Free Screenings of the AlphaGo movie at UMBC, 7-9pm Tue 2/13 and 2-4pm Fri 2/16

Free Screenings of the AlphaGo movie at UMBC

UMBC will hold two free, public screenings of the award-winning documentary film AlphaGo, one 7:00-9:00pm Tuesday evening, February 13 and another 2:00-4:00pm Friday, February 16. Both will be held in lecture hall 5 (EMGR 027) in the UMBC Engineering Building (maps: campus, google).  Each screening will be followed by comments and discussion by several faculty members.

AlphaGo is the first computer program to defeat a Go world champion, and arguably the strongest Go player in history. It was developed by DeepMind, a London-based company that specializes in AI and machine learning that was acquired by Google in 2014.

“On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history…Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?”

Go has been considered to be one of the most challenging games for AI systems to master because of its enormous search space and the difficulty of evaluating board positions and moves. AlphaGo’s success is especially significant in that it is an example of the powerful new deep learning approaches based on neural networks.

Please join us at one  of the screenings this exciting film and take part in the discussions that follow.

talk: Results of the 2018 SFS Research Study at UMBC, 12pm Fri 2/9, ITE228


The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Results from the January 2018 SFS Research Study at UMBC

Enis Golaszewski
Department of Information Systems

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 9 February 2018, ITE 228 (or nearby)

January 22-26, 2018, UMBC SFS scholars worked collaboratively to analyze the security of a targeted aspect of the UMBC computer system.  The focus of this year’s study was the WebAdmin module that enables users to perform various functions on their accounts, including changing the password.  Students identified vulnerabilities involving failure to sanitize user input properly and suggested mitigations.  Participants comprised BS, MS, MPS, and PhD students studying computer science, computer engineering, information systems, and cybersecurity, including SFS scholars who transferred from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College to complete their four-year degrees at UMBC. We hope that other universities can benefit from our motivational and educational strategy of cooperating with the university’s IT staff to engage students in active project-based learning centering on focused questions about the university computer system.

This project was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under SFS grant 1241576.

Enis Golaszewski () is a PhD student and SFS scholar in computer science working with Dr. Sherman on blockchain, protocol analysis, and the security of software-defined networks.

Host: Alan T. Sherman, 

Global Game Jam, UMBC, 26-28 January 2018

Global Game Jam at UMBC

For the 10th(!) year in a row, UMBC is the Baltimore host site for the Global Game Jam!

Where: Engineering (ENG) building on the UMBC campus
When: 5 PM January 26 – 5 PM January 28, 2018
Cost: Free, but advance registration is required (register at

What is a Game Jam?

In a game jam, participants come together to make a video game. Each participant joins a small team at the jam, and over a couple of day period creates a new, unique and creative video game according to the rules of the jam.

Game Jams are a great way to meet other developers, beef up your resume, or just learn what it takes to make a game. Teams need designers who can come up with a creative game idea according to the jam constraints, artists, programmers and testers, so there is something to do for participants at all levels of experience.

So what is the Global Game Jam?

The Global Game Jam takes place in the same 48 hours all over the world! The first year there were 53 host sites in the US, Canada, Brazil, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, Wales, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Last year had hundreds of host sites across the world.

The Global Game Jam will start 5 PM local time Friday, January 26th and end 5 PM local time Sunday, January 28th, 2018. All participants in the Global Game Jam will be constrained by the same theme and set of rules. After the theme is announced, participants will have the chance to brainstorm game ideas and pitch them to other participants to form development teams. After a couple of mad days of game development, all the games are demoed and submitted to the global game jam site.

Even if you don’t participate, you can track the action on twitter #ggj18 and #umbcggj, and try out the game submissions after the event is over.

For the full list of sites, more Global Game Jam information, and information on the keynote speaker and other exciting developments, be sure to visit the main Global Game Jam site.

UMBC Site Information

The UMBC Global Game Jam site will close from 11 PM to 7 AM each Friday and Saturday night. Non-local participants should plan accordingly.

We’ll have a mix of computers and development platforms:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • WiFi (with your own laptop)

These have a mix of the following software (not all software on all platforms)

  • Visual Studio
  • Unity
  • Unreal Engine
  • Maya
  • NVIDIA PhysX
  • Adobe Creative Suite

What you should bring

Yourself. Your creativity.

Don’t come with a pre-planned team. Teams will be formed on-site after the game pitches are made. Also, don’t bring pre-made content (art, code, sounds, etc.) that is not publically available. The idea is not to see how well you anticipate the constraints, it is to see what each team can create during the Jam!

Professors Banerjee & Robucci on developing wearable sensors for people with limited mobility

UMBC’s new Public Research for Public Good site features videos that highlight faculty research that provides real impact on the communities they are working with. In one, CSEE Professors Nilanjan Banerjee and Ryan Robucci discuss their research on developing wearable sensors to help people with limited mobility, allowing them to more easily interact with things in their environment. The sensors are built out of conductive fabric that can be sewn into sheets or clothing. The uniqueness of their project stems from the the team assembled to carry it out, which includes faculty and students who design low-level hardware, implement interactive software systems, rehabilitation specialists and end users.

