A WPI Computer Science Department summary of short notes on happenings involving faculty and students.

September 2018 SigBits

 

A WPI Computer Science Department summary of short notes on happenings involving faculty and students.

 

Berk Calli

Calli Joins Robotics Engineering and Computer Science

 

Berk Calli is a new Assistant Professor affiliated with the Robotics Engineering Program and the Computer Science Department. He joins WPI from the Grab Lab at Yale University, where he worked on robust within-hand manipulation techniques. He earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Delft University of Technology

 

Lorenzo De

De Carli Joins Computer Science

 

Lorenzo De Carli is a new Assistant Professor. Before joining WPI, he was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Colorado State University. He earned a Phd in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin.

He received a $1.2M subcontract as part of a a multi-institution Office of Naval Research grant between Northeastern, WPI, SRI, and Wisconsin-Madison. The work is investigating an issue that affects (among many other objects) network protocols: as time passes, more features and more complexity get routinely added to their design. This phenomenon creates security issues, as it causes the attack surface to grow and litters it with forgotten and/or poorly implemented legacy features that can become avenues for attacks. His work portion of the work focuses on using an understanding of specific source code to remove, using program analysis, source code of protocol features that are not of interest to a particular user.

He gave two talks, one at Politecnico di Torino (Italy) "Program analysis for networking problems: parallelization and de-bloating", and one at then La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) "Automatic Inference of Malware Protocol Specifications (and Other Adventures in Network Traffic Analysis)". The talk in Rome resulted in a collaboration working on an analysis of certain techniques for ransomware detection.

 

Charles Roberts

Roberts Joins Interactive Media & Game Development and Computer Science

 

Charles Roberts is a new Assistant Professor affiliated with the Interactive Media & Game Development Program and the Computer Science Department. He joins WPI from He comes to WPI from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was a faculty member in the School of Interactive Games and Media. He earned a Phd in Media Arts and Technology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

 

Erin Solovey

Solovey Joins Computer Science

 

Erin Solovey is a new Assistant Professor. Before joining WPI, she was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Drexel University. She earned a PhD in Computer Science from Tufts University.

She has been appointed to Microsoft's Technical Leadership Advisory Board (TLAB) for Brain- Computer Interfaces. The TLAB is a small group of external academic advisors, who will come to Microsoft on a regular basis to present their thoughts on status and directions in an area of expertise. This was mentioned in a CNBC interview with Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella.

 

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She and her collaborators have been awarded a $1 million NSF grant to merge computer science and neuroimaging to discover new insights into learning. The award will contribute to NSF's broader effort directed at Understanding the Brain, a multi-year activity that includes NSF's participation in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

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She is organizing a workshop on Modeling Cognitive Processes from Multimodal Data at the ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces in October.

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Therese Smith

Smith Joins Computer Science

 

Therese Smith is a new Assistant Teaching Professor. Before joining WPI, she was on the faculty of Central Connecticut State University. She earned a Ms in Biomedical Engineering at Iowa State University and an MS and Phd in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Connecticut.

 

WPI Ranked as 2nd Best Computer Science Program in the U.S.

 

College Factual has ranked WPI as the 2nd best school to study Computer Science in the United States in their 2019 rankings. The ranking methodology takes into account factors such as education quality and earnings of graduates.

 

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Tian Guo

Guo Award

 

Tian Guo received an NSF Award for research on Mobile Applications.

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Mike Gennert

Recent Activities from Gennert

 

Mike Gennert is a Co-PI on an NSF award "Workshops for the Future of Mechatronic and Robotic Education" for $49,957.

He is co-organizer and co-presenter for a workshop on "The Future of Mechatronic and Robotic Education" on Sep. 30, 2018 to be held in conjunction with the Dynamics, Systems, and Control Conference (DSCC 2018) in Atlanta.

He is Moderating a thought-leader panel on "What's Next in AI / Robotics" at a Robotics Connect event taking place at Venture Cafe on Sep. 27, 2018.

He is a panelist on "Robotics in Manufacturing" in The Future of Manufacturing Symposium at the Worcester DCU Center Oct. 4, 2018.

K.C. Mbanisi, H. Kimpara, T.B. Meier, M.A. Gennert, Z. Li, "Learning Coordinated Vehicle Maneuver Motion Primitives from Human Demonstration", accepted to IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and System (IROS), Oct. 2018.

