Who's New at Ying Wu? Meet the Computing College's Newest Faculty Members

Written by: Shydale James,

This fall, NJIT welcomed nearly two-dozen new faculty members to the Highlander family.

Here, we introduce you to the new professors who’ve recently joined Ying Wu College of Computing.

Associate Professor Ioannis Koutis, Assistant Professor David Shaohua Wang, Assistant Professor Jing Li and Assistant Professor Amy K. Hoover come to NJIT armed with a wealth of knowledge, supreme scholarly achievements and a range of academic interests that promise to provide Highlanders with a stimulating classroom experience.

But when these champion scholars aren’t busy cultivating the next generation of tech leaders, you’ll find them binge-watching “Game of Thrones,” noshing on seafood and scrolling through Instagram.

Yep, professors; they’re just like us!

Let’s get acquainted…

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IOANNIS KOUTIS joins NJIT from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

KOUTIS HAS DESIGNED fast algorithms for solving an important class of linear systems, which enable tools capable of probing large networks. That work has led to two patents.

HE HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS in the area of exact and parameterized algorithms for hard computational problems. In particular, he introduced the method of “algebraic fingerprints,” which led to faster parameterized algorithms for a multitude of problems and enabled significant algorithmic progress for several long-standing open problems.

KOUTIS RECEIVED a National Science Foundation CAREER award to support his research.

HIS WORK WAS HERALDED as a “breakthrough in algorithm design" in an article that appeared in Communications of the ACM, the flagship magazine of the Association for Computer Machinery, and he recently won a best paper award in ICALP 2017 (International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming). 

Favorite movie?

I don't have a favorite movie, but one that impressed me recently was “Arrival.”

What inspires you?

I am inspired by simple questions we don't yet have answers for. 

Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter. 

Favorite food?

Kofta.

Least favorite food?

Fasolakia Lathera.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. 

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

Anna Netrebko. 

If you could master one instrument, what would it be?

I play guitar. I truly admire guitar masters, I wish I had enough time and talent to become one, too. 

To be or not to be?

Does free will exist?

Dogs or cats?

Dogs.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

My first computer.

Best gift you’ve ever given?

A small action camera.

What’s the last country you visited?

I go to my home country Greece twice a year, so it is usually the last country I visited. Outside Greece, it was Germany. 

What country do you wish to visit?

Peru.

Best way to de-stress?

Walk and think through.

A sport you wish you could play?

Tennis. 

Scary film or happy endings?

Happy endings. I still don't get why people like scary films.

Favorite season?

Fall, around 40 degrees in latitude. 

What would be the title of your autobiography?

“Think Again.”

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR DAVID SHAOHUA WANG joins NJIT from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, where he has been a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

WANG’S RESEARCH area is software engineering, and he concentrates on its intersection with machine learning and systems, with applications in the development of smart and secure software systems that optimize users’ interactions with software.

DURING HIS DOCTORAL PROGRAM at Queen's, he created a comprehensive smart system that analyzes big user data to automatically assist people in filling out web-based services, sparing them repetitive typing.

WANG HAS DEVELOPED several other systems, such as a machine learning-based system that uses the relationship among crash reports to help developers identify software defects. Both IBM Toronto and Microsoft have funded his hands-on work on web system development. 

WANG HAS PUBLISHED more than 20 papers in top journals and conferences such as IEEE Transactions on Service Computing and the Journal of Empirical Software Engineering. 

Favorite movie?

“A Beautiful Mind” and “Forrest Gump.”

What inspires you?

Focus and persistence.

Favorite TV show that’s currently on?

“Game of Thrones.” 

iPhone or Android?

Android. 

Twitter or Instagram?

I do not use them. 

Favorite food?

Seafood. 

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. 

Favorite song?

“You Will Never Walk Alone.”

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

My lovely wife, as she is probably the only person who won't laugh at me when I am off-key.

If you could master one instrument, what would it be?

Piano.

To be or not to be?

To be.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs. 

Best gift you’ve ever received?

A mug with a logo "Best Teacher Ever." 

What country do you wish to visit?

 England.

Best way to de-stress?

To get NSF grants and publish my research on top academic venues. 

A sport you wish you could play?

Soccer. 

Scary film or happy endings?

Always happy endings. Life is tough and short, why use scary films to torture ourselves?

Favorite season?

Winter. 

What would be the title of your autobiography?

