3D Interaction Group

Contact: Doug Bowman

3DI stands for "three-dimensional interaction". Our research spans 3D user interfaces, interaction techniques, and applications, especially in the area of Virtual Environments (VE). Interaction in three dimensions is not well-understood, but is crucial to highly interactive VE applications like immersive education, scientific visualization, and immersive design. The mission of our lab is to perform both basic and applied research in three-dimensional (3D) interaction and VE technology, and to develop applications of VEs in a wide variety of domains.

Algorithm Visualization Research Group

Contact: Cliff Shaffer

The Algorithm Visualization Research Group seeks to understand all aspects of algorithm visualization as it applies to supporting the understanding of algorithms for teaching and research. Primary activities include support for an emerging community of users and developers of Algorithm Visualizations (AVs) through the AlgoViz Wiki (; development of exemplary AVs and the online eTextbook system OpenDSA (, and pedagogical research aimed at a deep understanding of how to make Algorithm Visualization successful in teaching and learning.

Animation and Gaming Research Lab

Contact: Yong Cao

Bacterial Genomics and Bioinformatics Lab

Contact: João Carlos Setubal

The lab develops various kinds of bioinformatics tools to help with genome  annotation and analyses. These include infrastructure (database and  interface) for community genome annotation and tools for comparative  genomics. We have worked primarily with genomes of bacterial pathogens.

Complex Networks and Security Research (CNSR)

Contact: Wenjing Lou

The Complex Networks and Security Research (CNSR) Laboratory at Virginia Tech was founded in 2011 by Profs. Tom Hou and Wenjing Lou. It was merged from the former Complex Network Systems Lab in the ECE department and the former Cyber Security Lab in the CS department.

The mission of the new CNSR@VT lab is to conduct basic and applied research in a broad range of topics in networking, wireless, and cyber security. We explore novel concepts and ideas related to protocols and systems of the future pervasive cyber infrastructure, and design scalable architecture and trustworthy protocols for the next generation networks.

Research interests at CNSR@VT: 

  • Wireless Security: security and privacy in wireless networks and mobile computing, cognitive radio networks security, cross-layer methods for security enhancement, location privacy
  • Cross-layer Optimization: multi-hop cognitive radio ad hoc networks, multi-hop MIMO ad hoc networks
  • Algorithm Design and Optimization: for multi-hop cooperative communications, for wireless ad hoc and sensor networks, opportunistic routing, network coding
  • Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing: outsourced data privacy, search over encrypted data, computation outsourcing privacy
  • Security and Privacy in Cyber-physical Systems: e-healthcare systems and smart grid
  • Video Communications over Dynamic Ad Hoc Networks


Computational and Evolutionary Genomics

Contact: Liqing Zhang

We analyze genomes to infer interesting evolutionary events, with a focus on the divergence of duplicated genes in both primary sequences and function. We develop methods to analyze the human SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) to understand the associations between different genetic diseases. We also develop open source software and online databases for analyzing high throughput data. We are currently developing a program for detecting gene conversion (non-reciprocal transfer of genetic information from one sequence to another) using machine learning approach.

Computational Biology Lab

Contact: Yang Cao

Our group focuses on the development of multiscale, multiphysics modeling and simulation methods and tools that help biologists build, simulate and analyze complex biological systems, simulate their dynamics and analyze their functions. Typical biological models include gene expression models, protein interaction networks, and cell cycle models. We are paricularly interested in applications where multiple scales and multiple physics are presented, and has to be modeled in a hybrid way that include both discrete and continuous variables, deterministic and stochastic equations.

We work at the interface of mathematics, computer science, biology and other related subjects. Due to the interdisciplinary feature, we collaborate with other groups with different background.

Computational Science Laboratory

Contact: Adrian Sandu

Computational Systems Biology Research Group

Contact: T. M. Murali

The functioning of a living cell is governed by intricate networks of physical, functional, and regulatory interactions among different types of molecules. The goal of our research is to build phenomenological and predictive models of these networks by developing approaches based on graph theory, data mining, and machine learning. We drive this work through collaborations with computer scientists and with life science researchers spanning diverse fields including biochemistry, infectious diseases, plant pathology, and tissue engineering.

