UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference schedule, Sat 4/30

The UMBC's Fifth Digital Entertainment Conference will be held on Saturday, April 30th. Every year, the UMBC Game Developer's Club invites speakers from area game companies to share their knowledge and experience. One of the strenghts of the UMBC program in Graphics, Animation and Interactive Media (GAIM) is its strong ties to game development studios in the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area.

This year's event is sponsored by Zynga, the studio that developed Farmville and many other Facebook games. It will feature speakers from Zynga, Firaxis, Pure Bang, and Dream Rock Studios. Here is the schedule.

  • 10:00am Greg Foertsch, Project Art Director at Firaxis
  • 11:00am Ed Zavada, Programmer at Dream Rock Studios
  • 12:00pm Lunch
  • 01:00pm Eric Jordan (UMBC 2007), Programmer at Firaxis
  • 02:00pm Ben Walsh, CEO of Pure Bang Games
  • 03:00pm Barry Caudill, Executive Producer at Firaxis
  • 04:00pm Michelle Menard, Designer at Zynga

The DEC will be held in Lecture Hall 5 in the Engineering and Computer Science building. Admission is free and the conference is open to everyone.

CSEE undergraduates present work at URCAD

Congratulations to the CSEE undergraduate students and groups who will be presenting posters on their research as part of the Fifteenth Annual UMBC Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day. UCRAD features research, scholarship, and creative work carried out by UMBC undergraduates.

  • Natée Johnson, X-Ray Study of Nano-Scale Superlattice Materials, 3:15pm-3:30pm, UC 310, Mentor: Dr. Fow-Sen Choa
     
  • Sheriff Jolaoso, Spectrogram Analysis and Evaluation and Brainwave Appreciation of Music, 10:00am-12:30pm UC Ballrooom, Mentor: Dr. Fow-Sen Choa
     
  • Morgan Madeira and Rachel Sweeton, Finding Communities through Social Media, 10:00am-12:30pm, Mentor: Dr. Anupam Joshi
     
  • Ross Pokorny, 12:30pm-3:00pm, UC Ballroom, TweetCollector: A Framework for Retrieving, Processing, and Storing Live Data from Twitter, Mentors: Dr. Timothy Finin and Dr. Anupam Joshi
     
  • David Shyu, Patient Identification and Diagnosis Using Fourier Analysis and Beam Forming of Multi-electrode Brain Wave Signals, 12:30pm-3:00pm, Mentors: Dr. Fow-Sen Choa and Dr. Elliott Hong
     
  • UMBC Game Developers Club, Innovations in Computer Game Development, 12:30pm-3:00pm, Mentor: Mr. Neal McDonald

Serial entrepreneur David Turock to talk at Baltimore Emerging Technology Center

The Baltimore ACM Chapter, the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, and the Emerging Technology Center are hosting a free, public lecture on entrepreneurship by David Turock at 7:00pm, Wednesday 27 April in the ETC Canton facility (2400 Boston St., Baltimore).

David Turock will present a side-by-side comparison of two telecommunications start-ups that he launched: one successful, and one not. He compares and contrasts their funding sources, agility and scalability of their business models, hiring practices, and more. His experience and lessons learned will be valuable for aspiring tech entrepreneurs. He finishes with how his interests have shifted to using technology to promote social and environmental causes.

David Turock is a veteran entrepreneur and currently a Director of Counsel RB Capital. He holds a patent on VoIP, and is an expert on telecommunications technologies and their applications. Mr. Turock began his career working with AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1982 and Bell Communications Research in 1988, and subsequently founded enhanced telephone service provider, Call Sciences. He later formed Interexchange, which designed and operated one of the world's largest debit card systems. Most recently, from 2001 to 2007, Mr. Turock was Chief Technology Officer of Therap Services, a provider of informatics services to disabled patients. Mr. Turock received his B.S. in Experimental Psychology from Syracuse University, his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University, and his M.S.E. in Computer Science from the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Baltimore ACM chapter invites attendees for pizza starting at 6:30pm. There is no charge, but please RSVP to Emil Volcheck at

The ETC Canton facility is located at the American Can Company complex, 2400 Boston Street in Baltimore. ETC is on the 3rd floor of the building that houses the Austin Grille restaurant and the entrance is next to the Lenscrafters store. There is a 3 hour visitor parking in front of the building on the Boston Street side.

