CWUComputer Science NewsComputer Science News’s Air Quality Monitor Gives Real Time Updates on Smoky Conditions, 16 Aug 2018 15:45:40<p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 475px; height: 481px;"></p><p>Worried about the air quality? Central Washington University’s Department of Geological Sciences hosts an air quality and weather monitor on its website,</p><p>The monitor is a science geek’s dream—all you could ever want to know about atmospheric conditions, barometric pressure, particulate matter, and ozone concentrations—all in real time.</p><p>The monitor is located on the top of the Science II building on the CWU campus. It came about as a collaboration with the Departments of Geological Sciences and Chemistry, and a senior capstone project of the Department of Computer Science. The monitor has precision sensors that measure a number of different parameters, including the concentration of particulates in the air. A high concentration of fine particles, also referred to as PM2.5 (i.e., particulate matter with diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometer), as seen with the current dense wildfire smoke, can be dangerous upon inhalation.</p><p>“It’s really an amazing device,” said Anne Johansen, CWU chemistry professor, and advisor for the project. “The students were ingenious in developing a user-friendly web interface that could relay results in real time and also allow for viewing past data. With these sensitive instruments, we can evaluate minute changes in air quality.”</p><p>The air quality monitor link can also be found on CWU’s annual fire watch website,, which provides current updates on fires in central Washington.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br>CWU First in State to Offer Computer Science Teaching Endorsement, 26 Mar 2018 10:15:40<p><img alt="" src="/computer-science/sites/" style="width: 150px; height: 147px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;">Starting in the fall, Central Washington University will become the first university in Washington State offering its students a computer science teaching endorsement.</p><p>The new endorsement is part of CWU’s new STEM Teaching Program, which allows undergraduate students to earn both their STEM degree and teaching certification at the same time. This degree structure gives students career choice and flexibility.</p><p>“We hope this will begin to meet the need for more highly trained computer science teachers and more computer science education options in Washington schools,” said Jennifer Dechaine, CWU biology and science education professor. “We are excited to partner with Washington P-12 schools on this new program.”</p><p>The teaching endorsement program proposal was approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board on March 15, 2018.<br><br>“The first iteration of the program will be part of our STEM Teaching Program for undergraduate students seeking teaching certification and endorsement in science or mathematics fields,” Dechaine said. “This program will be co-delivered by CWU’s College of the Sciences and the School of Education in the College of Education and Professional Studies.”<br><br>In 2016, CWU received a $2.19 million grant to develop and implement an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) teacher preparation program. The program, based on University of Texas-Austin’s UTeach model, was customized for Washington State to meet the state’s teacher preparation requirements.</p><p>Students began entering the STEM Teaching Program in fall 2017. Dechaine, and Ian Loverro, professor of Curriculum, Supervision, and Educational Leadership, are co-principal investigators of the grant.</p><p>“We are looking forward to partnering with Washington P-12 schools on this new program” Loverro said. “And we’re excited to partner across disciplines within CWU to make this a successful program.”</p><p>For more information about the program, contact Rachel George at or go to</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br></br></br></br>Area’s Most Powerful Supercomputing Cluster now Operational at CWU, 28 Jun 2017 08:27:34<p><img alt="" src="/computer-science/sites/" style="width: 400px; height: 267px; margin: 3px; float: right;">The name is Turing. It embodies the most powerful computing capability anywhere in central Washington. And the new system is now operational at Central Washington University.</p><p>“This is a computer cluster, not just ‘a computer,’” explained <a href="" target="_blank">Razvan Andonie</a>, CWU computer science professor. “Not many people have this.”</p><p>That’s because the first model of the new system was just released last fall. It consists of four IBM Power Systems S822LC, each known as “Minsky.”</p><p>While not household names, they are important references. Alan Mathison Turing, a British mathematician and computer scientist, is considered the Father of the Modern Computer. He is acclaimed for pioneering the multi-purpose computer functionality that we still employ today back in the 1930s. Marvin Lee Minsky was an American cognitive scientist and artificial intelligence researcher.</p><p>“This computer cluster will mainly be used for research, including student research,” noted Andonie, director of the CWU’s computational science master’s program. “Most likely, the science departments from COTS [College of The Sciences] will benefit from it.”</p><p>Those include computer science, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and physics. The supercomputer was acquired by and is administered through COTS.</p><p>“The aim is to provide specialized, collaborative computing capabilities for COTS,” Andonie added. “But it will serve the whole university at some point. It is an indicator of the value the university places on our overall computer program.”</p><p>The $380,000 system, purchased through Sirius Computer Solutions, is a significant upgrade for the college, specifically, and university, in general.</p><p>“For image recognition tasks, like person identification, it is in the order of 10 times to 100 times faster than a regular desktop,” Andonie pointed out. “It accelerates especially for applications that can run in parallel.”</p><p>That is important for research pertaining to large data sets and computer-intensive applications, such as big data analytics—examining large and varied data sets for useful information—cybersecurity, and deep learning, which involves machines using algorithms to develop analytical models, which then assist computers in “learning” from data.</p><p>Andonie’s current research areas are in that field, and include cognitive computing, computational intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, and parallel computing.</p><p>“I’m especially interested in applications and in implementing computational intelligence solutions on massively parallel and distributed architectures,” he said.<br>CWU is Washington’s first regional, comprehensive university to acquire such a powerful supercomputer. Within the state, the University of Washington and Washington State University have the others.