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SigBits September 2019

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


Neil HeffernanHeffernan Gets Top Marks

Neil Heffernan, along with Cristina Heffernan, were given top marks by the U.S. Department of Education's What Works Clearinghouse for their online homework tool.

Read article "Top Marks to WPI-Developed Homework Program"

His opinion piece in the Hechinger Report takes a look at the need for new technology and evidence-based instructional practices, such as online homework tools, to address inequities in our public school system.

Read opinion piece in the Hechinger Report

His op-ed published by The 74 Million, discusses how sharing data can inform researchers whether education technology is actually working.

Read opinion piece in the 74 Million

Dmitry Korkin

Korkin Award

Dmitry Korkin was elected a Senior Member of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), the main organization for computational biology, bioinformatics, and systems biology.

See ISCB Senior Member Honor Roll


Craig Shue

Shue In the News and New Patents

Craig Shue was interviewed by Time for its article, "FaceApp Is Getting People to Age Overnight. Here's What You Should Know About Its Security Concern." "It’s all about your tolerance for risk," Shue told Time. "In this case the user is giving third party company a very high-quality image of themselves that they can do what they want with."

Read article in Time

He was featured in a Wall Street Journal article, "Should Cities Ever Pay Ransom to Hackers?"

Read article in The Wall Street Journal

He and Curtis Taylor were awarded utility patent #10,348,687 entitled, "Method and Apparatus for Using Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization to Secure Residential Networks," by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

He was awarded utility patent #10,397,225 entitled, "System and method for network access control," by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent has been licensed by a start-up company.

Michael Gennert

Gennert Highlights

Michael Gennert had his article, "Artificial Intelligence: Moving Beyond Computer Science," published in Educational Technology Insights.

Read article in Education Technology Insights

He was a co-organizer and co-presenter for the 3rd and 4th workshops on "The Future of Mechatronics and Robotics Education" held at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference in June 2019 and at Lawrence Technological University in September 2019.

He presented a paper ``Building the Mechatronics and Robotics Education Community'' at the ASEE Annual Conference, Tampa, FL, June 2019.

He was elected vice-chair of the Advanced Robotics in Manufacturing (ARM) Institute Education & Workforce Advisory Council and will chair the Council next year.

His PhD student Vinayak Jagtap successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in Robotics Engineering on "A Walking Controller for Humanoid Robots using Virtual Force" in September 2019.

He and Profs. Toby Bergstrom and Wally Towner were awarded a grant from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute with additional support from the Massachusetts Manufacturing & Innovation Initiative for "CoBots for Kids." This project will introduce middle and high school students to collaborative robotics through hands-on after-school and summer activities to generate enthusiasm and interest in advanced manufacturing technologies.

Erin Solovey

Solovey Receives Awards

Erin Solovey was awarded a 3-year $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled "Improving Information Accessibility with Sign Language First Technology."

She was also awarded a $16,000 supplement from the National Science Foundation to support undergraduate researchers on the NSF-funded project "Integrating Non-Invasive Neuroimaging and Educational Data Mining to Improve Understanding of Robust Learning Processes."

Rodica Neamtu

Neamtu Highlights

Rodica Neamtu participated in the Dahstuhl Seminar on Data Series Management, Dagstuhl, Germany, July, 2019.

She presented "Using Artificial Intelligence for Augmentative Alternative Communication for Children with Disabilities". @ International Conference on Human Computer Interaction (INTERCT2019), September 2-6, 2019, Paphos Cyprus.

She published articles:

Rodica Neamtu, Andre Camara, Carlos Pereira, Rafael Ferreira "Using Artificial Intelligence for Augmentative Alternative Communication for Children with Disabilities". In International Conference on Human Computer Interaction (INTERCT2019), September 2-6, 2019, Paphos Cyprus.

Jayesh Dubey, Mihin Sumaria, Erden Oktay, Yu Li, Ziheng Li, Rodica Neamtu, Erin T. Solovey "Towards neuroadaptive technology using time warped distances for similarity exploration of brain data". In Neuroadaptive Technology Conference (NAT 2019), July 16-18, 2019, Liverpool UK.

