SigBits - October 2016

October 11, 2016

This is a periodic WPI CS Department newsletter containing short notes on

department happenings involving faculty and students.  Hope you enjoy it.

                                                - Craig Wills

                                                 Professor and Department Head

                                                 Computer Science Department

                                                 Worcester Polytechnic Institute





Worcester Polytechnic Institute Named in Recent Ranking


Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been identified as one of the top

colleges for computer science degree programs for international students in

College Values Online recent ranking. The ranking considered tuition rates,

return on investment, percentage of international students, and

distinguishing characteristics using data that was gathered from the

Institute of Education Science and  Worcester Polytechnic

Institute was ranked #23. The article can be found here:




David Brown served as the Vice Chair, DCC'16: Design Computing and

Cognition conference, Chicago, June 2016.  He also served on the Program

Committee and was Chair of the Committee to select the paper for the Best

Design Computing award.


He published "Observations and Conjectures about Novelty Calculations", at

the Workshop on Design Creativity, DCC'16.


He published "If MEml is the Answer, What is the Question?", at the Workshop on

Design descriptions: conceptual and computational challenges, DCC'16.


He served on the Program Committees for the Workshop on Design Creativity

and Workshop on Computational and Cognitive Models of Problem Framing and

Reframing for Creative Design, DCC'16.


On September 10th 1999 he gave the first "first of the year" CS colloquium, that has now

become a regular departmental team-building treat.  This first event is captured at:

On August 26th 2016 he gave a colloquium with the same title --- The Hair Dryer Requirement: A Blow-

by-Blow Account --- to celebrate more than 15 years of this event, and his final year as a faculty





Elke Rundensteinr is quoted, using an extensive Q&A section, discussing the

state of data science in TechTarget August 2016. The 850-word piece, titled

"Combine data science education with curiosity and business savvy,"

with-curiosity-and-business-savvy , is from an interview with news writer

Joel Shore. Rundensteiner offers perspective on the future of data science

coupled with the qualities that make for good data scientists.


She and Gabor Sarkozy announced that Rodica Neamtu passed her PhD Proposal.

Her dissertation research, entitled "Interactive Exploration of Time Series

Powered by Time Warped Distances" develops both theoretical underpinnings

as well as technologies for processing rich classes of interactive queries

over time series empowered by multiple distances.  The committee members

are Prof. George Heineman and Prof. Sam Madden from MIT.


She indicates that PhD student Caitlin Kuhlmann, who has been provided a

funded RA position for 2016-2017 by the Massachusetts High Technology

Council for her project work on the collaborative MATTERS project.


She indicates her PhD student Xiao Qin, who

has been provided an ORISE fellowship 2016-2017 by CDER, FDA

for  research related to text mining and exporation of FAERS

text narratives.


She indicates her PhD student Tabassum Kakar, who has been provided an

ORISE fellowship 2016-2017 by CDER, FDA for research related to visual

analytics of FAERS text narratives.


She had a number of papers accepted.


Ramoza Ahsan, Rodica Neamtu, and Elke Rundensteiner, Gabor Sarkozy,

Interactive Time Series Exploration Powered by the Marriage of Similarity

Distances, Proc. VLDB'2017, Vol 10.


R. Ahsan, R. Neamtu, E. Rundensteiner Using entity identification and

classification for automated integration of spatial-temporal data,

International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, 07/2016;

11(3):186-197. DOI:10.2495/DNE-V11-N3-186-197, WIT Press.


Yanwei Yu, Lei Cao, Wang Qin, E. Rundensteiner Outlier Detection over

Massive-Scale Trajectory Streams, ACM Transactions on Database Systems,



Zhongfang Zhuang, Chuan Lei, Elke Rundensteiner and Mohamed Eltabakh

PRO: Preference-Aware Recurring Query Optimization,

ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2016).


Ermal Toto, Elke Rundensteiner, Yanhua Li, Richard Jordan, Mariya

Ishutkina, Kajal Claypool, Jun Luo, and Fan Zhang, PULSE: A Real Time

System for Crowd Flow Prediction at Metropolitan Subway Stations, ECML/PKDD

2016, Sept 2016, Springer Verlag, LNAI Series.


