Wen-Li Wang, Ph.D.

Wen-Li Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering
Office Phone
Office Location
164 Burke
PENN STATE BEHREND
242 BURKE CENTER
ERIE PA 16563
    Biography

    Dr. Wen-Li Wang is an associate professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Penn State Behrend. He received the B.S. in Management Information Systems from NCCU, Taipei, Taiwan in 1991, and both the M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the State University of New York SUNY at Albany in 1996 and 2002 respectively where he received the best thesis award in 2003 for his work. Dr. Wang joined the Penn State Behrend faculty in August of 2002.

    Dr. Wang's first engineering job was as a LAN administrator for the Department of MIS in Taipei, Taiwan in 1993-1994. He then worked as a graduate assistant and teaching assistant while completing his education at SUNY-Albany. Dr. Wang is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers IEEE.


    Teaching 

    Courses Taught

    • Computer Engineering Design
    • Engineering Design Concepts
    • First-Year Seminar
    • Object Oriented Design
    • Programming for Engineers in C++
    • Software Architecture
    • Software Engineering Design Projects
    • Software Testing
    • Technical Game Development

    Teaching Philosophy

    This academic year is my sixth-year of teaching. I have experienced both trials and errors; successes and failures. During the first two years, I tried to improve the atmosphere in my classes composed of diverse majors of students. The third- and fourth-years, I tried to mix with my students, spark their interest, and inspire peer learning. The focus of the past year was to alter my students existing study habits and perform constant evaluation. In the future, I plan to continue good practices, enhance them, and explore new approaches.

    Regarding the atmosphere, I received invaluable suggestions from colleagues and adopted a model to promote both questions and discussion. Moreover, I encouraged the students to challenge results. This process improved both their thinking and interaction. To conquer the diversity of students in the majors, teaching materials were often prepared using the technical terms of their disciplines to create better understanding. Furthermore, I learned to patiently elaborate on new topics because students of one major did not always catch on as easily as students of another. As a consequence, my second-year student evaluations greatly improved over the first year.

    To pursue further improvement, in the third- and fourth-years, I conducted a number of experiments and analyzed the results. I care, not only about the class atmosphere, but also look to achieve my own goals. One of these goals was to instruct students to meet their personal needs. Besides offering more and flexible office hours, I frequently talked to individuals after class. This allowed me to get feedback immediately and advise the students directly. Another goal was to sustain attention. In addition to writing on the board, engineering videos, past projects, web systems, and tools were utilized to stimulate their learning interests. Project demonstrations were a huge hit because students love to compete with the work previously accomplished by their peers and propose new ideas to demonstrate their wisdom. Another goal was to increase the students’ self confidence in order to face reality. Over the years, I found many senior capstone projects, proposed by teams of work-alone type students, to lack challenges. Conversely, good team players typically proposed solid projects. My belief was that team players have strong faith in group accomplishments in big projects. By that thought, I promoted teamwork by introducing peer programming early in the sophomore year. Two students would work together and support each other. However, it was not a complete success. Although some students were indeed motivated to show their strength, some became rather dependent on the other. To prevent dependency, in the junior year students were forced to come up with their own project ideas. Teams of four were grouped together and this group chose the best topic. My role was to determine the scope of the projects and then to monitor progress. Based on two trials, students gained great confidence and the quality significantly surpassed what had been accomplished in the past. Last year, several proposed capstone projects were overly aggressive and needed to be scaled down.

    Despite the above improvements, students had expressed difficulty answering open-ended questions in my exams. Some found the questions to be too hard and others complained that they didn’t find time to review learning materials. My fifth-year resolution was to improve this situation. With lots of thought, I finally adopted an old, simple, but effective approach. It pushed students to study on a weekly basis by testing them with many quizzes. I found that this can be easily done without sacrificing the lecture time. The quizzes focused on important topics or the foundation needed to continue on to the next topic. This helped emphasize the important materials and improve students’ study habits. The additional preparation also got them ready for mid-term and final exams. Although the quiz results were not always satisfactory, by the end of the course, performance improved. Many students enjoyed this way of learning because the knowledge became engraved in their minds. Frequent quizzes provided another important benefit as students were more inclined to attend classes.

    Teaching is undoubtedly a life-long learning process and much remains to be explored. I truly appreciate the experiences shared by my colleagues and will continue to ask for advice. In the future, I would also like to attend teaching seminars to identify problems that I have not yet recognized and develop a set of good methods for teaching different classes and topics. Someday, I want to be one that can also help new faculty.


    Research 

    Research Statement

    My research specialization is in Software Engineering, especially in the areas of software reliability modeling and architectural design. I have also studied Swarm intelligence. My initial work at Penn State Behrend focused on my Ph.D. thesis, discrete reliability modeling. I then applied this work to heterogeneous architecture domain and Web systems. Several reviewers suggested that I use real failure time data to better verify my models for journal quality. This was somehow a challenge for my independent research here, especially because of the lack of local software industry and graduate students. Another problem that I faced was a limited number of journal outlets in the software reliability field. Most of them are highly competitive and require abundant empirical supports. The third problem was the lack of collaborative opportunities available on campus as I was the single faculty member dedicated to software engineering research and I found that bridges to other disciplines could not be quickly established. Facing these three difficulties, besides targeting reputable conferences, I looked for a breakthrough to extend my research utilizing the available resources here.

