Checkout our website for prospective students.

USC awarded NSF MRI grant to acquire HPC cluster for AI-for-science research and education in South Carolina

The University of South Carolina was just awarded $1.1M with a National Science Foundation MRI grant to purchase a High-Performance Computing cluster (HPC) for boosting AI enabled science, engineering, and education in South Carolina. This grant will be led by the PI Prof. Ming Hu (Mechanical engineering), two Computer Science Co-PIs (Prof. Jianjun Hu and Prof. Forest Agostinelli) and additional two Co-PIs (Prof. Sophya Garashchuk of chemistry, and Sagona, Paul of Div. IT).

The new HPC instrument (with both new GPU and CPU servers) will be hosted at USC but will be made accessible to students of more than 10 regional universities such as Claflin University, Furman University, Francis Marion University, Costal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Charleston Southern University, Winthrop University, Presbyterian College, Benedict College, USC Beaufort and etc. It will promote research in diverse fields such as materials science, physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, bioinformatics, health science and humanities, all enhanced by the HPC, big data and AI tools. The project team will also organize training workshops for AI-enabled scientific research and engineering innovation, education programs for undergraduate students, and summer camps for high school students in the coming years. More information will be posted on the project website at

Student Q&A: James Thurlow

Computer science and engineering senior James Thurlow came to the University of South Carolina from Beaufort, South Carolina. Along with cultivating his interest in computers, the South Carolina Lowcountry also developed Thurlow’s interest in sailing throughout his childhood. At USC, he has been active in student government, Naval ROTC, Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity and president of the Gamecock Sailing Club. Thurlow’s academic journey will culminate in May 2023, and he will enter the U.S. Navy after making impacts throughout the USC campus. 

Read the full Q&A article here.

Dr. Hu Receives NSF Grant for Machine Learning in Materials Discovery

Prof. Jianjun Hu, director of the Machine Learning and Evolution Lab and his collaborators Prof Ming Hu (PI) from USC Mechanical engineering and Prof. Christopher Wolverton (Co-PI) of Northwestern University have just acquired a NSF grant on generating a modern phonon database and developing machine learning prediction, analysis, and visualization tools for data driven materials discovery, which will speed up research and design of novel thermoelectrics, superconductors, photovoltaics, superionic conductors.

Phonon Database Generation, Analysis, and Visualization for Data Driven Materials Discovery

Material databases and their related computing infrastructures have become the major cornerstone of current data driven and artificial intelligence (AI) based materials discovery. However, among the rich material properties of interest to the materials community, few databases have comprehensively included phonon properties, which are at the center of materials science and are related to diverse functionalities such as thermoelectrics, superconductors, photovoltaics, superionic conductors, etc. This project meets these urgent needs to generate a comprehensive phonon database along with analysis, visualization, navigation, and visualization tools, combined with multi-channel infrastructure-community communication and feedback. The phonon database will become an excellent complement to the currently widely used material databases. Developing such an infrastructure will be beneficial for all areas of materials science and engineering, accelerating the prediction, design, and synthesis of novel materials with various emerging applications in modern science and technology. The project will promote the engagement of underrepresented and minority students in research, equip engineering students with interdisciplinary expertise and frontier knowledge crucial to their future careers, and fulfill the mission to prepare a high-quality workforce for science, technology, and engineering. The project will also develop new course materials for undergraduate and graduate computational materials science courses.

CSE Faculty and Student Research Awards

We congratulate our faculty members that have received research awards. They are:

  • Dr. Christian O'Reilly for receiving funds from NIH-NIMH on the project titled "The Role of Autonomic Regulation of Attention in the Emergence of ASD"
  • Dr. Jason Bakos for receiving funds from NSF on the project titled "Collaborative Research: SHF: Small: Sub-millisecond Topological Feature Extractor for High-Rate Machine Learning"
  • Dr. Homayoun Valafar for receiving funds from Prisma Health-Upstate on the project titled "Analysis of Patient Glycomic Profiles in Search for Breast Cancer Signatures Using Machine Learning Approach"
  • Dr. Jianjun Hu for receiving funds from EPSCoR/IDeA/SC Commission on the project titled "GEAR CRP: Deep learning reinforced high-resolution semiconductor radiation detector for real- time medical imaging"
  • Dr. Micheal Huhns for receiving funds from University of Maryland/ARLIS/DOD on the project titled "Information Competition Simulator"
  • Mr. Lexington Wahlen for receiving a NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium STEM Outreach Award for the project titled "Wordification: A New Way of Teaching English Spelling Patterns"
  • Mr. Musa Azeem for receiving a NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium STEM Outreach Award for the project titled "Unobtrusive and User-Friendly Acquisition of Multi-sensor Data from Wearable Smartwatch Technology"

Capstone Projects Showcase 2023

This year the students in the Senior Capstone course developed 45 apps. There are:

  • 17 web applications using technologies such as Django, node, express, Angular, react, Vue, firebase, AWS.
  • 23 Android or iOS mobile apps using technologies such as Android Studio, Flutter, React Native Android, XCode, Firebase.
  • 5 desktop apps using technologies such as Unreal Engine, Unity, C#, Pygame.

You can view video demos of all of them. 

