UNT's Department of Computer Science and Engineering won the Tech Titan of the Future-University Level Award for its Robocamp for Girls. Robert Akl and David Keathly, co-directors of Robocamp, received this award on Friday, August 27, 2010. The Tech Titan Award-University Level award recognizes higher education institutions that encourage students to choose engineering and technology-related disciplines. The Tech Titan Awards are presented by the Metroplex Technology Business Council, the largest technology trade non-profit organization in Texas.
Dr. Akl and Mr. Keathly created Robocamp back in 2005 because they noticed hardly any girls had participated in DC BEST (Denton County Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology). They did some research and found some troubling trends. Dr. Akl said, "Research and literature show that young kids lose interest in science and technology around 8th grade, especially girls." They decided to tackle these two issues simultaneously and launched UNT Robocamp for 7th through 12th grade girls.
The program has grown substantially since 2005. There were two camps the first year; four camps the second year, eight in the third year, and 13 camps in 2009. Mr. Keathly said, "Robocamp's survey conducted from the 2008 camp indicates that of the 20 girls who attended, 17 graduated from high school that year and 14 of those went on to major in STEM degrees, such as science, technology, engineering and math."
In the future, Dr. Akl and Mr. Keathly would like to see more girls in the College of Engineering. "I'd love to see more girls participate and bump up that number in engineering and computer science," Mr. Keathly said. "Girls are better in engineering in ways they haven't realized yet."
Congratulations to Dr. Akl and Mr. Keathly on this achievement!
Robocamp 2010 Wrap-up
Robocamp 2010 was again a big success. We held a total of 10 camps which included 4 Robocamps, 3 XBox Camps and 3 mobile Robocamp Jumpstarts in Krum, Lake Dallas and Carrollton. We also participated in Grandparent's University this year offering "degrees" in Robotics and Computer animation. The Robocamp 2010 photos and the traditional Music Video for the year are available for viewing via a link on the main Robocamp web page at http://www.cse.unt.edu/robocamp
Thanks to all the CSE staff and students who help us make Robocamp a
success every year!
B.S. in Computer Science accredited
ABET has accredited the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's B.S. degree in Computer Science. Accreditation is a long process that the CSE faculty works hard to achieve. During 2008-2009, Dr. Robert Akl, Undergraduate Coordinator, and the Undergraduate Committee prepared a Self-Study of the B.S. in Computer Science degree program. ABET evaluators reviewed the Self-Study in Summer 2009 and visited the Department of Computer of Science and Engineering in Fall 2009 to meet with CSE students, faculty, the administration of the College of Engineering and at the University of North Texas.
A final report was received from ABET in August 2010 granting
accreditation to the B.S. in Computer Science. This degree program has
been accredited since 1986. Accreditation means that students, parents
and prospective employers can rest assured that the program adheres to
a set of well-established guidelines, evaluation and assessment
procedures, and that the faculty, courses and support services are of
the highest quality. It also means that accredited programs across the
nation can be compared on a standardized basis.
Welcome Dr. Song Fu
We welcome Dr. Song Fu as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of North Texas. He is the director of the Dependable Computing Systems Lab (DCS). Prior to coming to UNT, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology from August 2008 to July 2010.
Dr. Fu earned the Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering in 2008 from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He received the M.S. and B.S. degrees in Computer Science from Nanjing University and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2002 and 1999, respectively. He worked as a System Engineer at the Nanjing Automation Research Institute in 2002.
Dr. Fu's research interest is primarily in distributed, parallel, and networked computer systems, including architecture, runtime support, operating systems, and algorithms. His research has been supported in part by funding from the National Science Foundation and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Dr. Fu is teaching CSCE 3730, Reconfigurable Logic, this Fall 2010
semester. Dr. Fu teaches graduate and undergraduate courses related to
computer architecture, operating systems, and distributed and parallel
computing. For more information about Dr. Fu, please go to his website
Rada Mihalcea receives new NSF grant
Dr. Rada Mihalcea is the Principal Investigator on a new NSF grant for a three-year project on "Building a Large Multilingual Semantic Network for Text Processing Application." The project, totaling $500,000, is a collaboration with Ohio University, and it is devoted to building a large multilingual semantic network through the application of novel analysis techniques specifically targeted at the Wikipedia corpus.
