April 6th and 7th three WSU computer science students and one MIS student participated in a Department of Energy sponsored Cyber Defense Competition at PNNL where they had to protect power grid control systems from hackers. The competition included teams from across the country from three national labs (Argonne and Oak Ridge). Learn more
Within the past year, Washington State University has started new programs in software engineering, data analytics, and electrical engineering to meet the high demand for engineers and computer scientists in the state. Data analytics and software engineering degrees are offered at WSU Everett and at WSU Pullman, and a master’s degree in software engineering is available online. An electrical engineering degree program is also underway at Olympic College in Bremerton, and a construction engineering degree began on the WSU Pullman campus.
Two new buildings for programs in Everett and Bremerton have also opened for the growing programs. At WSU Everett, a new 95,000 square-foot building includes classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, and services for students working toward degrees in science and engineering fields. In it, students will be able to take courses in new programs in high-demand fields, such as software engineering and data analytics, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering. The Boeing Company made a $250,000 gift to equip the building with state-of-the-art technology, and its new fabrication lab was named the Boeing Innovation Studio. The approximately $65 million project was completed in just under two years.
In Bremerton, the former CenCom building has been renovated to house a new electrical engineering program and to provide additional space and resources for the mechanical engineering program. In 2015, the Washington State Legislature provided funding to expand WSU’s electrical engineering program to Bremerton in cooperation with Olympic College. In May 2018, the program will celebrate its first graduating class.
The programs continue the state’s efforts to educate more engineers and computer scientists to meet industry needs. The new degrees continue to promote significant enrollment growth, and offering them in Everett and Bremerton help remove barriers to education for place-bound and nontraditional students.
This summer, 90 students from across the nation participated in Washington State University’s summer undergraduate research program where they worked with award-winning professors in cutting-edge facilities. For many, the experience opened their eyes to the world of possibilities research offers.
Lucy Ward, an incoming freshman at the University of Wyoming, worked with Diane Cook, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to build a robot that can work with Cook’s smart home system to assist older residents.
The current smart home system is able to detect habits and routine activities, but it can do little to assist someone who is struggling. However, the robot will be able to tell if a resident has skipped one of their routine activities, approach the resident and remind them to complete it, and provide assistance with completing the task if necessary. Ward tested the capabilities of the robotic arm, evaluated the accuracy of the visualization software that generates a map of the smart home, and checked the accuracy of the odometer readings from the robot.
“I worked with a lot of smart people and we worked together to create something that will help others,” said Ward. “The idea of taking real data and applying it to answer a question is really cool.”
PNNL hosted a cybersecurity capture the flag (CTF) event in the Tri-Cities on September 16th and 17th, named Pink Elephant Unicorn (PEU) x3.0. The event introduced cybersecurity topics to both beginners and experienced students. After attending workshops on a variety of techniques and getting some hands on experience, students were split up into groups and given technical challenges to solve. “The competition was friendly and really helped reinforce some of the concepts the students had just learned,” said Adam Hahn, professor at EECS. “This was really an event to get students from all over interested in cyber security in a fun way.” He went on to say: “Everyone should have some exposure to the basic concepts of cyber security in order to protect themselves and future employers. You don’t need to be an expert in a lot of technologies in order to benefit from understanding basic cyber security concepts. Students are often too intimidated to get involved in this area, especially if they’re new to computer science, and this was a good event to dispel this fear and really get them interested.”
By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture
July 28, 2016
PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University will offer new engineering degrees in the fall to meet the high demand for engineers and computer scientists in the state.
New undergraduate degrees include the first construction engineering degree in the Pacific Northwest, a software engineering degree offered at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and at Pullman, and an electrical engineering degree offered on the campus of Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash. A new online master’s degree in software engineering will also begin.
The programs continue the state’s efforts to educate more engineers and computer scientists to meet industry needs. In 2011, a Washington Technology Alliance report found that while the state employs the highest percentage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers per capita in the nation, it was near the bottom among the states in graduating students in STEM fields.
