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About the ACM

The Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) serves as a focal point for information regarding the advantages of being associated with this organization of computer professionals. As in the past, the ACM will sponsor speakers from industry to talk on various computer-related topics.

Speakers from companies such as International Truck and Engine Corporation, IBM San Jose, Deere and Co., and Caterpillar, Inc. not only have described their particular "real world" of IT, but also have emphasized the importance of knowledge gained from NIU course material in their actual computer operations.

Other activities sponsored by the Student Chapter of the ACM include Homecoming receptions for Computer Science alumni, job search preparation workshops, and resume writing workshops, as well as workshops and seminars on other professional topics.

Look for the Student Chapter of the ACM's fliers posted on campus bulletin boards for announcements of activities.

2013-14 Officers:

Faculty Advisor:

Spring 2014 Events

Meetings: Unless otherwise indicated, meeting and refreshments are from 3:30-4:00 p.m., and the speaker program is from 4:00-5:00 p.m. Meetings are held in PM 253 unless otherwise specified. Everyone is welcome!

  • Thursday, February 13, 3:30 p.m., PM 253: Alex Bratton of Lextech (the company that helped us develop our mobile programming certificate) will present "A Real World MBA -- 20 Painful Entrepreneurial Lessons."

    Alex Bratton has founded 11 companies and earned a Real World MBA by making lots of mistakes along the way. He's happy to share those scars with aspiring entrepreneurs so that you can make different mistakes on your path. He'll share 20 lessons about preparation, people, and products.

  • Thursday, March 6. 3:30-5:00 p.m., PM 253: Mark Sabor, Senior Software Consultant and Certified hybris Core Developer with hybris Chicago will present "Choosing the Appropriate Garbage Collection Strategy." Beginning with a summary of the garbage collectors available in the Java programming language, the presentation will discuss the importance of a well-tuned collector and how it can affect enterprise systems. Focus will be on the Concurrent-Mark-Sweep and G1 collectors and will present pros and cons of each as well as methods to configure and tune each.

    Mark Sabor is a Senior Consultant with hybris Software, an SAP Company. He assists customers in planning and implementing their omni-commerce solution and recently focused on architecture and performance. Prior to hybris Software, Mark developed trading and commerce systems in Java. He earned a BS in Mathematics from NIU in 2002.

  • Celebrating Excellence LogoThursday, April 17, 3:30-5:00 p.m., location to be announced: Chicago-based Discover Financial Services will be hosting an opportunity for students to meet with Rich McGhee, SVP of Direct Banking and Joel Suchomel, VP of Web/Mobile Application Development and NIU Computer Science Alumnus. Come hear how Discover is transforming their web and mobile development and why Discover is ranked by Computerworld Magazine as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in IT. Free pizza and pop.

    Rich McGhee, Senior Vice President of Direct Banking: Business Technology, has over 25 years of experience in delivering business strategies and technology solutions, primarily in the Financial Services sector. Rich is responsible for supporting Discover's credit card and online banking and lending divisions. Prior to Discover, Rich was a SVP in the Technology: Credit Loss Management division of Fannie Mae, located in Washington D.C. Prior to Fannie Mae, Rich was a consultant at IBM and he earned a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.

    Joel Suchomel, Vice President of Web/Mobile Application Development, is responsible for developing and implementing the online and mobile strategy for the Discover Card, Discover Bank, Discover Network, Diners Club and Pulse web properties. He is also responsible for all electronic communications with customers including email and SMS. With almost 25 years of experience at Discover, Joel has a proven track record of delivering creative and innovative solutions across Business Technology. Joel is a Northern Illinois University graduate with a BS in Computer Science.

    See NIU's Celebrating Excellence website for further activities.

  • Thursday, April 24, 3:30-5:00 p.m., Barsema Alumni Center, co-hosted by the Computer Science Alumni Council: Steve Goldman of CME Group will present “Low Latency Programming and Hardware Acceleration.” Software and hardware approaches to writing super-fast systems. Techniques used in the financial industry to develop trading systems. How Java, C++ and Field Programmable Gate Arrays are used. Free pizza and pop.

Past Events

Fall 2013 Events

  • Thursday, September 12, 3:330-5:30 p.m., in PM 253: First ACM meeting of the semester.

