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

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

SigBits February 2020


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Computer Science Faculty Earn Tenure and Promotion

 Xiangnan Kong, Dmitry Korkin, Kyumin Lee, Carolina Ruiz and Gillian Smith were recently announced as earning promotion at WPI. Kong, Lee and Smith also were awarded tenure.

 See announcement on

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Heffernan Awards

Neil Heffernan and WPI received $8 Million from the U.S. Department of Education to scale and expand ASSISTments, an online learning tool proven effective at improving middle school math scores.

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His work was reported in nearly 75 media outlets including, Marketplace (the numbers), Physician Family, Arizona Republic, and Le Lezard (France) on a private foundation awarding $2 million to improve ASSISTments, a free online math learning tool, for researchers who use it to conduct experiments related to education technology. Korinn Ostrow, a research scientist in computer science, is co-principal investigator.


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Solovey News and Publication

Erin Solovey was featured in more than 80 media outlets, including the San Antonio Express, Le Lezard, and The Telegram & Gazette's College Town for receiving a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that could lead to significant breakthroughs in technology platforms for the ASL-signing Deaf Community.

See announcment on

She has a new publication:

Z. Li, Z. Lei, A. Yan, E. Solovey, K. Pahlavan. (2020). ThuMouse: A Micro-gesture Cursor Input through mmWave Radar-based Interaction. In Proc. IEEE ICCE International Conference on Consumer Electronics, Las Vegas, NV, USA. It was one of six papers nominated for the Best Paper Award Competition Session.

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Korkin Shares 3D Roadmap of Coronavirus with Scientists Worldwide

Dmitry Korkin and colleagues reconstructed a 3D model of the coronavirus. The findings provide the research community with a greater understanding of infection spread and possible treatment. This work was publicized in numerous media outlets.

See announcement on

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Whitehill In the News

Research by Jacob Whitehill appeared in numerous media outlets about an NSF award to WPI to help develop technologies that detect and boost student engagement by controlling indoor environmental factors such as temperature, ventilation, and lighting. Shichao Liu, assistant professor of architectural engineering, is Steven Van Dessel, associate professor of architectural engineering, and Jacob Whitehill, assistant professor of computer science are working on the interdisciplinary project.

See announcement on

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Shue Recommendations, Publications and Keynote

Craig Shue offered recommendations on how to avoid having your devices hacked in a TIME article after a recent string of hacking incidents with Ring's security products.

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He has a number of recent publications.

Yu Liu, Matthew R. Squires, Curtis R. Taylor, Robert J. Walls, Craig A. Shue, "Account Lockouts: Characterizing and Preventing Account Denial-of-Service Attacks," Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks (SecureComm), Oct. 2019.

Yunsen Lei, Craig A. Shue, "Detecting Root-Level Endpoint Sensor Compromises with Correlated Activity," Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks (SecureComm), Oct. 2019.

Yu Liu, Craig A. Shue, "Community Cleanup: Incentivizing Network Hygiene via Distributed Attack Reporting," IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS), April 2020.

He gave the keynote address, titled "Recognizing and Managing Cyber Security Risks," at the Massachusetts Municipal Association's Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association annual meeting on January 25, 2020.

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Li Publications

Yanhua Li has a number of recent publications.

Xin Zhang, Yanhua Li, Xun Zhou, Jun Luo, Unveiling Taxi Drivers' Strategies via cGAIL - Conditional Generative Adversarial Imitation Learning. IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, Beijing, China, Nov. 8-11, 2019.

Yingxue Zhang, Yanhua Li, Xun Zhou, Xiangnan Kong, Jun Luo, TrafficGAN: Off-Deployment Traffic Estimation with Traffic Generative Adversarial Networks, IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, Beijing, China, Nov. 8-11, 2019.

Cong Zhang, Yanhua Li, Jie Bao, Sijie Ruan, Tianfu He, Hui Lu, Zhihong Tian, Cong Liu, Chao Tian, Jianfeng Lin and Xianen Li, Effective Recycling Planning for Dockless Sharing Bikes. 26th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, Nov. 5 - Nov. 8, 2019, Chicago, IL, USA.

Guojun Wu, Yanhua Li, Jun Luo, Transforming Policy via Reward Advancement, the 58th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC 2019), Nice, France on December 11-13, 2019.

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Neamtu Happenings

Rodica Neamtu has a number of recent publications.

Alissa Ostapenko, Rodica Neamtu, Frazer Anderson. A Versatile, Low-Resource Approach to Financial Website Classification. In Proceedings of 3rd International IEEE Workshop on Big Data for Financial News and Data collocated with IEEE Big Data Conference. December 9-12, 2019, Los Angeles CA.