The driving hypothesis of the project is that the structure of Wikipedia can be effectively used to create a highly structured graph of world knowledge in which nodes correspond to entities and concepts described in Wikipedia, while edges capture ontological relations such as hypernymy and meronymy. Special emphasis will be given to exploiting the multilingual information available in Wikipedia in order to improve the performance of each semantic analysis tool.
The proposed highly structured semantic network complements existing
semantic resources and is expected to have a broad impact on a wide
range of natural language processing applications in need of large
scale world knowledge.
Dr. Mikler receives NIH Stimulus grant
Dr. Armin R. Mikler, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the Principal Investigator of a $429,608 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stimulus grant. Dr. Mikler and his Co-PI, Dr. Chetan Tiwari, Geography assistant professor, received the award for their project, A Computational Framework for Assessing the Feasibility of Bio-Emergency Response Plans, which will develop a response plan based on the establishment and placement of service clinics in a given region. The clinics serve as points of dispensing (PODs) in emergency scenarios.
The geographic distribution and placement of these clinics is a central query to their research, and multiple factors must be considered. Each region brings different strengths and challenges based on the availability of resources, such as service professionals (e.g., physicians, nurses and clerks) and infrastructure (roads and buildings). The team will use computational methods to combine and assess data from multiple sources — information that will help in the analysis of existing response plans and in determining optimal locations for the clinics. The team will also utilize existing collaborative relationships with public health experts throughout the planning process.
NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The highly competitive Stimulus grants are federal funds given via the ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for the purpose of "stimulating the US economy and empowering the nation's best scientists to discover new cures, advance technology, and solve some of our greatest health challenges." This year ARRA provided an unprecedented level of support to the NIH, with $8.2 billion given in extramural funding. The Center for Scientific Review typically reviews 16,000 applicants in competition for this money. This year there were forty thousand applicants! Out of this number, only 400 university researchers nationwide were accepted! It is an honor that Mikler, Tiwari and their team are among the recipients chosen for this prestigious award.
Dr. Armin R. Mikler is the Director of the Computational Epidemiology
Research Lab, which is part of UNT's Center for Computational Epidemiology
and Response Analysis (CeCERA). For more information, go to the CERL website.
NSF grant for Colonoscopy Research
Dr. JungHwan Oh, assistant professor, is the Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Endometric, LLC. Total amount of the award is $500,000 of which UNT will get $152,776. The project titled "Real-Time Analysis and Feedback during Colonoscopy to improve Quality" will develop an assistive software tool for endoscopists to have real-time feedback of objective quality for colon and potential polyp region examinations.
Colonoscopy has contributed to a marked decline in colorectal cancer-related deaths. However, recent data suggest that there is a significant miss rate for the detection of even large polyps and cancers. This tool, which will provide video stream analysis and feedback during live colonoscopy, is made up of novel middleware software to ensure high performance execution of video analysis on an affordable workstation, and are generic, reconfigurable with new task allocation that support time-constraint video analysis.
The broader/commercial impact of this project will be higher quality of care for patients undergoing colonoscopy procedures with real time objective quality assessment, which is currently not feasible. Over 14 million colonoscopies are performed annually in the U.S.
This assistive tool will stimulate high quality inspection, while
documentation is done. That will mean that endoscopists will be able
to spend more time on performing the colonoscopy and less time on
Dr. Tarau awarded NSF grant
The National Science Foundation has awarded a grant of $97,500 to Dr. Paul Tarau, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. His project, A Framework for Bijective Data Transformations, is about structuring equivalences between a relatively small number of universal data types used as basic building blocks in programming languages and a few well tested mathematical abstractions as bijective data type transformations connecting computational objects widely used by computer scientists and mathematicians, like sequences, sets, trees, logic circuits, and graphs.
