Eric Valenzuela, a CSUCI Computer Science graduate, working at Yardi

Eric Valenzuela graduated with a degree in Computer Science in 2016. He is now a web developer at Yardi. During his years at CI, Eric was a Software Engineering interns at Sandia National Laboratories. Before his current position at Yardi, he was a Software Engineer at CTL SystemWare.

One of our masters students now working at GBL as a Software Engineer

Eric Gentry recently joined GBL Systems, a government contract company working with the Navy at Point Mugu Naval Base. GBL Systems ( is based in Camarillo and works with CSUCI to hire top performing Computer Science graduates. Eric leads a team of software developers in creating military grade RADAR system tools as the Senior Software Architect and Team Lead.

You can see more about Eric Gentry in this post.

Our graduates getting great jobs!

Computer Science 2nd Advisory Board Meeting

On May 10, 2018, the department of Computer Science, which is composed of four programs: Computer Science (CS), IT, Mechatronics and the masters program in CS (MSCS), held its second Advisory Board meeting. The first meeting took place on November 3, 2017.

The Advisory Board consists of leaders in the industry and public service in Ventura County, and its mission is to:

  • Champion the department in the community.
  • Help with placement of our students in internships and full time positions.
  • Support the curriculum.
  • Provide access to real world problems which can than be given to our students for senior capstones, projects and masters theses.
  • Form the constituents of the department, as for example required by ABET accreditation.

The meeting started with lunch at 12:30 (Handel Evans Conference Room, Broome Library Room 2533), and welcome words from Chris Meissner (Meissner filtration, and also a member of the CI Foundation Board), who outlined a vision for the board, and has kindly agreed to take the lead of a planning committee that will develop bylaws and membership. Dennis Gaiseer has also agreed to help in this effort. Chris’ remarks were followed by two faculty presentations, Profs. Brian Thoms and Houman Dallali, who briefly showcased their various research projects and how they involve CI students.

Lunch was followed by a tour of the new labs in Sierra Hall, with detailed visits in the Robotics, Embedded Systems and Networks & Security labs. At 3pm, in Sierra 1422, we held a planning meeting that started with a presentation by Michael Soltys; here are the slides:



The talk outlined the recent successes and accomplishments, e.g., starting of Mechatronics program in the fall 2018, student programming competitions, scholarly achievements (over a dozen publications arising from research in the department), as well as the rapid growth of the students majoring in Computer Science (at 400 currently, doubled in the last 3 years). We also mentioned some of the challenges, such as the leaving of several key tenure-track faculty (moving to other universities and retiring).

We also spoke about the push toward ABET accreditation, and that the Advisory Board will be key in that enterprise, as we are required to have one in order to maintain a discussion about the Program Educational Outcomes, which comprise a vision for our graduates, and which has to be examined by the constituents (i.e., Advisory Board) of the department. The department has a working document for its implementation of an ABET assessment program:

Following that, Ritchie LeRoy from Advancement led a discussion about the following items:

  • Membership of the board
  • By-Laws
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Leadership
  • Expectations

The day ended with the Capstone Showcase presentation 4-6pm in the Sierra Hall Lobby, held at the end of each term, presenting the magnificent senior projects of our students. The students were excited about the possibility of presenting their work to industry leaders.

Some shots from the Capstone Showcase:

National Engineers Week Banquet @CSUCI

It was a great pleasure to Emcee the National Engineers Week of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties banquet at CSU Channel Islands (CI). This was the 45th annual engineering week dinner, and the second year (in a row) that it took place at CI.

Thank you to my colleagues Jason Isaacs and Houman Dallali, and their students Adan Sanchez, Alexandra Collette and Nicole Dubin for a display of the student engineering projects at CI. We were delighted to announce that we are welcoming the first cohort of Mechatronics students in the fall of this year (2018). It was especially appropriate to welcome engineers from the local businesses and the local Navy bases at CI, as we pursue three interdependent missions:

  • Scholarship
  • Teaching
  • Engagement in the community

The pièce de résistance event of the evening was a keynote address by  Dr. Adam Steltzner, NASA Engineer with Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Steltzer is a renowned engineer who led the team responsible for the Curiosity Rover’s successful landing on Mars (the EDL: Entry, Descent, Landing system); the famous 7 Minutes of Terror. Last year Dr. Steltzer was named to the National Academy of Engineering.

It was a great honor to meet Dr. Steltzer and listen to a first hand account of the mission.

Why is it called the 7 Minutes of Terror? In just seven minutes, NASA’s six-wheeled rover called Curiosity, must go from 13,000 mph as it enters the Martian atmosphere to a dead stop on the surface.

During those seven minutes, the rover is on its own. Earth is too far away for radio signals to make it to Mars in time for ground controllers to do anything. Everything in the EDL system must work perfectly, or Curiosity will not so much land as go splat. The team that invented the EDL system, led by Dr. Steltzer, has spent nearly 10 years perfecting it.

@CSUCI at ACM competitions – top team at 10th position!

Our top result was the 10th position, out of 105. Congratulations to our students! See all scores here:

Last year our students came in the 15th position (still a great achievement; read 2016 story). The year before that at 17th. We are climbing relentlessly.

iSprinkle – a topical capstone project @CSUCI @cagomez805

iSprinkle is a Raspberry Pi powered irrigation controller which will allow a user to set an initial irrigation schedule for a sprinkler system using a web interface, after which it will use the local weather forecast to adjust the base watering schedule as needed. iSprinkle is the result of a senior Capstone project (COMP499)  at California State University Channel Islands, undertaken by student Carlos Gomez in 2016, advised by Michael Soltys. A detailed write up of the project, where we partnered with Prof. Adam Sędziwy (who visited CI in June 2016), can be found here:

A short version of the above paper will be presented at INDOTEC2017:

iSprinkle was also presented at SCCUR 2016, the Southern California Council for Undergraduate Research Conference at UC Riverside on November 12, 2016.

The design of a system such as iSprinkle requires a holistic approach that is very different from most class assignments. The former usually span a few files that are to be turned in within a week or two, making it difficult to implement a system with many “moving parts.” However, iSprinkle’s functionality is divided between the front-end and back-end, both of which need to communicate so that the user’s requests are fulfilled. Designing such a system requires taking into consideration many aspects; from major decisions such as deciding on a backend language to use, to minutiae such as the date and time formats to use across the backend and front end to maintain consistency.

By doing so, iSprinkle will be able to irrigate more efficiently compared to a fixed schedule; by progrmmatically modifying the user’s watering schedule, iSprinkle will increase/decrease the amount of watering that the schedule dictates depending on data that it receives from a weather API. iSprinkle hopes to make it easier for homeowners to conserve water by automating adjustments to their irrigation schedule.

Carlos Adrian Gomez has since graduated from CI, and is working as a Software Engineer in the Ventura area.

Carlos’ on twitter