Category: CMS-Computer Science

Welcome Mr. Chi San (Derrick) Lau

Mr. Chi San (Derrick) Lau joined the computer science (CS) faculty as a visiting instructor in fall 2021.  Mr. Lau holds an MS in Computer Science degree from UCO.  While studying at UCO, Mr. Lau completed the first graduate thesis of the MS in Computer Science program under the supervision of Dr. Jicheng Fu.  His research focuses on applying deep-learning techniques to the area of artificial intelligence planning.  Mr. Lau will teach at UCO for one year.  In the fall, Mr. Lau teaches several lower-division programming classes and labs.  Using this opportunity, we would like to welcome Mr. Lau to the CS faculty.

Celebration of Dr. Bill McDaniel’s Retirement

After serving in the Computer Science Department, the College of Math and Science, and UCO for 39 years, Dr. Bill McDaniel retired on July 30.  It is bittersweet for his colleagues and students to see him leave.  On the one hand, his retirement is well deserved.  On the other hand, we will miss him as a faithful colleague, teacher, and friend.

Dr. McDaniel’s work at UCO was driven by his great curiosity in the discipline of computer science.  When he served in the Vietnam War working as an avionics technician, he was able to learn the FORTRAN programming language and several assembly languages by reading books using his free time.  Afterward, he completed an MS in Computer Science degree at OSU in 1975 and taught at UCO for three years as an instructor.  He was away from UCO between 1978 and 1985.  During that time, he worked in industry as a developer and eventually completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Kansas State University in 1985.  This was when he came back to UCO to teach until his retirement.   Dr. McDaniel loves teaching and his students enjoyed his relaxed teaching approach and deep knowledge in programming.

Besides teaching, Dr. McDaniel also made many unique contributions to the college and the department using his computing skills.  One of these contributions was that he served as the college’s technical computing specialist in the early years of IT until the college hired a full-time technician.  During that time, he provided web & network support and wrote programs for various academic functions while in the role.  In the Computer Science Department, we are using his programs for student account management and system backup.

We would like to thank Dr. McDaniel for his long-time service at UCO.  And we wish him a happy retirement.

Alumni Highlight- Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has lived in or near Oklahoma City his whole life. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UCO. He completed his Master’s in Computer Science in the Fall of 2020. Daniel worked with Dr. Fu to develop an artificial intelligence algorithm to assist wheelchair users in collecting information to promote a healthy lifestyle. “It was very gratifying to be able to work on research that I felt was directly helping people and also allowed me to explore cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms and hardware architectures while I completed my graduate program.”
He was able to exhibit good academic performance thanks to the help he received from professors at UCO who go above and beyond to make sure their students have everything they need to succeed. “I also think that my good performance is a reflection of the passion I have for computer science and software engineering. I have held a love for computer science since I was 13 when I first learned that anyone could write software and games for a computer for free and all they had to do was learn how.” In addition to his AI research at UCO, he also placed third at the TCU software competition with an augmented reality tourism app and was honored with an academic performance award during the last semester of his undergraduate program.

“Mr. Daniel Williams is a very talented, diligent, and self-motivated young man. The first time I met him was in my Software Engineering I class. His active involvement in class and outstanding ability to apply the learned knowledge to solve challenging problems truly made him shine in the class. After Daniel joined my research lab, he developed a smartphone app that could communicate with a smartwatch to collect wheelchair users’ activity data in a nonintrusive way. This app has allowed us to use machine-learning techniques to analyze wheelchair users’ activity and mobility levels in order to help them live an active lifestyle. In Fall 2020, Daniel successfully defended his thesis “Development of an Artificial Intelligence Algorithm for the Analysis of Wheelchair Movements”. I believe that Mr. Daniel Williams will continue his success as a Computer Science professional in his career development.”
-Dr. Jicheng Fu, Professor and Beresford Endowed Chair

Computer Science New Faculty Member: Dr. Junghwan (John) Rhee

John RheeDr. Junghwan (John) Rhee joined the computer science faculty as a tenure-track associate professor in Fall 2020. Dr. Rhee holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Korea University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the University of Central Oklahoma, Dr. Rhee had worked at NEC Laboratories America in Princeton, New Jersey, for nine years as a senior researcher and security team leader. Dr. Rhee is an expert in cybersecurity with research interests in systems security and reliability. He has a number of peer-reviewed publications as well as patents in the security area. With Dr. Rhee’s expertise, we look forward to more program and course offerings in the area of cybersecurity in the near future.

Computer Science Student Spotlight: Derrick Lau

Derrick LauMy name is Chi San (Derrick) Lau. I’m from Macau and currently a second-year graduate student. Actually, I’ve already been studying at UCO for three years because my undergraduate degree was not Computer Science (CS): I hold a Bachelor of Law! With no prior knowledge in programming, I had to complete prerequisite courses first. I’m very grateful that UCO provided me with this invaluable opportunity to explore a brand-new path. Professors here helped me tremendously and taught me a lot, as otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to come this far so smoothly.

My friends thought I got good grades because I’m smart, but that’s not true. My life is also full of frustrations and challenges. I constantly found myself unable to understand what the professors were teaching during classes. What I could do was to spend twice the time as other people to review and study the topics after class. Hence, I think the most difficult part is to overcome my frustrations because life will not become easier no matter how frustrated or sad I feel. What I need to do is to confront these challenges and keep pursuing my dream in CS.

Dr. Jicheng Fu (Derrick’s research advisor): Mr. Derrick Lau is an intelligent, motivated, and industrious young man who constantly surprised me by his outstanding work. Derrick caught my attention when he took my Software Engineering I class. Being hard-working, he demonstrated the capability to use learned knowledge to solve challenging problems. While many students utilized an existing platform, which partially satisfied the requirements of the course project, Derrick developed his own solution, which fulfilled all the requirements. In my research team, Derrick has been willing to undertake challenging research problems. He is currently developing a self-learning AI planning system, which utilizes cutting-edge techniques, such as deep learning and reinforcement learning, to make self-learning possible. I am excited to see him make progress in research and build a solid foundation for his future career development.

Dr. Shuai Zhang Joins Computer Science Faculty

Shuai ZhangDr. Shuai Zhang is a new assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science since Fall 2019, after he obtained his PhD in Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas in the same year. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electronic Information Science and Technology from the University of Science and Technology of China. Before joining UCO, Dr. Zhang worked at Nokia Research Center and Google, in the areas of mobile-device-enabled human-computer interaction and on-device machine learning toolkit development. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on performance monitoring of large-scale intelligent systems. He has several publications related to semantic-centric data storage and data analysis for fault diagnosis. Currently, he is working on systematic behavior learning for water treatment systems and performance evaluation in dynamic systems using transfer learning techniques. He is looking forward to collaboration in research and service with his colleagues and students.