  • Thursday, October 10, 3:30-5:00 p.m., in PM 253: Presentation by IBM's Dan Greiner, "Legacy of the IBM System/360 Architecture." Can a computer architecture really survive nearly 50 years and still remain relevant and successful? This presentation will discuss the legacy of the IBM System/360 architecture and review the marketing and technology pressures that drove IBM to "bet the company" on the original S/360. What were the key features of the S/360 architecture? How did the system and its architecture grow from a 32-bit CPU running at 500 KHz and supporting 24-bit real addressing to the current 64-bit CPU running at over 5 GHz and supporting an architectural maximum of 275┬ábytes of virtual memory? What marketing pressures drove these advances? Storage-key protection, multiprocessing, virtual memory, simultaneous access to multiple address spaces, time synchronization, and integrated instructions for compression, string manipulation, cryptography, and transactional execution are just a few of the many features we will analyze. The first 50 guests will receive an authentic and nearly antique IBM System/360 Reference Summary, the REAL so-called "Green Card."

    Speaker: Dan F. Greiner is a Senior Scientist in the IBM Systems-and-Technology Group, where he has worked for the past thirteen years developing instruction-set architecture for System Z. He is currently the editor of the IBM z/Architecture Principles of Operation. He has received the Best-of-IBM 2013 award, 2013 Corporate award, IBM Master-Inventor award, a Seventeenth-Plateau IBM Invention-Achievement award, and he is the author or co-author of 76 granted or pending patents. Prior to IBM, Mr. Greiner worked for 22 years at Amdahl Corporation in a variety of customer support, marketing, firmware engineering, and management positions. He received a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois/Chicago in 1972.

  • Thursday, November 14, 3:30 p.m. in PM 253: Brian Kasper (NIU CS B.S. 2003), now an IT Project Manager at Insurance Auto Auctions: "Getting Ready for Your First IT Internship and IT Job Out of College."

Spring 2013 Events

  • Thursday, February 14, presentation (download PowerPoint slides) by NIU Computer Science alumnus Chris Barber. An exceptional student, Chris now works for Allstate, where he is involved in many aspects of programming but primarily works with mainframe applications. Although he will discuss mainframe opportunities and careers in general, Chris' primary presentation will be about how selecting a technology focus can lead to success. The chapter will also discuss "NIU Code Jam!" featuring video games and new human computer interaction technology. There will be free snacks and pop or water and everyone is welcome (including non-CSCI majors!). Bring a guest—or your Valentine!
  • Monday, March 4, presentation by Anthony Losacco, Director of Storage Solutions from Forsyth Technology in Chicago.
  • Wednesday, March 6, our first Coding Meeting from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. in the Digital Convergence Lab on the third floor of Founders Memorial Library. During these meetings we will be working on collaborative projects, and as a group learning about various technologies that are not covered by the department's curriculum. To get to the Digital Convergence, take the elevator up to the third floor. When you get out of the elevator, turn right and look up—there will be a sign on the ceiling pointing towards the Digital Convergence Lab. We recommend bringing a laptop, a notebook, and a pencil. We will discuss ideas and tools for projects, get into groups, and start working. If you have any questions, feel free to email niuacm@gmail.com or ericblt@att.net .
  • Wednesday, March 20, Coding Meeting (see March 6 above for further information).
  • Wednesday, April 3, Coding Meeting (see March 6 above for further information).
  • Thursday, April 11, Brian Kasper, an NIU CS alumnus who now works as an IT Project Manager at Insurance Auto Auctions, will present "Technology in the Business World and Ways to Line Yourself Up to Succeed": an overview of Auto Auctions, how technology has been used to make the company an industry leader, and a discussion of various ways for students to line themselves up for success. The Chapter will also elect 2013-14 officers. Those students interested in running for office should contact the NIU ACM at niuacm@gmail.com.
  • Wednesday, April 17, Coding Meeting (see March 6 above for further information).
  • Thursday, April 25, in the Barsema Alumni Center, Sheryl Larsen, an NIU Computer Science Alumni Council (CSAC) Board Member and an IBM'r, will talk about "Big Data." Free pizza and pop provided by the CSAC.
  • Wednesday, May 1, Coding Meeting (see March 6 above for further information).

Fall 2012 Events

  • Thursday, September 13, the chapter will discuss upcoming events and plans for the year. There will be treats, everyone is welcome, and there will be video games to play afterwards!
  • Thursday, October 11, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. Speaker and topic at 4 p.m.: Eric Bellefontaine, Secretary of NIU's ACM Chapter and game programming enthusiast, will present the process of creating a video game. He will explain the entire life cycle that the video game goes through from the initial idea to implementation. He will show how to use XNA Game Studio 4.0 which is a programming environment for Visual Studio C# for xbox360, Windows Phone 7, Zune, and Windows PC video games. He will also share and demonstrate some of the tools he uses to make video games, and he will explain why students should spend some time learning video game programming.
  • Thursday, November 8, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. Speaker and topic at 4 p.m.: Zhihao Yuan will be presenting C++ Resource Management. He will explain the problems we face when programming in C++, such as memory leaks and deadlocks, which can be automatically eliminated using Resource Acquisition Is Initialization (RAII).