Vimig Socrates and Amber Wallace, REU students of the WPI REU Data Science

Site summer 2016, had their research project entitled "MEFA: Meta

Extraction Framework for Text Mining for Unsructured Narratives" mentored

by E. Rundensteiner, Tabassum Kakar, Xiao Qin, and Susmitha Wunnava,

acccepted for poster presentation at NSF, Research Experiences for

Undergraduates Symposium 2016, Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR),

Arlington, DC, October 23-24, 2016.


Dmytro Bogatov, WPI undergraduate student, mentored by Caitlin Kuhlmann and

E. Rundensteiner, had his MQP research project 2015-2016 entitled 'Data

MATTERS: Customizing Economic Indices to Measure State Competitiveness',

accepted as poster at IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference

(URTC), Nov 2016.




Dan Pickett, a department alum will be teaching "The HTML Show".




Krishna Venkatasubramanian report his PhD student Hang Cai's paper

"Detecting Signal Injection Attack-based Morphological Alternations of ECG

Measurements" was accepted at IEEE International Conference on Distributed

Computing in Sensor Systems (DCOSS '16). Hang presented the paper in

Washington D.C. in late May.


An MQP work by recent graduates Nick Brown, Nilesh Patel, and Patrick

Plenefisch titled "Scream: Sensory Channel Remote Execution Attack Methods"

was accepted as a poster at Usenix Security Symposium held in Austin, TX in

Aug 2016. The poster was presented by PhD student Daniel Moghimi who

assisted in the project.


An MQP work from 2014-2015 performed by Andrew Leonard (CS,'15) and Mudasir

Ali (ECE,'15) titled, "A honeypot system for wearable networks" has been

accepted for publication at the 37th IEEE Sarnoff Symposium to be held in

Newark, NJ in September 2017.


PhD student Hang Cai's paper "Fusion of Electrocardiogram and Arterial

Blood Pressure Signals for Authentication in Wearable Medical Systems" was

accepted at IEEE Computer and Networked Systems Conference Workshop on

Cyber-Physical System Security (CPS-Sec 2016), to be held in Philadelphia,

PA, Oct 2016.




Emmanuel Agu report following paper was accepted for publication in the

IEEE Access Journal: Kaveh Pahlavan, Yishuang Geng, Guanqun Bao, Liang Mi,

Emmanuel Agu, David R. Cave, Andrew Karellas, Vahid Tarokh, Kamran

Sayrafian, A Novel CyberPhysical System (CPS) for 3D Imaging of the Small

Intestine in Vivio.


He had the following conference and workshop papers

Qian He and Emmanuel Agu, Smartphone Usage Contexts and Sensable Patterns

as Predictors of Future Sedentary Behaviors, in Proceedings of the IEEE-NIH

Special Topics Conference on Healthcare Innovations and Point-of-Care

Technologies (HI-POCT .16), Cancun, Mexico, Nov 9-11, 2016 (accepted, to



Gauri Pulekar and Emmanuel Agu, Autonomously Sensing Loneliness and Its

Interactions with Personality Traits using Smartphones, in Proceedings of

the IEEE-NIH Special Topics Conference on Healthcare Innovations and

Point-of-Care Technologies (HI-POCT .16), Cancun, Mexico, Nov 9-11, 2016

(accepted, to appear)


Christina Aiello and Emmanuel Agu, Investigating Postural Sway Features,

Normalization and Personlization in Detecting Blood Alcohol Levels of

Smartphone Users, in Proc Wireless Health Conference 2016 (accepted, to



Emmanuel Agu and Mark Claypool, Cypress: A Cyber-Physical Recommender

System to Discover Smartphone Exergame Enjoyment, in Proc International

Workshop on Engendering Health with RecSys, co-located with ACM RecSys

2016, Boston MA.


He was awarded the following grants:


NIH 1R21DA041153-01A1 A Smartphone App to Facilitate Buprenorphine

Discontinuation, PI: Abrantes, co-PIs: Michael Stein, Emmanuel Agu.  NIH

NIDA submission, Requested amount: $103,609.  Requested Dates: 6/15/16

. 5/31/18


SocialoScope: A Passive System to Infer Loneliness from the Interaction and

Communication Patterns of Smartphone Users, Emmanuel Agu (PI), WPI Health

Delivery Institute (HDI) Internal Proposal. Award amount $21,000, Dates

June 1-August 31, 2016.


