November News  

Dr. K.C. Tai Memorial Endowment Fund Launched
Thanks to the generous contributions of relatives, friends, former students, and professional colleagues, Dr. K.C. Tai's legacy will live on within the NCSU Department of Computer Science in the form of the Dr. K.C. Tai Memorial Endowment Fund. More than 50 individuals, including 30 NCSU faculty and staff, have contributed more than $20,000 to date. The new endowment was created to honor Dr. Tai's significant contributions to the department and the University in the field of software engineering. His wife, Mrs. Ling Tai, joined us on campus on November 19th for a very special ceremony announcing the launch of the new endowment. Dr. Tai, who passed away in October 2002, was known as being a kind, compassionate, and caring person, who enjoyed helping others. This endowment will provide an ongoing source of funding to help future generations of NCSU software engineering students and faculty.

If you would like to contribute to the Dr. K.C. Tai Memorial Endowment Fund, please make your check payable to the “NC State Engineering Foundation Inc.” and send it to Ken Tate, NCSU Department of Computer Science, Campus Box 8206, Raleigh, NC 27695.

Gamers Converge at Unreal University Event
Hundreds of game developers invaded the NCSU campus over the weekend of November 8 & 9 to attend the first annual Unreal University, sponsored by the Center for Digital Entertainment at North Carolina State University’s Department of Computer Science, Epic Games, NVIDIA, Atari and AMD. The event featured a mixture of demonstrations, developer presentations and hands-on tutorials covering a wide range of topics in the computer gaming industry, which now tops $10 billion in sales yearly. Dr. Michael Young, assistant professor of computer science at NC State and director of the Center for Digital Entertainment, said the event exceeded all expectations. Local and national news coverage was extensive including:
CNN Story
CNN Video

Departmental Research Grants, Gifts, and Support
Special thanks to alumnus, Marshall Brain (MS '89) and his wife Leigh Ann (MS '96), for contributing $4,000 to the CSC Enhancement Endowment Fund.

Network Appliance recently contributed $25,000 in unrestricted funding, renewing their Super ePartners membership for another year. In addition, they provided another $40,000 which will be used to support a number of programs in the department including sponsorship of the recent groundbreaking event for our new facility on Centennial Campus, Women in Computer Science, and internal Senior Design Center projects.

Dr. Laurie Williams has received a prestigious IBM University Partnership Program Award for $40,000. The award is for research in the area of "Serviceability Enhancements: Comprehensive or Needs-Based?". In today's software development business environment, time-to-market is a dominant factor of business success. The acceleration of change and intense competition mean that organizations need to constantly innovate or risk failure or lack of profitability. Additionally, applications must continuously evolve to meet new demands to outpace (or meet) competitive offerings. These competitive factors motivate the compression of the software development process. Typical product characteristics that suffer from such compressed development cycle are usability, reliability, and serviceability. The primary focus of this study is serviceability. Serviceability is defined as the measure of the ease of diagnosing a problem and its time to resolution once a problem is reported by a customer. Laurie will make an empirical comparison of two strategies for managing the cost of and customer satisfaction related to serviceability. Additionally, the research will explore means for proactively improving serviceability.

Congratulations to Drs. Laurie Williams and Mladen Vouk for having their proposal titled "Agile Software Dependability" funded for $24,515 by Nortel Networks. The work on the project will occur from 1/01/04 through 5/15/04. Agile practices relate to the dependability of software systems in two ways. First, developers rapidly cycle from one software development practice to another (such as concept, test, design, code, test, design, code, etc.). The purpose of this cycling is to get feedback early and often on decisions that have been made – from requirements decisions to design decisions and the like. This continual feedback provides "early and often" checks on factors that ultimately impact the dependability of the project. Additionally, the concept of agility leads to the proper mapping of the right mix of dependability practices to the determination of "good enough dependability" for a particular project. The determination of what is "good enough" is dependent upon the project characteristics and requirements. As a step in an agile dependability effort, the project team will work with Nortel to study the corporation’s current practices in software dependability in relation to industry best practices. The vehicle for this study will be a web-based self-assessment questionnaire which will be administered to development organizations with a corresponding "Best Practices in Reliability" resource guide. The questionnaire and resource guide will be created and the results analyzed to advance agile software dependability at Nortel. Additionally, the research team will work directly with one Nortel development organization to further their agile dependability efforts by formulating a ‘good enough’ reliability statement with data from automated testing and verification ‘soak'.

Faculty/Staff News
Dr. Mladen Vouk has been appointed by Dean Nino Masnari as Interim Head of the Department beginning July 1, 2004 succeeding Dr. Alan Tharp. In meetings and correspondence with CSC faculty and staff, the Dean has expressed his appreciation for Dr. Tharp's leadership and for the significant progress that has been made during his tenure as department head. Tentative plans call for a permanent head to be named by the end of the fall 2005 term. We welcome Dr. Mladen Vouk to his new role and we celebrate the accomplishments and leadership of Dr. Alan Tharp.

The Association for Computing Machinery, the oldest and largest educational and scientific computing society, held their 10th Annual Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) October 27-31. Among the 35 accepted papers, the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University had 4 papers in the conference this year, more than any other institution. Dr. Doug Reeves, professor of computer science, and his students contributed one of the four NC State papers, and Dr. Peng Ning, assistant professor of computer science, and his students contributed the other three. Ning was the only author who had three papers in the conference.

