CSU to Host Free NSA Cybersecurity Camp for Middle Schoolers

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University is hosting a week-long cybersecurity summer camp sponsored by the National Security Administration (NSA) for middle school students this month. The camp will run from Monday, June 19 – Saturday, June 24.

Computer Science professors Jianhua Yang and Sumanth Yenduri of the TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s Turner College of Business were awarded a $28,000 NSA grant in February to host Camp GenCyber, which aims to broaden students’ understanding of and interest in cybersecurity and safe online behavior. Together with professor Hillary Fleenor, the team of computer science professors will use programming based on cyber games to inspire the next generation of cyber stars.

 

The camp will be held on CSU’s main campus in the Center for Commerce and Technology Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eligible campers must have been enrolled in sixth, seventh or eighth grade during the 2016-2017 academic school year.

Registration, which is free, includes transportation from Richards and Rothschild Middle Schools, breakfast and lunch. Spots are still available. For more information, visit cs.columbusstate.edu.

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Military Training Tool Leads to Columbus State’s First-Ever Patent

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A team of Columbus State University researchers has developed a new tool for training military and emergency personnel, a process that led to the university’s first-ever patent.

“The patent protects a new method of mapping and evaluating the tactical decision-making process,” said Shamim Khan, professor of computer science and head of the development team from CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science.

The method uses visual representations of real-life scenarios, called cognitive maps, to display complex connections between decision-making factors.

“Cognitive maps have the potential to be useful decision support tools because of their ability to model a scenario consisting of concepts and events and the causal links among them,” said Khan.

cognitive-map

 

The maps are used to diagram a tangled web of decision factors into a tangible portrayal of possible consequences of an action. The method presents an opportunity to improve the decision-making capabilities of military or emergency personnel from the office or classroom instead of the battlefield.

The use of the maps themselves, which are charts made up of bubbles connected by arrows, is not a new concept. Rather, Khan’s method is new because it accounts for more ambiguous or “fuzzy” cause-and-effect relationships between decision factors. For example, when a change in factor X “moderately” (or “slightly” or “strongly”) increases factor Y.

“People often want exact values, but in the real world, in real-life situations when decisions are being made, exact numbers are not always practical,” said Khan.

The “fuzziness” of the maps are what make them unique to the scientific community, and, now, to the commercial market.

The CSU team led by Khan originally developed his prototype as a military training tool with extensive collaboration from John Fuller, a retired U.S. Army colonel with 27 years of service experience.

“Most new platoon leaders will report to their first unit of assignment with little, if any, real experience as tactical leaders, yet, they command units that historically come into the most contact with the enemy,” said Fuller. “And, where chaos pervades the battlefield, where combat tends to overwhelm the senses and distort reality, leaders with the greatest amount of training tend to make the best decisions.”

Using a mix of video footage and animation, Khan’s team developed a series of simulations that progress as trainees choose from a list of available actions based on likely battlefield scenarios. After running the simulation, the actions and their consequences are mapped out and the decision made by trainees is assigned a quality score. During an after-action review, the trainee’s quality score is compared to a benchmark score representing the best possible outcome. Areas for improvement then can be identified. Courses of action leading to best possible outcomes are determined by a subject matter expert, usually an experienced military officer or war-trained veteran.

“Entire battlefield scenarios, such as convoy operation and reconnaissance patrol, can be modeled using a collection of cognitive maps,” said Khan.

Khan and a team of CSU professors, postdoctoral researchers, graduate and undergraduate students from CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science helped develop the first prototype. The original project was funded by a $1.6 million Department of Defense grant awarded to the university in 2010.

Under the protection of a patent, Khan is working to find government or private organizations interested in developing a similar system to meet their own needs.

“Although the simulation system was designed and developed specifically for military training, a similar system would be highly applicable to other areas, including homeland security, law enforcement and emergency response,” said Khan.

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Columbus State’s Computer Science Degree Ranked No. 1 for Second Time

GoGrad 2016 GoGrad 2015

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A recent survey by GoGrad.org ranked Columbus State University as having the No. 1 online computer science master’s degree in the nation for the second consecutive year.

The college review site lists affordability, availability of academic and career counseling services and job placement as the reasons for the success of CSU’s Applied Computer Science degree. The program is designed for professionals interested in learning more about cutting-edge technology for careers in software engineering, web development, network management and data security.

“The flexibility, quality, level of innovation, affordability and networking opportunities available to our students provide a tremendous competitive advantage that others are starting to notice,” said Wayne Summers, chair of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science.

According to College Board, 656,000 new computer science jobs are expected to be added to the market by 2018, making it one of the fastest growing career fields available. The Technology Association of Georgia recently reported that Georgia’s technology sector surged in 2015 with the addition of more than 12,000 jobs, adding $900 million to the sector’s payroll in one year.

