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Jonathan Kilby wins Bridging Scholarship

Third year Computer Science and Engineering student Jonathan Kilby was recently awarded one of 20 Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan. The Bridging Scholarship is a national award that offers $2500 for a semester-long study program or $4000 for a full academic year, for undergraduate students. It is coordinated by the Association of Teachers of Japanese and funded by private foundations and major U.S. corporations. Jonathan’s interest in Japanese culture and his work toward a Japanese minor influenced his decision to apply for the scholarship, and his strong application helped him beat out a large number of other applicants. Next spring, Jonathan will participate in the USC Global Exchange program to Kansai University in Osaka, Japan, where he will enhance his Japanese skills by taking language and culture classes. He hopes to intern with Sony at one of their Japanese facilities, paving the way for his ultimate goal, to one day live and work in Japan. For more information about the Bridging Scholarship for Study Abroad in Japan, please visit To find out more about the USC Global Exchange to Kansai University or about USC education abroad opportunities in general, please visit

Dr. Wang Receives Air Force Research Award

Dr. Song Wang has been awarded a research grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR/DOD) for his project "Metallic Material Image Segmentation by using 3D Grain Structure Consistency and Intra/Inter-Grain Model Information." The major goal of this project is to develop new effective image-processing algorithms and software tools to automatically segment microscopic images of metallic materials to accurately extract their 3D grain and subgrain structures, which determine mechanical and other important properties of the materials. On the right are a slice of a 3D microscopy polycrystalline titanium grain image and its segmentation result.

Desperate Fishwives: An Educational Game

The Free Times newspaper has an article on Desperate Fishwives, an educational game being developed by Dr. Buell, Dr. Heidi Rae Cooley from Media Arts, and their students. The game aims to teach high school and college students the realities of life in a 17th Century English village by having the player take on the role of various village characters.
John Hodgson, a USC computer science graduate student writing the game’s code, takes things a step further, explaining how immersion in an experiential environment could potentially prove more effective than more traditional classroom approaches. “For students who have never lived in a 17th century English village, which is all of them, how will they know what that experience was like? Well, they can have a teacher tell them, and that might convince some; they’ll be able to regurgitate it on a test. Or we can create an experience about what it might have been like. By playing the game they learn the rules — what’s acceptable, what’s not, what people did what things. Nothing is actually told to them, but because of the way the game is designed they have to accept that reality.”
Update: The USC news also has an article on this research.

Mussels or Wireless Sensors?

Dr. Xu, working with Dr. Helmuth from the Biology department, spent her Summer on a beach in Oregon testing wireless sensors that would monitor environnemental conditions. The research is being coverend in local news:
Dr. Xu is developing a sensor that looks like a Mussel that can be deployed and will relay information in realtime. The field test is designed to see how the current sensor behaves under real conditions and what changes need to be made to make it successful. If the sensor can be developed, researchers will have access to realtime information and will be able to see how changes in the environment are impacting the marine organisms. This could unlock a treasure trove of information for researchers worldwide. Notice that the sensor is in the shape and color of a Mussel. It is attached to the Mussel bed by an epoxy that hopefully will keep the sensor intact through breaking waves as the tide advances.
Update: This work is now funded by an NSF grant titled "Intertidal Sensor Networks for Climate Change Studies in Intertidal Ecosystems." This is what the hardware looks like:  
The hardware

Automatic Tagging of Photos Taken with Smartphones

Our graduate student Chuan Qin and Prof. Srihari Nelakuditi in collaboration with Systems and Networking Research Group at Duke University developed a system called TagSense for tagging photos taken with smartphones. TagSense leverages multiple sensors on smartphones carried by people to identify them in a picture and tag it with their names and activities. Articles about TagSense appeared in media outlets such as Popular Science. Visit here for more information on TagSense.

SC Education Lottery Athlete of the Week

The College of Engineering and Computing congratulates Alex Burrell on being named the SC Education Lottery Athlete of the Week. Alex is a member of the Gamecock Baseball team, #33 Left-handed pitcher, who recently graduated this May. In his CSCE 492 project he was part of a team programming an Epidemiological Calculator for the iPhone/iPad which is meant to help researchers in the field perform calculations that they would otherwise need to do by hand. Keep an eye out for #33 at the College World Series in Omaha starting on June 18!

