The University of Central Florida (UCF) is very young – only 50 years old – which is one reason you may have heard less about our department than those at older universities. That’s why we want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the unprecedented progress we’ve made in such a short time towards establishing a world-renowned faculty and research program. The appeal of the Orlando area and rapid expansion of the university (now the nation’s second largest) have allowed computer science at UCF to attract top-tier faculty who compete with the best and brightest internationally. We invite you to consider becoming a part of this up-and-coming team as you pursue your studies and work to establish your research or professional career.
One thing you will notice as you learn below about some of our achievements is that UCF Computer Science (CS) offers a myriad of unique expertise and opportunities that are not available even at many other top departments. If you want to study cutting edge topics like quantum computing, neuroevolution, virtual reality, or new kinds of computer interfaces, UCF is the place. Among our strongest major research areas are computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality and human-computer interaction (HCI).
As an example, take Dr. Mubarak Shah in computer vision. He is a fellow of the AAAS, SPIE, IAPR, and IEEE. He is also an ACM Distinguished Speaker and recipient of the IEEE Outstanding Engineering Educator Award; he has attracted millions in research funding and founded UCF’s Center for Research in Computer Vision, among the world’s top research centers in vision.
With seven core faculty researching machine learning and AI, UCF CS offers a broad and deep opportunity to explore these areas with world-class mentors. For example, you can learn about multi-agent systems and robotics from Dr. Gita Sukthankar, who is a recipient of not only the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, but also an AFOSR Young Investigator award, a DARPA Computer Science Study Group award, and served as an ONR Summer Faculty Fellow. Or you can study neuroevolution (evolving artificial neural networks) with Dr. Kenneth Stanley, who is the inventor of the popular NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies (NEAT) algorithm. Dr. Stanley, also a DARPA Computer Science Study Group award recipient, has won nine best paper awards as well as video game industry awards for his group’s efforts in developing novel AI techniques for video games.
Virtual reality and HCI is another strong area. Dr. Joseph LaViola, who leads the Interactive Systems & User Experience Lab, is an IEEE Senior Member, ACM Senior Member, and recipient of multiple best paper awards for his pioneering work in sketch-based interfaces and interfaces for entertainment applications. Dr. Charles Hughes, a Life Senior Member of IEEE and Senior Member of the ACM, has brought the application of virtual reality in education to national acclaim, including the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education for Best Practice Award for Innovations in Technology. His TeachLive technology also won honorable mention in the National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education (NCCI) 2012 Leveraging Excellence Award.
UCF also shines in traditional core areas of computer science. For example, Dr. Gary Leavens, an ACM Senior Member and speaker for the IEEE Distinguished Visitor Program, recently won the best paper prize at Formal Methods 2011. He also was the general chair of the 2012 SPLASH conference, a top computer science venue. Dr. Cliff Zou, who is an expert in computer security, is a Senior Member of IEEE whose mentorship is evident in his student’s recent achievement of Best Student Paper Award at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). And Dr. Mark Heinrich, a senior member of the IEEE and CAREER award recipient, is an expert in computer architecture who won the IEEE-CS TCCA ISCA Inﬂuential Paper Award for "The Stanford FLASH Multiprocesor."
These are just a few examples of the accomplished faculty at UCF CS. We hope you will also take advantage of our website and browse our Research and People to see more of the exciting opportunities at UCF as you decide on where to spend the next years of your education.