</p><p>“We already have students working on the system,” Andonie said, with a note of pride. “It is quite rare even for CS [computer science] students to have access to such a machine. Such a computer will also be of interest to new students. This is very important and it should attract more students.”</p><p><strong>Media contact:</strong> Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,</p><p>June 28, 2017</p><p>Photo: Razvan Andonie looking at Turing, the most powerful computer system anywhere in central Washington.<br>&nbsp;</p></br></br>New chair leading CWU Computer Science, 09 Sep 2016 12:17:15<p><img alt="" src="/computer-science/sites/" style="width: 250px; height: 250px; border-width: 3px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;">With fall quarter classes to begin later this month, Central Washington University computer science is preparing for rapid growth and change, as Christos Graikos begins his tenure as the new department chair.</p><p>“This is a place of growth and I feel the university is moving forward,” Graikos said, pertaining to his interest in the post, which he assumed on September 1. “I like the curriculum, I like the research capacity, and I wanted to work in this part of the world because I received my bachelor’s degree in Montreal [Canada].”</p><p>Graikos, 46, arrived in Ellensburg after serving as dean of Computing and Information Technology at Sohar University in Oman. Before that, he spent 16 years in the United Kingdom studying and working.</p><p>“I wanted to see the [Persian] Gulf and Oman offered a wonderful opportunity,” Graikos explained. “I learned a lot, especially in terms of how business is conducted in that part of the world.”</p><p>As part of his new responsibilities, Graikos will oversee the computer science department’s move into new campus quarters while extending collaboration and partnerships with major Seattle-area high-tech industries, such as Google and Microsoft. Graikos has an established track record of success in outreach to community groups, other colleges and universities, elementary and high schools, government agencies, and industry.</p><p>“I have a pretty wide network on connections in Europe,” he acknowledges. “I’d like to utilize these collaborations to develop research and knowledge exchanges, along with teaching opportunities, for the department and university.”</p><p>Graikos also has thorough knowledge of exchange and internationalization strategies, including additional higher education experience in America, China, and Europe. Such wide-ranging background could prove important, especially in developing and expanding the CWU master’s program in Computational Science. The first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, the program draws students from around the world through its focus on comprehensive research, interdisciplinary coursework, and a progressive teaching environment.</p><p>“I have set up programs like this before and this is a very important part of what we do,” he stated. “There have been some new developments, including rolling out our program in China. This will help us connect better with research opportunities around the world.”</p><p>His department is also exploring development of new higher education-related programs that could lead to additional K-12 teacher endorsements.</p><p>“This is a very good opportunity for Central and something we are committed to developing,” Graikos noted. “There are growing [computer science] opportunities here in Washington state. There’s currently three times the demand for the number of graduates that we’re producing.”</p><p>A native of Thessaloniki, Greece, Graikos is fluent in both Greek and English, along with a familiarity with French.</p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Robert Lowery, director of radio services and integrated communications, 509-963-1487,</p><p>September 9, 2016</p><p><strong>Photo: </strong>Graikos in China, where he was working on a computer science exchange program involving the University of West Scotland and Nanjing University.</p><p><br><img alt="" src="/computer-science/sites/" style="width: 675px; border-width: 3px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: left; height: 506px;"></p></br>CWU Student Creates Revolutionary Text-to-Speech Reader, 21 Oct 2015 12:06:22<p><img alt="" src="/computer-science/sites/" style="width: 128px; height: 128px;"></p><p>Spencer Graffe, a senior in Central Washington University’s Computer Science Program, has helped develop Central Access Reader (CAR), a free computerized text-to-speech reader program that has attracted attention of institutions across the nation.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Marshall Sunnes, Central Access program coordinator and Wendy Holden, Disability and Accessibility Consultant, collaborated to determine what the program should be, how it should look, and what features were most important to include. Graffe had the skills to make it happen.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">The program, developed as a tool to assist students with print-related disabilities—those with visual impairments, dyslexia, attention-deficit disorder, or other conditions—reads documents that other text-readers can’t handle, especially those with equations or symbols.</span></p><p>The program started as a computer science class capstone project. Central Access, CWU’s department that makes educational materials accessible to people with disabilities, hired Graffe to continue to work on the program after the project ended. The Central Access Reader has attracted the attention of schools across the country. In recent weeks, Sunnes&nbsp;has received inquiries about the program from numerous institutions, including MIT and Harvard.&nbsp;<br><br>In addition to an intuitive user interface and simple customizations, the program is able to read documents that contain symbols from geometry and trigonometry, linear algebra, calculus, math, logic, or statistics. Sophomore Justin Wilson, another computer science major, refined its math-reading abilities. The powerful, yet simple, interface allows the user to customize how the text looks and sounds.<br><br>The program is being installed on both Macs and PCs at CWU and is currently being used by both students and faculty. The program can be downloaded free at</p><p>Central Access serves not only the university community, but also provides materials to institutions and schools across the country. Central Access leads the industry in offering accessible products, including electronic text, Braille, and tactile graphics.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, <a href=""></a></p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></br></br></br></br></br></a href="">Department Newsletters, 02 Dec 2013 15:13:48<p><a href="/computer-science/sites/" target="_blank">Fall 2013 - Newsletter </a></p><p><a href="/computer-science/sites/" id="CS Winter 2014 Newsletter" target="_blank">Winter 2014 - Newsletter&nbsp;</a></p><p><a href="/computer-science/sites/" id="CS Spring 2014 Newsletter" target="_blank">Spring 2014 - Newsletter</a></p><p><a href="/computer-science/sites/" target="_blank">Fall 2014 - Newsletter</a></p>