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High Performance Computing Collaboratory

The Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) at the University of South Carolina will partner with the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) groups, a collaboration made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Drs Jijun Tang and Song Wang are participants in this award. They are working on a Humanities High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HpC) which will engage scholars in a year-long collaboration with computing specialists in order to: 1) receive a comprehensive education in four computational concentrations; 2) receive instruction in digital humanities project design and management; 3) obtain hands-on experience with a variety of technical platforms; 4) work with technical staff to outline pilot explorations in at least one area of computational concentration; and 5) join a year-long virtual community where scholars will support their peers in authoring digital humanities projects.

Students Win UPE Scholarships

Two CSE students, Mr. Martin A. Nenov at the undergraduate level and Mr. Hossen A. Mustafa at the graduate level, won Upsilon Pi Epsilon scholarships for graduate study. We had two winners out of 21 awards given nationwide. UPE is the Honor Society of the Computing Sciences, of which we have a local chapter.

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!

Student Scholarship Winners

The department is pleased to award the Christopher J. Gintz Computer Science Undergraduate Award to Mr. Michael C. Helms for his outstanding academic performance and exemplary character. The amount of the award is $1,000. The department is also pleased to announce that Yu Cao and Jeremiah Shepherd have been awarded travel grants to attend the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition 2011 and the Foundation of Digital Games (FDG), respectively. The CSE Department is proud of your accomplishments!

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 receives NEH Grant.

Prof. Duncan Buell has been awared a research grant for his project "History Simulation for Teaching Early Modern British History," by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Discovery Day Winners

Several of our undergraduate Magellan scholarship students have also won special mentions for their Discovery Day presentations on their research. They are:

  • Matthew Zimmermann, Breland Miley, and Will Reade, who won first prize for their presentation of their project Personal Automated Scheduling System
  • Jason Isenhower, won second prize for his poster presentation Using Smartphones to Monitor Wireless Network Health

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.

Breakthrough in Understanding Human Evolution Due to Computational Genomics

The fragile regions in mammals’ genomes that are thought to play a key role in evolution go through a "birth and death" process, according to new work by University of South Carolina and University of California-San Diego researchers. The study, published in the journal Genome Biology, could help researchers identify the current fragile regions in the human genome – information that may reveal how the human genome will evolve in the future. “We made a step towards understanding the mechanism of genome rearrangements that ‘shuffle’ genomic architectures and represent one of the major driving forces behind evolutionary diversity. In contrast to previous studies, our results allow one not only to analyze the evolution in retrospect but also to predict the future changes in genomic architectures,” said Dr. Max Alekseyev, one of the study’s authors and a computer science and engineering professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at USC. Alekseyev worked with Dr. Pavel Pevzner from UC-San Diego. The two researchers study genomes and genome evolution from a computational perspective. An important question in evolutionary studies is whether there are "fragile" regions where genome rearrangements are happening over and over again. The fragile regions are prone to “genomic earthquakes” that can trigger genome rearrangements, disrupt genes, alter gene regulation and otherwise play an important role in the evolution and emergence of new species. For example, humans have 23 chromosomes while some apes have 24 chromosomes, a consequence of a genome rearrangement that fused two chromosomes in our ape ancestor into human chromosome 2. Although nearly all recent studies support the existence of these fragile regions, there have been some doubts about their existence, raised from a comparative analysis of multiple mammalian genomes. “Our findings imply that fragile regions migrate to different locations in different mammals, and it explains why there are only a few fragile regions shared between different lineages,” said Alekseyev. The research demonstrates that the fragile regions undergo a birth and death process over evolutionary timescales and provides a clue to where the fragile regions in the human genome are located. The researchers conclude that these regions in the human genome are likely to be affected by the coming genome rearrangements. “We hope that further analysis of the identified fragile regions in the human genome would provide insights into current trends in the human evolution”, said Alekseyev. The researchers are now working on confirmation of a conjecture that genomic fragility is promoted by matching segmental duplications. The researchers also hope that their approach may be useful for understanding genome rearrangements at the level of individuals, rather than entire species. In the future, they plan to apply similar analysis for the genome rearrangements that occur within the cells of individual cancer patients in order to develop new cancer diagnostics and drugs.

Organizational Meeting of the Computer Science Teachers Association

A meeting will be held on 7 December 2010 at USC with statewide participation via video or conference call to organize a South Carolina chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association. All K-12 teachers of computer science and information technology especially, and other interested parties from the computing community, are encouraged to attend and/or participate. More details can be found at

BottleMI: Another Startup from our Students

Through a recent University of South Carolina project, students from the business and computer science and engineering schools have teamed up to develop a unique social networking website known as “”. This website, designed by your very own fellow classmates, could possibly be the next Facebook or Twitter. Currently it is exclusive to USC students and we want you to be a part of its development by actively participating on Your feedback is crucial and will dictate what the site ultimately becomes. As the dailygamecock mentions, the website was built by Jimmy Parker, Beattie Daniels and Josh Mabry. Go check it out We wish them luck!