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CS Majors Share Research Projects During MUSE Presentations

(L-R) Matthew Hannum, Kiera Gill, and Jenna Stiesi presented their research project on CABPortal at the MUSE 2021 presentations.

Congratulations to the seven CS MUSE students who shared their summer research projects on Tuesday, September 14, as part of the campus-wide presentation event.

Jenna Stiesi, Kiera Gill, and Matthew Hannum, mentored by Dr. Monisha Pulimood, presented their MUSE project titled “CABPortal: Leveraging Collective Intelligence to Improve
Sustainability of Web-Based Portals”.

Andrew Michael and Kyla Ramos, mentored by Dr. Sharif Ferdous, presented their MUSE project titled “Investigating the Effectiveness of a Visual Cybersickness Questionnaire”.

Michael Giordano and Vihan Patel, mentored by Dr. Michael Bloodgood, presented their MUSE project titled “Varying Validation Set Size to Improve Machine Translation”.

Students’ presentation posters are now on display on the CS Department bulletin boards accross from STEM 103, the Research Lab.

Congratulations again to all of our presenting students!

CS Sophomore Shares Summer REU Experience at University of Central Florida

This summer, CS sophomore Leah Kazenmayer completed a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Central Florida.  

Leah shared her experience with the CS Department:

“This summer, I participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for the University of Central Florida (UCF). This program incorporated Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the programming language Python, and machine/deep learning. Specifically for the project I worked on with my partner Gabriela Ford, we were given datasets from the Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM) database that detailed events that occurred on roadways in Seminole County, Florida, such as vehicle volume at intersections, timestamps of traffic light changes, timestamps of pedestrian sign flashes, and so forth. We particularly focused on obtaining hourly vehicle volume within a specific corridor in Seminole County, and utilized machine/deep learning to predict the next hour based on the previous 6 hours of traffic volume.

This 8-week REU was an invaluable experience where I met new people, networked with faculty members and graduate students, and was exposed to the everyday routine of graduate school. It taught me more about Python and machine/deep learning, subjects I was completely inexperienced with; after those 8 work-intensive weeks, I can now say that I have an abundance of knowledge in both fields.

I will take all of this knowledge I have gained from this experience and use it as a resource for all future endeavors related to the computer science field, whether it be in academia or in the industry.”

Leah has also received a scholarship to attend the virtual Grace Hopper Celebration, which begins next week.

Congratulations again to Leah and thank you for sharing your summer REU experience at UCF!


Dr. Ferdous Awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant to Study VR Cybersickness in Children

Dr. Ferdous and his research students review survey categories for assessing users’ levels of cybersickness.  (From left: Jan Matthew Tameta, Kyla Ramos, Allison Russell, Dr. Ferdous. Not pictured: David Calva, Alyssa Popper, Thendral Prabu, Svanik Shirodkar)

Dr. Sharif Ferdous has been awarded a $174,835 grant from the National Science Foundation for his research project studying virtual reality sickness.

In recent years, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have become more affordable and accessible to a diverse population, including children. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges for VR technologies is virtual reality sickness, also known as cybersickness. The most common cybersickness symptoms include eyestrain, headache, sweating, fullness of head, disorientation, vertigo, nausea, etc. While much research focuses on cybersickness for adults, very little research has been conducted for children. In this project, we will focus on understanding cybersickness in children.

The Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) is the most popular method of measuring cybersickness, even though some of the questions can be harder for children to comprehend. At the beginning of the project, TCNJ undergraduate student researchers will develop a web application that augments the existing SSQ with animation that makes it easier for children. In addition, student researchers will be trained on recording and analyzing electroencephalography (EEG). In the next step, student researchers will develop a VR roller coaster simulation to study cybersickness using subjective (SSQ) and objective (EEG and heart rate variability) measures in children and compare them with adults. Finally,  student researchers will investigate the conditions of different virtual environment (VE) conditions (e.g., speed, angular speed, rotation, acceleration, change in lighting, change in contrast etc.) and their effect on cybersickness in children. Ultimately, the student researchers will formulate the very first guidelines for developing VR content for children.

More details about Dr. Ferdous’s courses and research can be found on his website.

Congratulations again to Dr. Ferdous!

Dr. Bloodgood & Dr. Yoon Receive Tenure, Promotion to Associate Professor

The Computer Science Department faculty & staff offer congratulations to Dr. Michael Bloodgood and Dr. Sejong Yoon on earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  Dr. Bloodgood and Dr. Yoon joined the Department in Fall 2016.

For more information on Dr. Bloodgood and Dr. Yoon’s courses and areas of research, review their faculty websites (below):

Dr. Bloodgood’s Faculty Website

Dr. Yoon’s Faculty Website

Interim Dean Norvell Congratulates School of Science Faculty on Their Promotions and Retirements

Scholarships to Attend Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration

A generous donation from CS alumna Jennifer Gandolfo (class of 1997) makes it possible for the Computer Science Department to offer a limited number of scholarships to current women CS majors at TCNJ who would like to attend this year’s Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Registration for the 2021 vGHC is now open for student attendees.

The GHC conference is holding virtual events again this year and eligible CS majors would be reimbursed for the Academic Registration fee of $199.  Students who have already registered for the conference are also eligible to apply for the scholarship.

If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, please complete the Department’s application and also email to notify CS Department faculty and staff of your application submission.  Applications are due by Monday, August 2.  Please email Dr. Pulimood if you have questions or need additional information.

See the vGHC 21 Registration webpage for more information on the Grace Hopper Celebration and learn how to register.

