CS@VT student Cory Bart wins at the ACM SIGCSE Student Research Competition

Cory Bart,CS Ph.D.,student, recently won 3rd place at the ACM SIGCSE Student Research Competition in early March 2015.  His project was entitled “Situating Computational Thinking with BigData Pedagogy and Technology”.  Cory’s co-advisors are Cliff Shaffer and Eli Tilevich.

When asked about his work, Cory said, “As Computational Thinking becomes pervasive in undergraduate programs, new students must be educated in meaningful, authentic contexts that they find both motivating and relatable.  I propose working with big data as a novel context for introductory programming, authentic given its importance in diverse fields such as agriculture, history, and more.  Big data is considered difficult to use because of its inherent technical obstacles.  To overcome these difficulties, I introduce a new project: CORGIS – a “Collection of Real-time, Giant, Interesting, Situated Datasets”.  The CORGIS project comprises a collection of libraries that provide an interface to big data for students, architectures for rapidly enabling new datasets, and a web-based textbook platform for disseminating relevant course materials.  This textbook features an online block-based programming environment, real-time collaborative text editing, and continuous server-side storage.  In this poster, I describe the educational theory guiding this work, the novel technology created and deployed, and the initial, promising results.”


Congratulations Cory!

Austin Cory Bart

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CS student selected as the 2015 Outstanding Senior for the College of Engineering

Robert (Kwamina) Orleans-Pobee has been selected as outstanding senior in the College of Engineering.  Robert has an excellent record of service to the university and the community including being part of the University Honors Program and serving as captain and Vice President of the Virginia Tech Fencing Club and the Club Fencing Team.  He has demonstrated a continued commitment to helping others and solving problems.  Two examples of his leadership include creating an application to help students navigate the complexities of course requesting and scheduling and leading two software development projects that combat human trafficking.  Dr. Cal Ribbens said, “These award winning projects both demonstrate innovative technical contributions to this important social cause.”  Robert will have the honor of speaking at commencement this year.  Read More

Please join the CS department in congratulating Robert!


Robert Orleans-Pobee

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Jessie Eaves receives 2015 Staff Career Achievement Award

Jessie Eaves, a retired CS staff member, was selected as one of the 5 winners for the 2015 University Staff Career Achievement Award.  Jesse was selected for this university-wide award because of her outstanding commitment to Virgina Tech and community service contributions to Southwest Virginia.  She will be honored and presented with her award at the College of Engineering Dean’s Staff Luncheon in May.  Read the full VT News Story.

Join the CS department in congratulating Jesse for 28 years of service to the university!


Jessie Eaves

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Matt McGarvey, CS staff, recognized for website design

Matt McGarvey, CS staff member, was recently recognized by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation for his website design work.  He designed the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad’s website, which can be viewed here.  Matt is a Rescue Squad volunteer and serves alongside more than 40 other student volunteers.  According to the VT News article, the squad has served the Virginia Tech community since 1969 and is the oldest collegiate rescue squad in Virginia and the second oldest in the nation.  Click here to read the full story here.


garv284's picture

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Mohammed Seyam named 2015-16 Board of Visitors student representative

The university announced the selection of the undergraduate and graduate student representatives to the Board of Visitors.  Mohammed Seyam, a doctoral student in computer science, is appointed to serve a one year term as the graduate student representative.  The Board of Visitors is the governing body of the university.  Seyam is an active student leader and ambassador.  Read more here.



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VT team wins Caring the Caregive Hackathon

A team of six undergraduate and graduate students won, the Caring for the Caregiver Hackathon sponsored by the Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving. Three members of the team and the faculty advisor came from the Department of Computer Science.  The winning design, called CareFood, helps caregivers develop ideas and plans about what to eat, given the burdens of caretaking and the many restrictions on food that people with Alzheimer’s disease may face due to their medication regimes.  It relies on location-based crowdsourcing for recommendations.

