The Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis
(CeCERA) was nominated for the Tech
Titan of the Future – University award by the Tech Titans, The Technology
Association for North Texas. This association recognizes outstanding
technology companies and individuals in North Texas area who have made
significant contributions to their industries at its annual awards gala.
This year the awards gala was held the Hotel Intercontinental in Dallas on
August 19, 2016. Congratulations to CeCERA on being recognized and
nominated for this award!
Dr. Krishna Kavi awarded new patent
Dr. Krishna Kavi, the Director of the NCSS I/UCRC was granted a new patent in July 2016, titled "Method and apparatus for improving computer cache performance and for protecting memory systems against some side channel attacks". The patent was applied for in 2012. The basic innovation stems from how cache memories are addressed. In traditional designs, cache indexing can be viewed as a modulo based hash function, where a given address is "hashed" into one of the cache areas (known as cache sets). The innovation proposed by Kavi changes the hash function so that different address bits, which can be randomized, are used to create the modulo function, and the function can be changed dynamically to make it very difficult to predict which address maps to which cache set. The ability to predict addresses mapping to cache sets have led to some security attacks, leading to the disclosure of cryptographic keys.
This approach can also be used to mitigate cache conflicts among different
applications or data sets, by mapping data of different applications to
different cache sets. The proposed addressing can be applied to any type of
cache (L-1, L-2 or Last Level Cache).
Distinguished Speaker at CSE in Fall 2016
Our first distinguished speaker in Fall 2016 will be Lluís Màrquez. His presentation will be on "Solving Community Question Answering Problems by Combining ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Machine Learning" on Monday, October 31, 2016 at 11:30 am in NTDP F223.
Lluís Màrquez is a Principal Scientist at the Arabic Language Technologies group from the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) since 2013. Previously, he was Associate Professor at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC, 2000-2013). He holds a university award winning Ph.D. in Computer Science from UPC (1999). His research focuses on natural language understanding by using statistical machine learning models. A substantial part of his research has addressed natural language structure prediction problems, such as syntactic and semantic parsing. Regarding applications, Dr. Màrquez works on statistical machine translation and its evaluation, and question answering in community forums. He has 140+ papers in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning journals and conferences. He has been General and Program Co-chair of major conferences in the area (EMNLP, EACL, CoNLL, EAMT, etc.), and held several organizational roles in ACL and EMNLP too.
He was co-organizer of various international evaluation tasks at
Senseval/SemEval (2004, 2007, 2010, 2015-2017) and CoNLL shared tasks
(2004-2005, 2008-2009). Secretary and President of the ACL SIG on Natural
Language Learning (SIGNLL) in the period 2007-2011, he currently serves as
President of the European Chapter of the ACL (EACL). Lluís Màrquez has been
Guest Editor of special issues at Computational Linguistics, LRE, JNLE, and
JAIR in the period (2007-2015). He has participated in 18 national and EU
research projects, acting as the principal site researcher in 10 of them.
Social Media being used to promote BAIT
Principal Lecturer David Keathly is currently participating in a small grant that involves research into the efficacy of Social Media as an impact mechanism for new enrollment. Specifically Social Media campaigns are being used to promote the CSE B.A. in Information Technology Program (BAIT) to underrepresented groups and non-transitional students returning to school. You can follow the news about BAIT on these social media platforms:
CSE hosts Robocamp in Summer 2016
UNT CSE once again hosted a number of STEM camps across the DFW area, with financial support from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission and the National Science Foundation via the National Convergence Technology Center. Camps were held in Denton, in Frisco at the new UNT Frisco, in Frisco at Collin College, and in Sherman at Texoma Christian School.
Overall the camps reached a total of 140 students from ages 12-18. The camps
included a smorgasbord of activities in Robotics, Android App Development,
Animation and Game Development with scripted activities for the students to
pursue at their own individual and team pace. Students were also able to spend
some time working on their own unique creations in these areas.
CSE NACLO student in International Linguistics Olympiad
For the first time ever, a student who competed in NACLO at UNT was selected to be on the U.S. team and traveled to Mysore, India to compete in the 14th International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) hosted by Infosys on July 25-29, 2016. Wyatt Reeves, a senior from R.L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth at the time, qualified for the competition after scoring high enough in the invitational round of NACLO held in March.
According to this press release, two U.S. teams and one team from Canada, each consisting of four high school students, took home six medals, five honorable mentions, and one team trophy for the highest team average in the competition. Wyatt won a bronze medal in the individual round.
