School of Computing and Information Sciences

2011-2012 Annual Report

School of Computing and Information Sciences
School of Computing and Information Sciences

School Overview

The School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) had another eventful year in 2011-2012. SCIS is one of the largest computing programs in the country, and enrollments have grown tremendously over the last three years. According to the 2011 edition of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Profiles of Engineering & Engineering Technology Colleges, the School awarded the second most Computer Science Degrees (inside Engineering) in the United States. In the Florida State University System (SUS), we are the only university that offers both a BS and MS in both CS and IT. We continue to lead the nation in training Hispanic Ph.D. students. Our students, faculty, and alumni had significant accomplishments in the last year. The School exceeded the very high level of external funding that was achieved in the previous last three years, and we made significant progress in increasing entrepreneurship and technology transfer activities.

School Highlights

We experienced a continued explosion in the enrollments in the BS in IT program, began offering MS in IT in spring 2011 with our first graduate anticipated in summer 2012, and both faculty and students received accolades from external sources for their scholarship and leadership. Enrollments in upper division required CS/IT major courses have increased by over 60% in three years. Just like our enrollments, our degree production has also grown substantially from last year. The undergraduate degrees awarded increased by 25%, following last year’s (adjusted) 26% increase, while the graduate degrees remained steady.

Our School has reached a high sustained level of research and scholarly activity, and is now taking the next step towards prominence by competing for and winning very prestigious national and international awards, and in recruiting outstanding faculty. Dr. S. S. Iyengar joined us as Ryder Professor and Director of the School after a twenty-year stint as chairman of LSU’s top-30 ranked Computer Science Department.  We have recruited new faculty members from top-20 ranked departments who will join us in 2012-2013. Dr. Shu-Ching Chen was named an ACM Distinguished Scientist and Dr. Mark Weiss was named an ACM Distinguished Educator; this year, FIU was one of only eight universities to be recognized with two Distinguished Member awards, with the other seven universities being Top-50 ranked departments. Dr. S. Masoud Sadjadi and Dr. Raju Rangaswami were both named recipients of the prestigious IBM Faculty Award. Dr. Tao Li received a highly competitive Xerox University Affairs Committee (UAC) Award. Dr. Naphtali Rishe’s work on Terrafly was highly publicized with a feature in “The Payoff from the IBM-Google University Research Cloud.” Dr. Peter Clarke received a best paper award for his joint work “Safe Runtime Validation of Behavioral Adaptations,” published in the International Conference on Autonomic and Trusted Computing (ATC 2011). Three SCIS faculty were named 2012 Top Scholars by FIU.

Our students have also enjoyed success. Jairo Pava was named an FIU World’s Ahead Graduate in summer 2011 and has started graduate work at Columbia University. Doctoral student Mario Consuegra was awarded the very prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Lily Chang joined University of Wisconsin, Platteville and Yali Wu joined University of Detroit, Mercy, both as tenure-track assistant professors. Several of our alumni who are now faculty elsewhere received promotions this year including: James F. O’Brien (Professor, University of California, Berkeley), Wenliang (Kevin) Du (Professor, Syracuse University), Konstantin Beznosov (Associate Professor, University of British Columbia), Min Chen (Associate Professor, University of Montana), and Zhijiang Dong (Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University).

The School has also made great efforts to engage the community and to have significant impact. Dr. Shu-Ching Chen has continued his work on the Storm Surge Simulator project that informs the public of hurricane costal surge threats. His project was developed in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Government Information Center and the FIU International Hurricane Research Center. Steve Luis, Director of Technology and Business Development, earned recognition for contribution to the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority Board community data portal for third party mobile applications. We continue our solid partnership with MDC-EM department through our Business Continuity Information Network led by Shu-Ching Chen and Steve Luis who was recognized for his assistance in winning the National Association of Counties Achievement Award. Students Luis Masieri and Jessie Domack were both named finalists for Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Student Technology Leaders; several students have received internships at prominent technology companies such as Microsoft and IBM.

We have begun addressing a major area of weakness for the university, namely, entrepreneurship and technology transfer, by taking initiatives and working through the university’s processes. Two examples are the FIU Discovery Lab and the Collaborative Open Innovation Lab (COIL).

  • FIU Discovery Lab: Created in spring 2012, the Lab is aimed at developing products for the marketplace. The Laboratory provides students with the hands-on experiences they need to solve real-world challenges, collaborate on faculty research, and to foster entrepreneurial skills; the lab is comparable in its mission to labs at top universities. We are training the next generation of students with the 21st Century skills they need to succeed. The Lab has already received $70K in donations, including a high profile donation from State Farm, for developing research and instructional programs. The Lab has conducted outreach activities such as the U.S. STEM Tech Conference in April and a Robotics Workshop for area high school students.
  • Collaborative Open Innovation Lab (COIL): Our original techworking initiative was modified to begin the Collaborative Open Innovation Lab (COIL) in spring 2012. COIL is a program that provides students with mentoring and education to assist them in developing their own innovations. IBM is providing support and the program had its first joint event with IBM SmartCamp held at the Pino Center in May 2012. The lab also co-developed the Game Development Guild led by Frank Hernandez, CS Ph.D. student with faculty advisor Steve Luis. The Guild is a software-programming incubator where participants can learn development in an apprenticeship environment. Participants include two dozen students and professionals who have hosted or presented in several events such as the International Game Developers Association Global Game Jam held in Miami, and the Game Development Hackathon.

Faculty members Dr. Bogdan Carbunar and Dr. S. S. Iyengar have each received patents for their innovations:

  • Method for Synchronizing Transmission Times in Ad Hoc Networks using Packet Reception Time Statistics.  Bogdan Carbunar, Shivajit Mohapatra, Michael Pearce, Loren J. Rittle, Venugopal Vasudevan.  US 8,073,014, December 2011.
  • Device to Directly Monitor Intra Ocular Pressure by a Person Based on Pattern and Color Changes. Inventor: Iyenger, et. al. U.S. Patent Application: 20110288396, published November 24, 2011.

Dr. Iyengar won 3rd place in the “Innovation to Industry, Florida Award” on May 3, 2012. This award hosted by the Enterprise Charlotte Economic Council recognizes the invention of a device with an innovative and patented technology that enables a person to see changes in intra-ocular pressure by observing their eye in a mirror (patent noted above). Such personal screening capabilities ensure that glaucoma’s silent damage is detected as early as possible.

Faculty and Research Highlights

SCIS continues to make excellent progress in its research activities maintaining its funding at a very high level. The external research funding (Direct Awards) was the highest ever for the School, at $4.78M. This continued the Direct Awards in excess of $4.2M for the fourth year in a row. Our income from Foundation and Auxiliary accounts was $0.42M for a total of $5.2M external funding. These gifts include a donation from Citrix to name our Distinguished Lecture Series, a donation from Kaseya, and a donation from State Farm to the Discovery Lab.

Faculty publications were lower than in past years, reflecting a combination of an increased emphasis on submission to more selective top-tier conferences and especially top-tier journals and reduced faculty lines and reporting in 2011-2012.

Plans are underway to offer our popular degree programs in non-traditional fashion to generate alternative sources of non-E&G funding, with a possible starting date as soon as fall 2013.

Fall Term Enrollment


Degrees Awarded


Sponsored Research Awards ($Millions)


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