Spectra Newsletter

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Welcome to the 2015-16 edition of Spectra

DSC5845.jpgI am very pleased to share this issue of Spectra with you, which highlights the terrific work and accomplishments of our students and faculty. We are truly fortunate to have recruited another great group of faculty last year, with nine new colleagues joining our programs. Their energy and enthusiasm and their commitment to working closely with our students to improve student success and learning bodes well for the future.

From award-winning projects to cutting-edge innovative research, a rich array of programs have punctuated the past year. The lead article, titled “The Beat Goes On in Redesigned Programming Class,” describes an innovative and collaborative endeavor between computer science and music, led by professors Ani Nahapetian, Gloria Melara and Ric Alviso. It is funded by a prestigious grant from the AAC&U and the Helmsley Trust and is already having a positive impact on student learning and retention. [Read More…]

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The Beat Goes On in Redesigned Programming Class

Music was in the air on May 1, at a unique workshop for faculty who teach introductory programming. Titled “Teaching Programming with World Music: Modules, Tools, and Ideas for Student Retention,” the workshop was an outgrowth of the TIDES (Teaching to Improve Diversity in STEM) grant that CSUN received in June 2014. Twelve faculty members, representing computer science, electrical and computer engineering and mathematics, participated in the daylong event, learning about the grant and the curriculum modules it had produced to date. The three-year, $300,000 grant, funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and administered by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), is supporting a collaboration between the Department of Computer Science and Department of Music to redesign COMP 110, Introduction to Algorithms and Programming, to incorporate applications relating to world music. The aim of the project is to make the course, which is required for five different majors in three colleges, more culturally relevant to the CSUN student body and also attract more diversity to computer science.[Read More…]

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CCPT grant starts off on the right foot

Gandhi_Jimmy_AOI2015_IMG_0399.jpgIn 2014, a consortium led by Glendale Unified School District, including CSUN, the Burbank Unified School District, Glendale Community College and the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board, was awarded a three-year, $6 million California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) grant. The purpose of the grant is to develop a K-16 educational pipeline in four clearly defined skill-based career pathways. At CSUN, work on two of the pathways—innovation and entrepreneurship, and digital manufacturing—is based in CECS. (The other two—animation and Web design—reside in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication.) Shereazad Jimmy Gandhi, assistant professor of engineering management and director of the Ernie Schaffer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is spearheading the innovation and entrepreneurship pathway; Peter Bishay and Vidya Nandikolla, both assistant professors of mechanical engineering, are heading the digital manufacturing pathway effort on campus as well as the outreach efforts to other high schools in the area.[Read More…]

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Lorentz again scores big at Computer Olympiad

lorentz_richard.jpgRichard Lorentz, CSUN’s very own Olympic champion, brought home two more gold medals last June, to add to the significant collection of medals he already has amassed.

Despite his 12 medals, however, Lorentz is not an elite athlete. He’s an elite gamer, and his playing field is a computer screen. A regular competitor in the Computer Olympiad, which is sponsored by the International Computer Games Association, he specializes in the game Amazons, for which he has won the gold at the Computer Olympiad for six years running (2015 was the second year in a row that his program went undefeated). Lorentz has also medaled in a game called Havannah, and in the 2015 Olympiad, held in Leiden, the Netherlands, a game called Breakthrough debuted, and he won the gold for that as well.

“The Olympiad is about computer scientists testing the limits of games,” he says. [Read More…]

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