For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Jeffrey Popyack


Computer Science

Dr. Popyack received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Applied Mathematics from the University of Virginia and B.S. in Mathematics from George Mason University. He served ten years as the Associate Head for Undergraduate Affairs in the Department of Computer Science at Drexel University, where he is an Associate Professor. His research interests are in operations research, artificial intelligence and computer science education. He is primarily responsible for the freshman computer science curriculum and artificial intelligence track courses at Drexel. He is serving his fourth term as an Executive Officer of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the International Honor Society for the Computing and Information Disciplines, including five years as President. He was the Academic Director for the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Information, Society, and Technology from 2002-2008, and for the Drexel University Computing Academy since 2009. He has been the Principal Investigator on three NSF-DUE grants and a Microsoft Research University Relations Tablet PC Development Grant for innovation in teaching computer programming courses. In 1999, he received Drexel’s Undergraduate Teaching Award for Senior Faculty, and in 2007, received the College of Engineering Outstanding Service Award.


  • PhD, Applied Mathematics, University of Virginia
    • Thesis: Approximating Large-Scale Markov Decision Processes
  • MS, Applied Mathematics, University of Virginia
    • Thesis: Computational Methods for Undiscounted Markov Decision Chains
  • BS, Mathematics, George Mason University

Research/Teaching Interests

Operations research, stochastic optimization, computational methods for Markov decisions processes, artificial intelligence, computer science education

Select Publications

  • Popyack, J.L., “Blackjack-Playing Agents in an Advanced AI Course”, ITiCSE ‘09: Proceedings of the 14th Annual ACM SIGCSE conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, July 6-9, 2009, Paris, France, pp. 208-212. Also published in ACM SIGCSE Bulletin,Volume 41, Issue 3, Sept. 2009
  • Popyack, J.L., Char, B.W., Dougherty, J.P. “Rapid Prototyping with the Tablet SDK –Software Development Experiences for High School Students”, The First Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education, April 6-7, 2006, Purdue University.
  • Herrmann, N., Popyack, J.L., Char, B., Zoski, P. “Assessing a Course Redesign: Introductory Computer Programming Using Online Modules”, SIGCSE Bulletin: The Papers of the Thirty-Fifth SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Norfolk, VA, Mar., 2004, pp. 286-290.

Grant Awards

  • RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site for Machine Learning, Big Data and CS Principles, National Science Foundation CNS-1301171, July 2013-June 2016 (Jeffrey L. Popyack, Principal Investigator, Mary Jo Grdina, co-Principal Investigator, William M. Mongan, Senior Personnel), $ 499,989.
  • Big Data in the Computer Architecture and Artificial Intelligence Curricula and Research Experiences for Teachers, IBM Big Data Faculty Awards 2013 (Jeffrey L. Popyack, William M. Mongan), $ 10,000.
  • Tablet-Based Annotation for Grading and Peer Review in Computer Programming
    Classes, Microsoft Research University Relations, Tablet PC and Computing Curriculum Grant, January2005-December 2005 (Jeffrey L. Popyack, Principal Investigator, Bruce Char, co-Principal Investigator), $49,070.
  • Restructuring Computer Programming Courses for IT-Enabled Variable Paced Multilevel Learning, National Science Foundation, DUE-0089009, January2001-February 2003 (Jeffrey L. Popyack, Principal Investigator, Bruce Char, Nira Herrmann, co-Principal Investigators), $74,954. 

Awards & Recognition

  • College of Engineering Outstanding Service Award, 2007
  • Rafiki (Friend) Award, Drexel University Office of Students/African American Students Association, 2004
  • Association of College Honor Societies, for outstanding contributions to Upsilon Pi Epsilon, on occasion of ACHS 75th Anniversary, 2000
  • Senior Faculty Undergraduate Teaching Achievement Award, Drexel University, 1999
  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon, 1989
  • Outstanding Young Men of America, 1986-

Professional Activities & Associations

  • Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Executive Council
  • Phase II Pilot Site/Instructor for Computer Science Principles, CS 164 (Introduction to Computer Science). 2013-16.
  • Mentor, Robot Springboard @ Drexel 2013-