Five AU students did computer science internships with Freddie Mac over Summer 2020, and three, including CS senior Angélica Vega Aponte, were offered full-time jobs after graduation.

Kathleen Riley was interviewed by Zippia about current employment trends for computer science graduates, discussing how the Covid pandemic has impacted the job market, which nonetheless remains quite strong in this field.

Mark Nelson served as Artificial Intelligence track chair for the Foundations of Digital Games conference, coordinating peer review of papers, and hosting the track for the virtual conference on September 15–18, 2020.

Lei Ding joined us as Associate Professor from August 2020. She specializes in cybersecurity research, and has extensive experience doing cybersecurity R&D in industrial research labs. Before to coming to AU, she was Research Associate Principal at the R&D division of Accenture, and adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Kathleen Riley joined us as Professorial Lecturer from August 2020. She specializes in computer science education, and has a number of years of experience teaching CS at various levels, most recently as lecturer at Bryn Mawr College. Before going into education, she had a career in the tech industry, with Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics.

Professorial Lecturer Alan Ford retired after a 30-year career in the AU CS department. He started in 1990 as the department's lab manager, and joined the faculty in 2000. In the 20 years since, he's taught a variety of classes across the curriculum to several generations of students, and helped to sustain the department through many changes. You'll be missed, Alan!

CS alumna Aspen Russell '18 was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue a PhD in Information Science at Cornell University.

Rising senior Anthony LoPrete won a Goldwater Scholarship, based in part on his undergraduate research work in collaboration with Art Shapiro.

CS senior Zhiqi Lu won the 2020 Scott A. Bass Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level Award.

Mark Nelson received a $175k grant from the National Science Foundation to systematically characterize the performance and robustness of AI decision-making algorithms, using games as benchmark domains. The budget will support equipping a new research lab with servers for computational simulations, and 2 years of funding for a graduate research assistant.

CS senior Lily Donaldson was invited to present her research at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lighting R&D Workshop, January 28–30, 2020, in San Diego.

Nathalie Japkowicz and Alex Godwin, in collaboration with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and faculty members from the Math/Stat department, received a faculty Mellon Award to support the Spring 2020 project "Data Analysis, Visualization, and Knowledge Discovery for Early Detection of Child Victimization".

Mike Treanor received a faculty Mellon Award to support the Spring 2020 project "Towards Computational Tools to Promote Complex Social Reasoning and Reflection".

Alp Aziz joined the department as a full-time Lecturer, teaching sections of CSC-280 and CSC-281. Prior to coming to AU, he was a data scientist at the World Bank.

Recent PhD graduate Wenyan Bi, whose PhD was supervised by Bei Xiao, was offered a postdoctoral position in the Cognitive & Neural Computation Lab at Yale University.

Mark Nelson was invited to participate in the Dagstuhl Seminar on Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games, December 15–20, 2019, at Schloss Dagstuhl, Saarland, Germany.

Nathalie Japkowicz is giving an invited talk, "How to succeed as a STEM woman in Academia", at the Women-in-Computing Forum of the ACM/IEEE Symposium on Edge Computing. November 8, 2019, at the Hilton Crystal City, Arlington, VA.

Bei Xiao was invited to give a talk in a mini-symposium on material perception, and serve on a PhD dissertation committee, at the Department of Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, October 27-30, 2019.

Mark Nelson took a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to give invited research talks on an ongoing project to analyze design spaces of games by positioning individual games as points within a metric space. At Google, Mountain View, CA on October 25; and UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA on October 29, 2019.

Alex Godwin co-chaired the Workshop on Urban Data Visualization at IEEE VIS 2019. The conference ran from 20-25 October 2019 in Vancouver, Canada.

Stephen Casey was awarded U.S. Patent 10,455,426, "Windowing methods and systems for use in time-frequency analysis".

PhD student Wenyan Bi successfully defended her dissertation on October 2, 2019. The dissertation is entitled "Visual Inference of Material Properties of Deformable Objects in Dynamic Environments", and was supervised by Bei Xiao.

We're growing! The CS department is hiring three new full-time faculty. Two openings are tenure-track/tenured positions in cybersecurity and high-performance computing, and one is a term-faculty position focused on introductory programming courses. Applications will be reviewed starting in late October/November 2019 (see the linked job postings for details).

Alum Bruce Schneier discussed cybersecurity and the need for public policy technologists on the 80,000 Hours podcast.