Read more about Jennifer Gandolfo’s donation and the scholarship here: CS Alumna Donation Will Support Scholarship for Grace Hopper Celebration Attendee | Department of Computer Science

Summer Research Features: Machine Learning for Natural Language Processing

The Department of Computer Science is excited to feature our summer research groups and take a look at what they are working on! Today, we are highlighting the work of Dr. Michael Bloodgood’s research group.

Dr. Bloodgood’s group includes Michael Giordano (‘23) and Vihan Patel (‘22). The research team is investigating new methods for optimizing the usage of data for building machine learned NLP (Natural Language Processing) systems. The goal is to enable NLP systems to be trained and tested with lower cost and time, while maximizing performance. Applications of their research include text classification, information extraction, and machine translation.

The research team is using TCNJ’s ELSA (Electronic Laboratory for Science and Analysis) high performance computing cluster to conduct their experiments. This cluster is funded by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award #1828163. The research project is supported by TCNJ’s MUSE (Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience) program.


Clockwise from left to right: Michael Giordano, Vihan Patel, Dr. Michael Bloodgood

Summer Research Features: VR Cybersickness

The Department of Computer Science is excited to feature our summer research groups and take a look at what they are working on! Today, we are highlighting the work of Dr. Sharif Mohammad Shahnewaz Ferdous’ research group.

Dr. Ferdous’ group includes Andrew Michael (‘24) and Kyla Ramos (‘23). The project is investigating the effectiveness of a visual cybersickness questionnaire.

The research objective of this project is to expand our understanding of how children perceive cybersickness in virtual reality (VR). Cybersickness is discomforts experienced by a user during or after the VR exposure. The most popular method for measuring cybersickness is via a Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ), developed using data obtained from navy pilots. The SSQ may not be suitable to measure cybersickness in children, as some of its questions (e.g., fullness of head, stomach awareness, etc.) can be difficult for children to comprehend.

To correctly measure cybersickness in children, it is crucial to develop a child-friendly questionnaire. Therefore, during MUSE 2021, Dr. Ferdous’ group will implement a web application that augments existing SSQ questions with animation that makes it easier to understand the symptoms.

Funding for this research project is provided by MUSE (Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience) at TCNJ.

Clockwise from top left: Andrew Michael, Dr. Sharif Mohammad Shahnewaz Ferdous, Kyla Ramos

Summer Research Features: CABPortal

The Department of Computer Science is excited to feature our summer research groups and take a look at what they are working on!

Dr. Monisha Pulimood’s research group includes Kiera Gill (’23), Matthew Hannum (’23), and Jenna Stiesi (’22). The students are supported through Dr. Pulimood’s Barbara Meyers Pelson Chair in Faculty-Student engagement (AY 2018-2021) award. This summer, the students are working together to conduct research and continue development of CABPortal, a web-based application designed to make researches associated with the Collaborating Across Boundaries (CAB) pedagogical model publicly available.

The application leverages concepts from human computation, collective intelligence, and open collaboration to enable current and potential adopters to find interdisciplinary courses and project ideas of interest, and to become motivated to participate in the dissemination and sustainability of hosted projects. They are also continuing development on some of the applications developed by students in Dr. Pulimood’s Software Engineering classes in previous semesters.

The CAB Project was supported by two grants:

  1. The Barbara Meyers Pelson Chair in Faculty-Student Engagement Endowment Fund in academic years 2018 – 2021, during which time Dr. Pulimood was the endowed chair.
  2. NSF Award #1914869, Collaborating Across Boundaries (CAB) to Engage Undergraduates in STEM Learning, for which Dr. Pulimood is the principal investigator (PI), along with Professor Kim Pearson (Journalism & Professional Writing) and Professor Diane Bates (Sociology & Anthropology) who are the co-PIs.
Clockwise from left: Jenna Stiesi, Kiera Gill, Dr. Monisha Pulimood, Matthew Hannum

Colloquium Talk with Dr. Sabah Boustila: Virtual Reality for Real-World Problems

Dr. Sabah Boustila, Assistant Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, will give a virtual colloquium talk on Friday, April 2 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM. See below for the Zoom link and more information.

Abstract: Virtual environments (VEs) displayed through Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR) are commonly used as an alternative means to accomplish delicate tasks or for decision-making in a safe and economical form. For instance, in the military field, VR could be used as a training tool, it has the potential to recreate a real battlefield at a human scale to familiarize soldiers with a new battlefield inside a harmless environment. Despite numerous technological advances in both graphic hardware as well as algorithms and APIs, how accurate virtual environments/contents could be perceived and interpreted in comparison to real ones is still an open research question. In this talk I will discuss some parameters that affect our spatial perception in indoor virtual environments and how can we adjust them to improve our experience and decision-making. Furthermore, in outdoor environment, I will discuss user performance when using navigation aids in virtual environments.

Speaker Bio: I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in User Experience and Web design at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Strasbourg, France in May 2016. While completing my Ph.D I held a Lecturer and Research Assistant position at the same university. In January 2018, I joined the University of Toronto (Canada) as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for two years where I worked on navigation aids in virtual environments. In January 2020, I joined again the University of Strasbourg as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow before joining MMU. Throughout my career, my scientific interests have been on Virtual and Augmented Reality (XR) for real-world problems and Three-Dimensional interactions. My aim is to contribute to research that serves the community. Consequently, I have addressed issues related to user experience and spatial perception in virtual environments, and provided solutions for real-world problems: military, transportation, and architecture.

Zoom Meeting (ID: 963 2042 7065 / Password: 282553)