This is the second time in a row that GoGrad.org has ranked CSU’s computer science degree the top choice for prospective students. The program also captured the attention of Computer Science Online, where it is listed as the country’s third best online master’s degree in computer science.

“The TSYS School of Computer Science is extremely proud of this recognition,” said Summers. “Our online master’s degree in computer science has scored a near perfect grade on GoGrad.org for two years in a row. It is a testament to the contributions of our faculty, staff and students to the high quality of computer science education at CSU.”

The TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s D. Abbott Turner College of Business offers the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science on campus and online. For more information, visit https://cs.columbusstate.edu/index.php. To view GoGrad.org’s rankings, visit http://www.gograd.org/online-masters-programs/computer-science-degree/.

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CSU Designated National Center for Cyber Security Education

National Security Agency     Department of Homeland Security

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security has designated Columbus State University a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) for advancements made in the defense of the nation’s information infrastructure.

Part of the National Centers of Academic Excellence program, CAE-CD designation is reserved for organizations that promote cyber security in higher education and produce a growing number of professionals with expertise in cyber defense.

“Receiving designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education is great recognition for our program and a tribute to the support from the university and our business community,” said Wayne Summers, chair of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “We are pleased to be part of the effort to defend our nation’s cyber infrastructure.”

The designation comes just months after TSYS announced a $4.5 million gift to Columbus State University to establish a cybersecurity center in the TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s D. Abbott Turner College of Business.

CSU’s new TSYS Cybersecurity Center will attract nationally recognized faculty, fund new research assistantships and student scholarships, support faculty and student travel and finance special projects and initiatives.

An added benefit of the program, students attending CAE-CD schools like CSU are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants through the Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship Program and the Federal Cyber Service Scholarship for Service Program.

Columbus State University and Kennesaw State University are the only institutions in Georgia with the Cyber Defense Education designation. The Georgia Institute of Technology is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research.

A listing of all National Centers is available at https://www.iad.gov/NIETP/reports/current_cae_designated_institutions.cfm.

Gov. Nathan Deal, members of Congress and appropriate congressional committees were notified about CSU’s designation. Columbus State University will be recognized during a formal event in November.

CAE-CD designation is valid for five years, through academic year 2021. Summers said the university plans to reapply in order to retain its designation.

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TSYS Gives $5 Million to Columbus State University


Turner College of Business Receives Largest-Ever Gift


COLUMBUS, Ga.
— Columbus, Ga.-based TSYS, a leading global payments provider, and Columbus State University have entered into a unique partnership to develop a new, innovative program within the CSU computer science department specifically designed to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity both in Georgia and throughout the nation. Lack of qualified cyber security practitioners has been highlighted as a major challenge facing both industry and government.

Through this partnership, TSYS has contributed $2.5 million to establish the TSYS Cybersecurity Center for Financial Services to be housed in the Turner College of Business’ TSYS School of Computer Science. The TSYS Cybersecurity Center for Financial Services Endowment will supplement salaries to attract nationally recognized faculty, fund new research assistantships and student scholarships, support faculty and student travel, and finance special projects and initiatives. An additional $2 million will be used to establish the TSYS Endowment for Excellence in the Turner College to support excellence in the academic programs offered by the TSYS School of Computer Science with specific emphasis on mainframe computing, information technology and information systems. The remaining $500,000 of the TSYS gift, a total of $5 million, will be used for other CSU programs.

“TSYS has been proud to partner with CSU through the years in a variety of valuable initiatives, including the naming of the TSYS School of Computer Science in 2002,” said CSU alumnus M. Troy Woods (B.B.A. ’79), chairman, president and chief executive officer of TSYS. “The establishment of the Cybersecurity Center as well as the Endowment for Excellence represent the next step in TSYS’ partnership with CSU, and we look forward to seeing the fruit of this important investment in our community, our company and the financial services industry.”

In January, CSU was selected for a consortium of seven University System of Georgia (USG) institutions to develop the USG’s capabilities in IT and cyber security as well as significantly increase the number of IT and cyber security industry qualified graduates coming from USG institutions.

USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby stated in his memo for creating the consortium, “The U.S. Army Cyber Command, the U.S. National Security Agency, the financial transaction processing industry, and the health informatics and healthcare information technology industries play a huge and exponentially growing role in Georgia’s knowledge economy. The number of graduates in the information technology and cyber security programs of our combined institutions is not currently capable of meeting the existing and projected workforce demands of these industries in Georgia.”

“We are deeply appreciative that TSYS has joined CSU in this partnership and believe that together we can help provide real world solutions to this pressing problem and be a true innovator in the field,” said Tom Hackett, provost and vice president for academic affairs at CSU.

“These agreements and these gifts are a testament to the strength of TSYS’ commitment to CSU and its students,” said CSU President Chris Markwood. “It was such strength of community that first attracted me and my family to Columbus State University.”

