Undergraduate research award applications due March 3

UMBC Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day

The deadline for Undergraduate Research Award applications is Thursday, March 3. URAs provide up to $1,500 to undergraduate students to support their research or creative work with a UMBC faculty mentor on an original project. Students of all years and disciplines are invited to apply, as long as they will continue at UMBC long enough to complete the proposed work.

A student’s application requires a letter of support from the faculty mentor indicating knowledge of the student and his or her abilities as well as support of the project. The letter can further explain the importance of the work, the appropriate preparation of the student, and the feasibility of the work. The mentor’s commitment to working with the student must be included. For more information and to apply visit the URA page or contact Janet McGlynn (mcglynn at umbc.edu).

Related: Undergraduate research award applications due March 3

Intern and coop opportunities at NSA

The National Security Agency has an active internship and coop program in which many UMBC students take part.

Visit the National Security Agency to learn about intern and cooperative education positions, 9:15am – 3:00pm on Friday, March 11, 2011.

Challenge the unknown. Solve the impossible. And at NSA, it's about protecting the Nation. A career at NSA offers the opportunity to work with the best, shape the course of the world, and secure your own future. As a college undergrad, you can gain the experience you need while working toward your degree. And you'll get to experience first-hand what life at NSA is really like. Participate in this Shriver on the Road Visit to learn about the internship and co-op programs offered by the NSA.

The core mission of the NSA is to protect U.S. national security systems and to produce foreign signals intelligence information. NSA would like to invite students who meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be eligible to be granted a security clearance
  • Must be a freshman or sophomore
  • Must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Must be majoring in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, or Math

The Agenda for the Visit will include the following:

  • Tour of the National Cryptologic Museum
  • Free Lunch (Pizza, Cookies, Soda, etc)
  • Internship and Cooperative Education Information Session
  • NSA Intern/Co-op Meet and Greet
  • Security Awareness Presentation
  • Q and A Session

To participate: RSVP via UMBCcworks under Events (workshops) and send your resume to Casey Miller at The Shriver Center at UMBC, email: cmille1 at umbc.edu

Croom: State of Cyber Security in 2011, 2/23

Charles Croom, of Lockheed Martin will talk about "The State of Cyber Security 2011" at the UMBC Visionaries in IT Forum at 8:00am on Wednesday, February 23rd at the BWI Airport Marriott. The event is free but registration requested.

Croom joined Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions as Vice President of Cyber Security Solutions in October of 2008. In this capacity, he shapes the corporation’s cyber security strategy with insight from his 35 years of distinguished service, leadership, and technology experience from the U.S. Air Force. He co-chaired a National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee Task Force on “Strengthening Government and Private Sector Collaboration” which issued a May 2009 report recommending that the President direct the establishment of a Joint Coordinating Center. He currently serves on the Boards of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Internet Security Alliance (ISA).

Croom retired as a U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General, Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and the Commander of the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations in September 2008. While at DISA, he led a worldwide organization of more than 6,600 military and civilian personnel to serve the information technology and telecommunications needs of the President, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders, and other Department of Defense stakeholders.

Metareasoning in Adaptive Systems, 1pm Fri 3/4, ITE227 UMBC

Metareasoning in Adaptive Systems, 1pm Fri 3/4, ITE227 UMBC

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Metareasoning in Adaptive Systems

Dr. Joshua Jones
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1:00-2:15pm Friday, 4 March 2011, ITE 227, UMBC

Metareasoning, or reasoning about reasoning, is a process by which a system explicitly accesses (monitors and/or controls) its own reasoning. It is a widely held belief in AI that metareasoning is a cruicial part of human-level intelligence, and it could be considered part of consciousness. In this talk I will avoid such philosophical claims, and instead focus on some more practical applications of metareasoning in software systems that learn and adapt in changing environments. Specifically, I will give an overview of the basic metareasoning architecture and then discuss three systems: Augur, a classification system; GAIA, an adaptive game-playing system; and MCL, a general-purpose metareasoning shell.

Dr. Joshua Jones is a a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he works on a number of projects with the CORAL and MAPLE labs. These include the development of novel techniques for grammar induction, learning of branching lexicographic preference models, metareasoning in a robotics domain using the Meta-Cognitive Loop (MCL) reasoning system and applications of machine learning methods in medical and financial domains.

Dr. Jones earned his PhD in May 2010 at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as a member of the Design Intelligence Laboratory led by Ashok Goel. His primary research interest is in the area of Artificial Intelligence. He works mostly on learning, which his dissertation viewed as a result of metareasoning — where changes to an agent's knowledge or processes are produced by a deliberative process of agent introspection (self-diagnosis) and self-repair. His dissertation research involved designing both reasoning processes capable of such learning, and knowledge representations capable of supporting those reasoning processes, all of which are implemented in a system called Augur. Augur is also integrated with several statistical machine learning algorithms, and as such, the work is in part intended to establish a bridge between machine learning and knowledge-based approaches to AI.

Update: Slides from Metareasoning in Adaptive Systems, Fri 3/4/2011, UMBC

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UMBC GAIM cited as one of the top game design programs

Scene from the Jumper game developed by UMBC students.

Professor Marc Olano notes that UMBC's GAIM program was identified by Princeton review as one of the "Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs".

"I don’t know how I missed this, but UMBC made the Princeton Review’s list of the top 50 undergraduate game design programs. Now I might split hairs and say that we really focus on game development more than design, much as there’s a distinction between being an actor and being a director, but I certainly won’t complain about making the list!"

