Faculty Feature: Robert Dyer

Robert Dyer
Robert Dyer

Each week we're featuring a Q&A with a member of our faculty in the School of Computing. Get to know some of our professors! This week we're featuring Assistant Professor Robert Dyer.

Name: Robert Dyer
Title: Assistant Professor

What are your research areas or areas of specialty/interest?
Broadly, they are in software engineering. My sub-field is in the mining of software repositories (e.g., GitHub) where we apply data mining to software artifacts. It gets quite interesting to see what software developers *actually* do when they write code!

What courses are you teaching this year?
This fall I’m teaching the compiler course (CSCE 425/825) and advanced testing and program analysis (SOFT 467) and next spring I will probably teach SOFT 261 again. Each course is very different and fun to teach for different reasons. I love teaching compilers because I get to invent a new programming language every time.

How did you first become interested in computing or your specific area of computing?
I blame my aunt. She joined Microsoft very early (in the 80s) and they had an employee discount on software. So one year she just randomly sent me a bunch of Microsoft products, including Visual Basic and Visual C++. I had absolutely no idea what they were or how to use them, but thankfully I was socially awkward enough as a kid that I often stayed home and figured it out.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of computing? What do you enjoy most about those?
We are allowed to have interests outside of computing?! I have dabbled in martial arts over the years, but these days work and kids occupy most of my time.

What is your favorite weekend activity?
Playing games with my kids. We are slowly amassing a large collection of board and card games. Or really, doing anything with my kids.

Where is your favorite place you've traveled?
It's a toss up between Italy and Singapore. Both have great food. Singapore was a marvel in that here is a huge city-state with millions of people and yet it was so clean and safe. It felt like living in the future. Italy has a lot going for it, especially if you enjoy fine art. Highly recommend anyone who goes to Italy take a trip to Cinque Terre.

What is your favorite food?
If you ask my family: tacos. If you ask my friends: tacos. Tacos.

What is a fun fact or something other members of the school may not know about you?
I might be the only human in history to have broken their ankle (in three places) while playing laser-tag.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the School of Computing?
The people! The students are all smart and highly motivated, the faculty and staff are smart and friendly.