Prof. Matuszek interviewed by CBC Radio about research

CSEE professor Cynthia Matuszek was interviewed on her research on gender bias in online images associated with occupations by the CBC Spark radio program on technology trends.

The research was published in a recent paper, Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations, that was recognized as a best paper in the 2015 ACM CHI Conference. This conference is considered the most prestigious in the field of human–computer interaction, and is one of the top ranked computer science conferences.

Professor Matuszek does research on robotics and natural language processing and combines these two interests to build better human-robot interaction systems and to study the underlying problem of grounded language acquisition, i.e., how robots (and people!) can extract semantically meaningful representations of human language by mapping those representations to the noisy, unpredictable physical world in which they operate.

Neal Ziring on Career Opportunities in Cybersecurity, 1pm Fri 5/15, UMBC

Career Opportunities in Cybersecurity and
the Information Assurance Directorate

Neal Ziring
Technical Director, Information Assurance Directorate
National Security Agency

1:00pm-2:00pm Friday, 15 May 2015

ITE-325b (CSEE Dept Conference room)

Mr. Ziring will discuss career opportunities in cybersecurity and what NSA's Information Assurance Directorate does.

Neal Ziring is a technical director in the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) at NSA. The IAD provides cryptographic, network, and operational security to protect and defend national security systems. Previously, Mr. Ziring was a technical director for the Vulnerability Analysis and Operations Group, which provides technology evaluations, defensive operations, and secure configuration guidance for the DoD and the IC. During that time, he served as security architect for two major NSA mission systems programs, collaborated with NIST on the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP), and led analyses of cloud computing and IPv6. Before joining the NSA in 1989, he worked at AT&T Bell Labs. He has a BS in EE and an MS in Computer Science from Washington University.

PhD defense: Semantic Resolution Framework for Integrating Manufacturing Service Capability Data

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

A Semantic Resolution Framework for Integrating
Manufacturing Service Capability Data

Yan Kang

10:00am Monday 27 April 2015, ITE 217b

Building flexible manufacturing supply chains requires availability of interoperable and accurate manufacturing service capability (MSC) information of all supply chain participants. Today, MSC information, which is typically published either on the supplier’s web site or registered at an e-marketplace portal, has been shown to fall short of interoperability and accuracy requirements. The issue of interoperability can be addressed by annotating the MSC information using shared ontologies. However, this ontology-based approach faces three main challenges: (1) lack of an effective way to automatically extract a large volume of MSC instance data hidden in the web sites of manufacturers that need to be annotated; (2) difficulties in accurately identifying semantics of these extracted data and resolving semantic heterogeneities among individual sources of these data while integrating them under shared formal ontologies; (3) difficulties in the adoption of ontology-based approaches by the supply chain managers and users because of their unfamiliarity with the syntax and semantics of formal ontology languages such as the web ontology language (OWL).

The objective of our research is to address the main challenges of ontology-based approaches by developing an innovative approach that is able to extract MSC instances from a broad range of manufacturing web sites that may present MSC instances in various ways, accurately annotate MSC instances with formal defined semantics on a large scale, and integrate these annotated MSC instances into formal manufacturing domain ontologies to facilitate the formation of supply chains of manufacturers. To achieve this objective, we propose a semantic resolution framework (SRF) that consists of three main components: a MSC instance extractor, a MSC Instance annotator and a semantic resolution knowledge base. The instance extractor builds a local semantic model that we call instance description model (IDM) for each target manufacturer web site. The innovative aspect of the IDM is that it captures the intended structure of the target web site and associates each extracted MSC instance with a context that describes possible semantics of that instance. The instance annotator starts the semantic resolution by identifying the most appropriate class from a (or a set of) manufacturing domain ontology (or ontologies) (MDO) to annotate each instance based on the mappings established between the context of that instance and the vocabularies (i.e., classes and properties) defined in the MDO. The primary goal of the semantic resolution knowledge base (SR-KB) is to resolve semantic heterogeneity that may occur in the instance annotation process and thus improve the accuracy of the annotated MSC instances. The experimental results demonstrate that the instance extractor and the instance annotator can effectively discover and annotate MSC instances while the SR-KB is able to improve both precision and recall of annotated instances and reducing human involvement along with the evolution of the knowledge base.

