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Computer Science Colloquium: September 5

The Computer Science Department will be holding the first colloquium of the academic year on Friday, September 5.   Dr. David G. Cooper, adjunct professor and instructor of CSC 320: Information Retrieval, will be giving at talk entitled “Affect Detection for a Classroom Computerized Geometry Tutoring System”. Dr. Cooper’s biography and an abstract of his talk can be found below. Please join Dr. Cooper, faculty, and students on Friday in Forcina 408 from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM.  Pizza will be provided and all are welcome to attend.



Minimally invasive sensor technology is mature enough to equip classrooms of up to 25 students with four sensors at the same time while using a computer based intelligent tutoring system. The sensors, which are on each student’s chair, mouse, monitor, and wrist, provide data about posture, movement, grip tension, arousal, and facially expressed mental states. Accurate affect detection can provide an intelligent tutoring system with cues to give feedback to individual students using the system. We discuss a method to clarify classifier ranking for the purpose of affective models. The method begins with a careful collection of a training and testing set, each from a separate population, and concludes with a non-parametric ranking of the trained classifiers on the testing set. The talk will conclude with a discussion of future directions that affective sensing could go for education and beyond.


David G. Cooper is a lecturer at Ursinus College in the Math and Computer Science Department and at The College of New Jersey in the Department of Computer Science. He holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on computational affect (emotion) detection. He earned his B.S. in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University. While working as a software engineer at Lockheed Martin, David was on a team to prototype distributed data fusion software for helicopter communication, and was able to test the software while in flight on a Black Hawk helicopter. David’s research has ranged from human robot interaction in the Robot Tug of War project to emotion detection for a computerized geometry tutor for middle and high school students.

MUSE 2014

TCNJ’s MUSE (Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience) program runs every summer. This year, Dr. Dimitris Papamichail worked with Joie Murphy, Nathan Gould, and Dylan Wulf – all rising sophomore Computer Science Majors – to complete their specific projects, described below by Dr. Papamichail:

Joie Murphy and Dylan Wulf worked on a project that aims to develop a set of computational tools to aid the computational textual criticism of Latin texts.  An ultimate goal of traditional textual criticism is the reconstruction of the archetype of a given work, where various manuscripts from different time periods and from different regions are available as the source of texts for reconstruction; some are only fragments. To tackle this goal, it is important to figure out, by comparing differences and similarities among multiple versions the work, whether one version is derived from another, and whether two or more versions descend from a hypothetical version that is now lost. The students worked on methods to construct and evaluate trees representing the relationships of extant and hypothetical extinct documents.

Nathan Gould and Oliver Hendy (senior Biology major) studied algorithmic issues behind synthetic gene optimization and the approaches that different computational tools have adopted to redesign gene DNA sequences and maximize desired coding features. The students studied an extended bibliography in synthetic biology and gene redesign, and utilized test cases to demonstrate the efficiency of each gene design approach, as well as identify their strengths and limitations of the available tools. This study resulted in a manuscript that has been submitted for publication.

For more information on MUSE, please visit TCNJ’s webpage:

Three CS Students Receive CREU Funding


Joie Murphy (class of 2017), Kate Evans (2017), and J.R. Villari (2016) have received Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) funding to perform research during the 2014-15 academic year under the supervision of Dr. Dimitris Papamichail. They will work on a project that aims to create efficient algorithms and computational tools for the construction of optimized, rationally-designed synthetic genes.

The funding is provided by the Computer Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC), with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Congratulations to J.R., Kate, and Joie on their achievements!

Dr. Salgian to Present in Athens, Greece

On September 18, Dr. Andrea Salgian will present her paper “Teaching Robots to Conduct: Automatic Extraction of Conducting Information from Sheet Music” at the 40th International Computer Music Conference in Athens, Greece.  This year’s conference will be jointly held with the 11th Sound and Music Computing Conference and will run September 14 – 20.    Dr. Salgian’s paper was accepted for presentation by the International Computer Music Association (ICMA), an international organization of individual researchers and institutions who are involved in the technical, creative, and performance aspects of computer music.

Coauthored by TCNJ alumnus Laurence Agina and Dr. Teresa Nakra, Associate Professor in TCNJ’s Music Department, the paper was written as part of a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation.  Students who majored in Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Music, and Interactive Multimedia worked together in a semester-long class to build robots that could conduct a real orchestra and were later utilized during performances by TCNJ’s music ensembles.  The culminating paper describes an algorithm that can parse sheet music encoded in MIDI files in order to extract conducting information such as tempo, dynamics, and entrance cues.  This process is the robotic equivalent of a human conductor reading the sheet music and deciding which gestures to perform and when. Current TCNJ students continue to work on improving the conducting robots technology in mentored research projects.

