As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Virginia Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing program recognized 65 high-school women for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology. The award event was held at the Bank of America facility in Richmond, Virginia, and featured a welcome by Mr. Victor Branch, Senior Vice President – Bank of America, and a keynote speech by Mr. Michael Karafotis, Global Wholesale Banking, Production Support Executive at Bank of America. The event was chaired by Ms. Libby G. Bradford, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Student Engagement in Computer Science at Virginia Tech.
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a coalition of over 900 universities, corporations and organizations dedicated to increasing the meaningful participation of women in computing. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to acknowledge the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field, and generate visibility for women’s participation in computing-related pursuits. Award-winners have been selected for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing and desire to pursue computing-related studies. The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is sponsored nationally by AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg and Microsoft with additional support from Google, Intel, Motorola Solutions Foundation and Northrop Grumman.
“It feels so good to be involved in this. We see real progress happening. Young women who might have been overlooked or discouraged now actively moving into computing with support and encouragement from people in the field. But there is more than that. There is an overall feeling that this is good, this is working. Then, even more, a feeling that this is awesome! We are making this happen together–the balance is changing!” said Ms. Jennifer Rupert, Academic & Career Advisor Virginia Tech and Virginia Affiliate committee member. In the affiliate’s six year history, 239 students have been recognized.
Paul Bui, a teacher at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, received the 2017 Outstanding Educator award from the affiliate.
Virginia Affiliate winners are:First Name Last Name School Rebecca Abbott-McCune Blacksburg High Janna Almokhtar Orange County High School Navya Annapareddy* Battlefield High School Brooke Barlow* Mclean High Bilguunzaya Battogtokh Yorktown High Sarah Bolstad* Midlothian High School Katherine Cinnamon* Forest Park High School Lidya Etissa South Lakes High School Lydia Fozo* Forest Park High School Rachel Fulk Rockbridge County High Sydney Howard* Grassfield High School Elizabeth Hu* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Laurel Hunter Governor’s School of Science and Technology Danielle Kaldmaa Falls Church High School Anika Kumar* South Lakes High School Kirthi Kumar* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Hannah Lewis Albemarle High School Kimberly Louie Chancellor High Tian Low Woodbridge High Jocelyn Marencik Deep Run High Eleanor Ozer Galax High School Samhita Pendyal Deep Run High Christina Pfab Powhatan High School Britney Phan Oakton High School Kara Probasco Washington Lee High Margaret Richey* Western Albemarle High Caylor Scales Cumberland High Riley Schnee Loudoun Valley High School Marissa Sumathipala Broad Run High Michelle Wu Princess Anne High
Virginia Affiliate Honorable Mentions are:First Name Last Name School Grace Barrett-Johnson Albemarle High School Madison Crouch Western Albemarle High Brianna Croye Hidden Valley High Neha Damaraju* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Ally DeVall Colonial Forge High ErinGrace Drake Battlefield High School Heather Eichman Nansemond River High Salonee Ferrao Hampton Roads Academy Emily Haggard Loudoun Valley High School Ankita Khera Forest Park High Crystal Lee Woodson High Mengyun Lee Hidden Valley High Katie Liu New Horizons Gov School melanie massie Radford High Caroline McCain Rockbridge County High Elizabeth Moar Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Lisa Moshiro Battlefield High School Clara Na Briar Woods High Cora Ormsby Floyd Kellam High Angela Pastore Albemarle High School Emma Peck Washington Lee High Amber Perkins Powhatan High School Grace Qian Oakton High School Shravya Shetty Deep Run High Caroline Spruell Cave Spring High Destiny Stern Forest Park High School Aiesha Suarez Del Real Stuart High Hiwot Temesgen Washington Lee High Sajni Vederey* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Faith White Richlands High Carol Yang Albemarle High School (Virginia)
*Also NCWIT National Honorable Mentions
Also recognized at the Virginia Affiliate Ceremony were sixteen NCWIT National Honorable Mentions:First Name Last Name School Navya Annapareddy Battlefield High School Brooke Barlow Mclean High Sarah Bolstad Midlothian High School Katherine Cinnamon Forest Park High School Neha Damaraju Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Jessica Edwards St Stephens & St Agnes School Lydia Fozo Forest Park High School Kriti Ganotra Rock Ridge High School Sydney Howard Grassfield High School Elizabeth Hu Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Anika Kumar South Lakes High School Kirthi Kumar Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Rachel Naidich Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Hojung Park Albemarle High School Margaret Richey Western Albemarle High Sajni Vederey Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing offers both national and local affiliate competitions to generate support and visibility for women’s participation in communities nationwide. The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) works to correct the imbalance of gender in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance.
