CS’s Professor Khan has publications!

Professor Taha Khan published 2 papers in AY 2020-21.   Both papers were published in the same conference, USENIX Security.  The USENIX Association is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to supporting the advanced computing systems communities and furthering the reach of innovative research.  Professor Khan’s papers were entitled “Helping Users Automatically Find and Manage Sensitive, Expendable Files in Cloud Storage” and  “Blind In/On-Path Attacks and Applications to VPNs”.

Click here to learn more:  https://dblp.org/pid/154/3627.html


Spotlight on Summer Research Scholars

Abdelrahman AboEitta ’23, CS Major
Abdel developed the latest version of ChemTutor (https://chemtutor.wlu.edu/), an online tutorial to help prepare students for college-level chemistry.  ChemTutor was developed by faculty and students at 4 small, liberal arts institutions and is funded by the Associated Colleges of the South.  Beyond developing new functionality for instructors, Abdel used Docker to deploy ChemTutor on Amazon Web Services so that it is easier for other institutions to deploy.

Sujana Basnet, ’23, CS Major
Irina Koleva, ’22, Neuroscience Major
Sujana and Irina completed a survey of academic research on video game experience categories, designed and conducted a user study to collect data based on the survey, and ran statistical analysis of the user study data. Also, they began work on an academic paper to be submitted to an appropriate venue in the Fall.

William Xue ’24
Will’s project name was:  Cloudsweeper: A Tool for Personal Cloud Management. The personal cloud is a convenient and affordable way to retain and share files over time. However, as time passes, some files lose their relevance. Crucially, some files that are no longer useful may still contain sensitive information, creating risks due to data breaches, lost devices, and account takeovers.  During the Summer of 2021, Will used his Python and web design skills to work both on the front and backend of the design of Cloudsweeper, a web application which incorporates machine learning to highlight potentially sensitive and useless files in individuals’ cloud accounts. The current version is live at: https://cloudsweeper.app.  Currently, the app only supports the Google Drive cloud platform. Will plans to continue work with the team to integrate the app with support across multiple cloud platforms and conduct future research studies by using the app as a data collection tool.

Billy Tobin ’24
Billy’s project name was : An Empirical Evaluation of Method Signature Similarity in Codebases.  Modern programming languages have revolutionized the way in which software developers design and develop computer programs. These languages provide individuals with user-friendly capabilities that enhance the productivity of developers while ensuring minimal code redundancy. One such feature of programming languages is method overloading.Billy spent the summer of 2021 empirically evaluating the pervasiveness of overloaded methods in large-scale repositories understanding their relationship over time, as repositories grow. Based on the initial results, Billy plans to extend his work to understand the usability aspects of overloaded methods and determine where they may have correctness, security, performance, and complexity implications.

Honors Thesis: Evolutionary Control of Micro Aerial Vehicles in Simulation– Coletta R. Fuller ’21

Coletta, a Johnson Scholar, double majored  in computer science and music, and minored in creative writing.  She presented her Honors Thesis on Evolutionary Control of Micro Aerial Vehicles in Simulation via Zoom on Wednesday April 14th.

This thesis examined the challenge of safely landing quadcopters in simulation, using OpenAI gym environments to evaluate various machine learning algorithms. The two main categories explored were Deep Reinforcement Learning and Evolutionary algorithms. While the success of the DRL approach motivated this work, the evolutionary angle is of more interest due to its roots in more realistic biological inspiration. One specific evolutionary approach, NEAT, had success in the three-dimensional version of the problem, while none of the DRL attempts were successful. The dominance of NEAT on this challenge, while impressive in contrast with DRL, also had reasonably comparable success to a heuristic, human engineered approach.

CS Professor, Kefu Lu, has published a paper!

Kefu Lu, an assistant professor with W&L’s Computer Science Department, has recently published a paper.  This paper will be showcased, in September,  at the International European Conference for Parallel and Distributed Computing (Euro-Par),  one of the premier venues in parallel computing. The paper is titled “A Scalable Approximation Algorithm for Weighted Longest Common Subsequence” and focuses on designing an accurate and fast algorithm in the context of distributed systems for a fundamental process most notably utilized for sequence alignment in bioinformatics.

Congratulations, Professor Lu!

Click on the link the see the paper in its entirety.


2021 Computer Science Degrees, Scholarships, Prizes and Awards

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 Computer Science Majors and Minors for their outstanding achievements! They are listed here, as they appear in the Commencement Bulletin.