For more on the International Computer Music Conference, please visit the conference’s webpage:



The NSF-funded CABECT project has received Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) supplemental funding to support two undergraduate research students as they investigate the hypothesis that contributions from a large number of motivated users who actively review and adapt site content will result in a self-sustaining research repository. Selected students will received stipends during the 2014-2015 academic year and 2015 summer, as well as travel funding and on-campus summer housing. For more information on the project “CABECTPortal: Leveraging Social Computational Concepts to Enhance Project Dissemination and Sustainability”, expectations, and how to apply see The application deadline is 5 p.m. August 27, 2014.

Computer Science thanks Linode

The Department of Computer Science was thrilled to welcome Christopher Aker (CEO), Thomas Asaro (COO) and Keith Craig (Public Relations Manager), from Linode LLC on Thursday, July 17, 2014. The welcoming party included Dr. Peter DePasquale and Dr. Monisha Pulimood from Computer Science, Dr. Jeffrey Osborn (Dean of School of Science) and Mr. Guy Calcerano (Major Gifts Officer). The primary purpose for inviting Linode was to express TCNJ’s gratitude for Linode’s generous donation of servers that have opened up exciting new opportunities for research and education in Computer Science, as well as in the other departments within the School of Science (Physics, Math, Biology and Chemistry). Our guests took the opportunity to tour our facilities and meet with MUSE students working with Dr. Papamichail. We also explored additional avenues for collaboration between Linode and Computer Science at TCNJ. Watch this space for future developments.

Report in Times of Trenton:

Congratulations to the Class of 2014

The Computer Science Department Class of 2014 was awarded degrees en masse at the main TCNJ ceremony on May 15, 2014.  Students were individually recognized at the Department ceremony on May 16, 2014, in the Mayo Concert Hall. Teddy Sudol gave the student address and Dr. Deborah Knox gave the faculty address.

Class Of 2014

Class Of 2014




2014 Computer Science Award Winners

CS Award Winners and Faculty

CS Award Winners and Faculty

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013-2014 Computer Science Department Awards and the Charles Goldberg-Norman Neff Awards!

The Computer Science Department awardees are selected by the faculty based not only on their exemplary performance in CS courses, but also on their significant contributions to the department.

Freshman Award – Joie Murphy

Sophomore Award – Kylie Gorman and Brandon Gottlob

Junior Award – Joseph Canero, Conor Kelton and Sean Safari

Senior Award – Thomas Caputi, Leighanne Hsu, Michael MacDougall and Glen Oakley

The Charles Goldberg-Norman Neff Award goes to a graduating senior who has been accepted into a Ph.D. program and completes an application for the award. This year we have two winners:

Patrick D’Errico and Teddy Sudol


Celebration of Computing, April 30

Celebration of Computing
As we do every spring, the Computer Science Department will celebrate the achievements of our students at the Celebration of Computing event on April 30, 2014, 12pm – 4 pm in Forcina, 4th floor.

Please Come Celebrate With Us!
Celebrate the wonderful achievements of CS students!
Celebrate yet another awesome semester in CS!
Celebrate the last week of classes for Spring 2014!


The tentative schedule is:

  • Computer Science lunch and activities, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, Forcina Hall 4th Floor
  • Presentation of CS Department awards, 1:00 pm, Forcina Hall 4th Floor
  • Presentation of Goldberg-Neff award, 1:15 pm, Forcina Hall 4th Floor
  • Capstone Experience Presentations, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, Brower Student Center
  • UPE Induction, 3:15 – 3:45 pm, Forcina Hall 4th Floor
Please follow the link below to complete a Qualtrics form to let us know of your participation so we can plan for the event, estimate space needs and order the appropriate quantity of food.
Access code: celeb14
Scholarships for Success in Computational Science

Scholarships for Success in Computational Science

Professors Tom Hagedorn (Mathematics & Statistics) and Monisha Pulimood (Computer Science) have been awarded a grant from the NSF S-STEM program (Award # 1356235). This grant forms the basis of a sustainable initiative to recruit, retain and graduate more students in computer science and mathematics at TCNJ. The project will fund approximately 27 scholarships per year for computer science and mathematics students who will be organized into learning communities and engage in research focused on a common theme of computational science. The project will also provide significant advising, mentoring, and tutoring services that supplement those already provided by the college.