Computing enrollments up 10% nationwide

The CRA reports that total enrollments among U.S. computer science undergraduates increased 10% in 2010 based on data from its most recent annual Taulbee Survey. This is the third straight year of increases in total enrollment and indicates that the post “dot-com crash” decline in undergraduate computing program enrollments is over. The Taulbee Survey is conducted annually to document trends in student enrollment, degree production, employment of graduates, and faculty salaries in Ph.D-granting departments of computer science, computer engineering and information systems in the United States and Canada. You can find the data in a CRA report on Computing Degree and Enrollement Trends.  The full data from the Taulbee report will be available later in May from the CRA Web site.

The data for UMBC computing majors shows similar increases in the past three years.

Subjects sought for Python programming study

Participate in a Python programming study and win a iPod

Last chance to participate & enter drawing for a free iPod Nano!

We are a group of students who are performing a research study to investigate how students learn and improve their performance at different aspects of Python programming. For the study, we are looking for students who are currently enrolled in CMSC 201 or who took CMSC 201 in the last semester or two and have not yet completed CMSC 202.

In exchange for your participation in the study, we will provide pizza for the participants, and each student will also be entered into a drawing for an 8G iPod Nano, in the color of your choice. One participant, of the 24 to 32 students that we recruit, will win the Nano.  We are currently signing students up for the following three time slots:

  • Wed 4/6, 7pm-10pm: free pizza will be available for registered participants at 6:45
  • Fri 4/8, 10am-2pm: Show up *any time* between 10am and 2pm — whatever works for you! Pizza will be ordered around noon.
  • Mon 4/11, 10:30am-8pm: Show up any time between 10:30am and 8pm! Pizza will be provided around noon and again around 6:30 if there are participants there to eat it!

The study will take place in ITE 240. Please sign up in advance if at all possible, and let us know what time you expect to arrive during the open sessions, so that we know how many students to expect and how much pizza to order!

The study involves four stages: first, you will be given a brief tutorial in the Python-based RUR-PLE visual programming environment and be asked to answer some warm-up questions to help familiarize you with the RUR-PLE environment. You will then be given a pretest that asks you to answer some basic multiple-choice programming questions. Next, you will be given a series of problems to solve within RUR-PLE, either by writing Python programs to perform a specified task, or by predicting the output and behavior of a given program. Finally, you will take a posttest that is similar to the pretest. We will record your answers to help us understand how to predict student programming performance and learning, based on their starting knowledge. The length of time to complete these tasks will vary, depending on the student, from one to two hours. Your data will be completely anonymized, and no information about you personally will be stored with the results of the study.

If you have any questions or wish to volunteer for the study, please contact Amy Ciavolino at Prof. Marie desJardins () is the faculty advisor for this project, and you may also contact her with any questions or concerns.

Amy Ciavolino (), Robert Deloatch (), Eliana Feasley () and David Walser ()

Talk: Diversity, Identity and Inclusion, 11am Fri 4/15 ITE229

Evening falls on the UMBC campus with downtown Baltimore in the background.

Diversity, Identity, and Inclusion

Dr. Manuel A. Perez-Quinones

Associate Professor of Computer Science
Virginia Tech

11:00am – 12:00pm Friday 15 April 2011, ITE 229

In this talk, Dr. Pérez-Quiñones presents basic definitions of these terms and briefly discusses some of the research literature on them.  He presents evidence that supports diversity and inclusion beyond the typical social justice argument. With this as a framing context, Dr.  Pérez-Quiñones describes his experiences over the last few years working in this domain in the context of university administration, professional service activities, and researcher. Anecdotally, the stories show incidents of biases, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and resistance to change.  Based on these experiences, Dr.  Pérez-Quiñones draws conclusions and provides advice for working in diverse groups, recruiting a diverse graduate student population, and fostering an inclusive work environment.

Dr. Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones is Associate Professor of Computer Science, and a member of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. Pérez-Quiñones holds a DSc in CS from The George Washington University, Washington, DC. His research interests include human-computer interaction, personal information management, user interface software, digital government, and educational/cultural issues in computing. He is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceeding publications, as well as co-author of 10 book chapters. He is Chair of the Coalition to Diversify Computing (2010-2011), a committee of the CRA, ACM, and IEEE-CS. Dr. Pérez-Quiñones is Director of the Personal Information Management Research lab. The PIM lab studies how individuals use technology to organize and use their information to satisfy their day to day needs. Lately the group has been studying how we make sense of the multiple devices used to manage our personal information. Outside of HCI, he has collaborated with researchers in the areas of Digital Government, Software Engineering, Computing Education, Digital Libraries, and Data Mining. Dr. Pérez-Quiñones was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Host: Dr. Marie desJardins,

Sponsors: Dr. Pérez-Quiñones's visit to UMBC is sponsored by Women in Science and Engineering, the PROMISE program, the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and the Department of Information Systems.