To meet the demand, WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture has increased its undergraduate enrollment by 65 percent to more than 4,500 students in the past seven years. The college also started engineering programs at Olympic College and WSU North Puget Sound.
Land-grant mission to address community needs
The new degrees will promote significant enrollment growth, while offering them in Everett and Bremerton will remove the barriers to higher education often encountered by place-bound and non-traditional students.
“An important part of our land-grant mission has been to give our students hands-on, practical skills for the workplace to solve our state and nation’s most critical challenges,’’ said Candis Claiborn, dean of the Voiland College. “I am pleased that we are working with communities across the state to meet our mandate for more engineers and computer scientists and to better prepare our students for the 21st century workplace.’’
Integrated design-build approach in demand
WSU’s construction engineering program, which came about with overwhelming support from 150 construction and engineering contractors, will provide education in heavy infrastructure design, building design and construction technology.
Because of significant changes in technology, global markets and economics over the past 15 years, successful construction companies increasingly need both the engineering and managerial expertise that the degree will offer. The design-build method of doing business creates a need for construction engineers in addition to construction managers within the industry.
Affordable, accessible education
The new software and electrical engineering programs will allow students to complete their WSU degrees while taking classes near their homes or online. This addresses two major concerns for the state by providing more affordable and accessible higher education options for students and more engineers and computer scientists who are critically needed for the state’s economy.
The software engineering programs will prepare students for developing and maintaining large and complex software with advanced courses in software development, testing and validation, maintenance, security and management and integration – all specialties of high demand among the state’s computing and IT industries.
Bremerton’s electrical engineering program will train students in the design, research, testing, development and manufacturing of electronic systems and equipment, with specializations in general electrical or power engineering.
The Everett and Bremerton programs will include a combination of local and Pullman-based faculty with courses originating at the local and Pullman locations. Students will follow WSU’s semester system and pay WSU tuition.
Tina Hilding, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture communications, 509-335-5095, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Rachel Forbes, President of the Linux Users’ Group
On February 5th the Linux Users Group hosted the 14th annual WSUCon. The event took place in the CUB Sr. Ballroom, beginning at 5:00 pm, and lasted for 24 hours. WSUCon is an annual social gaming event started by the Linux Users Group as a way to get students, faculty, alumni, and Pullman-Moscow community members together for gaming in a fun and lively environment. One of the unique things about the event is that it is not just a LAN party; it is a social gaming event that welcomes gamers of all types. All sorts of gaming clubs are invited to the event to host various tournaments and help run board/tabletop/card game tables. Walking into WSUCon, you will see people playing League of Legends, Magic: The Gathering, Flux, CS:GO, and many more. All gaming is welcomed and even those that do not game very much can still have a lot of fun at WSUCon!
WSUCon XIV was the biggest WSUCon yet, with tons of tournaments, prizes, and food; the event welcomed over 450 attendees during the 24-hour event. WSUCon XIV had six official prized tournaments, including League of Legends, Magic: The Gathering, Smash 4, and other. There were also many ad hoc tournaments like Nidhogg and others put on by attendees, alumni, and organizers. Attendees were especially excited by the abundance of food provided this year, including Panda Express and WSU Catering, all made possible by sponsorships to WSUCon. Not only was dinner served to all attendees, but late night snacks and breakfast were also provided so that attendees wouldn’t have to worry about going out to get food and could fully participate in all of the gaming glory and general awesomeness.
With the success of this year’s WSUCon, The Linux Users Group has already started to think about expanding WSUCon next year to make it even bigger and better. If you are curious about the event or want to learn more, feel free to visit our website: wsucon.wsu.edu.