“The gift is a significant contribution to support the academic and scholarship initiatives of the $100 million CSU First Choice Campaign and takes gifts and commitments to date to more than $65 million,” said Alan Medders, vice president for University Advancement. “This is the largest gift ever donated to CSU’s Turner College of Business.”

CSU First Choice Campaign donations will enable Columbus State University to continue to attract and retain first choice students and faculty, construct world-class facilities and endow the university with the means to enhance academic and athletic programs.

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Computer Science Students Earn National Grant to Get Girls Interested in Tech

COLUMBUS, Ga. – A team of graduate students from Columbus State University’s TSYS School of Computer Science was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to encourage fourth- and fifth-grade girls to pursue a future in technology.

The Computer Science students: Trang Nguyen, Hillary Fleenor, Britni Alexander, and Yien Wang will host a “computing day” for young ladies in the area to gain experience with computational thinking and problem solving. Columbus State was one of only ten schools across the nation – among the likes of Michigan State University and the University of Pittsburgh – to receive the grant.

“This award is a great opportunity to interest more young women in computer technology,” said Wayne Summers, professor and distinguished chairperson for the TSYS School of Computer Science. “The Seed Fund will serve also as a gateway to many more grant prospects.”

Sponsored by Symantec, the award comes from the NCWIT Student Seed Fund grant, which supports student-run initiatives that inspire women and underrepresented groups to participate in computing at the K-12 or collegiate levels.

For more information about the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, please visit http://www.ncwit.org/programs-campaigns/ncwit-awards/ncwit-student-seed-fund or contact Wayne Summers at 706-507-8193.

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CSU Computer Science Graduate Student Selected for Scholarship Program

Trang Nguyen

Trang Nguyen

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Trang Nguyen, a Columbus State University graduate student, has been selected as an award recipient by the Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security program.

As part of the program offered by Applied Computer Security Associates, a nonprofit group of computer security professionals, Nguyen is now eligible to receive a $5,000 scholarship toward her studies in information security during the 2014-2015 academic year. She has also been invited to participate, with all expenses paid, in ACSA’s Annual Computer Security Applications Conference in New Orleans on Dec. 8.

Nguyen, who’s pursuing a Master of Science in applied computer science, with an information assurance concentration, at Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science, said she was “speechless” when she learned of the honor.

“I actually wasn’t sure if it was real,” she said. “I forwarded (the documents) to my professors (two of which had to recommend Nguyen for the scholarship). Other than that, (the application process) was pretty standard, I think.”

Nguyen’s taken a dozen graduate-level computer science classes at CSU, winning recognition as her program’s top student at CSU’s Scholastic Honors Convocation last April. But she was a biochemistry major as an undergraduate.

“So I’m very surprised I was able to win anything at all in computer science,” Nguyen said. “I know our faculty has been encouraging me, but I still feel like I’m behind the curve with other students in computer science. But I guess they thought I have potential.”

The Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security program is partially supported by a donation from Hewlett-Packard, as well as the Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research, which is an arm of the Computing Research Alliance. HP’s support stems from its aim to improve upon the 40% vacancy rate in the IT security jobs market.

Information assurance, modeling and simulation, and software development are the three concentrations available to master’s students at Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science. In response to concerns raised by local industry, the school established the Center for Information Assurance Education. The National Security Administration has designated CSU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. For more information on the TSYS school’s programs, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/cs.

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CSU Talks Computer Science-Defense Efforts in D.C.

CSU representatives meeting with U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (third from right) this morning are, from left, Heath McCormick, a CSU computer science graduate student; Chuck Turnitsa, director of the GEMS Institute; Wayne Summers, chair of the TSYS  School of Computer Science; Tom Hackett, provost and vice president for academic affairs; and John Lester, assistant vice president for University Relations.

CSU representatives meeting with U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (third from right) this morning are, from left, Heath McCormick, a CSU computer science graduate student; Chuck Turnitsa, director of the GEMS Institute; Wayne Summers, chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science; Tom Hackett, provost and vice president for academic affairs; and John Lester, assistant vice president for University Relations.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A team from Columbus State University was in the nation’s capital today to meet with Department of Defense officials and congressional representatives about the work being done by CSU computer scientists to assist with special training at Fort Benning.

Specifically, the meetings are focusing on the Gaming Education Modeling and Simulation, or GEMS, Institute started by CSU in 2010 with a federal grant.

Heath McCormick, a graduate student in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science, told officials in Washington today that the system developed through GEMS is a simulation program that teaches young officers “how to think, not what to think.”

Using computers that visually display real-world scenarios faced by the military, in a similar manner as video games, soldiers are better trained to deal with challenging situations. Columbus State is one of four universities nationwide with computer science programs selected by the Army for its soldiers to pursue master’s degrees in gaming, modeling and simulation.