Database Research Lab

Contact: Csaba Egyhazy

The DB lab studies complex problems in database design, query optimization, and software agent design and implementation. We are particularly interested in novel problems at the interface between databases and agent software.

Design of Interactive Systems Studio

Contact: Steve Harrison

Digital Library Research Laboratory

Contact: Ed Fox

Integrating the best of information retrieval — multimedia, hypermedia, visualization — with the best and most humanistic aspects of living libraries.

Distributed Systems and Storage Laboratory

Contact: Ali Butt

DSSL is interested in the design, development, and evaluation of next-generation storage and file systems. Specifically, the research focuses on tailoring these systems for growing data demands of modern high-end computing applications running on existing as well as emerging multicore architectures. To this end, we aim for innovation in systems that range from large-scale distributed setups to specialized kernel-level optimizations.

Distributed Virtual Environments Laboratory

Contact: Denis Gracanin

Gigapixel Display Laboratory

Contact: Chris North

 The GigaPixel Display Laboratory is hosted by Virginia Tech's Department of Computer Science and the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI).  This NSF-funded facility contains reconfigurable ultra-high resolution displays, totaling approximately 200 million pixels, one of the highest resolutions in the world.


The h.Lab investigates the phenomenology of mediated life.


Human-Centric Security Laboratory

Contact: Danfeng Yao

Our research is focused on cyber security, in particular network and information security, human-behaviors in computer security, user-centric and user-friendly systems, insider threats, secure information sharing, data privacy, and applied cryptography. We are interested in developing sound and quantifiable techniques for ensuring the integrity of computer and network systems, and protect them from advanced malicious software attacks as well as operational and accidental errors.

Laboratory for Advanced Scientific Computing and Applications

Contact: Layne Watson

The goal of the Laboratory for Advanced Scientific Computing and Applications (LASCA) is to provide expertise and leadership in high-end scientific computing research and education at Virginia Tech. Located in Torgersen Hall, the laboratory is a visible and strategic center of activity in applied high-computation and assist scientists and engineers in applying high-end computing resources to their problems. By bringing together experts in scientific cp\omputing and its applications, LASCA helps build the kind of multidisciplinary teams needed to address today's most challenging computational science problems.

Laboratory for Information Visualization and Evaluation

Contact: Chris North

 The LIVE lab studies the design, development, and evaluation of information visualizations.  Information visualizations are interactive visual representation of abstract data that enable people to effectively explore and understand large quantities of complex information.

Mobile Computing Lab

Contact: Ing-Ray Chen

The Mobile Computing Lab studies design principles and evaluation methodologies for understanding and building systems support mechanisms for mobile computing systems including mobile ad hoc and sensor networks for achieveing the goal of anytime, anywhere computing in wireless mobile environments. The primary research focuses of the Mobile Computing Lab are in mobility management, data and service management, security and dependability aspects in mobile computing environments.

Mobile Software Engineering Lab (MSEL)

Contact: Osman Balci

Mobile Software Engineering Lab (MSEL) is a research and development laboratory, directed by Prof. Osman Balci, and housed within the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. MSEL aims to provide mobile software-based solutions to complex problems especially by using the iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch) mobile devices. MSEL has developed the CandyFactory Educational Game for the iOS mobile devices. Currently, MSEL is part of a $2 million NSF-funded research project entitled "Gateways to Algebraic Motivation, Engagement and Success (GAMES): Supporting and Assessing Fraction Proficiency with Game-Based, Mobile Applications and Devices" for the period of 8/15/2011 – 12/31/2014.

Multiscale Modeling and Computation

Contact: Yang Cao

Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory

Contact: Madhav Marathe

The NDSSL is pursuing an advanced research and development program for interaction-based modeling, simulation, and associated analysis, experimental design, and decision support tools for understanding large biological, information, social, and technological systems. Extremely detailed, multi-scale computer simulations allow formal and experimental investigation of these systems. The need for such simulations is derived from questions posed by scientists, policy makers, and planners involved with very large complex systems. The simulation applications are underwritten by a theoretical program in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science that is sustained by more than a decade of experience with the interplay of research and application. Laboratory members are currently pursuing active projects in Wireless Networks, Computational Epidemiology and Algorithms, Complex Networks and High Performance Computing.