Congratulations to CSEE’s December 2017 graduates

Congratulations to CSEE’s 158 new alumni. They include ten Ph.D., 47 M.S., 29 M.P.S. and 72 B.S. graduates.

UMBC faculty, alumni and partners discuss cybersecurity and industry challenges


UMBC faculty, alumni and corporate partners discuss cybersecurity and industry challenges

Cybersecurity is regularly a headliner in the news, especially when personal information stored online has been compromised, whether through a breach, hack, or threat. On Thursday, December 7, UMBC hosted experts from industry and academia at the National Press Club to discuss the cyber challenges professionals face, and how those groups can work together to prepare future generations of cybersecurity professionals.

Scott Shane, a reporter with The New York Times, led the discussion with five panelists representing industry, small business, and higher education. “I think it’s fair to say the internet was built without adequate attention to security,” stated Shane, who writes about cyber and information attacks regularly. “It’s almost like somebody who starts a bank with branches all over the world, and after it’s up and running and has millions of account holders, suddenly starts to think about safes, locks on the doors and bulletproof glass. I think that’s sort of the stage that we’re at right now.”

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski and Anupam Joshi, professor and chair of computer science and electrical engineering, and director of the Center for Cybersecurity at UMBC, were joined by alumni and partners who have been working on the challenge of educating the workforce together. Hrabowski explained that there are currently about 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs, and that number is expected to continue to grow. By 2021, it is anticipated that there will be approximately three million job openings in cyber-related fields.

Over the course of his professional career, Nigel Faulkner, chief technology officer at T. Rowe Price, has experienced the emergence of technology and many changes. “As the CTO of a medium-large company, cyber is a defensive investment for us. The best thing that can happen is nothing happens,” Faulkner said, adding that he is always thinking about whether the company is investing enough, doing the right thing, and making the right connections in the industry to keep clients’ information safe.

As president and founder of TCecure, LLC, and cybersecurity academic innovation officer for University System of Maryland (USM), Tina Williams ’02, computer science, shared the importance of building security into technology from the beginning, rather than adding these features on at the “tail end of a development cycle.” Not only does her company handle security, they also monitor threats and risks that can compromise the technology’s health. In her role at USM, Williams represents the system as a whole to integrate academia and academic research, relationships, and resources into what’s taking place nationally, at the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.

As head of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, Joshi explained that UMBC is combating these national challenges by partnering with industry and government leaders to conduct research that addresses specific real-world needs that benefit both. Collaborative relationships, such as UMBC’s work with Northrop Grumman and T. Rowe Price, is one way that UMBC is working to cultivate the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

As an alumna of UMBC and a current employee at Northrop Grumman, Lauren Mazzoli ’15, computer science and mathematics, M.S. ’17, computer science, a systems engineer in the Future Technical Leaders Program at Northrop Grumman, discussed her experience in the Cyber Scholars Program. The Cyber Scholars Program works to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in the field. Mazzoli explained that her experience at UMBC, in the Cyber Scholars Program, and working alongside mentors on and off-campus led her to be involved with continuing to encourage women to pursue careers in cybersecurity. “For me it’s been a product of the relationship between academia and industry, that have allowed me to find my own career path, and at the same time help others find theirs,” she explained, noting her passion for helping students consider careers in cybersecurity and related fields.

“We know there’s a huge workforce that we need and we can’t fill that pipeline. So yes, we need more women, yes, we need students of all backgrounds, but we need diversity of thought, experience, education, and problem-solving skills,” said Mazzoli, adding that it is important for students to know from a young age that cybersecurity is a field they can pursue.

Adapted from a UMBC News article article written by Megan Hanks Photo by Abnet Shiferaw ’11, visual arts.

QuHacks hackathon for high school and middle school students seeks volunteers

Volunteer at hackathon for high school and middle school students

Maryland high school and middle school students who are interested in computing will come to UMBC for an all-day hackathon in the UMBC Commons on Saturday, December 9. The organizers are recruiting UMBC students who would like to help with the hackathon between 9:30am and 6:30pm on the third floor of The Commons in rooms 318, 329, 331 and Skylight lounge..

The hackathon event is run by QuHacks with the support os the UMBC Computer Science Education Club.. QuHacks is an organization created by high school students to organize hackathons with the goal of providing friendly environment for computing education.

Hackathon volunteers will spend part of the day helping participants by answering questions and giving debugging guidance and advice.

Two student volunteers will be “on call” in each room, so should have time to work on their own projects or study for upcoming final exams.

This is a great opportunity if you are interested in computing education or just want to help young students learn about and get involved with computing.

