CSE Newsletter - December 2022

Message from the Department Chair:
Rising to the Challenge

I warmly welcome you to the first issue of the Oakland University Department of Computer Science and Engineering’s quarterly newsletter. Here you will find the latest news about the department, its initiatives, exceptional programs, students, faculty, and alumni.

When I joined OU at the beginning of this year, I was attracted to the department’s challenges, opportunities moving forward and the exciting vision of “Reimagining Oakland University” to 1) partner with industry and local community in both education and research and be flexible and adaptable to meet their needs; 2) be recognized as strong research and scholarly environment; and 3) enhance our visibility as a university of choice. In alignment with that vision, our department organized a retreat last August to discuss our CSE values, mission, and vision to define together our strategic plan.

We have risen to the challenge of implementing our ambitious strategic plan. To meet the needs of industry, the local community and our students in both education and research, we established two new research centers: An NSF funded center on Pervasive AI as part of the Industry University Cooperative Research Centers program, and another funded center by Department of Energy on Cyber Security for Manufacturing in collaboration with Automation Alley. We also partnered with tool builders to establish joint training workshops in AI and Smart manufacturing to equip our students with needed skills in industry. All these efforts are enhancing our mission in improving the hands-on capabilities of our students and serving the local industry via our translational and basic research and also training opportunities.

The current generation of our students is changing the education model from "Just in Case" to "Just in Time" education. Thus, we prepared proposals for over 10 Stackable Certificates, many new undergraduate/graduate degrees and provided flexible teaching delivery methods, including both online and in-person, to support our students and industry needs, which allowed us to increase our enrollment by over 13%. We have also been adding new, cutting-edge elements to our curriculum. In all these initiatives, we worked very closely with our newly established CSE advisory board composed by over 30 distinguished members from the State of Michigan, industry, government, DoD and beyond. We also understand that a large portion of our students are first generation students who may be less exposed to graduate education compared to second generation students. Thus, we are creating 6 programs for combined BS and MS programs where our students can double count 12 credits to get a master's degree with specialized skills in Software Engineering, Cyber Security, IT, AI, etc.

To make our research stronger, we worked together by expanding more collaborative research. We established new research development pipelines including brainstorming, proposals development, red teams review and beyond. We were not just able to triple our funding to be over $7 million but also to diversify it from several competitive sources including federal agencies, DoD, industry, local communities and beyond.

To enhance our visibility, we organized this year the very prestigious research conference in Computer Science, ASE 2022, here at Oakland University. Over 400 participants traveled from the different corners of the world to attend the event here at OU. Our proposal to organize another prestigious international research conference, MODELS 2025, here at OU in 2025 was just accepted.

We look forward to keeping you posted on our progress on each of these vital fronts, and on the remarkable accomplishments of our students, faculty, and alumni.

The future is bright.

Marouane Kessentini, Professor and Chair

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Research Funding Reaches All Time High, Tripling from Previous FY
Oakland University’s SECS faculty efforts towards larger, more impactful research programs are paying off in FY 2022. SECS achieved a three-fold increase in federal grant funding, thanks in large part to collaborations with industry and government, hiring of senior-level, research-active faculty and successful pursuit of large, highly competitive awards.

CSE Research Awards in 2022 Marks All Time High
CSE research awards topped $6.5M in 2022, with 14 new awards (see the OU 2022 Research Report). Closing out the year, Professor and Chair Marouane Kessentini was named 2022 OU Researcher of the Year and 2022 Most Active Researcher in November 2022.
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OU/SECS/CSE Hosting ACM/IEEE International Research Conferences on Campus
Oakland Center was the site for the 2022 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE ‘22), a top research conference in computing. Marouane Kessentini served as General Chair. Over 400 participants traveled to OU from all corners of the globe, or joined online at the hybrid event.

CSE Working on Modernizing Graduate Programs with 4+1 BS/MS and Stackable Certificates
The department is proposing a number of new educational programs for students seeking to maximize their degree time, expand skills outside of a traditional graduate degree program, or combine those options over time to achieve graduate study in computing, IT, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Data Science, and more.
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$3M NSF scholarships offer pathway to cybersecurity careers
This fund will not only provide scholarships, but also new opportunities for many students with little visibility in the field. According to Dr. Fu, “recruiting women and minority students, who are currently underrepresented in the cybersecurity workforce, will be a priority.”
OU Hosts Workshop for NSF Center on Pervasive Personalized Intelligence
The NSF Center on Pervasive Personalized Intelligence hosted a 2 day workshop at Oakland University, highlighting disruptive research ideas and ground-breaking insights on Pervasive Personalized Intelligence for different industry sectors including automotive, manufacturing, and technology
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Doug Zytko Awarded NSF Collaborative Grant on Understanding Online-to-Offline Sexual Violence through Data Donation from Users
Dr. Doug Zytko was awarded a $403,107 NSF award as a PI in the NSF core IIS program. The project is Understanding Online-to-Offline Sexual Violence through Data Donation from Users with a duration of 3 years starting from 10/01/2022.
Dr. Khalid Malik Receives Funding for Work on Anti Deep-Fake Technology
Khalid Malik has been awarded $92,500 by the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing for his work on an Anti-Deep Fake technology and Deep Forgery Detector, which incorporates Deep Learning, Knowledge Graphs, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies to detect visual deepfakes, as well as voice cloning.
CSE Department Launches New Website, Increases Social Media Presence
The CSE Department has a new website, https://cse.secs.oakland.edu/, and is engaging in increased social media presence, as requested by many of our students, as a way to engage, stay connected, and communicate both within our OU community and beyond. Check us out on the web, LinkedIn , Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , and YouTube

Our faculty have expanded their research efforts in recent years, contributing to the funding boom we experienced in 2022. Learn more about these efforts in the videos highlighted below.
Marouane Kessentini on 2022 Research Highlights in CSE
Steven Wilson, Assistant Professor
Khalid Malik, Associate Professor
Douglas Zytko, Assistant Professor
Lanyu Xu, Assistant Professor
Hua Ming, Associate Professor
About Us
CSE@OU seeks to build the future of computer science and engineering, going beyond technical instruction to creating an ethical, inclusive, and multidisciplinary discipline that makes a positive impact on the world. We invite you to learn more about our work, and to join us as we continue to grow and improve. We strive to be an environment where students, staff and faculty can all work together to enable each other’s success!

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