DePaul receives $2 million national grant to improve software projects’ reliability and security

August 24, 2010

DePaul University’s School of Computing, part of the College of Computing and Digital Media, has received a $2 million Major Research Instrumentation grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help researchers develop new and innovative ways to make complex computer software systems even more reliable and secure.

“When building software, especially software that is safety-critical, such as that for the airline industry or the space program, it’s imperative to know that the software meets all regulatory codes and functions exactly as it was specified,” says Jane Cleland-Huang, associate professor of computer science and the grant’s principal investigator. “Furthermore, the agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration require that every line of code must trace back to a requirement. That could, for example, prevent a rogue programmer from injecting malicious code.”

The grant will fund TraceLab, an instrument that will allow traceability researchers to design and run experiments and evaluate the outcomes of their work using standardized benchmarks. The grant is the NSF’s largest ever instrumentation grant for developing a purely software-based instrument. It is the sixth and largest traceability grant Cleland-Huang has received during her eight years at DePaul.

Incorporating traceability into a large software system is an arduous, highly complex task, Cleland-Huang says. “Our research community is working toward automating the task to make it much simpler. TraceLab will allow new researchers in the field to become productive much more quickly and will encourage innovation.”

In addition to supporting research to improve software project productivity and software reliability, TraceLab also will promote the adoption of traceability solutions to companies and will be used to train software engineering students and practitioners.

By the end of the three-year grant, TraceLab will be open-sourced to the public and will be managed by researchers at the Center of Excellence for Software Traceability, where Cleland-Huang is the North American director.

At DePaul, Ed Keenan, a computing senior instructor, and Mamoun Hirzalla, a doctoral candidate, are collaborating on the grant. External partners are from the University of Kentucky, the College of William and Mary, Kent State University and Siemens Corporate Research.

Learn more about the School of Computing >>

Read details of DePaul’s NSF award >>

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DePaul noted in numerous national higher education rankings

August 24, 2010

As the nation’s students begin heading back to class, a number of annual college rankings and surveys have been released that reflect the strong national reputation of DePaul University.

Among these is U.S. News & World Report which recognized DePaul as one of the top schools in the nation for service learning, in which community-based volunteer work is utilized as an instructional strategy.

Other academic rankings and reviews citing DePaul this summer include:

The 2011 edition of the Princeton Review’s “Best 373 Colleges” which recognized DePaul in three categories of “Great Schools for 15 of the Most Popular Undergraduate Majors”—accounting, finance and communication. Princeton Review also recognized DePaul as one of the top 20 “Great College Towns,” the only Illinois college or university receiving that distinction.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education which recognized DePaul for its diversity, citing it on five of its nine lists this year for the top 100 institutions that confer degrees to minority students. DePaul was among the top institutions for master’s degrees received by African-American, Asian-American, Native-American and Latino students. The university also was among the top 50 schools for conferring law degrees for all minority student groups combined.

The 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges which noted that “DePaul gets the nod…as the best Roman Catholic university in Chicago. DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus is like a Midwestern version of New York’s Greenwich Village or Upper West Side.” The guide also noted that, “Few universities have come so far, so fast.”

Sierra Magazine which ranked DePaul 57 out of 162 colleges and universities reviewed for its annual “Cool Schools” survey. The survey examines a wide range of sustainability efforts of schools across the nation.

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Scholarship memorializes influential finance professor

August 4, 2010

Brian Campbell (COM '63, MS '73)

Brian Campbell (COM ’63, MS ’73), who recently made a $1 million gift to the university to endow scholarships in the College of Commerce, attributes much of his early business success to what he learned while earning his bachelor’s degree and master’s in taxation at DePaul.

But ask him what’s the one thing he learned at DePaul that has had the most impact on his life, and chances are he’ll recite a few anonymous lines that he remembers from one of his philosophy classes:

“We have all been warmed by fires we did not build,
And we have drunk from wells we did not dig.”

“At some point in your life you will have to admit to yourself that the success you’ve had is not entirely due to your own brilliance,” he says, explaining that while it helps to be bright, no one has ever really made it all on his own—success often depends on a chance acquaintance or a random event that occurs along the way.

Eugene J. Muldoon

Eugene J. Muldoon

One of the most influential serendipitous acquaintances of Campbell’s life turned out to be a DePaul finance professor, Eugene J. Muldoon, who taught at DePaul from 1955 through the late ’60s and for whom Campbell named his scholarship fund.

Muldoon, a compact man known for his always-snappy business attire, his reverence for The Wall Street Journal and his ability to teach without notes or textbook, was a mentor not only to Campbell and other first-generation college students like him but also to hundreds of WW II, Korean War and Vietnam-era veterans who came to study business at DePaul courtesy of the GI Bill.

“Gene Muldoon believed in me,” Campbell says. “He always encouraged me and my classmates, and he took a real interest in our success. He had a tremendous impact.”

Campbell likens Muldoon’s attitude toward education to that of his father, who had to drop out of school after the third grade to work in the Pennsylvania coal mines, eventually becoming an electrician in Chicago’s stockyards.

“Gene was very much like my father,” he says. “Although my dad was a very tough guy, he insisted that I go to college—and work to get there. He told me he wanted me to make my living with my head, not my hands like he had to do.”

Campbell currently is president and CEO of Campbell Industries Inc., a private investment firm, and former chairman, president and CEO of Kaydon Corporation, a diversified industrial company.

The Eugene J. Muldoon Endowed Scholarship is intended to assist undergraduates in the College of Commerce.

In 2007, Campbell gave $500,000 to endow scholarships for students studying finance.

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DePaul’s Many Dreams, One Mission Campaign spurs record fundraising year for university

August 4, 2010

DePaul University raised a record $50 million in philanthropic gifts during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.

The $50 million figure eclipses the school’s previous record of $35 million set in FY2007.

“This has been a remarkable fundraising year at DePaul,” said Mary Dempsey, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Many Dreams, One Mission Campaign for DePaul University, whose public launch she helped announce in May.

The campaign — DePaul’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign in almost 40 years and its most ambitious ever — seeks to raise $250 million before its conclusion on June 30, 2014. Of that total, $100 million is slated to fund new scholarships.

More than 19,000 DePaul alumni and friends already have contributed $172 million toward the campaign goal, including more than $46 million for scholarships alone.

“The DePaul community has rallied to the campaign’s cause and to the university’s century-old mission of providing world class education to talented students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to attend college,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., DePaul’s president.

He added that the campaign has set other fundraising records, including attracting more million-dollar-plus gifts (34) than it had received cumulatively since DePaul’s founding in 1898. Among them are three gifts to scholarships that are among the largest ever given to the university:

  • A $5 million gift from the DePaul law alumnus Michael Jaharis and the Michael Jaharis Family Foundation to support students in the DePaul University College of Law
  • A $2 million gift to endow a scholarship for undergraduates with financial need from DePaul trustee Douglas Crocker and his wife Cindy Crocker
  • A $1 million challenge grant from noted Chicago philanthropist and longtime DePaul supporter Harrison I. Steans and the Steans family to match scholarship gifts of up to $10,000.

“Our record fundraising year shows a strong commitment among DePaul’s trustees, alumni, friends, faculty and staff to the campaign’s success,” said Mary Finger, DePaul’s senior vice president of the university’s Office of Advancement. “That commitment is especially remarkable when one considers the challenging economic climate.”

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) estimates that giving to colleges and universities was down almost 1 percent in calendar year 2009 and is expected to grow only 3.7 percent for calendar year 2010. The growth rate of philanthropic giving to higher education during the past 20 years has increased an average 7 percent per year, according to the organization’s website.