The Computing Research Association (CRA) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) held a special panel discussion on Grand Research Challenges in Cyber Security, Thursday, November 20, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. House Science Committee Chairman, Sherwood Boehlert, served as honorary co-host of the event. The panel, moderated by noted cyber security expert, Dr. Eugene Spafford, discussed the most challenging areas in long-term computer and network security research, as identified by the most preeminent security researchers in academia, industry, and government labs worldwide. Among those on the panel, our Dr. Annie Antón, associate professor of computer science and Founder & Director of

Congratulations to Dana Lasher, director of student services and EPA faculty, for being chosen as a Pride of the Wolfpack Award winner in November.

Software Could Revolutionize Event-Planning Industry
Led by Dr. Thomas Honeycutt, a group of 50 computer science graduate students at NC State University is developing software intended to help revolutionize the event-planning portion of the marketing automation industry. At the same time, RedPelican, a Triangle-area provider of marketing communications process management applications, is helping to ease the pain that marketing teams face in working with a broader range of project management issues. For more information on how the two efforts are tackling voids in this highly competitive industry, see

Tiny Sensor-Based Computers Could Help Track Wildlife
Computer scientists at NC State University aren’t afraid of the big bad wolf – instead they’re revolutionizing the technology that tracks him. The NC State researchers are studying how tiny, sensor-based computers can improve wildlife tracking methods for red wolves in eastern North Carolina. Current tracking methods based solely on radio telemetry are expensive, cumbersome and provide limited data, said Dr. Robert Fornaro, professor of computer science at NC State. Wildlife researchers can currently track red wolves using radio collars, but this approach doesn’t show the big picture, said Mark MacAllister of the North Carolina Zoological Society. “Radio telemetry helps us understand locations,” he said, “but this new technology could help us understand behaviors.” To read more about this special project, sponsored this fall by Foundry Networks, go to

Computer Scientist Works to Improve Games’ Stories, Intelligence
As computer game companies release their new selections for the holidays, you’ll probably see role-playing games in which characters must kill a monster in order to get treasure and some clues to the next monster-guarded treasure, or to advance to the game’s next skill level. But what happens if a player doesn’t like to fight, or somehow manages to avoid – but not vanquish – the monster? Researchers in the Liquid Narrative Group, a collection of graduate and undergraduate computer science students at North Carolina State University headed by Dr. R. Michael Young, assistant professor of computer science, are investigating ways of solving this quandary. They are creating software tools that will improve the artificial intelligence (AI) of games and educational software; specifically, they are investigating ways that the software allows users to both interact with the narrative, or storyline, and feel like an active participant in the way the story unfolds. For the entire news release, visit

Undergraduate Research Awards Go to CSC Student & Faculty Sponsor
CSC undergraduate, Neha Jain, has been awarded an NCSU Undergraduate Research Award of $500. Her faculty research sponsor, Dr. Annie Antón, also received a $500 award. In addition to this award, Neha was recently awarded the CISCO Information Assurance Undergraduate Scholarship. Congratulations Neha!

Senior Project Team Makes Site Visit
Students on the Progress Energy senior project team, one of 20 sponsored projects in the fall ‘03 Senior Design Project course, visited the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant training facility in New Hill, NC. Joining in the onsite visit were, from the left: Andrew Humphries, Andrew Williams, Mark Merrill, Matthew Ingle and sponsor, Lisa Council.

The Senior Design Center teams reported on their projects to sponsors and guests at Posters & Pies held Dec. 3 at the Talley Student Center. More about the Senior Design Center and student team projects is available online at Companies interested in sponsoring projects for spring or fall 2004 are invited to contact Dr. Robert Fornaro, professor and Senior Design Center director, at

NCEITA Recognizes EMC as its 2003 "Public Company of the Year"
At its annual awards banquet held in Cary on November 20th, the North Carolina Electronics & Information Technologies Association (NCEITA) recognized EMC as its 2003 "Public Company of the Year". NCEITA, the primary voice of the Information Technologies industry in North Carolina, annually recognizes both companies and individuals who have significantly helped advance North Carolina's leadership in technology via public awareness, involvement in public policy, & championing technology recruitment into the State. Awards are presented in three major area covering company performance, community involvement, and excellence in technology. The Public Company of the Year award is one of the excellence in technology awards. Congratulations to EMC, one of our founding Super ePartners, for this tremendous honor.

Priority 'Naming Rights' for ePartners
The official groundbreaking ceremony for our new 100,000 sq. ft, $41M state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on Centennial Campus is tentatively planned for October 24th. At the same time, we plan to launch the official Naming Rights Campaign. While the details of this campaign are still being finalized, we expect naming opportunities to range from $25,000 to over $1M. Premiere naming spaces include an expansive atrium and a series of terraces designed to host events of all sizes, as well as labs, classrooms, conference rooms, and faculty offices. Our ePartners will have priority naming rights opportunities. More information will be released officially on this campaign in the coming months, but if you have questions or would like more information, please contact Ken Tate at 919-513-4292 or

Below are links to all previous issues on our Connected newsletter as well as other informative sites at NCSU.

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