She received grants:

WIN IMPACT Grant for Fostering Collaboration in Teaching, Research and Entrepreneurship among Faculty, Students and Alumnae.

UML Seed Grant "Towards Biometric Input for Multi-Agent Adaptive Human-Robot Collaboration" collaboratively with Erin Solovey, Yanhua Lee, Pei-Chun Kao, Adam Norton, Yi- Ning Wu, Holly Yanco.


Carlo PinciroliPinciroli Paper and Grants

A student of Carlo Pinciroli and presented the paper: A Minimalistic Approach to Segregation in Robot Swarms 2nd International Symposium on Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems (MRS 2019).

His NESTLab received a 1-year grant from Amazon Robotics to support the PhD student Nathalie Majcherczyk. The research will focus on security aspects of data sharing across robots with noisy and intermittent communication and sensing.

His NESTLab received a 1-year grant from mRobot Technologies, Shangai to support the PhD student Jayam Patel. This grant is part of the WPI-mRobot Joint Research laboratory. The title of the project is "High-level collective perception of multiple robots for decision making".

NESTLab received a 3-year donation from MathWorks to support the PhD student Stephen Powers. The research will focus on applying concepts of distributed reactive programming to multi-robot behavior development.

Carolina Ruiz

Ruiz Publications and Presentations

Carolina Ruiz and her students and collaborators have published and/or presented their research at the following venues:

S. Paisarnsrisomsuk, M. Sokolovsky, F. Guerrero, C. Ruiz, S.A. Alvarez. "Interpretable Deep Learning for Predictive Modeling of Human Sleep." Book Chapter on a special Springer Nature book on Machine Learning in Medicine. In print.

Carolina participated in the 2019 NSF STEM+C PI Summit "Reconceptualizing Learning and Teaching: STEM Integration in the Age of Computational Thinking", September 18-20 in Alexandria, Virginia. She and her collaborators presented their NSF funded research work at several sessions:

C. Ruiz. "Building Educational Bridges between Computer Science and Biology through Transdisciplinary Teamwork and Modular Curriculum Design". Flash Talk (only 5 projects were selected for presentation).

C. Ruiz, S. Weaver, E. Ryder, R.J. Gegear. "Modular Computational Tools to Integrate Biology and Computational Thinking via a Citizen Science Project". Technology Demonstration.

E.F. Ryder, C. Ruiz, S. Weaver, R.J. Gegear. "Solving Real Problems: Using Transdisciplinary Teams and Citizen Science Research to Motivate STEM+C Curriculum Development". Poster Presentation.


David BrownBrown Appointed

David Brown was appointed to the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation, Taylor & Francis.

Yanhua Li

Li Publications and Conference Participation

Yanhua Li and his students and collaborators have published and/or presented their research at the following venues:

Menghai Pan, Weixiao Huang, Yanhua Li, Xun Zhou, Zhenming Liu, Rui Song, Hui Lu, Zhihong Tian, Jun Luo, DHPA: Dynamic Human Preference Analytics Framework -- A Case Study on Taxi Drivers' Learning Curve Analysis, IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technologies (TIST), Accepted for publication, September 2019.

Amin Vahedian Khezerlou, Xun Zhou, Ling Tong, Yanhua Li, Jun Luo, Forecasting Gathering Events through Trajectory Destination Prediction: a Dynamic Hybrid Model, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Accepted for publication, Aug. 2019.

He has been invited to serve on the technical committee member for the following conferences in Artificial intelligence and data mining.

Technical Program Committee, ICLR 2020: Eighth International Conference on Learning Representations.

Technical Program Committee, AAAI 2020: The Thirty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Technical Program Committee, SDM 2020: SIAM International Conference on Data Mining.

Elke A. RundensteinerElke Rundensteiner Award

A 2nd Place Best paper Award for "Early Diagnosis Prediction with Recurrent Neural Networks" was given to Daniel Johnston, Liubou Klindziuk, Lolita Nazarov, Thomas Hartvigsen, and Elke Rundensteiner at the IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference, October 11-13, 2019 at MIT, Cambridge, MA

An archive of previous SIGBITS editions is also available.