Others from CSU on the trip are Tom Hackett, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Wayne Summers, professor and chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science at CSU; Chuck Turnitsa, director of the GEMS Institute at CSU; and John Lester, assistant vice president for University Relations.

The formation of GEMS with a $1.6 million grant in 2010 built on four years of GEMS curriculum development at Columbus State. In 2006, CSU began offering a computer science degree track in game programming to meet a demand not only in the entertainment industry, but also for designers and programmers of educational computer simulations that inform decision-making in the military, government, corporate management, health care, and other areas. That year, a local defense contractor enrolled some of its employees in the program who ultimately developed a simulation program to train soldiers to inspect vehicles, ask for identification and respond to related scenarios.

In 2008, the university received a $100,000 grant to develop a specially designed computer science curriculum to provide local defense contractors with employees skilled in computer modeling, simulation, and gaming. Simulators are used extensively by all military branches in training for combat.

Learning at the controls of a computer-driven trainer instead of a real tank or plane allows for better training at reduced costs, without wear and tear on actual combat vehicles or systems.

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Columbus State Hosts Regional Lego League Competition

lego tournament 2012COLUMBUS, Ga. — Nearly 250 children and pre-teens will compete for top prizes at a regional Lego robotics tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 in Columbus State University’s Davidson Student Center and Schuster Center for Student Success.

This is the fifth time CSU has hosted the regionals, and officials expect 246 participants in 27 teams from as far south as Thomasville and as far north as Newnan. That surpasses the record 23 teams that competed last year.

The competition is free and open to the public.

“Each year, it gets a little bit bigger,” said Wayne Summers, professor and chair of Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “We think this is going to be a great year.”

Participants in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) event are ages 9-14 in grades 4-8. There also will be a junior FIRST Lego League for grades K-3 that will not require registration. Participants can just show up.

FLL aims to introduce young people to the fun and excitement of science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. While the program involves Lego robotics, FLL goes beyond robotics, with teams examining real-life problems and developing solutions. 

One highlight of the event is the robot competition. Each team will build a robot that must navigate an obstacle course in two minutes and 30 seconds.

 This year’s theme, “Nature’s Fury,” is tied to the research component of the competition. Each team of up to 10 members will talk about a type of disaster and research they did related to that.

 “The kids will do a presentation on that disaster,” Summers said. “Then they will propose a solution to overcoming it or ways to minimize the effects of the disaster.”

 Columbus State will also host on Jan. 11 the FLL Super Regional, which is the next level of competition.

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Photo: Jason Cornwell, right, then a student in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science, advises a Coweta County team in the 2012 regional FIRST Lego League event at Columbus State. Cornwell, who earned both a  B.S. and M.S. in computer science, was a member of CSU’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, whiich helps host the regional FLL events.

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Columbus State Computer Science Professor Selected as Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Vladimir Zanev

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A Columbus State University computer science professor, Vladimir Zanev, will teach in Bulgaria next fall as a participant in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Zanev will take a sabbatical from the TSYS School of Computer Science in CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science to be able to take advantage of his U.S. Scholar Grant in the Fulbright program. He will serve as a visiting lecturer at the University of Mining and Geology in Sofia, the capital of the southeastern European nation.

Zanev, who joined CSU in 1996, is believed to be just the second Columbus State faculty member to win a Fulbright. In 2008-2009, a Columbus State associate professor of French, Cecile Accilien, won a Fulbright scholar grant that allowed her to teach American literature in the French-speaking western African nation of Burkina Faso.

About 15-20 Fulbright scholar awards are awarded to Georgia professors annually. Fewer than 15 Fulbright awards nationwide go to computer science faculty.

“It’s a great achievement, but not just for me,” Zanev said. “It is exciting news. But it would not have been possible without the support from Dr. (Wayne) Summers (chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science), Dean (Linda) Hadley (Turner College of Business and Computer Science) and the provost (Tom Hackett). I am grateful to them to make it possible.”

Zanev previously served on the faculties of Winston-Salem (N.C.) State University, the University of South Carolina, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia and at Sofia University.

Congress approved the Fulbright Program, the brainchild of U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, in 1946 to promote post-World-War II academic exchanges between the U.S. and other nations. Since then, about 300,000 faculty and students have participated, going on to become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors and teachers. They have been awarded 43 Nobel Prizes.

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Photo: Dr. Vladimir Zanev, CSU professor of computer science

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CSU Alumnus First to Earn new Computer Science Teaching Endorsement

Mike EvansCOLUMBUS, Ga. — A LaGrange High School teacher for a decade, Mike Evans might not strike the casual observer as a pioneer.

But, thanks to Columbus State, a coincidence and his initiative, Evans has become Georgia’s first teacher with a computer science endorsement — meaning he now has special expertise to share with his many students who are curious about pursuing a career in computing.

