ECU’s Department of Computer Science to host research program

The East Carolina University Department of Computer Science has received a grant for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program beginning in May.

The paid, 10-week program scheduled from May 17 to July 26 will bring in 10 students from a national pool of applicants to participate in software and data analytics. Funded through the National Science Foundation, the REU program will offer a $6,000 stipend to participants for housing, meals and travel.

From top left, the ECU REU computer science team includes: principal investigator Dr. Nasseh Tabrizi, evaluator Dr. Karl Wuensch, Dr. Maral Azizi, co-principal investigator Dr. Mark Hills, Dr. Venkat Gudivada, chair of the department, and Dr. Kamran Sartipi. (Contributed photo)

Dr. Nasseh Tabrizi, professor in the Department of Computer Science and principal investigator for the grant, said students would learn about code recommendation systems, static program analysis, program transformation, classical techniques for classification in machine learning, deep learning, information retrieval, software testing, software maintenance, software repository mining, software quality metrics, crypto-currencies, and both theoretical and empirical measurements of algorithm performance.

“Students, especially from undergraduate programs with few research opportunities, get to learn what research in computer science looks like and how to conduct research themselves,” Tabrizi said. “Along with this, they develop the ability to analyze data, learn how to develop high-quality software, and gain self-reliance and self-confidence. Hopefully, this also gets them interested in graduate programs.”

He said the goal of hosting an REU program is to make a difference in the lives of students. It also helps the department.

“There is a strong research-based evidence that REU programs help to increase student retention,” he said. “These programs also encourage undergraduate students to continue on to graduate school. This will help to recruit some of our students into one of the three master’s degree programs our department offers.”

The REU program will be open to ECU students, but those who don’t participate will see benefits as well.

“The ECU REU program will provide a unique and vibrant environment for ECU students to interact with and learn from other students who are competitively selected from a national pool,” Tabrizi said. “This enhances the reputation of the department. Typically, most REU participants’ research results in a publication. This also contributes to improving the research stature of the department.”

Other team members on the REU grant include: Dr. Mark Hills, associate professor and co-principal investigator; Dr. Venkat Gudivada, chair of the Department of Computer Science; assistant professor Dr. Maral Azizi; assistant professor Dr. Kamran Sartipi; and Dr. Karl Wuensch, a professor and ECU Scholar instructor from the Department of Psychology who will serve as the program evaluator.

“Our team members are all very excited,” Tabrizi said. “We have hosted a Research Experience for Undergraduates in the past, so we are looking forward to working with this year’s group of undergraduates.”

— By Ken Buday