The Human Intelligence and Language Technologies
(HiLT Lab has sponsored the
North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad
for a number of years and they are proud that Wyatt qualified for the national
team and won a bronze medal. Dr. Rodney Nielsen
is the Director of the HiLT Lab. The next NACLO competition for high school
students will be held at UNT on January 26, 2017.
Grad Track offered for CSE Undergraduate Students
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering is proud to offer Grad Track
for undergraduate students in Computer Science and Computer
Engineering programs. Nine CSE undergraduate students are in the Grad Track
program. Students who are admitted to Grad Track can enroll in up to nine
credit hours of 5000-level graduate courses which will count toward BOTH
the undergraduate degree and Master’s degree. This will allow
students to complete both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in five years. If you
are a junior or senior with an outstanding academic record, please consider
applying for this opportunity. For more information about requirements and
an application, please see this
Grad Track website.
Top 10 Reasons for CSE Majors to Join Teach North Texas
Teach North Texas (TNT) is a program to prepare teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. If you are interested, please contact Phil Sweany, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering with any questions. Now here are the 10 top reasons to join TNT:
1. Two for one—you get both a Bachelor’s degree in a CS subject area and teaching credentials in a four-year, 122 credit-hour curriculum.
2. The first TNT course, Step 1, includes actual classroom teaching which allows you to determine if teaching "is for you" early in your college career.
3. The collaboration and presentation skills you’ll start learning in Step 1 and refine throughout other TNT courses will make you a more valuable employee in non-teaching jobs. (One of the biggest "concerns" we hear from potential employers is that CS graduates don’t have strong presentation and teamwork skills.)
4. While teaching in Texas requires passing a certification exam, TNT graduates have traditionally done very well passing these exams in all STEM fields. (To date 98% of TNT graduates have passed the certification exam for their discipline.)
5. Step 1 is a one-hour course so it can be easily added to most academic schedules with minimal (tuition) cost.
6. You’ll be addressing a significant national need for high school Computer Science teachers. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has started a "CS 10k" project to see to it that we have 10,000 new "well-prepared Computer Science Teachers" as soon as possible. Obviously they (and others) see a significant need.
7. You’ll find multiple job opportunities once you finish your CS degree and TNT courses. (See reason 6 above.)
8. You’ll become a better college student as you’ll learn modern pedagogy (teaching techniques) and recognize it in other classes you take.
9. You’ll be working with other TNT students, a group of interesting people who are passionate about their STEM subjects and teaching as well.
10. You’ll have fun!
CSRL hosts Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates
The Computer Systems Research Laboratory (CSRL) at the University of North Texas provided five undergraduate research students opportunities to work with graduate students this summer.
For Troy King, a Senior Computer Science major at UNT, working on Dataflow PIM taught him about how to research in general and more about architecture, which had always been a difficult topic for him in the classroom.
Zach Poycattle, a Senior Computer Science major at UNT, focused his research on looking at vulnerabilities in software and hardware to see what types of attacks were possible because of them. After gaining that knowledge, he put everything he learned into an ontology using a program called Protégé. In Protégé, he had to use logic rules make the ontology more efficient and to make sure everything was in the right place.
This summer was the first time Mukundan Kuthalam, a Junior Computer Engineering major at UT Austin, was involved in research. He joined the CSRL lab to get more experience in what grad school would be like and to learn more about the field of software. His research on identifying and analyzing cloud application vulnerabilities really opened his eyes to how vast and complex the field of software engineering is.
The main task in Clement Cole’s research was to build an ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) for testing data flow architecture in support of another research project. Clement is a Senior Computer Engineering major at UNT.
Margarita Sanchez (not pictured), a Senior Computer Science major at UNT, spent this summer creating a program that works with the traces generated by the Hopper Application. The application takes an executable, reverse compiles it, and provides her with a trace file that she then uses to generate data flow graphs (DFG). The program takes in this trace and generates the DFG and allows her to compare it with other graphs to see if there are any similarities that she can use to improve performance.
The REU students described their experience working with Dr. Kavi and the
CSRL graduate students as rewarding, challenging and inspiring.
News from Dependable Computing Systems Lab
Dr. Song Fu, Director of the DCS Lab was recently awarded an NSF research grant. The three-year grant will support Dr. Fu and his lab to investigate storage failures and develop dependable storage systems. Some other projects in the Dependable Computing Systems Lab are funded by DOE Los Alamos National Laboratory. They aim to enhance the resilience of production high-performance computing systems.