Summer Classes in .NET, Mobile, Azure Cloud

This Summer we are offering some 500-level classes that we do not usually offer in the Summer, these include Windows Programming (.NET), Mobile Application Development, Visualization Tools, and a class on Cloud Computing (Azure) which has not been added to the schedule yet. Check the Summer schedule at Some of these classes will bet taught by people from Capgemini. CS majors can use them as part of a Cloud-Native Application Development career, along with some MGMT classes for the Application Area.

Using Machine Learning Algorithms for Challenging Image Analyses

As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning continue to transform patient care, Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Forest Agostinelli is currently pursuing research on predicting outcomes for PAD patients.

PAD is a growing concern among aging populations and usually caused by a blockage where arteries in the legs are calcified, which is the build-up of calcium-containing plaque in the artery. The risk of developing PAD is increased by smoking, an unhealthy diet, diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Read full article here.

Dr. Sanjib Sur Receives USC Breakthrough Star Award

Dr. Sanjib Sur has been awarded the USC Breakthrough Star award which honors early career research faculty.

Sanjib Sur first became interested in millimeter-wave — a band of radio frequencies that enables high-speed broadband access — because of its potential to bring low-cost wireless connectivity to underserved populations. Since joining USC in 2018, that interest has persisted. Today, Sur is working on designing next-generation wireless network architectures and ubiquitous sensing techniques that make smart objects truly smart. 

Read the full article here.

iCAS Lab Receives ZPRIZE Award for Zero-Knowledge Cryptography Hardware Acceleration

The iCAS lab, directed by Dr. Ramtin Zand, has received recognition as a recipient of the ZPRIZE competition's Open Division award for "Accelerating Number Theoretic Transform (NTT) Operations on an FPGA." Only two academic labs were amongst the awardees with iCAS being the only one based in the US.

Congratulations to iCAS's graduate students, Mohammed Elbtity and Joseph Lindsay, for their leadership in hardware and algorithm development, and Peyton Chandarana and Mohammadreza Mohammadi, for their supporting contributions to the project.

Dr Qi Zhang Receives an NSF CAREER Award

We are proud to announce that Dr Qi Zhang has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award for his project titled "Identifying and Exploiting Multi-Agent Symmetries". The project's abstract:

It is widely believed by scientists that our universe follows certain symmetry patterns and principles, which lead to profound implications such as conservation laws. Artificial intelligence (AI) can and has already benefited tremendously from exploiting these symmetries. This project seeks to identify and exploit symmetries that are prevalent in cooperative AI tasks, where a group of multiple autonomous sequential decision makers, or agents, plan and learn to maximize their combined benefit. As an example, consider the application of adaptive traffic signal control, where each intersection can be modeled as an agent controlling its traffic signal in a way that adapts to real-time traffic conditions to reduce congestion. There exist certain symmetries when the topology of the road network is regular, e.g., as a 4-connected grid, and the road condition is uniform. When done properly, such multi-agent symmetries can be identified and exploited to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the current solutions to cooperative AI. This project also integrates the proposed research into an array of education initiatives, playing key roles in the curriculum development and undergraduate research experiences at the PI's university, as well as outreach activities that bridge academia with industry practitioners and community stakeholders.

You can read more about his research in this article from USC news.

CSE Faculty Research Awards

We are happy to report that several of our faculty members have received research awards. They are:

  • Dr. Forest Agostinelli received a grant from the SC Commission on Higher Education for the project "Quantifying Vascular Calcification and Predicting Patient Outcome with Synthetic Data, Deep Neural Networks, and Logic Programming"
  • Dr. Ramtin Zand received a grand from ZKFlas Labs Inc. for their project on the "Design and Implementation of Hardware Accelerator for Zero-Knowledge Cryptography"
  • Dr. Homayoun Valafar received several grants from the Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health for the projects: “Analysis of Patient Glycomic Profiles in Search for Breast Cancer Signatures Using Machine Learning Approaches”, “Comprehensive and User-Analytics-Friendly Cancer Patient Database for Physicians and Researchers”, and “Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Predicting the Outcome of Cancer in Patients Using Cancer-Critical Gene Sequences and Clinical Data” co-PI with Anna Blenda.

Faculty Feature: Christian O'Reilly

Christian O’Reilly, a faculty member at the University of South Carolina’s Artificial Intelligence Institute (AIISC) and an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, had extensive international experiences prior to arriving in Columbia in 2021. He worked in Switzerland on the internationally renowned Blue Brain Project and was postdoctoral fellow in Canada at the University of Montreal and McGill University. He has also completed research in identifying brain differences between neurotypical people and individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Read the rest here.

Amit Sheth: Artificial intelligence, real growth

In February, Amit Sheth, founding director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute of South Carolina, hosted Provost Donna Arnett, Vice President for Research Julius Fridriksson and College of Engineering and Computing Dean Hossein Haj-Haririto show off the institute’s ongoing success. President Michael Amiridis had already visited the institute in October.

Since its inception three and a half years ago, the institute has enjoyed rapid growth, earned significant accolades and fostered multiple partnerships in its efforts to infuse artificial intelligence expertise into the framework of research at South Carolina. Sheth and the five new faculty he helped recruit have secured funding for a growing team of over 40 researchers, including nearly 30 Ph.D. students funded through research grants.  Read the rest of the article here.