Originally from Baltimore, Randy got his B.S. in Computer Science from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 2000. In 2005, Randy completed his Master's in Computer Science at UMBC, and now he's a 7th year part-time Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science. When he's not studying, Randy works full-time as a Senior Software Engineer at Raytheon, and spends time with his wife and son.
When did you know you wanted to study Computer Science?
I decided in high school and took some classes to make sure this was what I wanted to do. Once I entered my undergraduate studies, this is all I pursued and I've enjoyed every challenge that I've faced.
Are you part of any labs, clubs or organizations on campus?
I am affiliated with the eBiquity lab.
What are you researching for your thesis?
For my dissertation, I am developing a framework utilizing statistical relational learning methods to resolve configuration conflicts and maintain details of system state in large-scale distributed systems, such as High Performance Computing resources. Specifically, I am developing advanced techniques to provide automated services for managing the complex and changing operations of these systems without relying on centralized knowledge bases. I will be using the analysis results from configuration management inferences to correct conflicts found between operating system-level parameters and files, and using results from thermal profile inferences to enhance task scheduling algorithms as a means of minimizing the system’s overall thermal footprint.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is one where I can do cutting edge research in applied fields to develop products or solutions for hard technical problems.
On UMBC and CSEE…
Why did you choose UMBC?
I started at UMBC part-time in the Master's program for Computer Science in Spring 2003. Toward the end of my Master's, I decided to continue and pursue my PhD as well. I started my PhD part-time in Spring 2006. I chose UMBC initially because of the types of courses being offered that appealed to me. Part of the reason I decided to stay and continue my PhD was the faculty with research focuses in High Performance Computing and Autonomic Computing, two areas I was extremely interested in pursuing.
What was your first impression of UMBC?
I was impressed with the environment and my classmates. It was nice to have a healthy mix of full-time and part-time students at different levels that could provide additional insight and make discussions more interesting.
What was your first Computer Science Course?
Advanced Operating Systems taught by Dr. Krishna Sivalingam.
What was your favorite Computer Science Course?
My favorite Computer Science course was an Introduction to Systems Engineering. It was practical for the work I do full-time and provided a lot of insight. I would recommend taking several Special Topics courses if possible. I always found the ones I took to have lively discussions and faculty who loved talking about the material and expanding on topics to satisfy any type of curiosity. I’ve taken two: Parallel Computing and Semantic Web.
What do you like about the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) Department?
As a part-time student who has been around for a while completing two degrees, I am grateful for the faculty who advise me and understand the nature of being a part-time student. With work schedules that can vary greatly month-to-month, I have been very fortunate to have an advisor, Dr. Anupam Joshi, who works within my sometimes limited availability to keep me moving forward and making progress toward completing my research.
How would you describe the professors in the department?
The professors in the CSEE department that I have had the opportunity to take classes from or have served on my committee have all been excellent communicators and able to share a body of knowledge that I do not believe I could have learned elsewhere. They take the time to answer questions and inquire into students’ interests to help guide discussions and make the material relevant.
What advice would you give to incoming graduate students?
My advice would be, especially to part-time students, to spend time on campus outside the hours of your classes to meet others in the department and learn about research activities that are already going on early. Attend colloquium events and ask questions, you can learn a lot from what other students are doing and what they have gone through to get there.