talk: Learning and Optimization for Complex Dynamic Networks, 11:45am Tue 3/11


Learning and Optimization for Complex Dynamic Networks: The
Cases of Future Power Systems and Cognitive Wireless Networks

Dr. Seung-Jun Kim, University of Minnesota

11:45-12:45 Tuesday, 11 March 2014, ITE325b, UMBC

With enormous growth in sensing and communication capabilities as well as processing power to analyze collected data, we are witnessing exciting opportunities in diverse disciplines to study complex interactions of networked entities. The overarching theme is to explore cutting-edge computational intelligence tools from signal processing, machine learning, optimization, and control to make sense of amassed data and exploit complex interactions to make significant real-world impacts. In this talk, I will make cases for two prime examples, namely, future power systems and cognitive wireless networks. The role of contemporary tools including online learning, sparse and low-dimensional models, distributed and robust algorithms, will be emphasized.

Seung-Jun Kim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea in 1996 and 1998, respectively, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2005, all in electrical engineering. From 2005 to 2008, he worked for NEC Laboratories America in Princeton, New Jersey, as a Research Staff Member. He is currently with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Digital Technology Center at the University of Minnesota, where he is a Research Associate Professor and a Research Associate. His research interests lie in applying signal processing, optimization, and machine learning techniques to various application domains including wireless communication and networking and smart power grids.

Host: Tinoosh Mohsenin,

talk: Predictive Analytics for Insider Threats, 4pm Wed 3/5

Predictive Analytics for Insider Threats

Ben Shariati
Visiting Lecturer & Interim Assistant CYBR GPD

4:00pm Wednesday, 5 March 2014, ITE325b

This talk will discuss how using operational cyber analytics for predictive security intelligence support a powerful defensive cybersecurity capability. Specifically, I will share elements of my commercial research on how organizations can predict malicious behavior (both user and digital) on their networks by incorporating tailored algorithms and artificial intelligence capabilities as part of an overall cybersecurity sensor architecture. Additionally, this talk will briefly discuss the impact that mobile devices have on the insider threat vulnerability within the government and private sector.


Ben Shariati is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity at the George Washington University, where his dissertation work examines the analysis and management of cybersecurity concerns of critical infrastructures. His research and professional interests include mobile device security, emerging technology evaluation, risk analysis, audit, and compliance. For AY13-14, Mr. Shariati is a visiting lecturer and Interim Assistant Director of the Graduate Cybersecurity Program overseeing program activities at The Universities at Shady Grove. In addition to teaching several courses at UMBC, Mr. Shariati has taught graduate cybersecurity courses at George Washington University and undergraduate technical certification classes Hagerstown Community College.

Mr. Shariati is a technology and business executive with over 20 years of experience specializing in strategic and operational cybersecurity program activities and development for international organizations. His career highlights include serving as a lead enterprise security architect at the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, VA, a cybersecurity advisor at Cell Trust Corporation, and Technology Advisor/Cybersecurity Architect for the United Nations Pan American Health Organization.

Samuel Lomonaco: Strange World of Quantum Computing, NASA Mon. 3/10


CSEE Professor Samuel Lomonaco will give an invited talk on “The Strange World of Quantum Computing” as art of the NASA Goddard Engineering Colloquium Series at 3:00pm Monday, March 10 in the Building 3 Auditorium.

Abstract: Quantum computers have the potential to greatly increase computational power beyond the capabilities of conventional computers by exploiting the bizarre quantum properties of the subatomic world. This talk will give an introductory overview of quantum computing in an intuitive and conceptual fashion. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics will be assumed.

talk: Probabilistic Information for Spectrum Sensing and Utilization, 11:45 3/7, UMBC

Exploiting Probabilistic Information for Spectrum Sensing
and Utilization: towards Efficient Wireless Coexistence

Prof. Xiangwei Zhou
University of Illinois, Carbondale

11:45am Friday, 7 March 2014, ITE 325b, UMBC

With the rapid growth of wireless devices and applications, the electromagnetic radio spectrum is considered to be in short supply. To overcome spectrum scarcity and satisfy emerging user demands, cognitive radio, which can sense and adapt to the surrounding spectral environment, has been introduced to enhance the utilization of the spectrum. However, it is a challenging task to design a robust and cost-effective system involving identification and reuse of spectrum opportunities changing over time, frequency, and space. In this talk, I will focus on efficient spectrum sensing and utilization techniques for dynamic spectrum access. In particular, I will emphasize the importance of exploiting probabilistic information unique to such a system. I will present novel techniques from the perspectives of both a single user and a multi-user network. In the end, I will discuss further extension of the work to enable the coexistence of heterogeneous wireless networks.

