NNU computer science majors are required to complete a senior research project. This requirement has been a highly praised by employers of NNU graduates. Graduate John Donaldson who attended the Naval Postgraduate School and now works for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said, "“When I've talked to my program managers [at the Naval Postgraduate School] who have worked with NNU students in the past, they like the fact that in our computer science program we are required to produce a senior project and thesis which a lot of other schools don't require." Math and computer science faculty are researching as well as maintaining and improving the department's labs and equipment.

Student Research

Three synopses of 2014 senior projects:

Skyler Braddock - I am creating an Android application for the NNU student government association. This app will provide information about upcoming events to students. To make it useful for students with varying interests, the app will have tags to sort the events by such as “sports” and “SGA Events.” The app will get the information about upcoming events from a database maintained by the SGA. I am developing the app using HTML5 and JavaScript and porting it over to Android using a program called Phonegap. Having the entire app in HTML5 allows the app to be easily ported to other platforms such as iOS.

David Harris - The focus of this project is Information extraction from .PDF files. PDF (Portable Document Format) files are often used on the Internet for displaying information. One trouble with PDF’s is the ability to index the contents of these files. This is because the file is an image generated in a similar method as postscript. Because of these difficulties, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is often used to extract content into a form that can be indexed. There are several open source tools, such as tesseract, which can be used to extract text from PDF files. However, one area of difficulty is when data is represented in a table format. Most OCR products do not have good support for extracting this information in this format. This project focuses on extracting information represented in table format in ways that the computer can interpret the data. By using a combination of OpenCV and tesseract, this information can be extracted and stored in a database.

Matt Sichenze – Tree Detection in OpenCV - Aerial crop surveillance has the potential to streamline the process of disease detection and orchard management, but the programs needed to process this data require accurate detection of individual trees. The Goal of this research is to develop an accurate program for detecting and counting trees. A modified area based method was implemented and tested for accuracy. The area method, uses a path of centers and a box that represents the search area. On each section of the path a rectangular portion is cut out and tested for the presence of a tree. Each rectangular portion is tested by comparing the number of pixels the tree has as opposed to the background pixels. If the comparison yields a high percentage of tree in that section, then it can be counted. This algorithm will prove useful when attempting to detect diseased trees in an orchard.

Faculty Research

Dr. Barry Myers
Associate Professor of Computer Science

Research Opportunities in Computer Science/ Bioinformatics/Robotics (jointly with Engineering)

After 10 years of professional software and systems development, Dr. Barry Myers completed his Ph.D. at the University of North Texas. After 2 years teaching at Colorado State-Pueblo, he came to NNU in 1998. Teaching most of the courses in the CS program leaves little time for research, but he has found time to work with students in bioinformatics and recently began the development of a joint robotics research program with Engineering to provide opportunities for students to work on interesting projects. Dr. Myers is also available to his students as a research or project advisor for senior projects. Some recent student project titles include: Android Application for Medical Forms, A Wesley Commentary Mobile Application, Web Based I/O Monitoring and Control, A Smart Phone Application to Measure Addictions, The Effects of Repetitive Elements on the Composition of the Human Genome. Dr. Myers also employs students to help administer, maintain, and upgrade the CS Lab, used for both student/faculty research and for CS course projects.

CS Lab equipment includes:

  • GPU Node (
    • Purpose
      • Run CUDA capable code
    • OS
      • CentOS 6.2
    • Hardware
      • 1 Tesla M2090 GPU
      • 96 GB RAM
      • (2) Intel Quad Core EXXXX
  • RAID System (
    • Purpose
      • RAID Storage for Research Lab
      • Local CentOS Mirror (For updating local systems)
    • OS
      • CentOS 6.2
    • Hardware
      • 24 GB RAM
      • 40 GB of RAID 1 System Storage
      • 2.2 TB of RAID 10 Storage
      • 2.7 TB of Backup RAID 1 Storage
  • Dell ESXi Server (
    • Purpose
      • Run Virtual Machines
      • Important virtual machines for lab infrastructure. (DNS, firewall, logs, OpenVPN, Web Server)
    • OS
      • VMWare ESXi 5.1
    • Hardware
      • Intel Xeon E5620 Quad Core (2)
      • 32 GB RAM
      • Storage
        • RAID 1 1.8 TB
        • RAID 0 1.8 TB
  • IBM xSeries (
    • Purpose
      • Active Directory Domain Controller
    • OS
      • Windows 2008 R2
    • Hardware
      • Old
  • IBM xSeries (
    • Purpose
      • CCDC Server
    • OS
      • ESXi 4.1
    • Hardware
      • Old
  • Apple Head Node and RAID (
    • Purpose
      • None
    • OS
      • Gentoo
    • Hardware

The following machines are used in the Lab, but are not in the Server Closet.
  • Lab Workstations (5)
    • Purpose 
      • Research / Lab Work
    • OS 
      • Varies
    • Hardware
      • Intel i5 2.80 GHz
      • 8 GB RAM
      • 500 GB Hard Drive
  • Dell GX620 (6)
    • Purpose
      • Hadoop Test Cluster (4)
      • VNC Client for Virtual Machines (2)
    • OS
      • CentOS
    • Hardware
      • 2GB RAM (5) 1GB RAM (1)
      • Pentium 4
      • 80 GB Hard Drive 

  • Matlab
  • Mathematica

Dale Hamilton
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Dale Hamilton joined the Math and Computer Science Department at Northwest Nazarene University in August, 2013.  His courses include:

  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Data Structures 
  • Introduction to Web Development
  • C/C++
  • System Architecture  

Dale is also responsible for enhancing the internship opportunities for Computer Science majors, supervisory responsibility for the departmental computer lab and mentorship of the Computer Club. 

Prior to coming to Northwest Nazarene University, Dale has spent the past 13 years as a Lead Software Engineer/Project Manager at Systems for Environmental Management, writing software modeling fire behavior and effects, ecological departure and remote sensing under contracts with the USDA Forest Service, a relationship that Dale has continued since joining the faculty at Northwest Nazarene University.  Dale directs the software development efforts for the National Interagency Fuels Technology Transfer (NIFTT) team, leading the development of a suite ArcGIS based wildland fire behavior and effects and ecological evaluation tools which were written in C++ and Java, in addition to a web based implementation of the FRCC application which ran on a central Oracle database.  Dale’s duties have also included providing technical support to NIFTT’s customers, including  handling help desk calls, helping users resolve issues that arose with the use of our tools and developing and teaching a number of NIFTT courses.  Since coming to NNU, Dale has continued working with SEM on a consulting basis, continuing his research into wildland fire behavior and effects, ecological departure and remote sensing.

Prior to going to SEM, Dale worked for Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company for 5 years writing Computer Aided Software Engineering Tools.  After Boeing Dale worked for 10 years at the University of Montana and Systems and Computer Technology  (SCT) writing Oracle applications supporting the administrative computing needs of various universities.  Dale spent an additional year working for Fireball IT Solutions writing software to control a helicopter mounted infrared camera used for mapping wildland fires.  Dale also worked for a year with Visual Learning Systems writing ArcGIS based tools that use artificial intelligence to extract features from raster imagery.