KERN Entrepreneurial Engineering Network grant, Developing the

Entrepreneurial Engineer, Glenn Gaudette (PI), Emmanuel Agu Entrepreneurial

Engineering Faculty (EEF) Award Amount: $1,760,000. Requested dates June

2016 . April 2019


He gave and invited talk at the WPI-UMMS NSF Outreach Workshop, Summer

2016, Mobile Sensing for Healthcare, May 2016 hosted by Dr Indic

Premananda, UMMS Medical Center.


He served on the Program Committee for IEEE Connected Health: Applications,

Systems and Engineering, Washington DC, 2017.


He served on the Program Committee for IEEE 10th International Symposium on Medical Information and Communication

Technology (ISMICT) 2017


He served on the Program Committee for Int.l Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC) 2016




Kathi Fisler spent the summer on various efforts related to CS in K-12.

She co-led three professional development workshops for middle- and

high-school teachers related to her Bootstrap project.  One of these was

part of CSPdWeek, an inaugural national professional development and

networking event for developing CS teachers with 300 attendees this year.

Another was part of a new effort to integrate computer science with

physics, as part of a joint project with the American Association of

Physics Teachers and STEMTeachersNYC.  The third helped launch Rhode

Island's statewide CS4RI teacher training initiative.  Kathi also served as

an advisor to the National K-12 CS Curriculum Framework effort.


She also participated in a meeting at the White House on bringing together national efforts for

computing education and cybersecurity education.


She recently became an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on

Education journal.




Dmitry Korkin is pleased to report that his graduate student, Katelyn

Hughes, have presented their work at The eleventh Cold Spring Harbor

conference on Systems Biology.  He and his Ph.D. student, Andi Dhroso, have

recently co-authored two journal publications:


Williams, M., Hoffman, M.D., Daniel, J.J., Madren, S.M., Dhroso, A.,

Korkin, D., Givan, S.A., Jacobson, S.C.  and Brown, P.J.,

2016. Short-stalked Prosthecomicrobium hirschii cells have a

Caulobacter-like cell cycle.  Journal of bacteriology, 198(7),



Kuang, X., Dhroso, A., Han, J.G., Shyu, C.R. and Korkin, D., 2016. DOMMINO

2.0: integrating structurally resolved protein-, RNA-, and DNA-mediated

macromolecular interactions. Database, 2016, p.bav114.


Dmitry and his other Ph.D. student Hongzhu Cui have published their work in

a conference proceedings:


Cui H, Korkin D, "Effect-Specific Analysis of Pathogenic SNVs in Human

Interactome: Leveraging Edge- Based Network Robustness", In Proceedings

of 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine

and Biology Society, Orlando, FL, 2016


He has also chaired a session on Precision Medicine at the Gordon Research

Conference "Human Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms & Disease". In

addition, he has been invited to give three talks: at the Channing Network

Science Seminar (Harvard University), Computer Science Institute for Women

(University of Missouri), and Northeastern University.




Craig Shue was awarded a three-year, $350,000 grant from the Department of

Homeland Security (DHS) to transition his research into enterprise network

security into practical application.  Under this grant, Dr. Shue and his

team will prepare his research into securing corporate networks for

commercialization, via technology licensing or start-up ventures. The work

is focused on ensuring corporate networks are better able to understand the

purpose behind data transmitted in a network to enable policies to prevent

malicious attacks from harming end-users or computer systems.




Gabor Sarkozy had the following journal publications:


``Monochromatic bounded degree subgraph partitions.'' Discrete Mathematics

339, 2016, pp. 46-53 (with Andrey Grinshpun).


``Partitioning 2-edge-colored Ore-type graphs by monochromatic cycles.''

Journal of Graph Theory 81, 2016, pp. 317-328 (with Janos Barat).


``Ramsey number of paths and connected matchings in Ore-type host graphs.''

Discrete Mathematics 339, 2016, pp. 1690-1698 (with Janos Barat, András

Gyárfás and Jeno Lehel).


``Ramsey number of a connected triangle matching.'' Journal of Graph Theory

83, 2016, pp. 109-119 (with András Gyárfás).


``Monochromatic cycle power partitions.'' Discrete Mathematics 340, 2017,

pp. 72-80.


He gave an invited presentation at the AMS Sectional meeting at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

in September, 2016.


He is a co-PI in a new OTKA (Hungarian National Science Foundation) grant,

$120,000 from 07/01/16 to 06/30/19 titled "Graph based optimization and big





Yanhua Li and his CS Master student Shijian Li recently published a

paper in the 24rd ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in

Geographic Information Systems (ACM SIGSPATIAL 2016).

