Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Computer Science Professor Brings Competitive Spirit to the Classroom

James H. Hill, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Computer Science, School of Science

Dr. James H. Hill views it as his cause to get students excited about the challenges and breakthroughs that await them in a computer science career.

“When I talk about something, whether it’s in the classroom or during my research, I get very energetic. I try to engage them and help them to think creatively and critically,” said Hill, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Information and Science since 2009.

Hill also brings a heavy dose of his competitive spirit when challenging his students, a trait he can link to his days as an All-American track athlete at Morehouse College. For him, it’s never enough simply to go through the motions, whether it is in learning, research or life.

“I challenge my students to explore the true practicality behind the idea before they begin any research. You have to think about the application instead of just the theory,” he said.

As a freshman in high school, Hill broke his back in a sports accident. He spent six months in a body cast, which ironically he says took his life “from good to great.” It was during this time he was introduced to computer programming.

Today, Hill specializes in early integration testing throughout the lifecycle of large-scale software systems. He explores theories and models to help software developers work smarter and design systems more efficiently by focusing on front-end analysis methods.

His most recent research focuses on the real-time data collection of system processes and creating new architectures and technologies that better support software system integration.

“I’m exploring how we collect data inside clouds (virtual servers),” he said. “This will open up a lot more opportunities. The whole idea is to really improve what developers do and get better information about what’s going on inside the cloud, understanding the granularity of the cloud.”

He has collaborated with academic and industrial partners across the world, including the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization, Ebay, General Electric Research, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Labs, Amazon and Raytheon.

James HillAs he was completing his doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University, Hill explored several research universities and was drawn to IUPUI because of the flexibility and freedom he would have to pursue his research and work with a small, yet distinguished, faculty in CIS. His brother also lives in Indianapolis and works for Eli Lilly and Co.

Hill earned his Ph.D. at the age of 27, placing him among the 10 youngest African Americans to earn the degree in computer science, according to the National Science Foundation.

To learn more about Dr. James H. Hill, read this featured article on his life and why he chose computer science.

His faculty profile page can be found here.