The “Aspirations in Computing Awards” event and the gifts received by the winners this year were funded by Bank of America, Eastman Chemical, The Washington Post and Virginia Tech. Additional support was provided by General Motors, George Mason, Google IBM, and the University of Richmond. Winners receive prizes from multiple companies and two trophies: one for the winner and one to be displayed at her high school.
For more information on the Aspirations program please visit here.
Back row (l. to r.) Amber Perkins, Jessica Edwards, Hojung Park, Hannah Lewis, Janna Almokhtar, Cora Ormsby, Christina Pfab, Margaret Richey, Lisa Moshiro, Salonee Ferrao, Shravya Shetty, Danielle Kaldmaa, Anika Kumar, Katherine Cinnamon, Lydia Fozo
Middle row (l. to r.) Riley Schnee, Emily Haggard, Aiesha Suarez Del Real, Laurel Hunter, Caylor Scales, Mengyun Lee, Angela Pastore, Grace Barrett-Johnson, Kriti Ganotra, Sydney Howard, Heather Eichmann, Caroline McCain, Tian Low, Rachel Fulk, Rebecca Abbott-McCune, Marissa Sumathipala
Front row (l. to r.) Samhita Pendyal, Britney Phan, Crystal Lee, Ally DeVall, Jocelyn Marencik, Kirthi Kumar, Navya Annapareddy, Neha Damaraju, Sarah Bolstad
Clifford Shaffer, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering, has received the university’s 2017 XCaliber Award.
Established in 1996 by the Office of the Provost, the XCaliber Award is presented annually by Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies to recognize individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who integrate technology in teaching and learning. The award celebrates innovative, student-centered approaches.
Shaffer received the award for his development of the computer science course, CS3114 Data Structures and Algorithms.
This course plays a central role into the curriculum of the computer science program and is essential for learning fundamental programming skills. The course is also notorious for its exceptional difficulty, resulting in an unusually high drop rate, which was Shaffer’s inspiration for innovative pedagogy.
“It’s a good time to be a CS major!” This upbeat observation was one of academic advisor Terry Arthur’s favorite ways to encourage students. (We miss you, Terry!) The context for this remark was usually the promising employment prospects of our graduates. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? It’s always good to be in CS for many reasons! After almost forty years in and around computer science, I am still grateful every day to participate in such a rich discipline, marked by a unique confluence of analytical precision, theoretical elegance, creative innovation, powerful impact, and broad application.
Of course, it’s still a good time to be a CS major in terms of career opportunities as well. Many of our alumni have fond memories of the career fairs organized by our corporate partnership program, the Computer Science Resources Consortium (CSRC). The CSRC continues to play a significant role in the department, under the direction of Laurie Brogdon, Director of External Relations. Besides two career fairs each year, the CSRC helps connect over seventy companies with CS majors and minors throughout the year, and provides critical support for student activities and scholarships. The CSRC’s impact can be measured in many ways: last fall the career fair was attended by nearly 1000 students; in a survey of graduating seniors this semester, nearly 90% reported that they have had career-related internships, most with companies in the CSRC; and the annual university survey of recent graduates always ranks CS graduates near the top in all the usual measures of employment. So as May commencement draws closer, we trust that our newest alumni will agree that their decision to study CS at Virginia Tech was a very good one!
Cory Bart, computer science PhD student, won the Best Research Paper award at the SIGCSE conference in March. The SIGCSE Technical Symposium is the largest computing education conference worldwide organized by ACM SIGCSE. It attracts around 1,300 researchers, educators, and others interested in improving computing education in K-12 and higher education. Ryan Whitcomb, computer science undergraduate student, along with CS faculty members: Dennis Kafura, Cliff Shaffer, and Eli Tilevich are co-authors of the paper.