“How I Changed the World?”

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR JING LI comes to NJIT from Washington University in St. Louis, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

HER RESEARCH ENCOMPASSES a broad area of real-time systems, parallel computing and cyber-physical systems. She focuses on exploiting the untapped efficiencies in multicore computing platforms to improve the scalability and quality of service for applications in cyber-physical systems and interactive cloud services, such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, web searches and online gaming.

LI HAS DEVELOPED theoretical foundations and practical platforms for executing parallel applications on multicore platforms to improve their temporal performance.

SHE DESIGNED AND IMPLEMENTED a parallel real-time platform, called a federated scheduling system, which is used by earthquake engineers to build a hybrid-testing system to study the structural properties of buildings.

LI HAS PUBLISHED papers in high-impact publications and presented at top conferences such as the IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium, IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium, the ACM Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures and the ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms.

Favorite movie?

“The Pursuit of Happiness.”

What inspires you?

Dreams.

A book you plan on reading?

“Godel, Escher, Bach.”

Favorite TV show that’s currently on?

“The Big Bang Theory.”

iPhone or Android?

iPhone.

Twitter or Instagram?

Instagram.

Favorite food?

Almost any fruit.

Least favorite food?

Durio and cilantro.

Coffee or tea?

Both.

Favorite song?

“Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

The phantom of the opera.

If you could master one instrument, what would it be?

Pipe organ.

To be or not to be?

That is the question.

Dogs or cats?

Plants, no zombies please.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Education.

Best gift you’ve ever given?

Education, I hope.

What’s the last country you visited?

China.

What country do you wish to visit?

Australia, many cute animals there.

Best way to de-stress?

Visiting the zoo.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Control the time.

A sport you wish you could play?

Fencing.

Scary film or happy endings?

Happy endings.

Favorite season?

Winter, but only for three months each year.

Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?

Vincent van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Hans Christian Andersen. I hope to treat them with the Manchu Han Imperial Feast.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

“Veni, Vidi, Vici.”

Assistant professor Amy K. Hoover and her former boss Georgios Yannakakis in Banff, Canada.

 

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AMY K. HOOVER comes to NJIT from Northeastern University, where she has been a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Arts, Media and Design.

HER RESEARCH on AI-based human-computer collaboration focuses on creative computing with applications in games, artificial intelligence, and music and sound.

WHILE A Ph.D. CANDIDATE, Hoover developed a functional representation of music based on patterns of pitches and durations called Functional Scaffolding for Musical Composition that provides the foundation for software called MaestroGenesis, developed to help amateurs compose music.

HER DOCTORAL WORK was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and an NSF CreativIT grant.

SHE HOLDS A PATENT for her role in developing a representation for the Facebook game Petalz. She has since extended her work to algorithmically generate content for video games and is also branching out into research on the educational impact of games.

HOOVER HAS BEEN INVITED to a prestigious Dagstuhl Seminar on Artificial and Computational Intelligence in Games: AI-Driven Game Design and the Banff International Research Station Seminar on Computational Modeling in Games. She is active in her professional communities, serving on panels and organizing workshops at international conferences in her field such as Foundations of Digital Games and the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference. 

Favorite movie?

“Standing on the Shadows of Motown.”

What inspires you?

Elegant representations and ideas in computer science.

A book you plan on reading?

Just bought a copy of “Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate.”

Favorite TV show that’s currently on?

“Game of Thrones.”

iPhone or Android?

Android.

Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter.

Favorite food?

Indian dishes.

Least favorite food?

Italian dishes. I’m sorry New Jersey.

Coffee or tea?

Both.

Favorite song?

Tool’s “Lateralus” album.

If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?

Les Claypool.

If you could master one instrument, what would it be?

Bass guitar.

To be or not to be?

No idea.

Dogs or cats?

Both, but I have cats.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

An old friend of mine who introduced me to programming.

Best gift you’ve ever given?

I’m not sure, but I think I made the most difference by giving an old car to a friend in need.

What’s the last country you visited?

Germany.

What country do you wish to visit?

India.

Best way to de-stress?

Play my bass guitar or digital games.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to create more time.

A sport you wish you could play?

None of them.

Scary film or happy endings?

Happy endings.

Favorite season?

Summer.

Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?

Captain Picard, James Jamerson, George Carlin, Madhur Jaffrey.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

We will have to wait and see.