Committee: Drs. Yun Peng (Chair), Tim Finin, Yaacov Yesha, Matthew Schmill and Boonserm Kulvatunyou

Innovations in Cybersecurity Education Workshop, Fri 6/12, UMBC
Home   ·   Schedule   ·   Location   ·   Register   ·   Resources   ·   2014


Innovations in Cybersecurity Education Workshop

9:30 – 4:30 Friday, 12 June 2015, UMBC BWtech South Campus

Innovations in Cybersecurity Education is a free regional workshop on cybersecurity education from high school through post-graduate. It is intended primarily for educators who are teaching cybersecurity at high schools, colleges, and community colleges. Anyone is welcome to attend, including teachers, students, administrators, researchers, and government officials.

The workshop will highlight master teachers and ongoing educational projects, including an effort at the US Naval Academy to teach cybersecurity to all midshipmen. It will include discussions about cyber competitions, hands-on exercises, educational games, and integrating cybersecurity throughout the curriculum. There will be an opportunity to experience hands-on cyber defense exercises and to play new computer security education games, including SecurityEmpire developed at UMBC.

The workshop is free and open to the public — all are welcome to attend. This workshop will to be of interest to educators, school administrators, undergraduate and graduate students, and government officials. Lunch will be provided. Parking is free.

Please see the links above for the schedule and location and register to help us plan for the number of participants.

The workshop is organized by Dr. Alan T. Sherman with support provided in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant 1241576.

CSEE research on Internet of Things featured in UMBC Magazine

The Spring 2015 UMBC Magazine has a feature article, The Sum of the Parts, on the research of Professors Nilanjan Banerjee, Ryan Robucci and Chintan Patel and their students in the Eclipse Cluster of research laboratories. The article discusses their collaborative research on hardware, systems and software to create wearable, touch-sensitive technology that is part of the emerging "Internet of Things" paradigm.

"From the Apple Watch to Fitbit, the rage in technology these days is all about wearable, touchable devices. Tech gurus and cutting-edge engineers talk of a day when all the many electronic devices that surround us will be networked together in a magical electrical collaboration that will change how we live our daily lives. Many of these devices, if not all, will be controlled by touch".

The Eclipse Cluster faculty and students are collaborating to design and build devices that provide greater and easier access to electronics and other technology, especially for people with disabilities. Their research is supported by recent awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, a State of Maryland TEDCO grant, and Microsoft research.

Naval Academy and UMBC to Collaborate on Cyber Projects and Education

Naval Academy and UMBC to Collaborate on Cyber Projects and Education

U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter signed a Cooperative Research Acquisition and Development Agreement (CRADA) with University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) President Freeman Hrabowski April 21st on the UMBC campus.

This agreement will support future partnerships between the two schools, beginning with five cyber security research projects from teams of faculty from both institutions.

This collaboration has its roots from when Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, visited the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in February 2014. During the visit Greenert met with Hrabowski to discuss ways to work together on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives. This initial visit between the two illuminated the institutions’ mutual strengths and interests in cybersecurity.

The initial cyber collaborative projects between the USNA and UMBC will involve areas from tactile authentication for mobile devices to detecting anomalies in cyber-physical systems to securing cloud services using policy-based approaches.

“I wanted to do this since I assumed the position of Superintendent last year,” said Carter, from the UMBC campus. “To partner with a school like UMBC is a great opportunity, particularly a school represented with so many opportunities for woman, international students and minorities.”

The Naval Academy continues to take steps to ensure future graduates are invested with the skills and knowledge necessary to operate in an emerging cyber security environment. The academy is the only U.S. institution of higher learning that has mandatory cyber security classes. The baseline is to provide every academy graduate with an understanding of the cyber domain and how it impacts their commands and their ability to conduct their missions.