“I had a large population of students not being serviced that had a big interest in computer science,” he said. “You have a lot of students who are interested in artificial intelligence, mobile computing, robotics and just basic programming.”

Until 2011, most high school classes focusing on computing were taught by teachers with a certification to teach business courses. That’s OK for students interested in learning the intricacies of Microsoft Office, but it doesn’t serve well students with more advanced interests in, say, programming.

“It’s really a nationwide problem,” said Wayne Summers, director of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “We don’t have trained teachers, so their students never really learn what computer science is all about. They miss out on the excitement of computer science.”

That means many high school students enter college considering a computer science major without knowing what’s expected or the importance of establishing a strong foundation in mathematics before moving into computer science.

Evans, 38, graduated from Columbus State in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Science and, somewhere near the end of his studies, Summers informed Evans that he only needed a couple of education courses beyond that degree to meet all the requirements for Georgia’s new teaching endorsement for computer science. Two CSU courses during summer 2011 helped him meet his new goal, and the boost in his teacher certification status also improved his salary.

“I thought it was cool,” Evans said.

Last fall, he got his endorsement and immediately started offering an overview programming course at LaGrange High. He’s got ideas about other, more advanced courses, but he wants to gauge student interest first.

Columbus State was able to establish the foundation for its computer science teaching endorsement and launch several other initiatives as a result of a 2009 grant for $117,369 from the National Science Foundation that partnered CSU with Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech, along with CSU, has been a proponent of the new computer science teaching endorsement.

Before returning to school, Evans had primarily taught drafting courses at LaGrange High on the basis of his experience as an industry draftsman at Milliken Textiles. His interest in computing grew as so much design work that once was done by hand became computer-assisted design. He returned to college about five years ago, working full-time while he pursued his bachelor’s degree and then the endorsement.

“Right now, I’m thoroughly enjoying teaching,” he said. “My future endeavors will probably be in that realm although I might go back to CSU for another degree in educational leadership. I like dealing with kids, which is one reason I became a teacher.”

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 Caption for photo: Mike Evans pauses before teaching a spring computing class at LaGrange High School.

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Information Technology Degree Offered by CSU Earns National ‘Best Buy’ Ranking

Best Buy IT sealCOLUMBUS, GA – Columbus State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology has been ranked a Top 20 “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com.

 

The consumer group rates, ranks and verifies the cost and credibility of online colleges and online universities, ranking the University System of Georgia’s WebBSIT degree offered at CSU 16th in the nation, out of 88 schools evaluated.

Columbus State University’s program, taught through the Turner College of Business and Computer Science, has earned a solid reputation for its quality, affordability and commitment to student service. The program was started to address the needs of busy professionals who saw the benefits of continuing their education but were challenged by trying to juggle their career and family responsibilities with a standard class schedule.

“The WebBSIT program provides a high-quality information technology education taught by knowledgeable and caring faculty, coupled with the flexibility of an online program that can be taken from anywhere in the world,” said Wayne Summers, chair of the university’s TSYS School of Computer Science.

Columbus State University’s online master’s in applied computer science was also recognized as among the best (http://tinyurl.com/7x5ukbp), and its online MBA program is highly ranked as well. To learn more about Columbus State University’s computer science programs, visit http://ColumbusState.edu/cs.

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Columbus State’s Online Computer Science Master’s Program a Nationwide ‘Best Buy’

Online Computer Science Masters Best Buy stampCOLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University’s online computer science graduate program is a “Top 10 Best Buy,” according to the latest rankings by GetEducated.com.

The consumer group specializing in online education ranks the TSYS School of Computer Science’s online Master of Science in Applied Computer Science and Information Assurance as No. 2 among programs nationwide in value for consumers concerned with affordability.
 
Columbus State’s degree carries a $7,956 price, while the national, average cost of an online computer science master’s degree is $24,918.

“CSU is a national leader in the quest to make higher education more affordable as well as more accessible through the innovative use of distance learning technologies,” said Vicky Phillips, GetEducated.com’s founder. “CSU is on the GetEducated list of forward thinking universities where technology is being harnessed for remarkable public good.” 

East Carolina University tops the list by way of its $5,070 cost to “resident” enrollees. Separately, nonresident students end up spending $20,790, according to GetEducated.

CSU’s price is single-tiered.

Georgia Southern University’s $12,350 price places its program ninth in the rankings and closest to CSU among schools in Georgia. View the list here: http://www.geteducated.com/online-college-ratings-and-rankings/best-buy-lists/online-masters-computer-science-it-degree.

The rankings are based on GetEducated.com’s Spring 2011 review of regionally accredited and regional candidate online master’s degree programs in computer science or IT. The listed figures represent an estimated sticker price for the entire program as actual costs can vary per student.