A chat with Jeromy Johnson and Rae Marks
By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
|When you talk with Rae Marks and Jeromy Johnson, you feel like you are in the presence of an unstoppable force. They are going somewhere, and they are going fast. Yet you don’t feel like you are going to get run over; there is an inclusiveness in the way they speak. At the time of the interview Jeromy is the president of the Association for Computing Machinery Student Chapter (ACM), Rae is the vice president. The duo took time to sit down with me in the ACM clubhouse in the middle of finals week last spring. We covered a number of topics related to their experiences as computer science students at WSU. Rae and Jeromy are excited about what they are doing. They have insight and experience, and they are willing to share it.
About ACM and the Hackathon
About interviewing for jobs
About programming and the future
Advice for new students
We talked about their time here at EECS—favorite professors and recommended classes. Jeromy mentions Computational Genomics taught by Ananth Kalyanaraman. Rae explains, “We are using algorithms to do genome sequencing–solving problems with DNA.” Jeromy adds,
The fun thing about the class is that although the algorithms you learn in that class are taught from the perspective of genome sequencing, that’s not all that they can be used for. I was talking to someone a little while back who was using those same algorithms to find commercials in TV segments.
Rae nods her head and remarks,
That highlights something cool about our program here. We teach a lot of fundamental things. We teach these really cool algorithms. As you leave the University and do things in your job or talk to other people, you realize that you can apply these things to all sorts of different problems.
We talked about the ACM and the successful hackathon that they organized. Rae explains the importance of joining student clubs and how it relates to successfully interviewing for jobs. Jeromy tells me about his Github account and how it has opened up job opportunities for him. He also talks about what he is excited about doing in the future: changing the internet. In his words, “I want to make things better that people didn’t think could be better in a tangible way.”
At the time of the interview Rae is getting ready to head out for her internship with EMC Isilon in Seattle, Washington. This is her second summer working for them. We talk about the interview process and then I ask her if being a woman in a male-dominated field brings specific challenges. Rae says that in her experience so far she does not feel like she is treated any differently just because she is a woman. She goes on to say,
If you are a woman and you feel hesitant to join this field just because you are female, you should come talk to me and other women in computer science. It is not as bleak as it is sometimes painted out to be.
At the end of our chat, I ask Rae and Jeromy what advice they have for people interested in pursuing computer science. Jeromy answers, “Definitely get involved. Community is the biggest aspect of computer science. Sure you don’t need other people to ‘program,’ but if you talk with others about your ideas, it is easier to come up with something novel.”
Rae and Jeromy speak in an encouraging tone to those just starting out. Rae says,
I would say if somebody is just coming into this field in college that they should not be alarmed by students who have been doing it for a long time. It’s okay to start from whatever background; you are still going to make it. Some students think, “There are people who have been doing this for five, ten years. How can I possibly compete?” And the great thing is you don’t have to. You don’t have to compete. There is room for everybody.
Jeromy agrees, adding,
Don’t be discouraged. There is so much work to be done. Companies need every programmer they can get their hands on right now. And I don’t foresee that slowing down. The field is growing massively.
Rae and Jeromy hand over their leadership of ACM this fall. They both have one semester to graduate, and jobs after that. Rae is going to work for EMC Isilon in Seattle, Washington as a Software Development Engineer. Jeromy is going to be a Distributed Systems Engineer at Protocol Labs wherever he wants, working remotely.
Vasiliy Bunakov, Tech Super Hero
By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
If you have been at EECS for any length of time you have probably asked Vasiliy Bunakov for help of some sort or another. Vasiliy (or “V” to those who work with him) oversees the IT help desk, where a constant stream of faculty, staff, and students come to solicit his advice and help. In between providing desktop support for several hundred individuals in the college, support and maintenance for many research labs, mentoring senior design projects and providing tours for prospective students, Vasiliy is constantly doing two things: answering a wide range of questions and solving problems. All of us on the third floor of Sloan witness his unbelievable schedule. We see him as V-man the tech super hero running between Sloan, Dana, EME, Wagner, TFRB, ELB and ETRL saving the day, every day.
During the last five years Vasiliy has spent supporting EECS and Voiland College he has never taken a sick day. I have never once heard him complain about anything.
