Stephen R. Tate, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Head
Steve's Picture

Greetings! You've reached Steve Tate's home page at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am Department Head for the Department of Computer Science at UNCG, and you can find links to department information here as well as information about my research and teaching. If you want to contact me, see the "Contact" link to the left.

Basic Information

My work is in the area of computer security and cryptography, and you can find more information by following the "Research" link to the left. I'm completely committed to leading the Department of Computer Science, and strongly feel that keeping active and current in my own research is an important part of this - if you'd like to chat about my research or about computer security (or computer science) in general, please feel free to contact me!

Teaching for Fall 2014

I am teaching CSC 100 (The Beauty and Joy of Computing) in Fall 2014 – more information about this class is on the class web page.

Teaching for Spring 2015

I will be offering the following special topics class in Spring 2015:

CSC 495-01 / CSC 680-01 - Software Security
Tues/Thurs 2:00-3:15
 
This course will cover common vulnerabilities in software, and how software bugs can have serious security consequences. We will consider buffer overflows, return-oriented programming, stack smashing, integer overflow, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other classes of vulnerabilities. We will also look at techniques for avoiding these vulnerabilities, ranging from good programming practices to the use of static analysis and other tools. The course will be experimental, with students locating, exploiting, and fixing vulnerabilities throughout the semester.
Prerequisite: CSC 330 (Recommended: CSC 339 or other experience with C, C++, or other language that supports raw pointers).

About Computer Science

I've been fascinated by the field of computer science for many years now, and enjoy talking about computer science topics and issues with others. One of the unusual things about computer science as a field is how many people have a mistaken idea about what the field of computer science is — most people have a pretty good idea of what biology is, or what chemistry is, but since there is little or no exposure to computer science in K-12 education a lot people come into college without a clear picture of the field. If you are thinking about studying computer science and are reading this, you might want to read something I've written about What is Computer Science?. Something else to read that I'd recommend is an excellent article by David Chisnall entitled Is Computer Science Dying? (the answer is "no").

Diversity in Computing

Over the past 25 years, the number of women earning degrees in Computer Science has dropped precipitously. In fact, the percentage of Computer Science degrees earned by women is less than half what it was in 1983, and Computer Science is the only Science and Engineering field to show a decline in the percentage of degrees awarded to women in that time. The computing field offers great opportunities and is a way to be involved in an area that has a significant part in shaping the future. Not only do we want women in the field for the opportunities it offers them, but we need women in the field to create diverse development teams that can be more competitive. Driven by this concern, I participate in several initiatives, including the Women in IT (WiIT) program, which includes a summer camp for girls to raise awareness of the IT field. If you're interested in this issue and would like to learn more, including ages and eligibility requirements for the summer camp, please see the WiIT web site or contact me!

My History

Before joining UNCG in 2007, I was at The University of North Texas for 14 years, in what was originally the Department of Computer Science and later became the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. At UNT I created the Center for Information and Computer Security, which won recognition by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. I received my Ph.D. from Duke University in 1991, followed by a 2 year postdoc supported by NASA. In addition to my current work in cryptography and security, I have worked and published in several other areas, including algebraic algorithms, circuit complexity, online algorithms, and data compression.