The “Best Buy” designation follows recent national recognitions for the same program and CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science.

The degree’s information assurance track recently drew Columbus State a designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education from the National Security Administration.

Earlier this year, Columbus State’s online MBA program, as part of the Georgia Web MBA consortium, was rated by GetEducated.com as best in the country for student satisfaction and the public’s perception of its quality.

For more about the TSYS School of Computer Science and its degree programs, go to http://cs.columbusstate.edu.

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Columbus State Cited as a National Leader in Cyber Security

NSA logoCOLUMBUS, Ga. – As government and industry increasingly prioritize cyber security, Columbus State University and its Turner College of Business and Computer Science has been recognized as a national standard bearer in both teaching and applying the concept.

The citation is by way of the National Security Administration designating CSU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

cyber security presentationAccording to the NSA, Columbus State ensures “the very finest preparation of professionals entrusted with securing our critical information.” 

A formal announcement and presentation was part of the 15th Annual Conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education June 14 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Fairborn, Ohio.

The designation started taking shape in 2005 when the NSA accredited the curriculum for the TSYS School of Computer Science’s applied computer science master’s degree as meeting the highest standards in information assurance – one of the tracks of the degree program since 2002.

Information assurance refers to managing risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information or data and the systems and processes used for those purposes. Threats range from simple viruses to sophisticated hacking of defense systems.

Building on a 2007 reaccrediting of CSU’s curriculum, the new designation “applies to the entire university and reflects CSU’s commitment to teaching and effectively exercising information assurance,” said Ed Bosworth, associate professor of computer science and director CSU’s Center for Information Assurance Education.

Key criteria complementing the curriculum include CSU’s University Information and Technology Services’ commitment to, and application of, information assurance, community outreach via faculty-led workshops and an increase of faculty research. “We’ve added a pair of very active researchers in this field – Jianhua Yang and Radhouane Chouchane,” Bosworth said. “This has significantly strengthened the program.”

The new faculty complement professor Lydia Ray, who provides expertise in computer forensics.”

With the designation, effective through 2016, CSU joins about 125 higher education institutions nationwide, including just four in Georgia: Clark Atlanta, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic.

In addition to the prestige from joining a small group of nationally vital centers, CSU further benefits from the designation by its students becoming eligible for scholarships through the Department of Defense and Federal Cyber Service, while CSU faculty and staff are eligible for NSA and Department of Defense grants and contracts.

With an expanded capacity for scholarly activity focused on information security, CSU has positioned itself as a fortress in “a new phase of warfare, exemplified by the recent ‘Stuxnet’ virus,” Bosworth said.

Believed to have recently disabled Iran’s nuclear power system, Stuxnet represents a new level of sophistication in computer viruses in its apparent threat to large industrial control systems, such as the U.S. electric grid, Bosworth said.

The development compounds the threat of identity threat and computer fraud to both networks and information on personal computers.

More than 30 students have received information assurance certification through CSU, including such notables as John Branchcomb, an FBI agent, and George Trawick, who landed an information assurance-related position with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington and is pursuing a Ph.D. in the field.

Additionally, hundreds of graduate students have taken one or more graduate courses in information assurance. Those courses include Information Systems Assurance, Network Security, Advanced System Security, Computer Forensics, Network Risk Assessment, and Software Testing and Quality Assurance.

The courses were developed in cooperation with local industries and trade groups, including Chattahoochee Valley Infragard — a cooperative security-information sharing and analysis effort involving the FBI, other government organizations and local businesses.

For more information, contact Ed Bosworth at 706-565-4128 or bosworth_ed@ColumbusState.edu or email cs@ColumbusState.edu.

# # #

Photo caption: Present for the certificate presentation were, from left, Peggy Maxson, director of National Cybersecurity Education Strategy for the Department of Homeland Security; Howard A. Schmidt, special assistant to the president and cyber security coordinator; CSU professor Ed Bosworth; Linda Hadley, dean of CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science; Wayne Summers, professor and chair of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science; and Cheryl Roby, chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration and chief information officer for the Department of Defense.
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CSU-Beijing School Partnership Focuses on Computer Science Master’s Degree

gift presentationCOLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University now has a China pipeline for enrolling computer science students in an exclusive accelerated graduate program.

Part of a new, faculty-student exchange agreement between Columbus State and Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science will begin next fall to enroll BIPT students in CSU’s master’s degree program in Applied Computer Science.   

The initiative is designed to raise the level of computer science expertise of potential educators in China, while exposing CSU faculty and students to some of that country’s top students. 

Signed Thursday by CSU President Tim Mescon and BIPT Provost Zhansheng Han, The renewable, five-year agreement extends to other disciplines through faculty and student exchanges, study abroad, intensive language programs, collaborative research programs, seminars and workshops, and service programs. 

“Today is a very special day for both of our universities,” Han said through an interpreter.