Vasiliy was the recent recipient of the Staff Excellence Award, an award that acknowledges outstanding employees who go above and beyond their job description. Vasiliy’s boss, Systems and Services manager John Yates comments,
Everyone is glad to see V and sad when he leaves. V is the go- to-guy for VCEA, everybody seems to need him to fix this or that. He is like a sponge; anything new, he masters it right away. He currently supports three separate areas within the college and fills in for those areas that don’t have tech support for that particular day. He has taken his personal time to go to people’s homes to set up their system so that they can work remotely. He brings to the group: enthusiasm, knowledge, eagerness, and a positive can-do attitude. I have not had any faculty, staff, or student make negative comments about Vasiliy.
I decided to follow Vasiliy around for a day and take some pictures. I began to question this idea around 10:00 a.m., the time I found myself completely worn out. Vasiliy was constantly on the move with me ten feet behind running to keep up with his ridiculously fast pace. When he was not on the move he was fixing something. There were never any breaks.
|Go to the basement of ETRL–build a monitor frame with vesa mounts.|
|Next stop–sand vesa mounts|
|Up to the server room–install monitor frame|
|Back to the 3rd floor of Sloan(help desk)–check email, pick up some files|
|Delegate task to Daniel|
|Run up the stairs to the 5th floor of Sloan–Resolve Mat lab issues for faculty|
|On the way to the ground level of EME–field a question in the elevator|
|Arrive at destination–Virtual OS install for another faculty|
|On the way back to the help desk–quick question about an account profile change|
|At this point I frantically streamlined my apparel and filled up my water bottle, regretting that I had not worn running shoes and yelling, “wait up!”|
|Down to the basement of Dana–Talk to Gary about setting up his new computer|
|Reimage/upgrade for a machine|
|Back to the help desk to drop off the computer|
|Down to the ground floor of EME–get keys from the boss|
|Basement of EME–Up on a ladder to check cables–I’m thinking, “I thought IT was supposed to be a desk job.”|
|Grab the ladder and we are on the move again–Resolve network issues|
|Back to the help desk–
We stop for a quick picture in the hall with advisor, Linda Howell who calls out “St. Vasiliy thank you for saving my morning!” referring to an event that had taken place earlier before I arrived.
|Lower a desk for a staff member and check ports for that room|
|Confirm switch was configured correctly|
|The pace quickens (hadn’t thought it was possible). We are on our way back to the basement of ETRL. I take a chug from my water bottle and call out, “Vasiliy, how many miles are we going to walk/run in these halls today?!” He informs me that his daily average is four miles and that what we were experiencing was an average sort of day.–
Make modifications to Vesa mounts
|Back to the help desk–Talk with Tony|
|Down to the server room–Put a server online
I didn’t take a picture each time we went to the server room. I just started whining, “Not the server room again”.
|Basement of EME–meeting with new faculty who submitted a request for a server-explain support options|
Vasiliy was one of the first people I met when I started working at EECS, which I think is true for most people here. I remember during my first week of work asking him, “What’s going on around here that is cool and unusual?” How ironic that he was the one I asked.
I was only able to keep up for a few hours of Vasiliy’s “average day,” but following him around for a bit confirmed what I have thought since meeting him over a year ago. V is a rare person. His unrelenting drive makes him superior in figuring out how to solve all problems presented to him. He has a machine like work ethic. He is always positive, always humble; never condescending. Watching his interactions with others I realize we all think the same thing, “I am so glad Vasiliy’s got my back.”
Other Picks from Vic
50 Years of Computer Science culminates in an original book about operating systems
By Victoria Sandmeyer, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Dr. KC Wang received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1965. It was at that point he decided to study Computer Science. KC explains, “I realized in the late 60’s that computers were the future and began to shift my study in that direction.”