CS team members Maoyuan Sun, Peng Mi, and Junyang Chen stayed up throughout the night to create a working prototype of the front end.  Dr. Deborah Tatar, CS faculty, coached the team. Yujun Liu, from human development, represented the gerontology knowledge and assembled the team.  Yong Sue from the Pamplin School developed the required approach to business, and Ross Ritsch, a freshman in International Studies, provided a fresh voice and served as a spokesman during the project presentation.  Mary-Margaret Fosmark, a caregiver provided by the sponsors, advised the team about caregiver needs.


Tarter photo 03.31.15

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Dr. Denis Gracanin continues work on LumenHAUS project with the Kitchen of the Future

Denis Gracanin (Computer Science), Joseph Wheeler (Architecture) and a team of interdisciplinary researchers from across campus unveiled the innovative future of kitchen design and construction  at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas in January 2015.  The show is North America’s premier annual event dedicated to the kitchen and bath industry.  According to the VT Daily News, “The kitchen is the first phase of a three-year plan to construct a two-story FutureHAUS.  The next phase of the FutureHAUS design process is the addition of a living room alongside the kitchen that will debut at the American Institute of Architects national convention May 14-16 in Atlanta”.  To read the entire story please visit.  Denis Gracanin is associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science.  Joseph Wheeler is a professor of architecture and co-director of the Center for Design Research and LumenHAUS lead researcher.


Dr. Gracanin
Dr. Gracanin

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Dr. Barbara G. Ryder to receive ACM SIGSOFT Influential Educator Award

ACM’s Special Interest Group on Software Engineering (SIGSOFT) has named Professor Barbara G. Ryder as the recipient of its 2015 Influential Educator Award “For significant contributions in software engineering education, graduate student and faculty mentoring and efforts to improve the representation of women.” Dr. Ryder is Head of the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, where she holds the J. Byron Maupin Professorship in Engineering.

The award will be presented on 22 May 2015 at the 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2015) in Florence, Italy (http://2015.icse-conferences.org/). This award is presented annually to an educator who has made significant contributions to, and impact on, the field of software engineering with his/her accomplishments as a teacher, mentor, researcher (in education or learning), author, and/or policy maker. The award is accompanied by an honorarium and travel support to ICSE.

Professor Barbara G. Ryder has been deeply engaged in education and mentoring in software engineering and programming languages for more than 33 years. She is an exceptional graduate mentor having graduated 15 Ph.D. and 3 M.S. students and supervised 4 postdocs. She is an influential leader in diversity, both nationally through activities with CRA-W and NCWIT and through outreach at both Rutgers University and Virginia Tech. Dr. Ryder’s mentoring extends beyond her own research group. She was awarded Professor of the Year (2003) while at Rutgers, by the Computer Science Graduate Students Society award for excellence in teaching and was the recipient of the Rutgers University Graduate School Teaching Award (2007). As a department head at Virginia Tech, Dr. Ryder established an ongoing formal mentoring program for both assistant and associate professors. Dr. Ryder is an ACM Fellow (1998) and has received the Rutgers’ Presidential Award as a Leader in Diversity (2006) for her activities to increase the diversity of computing. Recently, she was given the 2014 Virginia AAUW Woman of Achievement Award in recognition of her efforts. She was a co-founder of the NCWIT VA/DC Aspirations Awards Affiliate, which celebrated its fourth year of awards in 2015.  Read the full story here.

Please join the department in honoring Dr. Ryder’s accomplishment.

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CS Ph.D. student, Ashley Robinson, elected to honor society

The Virginia Tech Graduate School announced the seven inaugural members of the university’s chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.  Ashley Robinson, CS doctoral candidate, was selected to join.  Ashley is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia.  She is investigating the attitudes of African-American middle school girls toward computer science and the factors that influence these attitudes.

For more information visit http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2015/03/032415-gradschool-bouchetscholars.html


Ashley Picture









The Bouchet Society was established in 2005 by Yale and Howard universities and named for the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree in the United States.  Bouchet graduated from Yale College in 1874 and earned his doctoral degree in physics from Yale University in 1876.  The society’s goal is to create a network of strong scholars and professionals who “serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the Academy,” according to its webpage.  Virginia Tech is among 11 university partners with Bouchet Society chapters.

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