Denis Gracanin and team continue FutureHAUS construction at Virginia Tech

Denis Gracanin, an associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, along with Joseph Wheeler, professor of architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and co-director of the Center for Design Research, and Clive Vorster, a visiting instructor in the School of Architecture + Design, have worked the past three years with students from architecture, industrial design, interior design, and computer science to envision how people will interact with their homes in the near future.

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Cliff Shaffer named W.S. ‘Pete’ White Professor

Clifford A. Shaffer, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the W.S. “Pete” White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.  The W.S. “Pete” White Chair for Innovation in Engineering Education was established by American Electric Power to honor Pete White, a 1948 graduate of Virginia Tech, and to encourage new interest in the teaching of engineering and improve the learning process. Recipients hold the chair for a period of two years.

 

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Cliff Shaffer
Cliff Shaffer

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Notes from Department Head Cal Ribbens

The case for gathering and nurturing a diverse academic community is clear.  Preparing computer scientists to create solutions for the whole world requires a community of computer scientists that reflects the whole world.  Virginia Tech’s “Principles of Community” states it well:  “we affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and the University,” and we seek “… to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members.”  Besides being the right thing to do, time and time again I have seen the benefits of improved access and inclusion for everyone.  When we bring together people from different cultures, backgrounds, viewpoints, and ways of thinking, we get better results – better teaching and learning, better creating, better problem solving.  And it’s just more fun to come to work when you are part of such a team.

The Department of Computer Science is committed to diversity and inclusion.  Particularly in the last eight years under the leadership of Dr. Barbara Ryder, this commitment has increasingly become part of our department’s culture.  In many ways, we are just getting started, and I intend to build on this commitment and momentum during my term as department head.  Please let us know if you have suggestions for ways to improve diversity in our department and our field, or to see how you can help.  And check out the newly revamped section of our website on diversity, and news of the newly established Barbara Ryder Fund for Diversity in Computer Science.

 

Dr. Ribbens

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New Endowed Fund to Support Diversity in Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech is pleased to announce the establishment of the “Barbara Ryder Fund for Diversity in Computer Science.”  This new endowed fund honors the outstanding personal efforts and culture-changing example of Dr. Barbara Ryder, J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering, who served as CS Department Head from 2008 to 2015.  Initial seed funding for the fund comes from the prize accompanying the department’s recent National Center for Women and Information Technology Extension Services Transformation (NCWIT NEXT) award, which was given in recognition of progress and continuing commitment to increase the participation of women in computing.  Under Dr. Ryder’s leadership the department’s focus on recruiting and retaining a diverse community of students, staff, and faculty increased significantly.  By establishing this fund, the department is committing to a sustained emphasis on diversity.  Income from the Ryder Fund will support an exciting range of activities and programs for years to come.

To donate to the Barbara Ryder Fund for Diversity in Computer Science, please visit our Giving to CS@VT page.

 

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Graduation at VT 2016 - 10

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Distinguished Lecture 2015 015

 

 

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Staff take part in professional development opportunities

Congratulations to Teresa Hall, Sheila Hulick, Andrea Linkous, Missy Thomas, Linda Fitzgerald, and Julia Costello for earning certifications offered by University Organizational and Professional Development (UOPD).

Andrea Linkous– Office Software Skills Training Program and Customer Service Excellence Certificate Program

Sheila Hulick– Research Administrator Level I and Research Administrator Level II

Teresa Hall– Research Administrator Level I

Missy Thomas– Research Administrator Level II

Linda Fitzgerald– Administrative Professional Development Program Certificate and Customer Service Excellence Certificate Program

Julia Costello– Computer Software Skills Training Program

 

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From left to right: Andrea Linkous, Sheila Hulick, Teresa Hall, Missy Thomas, Linda Fitzgerald, Linda Fitzgerald, and Julia Costello (not pictured)

 

 

 

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Kurt Luther launches innovative software and website — a crowdsourced digital archive of primary sources

Kurt Luther’s research partnership is revealing the differences in the latitude and attitude of Americans during the Civil War era one historical document at a time and it’s inviting “citizen historians” to transcribe, tag, and discuss primary sources. It may also open up discussions into issues of race, citizenship, and identity.

