Meet Your Professor Series: Marie desJardins, 12-1 Wed. May 2, ITE239

Meet Your Professor Series: Marie desJardins

Join the CS Education Club for its fourth and final installment of the Meet Your Professor series this semester featuring Dr. Marie desJardins. The series provides students with the opportunity to learn more about their professors, including how they achieved their position, what they believe makes an effective teacher, what research they conduct, and more!

Dr. Marie desJardins is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, and Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Prior to joining the faculty in 2001, Dr. desJardins was a senior computer scientist at SRI International in Menlo Park, California.  Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory.  She has mentored 13 Ph.D. students, 27 M.S. students, and nearly 100 undergraduate researchers.   She is also active in the CS education community, chairs the Maryland Steering Committee for Computer Science Education, and frequently serves as a mentor and invited speaker at CS education and outreach events.

The event is Wednesday 5/2 from 12:00-12:50 in ITE 239. Light refreshments will be provided. Bring questions!

UMBC CSEE research symposium, 9-5 Friday May 4, South Campus

 

CSEE research symposium, 9-5 Fri. May 4, South Campus

The UMBC student chapters for ACM and IEEE are jointly organizing a one-day research symposium on Computer and Electrical Systems that will be held at bwtech@UMBC’s South Campus from 9 to 5 on Friday, May 4, 2018. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

The day will include talks by faculty and students, short presentations of posters, five-minute elevator pitches of new research ideas, a poster session and symposium awards. See the complete symposium schedule for details.

The goal of the symposium is to recognize and inspire student research by sharing cutting-edge ideas and achievements through presentations, posters, and demonstrations. It will bring students, faculty and collaborators from the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department together to present their research ideas and results.

Location: The symposium will be held at the bwtech@UMBC South Campus (1450 S Rolling Road, Halethorpe, MD 21227) main building. Parking is free and the UMBC Halethorpe shuttle stops there (stop #18).

If you have any questions, please contact .

2018 Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning

2018 Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning

The 2018 Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning (MASC-SLL) is a student-run, one-day event on speech, language & machine learning research to be held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County  (UMBC) from 10:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday May 12.  There is no registration charge and lunch and refreshments will be provided.  Students, postdocs, faculty and researchers from universities & industry are invited to participate and network with other researchers working in related fields.

Students and postdocs are encouraged to submit abstracts describing ongoing, planned, or completed research projects, including previously published results and negative results. Research in any field applying computational methods to any aspect of human language, including speech and learning, from all areas of computer science, linguistics, engineering, neuroscience, information science, and related fields is welcome. Submissions and presentations must be made by students or postdocs. Accepted submissions will be presented as either posters or talks.

Important Dates are:

  • Submission deadline (abstracts): April 16 April 20
  • Decisions announced: April 21 April 25
  • Registration opens: April 10
  • Registration closes: May 6
  • Colloquium: May 12

UMBC recognizes Marie desJardins for lasting commitment to inclusive computing education

UMBC recognizes Marie desJardins for lasting commitment to inclusive computing education

Marie desJardins, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) and professor of computer science and electrical engineering, will be leaving UMBC to take up a new position as founding dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences at Simmons College in Boston.

“What I will remember most about my 17 years here is UMBC’s collaborative spirit. Because of the open environment and commitment to diversity, I’ve been able to work with colleagues across the university on a wide range of initiatives,” desJardins says.

During her tenure at UMBC, desJardins has applied her passion and expertise to implementing programs for students across all disciplines and majors, explains Keith J. Bowman, dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT). “She brought her passion and expertise to UMBC, and has changed the lives of faculty, students, and staff through her work,” Bowman says. “As COEIT’s founding associate dean, she has played a crucial role in establishing how the College operates, with a focus on supporting students at all levels. She has set an incredibly high bar in all areas of her work.”

One of desJardins’ many accomplishments was the development and launch of UMBC’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program, based on the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering. The program is open to students who are interested in working on interdisciplinary teams to address pressing challenges facing society. UMBC’s program is distinct because it is open to all majors, bringing together students studying everything from computing and mechanical engineering to the life sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The Grand Challenge Scholars Program is “a great match with so many things that UMBC and UMBC students are already doing: applied, project-based learning; service learning; entrepreneurial explorations; global involvement; and undergraduate research,” desJardins said of the program when it launched in 2016.

Marie desJardins during an experiential learning activity.

desJardins also reached students across the university through her work with the Honors Colleges, as an Honors Faculty Fellow. This role enabled her to teach a seminar called “Computation, Complexity, and Emergence,” where students from a range of majors shared their perspectives on interdisciplinary topics and learned how subjects they had not previously explored were relevant to their lives. desJardins also served as a chair of the Honors College Advisory Board during her tenure at UMBC.

Beyond her passion for expanding computer science education at UMBC, desJardins has also been steadfast in her work to increase access to computing education for K – 12 students. She has served as the lead principal investigator of CE21-Maryland, a series of projects implemented to increase opportunities for high school students to access computer science education. She was also instrumental in the creation of How Girls Code, an afterschool program and a summer camp at UMBC where girls in elementary and middle school develop computer science skills through engaging activities and learn about careers in the field.

