Computer Science Department

About UMD Department of Computer Science

The Faculty and Staff in the Department of Computer Science are enthusiastic about the continually evolving field in computer science and the possibilities offered to UMD students. Faculty conduct cutting-edge research, provide opportunities for students to get involved, and work with students to ensure success while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Students also have an opportunity to advance their education with pursuing a  M.S. degree in Computer Science.

Th Department of Computer Science mission encompasses four main goals:

  1. Conduct scholarly research
  2. Provide a learning environment that leads our students to careers and research
  3. Contribute to the liberal education mission of UMD
  4. Serve the community, region, state and the professions

Cutting-Edge Research

UMD Computer Science students work side-by-side with faculty to conduct research in a wide variety of areas. Students gain knowledge and experience submitting articles for journal publication and in giving conference presentations.

Our faculty are active in research with national and international recognition through grants and awards!  Three recent research grants and contracts have gone to by Dr. Arshia Khan, Dr. Peter Peterson, and Dr. Andrew Sutton.

Dr. Arshia Khan

Dr. Arshia Khan

Award Contract: Monarch Healthcare Management and Minnesota Department of Human Services
Deploying Humanoid Robots to Assist in Nursing Homes

This research focuses on biomedical and health informatics, using robots with advanced technology to enhance care. These robots are equipped to assist individuals with their emotional, physical and cognitive health. They are programmed to do this by entertaining, noticing when routines such as exercising and eating habits are off, and by administering cognitive therapy. The robots interact and can detect a person’s facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical movements. They can make eye-contact and talk. The overall goal is to ensure that people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease stay independent longer. The humanoid robots are being deployed in Monarch Healthcare Management nursing homes across Minnesota to augment care for residents.

Article About Dr. Khan's Work

NYTimes Article on Dr. Khan's Work

CBS News - Robot Helps Dementia Patients

Dr. Peter Peterson

CAREER: Describing and Quantifying "Adversarial Thinking" For Cybersecurity

Adversarial Thinking (AT) is widely recognized as a critically important ability for cybersecurity. The importance of AT has been widely discussed in the cybersecurity community, and many educators have created activities and exercises explicitly intended to strengthen AT in students to enhance their cybersecurity understanding and abilities. However, there is no broadly accepted description of AT or its components beyond describing it as the ability to “think like an attacker." As a result, there is no test to meaningfully quantify AT or the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve AT. To meet this important need, this foundation-building five-year project will create a description of the core components of AT. The project will use a consensus approach drawing on the knowledge and experience of a diverse group of individuals in the cybersecurity community. The project will create and validate a non-technical test for AT and use the test to 1) identify AT in individuals and 2) evaluate the effectiveness of exercises meant to improve AT. This project will shed light on fundamental knowledge about AT in cybersecurity, help identify the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, and give cybersecurity educators tools to improve the effectiveness of security education.

NSF Award Abstract

Dr. Andrew Sutton

Andrew Sutton

CAREER: Algorithmic Models of Adaptation

Evolution is an inherently algorithmic process: complex adaptations in living organisms emerge from the basic forces of replication, variation and selection acting together on an evolving sequence of genetic material. In the field of artificial intelligence, this process has been leveraged at a high level to develop evolutionary algorithms: computer programs that apply this framework to adapt solutions to computationally hard problems. Despite their popularity on a wide range of practical applications, relatively little is understood about their working principles, or how the structure of problems might influence their applicability. Moreover, there is a rich potential of untapped interdisciplinary knowledge situated at the confluence of biological evolution and algorithms. This project addresses this by establishing an Algorithmic Evolution Lab to serve as an incubator of scientific ideas that explore the boundaries between algorithmic evolution and mathematical models of evolving populations. The principal aim of the Algorithmic Evolution Lab is to study evolution and adaptation from the lens of computational complexity.

NSF Award Abstract

Learn more about the types of research our faculty pursue and check out the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to learn how students from freshman through senior year conduct research.

Student Success

UMD students are doing amazing things, and the Department of Computer Science is no exception.

ACM Club students meet weekly to discuss computer science related topics, take part in hackathons, participate in coding competitions such as the DigiKey Collegiate Computing Competition, and have guest speakers.

Women in Computing host undergraduate research project workshops for students to learn about the research process, graduate programs, and have an opportunity to get involved on a project with mentors.

Outreach & Opportunity

Community involvement is important for the Department of Computer Science to inspire young people to pursue STEM careers and computer science field.

program designed for elementary and middle school students to gain an introduction to computer programming and participate in activities organized by Swenson College of Science & Engineering Outreach.