Student Research

Paul Karsten


At the School of Computing, there are many opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to engage in research.


▼   Computing Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)
For current undergraduate students, SoC provides a limited number of semester-long assistantships to support research efforts. For ten hours a week, for ten weeks, students are paid to work on faculty-directed research projects. In addition to the support, the students obtain knowledge about cutting edge issues, allowing them to further differentiate themselves from others when applying for positions within both the workforce and graduate schools.
▼   Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

The University provides fellowships that cover a summer stipend and modest supplies for undergraduate students who wish to conduct research with a faculty member over the summer.  For more information about this competitive program, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research.


▼   Honors Thesis

Students enrolled in the USA Honors program [] are required to complete, as the culmination of their academic experience at USA, an Honors Senior Project resulting in a thesis. This program requirement is designed to provide the student an opportunity to apply the knowledge base and tools of their discipline in a mentored scholarly exploration suitable to the student's academic interest and background. Most projects will be at least a year in length. In the School of Computing, the required courses are the two-course Senior Project Sequence (CIS 497 and CIS 498).

▼   Undergraduate Directed Study

Undergraduate students can work closely with a faculty member in a research laboratory on a specific project in a Directed Study (CIS 494)

▼   Senior Projects

Senior Design (CIS 497) is a capstone project class taken by graduating seniors in Information Systems, Information Technology, and Computer Science within the School of Computing. In addition to other class requirements, students work in teams to complete a semester-long computing project for a project client. The teams will create documentation for their project as well as do a presentation of their results at the end of the semester.

Posters from Senior Designs.


▼   Graduate Assistantships
SoC offers a limited number of graduate assistantships which provide financial support (tuition plus stipend) in return for the student providing 20 hours of work. Depending on the assistantship, this work may include grading, teaching and/or research.
▼   Graduate Directed Study
Graduate students can work closely with a faculty member in a research laboratory on a specific project in a Directed Study (CIS 594 or CIS 694).
▼   Masters Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Students pursuing a Masters in Computer and Information Sciences will complete a Masters thesis on original research. Students in the Doctoral program will complete a dissertation. With their dissertation, students develop the ability to conduct advanced research and contribute new knowledge to the discipline.

Examples of student research in CS

▼   Side-Channel Exploitation and Countermeasures

Side-channels are unintended signal paths that can leak critical information.  In a cryptographic device, electromagnetic and power side-channels can reveal secret keying material. We are currently developing countermeasures to protect cryptographic implementations using reconfigurable Field Programmable Gate Arrays.  We are also doing research into using thermal side-channels within a chip die to detect malicious software due to its change in the processing load and related heat signature. 

USA SoC Students:
Current: Tristen Mullins (PhD), Sydney Davis (BS, College of Engineering), Adam Gautier (MS), Brandon Baggett (BS)

USA Collaborating Faculty:
School of Computing: Todd Andel, J. Todd McDonald
College of Engineering: Samuel Russ

▼   Action Rule Mining

Action rules are constructs that provide guidance on what actions (i.e. changes to attribute values) should be made to convert a set of objects from an undesirable state to a more desirable state. For example, assume that you are seeking to determine what can be done to reduce the severity of traffic accidents. A potential action rule would state, if you add streetlights to a street with none, a significant number of accidents that result in severe injury would be reduced to accidents classified as minor. Current research includes the development of more efficient and effective algorithms for discovering action rules.

USA SoC Students:
Grant Daly, Shawyn Kane

USA Collaborating Partners:
School of Computing: Ryan Benton, Tom Johnsten

Examples of student research in IS 

▼   Medical Device Security Research

Objectives include examining the electronic devices used in both training healthcare workers and providing treatment to patients. Identifying security vulnerabilities in medical devices and working with healthcare providers and manufacturers to mitigate risk using various sources and a risk management perspective, we developed a health information security and privacy threat tree. We defined 25 nodes (threats), breaking them down into key risk-related data attributes: threat source and action, the health information asset and its vulnerability, and potential controls. The identified threats related to the disclosure of health information by insiders and outsiders, and the manipulation of health information by vandalism, loss, or corruption of data. The construction of such a threat catalog is argued to be useful for risk assessment and to inform public healthcare policy.

USA SoC Students:
Priya Patidar

USA Collaborating Partners:
USA School of Computing
USA College of Nursing