To successfully bring introductory computing to non-CS majors, one needs to create a curriculum that will appeal to students from diverse disciplines. Several educational theories emphasize the need for introductory contexts that align with students’ long-term goals and are perceived as useful. Data Science, using algorithms to manipulate real-world data and interpreting the results, has emerged as a eld with crossdisciplinary value, and has strong potential as an appealing context for introductory computing courses. However, it is not easy to nd, clean, and integrate datasets that will satisfy a broad variety of learners. The CORGIS project (https://think.cs.vt.edu/corgis) enables instructors to easily incorporate data science into their classroom. Specifically, it provides over 40 datasets in areas including history, politics, medicine, and education. Additionally, the CORGIS infrastructure supports the integration of new datasets with simple libraries for Java, Python, and Racket, thus empowering introductory students to write programs that manipulate real data. Finally, the CORGIS web-based tools allow learners to visualize and explore datasets without programming, enabling data science lessons on day one. We have incorporated CORGIS assignments into an introductory course for non-majors to study their impact on learners’ motivation, with positive initial results. These results indicate that external adopters are likely to nd the CORGIS tools and materials useful in their own pedagogical pursuits.
Assistant professor of computer science Kurt Luther has been recognized by the National Science Foundation with a Faculty Early Career Development Award to study and improve the capabilities of crowdsourced investigations. The issue is of particular importance in an era where speed can sometimes best factual and accurate reporting of news. Luther will use an innovative expert-led crowdsourcing approach to collect data using a platform called CrowdSleuth. The software will assist collaboration between crowds and experts, such as journalists, historians, and law enforcement, as they attempt to discover new information and verify details of investigations.
Dr. Kurt Luther
Dr. Richard Nance and his wife Barbara will be recognized by the NC State University Libraries (NCSU) as Life Members of the Friends of the Library. Dr. Nance is an emeritus professor and former department head of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. NCSU Life Members have made a long standing commitment to helping improve the collections and services of the NCSU Libraries. Dr. Nance is one of the founding members of the Simulation Archive (http://d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation/) and continues to serve on the Advisory Board that guides the development and building of the Archive. As a leader in the field of simulation, Dr. Nance has also contributed to a unique collection of oral history interviews with simulation pioneers. Dr. Nance and his wife Barbara have also helped to build the Simulation Archive Endowment to enhance and sustain the Archive for generations of students and scholars. They will be recognized at the annual Friends of the Library Spring Meeting, on Friday, March 31 at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library. The event is a lunch with an exclusive look at upcoming renovations of the D. H. Hill Library and a special viewing of rare books and materials from our Special Collections Research Center. Items from the Simulation Archive will be on view for attendees before the lunch.
He received BSIE and M.S. degrees from N.C. State University in 1962 and 1966 respectively, and the Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1968. He has served on the faculties of Southern Methodist University and Virginia Tech. Nance has held research appointments at the Naval Surface Weapons Center and at the Imperial College of Science and Technology (UK) as well as visiting appointments at Old Dominion University and Brunel University (UK). He was also appointed Visiting Distinguished Honors Professor for the spring semester 1997 at the University of Central Florida. Nance is the author of over 150 papers on discrete event simulation, performance modeling and evaluation, computer networks, and software engineering. He has held several editorial positions and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation (TOMACS).
Nance has consulted for major private businesses and organizations, and his long-term research relationship with the U.S. Navy led to the establishment of the Systems Research Center at Virginia Tech in 1983. He was named to the John Adolphus Dahlgren Chair in Computer Science in 1988. He was instrumental in the development of the Simulation Archive at N.C. State and currently chairs the advisory committee. Nance has received several awards for his editorial and professional contributions, most recently the INFORMS Simulation Society Lifetime Professional Achievement Award in 2007. He was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1996 and a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in 2008. In 2006 he was recognized by the faculty of the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering of N.C. State as one of the 12 Distinguished Alumni over the first 75 years of the department’s history.
Today we are seeing a large spike in undergraduate computer science enrollment. There have been two previous spikes in CS, one in the late 80’s (following the debut of the PC) and one in the early 2000’s (the “dot com boom”). So here we go again? Is this another enrollment bubble? This one feels different to me. While the current growth rate will surely level out, I believe CS enrollments will be sustainably high for the foreseeable future. Computing is just so pervasive, and a CS degree is such good preparation for deep computational thinking and creative problem solving—exactly what is needed to address virtually all of the most important problems and opportunities society faces today. And as we make progress on broadening participation in our field to include historically under-represented groups, the potential for new talent and growth is even more exciting.
Here are a few numbers, to give you a sense of CS undergraduate enrollment trends at Virginia Tech. This year we will award almost 250 bachelor’s degrees, our largest group ever, and almost twice the size of the class that graduated only four years ago. Our current sophomore class numbers 341, a number which ranks second in the College of Engineering, trailing only Mechanical Engineering. The average GPA of this group is an impressive 3.37.
