CSEE Professor Dr. Tulay Adali Named IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer

Congratulations to CSEE Professor Tulay Adali, who has been named a 2012 IEEE Signal Processing Society Distinguished Lecturer. Nominated by the Machine Learning for Signal Processing Technical Committee, Dr. Adali is one of only five Distinguished Lecturers appointed this year.

The position commits Dr. Adali to travel around to world to present her current research, which focuses on data-driven and complex-valued signal processing and their applications in medical image analysis.

Her lectures will revolve around the following topics:

  • Data-driven Analysis and Fusion of Medical Imaging Data
  • Complex-valued Adaptive Signal Processing: When and How to Take Noncircularity into Account
  • ICA, ISA, and IVA: Theory, Connections, and Applications in Medical Image Analysis
  • Optimization in the Complex Domain using Wirtinger Calculus: Applications to ICA
  • Joint Blind Source Separation: Applications in Medical Image Analysis

“My research group, the Machine Learning for Signal Processing Lab [MLSP-Lab], has been conducting research in two of the most active areas in my field: data-driven signal processing and medical image analysis and fusion,” explains Dr. Adali. “I am looking forward to telling a wider audience than I have in the past about the exciting research results we have, as well as better introducing these important areas to new audiences.”

The appointment will last from January 1, 2012 until the end of December 2013.

CSEE Professor, Dr. Tim Finin, named UMBC Presidential Research Professor

Dr. Finin has been a faculty member of UMBC’s Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department for over twenty years. A member of UMBC’s Ebiquity research group, Dr. Finin’s research is in Artificial Intelligence.

Congratulations to Dr. Tim Finin, who was just named this year’s Presidential Research Professor. The appointment, which lasts from the beginning of July 2012 through June 2015, is awarded to faculty members whose outstanding scholarship and excellent teaching have stood out at UMBC.

“I’m very honored to be selected,” says Dr. Finin of the award. He credits his research success to the collaborative research environment at UMBC and the talented students and professors that he has worked with over the years. “I feel like I’ve been lucky to be here at UMBC because having a good set of colleagues and students to work with is the reason for [this] success.”

Through his research in Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Finin is constantly searching for answers to the question: “How can we make [software] systems more intelligent?” He has applied his research to the increasingly popular areas of Mobile Computing, Social Computing and Security. Recently, Dr. Finin has been working on a project that looks at the potential of smartphones to understand a user’s context. The project– a collaborative effort with fellow CSEE professor, Dr. Joshi–is being sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). More information about Dr. Finin’s research can be found in his research profile.

Finin’s appointment as Presidential Research Professor, comes with a $2,500 allowance, and a $2,500 per semester gift to the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department, to be used towards enhancing teaching and research. A formal award ceremony will take place this Spring to celebrate Dr. Finin and the other recipients of 2012 Presidential Faculty and Staff Awards.

Marie desJardins named ACM Distinguished Member

ACM has recognized CSEE Professor Marie desJardins as a Distinguished Member for her contributions to the field of computing. ACM is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. Each year it recognizes a handful of its members for significant advances in computing technology that have dramatically influenced progress on a range of human endeavors. This year, Dr. desJardins was one of just 54 computer scientists, educators, and engineers from leading academic and corporate institutions worldwide who were recognized.

Dr. desJardins is well known for her artificial intelligence research, which focuses on planning, learning, and multiagent systems. She leads the large and active MAPLE research group and also works on developing new techniques to improve computer science education.

UMBC recognized as a 'Great College to Work For'

UMBC was recognized as a “Great College to Work For” in a survey done by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The 2011 survey was based on responses from nearly 44,000 people at 310 US institutions. UMBC was as one of ten large four-year colleges (> 10K students) selected for the honor roll based on its scores on nearly 100 questions across twelve key categories.

Dr. desJardins promoted to full professor

The CSEE Department wishes to extend its congratulations to Dr. Marie desJardins for her recent promotion from associate professor to full professor. Dr. desJardins began teaching at UMBC in 2001 as an assistant professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and since then has taught courses in areas such as artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems and computer programming. As director of the Multi-agent, Planning and Learning lab (MAPLE) at UMBC, Dr. desJardins works with students to find AI solutions to real world problems. In addition to teaching, Dr. desJardins has actively been pursuing research in the areas of multi-agent systems, machine learning, and planning.

Throughout her decade-long career at UMBC, Dr. desJardins has been an active member of several university organizations and committees. From 2008 to 2010, she served as the Undergraduate Program Director for the Computer Science program. Currently, she is a member of the CSEE Executive Committee, the UMBC Faculty Affairs Committee and the CWIT Internal Advisory Board. Dr. desJardin’s numerous contributions to the CSEE Department, whether through teaching, research or committee involvement, have not been overlooked and the Department is confident that she will excel as she takes on her new role this July.

