Photo of Margaret Burnett

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has named Margaret Burnett, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Oregon State University, to the Information Science and Technology Study Group for a three-year term beginning this summer. The group brings 30 of the brightest scientists and engineers together to identify new areas of development in computer and communication technologies and to recommend future research directions.

Burnett is the second Oregon State member of the study group. Tom Dietterich, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, a part of the steering committee for the group.

“This is a chance to be a part of making a real impact together with some of the leading minds in science and technology, and change the world for the better,” Burnett said.

Burnett specializes in research at the intersection of human computer interaction and software engineering, and is known for her pioneering work in visual programming languages, end-user software engineering, and gender-inclusive software. She has received recognition from national organizations including the CHI Academy, the National Center for Women and TechnologyACM SIGSOFT, and IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing.

The Information Science and Technology Study Group was established by DARPA in 1987 to support its technology offices and provide continuing and independent assessment of the state of advanced information science and technology as it relates to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lizhong Chen
Lizhong Chen

Lizhong Chen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, joins five others this year who were inducted into the Hall of Fame of the IEEE International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture. It is the top venue in the field and there are only 53 inductees in its 26-year history who meet the requirement of having at least eight publications accepted to the symposium.

“I feel honored, as most of the current members in the Hall of Fame are senior researchers who are IEEE and/or ACM Fellows,” said Chen. “I appreciate the recognition as it acknowledges my technical contribution to the computer architecture community in the past decade. It also helps to increase the visibility of Oregon State in this research field.”

Earlier this year, Chen received the Best Paper Runner-Up Award at the 2020 IEEE International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture. He also received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2018.

Chen is the founder and organizer of the Annual International Workshop on AI-Assisted Design for Architecture. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery, and currently serves as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Computers.

Photo of Ni Trieu.

Ni Trieu (’20 Ph.D., Computer Science) was recognized for her work in an area of cryptography called private set interaction. It allows two entities to compare databases to find items in common without leaking other information such as passwords.

Trieu received the dissertation award from the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for research that improved the speed and security of private set interaction.  She also developed the first practical techniques to compare more than two sets of data.

“Ni has a great aptitude for research, and a compelling vision of how cryptographic tools can protect the privacy of everyday people,” said Mike Rosulek, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering. “She matches her technical aptitude with an equal measure of hard work and persistence.”

Trieu grew up in Vietnam and received a scholarship to do her undergraduate studies in Russia at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. During her time there, she developed an interest in theoretical computer science, including cryptography, which she describes as a bridge between theory and practical applications.

As a student at Oregon State, Ni also spent several summers as a research intern at Bell Labs, Visa Research, and Google. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley. She will be joining Arizona State University as an assistant professor this fall.

John F. Conley, Jr., professor of electrical and computer engineering, was appointed associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, the flagship journal of the IEEE Electron Devices Society.

Photo fo John F. Conley
John F. Conley achieves another milestone.

Conley is also an IEEE Fellow and was elected a 2019 Fellow of the American Vacuum Society. In other recent achievements, he nearly made it to the top of Marys Peak on his road bike starting from his house in Corvallis, but got turned around by snow.

“I am excited about my new role as associate editor which will be continuing my long service to IEEE that began in graduate school as a reviewer for Transactions on Nuclear Science,” Conley said. “I view associate editorship as an honor as well as an obligation. It will require much hard work but will give me the opportunity to arrange for appropriate and constructive technical reviews and to influence the content and quality of one of IEEE’s flagship journals.”

Read more about Conley’s life and career.

Photo of Jordan Bartos.
Jordan Bartos, president of the OSU Hackathon club.

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop the OSU Hackathon Club from holding BeaverHacks Spring 2020 on March 27-29. Seventy-four participants formed 17 teams to develop a website, app, or API on the theme of community building.

It was held online — the usual venue for the club’s events, since the organizers are computer science students in the online baccalaureate program. However, the global health emergency still had an influence on the event.  

“We had a lot of submissions that somehow tied to the pandemic,” said Jordan Bartos, postbaccalaureate student in computer science and president of the club.

Teams were judged by a panel of instructors and industry representatives. The club distributed $400 in prizes to the following winners:

  • First place: The Reading Room by Mae LaPresta, Elizabeth Tackett, Manda Jensen.
  • Second place: Where the Heck by Zach Tindell, Jeremy Binder, Chia-Tse Weng.
  • Third place: barterNow by Lifang Yan, Cameron Grover, Felipe Teixeira Groberio
  • New student category: Community Request Board by Jung Min (Judy) Lee, Wei Yu Tang, Angela Dimon.

All submissions are posted on the Hackathon website.

“It was incredibly gratifying to win, because the focus of our project was something all of us felt very passionately about,” said Mae La Presta, postbaccalaureate student in computer science. She was part of the winning team that created the Reading Room app to help foster a sense of community when social distancing has become the new norm.

Although the club was started by students from the online program, they welcome all Oregon State students. Bartos says his priority as president is to grow the membership of the club and raise awareness of their events. Future events could include collaborations with other clubs on campus.

“I feel pretty strongly about the benefits of the Hackathon club because when I competed in the first one, it really ignited something in me for coding in general,” Bartos said.

Participants say that learning new technical skills, building relationships with other students, and having the reward of creating something new were the main benefits of the experience.

“I was impressed by what everyone was able to accomplish by the end of the weekend. The presentations were incredible, and it was so cool to see what everyone’s ideas were,” said Manda Jensen, postbaccalaureate student in computer science.

A collaborative project with researchers at Oregon State University and University of Southern California received Best Paper Runner-Up Award at a top conference for computer architecture. The research examines if machine learning can also teach us anything about computer architectural design.