We are thrilled at the number of talented students that are streaming into our field! It is a great privilege to help the next generation build on what has come before. In a future post, I’ll have more to say about the great jobs our students are moving into, and about the exciting growth we are experiencing in other dimensions of the department.
Dr. Danfeng Yao, associate professor in computer science and Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 Faculty Fellow, will run for the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGSAC secretary/treasurer officer position this spring. SIGSAC is the ACM’s society on security, audit and control. “I feel quite excited about the possibility of serving the community”, Dr. Yao said. Her candidate statement is below.
ACM SIGSAC is a strong, successful, and inclusive organization. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to serve this large international community that makes my 15-year academic life interesting and fulfilling. Besides the duties of managing SIGSAC finances and correspondences, the secretary/treasurer officer will be a member of the executive committee and participate in decisions that improve SIGSAC’s ability to support its members. Several challenges that I hope to help address include encouraging constructiveness in paper reviews, supporting women in security, and facilitating international exchanges. From serving on numerous PCs I found that security paper reviews tend to be overly negative and sometimes inconsistent, leaving junior researchers confused and discouraged. This is partly due to the critical nature of security and the breadth of the field. However, I believe that constructive criticisms foster our scientific community without reducing its competitiveness. I am also committed to increasing women’s participation in security. Diverse groups with the capacity of anticipating and working with alternative viewpoints are more innovative. The immense task of securing cyberspace demands a diverse and sustainable workforce. Through organizing workshops and exchange programs, I will help create opportunities to broaden the participation of female security professionals around the world.
Through support from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, Center for Human Computer Interaction, and Computer Science Department, we are beginning an initiative we call Technology on the Trail.
This initiative seeks to explore the influences, both positive and negative, of technology when used on extended trail hikes and similar activities. Technology is often targeted for use in heavily populated urban environments, but thousands of people take technology away from cities on their hiking adventures, raising questions about appropriate use when in a more isolated and natural environment. These environments provide some level of separation for most people from technologies, but a need for community and communication still exists for hikers and their friends and family. Widely available technologies and apps, including mobile devices, GPS, biometric sensors, photo and video apps, and mobile blogging tools allow the capture of data and information related to a hike, but the right ways to use it are not well understood.
Our Technology on the Trail initiative seeks to understand and develop ways that technology is used (or avoided!) on trails and in trail-like settings, such as extended and multi-day hikes, where different user goals and desires affect our behaviors and interactions with others.
We have divided this initiative into three main thrusts: preparation, experience, and reflection.
Naren Ramakrishnan and colleagues explore big data analytics to plan for smart communities of the future
We already have smartphones, smart clothing, and smart appliances, but emerging “smart cities” are still a concept of our imagined future. A Virginia Tech team wants those smart cities to feature zero energy, zero outage, and zero congestion. Their tools: big data and interdisciplinary technology.
Walid Saad, the Stephen O. Lane Junior Faculty Fellow and assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering; Harpreet Dhillon, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Naren Ramakrishnan, the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering and director of the Discovery Analytics Center in the Department of Computer Science, are leading a three-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a new planning framework for smart, connected, and sustainable communities.
Dr. Kurt Luther, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded an NSF CAREER award for his project entitled “Transforming Investigative Science and Practice with Expert‐Led Crowdsourcing.” The prestigious NSF CAREER award recognizes creative and high-impact research proposals submitted by early-career faculty members. Dr. Luther’s project will study how best to combine experts and crowds to improve the effectiveness, ethics, and efficiency of investigations, with applications in domains such as history, journalism, and national security.
Dr. Kurt Luther
The 3rd Virginia Tech High School programming competition took place on Saturday, Dec 10, 2017. Dr. Godmar Back served as contest director and head judge. 101 teams from 25 high schools from 5 states took part at the 3rd online Virginia Tech High School contest that is run by volunteers from the ACM ICPC Programming Team at Virginia Tech. This was the first year that the event was advertised on a national site (Google CS4HS), which attracted teams from California, Alabama, North Carolina, and Maryland in addition to teams from Virginia.