Ramoza Ahsan, Muzammil Bashir, Rodica Neamtu, Elke Rundensteiner, Gabor Sarkozy. Nearest Neighbor Subsequence Search in Time Series Data. In Proceedings of IEEE Big Data Conference, December 9-12, 2019, Los Angeles, CA.

Rodica organized a tea party sponsored by the grant Fostering Collaboration in Teaching, Research and Entrepreneurship among Faculty, Students and Alumnae, sponsored by the Women's Impact Network. She received this grant in April 2019. Over 55 alumnae, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students participated.

As co-founder and co-director of Bucharest Project Center she is preparing the debut of the center in D2020.

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Ruiz Publications and Presentations

Carolina Ruiz and CS undergraduate student Karitta Zellerbach, with funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, have conducted research on using machine learning to understand and prevent obesity. This research has resulted in the following publications and presentations.

Karitta Christina Zellerbach and Carolina Ruiz, Machine Learning to Predict Overeating from Macronutrient Composition. Poster Paper. 2019 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM). San Diego, CA. USA. November 2019.

Karitta Zellerbach was honored with the First Place Research Award for her poster presentation of this research work during the Next-in-Bio Research Symposium held at WPI in November 2019.

She and collaborators presented their NSF-funded work at different peer-reviewed conferences:

C. Ruiz, J. Hardy, E. Ryder, S. Weaver, R. Gegear, , R. Cochran, J. vanderSpek, J. Field. Modular High School CS Curriculum Motivated by a Real-World Environmental Citizen Science Project. 2019 Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) New England Regional Conference. Boston, MA. Oct. 2019.

S. Weaver, J. Field, E. Ryder, R. Gegear, C. Ruiz, J. vanderSpek, J. Hardy, R. Cochran. BIO-CS BRIDGE: Integrating Biology and Computational Thinking in High School Curricula to Meet Next Generation Science Standards. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Area Conference on Science Education. Salt Lake City, Utah. Oct. 2019.

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Fichera Award and Paper

Loris Fichera received an NIH grant entitled "Flexible Steerable Laser Probe for Office-based Laryngeal Interventions" as the PI with Co-I Shawn Liu (ME) and Co-I Thomas L. Carroll (ENT doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital). The award is through the R15 funding mechanism, and it will be for $420k. The objective of the project is to create the first laser probe capable of controllable articulation for use in endoscopic laryngeal procedures. This research is motivated by the high prevalence of laryngeal pathology (1 in 40 people suffer from a benign laryngeal lesion at any given time) and the need for a non-surgical, cost- effective solution for the treatment of these conditions. The proposed new steerable laser probe will enable physicians to reach and treat anatomical locations that are normally inaccessible during office procedures, and potentially spare many patients the need for expensive surgical treatment.

One of his PhD students, Alex Chiluisa, got a paper accepted at the International Symposium on Medical Robotics (Atlanta, GA, April 20-22, 2020). The paper is entitled "Computational Optimization of Notch Spacing for a Transnasal EarEndoscopy Continuum Robot"

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Guo Publications

Tian Guo and her students recently had two papers accepted at IC2E 2020 and a poster accepted to HotMobile 2020.

Perseus: Characterizing Performance and Cost of Multi-Tenant Serving for CNN Models Matthew LeMay, Shijian Li, Tian Guo 2020 IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E'20)

MDInference: Balancing Inference Accuracy and Latency for Mobile Applications (Invited paper) Samuel S. Ogden and Tian Guo 2020 IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E'20)

Poster: PointAR: Efficient Lighting Estimation for Mobile Augmented Reality Yiqin Zhao and Tian Guo The 21st International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (HotMobile'20)

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Engling Volunteers to Prep Acadia

Mike Engling was interviewed as he joined hundreds of volunteers to prep Acadia National Park for the winter.

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Pinciroli Publication

A publication from the lab of Carlo Pinciroli was recently accepted in ICRA 2020.

Nathalie Majcherczyk, Carlo Pinciroli. SwarmMesh: A Distributed Data Structure for Cooperative Multi-Robot Applications. 2020 IEEE International Conference on Robotics Automation (ICRA 2020).

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Claypool Award and Publications

Mark Claypool has received a Google Faculty Research Award starting in Fall of 2020. He and his research team will be designing and evaluating a usable latency compensation system for Google's Stadia cloud-based game system. The expectation is to deploy and evaluate the techniques online in Google's cloud.

Two recent publications directly related to this work include:

Jiawei Sun and Mark Claypool. Evaluating Streaming and Latency Compensation in a Cloud-based Game, In Proceedings of the 15th IARIA Advanced International Conference on Telecommunications (AICT), Nice, France, July 28 - August 2, 2019.

Mark Claypool, Andy Cockburn and Carl Gutwin. Game Input with Delay - Moving Target Selection Parameters, In Proceedings of the 10th ACM Multimedia Systems Conference (MMSys), Amherst, MA, USA, June 18-21, 2019.