Workshop on Topological Quantum Information

CSEE Professor Samuel Lomonaco is the co-organizer of a two-day workshop on Topological Quantum Information to be held on May 16-17, 2011 at the Mathematical Research Center Ennio De Giorgi in Pisa as part of an intensive research period focused on Knots and Applications. The workshop will foster inter-disciplinary communication among researchers working on topological information science.   A goal is to identify key issues involved in ultimately building a quantum computer based on a quantum system with inherently built-in topological obstructions to decoherence. For more information, contact Dr. Lomonaco at

2011 Google Summer of Code open for applications

The 2011 Google Summer of Code pays students $5000 to work on one of a set od approved open source projects

Still looking for a summer internship? Check out the Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

This is a is a global program funded by Google that pays undergraduate or graduate students a $5000 stipend to write code for open source projects. GSoC has worked with the open source community to identify and fund exciting projects for the upcoming summer. The FAQ is a good place to find out more.

A set of open source projects (aka mentoring organizations) has been selected. Students apply to work on one of more of these and each mentoring organization ranks the students interested in working with them. Google facilitates the final selection and pairing. The mentoring organization works closely with the student to define tasks, check progress, help solve problems, etc. Typically the thudent works remotely, interacting with his or her mentor via email, chat, skype, etc.

Students can submit applications via the Google Summer of Code 2011 site from March 28 to April 8. Google says that that the best applications they receive are from students who took the time to interact with one of the participating mentoring organizations and discuss their ideas before submitting an application. Check out the information on the Advice for GSoC Students Page which links to a list of the 2011 mentoring organizations.

I have a plug for a particular project: Elgg. "Elgg is an award-winning social networking engine, delivering the building blocks that enable businesses, schools, universities and associations to create their own fully-featured social networks and applications." One of the people involved with Elgg's GSoC effort works at JHU/APL and may do mentoring locally. They are looking for people who know (or are willing to learn) PHP, JavaScript, and basic web development. Send email to to find out more about the ideas the Elgg project has proposed for GSCO 2011.

UMBC defends title in Final Four of College Chess

UMBC will field the same team that won the 2010 Final Four of College Chess seen in this photo from their 2010 win.

Next weekend UMBC will defend its title of best college chess team in the United States at the Final Four of College Chess. The match will be held on 1-3 April at Booz Allen Hamilton's corporate site in Herndon, VA.

Each year, the top four USA schools from the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship are invited to compete for the President's Cup in a match that has come to be known as the "Final Four of College Chess". The winner is considered to be the top US college chess team.

This year, the UMBC team will face three teams from Texas universities: Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Director of the UMBC Chess Program, Professor Alan Sherman, believes that UMBC has the strongest team but says "We are fielding the same team that won the Final Four last year and that placed second in the 2010 Pan-Am in Milwaukee. It will be a close fight in which any of the four teams could possibly win."

UMBC's team consists of International Grandmasters Leonid “Chief” Kritz, Sergey “The Stealth” Erenburg, Giorgi Margvelashvili, International Master Sasha “Plaplan” Kaplan and International Woman Grandmaster Sabina "Sunshine" Foisor (alternate). Supporting the team are UMBC Chess Coach Igor Epshteyn and Associate Chess Director Sam Palatnik.

Update 4/1:  The Final Four program is now available. See the UMBC news item.


CSEE Research Review, 6 May 2011

CSEE student Jesus Caban (PhD 2009) explains his research on data visualization.

The CSEE Department will hold its annual CSEE Research Review day from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Friday, May 6. Faculty, research staff and students from the Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering programs will present and discuss their latest research results via short oral presentations and a poster session. The event is open to the public and is a good way for prospective collaborators and students to find out about the research our department is doing and meet and network with current faculty and students. See pictures from CRR-06CRR-08CRR-09 and CRR-10 to get an idea of what goes on at this event.

The 2011 CSEE Research Review (CRR-11) will take place in the large conference room of the UMBC Technology Center's business Incubator and Accelerator building on South Campus. There is ample free parking and refreshments and a free buffet lunch will be provided.

CSEE faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit papers and posters for possible presentation by the April 11 deadline. See the CRR-11 Call for Submissions for details on how to submit research work. Awards with cash prizes will be given for the best research paper submitted by a undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D. student and for the best three posters.

For more information, contact the CRR-11 General Chair, Professor Alan Sherman,

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) Tutorial, 4pm Fri 4/1 UMBC

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a Linux feature that provides a mechanism for supporting access control security policies that help secure a computer running it against many kinds of attacks.

UMBC Linux Users Group

SELinux Talk and Tutorial

David Quigley
Advanced Engineering & Development, Keyw Corporation

4:00pm Friday, 1 April 2011
Room 229 ITE, UMBC

Over a decade ago researchers at the National Information Assurance Research Lab at the NSA identified a need for flexible mandatory access controls to help provide a solid foundation for secure systems. This resulted in the development of the FLASK architecture, which has seen implementation in a number of operating systems. The most prominent implementation of FLASK is in the form of SELinux. Since the early days of SELinux adoption much work as been done to improve the utility and usability of SELinux. These enhancement have turned SELinux from a prototype research implementation into a robust access control mechanism that is used by a variety of customers world wide.