H. Kimpara, K.C. Mbanisi, J. Fu, Z. Li, K.L. Troy, M.A. Gennert, "Balancing Human Driver Posture in Vehicle Under Lateral Motion", ASB 2018 Annual Conf. American Society of Biomechanics, Rochester, MN, Aug. 2018.

R. Natarajan, M.A. Gennert, "Efficient Factor Graph Fusion for Multi-Robot Mapping and Beyond", IEEE Int. Conf. Information Fusion (FUSION) July 2018.

K.C. Mbanisi, H. Kimpara, Z. Li, M.A. Gennert, T.B. Meier, "Learning Movement Primitives for Driving Tasks from Human Demonstration", 8th World Congress of Biomechanics, Dublin, July 2018.

M.A. Gennert, C.B. Putnam, "Robotics Engineering as an Undergraduate Major: 10 Years' Experience", ASEE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, Jun. 2018.

V. Jagtap, S. Agarwal, S.N. Gavarraju, S. Kejriwal, M.A. Gennert, "Extended State Machines for Robust Robot Performance in Complex Tasks", accepted to IEEE RAS Int. Conf. on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2018), Nov. 2018.

C. G. Atkeson, B. P. W. Babu, N. Banerjee, D. Berenson, C. P. Bove, X. Cui, M. DeDonato, R. Du, S. Feng, P. Franklin, M. Gennert, J. P. Gray, P. Hey, A. Jaeger, J. Kim, K. Knoedler, L. Li, C. Liu, X. Long, T. Padir, F. Polido, G. G. Tighe, X. Xinjilefu, "What Happened at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals", in The DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals: Humanoid Robots To The Rescue, Springer International Publishing AG, 2018.

 

David Brown

Honor for Brown

 

David Brown was honored as a Founder of the ASME Design Theory and Methodology (DTM) conference at the recent 30th anniversary celebration that was held at the ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE 2018) held in Quebec City, Canada. The annual DTM conference "promotes research, dissemination of knowledge, and debate in topics including scientific theories of design, creativity and innovation in design, formal design methods, product modeling, design pedagogy, and design management."

 

Jacob Whitehill

Whitehill PI on Award

 

Jacob Whitehill (PI), Erin Ottmar (co-PI from SSPS), and Lane Harrison (co-PI from Computer Science) received a 3-year NSF Cyberlearning grant to explore how machine learning can be used to provide teachers with automated feedback on teacher-student interactions in school classrooms:

 

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George Heineman

Puzzling Developments from Heineman

 

George Heineman has invented another logic puzzle, called Trexagon, which is a variation of Ken- Ken(TM). He presented the ideas behind Trexagon at a "Meet the Author" event on campus. A book of Trexagon puzzles is available.

 

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This is the second puzzle type Heineman has created. He invented Sujiken, a Sudoku variation played on a right-triangle arrangement of cells in which numbers cannot repeat in a horizontal row, vertical column, or diagonal in any direction.

 

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Craig Shue

Quotable Shue Receives New Award

 

Craig Shue was quoted as the lead expert in the Wall Street Journal article titled "2020 Census Comes With New Technology, but Greater Risks."

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He received a National Science Foundation grant titled "Fine Grained Protection for Scalable Single- Use Services," with a budget of $265,631. He serves as the principal investigator on the grant along with his counterpart at George Washington University, Timothy Wood. The project will explore new techniques for containing attacks on popular Internet servers to prevent them from affecting other users.

 

Mike Ciaraldi

Ciaraldi Published

 

Mike Ciaraldi had two short mystery stories published this summer. "Mohandas Who?" was in the May issue of Over My Dead Body!

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"Whistle While You Kill" was in the September/October issue of the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

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Gillian Smith

Smith Award and Activities

 

Gillian Smith was awarded an NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning Grant (collaborative with Georgia Tech) entitled "Fostering Public Engagement in Computational Thinking by Leveraging Quilting Communities and Practices."

 

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She joined the editorial board of ACM Transactions on Computing Education

She and her students had three papers accepted to the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Interactive Digital Entertainment, one of which was based on the MQP work done by CS undergraduate students Spencer Beaupre and Thomas Wiles last year.

Spencer Beaupre, Thomas Wiles, Sean Briggs, and Gillian Smith. A Design Pattern Approach for Multi-Game Level Generation. Proceedings of the 14th AAAI Conference on on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE '18).

