CTX Professor Awarded Computer Science Grant

May. 14, 2019 by Adriana Thompson

Person Coding on a Laptop

Rev. Dr. Philip Schielke, associate professor and director of Computer Science, is part of a team of three principal investigators who have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop teaching materials for heterogeneous computing (HC).

Their new program will better prepare computer science majors to enter the industry.

What’s the Problem?

Heterogeneous architectures are quickly becoming the dominant platform in high-performance computing, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) networks, requiring a solid understanding of HC.

The problem is that HC concepts are not taught in undergraduate computer science programs. Because HC is becoming so dominant, students who don’t learn about HC are ill-equipped for the job market. In today’s job market, computer science professionals must be able to program the complex heterogeneous systems being built.

While previous attempts have been made to solve this problem, nothing has been successful. Schielke has joined David Bunde from Knox College and Apan Qasem from Texas State University to develop a ground-breaking solution to the problem.

What’s the Solution?

The grant has awarded Schielke and his team funds to research and  The program being developed, called ToUCH: Teaching Undergrads Collaborative and Heterogeneous Computing, provide teaching materials on HC to incorporate into existing undergraduate computer science programs. The program itself will be free and open source.

Modules will include in-class interactive exercises, problem sets and solutions, and teaching notes. “We hope to create six teaching modules that professors can plug into existing computer science courses and introduce concepts,” Schielke explained, “so undergraduates will have exposure to the issues of heterogeneous computing.”

Because the material can be incorporated into existing courses, any institution can use the program. “The hope,” Schielke said, “is that lots of institutions will be able to use these without a lot of overhead.”

Additionally, Schielke and his team plan to offer summer training camps. The immersive experiences will reinforce what students have learned and go even deeper, present the role of cyberinfrastructure in advancing scientific research, and expose students to opportunities in the fields of computational and data science.

Who’s Involved?

Along with the team of principal investigators, there is an advisory committee of industry leaders (including Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, IBM and AMD) that oversees the ToUCH program. They are engaged throughout the design process, offering valuable information and feedback.

Can Students Get Involved?

Concordia students have the opportunity to become directly involved in the program because the grant allows for undergraduate researchers.

We congratulate Rev. Dr. Schielke and his team for their accomplishment and look forward to seeing the impact ToUCH has on universities, including Concordia.

To learn more about the computer science program, contact admissions or visit the Computer Science webpage!

P.S. Did you know we’re launching our Esports program this fall? 

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