PhD proposal: Online Unsupervised Coreference Resolution

Computer Science PhD Dissertation Proposal

Online Unsupervised Coreference Resolution for
Semi-Structured, Heterogeneous Data

Jennifer Alexander Sleeman

1:00pm Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 325b ITE, UMBC

Coreference resolution, determining when an instance represents a real world entity, has been widely researched in multiple domains. Online coreference resolution that supports heterogeneous data is not as well researched though these aspects of coreference resolution are incredibly important. With the complexities of computing environments today, a more flexible coreference resolution algorithm is required to support data that is processed over time rather than all at once. We present an online unsupervised coreference resolution framework for heterogeneous semi-structured data. We describe a two phase clustering model that is both flexible and distributable. We also describe a multi-dimensional attribute model that will support robust schema mappings. As part of this framework we propose a way to perform instance consolidation that will improve recall measures by addressing data spareness. We also outline how our framework will support ’cold start' knowledge base population.

Committee: Professors Tim Finin (chair), Anupam Joshi, Charles Nicholas, Tim Oates, Yun Peng, and Dr. Rafael Alonso (SAIC)

Best Cities For Tech Jobs: DC #2, Baltimore #5

Forbes ranked metropolitan areas on increased tech-related jobs based on their employment growth in the sectors most identified with the high-tech economy and STEM. Among the top five are DC at #2 and Baltimore at #5.

  • No. 2: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
    Amid a surge in government spending, the capital area has enjoyed 20.6% growth in tech employment since 2001 and 20.8% growth in STEM jobs. Over the past two years, employment in both categories expanded about 4%. The Washington area boasts the second-highest proportion of tech and STEM jobs among the cities we surveyed, at 2.9 and 2.2 times the national average, respectively. There is a broadness to the tech economy in the greater D.C. area; as the Valley has become dominated by trends in web fashion, the Washington tech complex include substantial employment in such fields as computer systems design, custom programming, and private-sector research and development.
  • No. 5: Baltimore-Towson, MD
    The Baltimore metro area has benefited from the expansion in federal spending, logging 38.8% growth in tech jobs over the past 10 years and 17.2% growth in STEM.

Raytheon looking for paid Software Engineering Intern

Raytheon, a defense contractor and electronics company specializing in defense, homeland security, and mission systems integration and support services, is looking for a Software Engineering Intern to work on a NASA program involving the maintenance and evolution of the EOSDIS ECS System. Currently operational at three NASA Data Centers, the ECS system ingests, distributes, and stores on-line earth science data.

Proficiency in JAVA in a Linux or UNIX development environment is required, along with good communication skills and the ability to work in a structured team environment with other software engineers. Experience with shell scripting, Perl, C++, and some experience with database applications is desired, but not required.

The paid position is only open to rising Seniors majoring in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Mathematics who have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher. The intern will need to obtain a government security clearance.

For more information, click here.

To apply for the internship, click here.


TechGuard Security seeks web development and cyber security interns


TechGuard Security, a very local (so local, in fact, that it's on campus) company dedicated to addressing National Cyber Defense initiatives and U.S. Critical Infrastructure Security is seeking a Web Developer Intern and Cyber Security-Malware Intern for the summer or fall. Both positions are paid.

The Web Developer Intern will be part of a project team that will design, develop, and test dynamic web pages for cyber security related web applications. Knowledge of HTML, Flex, JavaScript, JQuery, and Java is expected. The position will provide the intern with experience with AJAX, JSON, Google GSON, and XML, while exposing him/her to cyber security fundamentals like TCP/IP networking, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.

The Cyber Security-Malware Intern will research, investigate, analyze, validate, and determine the effects of discovered malware. Some knowledge in computer programming, Information Security, and Network Security is expected.

Visit UMBCworks to apply for the positions. For more information, click here.

CSEE Professor Hillol Kargupta to speak at international conferences this summer will be a busy summer for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering professor Hillol Kargupta, who has been invited to speak at three international conferences on his research in data mining.