 

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Dr. Kurt Luther
Dr. Kurt Luther

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ICPC Programming Team Competes at World Finals

Once again, May found the Virginia Tech ACM ICPC Programming Team traveling across the globe to compete in the ICPC World Finals.  This year the competition was held in Phuket, Thailand, and included 128 teams, selected from a record 2,736 participating universities during fall regional contests.  The 2016 Virginia Tech team consisted of CS majors Dustin Pho, Peter Steele, and Chris Wu, with Dr. Godmar Back as their coach.

According to Back, “The competition involved 13 problems, of which the top three teams (St. Petersburg State, Shanghai Jiao Tong, and Harvard) solved 11, 11, and 10, respectively. The Virginia Tech team solved four problems, which ranked it 74th, an improvement over the last two years where we finished 92nd. The team is particularly proud of finishing 9th among the 25 teams from North America, which is our best showing since at least 2005.  The only North American teams finishing ahead of VT were Harvard, MIT, Waterloo, UCF, Berkeley, Cornell, Stanford, and Rice.”

Follow the ICPC Programming Team on Twitter Here.

 

ICPC pic 2016

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CS PhD Students Attend CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop

The CS Department sent a group of eight women PhD students to the 2016 CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop this year.  Doaa Altarawy, Sorour Amiri, Mai Dahshan, Michelle Dowling, Zahra Ghaed, Azam Moosavi, Elaheh Raisi, and Ziqian Song traveled to San Diego in April to participate in this two-day event organized by the Computing Research Association.  The annual workshop is aimed at building the pipeline of senior women in computing-related studies and research.  Presentations and discussions led by senior researchers and professionals offered advice on a variety of topics such as graduate school survival skills, networking, publishing, etc.  According to VT attendee Elaheh Raisi, “… resources introduced related to different skills such as presentation, writing, and research for graduate studies.  There were some female professionals as mentors and we could talk to them and ask for their help about any problem we might have.”  Doaa Altarawy reported that she was able “ … to learn more about networking and to actually practice it by knowing new women in computing, [and] to see examples of successful women who were able to overcome difficulties and boundaries and reach their goals.”   Michelle Dowling added, “the atmosphere was wonderfully relaxed and focused heavily on interacting with the audience and addressing specific concerns that people had, all while promoting networking and mentoring opportunities.”

 

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CRA-W Grad Cohort

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Danfeng Yao named Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellow

Danfeng Yao, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellowship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Elizabeth and James Turner created the Turner Fellowships in 2011 with a $1 million gift to recognize faculty excellence. James Turner is a 1956 agricultural engineering alumnus who is the retired president and chief operating officer of General Dynamics. He is also a former rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, and in 2004 received Virginia Tech’s highest honor, the William H. Ruffner Medal.

Recipients hold the title of Turner Fellows for a period of five years.

 

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Danfeng Yao
Danfeng Yao

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Doug Bowman named Frank J. Maher Professor

Doug Bowman, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Frank J. Maher Professorship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Virginia Tech alumnus Bruce Vorhauer, who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics in 1964, endowed the professorship in honor of Frank Maher, who received a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1937 and was a professor in Virginia Tech’s department of engineering mechanics, now called the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 1999, Bowman is a world leader in research in 3-D interfaces for computers and virtual reality, a visualization technique sometimes referred to as “computer-simulated reality” whose uses in education and training, the arts, science, and urban design are now being explored.

Bowman has more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, the majority of which are in selective journals and conferences. His Google Scholar publication citation count is more than 7,700, verifying the impact of his work on his research field. He was lead author of the first textbook on 3D user interfaces, “3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice,” published in 2005. Bowman has received more than $8.5 million in external funding for his research, with a personal share exceeding $3.1 million.

 

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Dr. Doug Bowman
Dr. Doug Bowman

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