Notification Systems Research Lab

Contact: Scott McCrickard

Notification systems attempt to deliver current, important information to the user in an efficient and effective manner. Examples of familiar notification systems include instant messaging systems, system and user status updates, email alerts, and news and stock tickers. With the popularity of these systems skyrocketing in recent years, our group explores the effects of incoming notifications on ongoing computing tasks, creating models for their design, implementation, and evaluation. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments about our work.

PathoSystems Resource Information Center (PATRIC)


PATRIC is one of eight Bioinformatics Resource Centers funded by the National  Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to create and maintain a  data and analysis resource for selected NIAID priority pathogens,  specifically proteobacteria of the genera Brucella, Rickettsia and Coxiella,  and corona-, calici- and lyssaviruses and viruses associated with hepatitis A  and E. The center provides a comprehensive bioinformatics resource for these  pathogens, including consistently annotated genome, proteome and metabolic  pathway data to facilitate research into counter-measures, including drugs,  vaccines and diagnostics. The Principal Investigator is Bruno Sobral.

Personal Information Management Lab

Contact: Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones

The PIM lab studies how individuals use technology to organize and use  their day to day information needs. The goal is to explore how to best  make use of our limited personal resources (time, money, energy,  attention) to improve the quality of our lives. This often translate  to better productivity but can simply mean more satisfaction. An area  of interest is how advances in PIM research could informs education  programs that focus on information literacy. We are particularly  interested in how people use many devices in their day to day  activities. To support that, we have available for research desktops,  laptops, web servers, large displays, iPods, PDAs, RFIDs, phone system  with support for VoiceXML, and many other technologies.

Pragmatics of Educational/Emotional Computing (POET) Research Lab

Contact: Deborah Tatar

The POET lab engages in research of real-world technology projects that promote equity and excellence in K-12 math and science classrooms and university engineering education, explores systems (especially Tuple Space-based) to support complex human coordination, lies in the realms of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and computer-supported cooperative learning (CSCL), evaluates handheld, tablet, and large-screen computing, and contributes to the issues of social attention and technology.


Contact: Barbara Ryder

PROLANGS@VT researches analysis-based approaches to solving real software engineering problems. We have developed static, dynamic, and hybrid analyses to help engineers maintain code, find security problems, locate bugs, and improve performance in their applications. We have implemented these analyses in tools for modern object-oriented programming languages such as Java and collaborated with industrial partners to evaluate our methodologies on real, production systems.

Specific current projects include:

  • semantic change impact analysis for Java programs within an integrated development environment (Eclipse) including techniques for finding fault-inducing changes in Java codes; algorithms for establishing safe early commits of edits, even in the presence of failing tests; and methods for using change impact feedback for decision making in a collaborative test-driven development process;
  • blended static+dynamic analyses, including performance diagnosis and program understanding of framework-intensive web application software, and enhanced software security analysis of Java systems.

Scape - SCAlable PErformance Laboratory

Contact: Kirk Cameron

The SCAlable PErformance (SCAPE) laboratory is directed by Professor Kirk W. Cameron. Our main research focus is the design, analysis and improvement of scalable systems and applications using emerging technologies.

Sequence Analysis and Gene Silencing

Contact: Lenwood Heath

This laboratory houses the Computational Modeling of Gene Silencing (CMGS) project. This project is constructing computational models of the gene silencing phenomenon for the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans. One product of the project is a comprehensive database of information about gene silencing in C. elegans, CMGSDB. Data mining techniques play a large role in the computational modeling. This laboratory also features research in biological sequence analysis. One topic in that area is genomic signatures, mathematical structures that can be computed from genomic sequences and used to identify the original organism.