Xiangwei Zhou received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, in 2011. He received his M.S. degree in Information and Communication Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China and his B.S. degree in Communication Engineering from Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, in 2007 and 2005, respectively. Since 2013, Dr. Zhou has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as an Assistant Professor. Prior to that, he was a Senior Systems Engineer with Marvell Semiconductor, Santa Clara, California, from 2011 to 2013. Dr. Zhou’s general research interests include wireless communications and statistical signal processing, with current emphasis on cognitive radio and heterogeneous coexistence, cyber-physical systems, and cross-layer optimization. He is now serving as an Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications.

Host: Mohamed Younis,

talk: Strong, usable access control for personal data, 1pm Thr 3/6, UMBC


Toward strong, usable access control for personal data

Michelle Mazurek
Carnegie Mellon University

1:00pm Thursday, 6 March 2014, ITE 325b, UMBC

Users create, store and access a lot of personal data, both on their devices and in the cloud. Although this provides tremendous benefits, it also creates risks to security and privacy, ranging from the inconvenient (private photos posted around the office) to the serious (loss of a job; withdrawal of college admission). Simply refusing to share personal data is not feasible or desirable, but sharing indiscriminately is equally problematic. Instead, users should be able to efficiently accomplish their primary goals without unnecessarily compromising their privacy. In this talk, I describe my work toward developing usable access-control mechanisms for personal data. I review the results of three user studies that provided insight into users’ policy needs and preferences. I then discuss the design and implementation of Penumbra, a distributed file system with built-in access control designed to support those needs. Penumbra has two key building blocks: semantic-tag-based policy specification and logic-based policy enforcement. Our results show that Penumbra can enforce users’ preferred policies securely with low overhead.

Michelle Mazurek is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, co-advised by Lujo Bauer and Greg Ganger. Her research interests span security, systems, and HCI, with particular emphasis on designing systems from the ground up for usable security. She has worked on projects related to usable access control, distributed systems, and passwords.

Host: Penny Rheingans,

POSTPONED: talk: Underwater Acoustic Communication…, Noon Mon 3/2

Due to uncertainty about the weather, this talk has
been postponed and will be rescheduled soon

Underwater Acoustic Communication and
Networking for Ocean Sampling

Dr. Aijun Song

Assistant Research Professor
College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716

Noon – 1:00pm Monday, 3 March 2014, ITE325b, UMBC

On our planet Earth, the marine ecosystem is undergoing significant changes due to human activities and natural processes. These changes call for enhanced capabilities to sample and communicate in the oceans. With this background, underwater acoustic communication has attracted much attention across multiple disciplines, as a means to access oceanographic data in real-time and to support navigation of underwater vehicles. This talk will focus on my recent efforts in 1) characterization and modeling of the ocean environment as a communication medium, 2) development of high data rate acoustic modems, both software and hardware, and 3) application of underwater acoustic communication networks in ocean sampling.

Dr. Aijun Song received his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware in 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), University of Delaware. During this period, he was also an Office of Naval Research (ONR) postdoctoral fellow, supported by the special research award in the Ocean Acoustics program. Since 2008, he has been an Assistant Research Professor of the CEOE, University of Delaware. His research interests include advanced signal processing and communication techniques for mobile radio frequencies as well as for underwater acoustic environments, underwater acoustic signal propagation, and the general area of ocean sampling.

