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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) - Declarative Programming and Its Applications

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Declarative Programming and Its Applications


Applicants will need to select three mentors as their top preferences on the application form. Efforts will be made to match students with their preferred mentors as closely as possible.

Artificial Intelligence

Design of Intelligent Agents

Dr. Michael Gelfond

There are a number of projects aimed at the development of software systems capable of performing non-trivial reasoning tasks. These include planning, diagnostics, intelligent question answering, recognition of the intentions of other agents, etc. In addition, we will investigate the possibility of extending recent work on the development of agents capable of reasoning about mental attitudes including intentions and obligations. This research may help to obtain important insights into the nature of thinking and a better understanding of the difference between man and machine. We will also investigate possible applications of the knowledge representation and reasoning techniques of declarative programming for solving important practical problems related to security.

In particular, we plan to concentrate on building agents capable of making intelligent decisions aimed at fulfilling their obligations in a changing (and sometimes hostile) environment and on the discovery and prevention of cyber attacks on software systems.


Healthcare Problems

Dr. Michael Gelfond
Dr. Yuanlin Zhang

It is noted that every year between 44 and 98 thousand unnecessary deaths in the US result from medical errors. One important source of avoidable errors is lack of knowledge of the current best practice. Clinical practice guidelines (CPG) have been systematically developed to assist practitioner and patient decisions, as a result of rigorous and comprehensive reviews of the latest international clinical research. A major challenge for the CPG approach is its accessibility by the physicians. In this project, we will do research aiming at the development of a declarative programming based approach to assist doctors by offering treatment options for the patients with single or multiple diseases, based on the clinical practice guidelines. There are opportunities to work with Physicians from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center or Covenant Health.



Dr. Rattikorn Hewett

In the era of digital age, our everyday life depends on safe Cyberspace. We do online business transactions such as banking, purchase goods and make travel reservation almost anywhere any time just by the tips of our fingers. The more these services are available for access, the more vulnerable they are to cyber attacks. Such services are operated by software that not only provides the service functions but also protects privacy and security of information involved. The research aims to find systematic methods to secure the information access as well as articulating privacy control policy by means of declarative programming. At the same time, it helps inspire students to be aware of criticality of security threats in U.S. financial sectors.


Energy-Aware Software Engineering

Dr. Akbar Siami-Namin

Mobile devices are becoming an integral part of our daily life. Devices such as tablets, smartphones, and iPhones are constrained with limited resources and computation power. Software apps, as the primary tools used in these devices, are therefore constrained to special types of software whose computations and dataflow are optimized. The type of software apps along with the programming models used in developing these mobile applications influence the amount of energy used in performing the desired functionalities. As an example, it has been reported that object-oriented programs are less energy efficient compared to traditional imperative programming languages. This research aim to investigate the efficiency of declarative programming languages in developing more optimized and resource friendly software components deployed on mobile devices. The project exposes students to the interesting world and most in-demand high-tech job, the mobile application programming. The students will experience developing mobile apps with several programming languages and compare their energy efficiency of their apps when developed with declarative languages.

Space Exploration

Space Exploration: Solar Array Planning

Dr. Yuanlin Zhang

The mysteries of astronomy and space exploration have intrigued and inspired numerous people since the beginning of time. International space station (ISS) is an excellent example in space exploration. It provides a platform for scientific research (e.g., the alpha magnetic spectrometer designed to detect dark matter and answer other fundamental questions about our universe cost $1.5 billion and was recently mounted onto ISS), and a location for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. The electrical power on ISS is produced by its eight solar arrays which are designed to automatically track the sun as the station orbits the earth to maximize power production. However, many other ISS missions (e.g., docking spacecraft) may have significant impact on the arrays. Therefore, operational safety constraints on array operations are designed to ensure the safety of crew and station. There are also preferences on the array operations for vehicle longevity and mission effectiveness. We will develop a declarative programming based solution to the solar array planning problem which is to generate solar array operations to optimize the solar array configurations subject to the safety constraints and preferences. There are opportunities to work with Scientists/Engineers from NASA.