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Computer Science at UC San Diego Recruits 15 Lecturers to Help Teach Undergraduates

Photo of computer science lecturer Quang Bach at his desk. He is a newcomer to the computer science and engineering department in Fall 2017.

Quang Bach is one of two new lecturers in the Computer Science and Engineering department this fall, and he is one of 15 lecturers scheduled to help teach computer science and data science courses in the department for the 2017-2018 academic year.


  • Doug Ramsey

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  • Doug Ramsey

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According to CSE assistant teaching professor Mia Minnes, who chairs the department's recruiting committee for lecturers this year, CSE has lined up a stellar group of 15 lecturers to assume some of the undergraduate teaching duties not already covered by tenure-track and teaching professors as well as lecturers with "continuing" status (namely Rick Ord, Thomas Powell, Susan Marx and Gary Gillespie).

"We typically recruit several lecturers from industry to teach some specialized electives and graduate courses," said Minnes. "We also look for excellent teachers to help fill the large student demand for additional seats in our program." 

While most of this year's lecturers are returning to the department, at least two of them are newly hired for the 2017-2018 academic year. Quang Bach will be teaching CSE 21 (Mathematics for Algorithms and Systems Analysis) in the winter quarter, after completing his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2017 at UC San Diego. Bach has taught multiple courses in Mathematics as well as UC San Diego's Summer Bridge program.  The other newcomer, Hau Nguyen, will be teaching both CSE 8B (Introduction to Computer Science and Object-Oriented Programming) and CSE 100 (Advanced Data Structures) in the fall quarter. He previously worked at SPAWAR Systems Center and Teradata Labs, and Nguyen has taught for UC San Diego Extension, CSU San Marcos, National University, and San Diego Community Colleges.

Several lecturers this year will be teaching more than one course. Isaac Chu will teach CSE 15L (Software Tools and Techniques) and CSE 131 (Compilers) this fall. Chu is a senior manager for web development at American Specialty Health. A UC San Diego alumnus, Chu (B.S., M.S. '94, '96) completed his degrees in Computer Engineering. Miles Jones will be teaching CSE 21 (Mathematics for Algorithms and Systems Analysis) and CSE 101 (Introduction to Algorithms) in the fall quarter.  He has been teaching both these courses for several years, after completing his Ph.D. in Math in 2012 at UC San Diego. Likewise, Phil Papadopoulos will be teaching two courses -- CSE 160 (Introduction to Parallel Computing) and CSE 12 (Data Structures and Object-Oriented Programming) -- later this academic year.  He is the Program Director for UC Computing Systems and a researcher at SDSC, and also received a UC San Diego B.A. degree in 1985 (before going on to complete his Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara..

One of Papadopoulos's colleagues at SDSC, Chief Data Science Officer Ilkay Altintas, will be teaching CSE 15L (Software Tools and Techniques Lab) in the fall. Altintas also advises numerous CSE undergraduates in research projects underway at SDSC, where she directs the Center of Excellence in Workflows for Data Science.

Sarah Guthals is a three-time CSE alum (B.S., M.S., Ph.D. '10, '12, '14), and she will be teach a Special Topics CSE 190 seminar on “Teaching CS in Informal Space.” The course is targeted at computer science undergraduates who are interested in teaching or building educational software, but the course will also cater to those interested in common techniques for coming up with technical requirements for particular populations. Teaching computer science to kids of all ages involves effective teaching practices, an understanding of novice programming environments, and expertise in designing and implementing engaging projects at age-appropriate levels. In her course, Guthals -- who co-created the company ThoughtSTEM and co-designed programming environments including CodeSpells and LearnToMod among others -- will teach how to create learning experiences for diverse populations. Students in the course will also learn to discover, analyze and evaluate the usability and technology behind common novice programming environments. She will also take students into local libraries and public spaces to teach kids on a project designed in the course. Guthals will also pass along some of the lessons she learned while doing research into computer science education, designing new programming environments, and starting a successful computer science education company.

Another student favorite, CSE alumnus Taner Halicioglu (B.S. '96), returns in the fall quarter to teach his popular seminar course on Computer Operations and Product Engineering.

Another UC San Diego alumnus, Ben Ochoa, will be teaching CSE 166 (Image Processing) in the fall quarter.  He is a three-time graduate of UC San Diego (B.S., M.S., Ph.D. '99, '03, '07) in Electrical Engineering. Ochoa is the Chief Technologist at Computer Vision of Integrity Applications, Inc. 

Two other lecturers also come from industry. Bryan Chin also comes from industry, where he is VP of Engineering at Onramp Bioinformatics. Chin is set to teach a graduate course, CSE 260 (Parallel Computation), in the fall quarter. He is also a former Distinguished Engineer and Architect at Cavium, Inc. And Rakesh Kumar, who is president and CEO of TCX Inc., will be teaching a seminar course in Successful Entrepreneurship in the fall quarter.

Paul Cao has been teaching various undergraduate programming courses since 2015, and returns this fall to teach CSE 8A (Introduction to Computer Science: Java). Cao has taken an active interest in the CSE Tutor program and training of tutors. He also studies innovative approaches to pedagogy in his classes.

John Eldon returns to the department to teach CSE 141L (Computer Architecture), a project course, this fall. In addition to teaching in CSE, Eldon has taught across campus in ECE, UC San Diego Extension as well as the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) program.

Finally, as the new major/minor in Data Science gets underway this fall, both Marina Langlois and UC San Diego alumna Janine Tiefenbruck (Ph.D. '15 in Math) will be teaching the foundational course, Principles of Data Science (DSC 10), in the fall quarter, as well as CSE 91 (Workshop in Data Science) in the same quarter. Both will also be teaching in the winter and spring quarters.

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