Nathan Partlan, Elin Carstensdottir, Sam Snodgrass, Erica Kleinman, Gillian Smith, Casper Harteveld, and Magy Seif El-Nasr. Exploratory Automated Analysis of Structural Features of Interactive Narrative. Proceedings of the 14th AAAI Conference on on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE '18).

Britton Horn, Josh Aaron Miller, Gillian Smith, and Seth Cooper. A Monte Carlo Approach to Skill-Based Automated Playtesting. Proceedings of the 14th AAAI Conference on on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE '18).

 

Yanhua Li

Award and Papers for Li

 

Yanhua Li received the NSF grant for research on smart cloud-commuting system with autonomous vehicles. The project, entitled "SCC: Leveraging Autonomous Shared Vehicles for Greater Community Health, Equity, Livability, and Prosperity (HELP)" is awarded with US$1.75 millions for the PI team in University of Minnesota and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Professor Yanhua Li was invited to serve on Technical Committee for the thirty-third AAAI conference on artificial intelligence (AAAI 2019).

Three papers below by Professor Yanhua Li, his students, and collaborators have been accepted to ICDM 2018, IEEE Transactions on Big Data, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering.

Guojun Wu, Yanhua Li, Jie Bao, Yu Zheng, Jieping Ye, Jun Luo, Human-Centric Urban Transit Evaluation and Planning. [To be available soon.] IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM'18), (8.86%=82/948 Full Paper Acceptance Ratio), Singapore, November 17-20, 2018.

Ke Deng, Yanhua Li, Jia Zeng, Mingxuan Yuan, Jun Luo, Jeffrey Yu, User Preference Analysis for Most Frequent Peer/Dominator [To be available soon.] IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (TKDE), Accepted for publication, Jul. 2018.

Ruiyuan Li, Sijie Ruan, Jie Bao, Yanhua Li, Yingcai Wu, and, Yu Zheng, Efficient Path Query Processing over Massive Trajectories on the Cloud IEEE Transactions on Big Data (TBD), Accepted for publication, 2018.

 

Emmanuel Agu

Agu Interview and Award

 

Emmanuel Agu was interviewed by the BBC regarding his smartphone app that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze a user's walking pattern to detect alcohol impairment. Uber is seeking to develop an app to allow drivers to gauge passenger's sobriety.

 

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He and Elke Rundensteiner have secured $2.8M from DARPA to develop a smartphone app to help assess the health of soldiers.

 

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Carol Pinciroli

Update from Pinciroli

 

Carol Pinciroli has two recent papers.

Heiko Hamann, Carlo Pinciroli, Sebastian von Mammen. A Gamification Concept for Teaching Swarm Robotics. 12th European Workshop on Microelectronics Education.

Guannan Li, David St.-Onge, Carlo Pinciroli, Andrea Gasparri, Emanuele Garone, Giovanni Beltrame. Decentralized Progressive Shape Formation with Robot Swarms. Autonomous Robots. In press.

His PhD student Nathalie Majcherczyk has received a $1,000 travel grant to participate to the IROS2018 robotics conference.

 

Craig Wills

Wills Studies Faculty Hiring Outcomes

 

Work by Craig Wills on "Outcomes of Advertised Computer Science Faculty Searches for 2018", was published in the Computing Research News.

 

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He also participated in a panel on "Improving Faculty Recruiting in the Computing Community" at the CRA Snowbird Conference in July.

 

Krishna Venkatasubramanian

News from Venkatasubramanian

 

Krishna Venkatasubramanian and his student Brittany Lewis' paper "Authentication-based on Biomechanics of Finger Movements captured using Optical Motion-Capture" has been accepted at 13th International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC'18).

Hang Cai defended his PhD dissertation under his direction titled "Detecting Data Manipulation Attacks on Physiological Sensor Measurements in Wearable Medical Systems".

A paper with his student Hang Cai on "Detecting Data-Manipulation Attacks on Physiological Sensor Measurements in Wearable Medical Systems" has been accepted at the EURASIP Journal for Information Security.

Kenedi Heather and Kunal Shah's AY2017-2018 MQP work entitled " A Novel Authentication Biometric for Pacemakers" has been accepted at 2018 Third IEEE International Workshop on Security, Privacy, and Trustworthiness in Medical Cyber-Physical Systems, held in conjunction with IEEE/ACM CHASE 2018. This work was a collaboration with Boston Scientific Inc.

