Computer Science

Hood College Graduate School introduces new courses in Musical Computing

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Last summer the Graduate School at Hood College introduced a course centered on Musical Computing. Offered by the Computer Science and Information Technology department, the course was developed in line with the graduate school’s commitment to offer the best in science and technology while maintaining Hood’s reputation in the Humanities.  It affords students with the chance to expand and improve their programming skills, and to open new career possibilities, both academic and commercial (games, film etc.).

The course was taught by Professor Rick Roth who holds master’s degrees in both musical composition and computer science from Johns Hopkins University and currently works as a cybersecurity professional while doubling as a choral director, pianist, organist, and composer.

Professor Roth said of the new course “Students who complete this course will gain an understanding of the historical context behind Musical Computing, and learn about current trends in the field. In addition, they will learn how to use the structural components of a computer program as structural components for musical composition.  For example, basic building blocks of programming like arrays and loops can be used to create the rhythmic and harmonic elements of a composition. Function calls, threads, decisions, and other elements that control the flow of program, can also be used to control the flow of a musical composition. The course is also a valuable step toward more advanced study, or work in the fields of music programming and sound design.”

All students who completed the course last summer participated in a final concert and lecture that allowed them to demonstrate their newly-developed expertise to the college community (a video presentation is available is available here).

The department plans to offer the course again this summer in addition to a follow-up course titled “Sound and Music for Embedded Systems”.  This new course will focus on combining principles of human-computer interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence (AI), mechatronics and robotics with principles of music theory and music performance.

Hood Alum shares career success

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Photo2Yashraj Sinha is a recent alumnus of Hood’s Masters in Computer Science program.  An international student from India, Yashraj completed an internship with Cisco Inc. last summer, an experience which he credits as being instrumental in landing a fulltime position after graduation. We caught up with Yashraj and he shared the highlights of his Hood experience with us. The full text of our chat is below.

How would you describe your time at Hood and in Frederick in general?

It has been one of my best experiences in life so far. Coming to Hood was the first time I traveled outside my country. I also experienced snow for the first time in Frederick.

How did the Graduate School help you? What resources did it provide you?

The Graduate School was supportive at all stages of my learning by providing me with the flexibility in coursework and allowing me to undergo an independent study in order to explore the field of study I was interested in.

What informed the decision to do an independent study?

I was interested in developing a software which could perform diagnosis of hardware. And this was made possible by the help of my supervisor, Dr. Xinlian Liu.

What did you achieve from the independent study?

It was a great experience learning and exploring new areas. It also contributed towards securing my new job.

How did you become a part of Hood’s Computer Science Advisory Board?

My prior industry experience at leading global organizations like Bosch and Cisco afforded me with the opportunity to contribute to serve as a graduate student representative on the advisory board. I was given the chance to present my ideas to industry leaders. And this ultimately helped in landing a summer internship.

How did your internship experience contribute to your job search success?

Having internship experience in a US organization is a major boost to your profile since it sends the message that one understands the American work culture. Thus, it separates you from the crowd of fresh graduates.

What is the new position?

I received offers from a number of leading organizations, but I am joining Cisco Systems.

What career/job search tips will you offer to international graduate students?

It’s a numbers game. Apply to as many open positions as possible. The more positions you apply to, the greater your chance to succeed. Until you are getting at least three responses daily (either rejects or interview calls), you should keep applying for jobs. Focus on applying at the career portals of your target companies and the popular job boards. Invest sufficient time to prepare your resume and cover letter and strive to perform better at each interview.

Graduate Women in Science Establishes Local Chapter at Hood College

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FREDERICK, Md. — An international organization dedicated to empowering women in science is launching its 25th United States chapter Jan. 23.

The Greater Maryland Chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) will launch at 6 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons at Hood College. The event begins with an informal mixer followed by a lecture by featured speaker Col. Andrea Stahl, deputy commander of USAMRIID at Fort Detrick. Afterward, there will be a business meeting to discuss upcoming events for this new chapter.