The academy also now offers a cyber operations major, an interdisciplinary course of study that covers a wide range of cyber-related operations, both technical and non-technical. And, in December 2014, Congress approved funding for a dedicated building to house USNA's Center for Cyber Security Studies.

"I predict 30 years from now, what we did here (at the CRADA signing) will be vital to national defense," said Carter.

Source: USNA Public Affairs (text and photo)

Prof. LaBerge recognized at RTCA Annual Symposium Awards

CSEE Professor Charles LaBerge, director of UMBC’s undergraduate Computer Engineering program, is being recognized at the 2015 Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. on June 3 for significant work on aviation safety standards.

The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) is a not-for-profit association that collaborates with government agencies to achieve improvements in the safety and efficiency of the air transportation system.

Professor LaBerge was chosen to be honored by RTCA for his work on the “Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Avionics Supporting Next Generation Satellite Systems”. His research focuses on aeronautical navigation and communication applications, as well as digital signal processing, coding theory, and radio frequency interference.

Dr. Laberge's work was cited in a recent article in the RTCA digest, Spotlight on Volunteers: Communications Expert Advances Aviation Safety, for his leadership and contributions to standards for aviation communication. "Chuck has been invaluable to RTCA's work for many years – we could not have accomplished what we have without his expertise and the long hours he has spent advancing aviation safety," said RTCA President Margaret Jenny.

"Chuck LaBerge serves as Chair of RTCA’s SC-222, Inmarsat AMS(R)S, which has been working since October 2008 to produce several guidance documents focused on satellite systems capability. Chuck is known industry-wide for his expertise in radio signal processes and interference and brings a wealth of knowledge to the Committee's work. Chuck has a long and active history of contributing to RTCA products and first became involved with RTCA in the late 70s, helping to produce DO-177, a MOPS document focusing on Microwave Landing System (MLS) Airborne Receiving Equipment. He has made substantial contributions to 20 RTCA documents, not including document updates."

Dr. LaBerge describes the the work of the RTCA Special Committee 222 as defining the standards for satellite communication services that allow aircraft passengers to place telephone calls and access the Internet while in flight, especially in oceanic airspace. His previous RTCA work had focused on the special constraints that support pilot and controller communications related to the safety and regularity of flight along national and international air routes.

Professor LaBerge began working on RTCA standards at the Honeywell Aerospace Research & Technology Center, where he worked from from 1975 to 2008, achieving the position of Senior Fellow. While there, he completed a PhD in Electrical Engineering at UMBC in 2003. In 2008, he joined UMBC as Professor of the Practice, where he currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in computer engineering, helps teach the popular Introduction to Engineering class (ENES 101) and directs the undergraduate computer engineering program.

Fifth cybersecurity startup graduates from NGC/UMBC Cync Incubator Program

The following is a press release from Northrop Grumman and UMBC.

BALTIMORE – April 16, 2015 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the bwtech@UMBC Cyber Incubator announced today that continuous monitoring solutions provider DB Networks® will be the fifth cyber startup to graduate from the highly successful Cync Program. A ceremony marking the occasion is scheduled for next week during the RSA Conference 2015 in San Francisco, California.

OptioLabs of Baltimore joins Cync this month as the newest cyber startup accepted into the program since it began in 2011.

Cync was created through a partnership between Northrop Grumman and the bwtech@UMBC Cyber Incubator to nurture global cyber startups with an eye towards commercializing innovations for the federal marketplace. As founding strategic partner, Northrop Grumman is facilitating a pathway for companies to speed advanced solutions to customers, while bwtech and UMBC provide extensive business incubation expertise and access to capital and talent to help startups thrive.