Dessert & Discussion with Marc Olano, 6:30pm Thr 2/24, UC 310

From Pong to Halo: The Making of a Game

Marc Olano, 6:30-8:00pm Thursday, 24 February 2011, UC 310

UMBC CSEE Professor Marc OlanoSure you know how to play video games, but have you ever wondered what goes into creating one? Gaming is a multi-billion dollar, world-wide industry and there are increasing opportunities for new ideas. With the growing popularity of web-based and downloadable games, it is becoming easier for independent game designers to be successful. Think you’ve got what it takes? Then put down that controller and join us for a behind the scenes look at game development.

The Dessert and Discussion series engages alumni and outstanding UMBC faculty in dialogue about contemporary social issues and research interested in an informal, intimate environment. Light refreshments, dessert and coffee will be provided for each discussion. You may register for one or more of the following discussions below. *Please note that space is limited to 30 participants per discussion.

UMBC teams made five games during the Global Game Jam weekend

Professor Marc Olano recaps what happened at the UMBC site during the Global Game Jam.

Last weekend, 35 people were working madly in the UMBC GAIM lab as part of the 3rd annual Global Game Jam. At 5pm on Friday, in the midst of a campus-wide power outage, they watched they keynote video from a laptop held over my head in a dark lab, then learned the theme for this year’s jam: all games had to express somehow the theme “Extinction”. By about 7:00, the power was back on, and they’d formed into five teams, each trying to complete a game by Sunday. One short second power outage later(!), they were on their way.

Read the complete post including descripions and links to the five games that were created at UMBC in Dr. Olano's Global Game Jam wrap-up post.

UMBC Engineering Management and Systems Engineering graduate info session, April 13

UPDATE: date and location changed: 12-1pm Wed April 13, 456ITE building. See flyer.

Learn about degree and certificate options, course overviews, admission processes and credit requirements at an information session for the UMBC Engineering Management and Systems Engineering graduate programs. The session will be held 12-1pm Wednesday April 13 in room 456 of the Information Technology and Engineering building. 10:00-11:30am on Saturday, March 12 in Lecture hall 7 of the ITE building. Ted Foster, Assistant Dean of the UMBC College of Engineering and IT and Graduate Program Director of both programs, will be there to answer questions. RSVP by sending email to professionals at umbc.edu.

The Engineering Management Program at UMBC combines a practical business approach with an in-depth technical concentration and emphasizes how to manage people and complex projects. Courses are developed and taught by industry experts, and are designed to address real-world problems in the workplace. Both a Master’s Degree a Graduate Certificate program are offered.

The Systems Engineering program couples the experiences of the region’s top engineers with the expertise of UMBC’s world-class engineering faculty. This program designed in colloboration with some of the leading employers in this field balances practical application and theoretical understanding. Systems Engineering students experience a rich curriculum that covers all aspects of a system’s life cycle using state-of-the-art principles, practices, and technologies. Our Systems Engineering graduate programs are designed for working engineers, taught by the region’s top systems engineers from leading defense contractors and overseen by a board of faculty and industry leaders. Both a Master’s Degree a Graduate Certificate program are offered.

Classes in both Engineering Management and Systems Engineering are conveniently offered in the evening on the UMBC campus, located just five minutes from BWI Airport, with easy access from I-95 and the 695 Beltway.

2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Grace Hopper ConferenceThe 11th Annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing has opened its Call for Participation. The annual conference, presented by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, is the world's largest gathering of women in computing. The 2011 CHC will take place from 9-12 November 9-12 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. This year's theme "What if?" recognizes that innovation in technology arises from the question What if a culture of technology that encourages participation and inquiry from a diverse workforce leads to greater levels of innovation.

The GHC is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering. The technical conference features well known keynote speakers and invited technical speakers, panels, workshops, new investigator technical papers, PhD forums, technical posters, birds of a feather sessions, the ACM Student Research Competition and an Awards Celebration.

Submissions on both technical and professional topics are encouraged. The GHC committee requests submissions reflecting the conference theme "What if?" in the areas of innovation within a company, from academia, or from individual contributors. Technical submissions that cross disciplines and other boundaries are encouraged. The submission deadline is March 15, 2011.

Is Watson the smartest machine on earth?

IBM Watson on Jeopardy


Next week IBM's Watson system will try to establish its claim to be the world's smartest computer in a Jeopardy! challenge against two of the best human players. The three matches will be broadcast on CBS on February 14, 15 and 16. Watson's competition will be the biggest all-time Jeopardy money winner Brad Rutter ($3.2M) and Ken Jennings, who holds the record holder for winning the most consecutive games (74). See the Jeopardy! for their perspective on this match.





Watson and the match was the subject of PBS NOVA episode #3808, Smartest Machine On Earth which was broadcast last night. If you missed it as I did 🙁 you can see it tonight (Thursday February 10) in the Baltimore-DC area at 11:00pm on WETA2.

Watson is a result of IBM's DeepQA Project whose goal is to develop "a computer system that can directly and precisely answer natural language questions over an open and broad range of knowledge". According to IBM:

"Watson is an application of advanced natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge representation and reasoning, and machine learning technologies to the field of open domain question answering. At its core, Watson is built on IBM's DeepQA technology for hypothesis generation, massive evidence gathering, analysis, and scoring. Watson is a workload optimized system designed for complex analytics, made possible by integrating massively parallel POWER7 processors and the IBM DeepQA software to answer Jeopardy! questions in under three seconds. Watson is made up of a cluster of ninety IBM Power 750 servers (plus additional I/O, network and cluster controller nodes in 10 racks) with a total of 2880 POWER7 processor cores and 16 Terabytes of RAM. Each Power 750 server uses a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight core processor, with four threads per core. The POWER7 processor's massively parallel processing capability is an ideal match for Watson's IBM DeepQA software which is embarrassingly parallel (that is a workload that executes multiple threads in parallel).

Add your comments to say who you think will win the Jeopardy! IBM Challenge and if this is a good test of intelligence.

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