivity, Cost and Financing, and Career Outcomes.