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Magellan Scholars: Ogunji, Piedt, and Twitty

We would like to congratulate three of our undergraduate students for winning Magellan awards. They are Jilbert Ogunji for his project titled "Cost Effective Method of Validating and Improving Computationally Modeled Protein Structures", Jared William Piedt for his project "Gamecock Mobile: Increasing Student Productivity Through Mobile Applications.", and Earron Twitty for "Development of an Integrated Software Package for Analysis of Structure and Dynamics of Biomolecules from RDC Data."

Dr. Buell Named AAAS Fellow

We are proud to announce that Dr. Duncan Buell has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This is one of the highest honors awarded to any scientist. It is bestowed upon AAAS members who have made scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Students Inducted to IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society

We would like to congratulate Tamara Nicole Richardo Nurse, Shannon Hood, Ming Wong, and Michael T. Brunson, II for being chosen to join the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society. The IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society at the University of South Carolina honors excellence in engineering by recognizing the leaders of today and tomorrow in the areas of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and Computer Engineering. On November 19th, 2013, eight students were inducted into the Delta Phi Chapter of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu. The ceremony was held in the Electrical Engineering Conference Room in Swearingen Engineering Center. Congratulations to Eta Kappu Nu’s newest members: Tamara Nicole Richardo Nurse Shannon Hood Amanda Elliot Ming Wong Joshua Slice Michael T. Brunson, II Jeffrey M. Baker Matthew Watke The University of South Carolina established the Delta Phi Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu on May 17, 1962, and the chapter was recently reactivated last year. The chapter now has 16 undergraduate students, 1 graduate student, and 1 faculty member. Eta Kappa Nu is the Honor Society for the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering. In 2010 IEEE and Eta Kappa Nu merged to form IEEE-HKN. The organization currently has about 200 university chapters and thousands of student members. After graduation, members can continue their association with IEEE-HKN.

Applied Computing Minor in the News

Our new Applied Computing Minor was featured in a TV news segment. In the video, Dr. Huhns explains how everyone can benefit from knowing the basics of cybersecurity and computing.

From the article:
Dr. Huhns says of his computer science and computer engineering majors, "My department produces fewer than 100 students each year that understand computing and something about security, and there are probably ten times as many jobs as that available, and we can't come close to filling the demand." You would think students would be lining up to go into the field. He says every graduate has multiple job offers from across the country, and the lowest starting salary that any of them has accepted was $60,000 a year.

Fix-IT Day 2013

Our ACM student group held their annual Fix-IT Day this weekend in which they were able to send 121 people home very happy that their computers were now in working order. The students removed malware (including some rootkits), applied patches, and installed free firewall and virus-protection systems. They not only fixed the computers, but also educated the people in how to maintain their computers themselves. We would like to thank our ACM student members for providing this great service to the Columbia community. You can view a slideshow of photos from the event.

Mr. Stiffler wins UPE Award

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Nick Stiffler, one of our PhD students, has received an Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) Special Recognition Scholarship Award ($1,250) for his outstanding research and academic record in computing. UPE is the international honor society in the computing and information disciplines. Congratulations, Nick!

Gamecock Computing Symposium Winners

Our Second Gamecock Symposium was an even larger success than the first one. The first prize winner was Mr. Hossen Mustafa, and the second prize winner was Mr. Fan Zhang. Congratulations! All the students did a great job presenting their research. Below is a slideshow with some images from the event: Even more photos can be found in this google+ album.

Book on Robot Operating System

Dr. Jason O'Kane has just published his book titled "A Gentle Introduction to ROS." The book is also free to download as a pdf. From the backcover:
ROS (Robot Operating System) is rapidly becoming a de facto standard for writing interoperable and reusable robot software. This book supplements ROS's own documentation, explaining how to interact with existing ROS systems and how to create new ROS programs using C++, with special attention to common mistakes and misunderstandings.

New Faculty: Prof. Jenay Beer

We would like to welcome our newest assistant professor Dr. Jenay Beer to the department. She comes to us from Georgia Tech where she worked in the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory and received both PhD and Master's degrees in Engineering Psychology. She is interested in human-robot interactions and how to to build robots that can help older adults. Her office is 3A58. Below is a video of her TEDx talk at Georgia Tech.

Security Risks in Heart Devices

Dr Xu and her research team have discovered security vulnerabilities in the sensors of cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers. She explains:
As researchers, it's our responsibility to always challenge the common practice and find defenses for vulnerabilities that could be exploited before unfortunate incidents happen. We hope our research findings can help to enhance the security of sensing systems that will emerge for years to come.
You can read the full story at our College website: Security risks found in sensors for heart devices. You can also watch a the video report that appeared on WISTV.

Grubbly: Find Local Food Deals

Jason Rikard and Jonathan Mayhak, two recent graduates from this department, have just released Grubbly, a website and iphone app (Android coming soon) where you can find local food specials. Currently it only covers Columbia but plans are to expand to nearby cities. The app is featured in the State Newspaper. Also, check out their blog.
For the moment, is not a money-maker. Mayhak and Rikard glean specials from the Internet or by personal experience. They often just snap pictures of specials boards with their iPhones to be logged in later. “We go out a lot,” Rikard said. The app is more of a showpiece for their freelance programming startup Apparctica, they said. And perhaps, once the two can figure out a way to quantify how much traffic they are driving to restaurants (without the use of coupons), they can institute a small monthly fee. In the meantime, they are kicking around ways to build grubbly by communicating such things as the vibe of the room, the character of the clientele, the décor, the architecture – taking it to the next level. “Information about how cool it looks and the people who are there,” said Mayhak. “Not just an aggregate of information,” Rikard said.

Magellan Scholars

We congratulate our two Magellan Scholars award winners for this Semester: Connor Bain who will be working on Utilizing Activity and Context Recognition to Mitigate Distractions from Smartphones and Casey Cole who is working on Developing Databases, Web-interfaces and Visualization Tools for Computational Material Discovery.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Winner

We congratulate Daniel Grier, an undergraduate double-majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics, for being awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for attending graduate school (list of winners). The 3-year fellowship covers tuition at any University and provides a stipend of $30,000/year.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) provides Fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering. Three years of support is provided by the program for graduate study that is in a field within NSF's mission and leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree. The program goals are 1) to select, recognize, and financially support individuals early in their careers with the demonstrated potential to be high achieving scientists and engineers, and 2) to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. GRFP is a critical program in NSF's overall strategy in developing the globally-engaged workforce necessary to ensure the Nation's leadership in advancing science and engineering research and innovation. The ranks of NSF Fellows include numerous individuals who have made transformative breakthroughs in science and engineering research, become leaders in their chosen careers, and been honored as Nobel laureates. Applicants are urged to visit the NSF web page at for more information and guidance about current and emerging themes for NSF.
Daniel Grier has also just been named a finalist in the Computing Research Association Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award.