Senior Faculty Position Opening in Safety-Critical Systems

The College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina seeks to fill one tenure-track position at a senior rank in computer science and engineering. The position, in conjunction with corresponding positions in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, is intended to establish a national center of excellence in safety critical systems, especially for aerospace applications. Particular areas of specialization include software engineering, computational modeling, sensing and control, and condition-based maintenance. Requirements include a Ph.D. in a relevant field and a record indicating exceptional accomplishments and potential for research. Support from the Computer Science and Engineering Department will include low teaching loads, competitive salary, and generous start-up funds. Responsibilities are to establish a research program of national and international prominence, with a dedication to graduate and undergraduate education. Persons joining the program will have significant opportunities and access to world-class university and industrial aerospace facilities and staff across the state of South Carolina. Safety-Critical Systems are those that manage the infrastructure and technological components of our society, including our transportation systems. They are the systems whose failure can lead to catastrophic events. Aerospace systems are an example of these, and ensuring their safety is a critical problem. It is also a difficult problem, in that aerospace systems are very complex with many interacting parts, all of which must operate correctly over lifetimes that might extend for decades. Solutions to the problem require means to assess the vulnerabilities of a system, determine its state, and decide on the appropriate actions to verify its safety and thus trustworthiness. The College of Engineering and Computing is being proactive by making strategic faculty hires to meet the needs of the aerospace industry. The expertise of the current faculty (i.e., in composite materials, thermo-fluids, structural health monitoring, and future fuels) can partially meet the emerging needs of the aerospace industry. The proposed cluster focusing on Safety-Critical Aerospace Systems complements the current strength while bridging a critical gap in our endeavor to establish USC in the area of aerospace engineering and computing. Software has become a key part of all complex societal systems on which we have come to rely. Reliance requires trustworthiness, and this can be established only by verifying the software that processes the sensor data obtained for monitoring and controlling societal systems. However, new software engineering techniques are needed for dealing with the complex, distributed, and heterogeneous systems being considered here. The verification of software for such systems is unsolved and amenable to significant innovation: it will be viable as an important research and education area for the foreseeable future. This position will contribute to and benefit from existing research programs in multiagent and service-oriented software within the Computer Science and Engineering Department. The proposed faculty member in software engineering would contribute substantially and creatively to the analysis, visualization, and automated understanding of the data that is produced by the distributed heterogeneous sensors used to assess the state of an aerospace or other safety-critical system. Software engineering would be synergistic with sensor signal processing and condition-based maintenance: the other proposed hiring areas in this cluster will contribute to ensuring trust and safety, resulting in a creative and transformative use of USC resources and leading to significant improvements to USC's teaching mission and research enterprise. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering is in the College of Engineering and Computing and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The Department has 21 full-time faculty (nine of whom are NSF CAREER award recipients), an undergraduate enrollment of 424 students, a graduate enrollment of 88 students, and over $2 million in annual research expenditures. New leadership in the College has made growth of the Department a high priority. The University of South Carolina is located in Columbia, the capital and technology center of South Carolina, and is the comprehensive graduate institution in the state, with an enrollment of more than 25,000 students. For more information, see our homepage. Applications must include curriculum vitae, research and teaching plans, and contact information for at least three references. Applications should be submitted electronically to The screening of applicants will begin on May 1, 2011 and will continue until all three positions are filled. The University of South Carolina is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Power Saving Software for High Performance Computing

As appeared in Campus Technology:
After trying out a new, free power saver utility on his laptop, a high performance computing administrator at the University of South Carolina has implemented an enterprise edition of the same software on a large set of computers and reaped dramatic energy savings. Paul Sagona, a member of the IT organization in the College of Engineering and Computing at the university, has deployed Granola Enterprise, a program from MiserWare, on 250 stand-alone computers.
"This is another facet of our energy leadership. The software was initially developed by Kirk Cameron while a faculty member in our department. He is now at Virginia Tech." added Dr. Huhns.

Dr. Buell in Voting Machines Forum

Our very own Duncan Buell, shown at center on the photo, appeared on this article on the Post and Courier about the voting machines used here in South Carolina. From the article:
Duncan Buell, University of South Carolina computer science and engineering professor (center), said South Carolina uses the identical voting system that has been discredited in Ohio. He joined Vic Rawl (left) and state Democratic Party Executive Committee member Kay Koonce in a panel discussion about voting machines Thursday at North Charleston City Hall.