Spring 2011 Events

  • Thursday, February 2, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4 p.m., resume building workshop (to prepare for JP Morgan Chase meeting).
  • Wednesday, February 8, 3:30-5 p.m.: Special J.P. Morgan Chase Event, presenting the employer's perspective on interviewing and resume tips for computer-related internships.
  • Thursday, February 16, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m.,"A Taste for Mobile App Development." NIU professors Dr. Zerwekh, McMahon, and Henry will give a preview of what students can expect from NIU Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile Device Programming. The professors will demonstrate the development environment and how to use it to construct a small app.
  • Thursday, March 8, 4:00 p.m. in the PM 56 computer lab, to learn how to succeed in the ICPC coding contest. Join a 3 person team, design innovative solutions to challenging problems, and compete against the clock to see who can finish first.
  • Thursday, April 5, 3:30 p.m. for pizza and meeting. 4 p.m., Steve Goldman (B.S. '78), Director of Enterprise Architecture at CME Group (formerly Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and on the board of NIU's Computer Science Alumni Council (CSAC). Topic: "CME Group—Low Latency Programming Techniques: As the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, CME Group is where the world comes to manage risk. From currencies to oil to fixed income to metals, companies from around the world are connecting to CME Group electronically to manage their risk. Operating an electronic marketplace that’s open around the clock for global customers takes a tremendous amount of human and IT resources. With investment opportunities from Asia to Europe to Latin America, low latency systems are becoming the norm, and today, response times that used to be measured in seconds are now measured in micro and nanoseconds. Come see what we have learned at CME Group and meet some of the people responsible for this evolution in financial markets."
  • Thursday, April 19, 3:30 p.m., in PM 253, presentation by computer science grad student Tony Zhang. Topic: the mainframe emulator he has created.
  • Thursday, May 3, 3:30 p.m., in PM 253, presentation by CS major Suzanne Vanderwiel. Topic: Susan will repair an iPod with a broken screen and may even discuss other types of electronic device repairs with which she's had experience.

Fall 2011 Events

  • Thursday, September 8, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., there will be an informational meeting. Topics will include future seminars, International Collegiate Programming Contest, IBM Master the Mainframe, game tournaments, and tshirts.
  • Thursday, September 22, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., there will be a Game Design Seminar by Professor Georgia Brown. We will learn how to make a breakout-style game using GameMaker software.
  • Monday, October 3, 3:30 p.m. in the PM computer labs, to begin Part 1 of the Master the Mainframe contest. No help will be given to students, but they will be able to use the software in the computer lab instead of downloading it onto their own computers.
  • Monday, October 10, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., there will be a Mobile Device Management Seminar by Terry Finch and Pam Kubiatowski from Abbott Labs. Topics will include security, provisioning, ongoing management and support, costs, and global considerations for large companies transitioning to iPads, tablets, and smartphones as a main source of communication.
  • Saturday, November 5, ICPC Contest at UIC. We will be sending 2-3 teams. Teams TBD.
  • Thursday, November 17, 3:30 p.m., a seminar on how to repair a red-ringed XBOX presented by NIU student Sue Vanderwiel. The seminar will be in the Barsema Alumni Center and we will be having pizza. If you plan on attending, please rsvp to niuacm@gmail.com so that we know how much pizza we need to order.
  • Thursday, December 1, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., the CS Study Party for Final Exams will commence.