 

Kyumin Lee

Conference Publications for Lee

 

Kyumin Lee and his students recently published three conference publications.

T. Tran, K. Lee, Y. Liao, and D. Lee. Regularizing matrix factorization with user and item embeddings for Recommendation. CIKM, 2018.

V. Sharma, and K. Lee. Predicting Highly Rated Crowdfunded Products. ASONAM, 2018.

N. Vo, and K. Lee. The Rise of Guardians: Fact-checking URL Recommendation to Combat Fake News. SIGIR, 2018.

 

Candace Sidner

Sidner Work Published

 

Candace Sidner reports that a paper on their Always On system has been published. "Creating New Technologies for Companionable Agents to Support Isolated Older Adults." Candace L. Sidner, Timothy Bickmore, Bahador Nooraie, Charles Rich, Lazlo Ring, Mahni Shayganfar, Laura Vardoulakis. ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (TiiS). Volume 8 Issue 3, August 2018.

 

Elke Rundensteiner

Rundensteiner New Grant and Activities

 

Elke Rundensteiner was awarded a new new NSF Grant on the three-year research project entitled "III: Small: Scalable Event Trend Analytics For Data Stream Inquiry ", August 2018- August 2021, $499,753.

She will serve as PC-chair for CIKM 2019, in collaboration with Prof. Peng Cui, Media and Network Lab, Tsinghua University. They will oversee the knowledge management program, 2018-2019.

She gave an invited presentation at the Fulbright scholar receipt, "My Journey and Big Data Analytics" at the WPI Seaport.

Recent Papers:

Abhishek Mukherji, Xika Lin, Ermal Toto, Christopher Ryan Botaish, Jason Whitehouse, Elke A. Rundensteiner, and Matt Ward, ``FIRE: A Two-level Interactive Visualization for Deep Exploration of Association Rules'' International Journal of Data Science and Analytics, 2018, accepted.

Ermal Toto, Brendan J. Foley, and Elke Rundensteiner, Improving Emotion Detection with Sub-clip Boosting, European Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery (ECML-PKDD), Applied Data Science track, Springer LNCS, Sept. 2018.

Tabassum Kakar, Xiao Qin, Andrew Schade, Brian McCarthy, Huy Quoc Tran, Brian Zylich, Elke A. Rundensteiner, Lane Harrison, Sanjay K. Sahoo and Suranjan De. DEVES: Interactive Signal Analytics for Drug Safety, Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), demonstration, 2018.

Caitlin Kuhlman, Maryann Vanvalkenburg, Diana Doherty, Malika Nurbekova, Goutham Deva, Zarni Phyo, Lane Harrison and Elke Rundensteiner, Preference-driven Interactive Ranking System for Personalized Decision Support, Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), demonstration, 2018.

 

Xiangnan Kong

Recent Papers and Presentations from Kong

 

Xiangnan Kong and his students recently published two conference papers.

Hang Yin, Xinyue Liu and Xiangnan Kong . Coherent Graphical Lasso for Brain Network Discovery. IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM),2018

Xinyue Liu, Xiangnan Kong, Lei Liu, Kuorong Chiang. TreeGAN: Syntax-Aware Sequence Generation with Generative Adversarial Networks. IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), 2018

Two PhD students in his lab, John B. Lee and Xinyue Liu, presented two research papers in ACM SIGKDD conference in London:

John Boaz Lee, Ryan Rossi and Xiangnan Kong. Graph Classification using Structural Attention. ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), London, 2018

Xinyue Liu, Xiangnan Kong and Philip S. Yu. Active Opinion Maximization in Social Networks. ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), London, 2018

 

Carolina Ruiz

Ruiz Publications and Activities

 

Carolina Ruiz and her group gave several presentations on their research on deep learning in sleep medicine at the ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) in London, England, August 2018. They presented their work at the KDD Deep Learning Day, at the KDD Health Day and at BIOKDD2018:

Sarun Paisarnsrisomsuk, Michael Sokolovsky, Francisco Guerrero, Carolina Ruiz and Sergio A. Alvarez. "Deep Sleep: Convolutional Neural Networks for Predictive Modeling of Human Sleep Time-Signals". KDD2018 Deep Learning Day, at the ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining KDD2018. London, England. August 2018.

