SIGBITS January 2018

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

Phone: 508-831-5357
Fax: 508-831-5776

Jake WhitehillWhitehill Paper and Award

A paper from Jake Whitehill and his graduate student Arkar Aung was accepted for publication at IEEE Face and Gesture (FG) 2018. The paper is entitled "Harnessing Label Uncertainty to Improve Modeling: An Application to Student Engagement Recognition."

He received a Microsoft Azure Data Science Research sponsorship ($20,000 cloud-computing credit) for research on automatic classroom observation using multi-modal machine learning.

Carolina RuizRuiz's Research in the News

Carolina Ruiz's research on creating machine learning algorithms for predicting and preventing overeating was featured in numerous media outlets around the country, including TV News interviews on Boston's Fox Channel 25 and on Worcester's Charter Channel 3. News of Carolina's research was also covered on radio station WSRS and in a number of news media venues including the Worcester Business Journal, Clinical Innovations + Technology and Medical News Today.

She also reports the following recent research publications and conference presentations:

H. Nguyen, C. Ruiz, V. Wilson, D. Strong, S. Djamasbi. "Using Personality Traits and Chronotype to Support Personalization and Feedback in a Sleep Health Behavior Change Support System". Proceedings of the 51th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-50), Jan. 2018. Holly Nguyen is an undergraduate Computer Science student who conducted this research with Carolina under a Luce Foundation Scholarship Award. Holly presented the paper at the Conference.

K. Finnerty, C. Ruiz, B. Tulu, Q. Liao, J. Oleski, and S. Pagoto. "Comparing Qualitative Evaluation Methods for Improving User Engagement with Mobile Health Applications". Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH), in conjunction with the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2017 Annual Symposium. Nov. 2017. Kate Finnerty is an undergraduate at Amherst College who conducted this research with Carolina under the support of an NSF DS-Site REU Award. Qiaoyu Liao is a WPI CS undergraduate student who graduated in May 2017. Kate presented the paper at the conference.

She recently served on the Program Committees of the following Conferences: The Eleventh International Conference on Health Informatics (HEALTHINF 2018). Madeira, Portugal. Jan. 2018; The Ninth International Conference on Bioinformatics Models, Methods and Algorithms (BIOINFORMATICS 2018). Madeira, Portugal. Jan. 2018; The Annual Symposium of The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA 2017). Washington DC, Nov. 2017; The IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM2017). Kansas City, USA. Nov. 2017; and The Ninth International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval (KDIR 2016). Madeira, Portugal. Nov. 2017.

Elke RundensteinerRundensteiner PhD Students Pass Milestones

Elke Rundensteiner announced that Zhongfang Zhuang, Computer Science PhD student, successfully passed his Ph.D. Proposal on "Deep Learning on Attribute Sequences." His PhD committee is composed of: Professor Philip S. Yu, University of Illinois at Chicago, External Member Professor Mohamed Eltabakh, WPI Professor Xiangnan Kong, WPI, Co-Advisor Professor Elke Rundensteiner, WPI, Advisor.

She also announced that Computer Science PhD student Ramoza Ahsan successfully passed her Ph.D. Proposal on "Exploration and Mining of Temporal Data." Ramoza's PhD committee is composed of: Professor Vassilis Athitsos, The University of Texas at Arlington - External member Professor Xiangnan Kong, WPI Professor Gabor Sarkozy, Kong, WPI, Co-Advisor Professor Elke Rundensteiner, WPI, Co- Advisor

She congratulates Olga Poppe on completing her Ph.D. degree and now securing an exciting career opportunity at Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab in Madison, WI.

Maryam Hasan, Elke Rundensteiner, and Emmanuel Agu, Automatic emotion detection in text streams by analyzing Twitter data, International Journal of Data Science and Analytics (full paper), Received: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2018. Springer International Publishing AG, Springer Nature 2018. Read more information regarding the paper here.

Olga Poppe, Chuan Lei, E. Rundensteiner and D. Maier, GRETA: Graph-based Real-time Event Trend Aggregation. VLDB 2018. (accepted Aug. 2017).

She also reports the following recent research publications:

Sarah Brownell, Tom Hartvigsen, X. Kong and E. Rundensteiner MRSA Infection Prediction System. 2017 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference, Nov 2017.

Courtney Burns, Jennifer Ha, Andrew Schade, E. Agu and E. Rundensteiner Using Machine Learning to Detect Depression by Voice, 2017 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference, Nov 2017.