An implementation of these transformations will be built in the form of an open source Data Transformation Library. It is also planned to make available the software in the form of a Java applet and a Mathematica notebook, having as broader impact various teaching applications and support for experimenting with data transformations in an intuitive, visual framework.
Dr. Tarau's recent work has showed that these bijections can be organized naturally as a finite groupoid with objects provided by the data types and morphisms provided by their transformations. The project plans to extend these encodings into a comprehensive data transformation framework providing a uniform view of the basic building blocks of various computational artifacts.
It also plans exploring the transfer between data types of inductive
definitions of their fundamental operations, opening the possibility
to derive interesting new algorithms. As a proof of concept,
algorithms performing arbitrary size arithmetic computations using
symbolic representations like trees or graphs will be obtained. In a
broader sense, the project is likely to bring significant
simplifications to the ontology shared by computer science and
engineering fields, resulting in better communication and synergy
Information Management and Knowledge Discovery Lab News
IMKD Lab has received a new National Science Foundation grant. Dr. Yan Huang is the PI for the $450,562 project titled "AegisDB: Integrated Real-Time Geo-Stream Processing and Monitoring System: A Data-Type-Based Approach" for the period September 1, 2010 to August 31, 2013.
An IMKD paper won "Best Paper Runner Up" at the 11th International Conference on Mobile Data Management (MDM) which was held in May 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The paper titled "Low Cost Region Detection from Distributed Sensor Observations" was authored by Chengyang Zhang and Yan Huang.
Another IMKD paper titled "Privacy Preserving Group Nearest Neighbor Queries in Location-based Services using Cryptographic Techniques" has been accepted and will be presented at the IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM). The paper was authored by Yan Huang and Roopa Vishwanathan. The conference will be held December 6-10, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
For more information on the Information Management and Knowledge
Discovery Lab, please go to http://imkd.cse.unt.edu/.
News from the Language and Information Technologies Group
The Language and Information Technologies group stayed busy over the summer.
Carmen Banea's paper on "Multilingual Subjectivity: Are More Languages Better?" written together with Rada Mihalcea and Jan Wiebe (U. Pittsburgh), has appeared in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2010). Carmen presented the paper in Beijing, China.
Ben Leong's paper on "Text Mining for Automatic Image Tagging," a joint work with Rada Mihalcea and Samer Hassan, has also been published in the Proceedings of COLING 2010. Ben attended the conference to present the paper in Beijing, China.
Rada Mihalcea attended the Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics, held in Uppsala, Sweden. She presented a paper on "Cross-lingual Lexical Substitution," which describes an evaluation task co-organized together with Ravi Sinha and Diana McCarthy (Lexical Computing, UK).
Also noteworthy is a new grant from the National Endowment of
Humanities (NEH), awarded to Andrew Torget (PI) from the Department of
History and Rada Mihalcea. The grant is for a project on "Mapping
Historical Texts: Combining Text-mining & Geo-visualization to Unlock
the Research Potential of Historical Newspapers," targeting the
development of search models combining text-mining and geospatial
mapping to help scholars research collections of digitized historical
newspapers. See this article for more information.
In August 2010, LARC moved to its fifth location in NTDP F204. The new space is larger and more visible on the main second floor hallway right outside the main office of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. To see how the move happened, see this slideshow. You can also check out what is happening there now at the live LARC Cam.
The first Game Programming Certificates were awarded to five students at the end of Spring 2010. Congratulations to Wyatt Lee Chastain, Bradley Evans, Adam Norris, Raven Watson and Russell Wright for earning the first Game Programming Certificates in our CSE Department.
In June 2010, LARC Technical Report LARC-2010-03 is "Emergent Economies for Role Playing Games," by Ph.D. student Jonathon Doran and Dr. Ian Parberry. LARC Technical Reports are preliminary versions of papers to be submitted or in review in refereed journals, conferences, and workshops. They are published online for fast dissemination and citation.