Spring 2011

  • Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., there will be elections for officers for next year; please contact Professor Byrnes or Professor Brown for more information. At 4:00 p.m., Dan Greiner from IBM will speak on the history and future of mainframe systems, particularly the z/Architecture. Mr. Greiner is a Senior Scientist and Master Inventor with IBM's Systems and Technology Group, where he has worked for the past nine years developing architecture for System Z. He is currently the editor of the CPU portion of the z/Architecture Principles of Operation. Prior to IBM, Dan worked for 22 years at Amdahl Corporation in a variety of customer support, marketing, firmware engineering and management positions. He has been involved with mainframe computers for the past 40 years.
  • Friday, April 8, 3:30-8:00 p.m., Super Smash Bros Wii Game Night. See http://students.cs.niu.edu/~z1550663/ for further information and to sign up.
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2011, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Dr. Joe Jeffrey, on the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Computer Science, will speak on "Does Watson Think? What Is the Difference Between Thinking and Computing?" Dr. Jeffrey has been working in AI since the late 1970s, having written one of the first working industrial expert systems, and has published several articles on psychology and artificial intelligence, both applied and theoretical. He holds a patent on a discovery applying an artificial intelligence technique, judgment simulation vector spaces, to the problem of large-scale information retrieval. In 1999, he founded H5 Technologies, a software company based on the patent, and served for three years as its Chief Scientist.
  • Thursday, February 10, 2011, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Alex Bratton will speak on "There Should Be an App for That: Top 10 Indicators for Mobile App Opportunities." You will walk away from this presentation with a fresh understanding of how mobile fits in businesses today and specific, hard indicators that highlight where mobility can be applied. This interactive presentation will explore the current and forecasted mobile app landscapes, examine successful mobile apps for best practices, and educate you with 10 indicators for app opportunities. The speaker, Alex Bratton, is a technology visionary and serial entrepreneur motivated by his passion for implementing technology in new ways. He specializes in identifying unique business opportunities by forecasting the impact of new technologies, and then applies that knowledge to create revenue generating companies, products, and systems. Alex currently serves as CEO for two Chicago area technology companies, Lextech Global Services and Lextech Labs. Lextech Global Services is a leading developer of mobile applications with serious business value, and Lextech Labs is an award-winning mobile video surveillance solution provider. He also recently founded a third organization, Serious Apps, which will develop game-changing mobile software products. Alex founded 9 other companies before founding Lextech Global Services, Lextech Labs and Serious Apps.

Fall 2010

  • Thursday, Sept 16: meeting
  • Thursday, Oct 21: meeting
  • Thursday, Nov 18: meeting
  • Saturday, Nov 6: ICPC programming tournament
  • Some Friday TBD for a Game Night and or a Seminar

Spring 2010

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Professor Kirk Duffin will speak about Hyperdimensional Graphics and Visual Computing. He will present an overview of how to use computers to display data that has more than three dimensions (sometimes many more!) and how low-level computer vision techniques are used in some novel electronic devices.
  • Tuesday, February 23, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4 p.m., Colin Godsey, NIU Alumnus and Lead Gameplay & Engine Programmer for Toy Studio of Schaumburg, Illinois, will discuss Cloud Computing: Not Every Cloud has a Silver Lining. Cloud computing seems to be the future of scalable server architecture. Colin will discuss some of the pitfalls and advantages of this new technology. Services that require the ability to scale to a level that supports thousands of requests per second are ideal for cloud services. Having an unlimited amount of hardware resources to produce servers on demand to serve a swell of client requests allows us to make applications that can provide the world with what it needs, when it needs it, as fast as it needs it. The situation sounds lovely, but the cloud has changed the game. Architecture is key with the cloud, and your data has never been more insecure.
  • Friday, April 2nd, 3:30pm to 7:00 p.m., in PM 253: Jordan Webb, Software Engineer at CA Inc and NIU Alumnus, will provide an introduction to the basics and bare essentials of the PERL programming language. Language features will be explored by taking a program from simple command tool to a database-backed web application. Familiarity with basic programming concepts is required. Attendees may simply watch the demonstrations or may follow along on their laptops, in which case the following software is required:  