Sign up to help with the UMBC QuHacks hackathon event at

talk: PKI in the Defense Information Systems Agency, 12-1 Fri 12/1, ITE228


UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

PKI in the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

Phil Scheffler

Chief Engineer – Joint Enablers
ID2 – Cyber Development Directorate
Defense Information Systems Agency

12:00–1pm, Dec 1, 2017, ITE 228

As a combat support agency within the Department of Defense, DISA faces unlimited challenges with Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI). Chief Engineer Phil Scheffler will shed some light on DoD PKI at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and challenges deploying PKI across such a large enterprise.

Philip Scheffler is the Chief Engineer for the ID2 Joint Enablers Division in DISA’s Cyber Development Directorate. He joined DISA in 2010 as an NSA Information Assurance Scholar on the Public Key Enablement team. Over the past 7 years, Phil has been the technical lead for various PKI initiatives for the DoD. Mr. Scheffler has a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University and a M.S in Computer Science from Boston University.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

CSEE Professor Marie desJardins interviewed for Voices in AI podcast

Voices in AI – Episode 20: A Conversation with Marie desJardins

Byron Reese interviewed UMBC CSEE Professor Marie desJardins as part of his Voices in AI podcast series on Gigaom. In the episode, they talk about the Turing test, Watson, autonomous vehicles, and language processing.  Visit the Voices in AI site to listen to the podcast and read the interview transcript.

Here’s the start of the wide-ranging, hour long interview.

Byron Reese: This is Voices in AI, brought to you by Gigaom. I’m Byron Reese. Today I’m excited that our guest is Marie des Jardins. She is an Associate Dean for Engineering and Information Technology as well as a professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She got her undergrad degree from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Berkeley, and she’s been involved in the National Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for over 12 years. Welcome to the show, Marie.

Marie des Jardins: Hi, it’s nice to be here.

I often open the show with “What is artificial intelligence?” because, interestingly, there’s no consensus definition of it, and I get a different kind of view of it from everybody. So I’ll start with that. What is artificial intelligence?

Sure. I’ve always thought about artificial intelligence as just a very broad term referring to trying to get computers to do things that we would consider intelligent if people did them. What’s interesting about that definition is it’s a moving target, because we change our opinions over time about what’s intelligent. As computers get better at doing things, they no longer seem that intelligent to us.

We use the word “intelligent,” too, and I’m not going to dwell on definitions, but what do you think intelligence is at its core?

So, it’s definitely hard to pin down, but I think of it as activities that human beings carry out, that we don’t know of lower order animals doing, other than some of the higher primates who can do things that seem intelligent to us. So intelligence involves intentionality, which means setting goals and making active plans to carry them out, and it involves learning over time and being able to react to situations differently based on experiences and knowledge that we’ve gained over time. The third part, I would argue, is that intelligence includes communication, so the ability to communicate with other beings, other intelligent agents, about your activities and goals.

Well, that’s really useful and specific. Let’s look at some of those things in detail a little bit. You mentioned intentionality. Do you think that intentionality is driven by consciousness? I mean, can you have intentionality without consciousness? Is consciousness therefore a requisite for intelligence?

I think that’s a really interesting question. I would decline to answer it mainly because I don’t think we ever can really know what consciousness is. We all have a sense of being conscious inside our own brains—at least I believe that. But of course, I’m only able to say anything meaningful about my own sense of consciousness. We just don’t have any way to measure consciousness or even really define what it is. So, there does seem to be this idea of self-awareness that we see in various kinds of animals—including humans—and that seems to be a precursor to what we call consciousness. But I think it’s awfully hard to define that term, and so I would be hesitant to put that as a prerequisite on intentionality.

talk: Jim Kurose (NSF) An Expanding and Expansive View of Computing, 1pm Mon 11/20

Distinguished Lecture

An Expanding and Expansive View of Computing

Jim Kurose

Assistant Director, National Science Foundation
Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering

1:00-2:15pm Monday, 20 November 2017, ITE325b, UMBC

Advances in computer and information science and engineering are providing unprecedented opportunities for research and education.  My talk will begin with an overview of CISE activities and programs at the National Science Foundation and include a discussion of current trends that are shaping the future of our discipline.  I will also discuss the opportunities as well as the challenges that lay ahead for our community and for CISE.

Dr. Kurose is on leave from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a  Distinguished Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences.  He has served in a number of administrative roles at UMass and has been a Visiting Scientist at IBM Research; INRIA; Institut EURECOM; the University of Paris; the Laboratory for Information, Network and Communication Sciences; and Technicolor Research Labs.

His research interests include network protocols and architecture, network measurement, sensor networks, multimedia communication, and modeling and performance evaluation.  Dr. Kurose has served on many national and international advisory boards and panels and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching.  With Keith Ross, he is the co-author of the textbook, Computer Networking, a top down approach (6th edition) published by Addison-Wesley/Pearson.

Dr. Kurose received his Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Wesleyan University.  He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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