Columbus State enjoys partnerships with 18 other schools around the world, but the new accelerated degree agreement is unique, said Neal McCrillis, executive director of CSU’s Center for International Education

“This agreement is a first of its type for us,” said McCrillis, who will oversee CSU’s role in the partnership. “The aim is to recruit students into the master’s program by making the application process very simple and the transition easy.”

CSU’s program corresponds to China’s “3+2 Accelerated Degree Program” – a fast-track, government initiative to bolster the professional level of future Chinese educators, especially college professors, through advanced study at international universities.

Accordingly, BIPT students completing 3-and-a-half years of undergraduate computer science coursework can complete their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at CSU over the following two years. The top five students admitted each year will be charged the in-state tuition rate and can keep the benefit by maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA.

However, the advantage is not one-sided. “This gives our computer science students and faculty opportunities to interact with students and faculty from China in a variety of contexts,” said professor Wayne Summers, CSU’s computer science chair. “Anytime U.S. students can interact with students from another country and culture, everyone benefits.”

Founded in 1978 as a specialty school serving China’s petrochemical industry, BIPT has evolved into a multi-disciplinary university with 11 colleges and departments.

“With BIPT, CSU is expanding its global reach by partnering with a prestigious institute of higher learning in the world’s most populous country,” said Greg Domin, CSU interim associate vice president for academic affairs. “Doing so provides us with an opportunity to recruit students from that part of the world, as we look to enhance our prestige by reaching out to the world’s best and brightest students.”

CSU-BIPT signing

Columbus State President Tim Mescon and Beijing Institute of Petroleum Technology Provost Zhansheng Han sign documents formalizing the CSU-BIPT partnership. Second row, from left:  Youngli Song, deputy dean of  BIPT’s College of Chemical Engineering; Jiandong Liu, deputy director of BIPT’s Information Engineering Institute; Neal McCrillis, executive director of CSU’s Center for International Education; Huiming Yin, deputy dean of BIPT’s Foreign Affairs Office; Wayne Summers, director of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science; Linda Hadley, dean of CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science; and Tom Hackett, CSU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Caption, top photo: As Huiming Yin, left, deputy dean of BIPT’s Foreign Affairs Office, translates, BIPT Provost Zhansheng Han offers CSU President Tim Mescon the gift of a book made of silk.
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TSYS School of Computer Science – Student Presentations

You are invited to the following student presentations.

Date: Nov. 10, 2010, Wednesday

Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Place: CCT 208
Speakers: Richard Hodges, Patrick Hearn and Mark Plagge, Robert Smith and Rodrigo Sardinas
Titles:

  • Genetic Algorithms for Assessing T2-Optimality in Graphs
  • “Poetry on Demand”
  • “Challenges in Building and Detecting Portable Source Code”

These students will present these research projects in preparation for the upcoming 2010 Association for Computing Machinery Mid-Southeast Conference.

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Columbus State Announces Games, Education, Modeling, and Simulation Institute

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will use a $1.6 million federal grant to establish a Games, Education, Modeling, and Simulation Institute as a model project in support of tactical defense efforts at Fort Benning and elsewhere in the region.

GEMS presentationWayne Summers discusses GEMS Institute.CSU President Timothy Mescon announced the long-planned effort today during a project kickoff meeting with representatives of the Department of Defense and Columbus State’s TSYS School of Computer Science, which will operate the GEMS Institute.

“Fort Benning’s expanded training role, which came as a result of the addition of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, caused us to look at the increased demand for a well-trained technology workforce in the region,” Mescon said.

  “This workforce will be needed to support not only the base and defense contractors, but also businesses that relocate to take advantage of the state’s tax incentive programs for companies within the entertainment industry, especially gaming.”

Wayne Summers, above right, chair of the TSYS school in CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science, will also serve as executive director of the new institute. He said there are five main goals for the institute:

  • Engage in collaborative research and development in games, modeling and simulation.
  • Support the Maneuver Center of Excellence and its growing need for GEMS-related technologies.
  • Develop a workforce to support GEMS-related needs for Fort Benning, local defense industry businesses, and regional economic development.
  • Support games and entertainment industry businesses relocating to the Chattahoochee Valley, as well as existing businesses.
  • Coordinate games, modeling and simulation activities of post-secondary academic institutions within the Chattahoochee Valley region.

“By establishing the GEMS Institute, Columbus State University has taken its first steps toward providing structure to guide our research efforts in support of the defense, education and entertainment industries,” Summers said. “We think we are poised to become a national leader in this arena.”

Summers credited Congressman Sanford Bishop with helping to secure the $1.6 million federal grant that establishes the new institute.