"The Cync program is directly responding to a national need to cultivate innovation from all corners and speed the most promising ideas to the federal marketplace," said Chris Valentino, director, strategy, Cyber Division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems and Cync Program Lead. "We welcome OptioLabs and congratulate DB Networks® as they join the list of successful entrepreneurs that have launched from Cync and are making a difference in how our nation can stay ahead in the cyber battle."

"Thanks to DB Networks® for their participation in the Cync Program and welcome to OptioLabs," said Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park. "Both are great examples of companies that have developed novel solutions to critical cybersecurity problems."

Cync graduates include KoolSpan, AccelerEyes (ArrayFire), Five Directions, and Oculis Labs. Current occupants at Cync include iWebGate, Perth, Australia; Light Point Security, Baltimore; and Ayasdi, Palo Alto, California.

DB Networks® is innovating cybersecurity through intelligent continuous monitoring. Customers include the world's largest financial institutions, healthcare providers, manufacturers and governments. Since joining Cync, the company launched IDS-6300, an intelligent continuous monitoring product that "shines a light" on core networks. In October 2013, Info Security Products Guide named DBN-6300 a finalist for the 11th Annual Global Excellence Awards in six categories.

OptioLabs develops security products for the mobile enterprise and embedded systems. Led by a world-class team of technologists, and leveraging innovations developed for national security protocols, OptioLabs has pioneered advanced security solutions for the world's leading mobile platforms. With headquarters in Baltimore, and an office in Nashville, Tennessee, OptioLabs customers include federal agencies, commercial enterprises, and device manufacturers.

The Cync program is a highly competitive global scholarship initiative that looks for innovative technology-driven startup companies that address critical market needs in the following areas of interest: cyber, data sciences, big data, secure mobility, and cyber physical systems/critical infrastructure protection. For more information about applying, go to www.bwtechumbc.com.

bwtech@UMBC is a 71-acre research and technology community at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). With more than 500,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, it is home to nearly 120 technology and life science companies at all stages of development. bwtech@UMBC offers collaboration with university faculty and students, and enjoys a strategic and convenient location, close to downtown Baltimore, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and Washington, D.C. Its annual economic impact on the state is estimated to be more than $500 million.

In addition to Cync, Northrop Grumman announced this week the expansion of their cyber work with UMBC to include research on health data analytics. 

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

Marynoele Benson
Northrop Grumman Corporation

Dinah Winnick
University of Maryland, Baltimore County








Professor Matuszek’s Research Highlighted in Various News Publications



A study by CSEE professor Cynthia Matuszek on gender bias in online images associated with a variety of occupations has recently received a lot of attention. The study, which was carried out with former University of Washington colleagues Matthew Kay and Sean Munson, resulted in a paper to be presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Seoul, Korea in mid-April.

The paper, Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations, was recognized as a best paper of the 2015 ACM CHI Conference. This conference is considered the most prestigious in the field of human–computer interaction, and is one of the top ranked computer science conferences. 

"This project was a joint effort between myself and the two other authors," Dr. Matuszek explains. "The project was originally developed after I saw a presentation in which the images chosen to represent different professions were extremely one-sided and didn't seem representative.  Our primary goal was to learn more about the software design space: does gender in image search results affect whether people think the search results are good?  On the flip side, does showing different genders in different roles (that is, showing a male vs. a female nurse) affect how people think of those occupations?  You need to know the answers to questions like that before you can create, e.g., an image search engine that is really well and thoughtfully designed."

Not surprisingly, Dr. Matuszek's work has been noted by the popular press, with recent stories in the Washington Post WonkblogThe Atlantic and many online news outlets. The Washington Post article quotes Dr. Matuszek on the genesis of the study.

In addition, many images retrieved by the web’s top search engine happen to be hyper-sexualized caricatures. Some female construction workers in midriff-baring flannel and jean shorts seem better dressed for a Halloween party than, say, a demolition site. (Researchers dubbed this the “sexy construction worker problem.”)