Fall 2009

  • Tuesday, September 8, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Greg York from Abbot Labs will be presenting " Vital Practices to Avoid eP1C faIL in your Web Application ."
  • Friday, September 18, 2009, a 3-hour seminar on Video Game Development, taught by Aaron Henselin, an NIU Computer Science Alumnus. He will teach you how to make an Xbox360 game from scratch. Space is limited, so please register by contacting niu.acm@gmail.com . To follow along and program with Aaron as he's presenting, you'll need to pre-install two pieces of free software: XNA Game Studio 3.1 and Microsoft Visual C# 2008, both available at http://create.msdn.com/en-us/resources/downloads .
  • Tuesday, September 29th, 2009, 3:30p.m., PM 253. Guest speaker Mike Labrot from the NIU Computer Science Alumni Council (CSAC) will give a presentation about Source Code Management. Source code is an important asset to any business. Source Code Management (SCM) tools centralize and secure that asset.  SCM tools also track the history of changes, which facilitates compliance with many industry standards including ISO 9000, Six Sigma and SOx.  But most importantly, SCM tools enable multiple developers to collaborate in the creation and maintenance of software applications.  This presentation will focus on fundamentals such as checking code out/in as well as the advanced concepts of branching and merging that support concurrent development. Join us for FREE PIZZA afterwards (courtesy of the CSAC) in the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center (BAVC)!
  • Tuesday, October 13, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Christopher O'Malley of Computer Associates will be presenting "The Future of Mainframe Technology." Chris O'Malley is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the CA Mainframe Business Unit (a.k.a. the Bill Gates of the mainframe world). The mainframe has never been as important as it is today — and mainframe skills have never been as critical. Learn how new tools, new interfaces, and new approaches to mainframe management are making the mainframe an even more compelling platform for the future. Chris will explain how CA’s mainframe 2.0 strategy is empowering younger IT professionals with next-generation skills such as Java and C++ to successfully manage mainframe environments. He will also discuss CA’s involvement with colleges and universities to develop a fresh supply of talent for the mainframe platform.
  • Tuesday, November 3, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., Dave Bost from Microsoft will discuss the building of next-generation user-interfaces with Multitouch on Windows 7. Learn how Multitouch provides powerful capabilities to differentiate your application from the norm. Multitouch is how we interact with objects all day every day in the physical world. Windows 7 supports Multitouch out of the box so you can extend this same paradigm into the software world. With very little code, you are able to recognize and respond to multiple gestures at once and give your users a very natural method of interacting with your application.  In this session, we will explore the Multitouch APIs found in the Windows 7 SDK and how you can take advantage to build gesture-based applications. Dave Bost is a Developer Evangelist with Microsoft and co-host of the Thirsty Developer Podcast. He has been a Software Developer and Solution Architect for over 15-years. Prior to joining Microsoft, he cut his technical teeth working with many Fortune-500 companies as a technical mentor and consultant. Dave received his degree from NIU's Department of Computer Science.

Spring 2009

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., members of our Computer Science Alumni Council (CSAC -- see the "Alumni" link above for more information) will present tips and tricks for interviewing and surviving in the real world. They will also answer any questions you might have. You will find this to be an extremely valuable resource to help you in your job hunt. Students are also invited for free pizza a Pizza Villa at 6 p.m. as well. We expect this to be a great event (and possibly a tradition), at which NIU Computer Science students get to learn more about CSAC and vice versa.
  • Tuesday, February 10, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. The speaker is Dr. Raimund Ege of the Department of Computer Science. The topic is Virtualization, a technique to provide the complete simulation of a virtual machine. The technique has been around for many years, such as in IBM's VM virtual machine operating system. It gained new prominence recently with the advent of being able to simulate platforms that are based on x86 family processors. In x86 virtualization, a host operating system, i.e. Windows Vista, running on standard PC hardware provides a virtual machine environment to run a guest operation system, e.g. Linux. The guest is installed and runs without any modification, and does so with performance that is close to running on a physical PC. This presentation will cover the technical details of how virtualization is achieved on today's PC hardware, what virtualization tools are available today, and discuss many typical application scenarios where virtualization is used. The presentation will include demonstrations on how to use the VirtualBox software to run a Linux guest on a Windows host, and vice versa.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2009, PM 253, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., there will be a presentation by Amy Frazier and Ryan Harley of Archer Daniels Midland Co. "Every day, the 27,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. At more than 240 processing plants, we convert corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses. We operate the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 60 countries. Our global headquarters is in Decatur, Illinois, and our net sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, were $70 billion. For more information about our Company and our products, visit www.admworld.com ."
  • Thursday, April 30, 2009, 3:30 p.m. for refreshments and meeting. At 4:00 p.m., John Volmer, NIU CS Alumnus and CSAC member from Argonne National Laboratory in Batavia, will give a presentation on Public Key Infrastructures and the Federal Smart Card Initiative. Many of us are familiar with the small lock that appears on our World Wide Web (WWW) browsers signifying that session communications are secure. What most people don’t realize is that the protocol used to secure those communications, Transport Layer Security (TLS), formerly known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), is actually a bidirectional protocol that also allows the server to authenticate the user. This presentation will overview the mechanics of public/private key cryptography and how public/private key cryptography is the basis for digital signature, email encryption, and most recently cross domain logical authentication; that is, credentials (certificates) that are independent of the local computer system. Mr. Volmer will discuss how the federal government has adopted public/private key technology to form its own Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and how this infrastructure is being incorporated into the new standard government issued identity badges under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12).  He will demonstrate how they are used for logical authentication.

ACM Programming Contest Results

See results from prior years contests

Grad student Tony Zhang's Mainframe Emulator

Tony's Mainframe Programming Environment Simulator allows developers to compile, assemble, and test mainframe programs on their own PCs (Linux, Max OS, Windows, etc.) without worrying about an internet connection or a connection to a mainframe machine. It is also intended to reduce the teaching costs for IBM Assembler, COBOL, etc.

See here to: