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


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.


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

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.

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