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computer programming

Computer science professor receives prestigious NSF CAREER award

woman with dark hair and a pink blouse standing in front of a large computer screen
Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sandeep Kuttal

The past few years have seen exponential growth in many virtual assistant technologies. Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are all household names. However, no such virtual assistant technology exists for programming. Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sandeep Kuttal is leading the way in the field of software engineering by creating such a virtual assistant for programmers.

Recently, the National Science Foundation granted Kuttal a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award to support her project Designing an Interactive Partner to Support Pair Programming. Kuttal’s CAREER award follows hard on the heels of her recent Young Investigator Research from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

Chairperson of Computer Science John Hale expressed his pride in Kuttal’s work and her latest achievement: “These awards are testament to both the ground-breaking research happening in The University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science and to the quality of our faculty. They are well-deserved by Dr. Kuttal and continue a string of success for her and for our department.”

Dissolving barriers between humans and computers

Kuttal will focus her CAREER-supported research on the creation of Alexa-like programming assistants that will offer many new insights into how programming is learned and carried out. Over the last several years, Kuttal has analyzed and expanded upon ideas from the areas of human-computer interaction, software engineering and artificial intelligence to address the idea that human programmers and machine intelligences engage in immersive and natural interactions centered around programming activities. This means that using Kuttal’s proposed technology could break down barriers between researchers and mechanical subjects that were never thought possible.

One of the most compelling aspects of Kuttal’s research is how she has taken into account gender bias and devised an innovative approach to ensure that the agent is sensitive to female programmers and students. While helping attract and retain females and members of underrepresented groups in computer science programs in high schools and universities, Kuttal hopes that her work on developing these programming partners may bring about massive transformations in software development as well as in the teaching and learning of programming.


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TU team scores big at regional International Collegiate Programming Competition

Five student teams, comprising three members each, represented the Tandy School of Computer Science at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition (ICPC) South Central Regional Contest held virtually on March 6:

  • Aleph Naught: James Hale, Bedlan Parker, Robert Geraghty
  • TU Gold: Jacob Brue, Julian Abhari, Zoe Delap
  • 3 guys 1 PC: Ben Reyes, David Fantin, Bryan Lavender
  • Refactored Broccoli: Andrew DeVoss, Jarow Myers, Michael Naguib
  • Turing Tested: Shadow Pritchard, Timmy Flavin, Sebastien Spirit

ICPC competitions bring together students in a high-pressure and highly competitive environment. Each team is given the same set of programming problems – usually ranging from 8 to 12 – to solve in five hours.

A Zoom screen with three young men
Aleph Naught

The South Central Region includes teams representing universities from Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. The average ranking of TU’s teams was in the top five of all the region’s universities and one of TU’s teams – Aleph Naught – scored the highest ranking of all the Oklahoma teams in the competition. As a result, Hale, Parker and Geraghty will now advance to the next round: the North American Division Championships (NADC).

“After several months of preparation and a challenging regional competition, the notification of our advancing to the NADC was gratifying,” said Hale, who is double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. “This is my first time escaping the regionals. ICPC not only fosters a sense of camaraderie between computer science students, but it also incentivizes one to improve their programming skillset on the types of problems given during coding interviews. I would encourage anyone interested to participate. Lastly, I would also like to thank everyone involved with ICPC at TU, especially Professor Sen, for acting as a faculty advisor and coach.”

A Zoom screen with thirteen people“I know these young, motivated, and well-prepared students will face some stiff competition in the next round”, said their faculty advisor and coach Professor of Computer Science Sandip Sen. “But I have every confidence in their hard work, determination and ability. In fact, they’re the only team from Oklahoma to have qualified to go on to the next level.”

According to Sen, the ACM ICPC competition, held at multiple regional, divisional, national and international levels, is by far the most prestigious college-level competition in computer science. “Participation in these contests not only presents a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their skills but also offers invaluable real-life experience of competing with their best peers across the region, the nation and the world.”


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