Computer Science Faculty Receive Dean’s Awards for Excellence

May 4, 2015 – At the eighteenth annual Virginia Tech College of Engineering faculty reception, awards were presented to engineering professors for teaching innovation, research, service, and outreach for 2015.  Five outstanding new assistant professors were recognized and certificates of teaching excellence were also awarded.

The Dean’s Awards for Teaching Excellence were presented to: Clifford Shaffer of computer science, Sungwan “Sunny” Jung of biomedical engineering and mechanics, and John P. Shewchuk of industrial and systems engineering.

The Dean’s Awards for Research Excellence were awarded to: Wenjing Lou of computer science, Chang Lu of chemical engineering, Amy Pruden of civil and environmental engineering, Pamela VandeVord of biomedical engineering and mechanics, and Chenming “Mike” Zhang, of biological systems engineering.

The College of Engineering Faculty Fellows, an award that carries an annual $5000 account for the next three fiscal years to support his or her research, were presented to: Eli Tilevich of computer science, Jennifer Irish of civil and environmental engineering, Kray Luxbacher of mining and minerals engineering, Holly Matusovich of engineering education, Michael Ruohoniemi of electrical and computer engineering, and Christopher Williams of mechanical engineering.  Read more here.

Join the department in congratulating Wenjing Lou, Cliff Shaffer and Eli Tilevich.

 

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Tilevich and Benson (2)Shaffer and Benson (2)

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17th Annual Women in Computing Day

Last Friday, April 24th, the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) held the 17th Annual Women in Computing Day at Virginia Tech. 60 local 7th grade girls from Blacksburg, Pulaski, Dublin and Floyd participated. Terri Mitchell, the vice-president of TMS Integration at IBM, opened the event with an introduction to women in computing. Following Mrs. Mitchell, the girls were separated into small groups and rotated through four exciting and interactive activities that exposed them to computers and computational thinking from different perspectives. These workshops included “Decoding your DNA” focused on code as it occurs in nature.   “Be the data”, which was a data analytic and visualization activity held in the Cube at the Moss Art Center.  “Squishy circuits” allowed the girls to create circuits using conductive play-dough, LEDs and batteries, and “Do it yourself Apps are a Snap!” introduced them to the Snap! Programming environment.

The girls and volunteers were given t-shirts that resulted from the annual AWC design competition. Women in Computing Day was organized by sophomore Aarathi Raghuraman and junior Divya Sharma. WCD has been supported by the Department of Computer Science and Computer Science Research Consortium for 17 years, and this year was aided by ICAT.

The day culminated a year of student-led activities from the AWC. Opportunities for both graduate and undergraduates to get involved with the AWC and shape next year to their own ideas can be pursued by sending email to awc@listserv.vt.edu.

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4th Annual Aspirations in Computing Event

The National Center for Women In Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests.  Winners are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.  NCWIT has local and national affiliates.  The CS department continues to support this and other diversity efforts designed to identify and recruit women into the field.  Dr. Barbara G. Ryder (Department Computer Science – Head) and Libby Bradford (CS Director of Undergraduate Studies) chair the Virginia and Washington, DC affiliate and manage the annual awards ceremony.  Microsoft hosted the event this year where twenty high school students were recognized.  The event was sponsored by Bank of America, Eastman Chemical Company, Microsoft, NetApp, Northrop Grunman, SWIFT and Virginia Tech.  Dr. Barbara G. Ryder said, “We are truly honored to recognize these outstanding young women from across Virginia and the District for their achievements in computing and leadership.  They are pacesetters and set an example that girls may accomplish great things in the technology field”.  To view a full list of winners and learn more about NCWIT visit here.

 

NCWIT Aspirations Award Dinner on March 21, 2015

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Dr. Kirk Cameron and alumnus Joe Turner receive patent

Dr. Kirk Cameron and CS alumnus Joe Turner successfully completed the patent approval process.  Dr. Cameron and Mr. Turner are co-founders of a power management software startup company MiserWare.  This is a patent that MiserWare licensed from Virginia Tech while conducting research for the university.  Dr. Cameron said,  “This patent describes methods and techniques to guarantee performance constraints are met when computer power management is enabled.  The resulting software is used in laptops, desktops, and data center environments where performance is critical and power management is required for cost-cutting.  This technology is at the core of the Granola software that was downloaded more than half a million times from over 160 countries.”

 

Dr. Kirk Cameron
Dr. Kirk Cameron

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Dr. Kirk Cameron selected to participate in a leadership science policy institute

Dr. Kirk Cameron has been selected to participate in the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI) in Washington, DC.  The LiSPI selection committee evaluated each nomination based on record of accomplishment, proven ability to communicate, and promise.  The mission of LiSPI is to “Develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community”.  According to LiSPI’s website, the policy institute endeavors to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works.  Please visit to learn more.  This is the third faculty member from the CS department who has attended the LiSPI.  Dr. Naren Ramakrishnan and Dr. Madhav Marathe participated in the past.

 

Dr. Kirk Cameron
Dr. Kirk Cameron

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Dr. Sharath Raghvendra received NSF CRII Award

Dr. Sharath Raghvendra recently won a NSF CRII Award for his proposal titled “The Geometry Behind Logistics — Approximation Algorithms for Real-Time Delivery”.  The CRII Awards are a new program at NSF targeted towards untenured faculty members, in their first 2 years in an academic position, who have not yet served as PI on any NSF support.  This is the first year of the program and the CS department is proud to have a recipient.  Sharath’s abstract states, “In the era of instant gratification, consumers expect to receive delivery of goods and services on demand.  In an effort to address consumer needs, vendors have adopted routing algorithms with little or no provable guarantee.  The algorithms available today are often unreliable and yield higher costs than desired. There are two major difficulties finding effective solutions.  First, in many cases, routing decisions need to be made with partial or no information on future requests.  The second challenge is related to processing speed.  In current solutions, even if all required information is available in advance, it could take several hours to compute an efficient route making real-time routing almost impossible.  This project investigates a new approach for real-time algorithms applicable in routing applications.  The idea is to use “straight-line” distance between locations as a proxy for the actual road travel distance to design high quality approximation and online algorithms”.  Click here to read more.  Dr. Sharath is an assistant professor in the department.

 

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Dr. Layne Watson recognized for his work with the IBM Cloud

Dr. Layne Watson, in addition to a team of professors and graduate students, is using the Power Development Cloud to create and test parallel mathematical software for global and stochastic optimization.  His research is ongoing and part of IBM”s Power Systems Academic Initiative.  According to an IBM press release, “The Power Systems Academic Initiative (PSAI) has achieved a major milestone by enrolling more than 300 colleges and universities around the globe in the program, providing these institutions with access to IBM Power Systems technology and helping to arm students with skills to handle new workloads like Big Data, cloud, mobile and social, that are crucial in today’s job market”.  Read more here.

 

Dr. Watson
Dr. Watson

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