The first, from June 4-6, is the 3rd International Conference on Sensor Systems and Software to be held in Lisbon, Portugal. Dubbed S-CUBE 2012 for short, the conference aspires to be a venue to “address the research challenges facing system development and software support for wireless sensor network-based systems that have the potential to impact society in many ways,” says the website.

As the keynote speaker, Dr. Kargupta will discuss the possibilities of wirelessly harnessing data from vehicles. Features of the talk include an overview of the market, emerging product-types, core technical challenges, and a description of how advanced data analysis has helped create new and innovative, commercially successful products.The talk reflects the work he’s been doing at Agnik, a Columbia-based data analytics company for distributed, mobile, and embedded environments that Dr. Kargupta co-founded.

From August 1-3, Dr. Kargupta will speak at the 36th Annual Conference of the German Classification Society in Hildesheim, Germany. This year, Dr. Kargupta joins nine other confirmed speakers from around the world, who will speak on topics ranging from Data Analysis to Machine Learning to Knowledge Discovery. His talk will explore distributed data stream mining from sensor networks and discuss algorithms and data mining applications in embedded machine-to-machine wireless networks.

Dr. Kargupta closes his international tour with a stop at the Sixth International Workshop on Knowledge Discovery from Sensor Data (Sensor-KDD ’12) in Beijing, China. One of four invited speakers, Dr. Kargupta joins Dr. Ashok N. Srivastava of the NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Ian Davidson, a professor of Computer Science at UC: Davis, and Dr. Dr. Ralf Birken, a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University.

Apply for a Northrop Grumman Foundation/UNCF Scholarship

Need a little help with next year's tuition? If you're majoring in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Software Engineering, or Systems Engineering, consider applying for a Northrop Grumman Foundation/ UNCF Scholarship of up to $7,500.

The need-based scholarship is open to students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who are U.S. citizens. Applicants must submit an essay, two letters of recommendation, and an online application.

To apply for the scholarship, click here.

Application Deadline: May 30, 2012



MS defense: Mobile Relays Based Federation of Multiple Wireless Sensor Network Segments with Reduced-Latency

Masters Thesis Defense

Mobile Relays Based Federation of Multiple Wireless
Sensor Network Segments with Reduced-Latency

Jerome Stanislaus

10:00am Tuesday, 15 May 2012, ITE 325b, UMBC

Wireless sensor networks are used to continuously monitor certain area of interest and send data to a base station for processing. In many applications, WSN serve in inhospitable environments where multiple nodes may simultaneously fail causing the network to be divided into disjoint segments. Restoring connectivity in this case would be necessary for the WSN to become fully functional again. A similar scenario is when multiple standalone WSNs may need to be federated to collectively handle an important event that requires data sharing among these networks. A viable approach for establishing connectivity among these network segments is by employing mobile data collectors (MDCs). Few MDCs can be used to create intermittent links among the segments by touring and carrying data. Obviously, the travel path of the MDCs will affect the date delivery latency. We present two algorithms for finding optimized travel routes for the MDCs so that the average and maximum delay for delivering the inter-segment traffic is minimized. The algorithms deal with two variants of the federation problem that differ in the available MDC count. The first algorithm handles the case when the number of available MDCs is more than the number of segments, while the second tackles the problemwhen the MDC count is significantly less. The performance of the algorithm is validated through simulation.

Committee: Dr. Mohamed Younis (chair), Dr. Charles Nicholas, Dr. Gymama Slaughter

CSEE Lecturer Susan Mitchell successfully defends Ph.D. dissertation

Congratulations to CSEE lecturer Susan Mitchell who, on April 6, 2012, successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Software Process Improvement through the Removal of Project-level Knowledge Flow Obstacles: The Perceptions of Software Engineers.”

Eight years ago, Dr. Mitchell began working toward her Ph.D. in Software Engineering through UMBC’s Information Systems Department. Working as a lecturer in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department while pursuing her degree part-time, Dr. Mitchell’s triumph is an inspiration to all those working stiffs who someday dream of doing the same.

Dr. Mitchell's incentive to go back to school was closely tied to her work as a lecturer. “I teach CMSC 345, Software Design and Development, and I wanted to further my knowledge in the software engineering field,” she says. Designed around the completion of a software-design project, the course mimics a job in the software industry.