AU hosted the National Student Leadership Conference on Cybersecurity in July 2019, coordinated by Kathryn Walters-Conte. A number of our students worked as TAs for the event, including Zhiqi Lu, James Cavallon, Anthony Baron, Sarah Jo Sleiman, and Divya Ramjee (thanks to Kristof Aldenderfer for coordinating TAs).

Bei Xiao is co-organizing the 2019 Computational Vision Summer School in Freudenstadt, Black Forest, Germany, June 30-July 7, 2019.

CS major Evan Jeing won a NASA AU STEM Student Summer Research Award to support his project "Visual and Haptic Perception of Object Material Properties in VR", during Summer 2019. He will be supervised by Bei Xiao.

Master's student Richard Moulton, co-supervised by Herna Viktor (University of Ottawa) and Nathalie Japkowicz (American University) won the 2019 Best Master's Thesis Award at the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association (CAIAC). The award will be presented at the Canadian AI Conference (AI 2019) in Kingston, ON, May 29-31.

Bei Xiao was awarded a National Eye Institute Early Career Scientist Travel Grant to attend the 2019 Vision Science Society annual meeting. May 17-22, 2019 in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Nathalie Japkowicz and Michael Baron (Math/Stats) received an award of $208,598 from the Lifelong Learning Machines (L2M) DARPA program for their proposal entitled "Lifelong Streaming Anomaly Detection". The award runs from March 2019 to July 2020.

Nathalie Japkowicz was invited as keynote speaker for the National Cancer Institute Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Radiation Oncology Research and Management. April 4, 2019, at the NCI Campus, Rockville, Maryland.

Mark Nelson was invited to participate in the Shonan Meeting "Artificial General Intelligence in Games." March 18 – 21, 2019, at Shonan Village Center, Kanagawa, Japan.

Mark Nelson was invited to give the keynote at the Symposium on Live Game Design, the concluding event of a 3-year applied research project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, for which he also served as external scientific advisor. February 27, 2019, at the Volkshotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Nathalie Japkowicz was invited to give a talk at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) weekly seminar for Congressional staffers on current trends in machine learning capabilities, research, and technologies. February 21, 2019, at UPenn's Biden Center.

Arthur Shapiro was selected to receive a 2019 Outstanding Faculty Mentorship in Undergraduate Research award from AU, based on nominations submitted by his students.

Chun-Hsi Huang received an award of $219,006 from the National Science Foundation for the 2018-2019 Program Director in the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Program through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA).

Arthur Shapiro won first place in the 10th Visual Illusion and Auditory Illusion Contest in Japan, for his illusion "Helix Rotation: A New Twist on Pulfrich and Hess."


Fall 2020 Virtual Events

ACM Chapter first meeting
Wed, September 16, 2020, 6:00–7:00pm
Hosted by the AU Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Open to all AU students. Current CS students will receive a Zoom link by email. Otherwise contact the organizers on Facebook or at if interested.

ACM Salesforce Speaker Event
Wed, October 7, 2020, 6:00-7:00pm
AU's ACM chapter hosts John Victor '18, a computer science alum and solutions engineer at Salesforce, who will speak about his experience, advice, and internship/job opportunities.

Alexis Piperides,
Wed, October 14, 2020, 10:00–11:00am
Alexis Piperides, a computer science alum and co-founder/CEO of, will share his experiences as an entrepreneur and businessperson, and provide a demo of his startup's software. Zoom link in email, or contact Cassandra Pinkney.

District Fourier Talks 2020
Sat, October 17, 2020, 9:00am–4:00pm
The inaugural conference for an annual meeting of local mathematicians, engineers, and applied scientists working on harmonic analysis and applications. Hosted by the Math/Stat department.

Harnessing Dataset Complexity in Classification Tasks
Tue, October 27, 2020, 2:30–4:00pm
Nathalie Japkowicz is giving a talk in the Math/Stat colloquium on some of her recent research.

Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Allyship/Advocacy in Computing+Tech
Wed, October 28, 2020, 2:00–3:00pm
Nicki Washington joins us as part of the Bishop McCabe lecture series. Topics include cultural competence, identity (including its impact on computing environments, technologies developed, and their impact on different identities), and additional resources to learn more. Register here.

Freddie Mac

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John Morada (left) and students hold up letters that spell out 'Google'.

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