IST professor receives PNC Professorship to explore online learning, programming

Erin Cassidy Hendrick
July 24, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dinghao Wu, associate professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), has been awarded the PNC Technologies Career Development Professorship. This three-year appointment recognizes esteemed faculty members with discretionary funding that can be used to support his or her research, instruction, educational activities and associated travel.

“It’s a great honor for me to receive the PNC Technologies Career Development Professorship,” Wu said. “It gives me freedom to explore and develop some new innovations on research and teaching.”

Wu’s professorship has been funding two projects spearheaded by IST doctoral student Xiao Liu.

“I am grateful for his tremendous support and encouragement along the way for both my research projects and career development,” Liu said.

One of Liu’s research projects is examining and creating new ways to validate regular expressions, a tool that computer programmers often use for security purposes, including virus detection.

Said Wu, “This can help programmers to improve the security and quality of their software.”

Liu was recently awarded a bronze medal for this research at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Graduate Student Research Competition during the 2017 Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI) Conference.

The second project is developing a fully automated computer grading method for computer programming assignments, which is particularly useful for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

“In such settings, there can be hundreds or even thousands of student enrollment and instructors and teaching assistants are not able to grade even a tiny portion of the homework submissions using the traditional manual methods,” Wu explained.

“The PNC Career Development Professorship is a testament to Dr. Wu’s capabilities as a researcher,” said Andrew Sears, dean of IST. “I’m happy to see him recognized with this honor and am excited for his continued research in these critical areas.”

Added Liu, “It is an honor to work with (Dr. Wu) and I’m glad to know that he received the PNC Professorship Award for his cutting-edge research achievements.”

Last Updated August 07, 2017