Her dissertation—“Software Process Improvement through the Removal of Project-level Knowledge Flow Obstacles: The Perceptions of Software Engineers”—is a case study of a software development team at a major U.S. Department of Defense contracting organization. “Through qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus groups, I was able to locate obstacles to the flow of knowledge within the team that, as perceived by the software engineers, if mitigated or removed, would increase individual efficiency and end-product quality.”

Dr. Mitchell describes software development as a "very human-centric, knowledge intensive endeavor.” “I believe that the major strides in software process improvement (i.e. efficiency and end-product improvements) will not come from process automation or standardization or from the introduction of new development tools, but from changes in the ways that software engineers and managers approach development,” she explains.

Though her title may have changed, Dr. Mitchell's plans are to remain at UMBC as a lecturer. She does hope, however, to continue her research in the area of software process improvement. 

Shamit Patel wins National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship

Congratulations to Shamit Patel (CS, MS '12, BS '10) on securing the highly competitive National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG).

After graduating at the end of the semester with an M.S. in Computer Science, Shamit plans on pursuing his Ph.D. in Neurosciences–specializing in Computational Neuroscience–at the University of California, San Diego this Fall. The NDSEG fellowship will cover Shamit's education expenses for three years and offer a monthly stipend.

"I applied for an NDSEG Fellowship so that I could have the freedom to pursue the exact research that I am interested in," explains Shamit.

As a Master's student working with Professor Tim Oates, Shamit developed an implementation of Jeff Hawkins and Dileep George's Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) pattern recognition system based on an existing theory of the learning rule for dendritic integration: spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP). "I found that the STDP HTM system achieved far better generalization ability than the baseline HTM system."

Shamit's doctoral research lies within the same vein. "My goal is to develop a working theory of the learning rule for dendritic integration by performing appropriate neurophysiological experimentation, and to then implement a pattern recognition system based on that learning algorithm so that the algorithm can be evaluated for its generalization ability."

A little help with the job hunt

Photo Courtesy

The end of the semester is upon us, and for many that means the job search has begun. Below you’ll find a list of local job opportunities for computer savvy graduates. Hopefully you’ll find something that sparks your interest. If not, don’t forget to check back regularly for updates.

Key Tech
What they do: Develops high-tech products with a focus on medical, industrial, and consumer devices.
Positions: Firmware/ Software Designer, Circuit Board Designer
Location: Baltimore, MD

What they do: provides cybersecurity products and services.
Positions: Senior Systems Engineer, Senior Software Developer, Software Developer, Reverse Engineer
Location: Inner Harbor, Baltimore

What they do: a data analytics company for distributed, mobile, and embedded environments.
Position: Software Developer I/II – Intern
Location: Columbia, MD

Agora, Inc.
What they do: A holding company for various publishers of financial, health, travel and special interest books, and newsletters.
Position: Software Engineers
Location: Mt. Vernon, Baltimore

*Jobs posted May 15.

Parking Panda
What they do: A rapidly expanding startup that thought up a creative solution for scarce parking in Baltimore and D.C.: A web-based app that lets you rent out your personal parking pad.
Position: Front End Engineer
Location: Federal Hill, Baltimore

The Hilltop Institute
What they do: Located in UMBC’s Sondheim building, The Hilltop Institute is a health research organization that conducts research, analysis, and evaluations on behalf of government agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations at the national, state, and local levels.
Position: Web Developer/ Programmer
Location: UMBC

OptiMetrics, Inc.
What they do: A company that provides research and engineering services to government and industry, specifically applying science and technology to protect soldiers on the battlefield.
Positions: Mid-Level Software Engineers, Software Engineer
Location: Abingdon, MD

Information Management Services, Inc.
What they do: A biomedical computing firm.
Position: Software Developer
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Praxis Engineering
What they do: A consulting, products, and solutions firm dedicated to the practical application of software and system engineering technologies to solve complex problems.
Positions: Software Engineer, Reverse Software Engineer, Application Developer, and more
Location: Aberdeen, MD, Annapolis Junction, MD

*Jobs posted May 7.

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