The Department of Computer Science welcomes Tessema Mengistu as collegiate assistant professor for the fall semester. He previously served as assistant professor (term) at George Mason University Department of Computer Science and was also a clinical assistant professor at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Computer Science . 

Tessema received his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he worked in cloud computing and big data lab.

He recently indulged us by sharing 10 things about himself, including how his edge intelligence research infrastructure is needed now more than ever, and how he was drawn to Virginia Tech because of the K-12 program at the Innovation Campus and its ability to increase the representation of minority population groups in computing.


1. What does your research entail?

My current research involves the topic of edge intelligence. Specifically, it deals with volunteer computing-based edge intelligence. As Internet of Things (IoT) devices are poised to provide ubiquitous intelligence, the need for fast and reliable computing is on the rise. Providing full-fledged intelligence using IoT devices is not trivial, mainly because of the computing resource limitations of the devices coupled with the computing resource-intensive nature of machine learning and deep learning algorithms.

My research investigates the development of volunteer computing resources-based edge computing infrastructure for intelligent applications. The research specifically addresses how to complement datacenter-based clouds and commercial edge computing infrastructures using the idle computing resources at the edge of the Internet for the public's good. The research output will be cheaper, greener, fast, and reliable infrastructure that can preserve the privacy of data produced by intelligent IoT applications.

2. What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

The COVID-19 pandemic creates a change in user behavior in terms of computing resource usage. The increased data consumption during the COVID-19 restrictions highlighted the need for not only fast and reliable computing resources, but also affordable computing resources that preserve the privacy of data. My proposal of using idle computing resources of personal computers and mobile devices (such as tablets and smartphones) to provide edge computing infrastructure for intelligent applications not only gives fast and secure computing infrastructure, but also gives the public an alternative cheap and green computing infrastructure.

3. Is there anything else that you're involved in?

I am also involved in initiatives to increase the representation of minority population groups in computing.

4. Why did you choose Virginia Tech?

One of the many factors that attract me to Virginia Tech is the K-12 program at the Innovation Campus, which is committed to inspiring young students to pursue their interests in STEM education. This program is a perfect fit for my initiatives on the increasing participation of minority students in computing.

5. What Is your favorite thing about your job?

I love teaching. 

6. Why is your job important to you?

What would be more gratifying than contributing something to the academic growth of young students.

7. What do you do to relax?

I watch movie and take long walks.

8.  Do you have any hobbies that you would like to share?

I read books on politics and history. 

9. How do you balance your work with your life?

All of the above. :)

10. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I am an Ethiopian. My country, Ethiopia, is located at the horn of Africa with a population size of 120 million.