Computer and Information Science

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    Faculty Research Capabilities

    The research capabilities and graduate teaching interests of the faculty members are listed below.

    Professor Cunningham
    Associate Professors Chen, Maginnis, Rhodes, Wilkins.
    Emeritus Associate Professor Lawhead
    Assistant Professor Ruth
    Instructional Assistant Professor Xue

    Dr. Yixin Chen, Associate Professor, joined the faculty in 2006 after three years on the faculty of the University of New Orleans. He has a PhD in computer science from Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming.

    Chen's research focuses on the design, analysis, implementation, and applications of machine learning algorithms. He is especially interested in solving real world problems arising from biomedicine and life science. He has worked on various projects on brain-computer interfaces, knowledge discovery in taxonomic research, content-based image retrieval, automatic image annotation, and control of robotic manipulators. Chen is working with Dr. Dawn Wilkins is working on an NSF EPSCoR project to investigate the development of a data provenance system for scientific data. Chen is serving as an Associate Editor of the journal Pattern Recognition.

    At the graduate level, Chen teaches courses on machine learning, image processing, computer vision, artificial intelligence, mobile robotics, and randomized algorithms.

    Dr. H. Conrad Cunningham, Professor and Chair, joined the faculty in 1989 and assumed the role of Department Chair in 2001. He has a doctorate in computer science from Washington University in St. Louis and several years of professional experience in the aerospace industry and university research settings.

    Cunningham's current research focuses on methods and tools for the design of domain-specific languages, multiparadigm programs, and flexible software families, including both component-based systems and object-oriented software frameworks. More broadly, Cunningham's research interests and expertise are in software architecture, component-based software development, concurrent and distributed computing, formal methods, and programming languages. He served as the Program Chair for the 2007 International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Programming in Java (PPPJ) and as general chair of the 2010 ACM SouthEast Conference.

    Cunningham teaches courses at the graduate level on several software engineering topics, functional and logic programming, concurrent programming, multiparadigm programming, and domain-specific languages.

    Dr. Pamela B. Lawhead, Emeritus Associate Professor, joined the faculty as an instructor in 1983, becoming an Assistant Professor in 1994 upon completion of her PhD in computer science from the University of Mississippi. Since 2001, she has also served as the Director of the Institute for Advanced Education in Geospatial Sciences (IAEGS). Dr. Lawhead retired from her full-time faculty position in June 2010 but remains active in research.

    Lawhead's research focus is on software development, especially in the area of systems for the delivery of innovative, effective online education. She heads IAEGS, a group that has created a unique, integrated course delivery system designed as a Web browser application with multiple communicating windows. At this level, her interest is in dynamic, online course creation and delivery. She is also very active in the use of robotics in computer science education, working with Dr. Frank Klassner of Villanova University and Dr. Myles McNally of Alma College. She is collaborating with Dr. Wanda Dann of Carnegie Mellon University and Dr. Steve Cooper of Purdue University to integrate the ALICE graphical programming system into multicultural high school environments. She is also working with Dr. Yixin Chen and Dr. Dwight Waddell (Research Assistant Professor), developing new work in brain-computer interfaces.

    Lawhead has taught various graduate courses on software engineering, multimedia programming, and research and writing methods.

    Dr. P. Tobin Maginnis, Associate Professor, joined the faculty in 1979. He has a PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Mississippi. He became involved in computing in the 1970s through his work building realtime software to control laboratory instrumentation.

    Maginnis' research deals with free, open source software and applied systems theory. He investigates extending the Linux operating system components such as the file system and kernel application program interface. He is also interested in developing novel distributed operating systems using a single system image model as well as distributed computing on the emerging multi-bus, multi-core processors. His current work involves developing distributed, real-time, synthetic aperture radar on the Cell Broadband Engine (CBE), extending general algorithms and the Linux kernel, to use CBE-like architectures. As well as extending Linux file systems to more efficiently use peta-byte sized random access storage.

    At the graduate level, Maginnis teaches various courses on operating systems and networks.

    Dr. Philip J. Rhodes, Associate Professor, joined the faculty in 2004 after receiving his PhD from the University of New Hampshire.

    A principal component of Rhodes' PhD research was concerned with access to very large spatial data sets for visualization and analysis. This work focused on avoiding the delays due to disk access. In 2005, he received funding from the National Science Foundation to extend this work to network access to data sets stored remotely. Along with then
    PhD student Baoqiang Yan, he explored the application of similar techniques to manipulating spatial data in cluster and grid computing environments. His recent interests include the application of parallel programming techniques to scientific applications.

    At the graduate level, Rhodes teaches on scientific data representation and analysis, scientific visualization, computer graphics, and parallel programming.

    Dr. Paul M. Ruth, Assistant Professor, joined the faculty in 2007 after receiving his PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University.

    Ruth's current research interests are in the areas of machine and network virtualization and their application to high-performance and grid Computing. He is currently working with the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research (MCSR) to increase the efficiency of high-performance cluster computers using machine virtualization. He has worked with the nanoHUB grid portal and brings with him experience deploying systems using large grid resources, such as the TeraGrid and Open Science Grid. He served as the lead Program Chair for the 2010 ACM SouthEast Conference.

    Ruth teaches graduate-level courses in computer networking, operating systems, and parallel and distributed programming.

    Dr. Dawn E. Wilkins, Associate Professor, joined the faculty in 1995. She has a PhD in computer science from Vanderbilt University and has 24 years of experience in university-level research and teaching.

    Wilkins' current research focuses on applying computing techniques from machine learning and algorithms to biological data. Much of her recent work has involved analyzing microarray data for medical applications, with the University of Mississippi Medical School and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (SJCRH), and environmental concerns, with the Environmental Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). She is currently president of the MidSouth Comptational Biology & Bioinformatics Society (MCBIOS).

    At the graduate level, Wilkins teaches courses in bioinformatics, computational biology, parallel programming, algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, databases and data mining.

    Dr. Jianxia (Jane) Xue, Instructional Assistant Professor, joined the faculty in 2008 after two years of work in research and development at Sony Pictures Imageworks. She has a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles. Her research interests are in image and audio signal processing, graphics, and animation.

    Xue teaches a graduate-level course in graphics and animation.