    In the ECSE environment, one valuable resource is our faculty members, who each have different expertise. I talked with faculty and sat in on classes for one semester to come up with ideas. With more understanding of their research, I began to see collaborative opportunities. Another important resource is our students. Even though they are all undergraduate students, with assistance, they are able to collect data, organize information, and perform implementation. More importantly, their personal interests in diverse work can also help open the door to other research directions. After identifying these resources, during the third-year I began to collaborate with colleagues and students. With the support of my colleagues, I was able to find a better leverage point between teaching and research. My research areas became broader to include both discrete and continuous domains. This enabled my work to fit in more journal outlets. More importantly, the collaboration introduced me to other data collection techniques, e.g., utilizing published data. As a result, my most recent research has significantly improved. The result of collaboration with students was very fruitful and two papers, one pedagogical and one technical, were consequently published with two students. The technical paper was on swarm intelligence; this topic was not in my area of expertise. While closely advising this student, I started to explore that problem domain and established a new research direction. This collaboration model was a great success and strengthened my research.

    In addition, I worked with faculty outside Penn State Behrend. During the second-year I worked with a faculty member at George Mason University, but the progress was unfortunately halted after his leaving for industry. During the next few years, I co-authored and published papers with faculty at Gannon University and SUNY Albany. Collaboration on these works brought me into the areas of software change impact analysis and software maintenance. My future plan is to develop a cost estimation model for our proposed technique.

    The three problems, listed above, are now less an issue after identifying and adapting to the Penn State Behrend environment. I have learned data sampling, pre-processing and prediction techniques from other disciplines that I can now apply to the software engineering field. My research areas have become much broader, allowing me to submit to diverse journals without a shortage of outlets. More importantly, I have significantly broadened my vision. This coming year my short-term goal is to initiate collaboration with another software engineering faculty and hopefully in the long-term to explore new topics together. I feel my research activities have become much more active and I simply cannot wait for more collaboration opportunities to happen. To my encouragement, I have recently been invited to be a review committee member for a conference and a journal and I look forward to the opportunity.


    Service 

    Organizing conferences, service on conference committees

    • Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE)
      • Conference Review Committee, member, 2007.

    Active participation in professional and learned societies

    • International Journal of Information Systems in the Service Sector (IJISSS)
      • Editorial Review Board, member, August 2007-July 2009.
    • International Journal of Information & Decision Sciences (IJIDS)
      • Editorial Review Board, member, August 2007-July 2009.

    Service Statement

    I am convinced that good service to the university and the profession will not only improve my personal development but also the college’s reputation. In the School of Engineering, I have served as a computer committee member. It is a great pleasure to participate in discussions of computer resources management on software and hardware purchases, updates, and upgrades. I also chaired the search committee for recruiting a Software Engineering faculty which resulted in the successful hire of a new software engineering faculty member. In my third year, I was a member of the School's director search committee. The search process was a great learning experience that gave me the opportunity to better understand the long term goals and visions of the school.

    For my profession, I have reviewed a number of conference and journal papers in the past four years and the number remains steady. To serve my profession further, I am pursuing possible chances to become a committee member for a conference.

    Since joining Penn State Behrend, I have been involved in refining the software engineering program objectives and defining course outcomes. This fall, the program had its first ABET accreditation visit and we strongly believe that it will be accredited. The preparation for the accreditation was indeed a long term process. To better understand the process, I studied curricula of four accredited Software Engineering programs and attended two workshops: the ABET Faculty Workshop for Program Improvement in 2003 and the Software Engineering Curriculum Workshop in 2004. I have closely worked with our department chairs as well as the other Software Engineering faculty to prepare the ABET accreditation materials.

    In the future, I look forward to the opportunities of serving on college committees and becoming more involved in both ABET accreditation and Software Engineering program improvement.

    Research Interests

    Microservices, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Software Reliability, Optimization, Cloud Computing, Big Data

    Publications

    An Assessment System to Support Multi-Level Program Outcomes Evaluation Using Blackboard - October 16, 2019
    Collaborator: Mei-Huei Tang, Primary Author

    A Canvas Based Multi-Program Assessment System for ABET CAC and EAC - October 16, 2019
    Collaborator: Mei-Huei Tang, Co-Author

    Determining the Economical Wind Power Sites for the Needed Power Loads Accounting for Geographical Terrains, Procedia Computer Science (Elsevier)
    Collaborator: Mei-Huei Tang

    A Normalization Process to Standardize Handwriting Data Collected from Multiple Resources for Recognition, Procedia Computer Science (Elsevier) - November 2, 2015
    Collaborator: Mei-Huei Tang

