In this our second spring edition of the newsletter included are short articles
including an alumni corner, a current major spotlight, faculty notes, the planning
schedule for next Fall, a featured computer wizard, the link to a movie featuring
the computing concepts taught during our 2008 J-Term trip to Haiti, and a feature
on the REU experience of Victoria Cooper.
On Tueday April 10 at 4:00 p.m. Prof. Rance Necaise from William & Mary gave
our spring colloquium presentation on his research in parallel computing, "A Parallel
Algorithm for Error-Diffusion on a CUDA GPU".
During the first week of May, Wednesday the 2nd starting at about 5:00 p.m, the
department will host its spring bash - also referred to as our annual picnic. The
menu will follow our recent tradition. Last year we had a wonderful alumni turn
out. We hope many of you can join us and our current majors and minors at this end
of the academic year celebration!
Research Day is Friday, May 11. The schedule has not been finalized but if recent
history can be used our six graduating seniors, Mark Lotts, Victoria Cooper, Larry
Ballance, Kevin Soltis, Nick Alaniz, and David Darwin, will give their capstone
presentations starting at 8:00 a.m. The presentations in Copley 214.
The improvements to our lab space in Copley 216 are almost complete. This year the
college funded the purchase of six new lab computers and a wonderful HDTV monitor
for our projection system in the room. It was used for the instruction of the Junior
Seminar, the Operating Systems course, and the Compiler Design course this year.
It also serves as the home for our capstone seminar on coding theory.
Curriculum 2013 is taking form. It is likely to mean some interesting changes in
our curriculum. Next Spring, Prof. Burrell is teaching an Honor's course on Android
progamming with App Inventor. We expect to add mobile computing labs to some of
our core courses in the near future. Next spring, Jeff Hague will use the new lab
equipment purchased for our Networks course. The Junior Seminar in the fall will
focus on software engineering tools, methodologies, and design patterns.
This has been a very enjoyable academic year. Teaching our introductory programming
course in Python is always fun and complementing that with another offering of our
junior seminar (topic: programming languages –Scheme, ML, Python, Prolog, and some
sprinklings of C, Java, and Scala) only added to my enjoyment. Combine these interesting
fall-semester classes with a friendly, hard-working group of students in the J-term
course on C & Unix, and you see why I'm happy. And the spring semester is equally
appealing—the second course in programming (Java), a course in compiler design,
and a capstone seminar on coding theory. So, I'm just delighted to be thinking about
stimulating topics this year. That's fun, eh?
Mark Lotts and I got word that the paper we wrote following our work together in
the summer of 2010 has been accepted for publication in the Electronic Journal of
Combinatorics. Once I finish making some format changes I’m hoping we'll see it
on the web before long.
I must say that over the last four years it has been a great pleasure to work with
our seniors, a wonderful graduating class of computer-science majors. Mark, Victoria,
David, Nick, Larry, Kevin—thanks for your hard (generally excellent!) work, good
efforts, and kind congeniality. We wish all of you lots of success and even more
happiness in the future.
Our work on our CSCI 106 course materials project continues; a first draft of text-like
notes and a couple of case studies are completed. In early March I attended the
annual SIGCSE conference. I issued a large sigh as the conference ended. I had served
as Associate Program Chair, Chair of Panel and Special Sessions, and a Session Chair.
I guess I really didn't learn my lesson, I am serving as Track Chair for this fall's
Informs conference. On March 30, I served as one of two program reviewers for the
10-year review of the Computer Science department at the University of Mary Washington.
My joint work with Professors George Lowry and Ed Showalter from the Economics and
Business department continues. I am developing a couple of software systems for
their use in assessing the use of single word reinforcers. I've missed out on attending
the last two conferences where our work was presented. I was also active as coordinator
for Panels and Special Sessions for SIGCSE 2012 testing and editing my portion of
the web site.
In addition, I worked with (as his supervisor) Larry Ballance on his SURF project
which involved conjectures about splay trees. Immediately after the SURF Symposium
I headed to New York and Connecticut for some rest and relaxation with friends and
And, now, for the best I have to offer - new pictures of my grandson Connor enjoying
the only day this winter with enough snow to be on his very first tubing experience
and my granddaughter Caitlin in her Easter finery - pretty awesome, but, then, I
am a bit biased!