Interdisciplinary collaboration was top on the list of reasons to come to Oregon State for 14 new faculty in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The new professors hired in the last two years specialize in diverse areas such as computer security, computational biology, sensors, signal processing and software engineering, but many are so cross-disciplinary they are hard to define by a single area group.

For Matthew Johnston, who develops electronic sensor platforms that have applications in fields like chemistry, biology and medicine, settling in a department that clearly valued collaboration was important.

"I feel that interdisciplinary work is one of the most effective ways to creatively solve problems,” he said. “We’re dealing with very complex problems now on a global scale that require collaborative solutions and systems approaches."

Recent hires focused on creating a new computer security group as well as building the areas of big data, sensors and systems. Bella Bose, interim head for the School of EECS, expects four to five additional faculty will be hired this year and another five to six in the future.

“We are excited to have so many new faculty who all have a strong commitment to education in addition to their research strengths,” Bose said.

Four of the new faculty work on computer security, but their specializations cover a broad range of topics including cryptography, security protocols and network security, that impact applications such as cloud computing, the electric grid and avionics.

Jinsub Kim’s research in statistical signal processing has many applications, but he finds the problems of cyber security for power systems particularly compelling.

“It’s a very important problem because if the security in the power grid is compromised the consequences could be a cascading blackout,” he said.

Kim is also interested in expanding his research to other areas.  “Integrating renewable energy with the electric grid has been part of my future research plan and this department has very strong faculty in that area, so it was a good fit,” Kim said.

The field of computational biology is, by its very nature, cross-disciplinary and the two new faculty in this area have split positions. Steven Ramsey is also in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and David Hendrix is in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Their presence on the faculty is providing students an opportunity to train in an emerging field that has impacts in agriculture, biochemistry, genetics, and medicine.

New faculty member, Eric Walkingshaw, who specializes in programming languages for non-professional programmers, sees a lot of opportunity for his research on domain specific languages in the area of computational biology, and so the addition of Ramsey and Hendrix to the faculty will help facilitate his entry into that area.

“I feel like the EECS program at Oregon State is really on the way up, and having all these other new faculty members to collaborate with is really exciting,” Walkingshaw said.

The new faculty are not only adding novel expertise but are connecting the dots between the existing areas of research. The culture of collaboration that has been integral to the School of EECS was an important draw.

“If you look at publications you can see how many of the faculty at Oregon State are actually working together, and not just claiming that they are,” Johnston said.

Bose expects the new faculty will be as successful as previous hires who have all received tenure and 21 of which hold early career awards from the National Science Foundation or Department of Energy.

New Faculty

Rakesh Bobba

Rakesh Bobba
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Research: security for distributed and networked systems

 

Lizhong Chen

Lizhong Chen
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Research: architecture, application and emerging technology of computing systems, including embedded and mobile devices, many-core processors, data centers and high performance computing systems

 

Larry Chen

Larry Chen
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Research: physical and chemical properties associated with nanoscale to develop novel materials for transducers and integrated devices for biomedical detection

 

Danny Dig

Danny Dig
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: software engineering in general and interactive program transformations in particular

 

David Hendrix

David Hendrix
Assistant Professor, Biochemisty/Biophysics and Computer Science

Research: computational biology, in particular the structure, function and mechanisms of action of non-coding RNAs, both large and small

 

Matthew Johnston

Matthew Johnston
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Research: combines sensors, circuits and systems to develop integrated technology platforms for chemical and biological applications

 

Jinsub Kim

Jinsub Kim
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Research: statistical signal processing, statistical learning, optimization methods, and their applications (e.g., to network security and smart energy systems)

 

Amir Nayyeri

Amir Nayyeri
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: theoretical computer science including computational geometry and topology

 

Stephen Ramsey

Stephen Ramsey
Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Biomedical Sciences

Research: computational systems biology in a variety of life sciences applications

 

Mike Rosulek

Mike Rosulek
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: theory of cryptography, specifically in the area of secure multi-party computation protocols

 

Scott Sanner

Scott Sanner
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: machine learning and large-scale data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), information retrieval, and operations research

 

Eric Walkingshaw

Eric Walkingshaw
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: language design, domain-specific languages, formal languages for encoding and analyzing variability

 

Attila Yavuz

Attila Yavuz
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Research: design, analysis and application of cryptographic tools and protocols to enhance the security of computer networks and systems

 

Yue Zhang

Yue Zhang
Assistant Professor (Sr. Res), Computer Science

Research: modeling and simulation of biological and physical problems as well as mathematical optimization