Song Huang is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Dependable Computing Systems Lab (DCSL). He worked as a research intern at Cisco Systems, Inc. from June to August 2016. While at Cisco, Song focused on failure analysis of software-defined networking. Another Ph.D. student of Dr. Fu, Zongze Li, was employed as an intern at Los Alamos National Lab from May to August 2016. He worked with scientists at LANL to automate the detection of anomalies in supercomputers. Linfei Li is a second year TAMS student in DCSL. She was awarded 2016 TAMS Summer Research Scholarship. The scholarship supported her research on disk SMART data analysis and failure characterization under the supervision of Dr. Fu.
The following papers were recently accepted by international conferences.
NSF Net-Centric, Cloud Software, Systems (NCSS) Industry, and University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) News
The next Net-Centric I/UCRC Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting will be held in Denton, TX on October 19-20, 2016. The meeting will be held at the University of North Texas in the Gateway Center located at 801 North Texas Blvd. in Denton, TX. There will be presentations by faculty and graduate students on the research that is currently supported by NCSS I/UCRC. NSF program managers will be on hand to explain the I/UCRC concept.
Krishna Kavi traveled to Jet Propulsion Laboratory to explore collaborations in June. JPL is very interested in pursuing collaborations and providing internship opportunities to his students. He also traveled to Rome, Italy in August to present a paper titled, "Predicting unknown vulnerabilities using software metrics and maturity models" at the International Conference on Software Engineering Advances. This paper was co-authored by Patrick Kamongi, a Ph.D. student and Kavi. In addition, he moderated a panel titled, "Challenges for Building Applications and Services for Smart Devices" at that conference. While in Rome, he experienced the most recent earthquake. He was awakened at 3:30 am by the violent shaking of his hotel room.
Differentiated Levels of Security for IoT Devices
The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming widely accepted as a standard for smart device communication. Experts estimate that about 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020.
IoT devices are entering every aspect of society including self-driving cars (or cars with safety and driver assistance technologies), smart homes, and smart cities. The one requiring immediate attention is security. An IoT environment consists of devices communicating over a multitude of network protocols. The trouble with uniform security policies throughout the network is the lack of flexibility and control. However, device security should be rooted on the device itself so that different devices will be protected at different levels (such as multiple levels of authentication, different levels of encryption, firewalls etc.). It is also essential that the security approach should not deter users from relying on specific security features because they require a high level of expertise or are too cumbersome (such as requiring complex passwords). UNT’s proposed IoT Security Hub aims to fill this gap by securing connected homes and businesses from malware and hackers.
UNT has designed a novel solution to address these issues. The IoT security
hub consists of a single physical device that hosts a secure trusted
environment to which the IoT devices connect to communicate with each other
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) or to access the internet. The first level of
defense in the trusted environment is a set of IDS (Intrusion Detection
Systems) and a firewall service running at the point of interaction between
the trusted environment and the Internet. Linux containers, each containing
a pre-configured snapshot of the security policies for each class of
devices, need to be invoked. Once the device has been identified and
grouped, the Software Defined Network (SDN) controller then invokes a
daemon process that runs in the background. This daemon process is tasked
with invoking one of the many device-class specific security function
containers that are either suspended or powered down (so in essence, there
are as many containers as there are classes of devices). Hardware integrity
is ensured by RADIUM (Race-free On-demand Integrity Measurement
Architecture) which provides integrity measurements at regular intervals.
RADIUM, along with Intel SGX ensures complete trustworthiness of the
underlying hardware. The hypervisor then takes control of the platform
thereby providing a trusted environment for applications.
Software Engineering Lab (SELL) News
Dr. Hyunsook Do and four Ph.D. students attended the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) in Austin, TX in May 2016. ICSE is the premier conference in software engineering sponsored by ACM and IEEE CS. Left to right in the picture are Kaushik Madala, Maral Azizi, Dr. Hyunsook Do, Dimitriy Nurmuradov and David Adamo.
Also in May 2016, members of SELL and Software Testing Laboratories
attended the TEASER
(TExAs Software Engineering Research)
at the University of Texas at Dallas. This doctoral symposium provided a
supportive space for Ph.D. students to present and receive feedback on
their research work. The following Ph.D. students and faculty attended from
UNT: David Adamo, Maral Azizi, Dr. Barrett Bryant, Dr. Renee Bryce, Dr. Hyunsook Do,
Danielle Gaither, Kaushik Madala, Quentin Mayo, Dimitriy Nurmuradov. In the picture,
Danielle Gaither presents her poster "Requirements Verification Using Formal Semantics."