Wei Wang, Ph.D., Department of Computer Science
What did your journey to UTSA look like and are you fixed-term track or tenure track?
I am tenure track. I got my degree of BE in Computer Science from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2004, after which, I worked as a software engineer and project manager for 4 years. Then I went back to graduate school and received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia in 2015 and also worked as a Postdoc at UVa for one year. I joined UTSA in 2016.
I am a first-gen faculty member. Therefore, my journey to UTSA had some difficult times, but it does help me understand the unique difficulties of first-gen students.
What do you enjoy most about your area of study?
There are so many interesting things in Computer Science. But personally, I think coding (or programming) is the most enjoyable part of Computer Science. I love coding. It provides the joy of creation. My research field is mainly computer systems, and coding a computer system from scratch is a particularly satisfying experience.
What are some of the most notable research projects that you've been involved in?
I have three projects currently. The first project builds software development tools for serverless cloud performance engineering. Serverless cloud is a new cloud computing paradigm, and writing fast programs for it has been very difficult. We have received ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award for the work from this project.
The second project builds an open-source framework for cloud gaming and cloud virtual reality (VR). Our goal is to make cloud 3D systems free and more accessible, especially for educational applications. Currently, we have a system that delivers very good performance on common public clouds, and its user experience is comparable to commercial cloud gaming services.
The third project focuses on STEM and Computer Science education for K-12 students with disabilities. Our goal is to get more K-12 students with disabilities to attend colleges and join STEM careers. This project is partly motivated by my own experience as a first-gen college graduate –many underprivileged students need someone to show them the direction and the possibility to a better life. In this project, we are offering summer data science camps to students with disabilities to let them learn about working in STEM fields. We are also building a new screen reader that can read computer programs properly to assist students with blindness to code.
What is your proudest moment with the COS?
The proudest moments are at the end of a semester when a student says "Thank you" to me and the moments are when I get "Thank you" emails from the students. Those are the moments I feel really proud as an educator.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Teaching is the most enjoyable part of my job. Teaching is difficult and time-consuming. It takes a lot of energy and skill to get students to master new abilities or understand difficult topics. But it is also the most rewarding part of my job. It provides huge happiness to me when our students make progress in their lives. I feel even happier when our students choose to be educators themselves.
How would you spend your ideal Saturday?
On an ideal Saturday, I will be working on customized computer mods with customized power supply, cables, cooling, panels, and lights.
What are your book recommendations?
I recommend the book, "The Soul of A New Machine." It provides an interesting review of (some of) the history of the engineers and the culture that formed the modern computer industry.