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Student & Faculty Research

Students and faculty in the computer science department are very active in research. There are numerous student-faculty research projects, independent projects, and group projects. Students present their work at different research forums, both on-campus and off-campus, and there are several faculty research projects with active student participation.

Professor Christopher Andrews works in the areas of visual analytics and computational art. Recent work has focused on supporting the development of bespoke analytic tools. This culminated in the development of MiddGuard, a flexible web framework that serves as scaffolding for the development of highly interactive collaborative visual analytics tools. Primarily developed by Dana Silver '17, the framework has been used to compete in several analytic contests at the VAST conference, winning an award for "Integrated Analytic Environment". He has also been working with students on bridging the gap between computer science and the arts through explorations of generative and evolutionary artwork.

Professor Amy Briggs works on expanding access to computer science education in K-12. She is one of the creators of the AP Computer Science Principles Course as co-PI on the National Science Foundation award to the College Board on broadening participation in computing. She has worked collaboratively with students in organizing outreach efforts with middle school and high school girls. She supported the creation of the WiCS++ group and continues to serve as one of the faculty advisers.

Professor Philip Caplan's research is driven by the need to compute and visualize numerical solutions for modeling physical phenomena, like the flow field around an aircraft. The accuracy of these numerical simulations relies on the size and orientation of elements in a mesh, which motivates the need for mesh adaptation. He is currently working on developing curvilinear mesh adaptation and visualization techniques, which are needed when the domain geometry is curved. For more information, please visit go/philipresearch.

Professor Ananya Christman's current research involves developing algorithms for optimization problems. One problem is Online-Dial-a-Ride where a server travels to serve customer requests for rides within a given time limit. Each request has a revenue and the goal is to maximize total revenue.  Another problem is to find an assignment of applications to servers on a distributed system such that the system is robust. The goal is to find such an assignment that  uses the minimum number of servers.  A recent publication co-authored with 3 Middlebury undergraduates is the paper "Revenue Maximization in Online Dial-A-Ride," which appeared in the Workshop on Algorithmic Approaches for Transportation Modelling, Optimization, and Systems (ATMOS) in September 2017.

In recent years, Professor Matthew Dickerson has turned his attention from traditional problems in computational geometry and geo-spatial computing to the growing field of agent-based modeling, also known as multi-agent simulation—a field closely related to what biologists refer to as individual-based ecology and social scientists refer to as complex adaptive systems. He has worked with students on computer modeling/simulation projects related to forest succession and competition of big-leaf mahogany in the Amazon, population dynamics of transient killer whales in southeast Alaska, and the impact of invasive trout on stream ecology and forest-stream dynamics. His interest in computer modeling in ecology has also corresponded with work outside of computer science as a narrative non-fiction nature and environmental writer.

Professor John Foley works on information retrieval and digital humanities.  The core of his research is in promoting access to information through classification, categorization, and retrieval with a focus on digital library data. As a result, he is always pursuing the balance between efficient, explainable, and effective machine learning systems. Over the past few years he has worked with various students to automatically extract, curate, and search poetry extracted from public-domain books, resulting in the Poetry Library, the largest publicly-available collection of poetry.

Professor Peter Johnson works in the area of systems and network security.  Under his guidance, Kit Tse '16.5 produced a framework for verifying protocol sessions, including a proof of concept for TCP, the protocol that undergirds the entire Internet.  She presented this work at the Fourth Workshop on Language-Theoretic Security in May 2017.

Professor Shelby Kimmel designs quantum algorithms for graph connectivity. Studying this problem is exciting because it is both useful for many real world applications, but also it is giving insight into new ways to create and analyze quantum algorithms. She also aims to help the experimentalists building quantum computers by coming up with better ways to characterize errors in their systems. To accomplish this, she uses tools from signal processing, like compressed sensing, and classic quantum techniques, like phase estimation.

Professor Michael Linderman’s research interests include heterogeneous computing (GPGPU), genome analysis and genomics education for the public, patients and providers. He is the PI of a NIH-funded project to create a genomics knowledge measure and is pursuing several genome analysis projects with Middlebury students. Current projects include: DECA, a software package for CNV calling that began as a senior thesis project; MySeq, a web application for exploring your own whole genome sequencing data; and a novel method for identifying disease causing mutations using simulation.

Professor Daniel Scharstein is known in the computer vision community for the "Middlebury Benchmarks," a collection of datasets and online leaderboards that were developed in collaboration with student research assistants over the last 20 years.  Researchers around the world use these benchmarks to test their stereo vision and 3D reconstruction methods.  Professor Scharstein also works on novel algorithms for stereo vision. A recent collaboration with Dylan Quenneville '18 resulted in a paper "Mondrian Stereo," which Dylan presented at the International Conference for Image Processing (ICIP) in China in September 2017.

Professor Andrea Vaccari's research interests include image and signal processing with emphasis on remote sensing and biomedical/biological images, model-based data mining for large spatiotemporal datasets, and graph signal processing as well as novel approaches in experiential undergraduate and graduate education.