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featured Faculty Computer Science
Dan Ernst CS Faculty

What classes/topics do you teach?

Intro to Prog/C++, Data Structures/C++, Computer Organization & Design, Microcontrollers, Digital Logic Design

What kind of research do you do?

I do research in two areas of study. I study computer architecture, answering questions like, how do we make computers that have higher performance?  As well as how can we make computers that are more efficient?  I also research how to teach more effectively in computer science, looking at how we should teach, and what to teach.

How are students involved in you research or lab work?

I have many students involved in my research and I also work with other departments on campus to do research with both faculty and students of other disciplines.  Currently I have a student working to build a mini-super computer, with the goal of building it with as little money as possible. I have another student working with the math department to look at emergency management responses. And another student is working with the music and math departments to create a denoising unit that will remove unwanted noise from audio signals.

What facilities or equipment do you get to use in your work?

We have great computer labs! Two recent additions to the computer science department are the Cray Computer Engineering Lab and the Karlgaard Laptop Lab.

What do you hope your students are getting from your courses?

I hope they gain the ability to analyze problems and the ability to make good decisions based on quantifiable information.

Do you get to do anything fun or special in your work such as field work or travel?

This field requires that you stay current and up to date with new technology.  I get to travel to conferences and other computer science related events to stay current and continue to learn about new developments and ideas.  I also am able to work with cutting edge technology, both the hardware and computational aspects of computer science.  For lab work I get the opportunity to work with students to try and be creative and work on problems asking the question, “let’s try this and see if it solves our problem…”

What is your favorite part of your job?

Seeing students getting excited about learning and being engaged in learning.  I like that I get to be a motivating force behind that process.

"Lab work in computer science typically involves students working on project based problems. I try to make it fun and give students something to figure out and work on to show the applications of what we have been learning."

Best advice for students?

Engage yourself in whatever you choose to study – the students that have the greatest success are those who truly throw themselves into what they do wholeheartedly!

Why do you think a student should study computer science at UW - Eau Claire?

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.