2021 Graduates:

TEMITOPE ELIZABETH ADEYANJU – Bachelor of Science, cum laude
KUSH ATTAL – Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude
MICHAEL WILLIAM BROWN – Bachelor of Science, Honors in Geology (Thesis “Estimating Soil Carbon Content of Grazing Lands in Rockbridge County, Virginia, using Statistical and Machine Learning Techniques”)
TRISTAN HENRY CADE – Bachelor of Science
JAY JAEYEON CHOI – Bachelor of Arts
KATIE SUE CONES – Bachelor of Arts, Honors in Mathematics (Thesis: “Bounding Box Sizes and Closure Properties of Spirolateral Graphs generated by Permutations”)
JACOB AIDAN FLOOD – Bachelor of Arts
COLETTA R. FULLER – Bachelor of Arts,  Honors in Computer Science (Thesis: “Evolving Neural Controllers for Micro Aerial Vehicles in Simulation”),  Computer Science Department Award, cum laude.
CALLAN JANE GARST – Bachelor of Science, Honors in Mathematics (Thesis: “It’s a Point, It’s a Line, It’s the Projective Plane:  An Exploration of the Algebraic and Geometric Connections of the Projective Plane”), magna cum laude
FADY E. GOUDA – Bachelor of Science
ABHI ANANDA JHA – Bachelor of Arts
(TINA) DONGTING JIN – Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude
CORINNE GRACE JOIREMAN – Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude
HANNAH LAURIE JONES – Bachelor of Science
DANIEL AUSTIN KUNTZ – Bachelor of Science
JAMES EDGAR LAWSON – Bachelor of Arts
WILLIAM WYATT MEDICK – Bachelor of Science
ALLIE SMITH MILLER – Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude
GRIFFIN WILLIAM NOE – Bachelor of Arts
JOHN NICHOLAS ST. PIERRE – Bachelor of Science, cum laude
UTKRIST PRATAP THAPA – Bachelor of Science
ANDREW TOSTEN THOMPSON – Bachelor of Science, cum laude

Fellowships Received

ANA ESTRADA HAMM, ’22 – Boren Scholarship (scholarship for language study abroad)

Scholarships, Awards and Prizes

(ALYSSA) TRANG THUY VU ,’22 – The James D. Davidson Memorial Fund Scholarship, The James McDowell Scholarship
KUSH ATTAL ,’21 – The Mapleson Award
MICHAEL WILLIAM BROWN, ’21 – The Henry Ruffner Scholarship, The Lena T.  Stevens Scholarship in Geology
KATIE SUE CONES, ’21 – The Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) Award
LAURIE A. LEE, ’22 – The Catherine Houston Campbell Scholarship in English Literature
SAMUEL THOMAS BLUESTONE, ’22 – The Jewish Learning Fellowship
ELYSSA M. MCMASTER, ’22 – The Jewish Learning Fellowship
DANIEL AUSTIN KUNTZ, ’21 – The Williams Prize in Mathematics
COLETTA R. FULLER ’21 – The Washington and Lee University Orchestra Award, The Computer Science Department Award
PRAISE D. APATA, ’23 – The Douglas C. Halstead Memorial Scholarship


2021 PBK initiates from the Computer Science Department

Following are the Computer Science student inductees from the Class of 2021 and 2022 for Phi Beta Kappa/Society of the Cincinnati:

  • Allison Miller ’21
  • Merrina Lan ’22
  • Alyssa Vu ’22


Computer Science Senior Celebration, 2021

The CS Department celebrated the Class of 2021 in a subdued, very-computer-science-y way this past Monday (5/17) at the Event tent in the Dell.  Senior gifts were handed out and a (slightly competitive) computer science  version of Pictionary was played… Fun!    Here are a few pics, courtesy of Professor Matthews:

Opening game of 10 Fingers
Opening game of 10 Fingers
Prof. Lu's team
Prof. Lu’s team
Prof. Lambert's team
Prof. Lambert’s team
Prof. Khan's team
Prof. Khan’s team
Prof. Levy's team
Prof. Levy’s team
Prof. Sprenkle adding up the scores
Prof. Sprenkle adding up the scores




CS minors, Katie Cones and Callie Garst inducted into ODK

Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society, welcomed initiates at Washington and Lee University’s annual Founders Day/ODK Convocation on Jan. 19, 2021, at 5 p.m. Because of COVID-19, the convocation was held in a virtual format.  CS minors, Katie Cones and Callie Garst, both class of 2021, were among the inductees.

Katie Sue Cones (Montgomery, Texas) is majoring in math with minors in computer science and classics. She has spent several years as a STEM fellow, becoming a leader in her lab and continuing to use those skills now as a math teaching assistant. Cones was also active in several branches of FYOC leadership, helping the organization find ways to combat the challenges of O-week in a pandemic. She now focuses most of her time to running Indie Big-Little, marketing for Friday Underground, and preparing her art for the SSA conference.

Callan Jane Garst (Boones Mill, Virginia) is majoring in math and minoring in computer science. She is an active member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has held the positions of large group coordinator, leadership academy coordinator and disciple. She currently serves as small group leader. She is treasurer of the Engineering Community Development Club and the social media chair and co-founder of Outreach Link, a club focused on raising money and awareness for victims of mass shootings. Garst, who has received funding to conduct research in number theory and algebraic geometry, serves as a teaching assistant for multiple mathematics professors and as a peer tutor for introductory courses in mathematics and physics.

For more info and a complete list of ODK initiates click here:  https://columns.wlu.edu/odk-to-initiate-three-honorary-50-student-members-at-2021-convention/

Highlighting CS Professor, Cody Watson’s publication

Cody Watson, an assistant professor of W&L Computer Science Department, has published a paper in the International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) .  ICSE is the top conference in software engineering.

Learn more about Prof. Watson’s paper — “On Learning Meaningful Assert Statements for Unit Test Cases” here.


Welcoming Professor Taha Khan to the CS Department

Taha Khan joined W&L’s Computer Science Department as an assistant professor during the 2020-21 academic year.  His research focuses on computer security, privacy and human-computer interaction, including cybercrime, commercial VPN services privacy, and privacy-centric management of longitudinal data in the personal cloud.

Click on the link to learn more about Professor Khan!