The GWIS mission is “to build a global community to inspire, support, recognize and empower women in science. The organization strives to build a powerful international network of women scientists, mentor the leaders of today so that they can inspire the leaders of tomorrow and empower women scientists to excel in their careers.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about GWIS, visit For more information about the launch event, contact April Boulton, Dean of Hood College’s Graduate School and Associate Professor of Biology, and co-founding member of the new chapter, at 301-696-3600 or


Hood College receives ABET accreditation

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Hood College’s Bachelor of Science program in computer science recently received the ABET accreditation which is a demonstration of its commitment to providing students quality education. The ABET accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that requires programs to undergo comprehensive, periodic evaluations. The evaluations focus on program curriculum, faculty, facilities and institutional support and are conducted by teams of professionals from industry, academia and government with expertise in the ABET disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

This accreditation is noteworthy for students in our graduate programs who pay their way through school via tuition reimbursement from their employers. Several employers are only willing to reimburse students who enroll in schools with ABET accreditation. These employers see the accreditation as a measure of the quality of the programs at a school.

According to Xinlian Liu, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology, “this accreditation is expected to attract a lot more students to our programs, especially with our proximity to the I-270 technology corridor. We hope to see a lot more interest in our programs going forward”.

Find out more about the computer science department and programs, visit

New R Programming course to be offered in Spring 2017

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Hood College’s Graduate School is offering a new course focused on R programming this spring. The course, Advanced Data Analytics with R, is being offered by the Computer Science and Information Technology department.

According to Dr. Stephen Penn, program director of the Masters in Management Information Technology program and one of the faculty members who worked on developing the course, the course is being introduced to address the rise of job postings requiring R proficiency.  Also, the R programming language is gaining in popularity according to several websites, especially KDNuggets.

Students who take this course will receive an introduction to R, become familiar with the use of R in solving problems in statistics, and by the end of the semester be able to continue to learn about R packages and advanced functionality.  Students will use R to develop decision trees, neural networks, and regression models.

Penn added that the department plans to offer the course at least once a year in the spring semester. However, initial feedback about the course has been very high and the department is considering offering the course again in the fall.

CPT/OPT Information Session

Posted by | Biomedical Science, Business Administration, Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Graduate School Highlights, Information Technology, International Students, Management of Information Technology | No Comments

IMG_20161003_153242Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) are two important components of the academic experience for most F1 international students.  These programs allow students to gain valuable experience and earn money while working on or off campus during the academic year (CPT) or during the summer (OPT).  As part of the Graduate School’s efforts to empower students with resources that will contribute towards a successful graduate experience, an information session was held recently in partnership with the International Student Services Office and the Career Center.

This event provided an overview of the CPT/OPT process and also provided the opportunity for students to ask questions and receive immediate answers from Dr. Kiran Chadda, Director of International Student Services, Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. April Boulton and Lana Veres  of the Career Center.

The presentations covered areas such as employment options available to F1 international students, procedures for obtaining employment authorization, late stage CPT and internships as well a demo of the GoinGlobal website for job search. Students were also treated to pizza and drinks.

To view the resources shared at the session, visit this link.

Fall 2016 Computer Science and Information Technology Department Events

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This fall, the Computer Science and Information Technology Department at Hood will be co-hosting a number of exciting events here on campus. All students, faculty and staff are welcome.

Python Frederick- 2nd Wednesday Talk – Jupyter Notebook
Whitaker Commons
Thursday, September 14
6:30 p.m.

Python Frederick has a talk the second Wednesday of each month. This month:
Jupyter Notebooks ( are helpful tools for anyone working with data. Popular with scientists of all types, Jupyter Notebooks let you work with Python right from your web browser! You can easily graph data and share your findings with others.
You’ll learn how to use Jupyter Notebooks so you can learn to supercharge any research you’re involved in.