    Simulated Annealing Approach to Solve Nonogram Puzzles with Multiple Solutions, Procedia Computer Science (Elsevier) - November 3, 2014
    Collaborator: Mei-Huei Tang

    Generation of Simulated Wind Data Using an Intelligent Algorithm, 2014 North American Power Symposium (NAPS) - September 7, 2014
    Collaborators: Robert Weissbach, Co-Author; Mei-Huei Tang, Co-Author; Brian Hodge, Co-Author; Jim Sonnenmeier, Co-Author

    Connecting Supply and Demand Vertices with Fault Tolerance, International Journal of Computer Science, Engineering and Applications (IJCSEA) - February, 2013
    Collaborators: Chris Coulston, Co-Author; Robert Weissbach, Co-Author; Mei-Huei Tang, Co-Author

    Optimizing the Transmission Line Cost of a Fault Tolerance Network to Promote Green Power Usage, Procedia Computer Science (Elsevier) - November 14, 2012
    Collaborators: Robert Weissbach, Co-Author; Mei-Huei Tang, Co-Author

    Developing a Kakuro Puzzle Solver Using Swarm Intelligence, Proceedings, 20th Artificial Neural Network in Engineering Conference (ANNIE’10) - November, 2010
    Collaborators: M Shuster; M-H Tang

    Applying Swarm Intelligence to Solve Heyawake Puzzles, Proceedings, 20th Artificial Neural Network in Engineering conference (ANNIE’10) - October, 2010
    Collaborators: G Kriston; M-H Tang

    Relative Cost of Fault-Tolerant Transmission for Connecting Distributed Resources, Proceedings, IEEE Power Engineering Society Transmission and Distribution Conference & Exposition - April, 2010
    Collaborators: Robert Weissbach, Author; Chris Coulston; M-H Tang

    A Swarm Intelligent Sudoku Solver, Proceedings, 19th Artificial Neural Network in Engineering Conference (ANNIE'09) - November, 2009
    Collaborators: David Loker; M-H Tang

    Predicting the Learning Performance of Artificial Intelligence Systems Using Non-Homogeneous Poisson Process Models, Proceedings, Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering Conference (ANNIE'07) - 2007
    Collaborators: Robert Weissbach; M-H Tang

    A User-Oriented Reliability Modeling Approach for Web Systems, International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology - 2007
    Collaborators: Thomas Hemminger; M Tang

    A Moving Average Non-Homogeneous Poisson Process Reliability Growth Model to Account for Software with Repair and System Structures, IEEE Transactions on Reliability - September, 2007
    Collaborators: Thomas Hemminger; M Tang

    A Threshold Approach for Multi-Agent SI Systems to Improve Optimization Performance, Proceedings, Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE) - 2006
    Collaborator: M-H Tang

    A Moving Average Modeling Approach for Computing Component-Based Software Reliability Growth Trends, INFOCOMP Journal of Computer Science - 2006
    Collaborators: Thomas Hemminger; M-H Tang

    Architecture-Based Software Reliability Modeling, Journal of Systems and Software - 2006
    Collaborators: D Pan; M Chen

    Addressing Components’ Evolvement and Execution Behavior to Measure Component-Based Software Reliability, Technical Report - November, 2006
    Collaborator: M-H Tang

    A Design-Driven Software Change Impact Model Using UML, Proceedings, Ninth IASTED International Conference on Software Engineering and Applications (SEA 2005) - 2005
    Collaborators: W Wang; M Chen

    A Software Design Template for Swarm Intelligence Systems Development, Proceedings, Ninth IASTED International Conference on Software Engineering and Applications (SEA 2005) - 2005
    Collaborator: T Weindorf

    An Architecture-Based Software Reliability Modeling Tool and its Support for Teaching, Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE 2005) - 2005
    Collaborator: D Scannell

    Event Driven Reliability Modeling for Distributed Systems, Proceedings, Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE 2005) - 2005
    Collaborator: Thomas Hemminger

    Reliability Modeling of Software Using History Dependent Markov Models, Proceedings, Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering (ANNIE 2005) - 2005
    Collaborator: Thomas Hemminger

    User-Oriented Reliability Modeling for a Web System, Proceedings, International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering - 2003
    Collaborator: M-H Tang

    Heterogeneous Software Reliability Modeling, Proceedings, International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering - 2002
    Collaborator: M-H Tang

    An Architecture-Based Software Reliability Model, Proceedings, Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing - 1999
    Collaborators: Y Wu; M Chen

    Software Architecture Analysis – A Case Study, Proceedings, IEEE International Computer Software and Applications Conference - 1999
    Collaborators: M Chen; M-H Tang

    Effect of Software Architecture Configuration on the Reliability and Performance Estimation, Proceedings, 1998 IEEE Workshop on Application-Specific Software Engineering and Technology - 1998
    Collaborators: M Chen; M-H Tang

    Education

    Ph D, Computer Science, State University of New York

    MS, Computer Science, State University of New York

    BS, Management Information Systems, NCCU