A visit to Portugal

In November of 2018, UM CS Department Chair, Jesse Johnson, his graduate student David Blasen presented their research at the VII International Conference on Forest Fire Research, held in Coimbra, Portugal. Their simulation results revealed that a commonly used approximation is invalid in many important real world cases, meaning that fires will tend to burn longer and retain more heat that expected. This international conference had over 200 participants from Portugal, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands, Australia, and Slovakia.

Dave tries out the “Honesty Bar” in the Hotel Astoria Lobby.

Conference participants were treated to a demonstration of the fire behavior experimental facilities in Portugal. This platform can be adjusted to see how fire burns up slopes.

On the final day, Dave and Jesse did some sightseeing on the Portuguese coast in Cascais.


Cook Rocks It

UM CS Masters Candidate Will Cook plays with the String Orchestra of the Rockies. It’s remarkable how many UM CS students have an interest in music or visual arts. Cook studied music before returning for a degree in CS. In addition to the String Orchestra of the Rockies, Cook plays in a local band.


UM CS Student Tim Anderson working with Berkeley Labs

Tim Anderson is a PhD student in the Wheeler lab, where he develops advanced reconfigurable computing solutions to fundamental computational problems in analysis of genomics data. In April 2018, Tim traveled to the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to work with experts in the Computational Research Division, where he gained experience with cutting-edge methodologies of designing solutions on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Since returning to Missoula, he’s built on that experience, developing new FPGA-based methods for search of massive-scale DNA sequence databases. The goal of his work is to save tens of millions of compute hours in data centers around the world, yielding faster results with lower energy consumption. Stay tuned for his  publication.

Take a faculty to lunch

Recently, UM announced a new program, “Take a Faculty to Lunch”. This program allows Freshman to dine with faculty at one of our campus options. The College of Humanities and Sciences sponsors the lunch, and Instructor Trish Duce for arranged it. CS freshmen James Gladden (left) and Johnny Wright (middle) had lunch with Associate Professor Rob Smith (right). Both students are interested in starting their own high tech companies, and were able to field questions about the challenges and benefits of doing so. They also spoke about specific employment opportunities for computer science students in Missoula that matched their interests, such as drones.


UM CS @ Grace Hopper Celebration

Missoula area Workiva software engineer Smai Fullerton (left) joined UM CS Students Kaitlin Carey (center) and Sarah Walling (right)  at the 2018  Grace Hooper Celebration, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. This year’s celebration was in Houston, Texas where UM students were joined by instructor Trish Duce. UM CS is proud to sponsor our student’s participation because we share the celebration’s vision of a future where: “the people who imagine and build technology mirror the people and societies for which they build it.” GraceHopper1


The UM Office of Student Success now offers evening “Study Jam” sessions for Computer Science students. Hours for the study jams are posted on the study jam Facebook page. Assistant Professor Wheeler’s Data Structures course is currently a study jam favorite, providing our students with challenges that take them well into the evening.


Union find? I can do this with a flood fill.


Thanks Professor Wheeler! I never knew how beautiful campus is at night.

September 20, Fall Potluck

Students and faculty gathered on a crisp and clear Thursday evening to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. Many interesting and tasty dishes were on offer, including spicy Asian noodles attributed to Assistant Professor Serang, some amazing chocolate chip cookies, and delicious Double Front fried chicken – a Missoula staple for over 50 years. A good number of games were enjoyed by students and faculty alike. The entire department is thankful to Instructor Trisha Duce for her organization and spike ball skills.