DC and Baltimore have high percentages of college-educated residents


A small study by the Brookings Institution looked at the percentage of people age 25 and over in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas who held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2010, versus in 1970. It reveals a trend for college graduates to concentrate in a set of metropolitan areas that include the greater DC and Baltimore regions. Of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area had the highest percentage (46.8%) and the Baltimore-Towson area had the 14th highest (35.1%). Baltimore had one of the largest increases in the percentage between 1970 and 2010.

"Metro areas that enjoyed the most substantial jumps in their college degree attainment ranks included many, like Dayton, that lost a tremendous share of their manufacturing between 1970 and 2010. But because regions like Worcester, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh shed much of that base earlier than other manufacturing centers, they have had more time to build services-oriented economies in sectors like health, professional services, higher education, and finance, and to grow, attract, and retain highly educated populations to fill those jobs."

A story in the New York Times, A Gap in College Graduates Leaves Some Cities Behind, discusses the results of the analysis and what they might mean.

On Lisbeth Salander's use of SQL

Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, is seen using SQL in the Hollywood remake. See The Girl With The ANSI Tattoo for an analysis of which DBMS this is and a critique of the queries (Everybody’s a critic!).

NIST Workshop on Big Data, 13-14 June

NIST will hold a Big Data Workshop 13-14 June 2012 in Gaithersburg to explore key national priority topics in support of the White House Big Data Initiative. The workshop is being held in collaboration with the NSF sponsored Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research, a collaboration between UMBC, Georgia Tech and UCSD.

This first workshop will discuss examples from science, health, disaster management, security, and finance as well as topics in emerging technology areas, including analytics and architectures. Two issues of special interest are identifying the core technologies needed to collect, store, preserve, manage, analyze, and share big data that could be standardized and developing measurements to ensure the accuracy and robustness of big data methods.

The workshop format will be a mixture of sessions, panels, and posters. Session speakers and panel members are by invitation only but all interested parties are encouraged to submit extended abstracts and/or posters.

The workshop is being held at NIST’s Gaithersburg facility and is free, although online pre-registration is required. A preliminary agenda is available which is subject to change as the workshop date approaches.

In the News: Catonsville tech start-up, Mindgrub technologies, takes off

Photo Courtesy

That's Todd Marks up there, standing over a banner for Mindgrub Technologies. In 2002, Marks founded the Catonsville-based start-up that specializes in mobile and web development. In fact, you're probably a fan of their work if you've downloaded UMBC's free iPhone application.

According to a Patch.com article, Mindgrub has already outgrown its office space on Frederick Road, which houses the company's 36 full-time employees. The company, which started in Marks' basement, is growing faster than anticipated. Its growth is likely tied to a string of recent successes. Like, at this year's Biz Buzz Awards–sponsored by the Baltimore Business Journal–Mind grub took home first place in the App Creator Category. And, at this year's ADDY Awards, they earned a Gold Addy for their iPhone game TAG: The Mobile Assassination Game.

To learn more about Mindgrub's rapid success, check out the full article: "In Just a Year, Tech Startup Outgrows Frederick Road Space."

Oh, and by the way, they're hiring.






Yasaman Haghpanah (CS, Ph.D. '12) wins Dissertation Fellowship

Congratulations to Computer Science Ph.D. student Yasaman Haghpanah, who will be receiving one of three prestigious Dissertation Fellowships from UMBC’s Graduate School to help complete her Ph.D. dissertation this summer.

Originally from Iran, Yasaman began her Ph.D. studies at UMBC in Spring 2009. Her dissertation, entitled “A novel trust and reputation mechanism through behavioral modeling of reviewers,” focuses on trust and reputation modeling for online markets.

“My research interests lie in the broad area of trust and reputation modeling and their effect on various domains such as online markets, supply chain management, auctions, social networks, smart grids, and e-commerce applications,” explains Yasaman. She credits the success of online auction site eBay to its reputation system: “Feedback Forum.” “I have extensively modeled trust and reputation through behavioral modeling of the reviewers using formal probabilistic modeling. My model is general and can be applied to several domains.”

Planning to defend her dissertation in August 2012, Yasaman credits the fellowship with helping her to wrap up her research over the summer. Once she graduates, she will be looking for postdoc positions or work in a research lab. She aspires to one day become a professor.

Flame spy malware infiltrating Middle East computers

Russia-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky Labs has described a new cyber attack toolkit dubbed Flame (Worm.Win32.Flame) which they describe as "what might be the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet." Their analysis suggests that Flame is a state-supported effort rather than one created by hacktivists or cybercriminals.

"Flame shares many characteristics with notorious cyber weapons Duqu and Stuxnet: while its features are different, the geography and careful targeting of attacks coupled with the usage of specific software vulnerabilities seems to put it alongside those familiar 'super-weapons' currently deployed in the Middle East by unknown perpetrators. Flame can easily be described as one of the most complex threats ever discovered. It’s big and incredibly sophisticated. It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage."

Flame appears to be designed "to systematically collect information on the operations of certain nation states in the Middle East, including Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and so on." Initial infection can be from an infected USB drive, spear phishing or an infected web site. Here’s a map of the top seven affected countries.

