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The Network Newsletter (Fall 2020)

The Network

Greetings from Computer Science at Virginia Tech

Despite the strong headwinds of the pandemic, we are staying focused on our mission. I am extremely grateful for the resiliency and dedication of our staff, faculty, and students, and for the support of Virginia Tech leadership, which has allowed us to maintain remarkable momentum towards our ambitious goals.

Here are the headlines of continued momentum:

  • Continued enrollment growth, which now places computer science as the largest undergraduate major in the College of Engineering and the second largest graduate program in the college
  • Highly engaged fall virtual career fair with over 1,000 students and 40 companies participating
  • Active hiring season, with seven new faculty members joining this fall and three more expected by January
  • Steady progress on remodeling new space in Torgersen Hall, which will soon serve as the headquarters of our undergraduate program
  • Accelerated planning process for three new construction projects — two in Blacksburg and one at the Innovation Campus in Alexandria — that will yield over 100,000 square feet of new space for the department over the next few years

As always, we are proud and grateful for all of our alumni and friends! Thank you for reaching out and staying engaged through this historically challenging time.

Cal Ribbens
Department Head

Liam Chapin

Facing off against COVID-19
In mid-March, when computer science graduate student Liam Chapin was working to produce prototype examples of every kind of face shield he could find online, he was guided by a philosophy he inherited from his dad. “Add your light to the sum of light,’ which is basically ‘take what you can do and try to leave the world a little better place than you found it.” Read his story >>

Scholarships drive Innovation Campus' first graduate degree program
This fall, Steven Barnett, of Alexandria, Virginia, joined the inaugural group of graduate students enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Master of Engineering in computer science program, the first degree designed for the new Innovation Campus. He's also a recipient of a tech talent scholarship offered by Virginia Tech. Learn more >>

Jieun Chon

Computer science alumna lands dream job at Google
Since July 2019, Chon has served as a full-time software engineer at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. As a dual graduate in computer science ('16, M.S. '19), Chon's journey through college was far from easy. Read her story >>

Alumnus Newton Lee envisions a future with universal rights for all
Lee likens his own personal “leap of faith” of leaving his homeland of Hong Kong to study in the United States to the mantra of Star Trek, which encourages people “to explore strange new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations. Read his story >>

Xun (Steve) Jian

Xun (Steve) Jian receives NSF CAREER award to bolster cyberinfrastructure performance
"It is often said that a decade in computer science is a century in other sciences," said Jian, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, of the aspects of his field that fascinate him. "New computer hardware technologies constantly emerge." Learn more about Jian's work >>

Powered by artificial intelligence, CT scans could fill gaps in COVID-19 testing
Computer scientists Wu Feng and Guohua Cao estimate their algorithm, honed through machine learning processes, could boost the nation’s daily testing capacity by more than 400,000. Read more >>

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We love to hear from our Computer Science (CS) alumni! Contact Hayley Roulston, alumni relations coordinator, for more ways to get involved with the department.

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