“I am glad to be in a position to offer continued support to Columbus State University and to be able to assist with the establishment of the GEMS Institute,” Bishop said. “The marriage between Fort Benning, the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Columbus State University is a win-win proposition.  This will put our area on the cutting edge of this developing technology which, in addition to a tremendous economic impact for our area, will save the Department of Defense billions of dollars in military training costs.”

The formation of the new institute builds on four years of GEMS curriculum development at Columbus State University. In 2006, CSU began offering a degree track in game programming to meet a demand not only in the entertainment industry, but also for designers and programmers of educational computer simulations that inform decision-making in the military, government, corporate management, health care, and other areas.  That year, a local defense contractor enrolled some of its employees in the program who ultimately developed a simulation program to train soldiers to inspect vehicles, ask for identification and respond to related scenarios.

In 2008, the university received a $100,000 grant to develop a specially designed computer science curriculum to provide local defense contractors with employees skilled in computer modeling, simulation, and gaming. Simulators are used extensively by all military branches in training for combat. Learning at the controls of a computer-driven trainer instead of a real tank or plane allows for better training at reduced costs, without wear and tear on actual combat vehicles or systems.

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Program to Improve Computer Science Teaching in High Schools

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University has taken a lead role among Georgia colleges and universities in raising the level of computer science education.

Starting this fall, CSU will offer a computer science endorsement as an add-on to its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in secondary education under guidelines recently established by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

The commission approved CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science and College of Education and Health Professions to offer a Computer Science Endorsement for teachers of grades 8-12. This means CSU will “provide a vehicle for training more and better high school computer science teachers,” said professor and TSYS School of Computer Science Chair Wayne Summers.

Summers said the endorsement comes as part of the computer science school’s involvement in a National Science Foundation-funded program, Broadening Participation in Computing. “We are striving to help meet the NSF’s ‘CS/10k’ project goal to develop an effective new high school curriculum for computing taught in 10,000 high schools by 10,000 well-qualified teachers by 2015.”

The impetus to bolster the teaching ranks corresponds with NSF projections that U.S. schools have not kept pace to fill a projected 1 million new information technology jobs projected to appear from 2004-2014.

While Georgia does not require professional development for computer science teachers beyond an original teaching certificate, most teachers have trained to teach computer science through earning a business certificate. “In most cases, business-teaching certification does not adequately prepare one to teach computer science,” said Summers.

CSU’s computer science endorsement is voluntary, but is equivalent to a computer science minor as it provides an opportunity for secondary education majors to develop a high level of technical competence and exposure to computer programming and systems development and implementation. Prior to entering the program, candidates must have at least applied to CSU’s teacher education program and be pursuing teacher certification.

Upon earning the endorsement, graduates will have completed nine computer science courses: Introduction to Information Technology, Computer Science I, Computer Science II, Computer Organization, Data Structures, Programming Languages, Computer Networks, Methods of Teaching Computer Science and Practicum in Computer Science.

Course requirements can be waived, at the discretion of CSU officials, for computer science teachers and degree holders, plus students with computer science credits from other schools.

The computer science endorsement becomes the sixth endorsement attachable to CSU education degrees, joining gifted (Special education), P-5 Mathematics, Pre-School Special Education, Reading and P-5 Science.

For more information go to http://cs.columbusstate.edu or call 706-568-2410.

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‘Computer Science Colloquium Series Thursday, April 22, 2010 12:30-1:15 CCT 208 Refreshments will be served!!!

“Why Study Assembler Language
(Since Nobody Uses It)?”

The lecture will be given by Dr. Edward Bosworth, faculty member of TSYS School of Computer Science.

This talk attempts to give a rationale for including a course in assembly language in an undergraduate curriculum in Computer Science.  

The talk begins with a historical approach.  By decades, what have been the reasons for studying assembly language?  As will be seen, these have changed significantly in the approximately 60 years since assembler was introduced.

The talk then presents a number of reasons for today’s study of assembly language.

1.    The course focuses the student’s attention on the functional structure of a stored program computer.

2.    The course integrates well with, and supports, our introductory course in Computer Architecture.

3.    The course highlights the run–time services provided by a typical higher level language. As examples, we discuss explicit bounds checking on array accesses, and the use of a stack to support recursive subroutines.

4.    The students should be made aware that many of basic mathematical functions, such as the sine, cosine, square root, etc. are not basic operations, but must be implemented in terms of the four basic functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. A course in assembly allows the student to study these implementations and understand why they are only approximations of algorithms.

5.    Although few of our students will be expected to write or modify assembly language programs, the course provides significant insights into the structures of other languages. One of our students stated that he had not understood some of the design choices in the COBOL language until he took the course in assembly language.

6.    There seems to be some growth in the use of large timesharing computer systems, especially Massively Parallel Processors. Our course gives the student considerable experience in timesharing access to a large Enterprise server.

7.    A few local companies use IBM Enterprise servers and appreciate our teaching the assembly language for those machine

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