Shijian Li, Bo Lyu, Yanhua Li, Jie Fu, Andrew Trapp,

Haiyong Xie, Yong Liao, *Scalable User Assignment in Power Grids: A Data

Driven Approach*. In proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSPATIAL International

Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, Oct 31 - Nov 3,

2016, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Besides this work, he recently published three more conference

papers on Smart Cities and Urban Computing with internal and external



[ICDM'16] Chen Liu, Ke Deng, Chaojie Li, Jianxin Li, Yanhua Li, and Jun

Luo, *The Optimal Distribution of Electric-Vehicle Chargers across A

City*. IEEE

International Conference on Data Mining, Barcelona, Spain, December 12-15,



[SIGSPATIAL GIS'16] Yuhong Li, Jie Bao, Yanhua Li, Yu Zheng, Yingcai Wu,

Zhiguo Gong,  *Mining the Most Influential k-Location Set from Massive

Trajectories*. in proceedings of the 24th ACM SIGSPATIAL International

Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, Oct 31 - Nov 3,

2016, San Francisco, CA, USA.


[CIKM'16] Xinyue Liu, Xiangnan Kong, Yanhua Li, *Collective Traffic

Prediction with Partially Observed Traffic History using Location-Base

Social Media*. In proceedings of the 25th ACM International Conference on

Information and Knowledge Management, Indianapolis, IN, on Oct 24 - 28,



He was invited to give a talk in Computer Science Colloquium on his

research in Smart Cities/Urban Computing at College of William and Mary in

November 2016.




Carlo Pinciroli had a number of recent publications.


Carlo Pinciroli, Giovanni Beltrame. 2016. Swarm-Oriented Programming

of Distributed Robot Networks. IEEE Computer. In press.


Carlo Pinciroli, Andrea Gasparri, Emanuele Garone, Giovanni Beltrame.

2016. Decentralized Progressive Shape Formation with Robot Swarms.

13th International Symposium on Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems

2016 (DARS 2016). In press.


Carlo Pinciroli, Giovanni Beltrame. 2016. Buzz: An Extensible

Programming Language for Heterogeneous Swarm Robotics. Proceedings of

the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and

Systems (IROS 2016). In press.


Marco Dorigo, Mauro Birattari, Xiaodong Li, Manuel López-Ibáñez,

Kazuhiro Ohkura, Carlo Pinciroli, Thomas Stützle (eds). 2016. Swarm

Intelligence: 10th International Conference, ANTS 2016, Brussels,

Belgium, September 7-9, 2016, Proceedings. LNCS 9882. Springer

International Publishing.


He was invited to give a seminar at University of New Hampshire on November

18th 2016, topic TBD.


He was interviewed by a reporter of the online science magazine "Inside

Science" to comment on a recent paper on swarm control.


He is a subcontractor in a project funded by the Canadian CARIC program (50k

CAD for me, 3M CAD the overall budget).

"A IoT Platform for Disaster Response", 1/1/2017 - 12/31/2018.


He served as Technical co-chair of NASA/ESA AHS2017, CalTech, Pasadena CA, July 2017.


He served as Publication chair of ANTS2016, Brussels, Belgium, September 2016.


He served as PC member of IEEE ICCCN2017, Zurich, Switzerland, January 2017.


He served as PC member of CAS@ACM SAC2017, Marrakech, Morocco, April 2017.




Carolina Ruiz and Liz Ryder organized the First Annual Bioinformatics

and Computational Biology (BCB) Summer Research Experience for High

School Students Program during the summer of 2016. This 5-week program

brings selected rising juniors and seniors to our BCB research labs to

work with WPI faculty, graduate and undergraduate students on research

projects using Computer Science and Mathematics to solve problems in

Biology and Medicine. The program generated a great deal of interest

among high school students. 21 outstanding students were selected from

over 60 well-qualified applicants.  Teams of students were advised by 9

BCB faculty from 4 departments: Korkin and Ruiz from Computer Science;

Gegear, Ryder, Shell and Vidali from Biology and Biotechnology;

Servatius and Wu from Mathematics; and Tuzel from Physics. The program

was very successful by any measure. Plans are underway for next year's

program. More information about the program and some pictures can be

found at The Daily Herald: .




Suzanne Mello-Stark was quoted in Computer World.