More information is available in articles on Wired (Meet ‘Flame’, The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers) and the BBC (Flame: Massive cyber-attack discovered, researchers say).

UMBC ACM student chapter elects new officers

The UMBC student chapter of the ACM met last week to elect a new slate of officers for the 2012-13 academic year. Outgoing preseident Yasaman Haghpanah officiated the election meeting. Elected were Varish Mulwad as President, Lisa Mathews as Vice-President, Ravendar Bhojwani as Secretary and Prajit Kumar Das as Treasurer.

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. It provides members with resources that advance computing both as a science and a profession. UMBC's chapter meetings are open to all undergraduate and graduate students of any major.

While you do not need to join ACM to be a part of the local chapter, the annual membership dues for students is only $19, heavily discounted from the non-student rate. See the ACM site for more information on student membership and its benefits.

The ACM UMBC student chapter will continue to organize the weekly hi-tea event in the upcoming year. It will also be working on inviting speakers (from industry and academia) to present on topics such as preparing for a career in the industry to pursuing graduate school. If you have any questions about the UMBC chapter or suggestrions for activities for the coming year, you can send them to the acmofficers at lists.umbc.edu.

Outstanding Achievement in Computer Science and Computer Engineering 2012

Outstanding Achievement in Computer Science
Outstanding academic achievement or service in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Clay Alberty

Laura J. Anzaldi

Madeleine R. Sparling-Sedlak

Nathaniel K. Lam

Menal G. Modha

Lauren J. Won


Outstanding Achievement in Computer Engineering
Outstanding academic achievement or service in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Thomas M. Christovich

Stephen G. Harvey

Kristopher N. Lamont

Linh R. Pham

Adam P. Page

Daniel Park

CSEE seniors Christovich and Burke earn Student Leadership Awards

Congratulations to graduating seniors Thomas Christovich and Timothy Burke, who were awarded Student Leadership Awards by the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department. The pair was recognized for this honor at yesterday's Pre-commencement Breakfast & Awards Reception.

A Computer Engineering graduate, Thomas Christovich (pictured left) has been part of UMBC's Amateur Radio Club for four years, first as president (2009-2011), and more recently as treasurer (2011-2012).  "Amateur Radio is a good opportunity to play with electronics and understand a little more about how radio works," says Christovich, who especially enjoyed competing in "good-natured" contests like the School Club Round Up, where the goal is to communicate with as many schools across the country as possible. Christovich was also active in athletics, playing intramural flag football every semester.

After graduation, Christovich is embarking on an across-country road trip with some friends–his "last hurrah" before he starts working full-time in Columbia.They plan to visit landmarks like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Yosemite as they make their way to the West Coast for a stop in San Francisco.

As he says goodbye to UMBC, Christovich's advice to other Computer Engineering graduates is to not be afraid to ask for help. "The Computer Engineering department has some of the most approachable professors I have ever known and they are always willing to help people that ask," he says. His second bit of advice is to get to know your classmates. There's nothing more helpful, he explains, than having a friend help you work through a problem from a different perspective.

A Computer Science graduate, Timothy Burke (pictured right) is a Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) Scholars in Information Technology and Engineering (SITE) Scholar, a tutor in the Computer Science Help Center, and a peer mentor.

"Being involved with the CWIT community was an immeasurable benefit to me during my time at UMBC," says Burke, who transferred to UMBC from CCBC Catonsville and found a network of support within the CWIT community. Through CWIT, Burke volunteered with First Lego League and the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Thanks to relationships fostered by CWIT, Burke  was part of the CSEE Department Promotion and Tenure Committee for the 2010-2011 academic year and participated in interviews for new faculty.

Burke also finds his time as a tutor especially valuable. "I greatly enjoyed my time tutoring other students in the Computer Science Help Center–it was great fun helping others learn and understand what they are studying," he explains. "That experience left a strong impression on me and has given me a desire to teach in the future."

After graduation, Burke will begin a full-time position as a software engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. In the Fall, he will begin pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science at UMBC. Studying under Dr. Penny Rheingans, Burke's research will focus on Data Visualization and Human Computer Interaction.

Burke's advice to current Computer Science undergraduates includes the old standbys–like start your assignments sooner and ask for help when you need it–paired with a few specific pearls of wisdom: "Go sit by a lake when faced with obscure error codes," "If a job offer comes and you are told you will be working on 'legacy applications,' do not simply walk away, RUN", "Take a class that is way, way out of the major for a change of pace" (in his case HIST 387: Medicine and Healthcare in China), and "Find a slightly smarter friend to take Algorithms with."


Meet the Students: CS Ph.D. Student Yu Wang

Meet Yu Wang, a graduate student pursuing her Ph.D. in Computer Science. Originally from China, Yu came to UMBC in 2009 to study for her Master's in Computer Science. She's part of UMBC's VANGOGH research lab and the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF). Once she graduates, Yu hopes to one day work in a research position at the R&D group of the Weta Digital visual effects studio in Wellington, New Zealand.

Click here to learn more about Yu and to hear what she has to say about UMBC.

1 2 3