LSU Department of Computer Science Home to Culture of Innovation


Often overlooked department home to research that impacts daily life and security


LSU’s Department of Computer Science is celebrating its unique culture of innovation, a significant attribute particularly in the wake of Congress’ resolution to establish computer science education as nation priority.

“I think that sometimes, when people think about getting an education in computer science, they have the incorrect idea that all it involves is sitting around running programs on a computer,” said S.S. Iyengar, chair of the department and Roy Paul Daniels Professor in the College of Basic Sciences. “But our faculty are exceptionally innovative, bringing in large scale external grants and developing breakthroughs in everything from the latest in robotics technology and videogame imaging to cybersecurity for smartphones and visualization software for some of the most complex phenomena in our universe, such as black holes. It’s a very exciting atmosphere here.”

The congressional resolution, available at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc111/hr558_ih.xml, places a higher emphasis on computer science education due to its impact on society and its transformative role in industry, commerce, science and productivity. LSU’s computer science faculty are excellent examples of this, constantly engaged in cutting edge research across the board.

“CS faculty and students are leading and participating in research programs involving sensor networks, high-performance computing, scientific computing, visualization and homeland security, just to name a few,” said Kevin Carman, dean of LSU’s College of Basic Sciences. “CS faculty are also integral to LSU’s Center for Computational Technology and are engaged with a number of synergistic activities across the campus, as well as throughout the state, nation and indeed the world.  The department recently completed a successful national accreditation review by ABET, in which CS was praised for its exceptionally strong undergraduate program and the quality of its faculty.  In short, great things are happening in the LSU Department of Computer Science, and they are but a prelude of even greater things to come.”

The department is home to internationally respected experts in a range of computer science specialties, but that expertise is not restricted solely to the lab.

“Our faculty spend time in the classroom and on outreach to K-12 students, as well,” said Iyengar. “It’s important to reach students early on in their academic careers and expose them to career paths and fields of study they might not otherwise be exposed to.” The department offers such outreach opportunities as a computer science bootcamp, a robotics camp for high school students.

This department is home to innovative laboratories exploring options and solutions for some of the most pressing technology of our time, including cyber- and homeland security, networking, intelligent systems and data mining, visualization, distributed computing, software systems and reusability, embedded systems and architecture, academic enhancement and algorithms and theory.

Of particular interest to Louisiana is the department’s focus on coastal and environmental modeling. Through significant funding from the National Science Foundation, these researchers have been able to develop new computational techniques and tools for predicting hurricane paths through data-driven coastal modeling.

Projects of more general interest include federally funded projects that help the government track and/or identify terrorists, led by LSU Foundation Murphy J. Foster Professor Peter Chen. Iyengar currently focuses on sensor networks, which have enormous potential applications in the areas of defense as well as civilian life. Tevfik Kosar’s work focuses on controlling the data bottleneck that often occurs in petascale distributed computing systems, which are integral in high level research facilities. And these are just a brief sample of the diverse areas of research and practical application taking place in the department every day.

“The LSU Department of Computer Science is on the move.  In addition to a strong core of senior scholars, the department has successfully recruited a steady stream of outstanding new faculty members over the past few years,” said Carman. “Our graduates are highly sought by both major international corporations such as Microsoft and Intel, as well as by local and regional IT companies. Our Ph.D. graduates hold academic positions at prestigious institutions throughout the country.  Collectively, the CS faculty are engaged with a broad range of exciting research and educational initiatives that are nationally and internationally recognized.”

 

Ashley Berthelot | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
January 2010