Dr. Rick Forno discusses data breaches on WEAA


CSEE’s Dr. Rick Forno, Cybersecurity GPD and Assistant Director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity, was a guest on WEAA’s ‘The Marc Steiner Show’ where he joined Dr. Lisa Yeo of Loyola University in discussing cybersecurity issues and best practices in light of recent high-profile data breaches such as those at the University of Maryland, Target, and Indiana University.

Prof. Marie desJardins receives NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has selected CSEE professor Marie desJardins as one of four awardees of the 2014 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award. The award comes with a gift to UMBC of $5,000, sponsored by AT&T that can be used to further Professor desJardins mentoring activities. The award will be presented at the 2014 NCWIT Summit which will take place at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa in Newport Beach, California in May 2014.

NCWIT is a non-profit community of more than 500 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women’s participation in technology and computing. Their  annual NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award recognizes U.S. Academic Alliance representatives for their outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing-related fields.

Prof. Fow-Sen Choa Elected SPIE Fellow

CSEE professor Fow-Sen Choa has been selected as a Fellow of SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics.

SPIE Fellows are honored for their technical achievements and for their service to the general optics community and to SPIE in particular. Professor Choa was cited for for achievements in the development of standoff chemical sensing using quantum cascade lasers. In the announcement of Dr. Choa’s section, the SPIE noted that

“Choa has contributed significantly to the advancement of standoff chemical sensing using quantum cascade lasers, achieving a greater than 41 feet standoff chemical detection distance. In addition his research on MOCVD growth and regrowth of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) has led to the development of high power QCLs, integrated widely tunable QCLs, and power scalable surface-emitting QCL arrays. He has developed large format (64×64) photon counting arrays and demonstrated current-bias-mode photon counting techniques to simplify the bias circuits for 64×64 single photon arrays. Notably, his research has extended into broadband, low crosstalk, low noise semiconductor gain materials, Photon-neuron interactions, high speed long distance (loss-limited) multimode fiber transmissions, and other technologies associated with optical networks, lasers, and integrated coherent receivers.

A prolific scientific author, Choa has published nearly 200 refereed conference papers and over 70 peerreviewed articles, has received nearly 50 grants, and has been issued 10 patents. He has also served the greater optical community by serving as an associate editor, topical editor, and reviewer for several journals and he has been recognized as for his expertise as research faculty for eight years.

Choa has made sustained contributions to the SPIE community by serving on program committees of the SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing Conference. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 SPIE journal and conference publications including three invited papers.”

In his opto-electronics and MOCVD lab at UMBC, Dr. Choa uses a Chemical Vapor Deposition System to grow semiconductors, which include semiconductor lasers, semiconductor detectors, semiconductor optical amplifiers, modulators, and optical switches. A member of MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment), whose mission is to conduct research with postdocs and graduate students, while engaging undergraduate students, high school teachers and students in science and engineering projects as a way to encourage them to pursue careers in the field, Dr. Choa is responsible for providing MIRTHE with mid-IR materials, lasers, detectors and subsystems.

The semiconductors grown in his lab can also be applied for chemical detection and breath analysis using photo-acoustic (PA) effects. “When the wavelength of the photon matches with molecules’ vibrational transition, light can generate acoustic signals through thermal expansion,” he explains. “Using the PA effect, people have demonstrated parts per billion chemical detection sensitivities. Using the chemical sensing capability we can monitor contamination in our environment and the chemical content of our breath as precursors of our health conditions.”

LUG to hold lecture and workshop on Git, Noon Wed 2/26, ITE240


Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Git’s features (learning ease, tiny footprint and fast performance, services like GitHub) have caused many to choose it over older alternatives like Subversion and CVS. If you want to find out how you can use Git, come the LUG Git tutorial this Wednesday.

The UMBC Linux Users Group will sponsor a lecture and workshop on Git led by Alexander Bauer from Noon to 1:00pm on Wednesday, February 26 in the ITE 240 computer laboratory at UMBC. “Git” is a term that has become familiar to a great many of us in the technical world, whether as users or as developers. With the rise of such services as GitHub and BitBucket, and an increasing number of open source projects being hosted as Git repositories, yet many people are still unfamiliar with its use and potential use cases. During the workshop you can use your own laptop or a lab computer.