More than 1,200 submission was entered in 5 hours, with 430 successful solutions. You can find the scoreboard and problem set (html, pdf). 100 out of 101 teams solved at least one, 56 solved 4 or more. The problems were developed by students from the programming team (Neha Kapur, Peter Steele, Harrison Fang, Daniel Moyer, Andriy Katkov) and Dr. Back. Much to Dr. Back’s surprise, 4 teams solved all 10 problems (one in half the time).
To participate, teams needed to be sponsored by a teacher or parent coach. At most schools, the students got together at their school for the day with their teacher to participate in the contest. Teachers from several schools provided very positive and expressed that their students enjoyed the contest.
This year, for the first time, a team from Blacksburg High School participated. Prizes were sponsored by Eastman Chemical, the Computer Science Resources Consortium, and stack@cs
More detailed information about this year’s contest can be found here. Please spread the word about this contest to colleagues or teachers!
For the fourth straight year a team from Virginia Tech has qualified for the prestigious ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) World Finals. This year’s Mid-Atlantic regional contest, held on November 5, included 177 teams from over 100 schools. Under the leadership of Dr. Godmar Back, ten Virginia Tech three-person teams participated in the regional contest this year. The team consisting of CS majors Peter Steele, Chris Wu, and Andriy Katkov finished first. They will be representing Virginia Tech at the 41st World Finals, to be held this coming May in Rapid City, SD.
The performance of all the Virginia Tech teams was outstanding, with four teams finishing in the top 14, and eight in the top 30. According to Dr. Back, “I need to acknowledge the enthusiasm and hard work of all involved. This year, I had a group of 60-70 dedicated students that attended the Saturday practices. We did five full (five hour) practices on Saturdays during October and September, plus a qualification contest the week before, plus an additional six virtual contests on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I would also like to thank our sponsors, Eastman Chemical, stack@cs, and the CSRC!”
Congratulations to all the ICPC participants:
“PriorityQueues for President” – Peter Steele, Chris Wu, Andriy Katkov
“HashSets for President” – Jeff Robertson, Christy Coghlan, Nathan Lahn
“LinkedLists for President” – Andy Sin, Shengzhe Xu, Geson Chong
“TreeSets for President” – Daniel Moyer, Jamie Simon, Ariana Herbst
“ArrayDeques for President” – Eric Williamson, Lance Chao, Harrison Fang
“Hashtables for President” – Stu Harvey, Daniel Amick, Drew Maczugowski
“BitSets for President” – Luke Wolff, Andrew Lahann, Swaraj Dhumne
“TreeMaps for President” – Bryce Humphrey, Ryan Berft, Alexander Glasson
“ArrayLists for President” – Raju Nadimpalli, JooYoung Whang, Yevhen Pylypenko
“HashMaps for President” – Hunter Morris, Jameson Dyer, Bright Zheng
The IEEE Fellow grade is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one-percent of the total voting membership. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.
Dr. Fox directs the Digital Library Research Laboratory and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. He is known for extraordinary contributions to technology-enriched learning activities in the classroom. When asked what this honor means to him, Dr. Fox said, “It is always an honor to be recognized in such a way and I’m grateful for all the people who have worked with me over the years.”
Fox has held multiple leadership positions in IEEE. He is a member of the IEEE Thesaurus Editorial Board and a member of the Executive Committee of the Technical Committee on Digital Libraries; he served as chair of TCDL from 2004 to 2008. He has been an IEEE Senior Member since 2004. He was on the editorial board of IEEE Multimedia from 1997-2003. Fox was General Chair for the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries in 2001, and has served on the JCDL steering committee since 2003, including as chair from 2010 to 2014. Fox also has served on the program committee of many IEEE conferences and workshops.
Fox has been (co)PI on over 123 funded projects. He has co-authored and/or edited 18 books, and (co)authored 120 journal/magazine articles, 49 book chapters, and 211 refereed conference/workshop papers. These are in areas including digital libraries, information storage and retrieval, machine learning/AI, computational linguistics (NLP), hypertext/hypermedia/multimedia, computing education, and electronic publishing. His work has been cited more than 14940 times and his h-index is 56 according to Google Scholar. Fox has graduated more than 50 masters and Ph.D. students.
Dr. Ed Fox holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Cornell University, and a B.S. from M.I.T. He joined the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science in 1983.
The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 plus members in 160 countries, the association is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.
Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 1300 active industry standards. The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 1700 international technical conferences each year. If you would like to learn more about IEEE or the IEEE Fellow Program, please visit www.ieee.org.
Edward A. Fox