This talk is a from the ground up journey through SELinux. It starts with why do we need this technology and then moves through where to obtain it, how it works, and how to identify and solve problems associated with SELinux. In addition to these basics the talk also covers slightly more advanced topics such as hot to construct policy for new applications and hot to address customizations particular to your deployments.

David Quigley started his career as a Computer Systems Researcher for the National Information Assurance Research Lab at the NSA where he worked as a member of the SELinux team but has since left that position. David leads the design and implementation efforts to provide Labeled-NFS support for SELinux. David has previously contributed to the open source community through maintaining the Unionfs 1.0 code base and through code contributions to various other projects. David has presented at conferences such as the Ottawa Linux Symposium, the StorageSS workshop, LinuxCon and several local Linux User Group meetings where presentation topics have included storage, file systems, and security. David currently works as a Computer Science Professional for the Advanced Engineering and Development division at Keyw Corporation.

This talk is sponsored by the UMBC Linux Users' Group.

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Making smartphones more intelligent

Mobile devices will provide better services if then can model, recognize and adapt to their users' context.

Our smartphones are quite capable, but not really very intelligent. They have more computational power than the supercomputers NASA used to reach the moon and are loaded with sensors, but lack "situational awareness" — an ability to understand their context and use that knowledge to provide better services for their users.

CSEE professor Tim Finin is one of the organizers of a workshop on Activity Context Representation: Techniques and Languages that is focused on the problems underlying making mobile devices more intelligent. The workshop will address techniques and systems to allow mobile devices model, reason about, and recognize the activities and context of their users and exploit those models to provide better services. The workshop is sponsored by the sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and will be held on August 7th and 8th in San Francisco as part of AAAI-11, the Twenty-Fifth Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Finin is working with colleagues Anupam Joshi and Laura Zavala and students from the ebiquity lab on the NSF-sponsored Platys project that is working on this problem. The project is developing software for Android phones that uses machine learning algorithms to recognize their users' activities and their roles in them and selectively share this information with other devices based on user-defined privacy policies.

Requirements and forms for ENEE and CMPE Ph.D. Comprehensive Portfolio

The Ph.D. programs for Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering have adopted a new comprehensive portfolio process that replaces the old comprehensive examinations process. The requirements and associated forms can be found in the following document: CMPE/ENEE Ph.d. Comprehensive Portfolio Policy Implementation Guidelines.

Cybersecurity graduate program information session

UMBC Cybersecurity graduate MPS program

The UMBC cybersecurity graduate MPS program will host an informal information session from Noon to 1:00pm on Wednesday, April 6 in ITE Lecture Hall 7. Attend to hear the benefits and practical applications of the program and meet staff members who will be available to answer questions.

The program allows students to:

  • Learn from both research faculty and industry practitioners
  • Acquire the latest knowledge and skills and get the preparation you need to make meaningful contributions to the fieldDevelop a network of fellow students and faculty that will benefit you throughout your career
  • Choose either a post graduate certificate or master's degree

UMBC is designated as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAE) as well as a Center of Academic Excellence in Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

The program is now accepting applications for Fall 2011. See the Cybersecurity program Web site more information.

Research Faculty position in Computational Photonics


The Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is seeking candidates for a Research Faculty position in the area of Computational Photonics. The appointment will be made at the level of an Assistant Research Scientist or Assistant Research Professor (or in exceptional cases at the Research Associate level) as commensurate with experience.

The successful candidate will develop and validate computational models of opto-electronic oscillators, short-pulse, modelocked lasers, and possibly photonics crystal fibers. The research will involve close collaboration with experimentalists. More information about research in Computational Photonics at UMBC can be found at An appointment at the level of Assistant Research Professor would require the ability to engage in instructional activity in either or both the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department and the Mathematics and Statistics Department. Such an appointment would have to be approved by the appropriate department(s).

This position is available immediately. The initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility of renewal for additional years. A Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, Theoretical Physics, or Electrical Engineering is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience in computational methods for solving partial and ordinary differential equations, a strong background in physics and mathematics, and a strong interest in mentoring PhD students. Experience in the modeling of optical systems is useful but not required.

Interested applicants should email a CV and the names and contact information of three professional references to both Curtis Menyuk (menyuk at and John Zweck (zweck at For best consideration, applications should be received by June 1st, 2011. However, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

UMBC is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

UMBC highly ranked in production of IT degrees

2009 UMBC Commencement (photo: Jim Lord)

UMBC is highly ranked in the U.S. for its degree and certificate granting in the computing sciences. The University is fourth among U.S. research universities in the production of IT degrees and certificates, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, which is available from National Science Foundation’s WebCASPAR site. The table below displays the top ten universities in terms of total production in the Carnegie classification categories RU/VH and RU/H.

Average yearly production in 2007 and 2008
Penn State
University of Southern California
Johns Hopkins University
New Jersey Institute Technology
Georgia Tech
University of California-Irvine

The most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics also shows that UMBC ranks second among U.S. research universities in undergraduate IT degrees awarded, and it is the largest producer among those universities of IT graduates in Maryland, DC and Virginia. According to the same data, UMBC is second in Maryland and 31st nationally in the number of PhDs granted in IT. The numbers are averaged from the two most recent years available — 2007 and 2008.

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