Ting-Ru Lin (University of Southern California), Drew Penney (Oregon State University), Massoud Pedram (University of Southern California), Lizhong Chen (Oregon State University) received the Best Paper Runner-Up Award at the International Symposium on High-Performance Computer Architecture on February 26, 2020.

Drew Penney is a doctoral student of electrical and computer engineering, and Lizhong Chen is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Oregon State.

The paper, “A Deep Reinforcement Learning Framework for Architectural Exploration: A Routerless NoC Case Study,” develops a deep reinforcement learning based framework for flexible and efficient architectural design space exploration. The work demonstrates the viability of utilizing machine learning to improve computer architecture, and the framework will be useful for many researchers in the community.

Minsuk Kahng and colleagues at Georgia Institute of Technology and Western Washington University were recognized by the prestigious journal, ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, for their research that impacts mobile health technologies.

“I’m honored that our paper has been nominated for the best paper. Our work addresses an important challenge of supporting analysis of large-scale mobile health data, by unifying scalable data mining and human-centric visualization techniques,” said Kahng, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering.

The paper, titled Chronodes: Interactive Multifocus Exploration of Event Sequences received the Best Paper Award, Honorable Mention. The authors are Peter Polack, Shang-Tse Chen, Minsuk Kahng, Kaya De Barbaro, Rahul Basole, Moushumi Sharmin, and Duen Horng Chau. ACM TiiS is one of the prestigious journals at the intersection of AI and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), and this award is given to top selected papers.

2019 Cyberforce Competition team.
2019 OSU Cyberforce Competition team
2019 Oregon State University Cyberforce Competition team.

For the third consecutive year, a team of Oregon State University computer science students placed first regionally in the Cyberforce Competition hosted by the Department of Energy on November 15-16, 2019. They competed against 17 teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. The team placed sixth in the nationwide competition, which included over 100 teams.

The team included members from the Oregon State Security Club: Cody Holliday, Ryan Kennedy, Matt Jansen, Khuong Luu, Zach Rogers, and Zander Work. Yeongjin Jang, assistant professor of computer science, advised the team.

“This competition is a highlight of the year for me,” said Zander Work, president of the OSU Security Club. “I really enjoy getting to test out my defensive skills in a live environment against a skilled red team. I also enjoy the added twist of securing some real-world industrial infrastructure, rather than a typical IT environment.”

Anita Sarma
Anita Sarma, associate professor

“Open source software is changing the technology and workforce landscape. Our work will help open source software tools and technology support diverse cognitive styles that will help bring diversity in thought by enabling diversity in open source contributors.”

 – Anita Sarma, associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Oregon State.

Principal investigators:

  • Lead PI: Anita Sarma, associate professor of computer science, Oregon State University
  • Co-PI: Margaret Burnett, Distinguished Professor of computer science, Oregon State University

In collaboration with:

  • PI: Igor Steinmacher, assistant professor, Northern Arizona University
  • Co-PI: Marco Gerosa, associate professor, Northern Arizona University

Agency:

National Science Foundation

Award amount:

$1.4 million between the two universities, $870,773 to Oregon State.

Research objectives:

This research will investigate whether and how open source software tools and technologies have gender biases tied with diverse problem-solving styles, and how to remove any such biases.

This work will harness foundational gender research to provide theory-based yet practical solutions and redesigns of open source software projects to address the underrepresentation of women.

The redesigns and the process of creating inclusive tools will be empirically evaluated to create a compendium of “best practices” for fixing gender-bias bugs, in both products (what suitable fixes are to such bugs) and processes (how open source software teams can work together to fix gender-bias bugs).

Broader impacts:

Open source is having a significant impact on society, in the products it produces and the career paths that it facilitates. However, women are vastly underrepresented among open source developers. This is a significant concern to these communities because it prevents them from receiving the benefits of a larger talent pool and of team diversity. The problem is perpetuated when women developers miss the learning and professional growth opportunities that open source software projects provide, and are overlooked when open source contributions are used to make hiring decisions. Our work will help break down these gender-bias barriers in tools and technology used in open source software.

More information is on the NSF website.

Photo of Jennifer Parham-Mocello.
Jennifer Parham-Mocello (left), assistant professor of computer science, specializes in computer science education.

Researchers at Oregon State University are taking an innovative approach to teaching computer science concepts to middle school students using tabletop games such as Connect Four and Battleship. Working in partnership with teachers and administrators at Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis, Oregon, the team will develop and investigate a new curriculum to teach algorithmic thinking to sixth and seventh graders.

The project is part of a national movement called CSforALL and funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. This is the second grant impacting K-12 education that Jennifer Parham-Mocello, assistant professor of computer science, has received this year; the first was funded by Google.

The co-principal investigators on the National Science Foundation grant are Martin Erwig, Stretch Professor of Computer Science, and Margaret Niess, emeritus professor of education.

This year, the team is working on curriculum development, which will be completed by the summer of 2020 when the middle school teachers will conduct classes for an Oregon State University STEM Academy summer camp. In the fall of 2020, the teachers will deliver the new curriculum in their sixth and seventh grade classes. The third year, the team will be refining the curriculum and adding more games.

The purpose of the grant is to make computer science more accessible and interesting to a broad range of young people. As a dual language immersion school, Linus Pauling Middle School offers an opportunity for the researchers and teachers to impact students from diverse backgrounds.

In addition to the regular curriculum, the group will be hosting family game nights twice a year at the school so that students can show their families and friends what they have been learning.

“One of the reasons we picked games for teaching computational thinking is because they involve social interactions,” Parham-Mocello said. “So, we thought the game nights would be a fun way for the students to practice and get the families involved.”