KC began teaching at WSU in 1970 in both EE and CS and continued after the schools merged to become EECS. “KC teaches the really hard classes” says Scott Hanson, EECS Research Operations Manager, “The classes that serious employers like Microsoft want to see on your resume”. KC has intensely studied and taught computer science for the last 50 years. He has acquired a level of knowledge in this area that only a few in the world can claim. Having written a complete operating system from scratch entirely by himself he is now coming out with a book that provides a detailed platform for teaching and learning the theory and practice of operating systems.
KC’s new book, Design and Implementation of the MTX Operating System is scheduled to print this fall. It provides a comprehensive explanation of the theoretical and practical aspects of operating systems, and describes the design and implementation of a real operating system in detail. It is intended for computer science students and computer professionals who wish to study the internal details of operating systems. Its inclusion of detailed example code and complete working sample systems make it suitable as a textbook for technically oriented operating systems courses in a Computer Science/Engineering curriculum as well as for self-study by computer enthusiasts. KC explains: “The book contains a lot of original material that you will not find anywhere else, especially on the design and use of parallel algorithms in SMP to improve the concurrency and efficiency in Symmetric Multiprocessor systems.” Click here for a full list of unique features.
When asked what his advice is to students in the serious pursuit of computer science, KC replies, “It is important that one’s primary focus be on gaining real knowledge. Students must not be distracted by the mercenary concerns of a career in place of the pursuit of real knowledge, otherwise, it will be impossible to adapt to the rapidly changing field.” He goes on to discuss the danger of near- sidedness and explains, “Becoming too narrow in a field is dangerous. Technology is evolving and CHANGING fast, especially in the area of computing. To be trained in a very narrow and specialized area is undesirable because it may be phased out and disappear very soon. Without a solid and broad background, one cannot adapt to the changing world.” At the end of the conversation I asked KC why he continues to study computer science after fifty years, he replied, “I still have a lot to learn. Learning is never ending”.
By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture
Unlike most students who come to WSU, Warren Seely came to Pullman to experience the big city.
Seely, a senior in electrical engineering with an emphasis in power engineering, is originally from tiny Clatskanie, Oregon, where his family has a 500-acre mint farm. He is one of the few students who call Pullman “large.”
“But,” he adds, “It still has a small-town feel to it and a friendly, open atmosphere.”
Growing up on his family farm, Seely enjoyed tinkering with engines. From a young age, he was working with pumps, irrigation systems, high voltage panels, and farm machinery. He re-built his first tractor engine at age six. As an entering WSU freshman, he gained some attention for a video that showed his sophisticated, working Lego models of farm machinery. The video was featured on Huffington Post and led to job offers and even an all-expense paid trip to an irrigation marketing conference in San Diego.
Seely decided to study electrical engineering for the challenge and has remained extremely busy with his difficult major. Whether working to understand transmission, transformers, or distribution, he likes the power program because it is challenging and interesting. Last year, he worked as an intern at Portland General Electric and will participate in a power engineering practicum over spring break. In his spare time, he is developing an autonomous, GPS-guided robotic weed control system for his family’s farm and is close to making a full-size prototype.
Seely is a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) scholarship to encourage students in power engineering. The program, which awards 19 School of EECS scholarships per year, aims to address the dramatic need for power engineers to build the smart electric power grid. Approximately 21 percent of power engineers in the Northwest are eligible for retirement in the next five years, and there is also concern that the region is not producing enough engineers to meet the need for the growing green economy.
Support from the scholarship has made a tremendous difference for his education, says Seely, especially because he is an out-of-state student. The scholarship has allowed him to concentrate on his classes, reduce work hours, and minimize loans. And, he’s had a chance to branch out, meet friends, and grow in a larger community. He’s appreciated School of EECS faculty and staff, who have supported him through his classes.
“The scholarship has a huge, positive impact,” he says.
For his part, Seely is optimistic about his future, looking forward to using his skills in a hands-on, engaging career and sorting through many possible options for a career path.
“There are a lot of opportunities,” he says.