Social Computing Lab

Contact: Andrea Kavanaugh

Social computing is the study of the social use and impact of information technology, and the study of information technology designed specifically for social purposes, such as interpersonal and group communication, discussion, and social interaction (e.g., electronic mail, instant messenger, discussion tools, blogging, and social websites, such as Friendster, Facebook, and MySpace). It draws on multiple disciplines, including sociology, social psychology, political science, communication studies, and computer science.


Contact: Naren Ramakrishnan

Softlab's emphasis is on the design of software systems that provide high-level abstractions to their users, in support of problem solving,  knowledge discovery, or, information finding. Our work is highly interdisciplinary, both in the domains outside computer science that we support and in the areas  within computer science that we integrate.

Software Innovations Laboratory

Contact: Eli Tilevich

The Software Innovations Lab at Virginia Tech creates novel software tools that facilitate the development and maintenance of the computer systems of today and tomorrow. The Lab's research activities explore how advanced software engineering practices, including automatic code generation, program transformation, novel system designs and programming paradigms can assist in the development and sustainment of complex computer systems. Current research projects include automated refactoring of framework-based applications, novel architectures for high-performance bioinformatics software, new programming abstractions for distributed object systems, and automated program enhancement.

Software Reuse and Domain Engineering Lab


Software reuse is the use of existing software or software knowledge to construct new software. A key concept in systematic reuse is the domain, a software business area that contains systems sharing commonalities. Most organizations work in only a few domains, repeatedly building similar systems with variations to meet the needs of different customers. Rather than building each variant system from scratch, as is often done today, significant gains are achievable by reusing large portions of previously built systems in the domain to construct new ones. The process of identifying domains, bounding them, and discovering commonalities and variabilities among the systems in the domain is called domain analysis. The entire process of reusing domain knowledge in the production of new systems is called domain engineering or product line engineering.

Spatial Data Management Lab

Contact: Chang-Tien Lu

Research on spatial and spatio-temporal data management is to fulfill the emerging requirements for storing, analyzing, exchanging, and disseminating spatial and spatio-temporal data in many GIS applications. Projects range from general spatial and spatio-temporal data management, such as the indexing structure, query processing, and concurrency control, to applications that deal with data analysis and knowledge discovery tasks, such as transportation visualization, watershed monitoring, disease outbreak analysis, geospatial web service, and web usage mining. The outputs of these projects have not only brought out high quality research papers and demos, but also helped the professionals in many fields, such as transportation managers and watershed engineers, to take efficient responses and make effective decisions.

Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Molecular Biophysics

Contact: Alexey Onufriev

Our group uses computational methods to understand dynamics and function of large biomolecular systems such as proteins, DNA, and their complexes. Some of these methods are being developed in our lab. The computations are often performed on supercomputers such as VT's System-X.



Synergy Laboratory

Contact: Wu Feng

The Systems, Networking, and Renaissance Grokking (SyNeRGy) Lab conducts basic and applied research that provides scientists and engineers with scalable and efficient computational tools that enable them to concentrate on their science and engineering rather than on the computer science and engineering. To that end, we explore a breadth of complementary intellectual activities that span the high- performance & enterprise-wide spectrum --- from systems software to middleware to applications software to tools --- in order to empower cyber-scientists and cyber-engineers of tomorrow.

Systems Software Laboratory

Contact: Godmar Back


Third Lab provides the intellectual home for two HCI lab groups - Deborah Tatar's POET Lab and Steve Harrison's h.Lab .  While each of the labs have different projects and ask different kinds of questions, both are fundmentally phenomenologically situated. 

The name comes from the seminal paper by Harrison, Tatar and Sengers, The Third Paradigm which organizes the intellectual landscape of HCI into "classical human factors" (e.g. critical incidents), "classical cognitivism" (human information processing model, GOMS, KLM, and other quantifiable performance-oriented systems), and "phenomologically situated" (semiotic design, sociality, ethnography, affect, activity theory, cultural probes, etc.) "Third" also refers to the semeiotic system of Charles Sandes Peirce in which a "sign" is made up of the representation, the thing refered to by the representation, and a third thing -- the idea in the mind that connects the two

Third Lab meets Wednesday afternoons.


Visual Computing Lab

Contact: Nicholas Polys