Jon Doran's first refereed journal publication appeared in the June 2010 issue of IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. The paper, "Controlled Procedural Terrain Generation Using Software Agents," coauthored with Dr. Parberry, explores a controllable system that uses intelligent agents to generate terrain elevation height maps according to designer-defined constraints.
"Gaming for a Living" features CSE alumni
in the Fall 2010 edition of The North Texan, a University of North
Texas publication for alumni and friends. Chris Bream (2000), Art
Griffith (2002), and Cesar Stastny (2004) talk about the importance of
LARC. For other LARC alumni news, go to http://larc.unt.edu/.
Dr. Mohanty’s Nanoscale Energy-Efficient Research from NSDL Gets Recognition
Nanoscale Energy-Efficient circuits and system research at the NanoSystem Design Laboratory (NSDL, http://nsdl.cse.unt.edu/) under the leadership of Dr. Saraju Mohanty has received significant recognition by being featured on the main website of the University of North Texas in July 2010. As a demonstration of international recognition, Dr. Mohanty was invited to present his research at University of Calgary in Canada during the summer.
Dr. Mohanty received multiple grants to support UNT's research, education, and student recruitment activities. One NSF (National Science Foundation) grant of $180,000 titled "Introduction of Nanoelectronics Courses in Undergraduate Computer Science and Computer Engineering Curricula" spanning over 2010-2013 supports nanoelectronics educational research. It will be used in the nanoelectronics education methodologies and curriculum. Eventually two new courses will be taught at UNT so that Texas prepares future professionals in this advanced area of nanoscience and nanoengineering.
In order to increase visibility of UNT in the international arena and to provide UNT a continuous platform for quality student recruitment, Dr. Mohanty has established a new symposium, International Symposium of Electronic system Design (ISED). The first of its series starts in Bhubaneswar in India. NSF has awarded a grant of $10,000 to support the symposium through invited speaker travel and students' participation fellowships.
NSDL members have published several papers recently. A paper titled
"ULS: A Dual-Vth/High-κ Nano-CMOS Universal Level Shifter for
System-Level Power Management" was published in the Special Issue on
Design Techniques for Energy Harvesting of ACM Journal on Emerging
Technologies in Computing Systems (JETC) in June 2010. A conference
publication titled "A DOE-ILP Assisted Conjugate-Gradient Approach for
Power and Stability Optimization in High-κ/Metal-Gate SRAM" was
presented by Ph.D. candidate Garima Thakral at the 20th ACM/IEEE Great
Lakes Symposium on VLSI (GLSVLSI). At the same symposium, Dr. Mohanty
was also invited to chair a session.
Net-Centric IUCRC to meet in October
The Net-Centric Software and Systems Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (Net-Centric IUCRC) is pleased to announce the next IUCRC Industrial Advisory Board meeting that will be held on October 21, 2010. NSF program managers will be on hand to explain the concept of IUCRC. There will be short presentations on potential new projects and progress reports on currently funded projects. There will be opportunities to network with academic as well as current industrial members. IUCRC members will also have access to presentations of results on currently funded research projects. Faculty and students working on these projects will be on hand with project demos.
The October 21, 2010 IAB meeting will be held at Great Wolf Lodge in
Grapevine, TX. Please visit http://netcentric.cse.unt.edu for more
information about the center and the October meeting or contact Dr.
Krishna Kavi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Topics Class on Developing Apps
Professor Garlick's "Developing Apps for Mobile Devices" class has started this semester, and students recently presented their proposals for the apps they will create over the course of the semester. Some of the ideas included maps to find your way around campus with GPS-based bus route information, 2D and 3D games, finding free lunches on campus, and an app to make texting safer while driving. Students can create an app either for the iPhone or Google's Android operating system.
While busy programming, the class is also anticipating an upcoming guest lecture from the Technical Director of McKinney's NewToy, Inc, which developed the wildly popular "Words with Friends" game for the iPhone.
Hopefully by the end of the semester, UNT students will have some new contributions to Apple's App Store and the Android Market.