COMPUTER SCIENCE &
COMPUTER ENGINEERING

Computer Science | Computer Engineering | Software Engineering

Our stellar programs attract oustanding students from around the world who work closely with our faculty to advance state-of-the-art research in computing technologies. We attribute our success to a strong tradition of collaborative research, close working relationships with local industries, state-of-the-art facilities and a dedicated committment to student achievement.

We offer bachelor of science degrees in computer science (CS), computer engineering (CPE), and a master's degree in software engineering (MSE). Our MSE program is unique within the UW system and offers graduates very desiriable employment opportunities. We also offer a very popular dual-degree program that awards students a BS in Computer Science and a Master's in Software Engineering within a condensed time frame of only five years. If you have any questions please contact us at compsci@uwlax.edu.

Announcements

Fall 2021: Lab Schedule
Fall 2021: MFT schedule TBD

Tutoring Sessions

Tutors are available to help students in CS 120 and CS 220. Tutoring hours are Monday and Tuesday 4:00-6:00, and Thursday 6:00-8:00. Tutors will be located in the departmental CS lab in the basement of Wing Technology.

Invited Talk at IEEE RAPID

Dr. Dipankar Mitra gave an invited talk at IEEE Research and Applications of Photonics in Defense (RAPID), 2-4 Aug., 2021 Virtual Conference. The talk was titled "Phased Array Scanning using Source Transformations". Information about the conference can be found at https://ieee-rapid.org/. An abstract is given below.

How transformation optics (TO) can be shown to be a useful technique in designing unique electromagnetic devices and the concepts can be extended to electromagnetic sources known as source transformations. This talk focuses on how source transformations can be utilized for designing phased arrays and scanning.

Dr. Dipankar Mitra: Guest Editor

Dipankar Mitra is serving as a guest editor for an upcoming special issue of the well regarded Electronics Journal. This special issue is meant to present research activities in the domain of metamaterials, antenna and RFID based sensor design and development for 5G and IoT applications. It is entitled "Advances in Antennas, RFID and Metamaterials for 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) Application Areas". The call for participation is given below.

The increased spectrum availability makes the 5G radio technology a key Internet of Things (IoT) enabler by supporting the high traffic growth and growing demand for high-bandwidth connectivity. IoT makes extensive use of sensor technologies in order to empower any application under its realm. To gain better industrial traction, ideally, the sensors used in IoT should have the ability to identify and locate items. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based sensors can be potential solution in this regard. The pervasive coverage, low latency and high-speed connectivity of 5G allows a substantial number of IoT devices to communicate with each other seamlessly. This eventually enables a wide range of industrial applications to take advantage of such a groundbreaking technology. For example, 5G is poised to play a significant role in driving industrial automation. It will also support use cases like smart homes, precision agriculture, transport infrastructure such as connected cars and traffic control, health monitoring of public infrastructure such as bridges, wearables and many others.

Student Research: Algorithmic Extinction Event!

Kaelan Engholdt, a senior majoring in computer science, has created a method by which computers can more effectively pinpoint the optimal solutions to a wide range of issues.

“In computer science, we like to use the biological world for inspiration for things we can try in the computational world,” Engholdt explains. “Genetic algorithms are a perfect example. They’re based on Darwinian evolution, like you see in nature. Basically, you give a computer a population of possible solutions, and over time, they evolve into better and better solutions.” For more information refer to the Campus Connection article Solving the world’s toughest problems.

Funding for Summer 2022 CS and Engineering Camp

Working in collaboration with UWL's Office of Multicultural Student Services, Professor Elliott Forbes has received funding from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to host the UWL Computer Science and Engineering Exploration Camp. The summer camp is for pre-college students who live in low-income regions where access to equipment and expertise is not available. Converging on UWL's campus in the summer of 2022, students will stay on campus and participate in leadership and team-building exercises. Throughout their stay, students will be introduced to the fields of computer science and computer engineering, with activities that will give students hands-on exposure to the day-to-day tasks that computer scientists and computer engineers perform in their careers. The CS department will also recruit existing UWL Computer Science students to give a panel talk about life as a UWL student, and their experience with the Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs.

Continuing NSF Research

Prof. Allie Sauppé continues work on a National Science Foundation grant, together with colleagues at UW-Madison and University of Washington, which seeks to develop a framework for computationally validating appropriate robot social behaviors. For example, if you program a robot to approach someone, say "hi", and then walk away, is that robot following typical human social behaviors? No! Will it be successful in whatever tasks it is assigned to do? Probably not! Humans don't like technology that behaves in unexpected ways. Right now, tools for programming robots do nothing to ensure that the programmer is implementing appropriate social behavior, primarily because there is not yet a framework for automatically validating whether a provided program is socially appropriate. For this summer, Prof. Sauppé and Peter Aloisi, a UWL MSE student, are beginning work on his capstone project to develop a visual programming environment that will introduce secondary school students to programming robots in socially appropriate ways. During the next school year, they will test the programming environment with a local homeschool co-op group.

