Professor Reimer awarded NSF grant to grow CS across Montana

Professor Yolanda Reimer, together with UM colleague Lisa Blank (T&L) and other faculty from around the state, has been awarded a grant from the NSF CS10K program to “Grow Computer Science Curriculum, Diversity, and Teacher Preparedness across Montana.” The goals of this project are to enhance computer science offerings at high screimerhools around the state, increase the diversity of students who engage in computer science, and add to the number of teachers trained to teach CS at the high school level. Professor Reimer will co-teach the “Joy and Beauty of Computing” class at Sentinel HS in Missoula this fall, and develop a follow-on course in Computer Science Principles. Professional development opportunities will be offered to teachers from around the state beginning in the summer of 2017. For questions about this project or to get involved, contact Yolanda Reimer (

Summer camps update

CS lecturer Michael Cassens is wrapping up yet another another iteration of our popular Camp series, in which middle- and high-school students create interactive apps and games for phones, tablets and more. Over the course of the camp, they learn a number of computer programming environments including: Kodu, Scratch, HTML, App Inventor, Alice, CodeStudio, Processing, CodeCombat, and/or Minecraft.

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Commencement 2016

Congratulations to the University of Montana Computer Science Graduates of 2016!


Scott Hinshaw Interview on Orbital Shift Internship

The owner of Orbital Shift, Kevin O’Reilly, graduated from the University of Montana with a Master of Science in Computer Science. See what Scott Hinshaw, a Management Information Systems Senior with minors in Computer Science & Mathematics, had to say about his experience interning for Kevin’s company in Internship Service’s recent interview.

UM Computer Science Students Create Astronomy Teaching Tool

Six University of Montana computer science seniors have reached for the stars by launching an interactive website to help teach physics and astronomy.

UM students Alexander Dunn, Aaron Cameron, Benjamin Campbell, Dillon Wood, Michael Kinsey and Rebecca Faust worked on the project as part of a course taught by computer science Professor Joel Henry (Advanced Programming: Theory and Practice II). They also collaborated with Diane Friend, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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Dr. Jesse Johnson shows geothermal heat contributes to Greenland ice melt

An international team that includes University of Montana Computer Science Professor Jesse Johnson has learned that the Earth’s internal heat enhances rapid ice flow and subglacial melting in Greenland.

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Dr. Rob Smith Lands CAREER Grant to Improve Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometry is a technique used to identify the chemical makeup of a given sample, and University of Montana researcher Robert Smith just earned funding that may improve the process.

Smith, a UM computer science assistant professor, was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. He will receive $742,000 during the next five years.

CAREER grants are the most prestigious award for junior faculty, and this is the third one presented to a UM researcher this year.

UM researcher Robert Smith

UM researcher Robert Smith

“I am very excited for this award,” Smith said. “It provides the resources for the next phase of our research, which presents the possibility of dramatically advancing the field of mass spectrometry.”

Mass spectrometry has a broad range of applications of societal interest, including in medicine, forensics and basic biological sciences. Smith said his research develops new analysis techniques that allow mass spectrometry data to be used in ways that are not currently possible. This may lead to advances in fields like medical diagnostics, drug development and better research into poorly understood ailments involving proteins, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

He said mass spectrometry plays a role in many investigations because it can quantify and identify the major components – such as proteins, lipids, metabolites – of almost any cellular system.

His research develops a fundamentally different approach to mass spectrometry output signal analysis by:

  • Creating a different paradigm for mass spectrometry signal processing that segments the entire output file instead of extracting subregions of interest.
  • Showing that current methods are insufficient through a quantitative evaluation.
  • Enabling future research by capturing currently excluded low-abundance molecules.
  • Demonstrating how this new paradigm broadens future experimental possibilities with a novel correspondence approach built on the additional information provided by the proposed segmentation techniques.

Smith said a significant part of his plan involves outreach to Seeley-Swan High School, where researchers and teachers will team up to teach students problem-solving skills using computers in subjects such as chemistry, math and biology.

“With Robert receiving this award, we now have three CAREER grants this year, which matches 2009 – the last time we accomplished this scientific hat trick,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship. “It’s gratifying that the NSF is recognizing the amazing potential of our young research faculty members.”