To learn more about Dr. desJardins’ research pursuits, read her research profile.

Faculty Research Profile: Dr. Marc Olano

Dr. Marc Olano is the director of the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department's Game Development Track and has been pursuing research in computer graphics and computer hardware for more than twenty years. Currently, he is working at Firaxis Games on texture compression for the Civilization V video game and collaborating with Dr. Erle Ellis of the Geography and Environmental Systems Department on a project dubbed Ecosynth.

To read more about Dr. Olano's research pursuits, see his full research profile

Faculty research profile: Dr. Tim Oates

Dr. Tim Oates, associate professor of computer science, does research in the field of machine learning and is interested in understanding the development of the human brain. Dr. Oates is also fascinated by the idea of making robots that are capable of learning and exhibiting human characteristics.  “I don’t know if we’ll ever have androids walking among us that are indistinguishable from humans,” says Dr. Oates, “but I bet we’ll get pretty darn close."

To read more about Dr. Oates' research pursuits, see his full research profile.

CSEE Department celebrates faculty research

The UMBC CSEE Department will be publishing a series of short research profiles describing the research activities of its faculty and students. The first features Professor Marie desJardins and the work of her Multi-Agent, Planning and Learning Lab at UMBC, where she works on developing A.I. solutions to real world problems. Dr. desJardins is especially interested in collaborating with students and helping them develop their own research interests. She says that nearly ninety-five percent of her research is with students. “I like the students to learn about a problem and find something that they think is interesting,” she says.

Dr. Marie desJardins


Dr. desJardins runs the Multi-Agent, Planning and Learning Lab (MAPLE) at UMBC, where she works on developing A.I. solutions to real world problems.

Dr. Marie desJardins, professor of computer science, is fascinated by the concept of Artificial Intelligence. She explains what she does as “trying to get computers to do things that you would think were smart if people did them.” Dr. desJardins runs the Multi-Agent, Planning and Learning Lab (MAPLE) at UMBC, which focuses on developing A.I. solutions to real world problems. Within the realm of artificial intelligence, she has divided her research interests into the three areas within in her lab: Multiagent systems, Planning, and Machine Learning.

Multiagent systems deals with the task of getting multiple intelligence systems, like humans or A.I.s, to solve problems together. Currently, Dr. desJardins is interested in the problem of trust. She is working to understand how to know which agents—for example, restaurant or movie reviews, or travel services– in an online community are trustworthy and which are not. At the moment, she is working with a referring agent that she knows will overestimate an individual’s ability and provide her with biased positive referrals. A biased agent, she explains, leads to the phenomenon of optimistic and pessimistic referrals.

Planning focuses on the “problem of trying to pre-plan in complex domains where planning is hard,” says desJardins. She compares her work to the job of a logistics planner for a FedEx fleet who is bombarded with last minutes pick-ups and deliveries that dynamically change his anticipated plan. In both cases, the task is the same: “What can you do in advance to anticipate what the likely kinds of requests are and be prepared to change things quickly?”

Machine Learning deals with building models to classify data or to make predictions. desJardins explains the concept with an example, no doubt, close to home: predicting whether or not students will pass a class. “What are the attributes that actually lead to success or failure in that context,” she says, “That’s the model building question.” But, in some cases, there is not enough data to build a model. If, for example, the model-builder does not know information like the amount of hours each student spends doing homework, it becomes difficult to predict their success in class. That’s where “cost sensitive feature acquisition” comes into play. This means that certain information can be collected, but if the model relies on that acquired information, then the model becomes severely limited by its necessity to have that information for all future predictions.

Dr. desJardins is especially interested in collaborating with students and helping them develop their own research interests. She says that nearly ninety-five percent of her research is with students. “I like the students to learn about a problem and find something that they think is interesting,” she says.

“The methodologies we use to identify and try to solve problems are things I’m starting to think about more explicitly,” says desJardins, who mentions that in the future she is interested in writing about how to do research effectively. Her ultimate vision, though she says it is probably too ambitious to realize, is an all-purpose A.I. that helps with computer maintenance and other tasks. “What I would love to exist by the time that I retire is a true intelligent agent that would live on your laptop and monitor your life,” she says.  


Three CSEE faculty and staff retire


Three long-time members of the CSEE community retired at the end of the Spring 2011 semester: Professor Sue Evans, Senior Lecturer, has taught Computer Science 201 since she began her teaching career at UMBC in 1997. Dr. John Pinkston, Professor, also came to UMBC in 1997 and served as the first Chair of the newly combined Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department for seven years. Donna Myers, Business Services Specialist for the Computer Science Department, has kept CSEE payroll in order since she joineed the staff in 2001. These three invaluable members of the CSEE Faculty and Staff will be missed and the CSEE Department extends its congratulations and wishes for relaxing and fulfilling futures.  You can read more about their contributions and future plans here

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