CS Alumn Presentation: June 23

Andrea Connell, ’08, is part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which has helped oversee planning and operations for the Mars Perseverance rover. Adrea earned her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and then went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Hawaii. During this time, she worked as a summer intern with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She will be giving a presentation on her work with the Mars Perseverance project on Wednesday as part of the What's New Wednesday series. The program is free and open to anyone: register online here.

CS Alumn Authors Kotlin Book

CS Alumn Michael Fazio recently completed a book called "Kotlin and Android Development featuring Jetpack". The book is currently available in eBook form while physical copy should be available in late June of 2021. The book is published by the Pragmatic Bookshelf, run by the same people who wrote "The Pragmatic Programmer", a well known text that has been popular for the last 20 years; a rare feat in the technology field. The author appreciates his time at UWL saying that "Development first clicked for me in her [Dr. Mao Zheng's] class and I wouldn't be where I am without her"!

NSF Research Award

Professor David Mathias has received a National Science Foundation grant to fund his research group’s work on swarm intelligence.  Inspired by natural swarms, such as insects, artificial swarms consist of a large number of relatively simple agents.  Depending on the application, the agents can be hardware (small robots, for example) or software.  The large number of agents provide redundancy within the swarm.  If one agent is lost or damaged, another can replace it.  One reason that swarms are not yet used in real-world applications is that decentralization — having agents independently decide what tasks to perform in pursuit of the group’s goals — is a difficult problem.  Dr. Mathias’ research, in collaboration with Dr. Annie Wu at the University of Central Florida, seeks to develop effective decentralized task allocation.  That is, ensuring that agents self-select tasks such that all tasks are appropriately addressed.  The NSF grant will enable undergraduate student participation in the research for the next fiscal year.

Evolutionary Computation Lab: Summer Researchers

Bee hives are marvels of nature. Thousands of individuals relentlessly pursue the goal of ensuring survival of the colony by performing tasks such as caring for the brood, constructing and repairing the hive, foraging for food, and maintaining the hive temperature in a very narrow range of approximately 32 to 35 degrees C. Amazingly, all of this occurs with little centralized control.

This summer, four UWL Computer Science students will use bees as inspiration to solve decentralized, dynamic task allocation problems for artificial swarms. Artificial swarms consist of large numbers of relatively simple computational agents that must achieve a common objective through repeated performance of one or more tasks. The ultimate goal of such research is to enable creation of robotic swarms capable of self-organizing to solve complex problems. Working with Dr. Annie Wu and her research group at the University of Central Florida, Dr. David Mathias' Evolutionary Computation Lab explores ways to ensure that agents in artificial swarms allocate themselves to tasks in appropriate numbers so that all tasks are completed and extra work performed is minimized.

Junior CS major Dan Fedorenko will develop a new, much more general testbed simulation for our swarm work. The current simulator is limited to four tasks. Dan will create a generalized simulator that allows the user to determine the number of tasks and how much work must be performed for each task at any given time.

Undergraduate CS major Zach Gephart, recipient of a College of Science & Health Dean's Distinguished Fellowship, will examine the effects of a changing task set. In other words, how does the swarm cope when new tasks are introduced, requiring that new agents with the capability of performing those tasks replace some existing agents. His work will require making significant changes to our existing simulator, running numerous experiments, and analyzing the results.

Dan Fedorenko (left) and Zach Gephart (right)

MSE candidate John Lanska is undertaking a particularly challenging and fun problem. Combining two of David Mathias' passions, swarm intelligence and soccer, John will attempt to create a simulated robotic soccer team that is competitive with other such teams. John's team will use our principles of decentralized, dynamic task allocation rather than more typical machine learning techniques. This work is based on the well-known RoboCup robotic soccer competition (if you are not familiar with RoboCup, it's worth watching one of the many videos on YouTube).

Having completed just his first year at UWL, Eagle Apprentice Walter Leifeld is using a genetic algorithm to evolve effective behaviors for agents to solve our testbed problem. This work combines swarm systems with evolutionary computation, a method for solving computationally difficult problems. The ultimate goal is to develop a genetic algorithm that will allow us to create behaviors that will work effectively for all problems in the simulator.

John Lanska (left) and Walter Leifeld (right)

All of these projects are on the cutting edge of artificial swarm research. Zach, Dan, Walter, and John join a long list of UWL CS students making significant contributions to advancing science while pursuing their degrees.