Michael Sokolovsky, Francisco Guerrero, Sarun Paisarnsrisomsuk, Carolina Ruiz, Sergio A. Alvarez. "Human expert-level automated sleep stage prediction and feature discovery by deep convolutional neural networks" (full oral presentation). In Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Data Mining in Bioinformatics (BIOKDD2018), in conjunction with the ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining KDD2018. London, England. August 2018.

She participated for the second consecutive year as a faculty coach of national and international university teams attending the WPI Summer Institute for Project-based Learning (IPBL), June 2018.

She and Prof. Liz Ryder organized and directed the Third Annual Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) Summer Research Experience for High School Students (BCB-SRE) Program, June 25 - July 27, 2018, with the participation of 19 high school students and 7 BCB faculty from 3 departments (BBT, CS MA).

 

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She advised a team of two summer NSF-REU undergraduate students from Brown University and the University of Colorado in Boulder on a research project on machine learning on mobile health, as part of the Data Science NSF-REU Project Site (PI: Elke Rundersteiner).

 

Lane Harrison

Harrison Awards, Publications and Activities

 

Lane Harrison received a National Science Foundation grant titled "Validating and Communicating Model-Based Approaches for Data Visualization Ability Assessment" with a budget of $248,337. He serves as the principal investigator on the grant along with his counterpart at the University of Michigan, Matthew Kay. The project will develop new user experiments and use statistical modeling to measure how well people can read charts.

He is also co-PI on an NSF grant with Jacob Whitehill (PI) and Erin Ottmar (co-PI from SSPS) titled "Teachers are the Learners: Providing Automated Feedback on Classroom Inter-Personal Dynamics".

He and WPI students have new publications in press:

Feng, Mi, Evan Peck, and Lane Harrison. "Patterns and Pace: Quantifying Diverse Exploration Behavior with Visualizations on the Web." TVCG: IEEE Transactions of Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2018.

Correlation Judgment and Visualization Features: A Comparative Study. Fumeng Yang, Lane Harrison, Ronald A. Rensink, Steven L. Franconeri, Remco Chang. TVCG: IEEE Transactions of Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2018.

Zhu, Bolin, Mi Feng, Hannah Lowe, Jeffrey Kesselman, Lane Harrison, and Robert E. Dempski. "Increasing Enthusiasm and Enhancing Learning for Biochemistry-Laboratory Safety with an Augmented-Reality Program." Journal of Chemical Education (2018).

Tabassum Kakar, Xiao Qin, Andrew Schade, Brian McCarthy, Huy Quoc Tran, Brian Zylich, Elke A. Rundensteiner, Lane Harrison, Sanjay K. Sahoo and Suranjan De. DEVES: Interactive Signal Analytics for Drug Safety, Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), demonstration, 2018.

Caitlin Kuhlman, Maryann Vanvalkenburg, Diana Doherty, Malika Nurbekova, Goutham Deva, Zarni Phyo, Lane Harrison and Elke Rundensteiner, Preference-driven Interactive Ranking System for Personalized Decision Support, Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM), demonstration, 2018.

This summer, he hosted three visiting researchers from local high-schools through the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Summer Research Experience program. Lane hosted visiting undergraduate researchers from Mt. Holyoke and Babson College as part of an NSF-sponsored Data Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

He gave an invited talk in a session titled "Improving Situational Awareness in the Cyber Domain" at the 2018 Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics Conference in Orlando, FL.

He contributed to the organization of OpenVisConf 2018, a conference focusing on visualization research, technology, and practice- held in Paris, France.

He attended a workshop on Restructuring IEEE VIS for the Future, held at Schloss Dagstuhl in Wadern, Germany.

 

Neil Heffernan

Heffernan Receives Award

 

Neil Heffernan has received a $300,000 gift from the Schmidt Foundation to create QUICK-Comments, an AI-powered program within ASSISTments that will suggest personalized feedback comments to teachers that they can send to their students, similar to how Google Smart Reply works. Funding will help pay a small cohort of teachers to read their students' open-ended responses and write comments; machine learning will then be applied in order to anticipate the correct responses for future student writing.

 

An archive of previous SIGBITS editions is also available.

SigBits Archive

An archive of previous SIGBITS editions is also available.  Feel free to review past editions.