Thomas Hartvigsen, Cansu Sen, Sarah Brownell, Erin Teeple, Xiangnan Kong, Elke Rundensteiner, Early Prediction of MRSA Infections Using Electronic Health Records, HEALTHINF 2018, Funchal, Portugal, January 19-21, 2018.

Susmitha Wunnava, Xiao Qin, Tabassum Kakar, Xiangnan Kong, Elke A. Rundensteiner, Sanjay K. Sahoo, Suranjan De, One Size Does Not Fit All: An Ensemble Approach Towards Information Extraction from Adverse Drug Event Narratives, HEALTHINF 2018, Funchal, Portugal, January 19-21, 2018.

ML Tlachac, Elke Rundensteiner, Kerri Barton, Scott Troppy, Kirthana Beaulac, and Shira Doron, Predicting Future Antibiotic Susceptibility using Regression-based Methods on Longitudinal Massachusetts Antibiogram Data, Proc. of 11th Int. Conf on Health Informatics (HEALTHINF 2018), Funchal, Portugal, January 19-21, 2018.

Yizhou Yan, Lei Cao, and Elke Rundensteiner, Distributed Top-N Local Outlier Detection in Big Data, IEEE Big Data 2017 conference, Dec 2017, Boston, MA.

Neil HeffernanHeffernan PhD Student Passes Milestone

Neil Heffernan announced that Siyuan Zhao, Computer Science PhD student, successfully passed his Ph.D. Proposal on using deep learning for "Towards Personalized Learning using Counterfactual Inference from Student Performance History and Randomized Controlled Trials." Attribute Sequences." His PhD committee is composed of: Professor Adam Kalia, Microsoft Research, External Member Professor Joe Beck, WPI Professor Jacob Whitehill, WPI, Professor Neil Heffernan, WPI, Advisor

Suzanne Mello-StarkMello-Stark Activities

Suzanne Mello-Stark reports that Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin invited her to join his Cyber Rhode Island Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of cybersecurity leaders from industry, academia and the public sector. The Congressman formed the committee to foster collaboration and to discuss cybersecurity principles so he can best represent cybersecurity interests at the federal level.

She was asked by the Rhode Island Board of Elections to help run a pilot to test Risk-Limiting Audits. She is working with two students (Alex Kaspersky and Ankur Gupta) to build a software package that the RI BoE will use to perform the audit calculations.

She was asked by the Anita Borg Institute to co-chair the Open Source Track for the Grace Hopper 2018 Conference.

She reports that WPI will have a strong presence at Women in Cybersecurity in Chicago this Spring. WPI has upgraded sponsorship from bronze to platinum. We have an accepted workshop (Suzanne and undergraduates Emily Hao and MaryAnn VanValkenburg), "Thinking outside the box, using a cybersecurity mindset to escape the room" and a graduate student's poster (Melanie Jutras), "Robust Principal Component Analysis for Anomaly Detection in Cyber Network Data". We have six students attending the event this year, three won scholarships. It's a great event to introduce students to the cybersecurity field.


She and Craig Shue accompanied the Scholarship for Service students to the annual SFS Job Fair in DC this month. This is a yearly event where federal agencies and research labs are competing to hire the best of the brightest.

Craig ShueShue In the News

Craig Shue, associate professor, computer science, is noted in the View From Arch Street article, "Spurring Open Innovation in Cybersecurity."

He was interviewed on a WBZ AM Radio broadcast for designing a cybersecurity system known as the Policy Enforcement and Access Control for Endpoints, or PEACE system, which enhances security and allows IT analysts to identify and deal with malware quickly.

Kathi FislerFisler PhD Student Passes Milestone

Kathi Fisler announced that Francis Castro, Computer Science PhD student, successfully passed his Ph.D. Proposal. His committee consists of Dan Dougherty, Jake Whitehill, and Brian Dorn from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Mike CiaraldiCiaraldi's Passion for Storytelling and Writing Leads to the Stage

Mike Ciaraldi's passion for storytelling and writing lead to running WPI's Playwrights Workshop.


CS Students at the Holiday PartyComputer Science Holiday Open House

The annual Computer Science Holiday Open House was hosted by department faculty and staff in The Commons in Fuller Labs. A holiday buffet of food and refreshments was served. The open house was a celebration of both the holidays as well as the end of the semester and term.

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