"It’s part of a cycle: How people perceive things affects the search results, which affect how people perceive things," said co-author Cynthia Matuszek, who now teaches computer ethics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Matuszek recalls sitting in a robotics lecture last year at the University of Washington, where she earned her doctoral degree in computer science. A male colleague illustrated researchers in his Powerpoint presentation as “all guys, classic nerds,” she said. But a caretaker was shown in a slide as "a plump woman in her thirties who was wearing a pink suit." The stereotypes irked Matuszek, and she's not the only one wondering about the power of images.

About eight months ago, Matuszek and her colleagues at the University of Washington decided to test the power of popular image. They wanted to know if something as seemingly trivial as search results could sway someone’s perception of how many women work in a certain field, and whether they’re competent. The researchers surveyed 21 people — a pool too small to make any sweeping statement, Matuszek acknowledges, but big enough for a glimpse into our cultural psyche — starting with questions like: What percentage of construction workers are women? Do you believe the person in this photo is good at their job? Two weeks later, they followed up, prompting participants to sift through Google image results before answering the same inquiries. Responses changed after Google images were introduced, according to the study, which was published this week. Search results could determine 7 percent of a participant's subsequent opinion about the number of men and women in a particular field, the authors calculated. And a worker was, on average, deemed more competent if he or she fit into a gender stereotype.

As Adrienne LaFrance notes in a recent Atlantic article about Matuszek's study, "Google image searches don't just reflect the sad state of diversity in corporate leadership; they actually influence the ways in which people think about what it means to be a CEO."

The study concluded that "shifting the representation of gender in image search results can shift people’s perceptions about real-world distributions."[i]


[i] Kay, Matthew, Cynthia Matuszek, and Sean A. Munson. Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Seoul, Korea. 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.









UMBC and Northrop Grumman partner on health data analytics

Northrop Grumman Corporation announced an expansion of their cybersecurity work with UMBC to include research on health data analytics in partnership with the UMBC Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research (CHMPR). CHMPR is an NSF-sponsored industry/university cooperative research center and consortium focused on addressing the productivity, performance and scalability issues in meeting the computational demands of its sponsors applications through the continuous evolution of multicore architectures and open source tools.

From the Northrop Grumman press release:

The UMBC-Northrop Grumman collaboration began with a cybersecurity initiative and is now leveraging the big data analytics used in cyber and applying the tools and technologies to health. This has enabled Northrop Grumman to dive into expansive health data on a variety of subjects, such as the impacts of cardiovascular disease as it relates to smoking, obesity and pharmaceutical drug use.

"CHMPR has provided greater clinical access to information, analytic techniques and natural language processing," said Amy Caro, vice president and general manager, health division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "Our efforts have yielded real-time results and are driving programs and practices that are helping to improve the health of large populations. As we move forward, our security capabilities and work with CHMPR will allow for continued large scale data mining to help inform breakthrough research and drive better health outcomes."

Northrop Grumman has been a member and supporter of CHMPR, since its inception and chairs the CHMPR Industry Advisory Board. Northrop Grumman and UMBC started their participation with CHMPR focusing on cyber to demonstrate a commitment to that mission and have since expanded that focus to include high performance computing and big data analytics in the health arena. Most recently, Northrop Grumman has provided initial funds to CHMPR's new North Carolina State University planning site.

"Our partnership with Northrop Grumman and our work in cyber and now health are huge steps forward in advancing critical research and driving better business and health results. We couldn't be prouder of these accomplishments and we look forward to continuing this great work," said Yelena Yesha, professor of computer science and CHMPR director, UMBC.

"Working with industry to advance research is a great model and Northrop Grumman and UMBC have been a key leaders and partners in building this industry, government and university consortium to advance issues like cyber security and health analytics," said Rita Rodrigues, program director, National Science Foundation.

Northop Gumman is collaborating with UMBC on several initiatives supporting cybersecurity education, training and technology. These include partnering with the bwtech@UMBC Cyber Incubator to form Cync, a program that nurtures innovative cybersecurity startups and helping UMBC launch its Cyber Scholars Program.