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Cyber Defense Team meeting, Noon 4/4 ITE 325b

cyberdawgs

The UMBC Cyber Defense Team, aka the Cyberdawgs, will host a technical briefing on Monday April 4 featuring two guest speakers from the DoD. The topic will be the cyber competitions between the service academies, and other cyber-related topics may come up as well. The meeting will be held in the CSEE conference room, ITE 325b, from Noon to 2:00pm.

The Cyber Defense Team is a SGA recognized student organization whose members share a common interest in computer and network security and participating in cybersecurity competitions and events. It is open to everyone regardless of your major or current knowledge level. If you are interested in joining come to this meeting or any of the weekly meetings held on Monday's from Noon to 2:00pm. You can also subscribe to its mailing list by sending a message to

The Social Life of Personal Information, 1pm Thr 4/14 ITE325b

The Social Life of Personal Information

Dr. Manuel A. Perez-Quinones

Associate Professor of Computer Science
Virginia Tech

1:00pm Thursday 14 April 2011, ITE 325b

Personal Information Management (PIM) practices are the set of behaviors that we follow to organize our information. This often includes the management of email messages, documents, bookmarks, digital pictures, music, etc. Research in PIM has identified a core set of set of behaviors: encountering information, deciding to keep the information, filing/archiving, and reusing the information. The plethora of digital information and online transactions has us struggling to manage information effectively. In my research group, we are exploring how we can help address this problem.

In this talk, I briefly present previous work on PIM and highlight some new projects that my research group is exploring at the intersection of PIM and Social Networks. The rise of social networks presents an opportunity for the management of personal information. Emails in a person's inbox, for example, are "shared" between the sender and the receiver. What if we could share the PIM practices within our inner personal circle? Could we leverage the power of our social network to be more organized?

Dr. Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones is Associate Professor of Computer Science, and a member of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. Pérez-Quiñones holds a DSc in CS from The George Washington University, Washington, DC. His research interests include human-computer interaction, personal information management, user interface software, digital government, and educational/cultural issues in computing. He is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceeding publications, as well as co-author of 10 book chapters. He is Chair of the Coalition to Diversify Computing (2010-2011), a committee of the CRA, ACM, and IEEE-CS. Dr. Pérez-Quiñones is Director of the Personal Information Management Research lab. The PIM lab studies how individuals use technology to organize and use their information to satisfy their day to day needs. Lately the group has been studying how we make sense of the multiple devices used to manage our personal information. Outside of HCI, he has collaborated with researchers in the areas of Digital Government, Software Engineering, Computing Education, Digital Libraries, and Data Mining. Dr. Pérez-Quiñones was born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Host: Dr. Marie desJardins,

Lecture on Distributed Quantum Algorithms, 2:30pm Web 3/30

Classical computers use binary “bits” of ones and zeros. Quantum computers encode such bits in physical systems where we can also harness the quantum mechanical properties and obtain a more powerful system of quantum bits, or qubits. Thanks to the amazing rules of quantum mechanics, qubits can be in a “superposition” of zero and one simultaneously.

Professor Samuel Lomonaco will present a lecture on Distributed Quantum Algorithms from 2:30 to 3:45 on Wednesday March 30 in room ITE 325b. In the talk, Professor Lomonaco will show how quantum entanglement can be used as a mechanism for controlling a network of quantum computers. The talk is open to all.

Curt Tilmes dissertation defense, Data Provenance, 10am Thr 3/31

Dissertation Defense

Enabling Reproducibility of Scientific Data Flows
through Tracking and Representation of Provenance

Curt Tilmes

10:00am Thursday, 31 March 2011
ITE 325b, UMBC

Reproducibility of results is a key tenet of science. Some modern scientific domains, such as Earth Science, have become computationally complicated and, particularly with the advent of higher resolution space based remote sensing platforms, tremendously data intensive. Over the last few decades, these complexities along with the the rapid advancement of the state of the art confound the goal of scientific transparency.

This thesis explores concepts of data identification, organization, equivalence and reproducibility for such data intensive scientific processing. It presents a conceptual model useful for describing and representing data provenance suitable for very precise data and processing identification. It presents algorithms for creating and maintaining precise dataset membership and provenance equivalence at various degrees of granularity and data aggregation.

Application of this model will allow more specific data citations in scientific literature based on large datasets and data provenance equivalence. Our provenance representations will enable independent reproducibility required by scientific transparency. Increasing transparency will contribute to understanding, and ultimately, credibility of scientific results.

Committee:

  • Yelena Yesha (co-chair)
  • Milton Halem (co-chair)
  • Tim Finin
  • Anupam Joshi
  • Jim Smith (NASA)
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