Python Frederick – 3rd Saturday Open Workshop – Python Serverless Microframework for AWS
Coblentz Hall Seminar Room
Saturday, September 17
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Python Frederick has an open workshop the 3rd Saturday of each month. You can work on a common project selected for the day or bring your own project and enlist the help of others.

Hack Frederick Hackathon
Coblentz Hall Seminar Room
Saturday, October 8
10:00 a.m.

Registration is required to attend this event. Additional information is available at Interested students should contact Dr. George Dimitoglou at to form teams.

Python Frederick- 2nd Wednesday Talk – pygame
Whitaker Commons
Wednesday, October 12
6:30 p.m.

Python Frederick’s Second Wednesday talk for October will talk gaming!  We’ll discuss pygame, a Python library for making video games, with the Frederick Game Development meetup.

Hood Computer Science student interns at CISCO

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Yashraj Sinha

Yashraj Sinha

Yashraj Sinha, a student in Hood’s Master in Computer Science program, completed an internship with Cisco Inc. this summer. Yashraj is an international student from India, where he worked for Bosch and Cisco prior to starting his graduate studies at Hood. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

How did you land the position?

I updated my profile on the main job boards—LinkedIn, Dice, Monster and CareerBuilder. I also visited the career pages of all major companies in the Embedded Systems domain and submitted applications for as many relevant opportunities as possible. I found this specific opportunity on the Cisco Career portal. The interview was a two round process but I had a head start since I had already worked for Cisco back in India.

What were your responsibilities and achievements?

My main task was to develop Hardware Diagnostic Software for next generation Terabit speed routers—the first routers of that speed category in the world.

My major achievement was building a bootable Linux ISO image containing Diagnostic Software for the routers. I was also able to take full responsibility for the task and worked independently most of the time.

Any advice for students interested in interning?             

Start applying early, as early as five months before your target start date. Remember that it’s a numbers game. The more jobs you apply to, the higher your chances of landing an offer.

Yashraj is hopeful that this experience particularly his achievements and the professional connections he made will serve as a launchpad for post-graduate career success.

Thank you, Yashraj!

Computer Science Award Goes to Broadhurst

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Andrew Broadhurst with Dr. Zinlian Liu and Hood President Ronald Volpe

Andrew Broadhurst with Dr. Xinlian Liu and Hood President Ronald Volpe

Program faculty nominated Andrew Broadhurst for the 2015 Bryce Blackwood Beauchamp Outstanding Computer Science Student Award in recognition of his accomplishments in research as well as for maintaining an impeccable academic record.

Andrew actually began his career while still in high school in Rockville, Maryland, working part time as a technician in a local computer store. Armed with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, he has since held positions in software development and IT management for several companies.  Most recently, he has been working at the Joint Medical Logistic Functional Development Center at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, under contract with HP.

Research is Andrew’s passion. He has presented research in the areas of artificial intelligence, numerical simulation and high-performance computing.

Grad Student’s Internship Leads to Bioinformatics Job

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Danny Watson

Danny Watson

Daniel Watson, who proudly hails from “the tropical paradise of Barbados in the Caribbean,” discovered the Graduate School by way of his cousin, a past international undergraduate student who “highly recommended me to apply because of her very positive experience.”

While working toward his master’s degree in Computer Science, Danny was selected for appointment to the Student Research Participation Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Fort Detrick. The CPT (Curricular Practical Training) internship working with the bioinformatics team will lead to a position after he graduates in December 2015 as a bioinformatics analyst, a role in which he will continue develop new technologies for the analysis and interactive visualization of biomedical and genomic data.

Danny gives much credit for this career-launching opportunity to Dr. Xinlian Liu—his “primary mentor” and instructor in operating system design and algorithms —as well as Hood’s relationship with Fort Detrick’s Advanced Biomedical Computing Center. Professors George Dimitoglou and Ahmed Salem are among other “major influences” at the Graduate School.

Danny was delighted to “give back to the Hood College community” through a workship at Hood’s Center for Academic Achievement and Retention.