In addition to her writing for academic and technical audiences, desJardins has written numerous articles for the public, including pieces for The Conversation and The Baltimore Sun about the need for computing education for students of all ages. She is particularly passionate about engaging girls and women in computer science.

In a recent op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, desJardins discussed the importance of computer science education in K – 12 schools, both to expand career opportunities for students of all backgrounds and identities and to make sure the world has a chance to benefit from a diverse talent pool in computing fields. “The need for computer science and computational thinking skills is becoming pervasive not just in the world of software engineers, but in fields as varied as science, design, marketing, and public policy,” she wrote.

Marie desJardins, standing at right, addresses high school teachers at the July 2015 CS Matters in Maryland pilot teacher workshop.

desJardins has also worked to support new faculty in her College, as they work to advance their careers, inviting assistant professors and lecturers in COEIT to participate in the Junior Faculty Initiative. The program introduces participants to university resources through units like the Faculty Development Center and Office of Student Disabilities Services. It also supports junior faculty through a series of workshops addressing topics such as time management, mentoring relationships, and conflict management, to acclimate faculty to UMBC.

Across the nation and the world, desJardins has been recognized as a leader in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Earlier this year, she was named a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In 2017, she was included on Forbes’ list of women advancing AI research. UC Berkeley, desJardins’ alma mater, also recently recognized her work to advance her field by presenting her with the Distinguished Alumni Award in Computer Science.

“UMBC has given me so many opportunities to learn, grow, and give back to the community around me, I will be forever grateful,” says desJardins. “No matter where I go from here, I will always consider myself to be part of the UMBC community.”

Adapted from a UMBC News story by Megan Hanks. All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.

talk: SPARCLE: Practical Homomorphic Encryption, 12pm Fri 4/27

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

SPARCLE: Practical Homomorphic Encryption

Russ Fink

Senior Scientist
Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory

12:00–1:00pm Friday, April 27, 2018, ITE 237, UMBC

In the newly coined Privacy Age, researchers are building systems with homomorphic algorithms that enable “never decrypt” operations on sensitive data in applications such as computational private information retrieval (cPIR). The trouble is, the leading algorithms incur significant computational and space challenges, relegating them mainly to large cloud computing platforms. We have invented a special-purpose, ring-homomorphic (aka, “fully homomorphic”) algorithm that, owing to some specializing assumptions, trades general-purpose cryptographic utility for linear performance in speed and space.

We will present the cryptosystem and discuss several current challenges. We will also throw in a fun, simple, tactile concept demonstration of PIR for those just generally curious about what all this is, hopefully demystifying how you can enable a server to search for something without knowing what it’s looking for, and without knowing what (if any) results it found.

Russ Fink (UMBC ’10) is a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins University / Applied Physics Laboratory. His current research interests include private information retrieval, applied cryptography, and cyber security.

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

2018 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference

2018 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference

UMBC’s Game Developers Club will hold its 13th annual Digital Entertainment Conference from 11:00-5:00 on Saturday April 28 in the UMBC Commons. Come learn about the game industry from local game developing companies. High school students, college students, aspiring game developers, and game developers are all welcome.

  • Meet professionals in the game industry
  • Learn the latest in game art, code and technology
  • Network with local game developers

Lunch will be provided. You can park in any A, B, or C lot on UMBC Campus. The closest parking garage is the Commons Parking garage on Commons Drive inside the UMBC Hilltop Circle. If you have any questions, send email to

🗣 talk: Classifying Malware using Data Compression, 12-1 Fri 4/20, ITE229

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Classifying Malware using Data Compression

Charles Nicholas, UMBC

12:00–1:00pm Friday, 20 April 2018, ITE 229

Comparing large binary objects can be tricky and expensive. We describe a method for comparing such strings, using ideas form data compression, that is both fast and effective. We present results from experiments applying this method, which we refer to as LZJD, to the areas of malware classification and digital forensics.

Charles Nicholas () earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan – Flint in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from Ohio State University in 1982 and 1988, respectively. He joined the Computer Science Department at UMBC in 1988. His research interests include electronic document processing, intelligent information systems, and software engineering. In recent years he has focused on the problems of storing and retrieving information from large collections of documents. Intelligent software agents are an important aspect of this work. Host: Alan T. Sherman,

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public.

🤖 talk: Where’s my Robot Butler? 1-2pm Friday 4/13, ITE 231

UMBC ACM Student Chapter Talk

Where’s my Robot Butler?
Robotics, NLP and Robots in Human Environments

Professor Cynthia Matuszek, UMBC

1:00-2:00pm Friday, 13 April 2018, ITE 231, UMBC

As robots become more powerful, capable, and autonomous, they are moving from controlled industrial settings to human-centric spaces such as medical environments, workplaces, and homes. As physical agents, they will soon be able help with entirely new categories of tasks that require intelligence. Before that can happen, though, robots must be able to interact gracefully with people and the noisy, unpredictable world they occupy, an undertaking that requires insight from multiple areas of AI. Useful robots will need to be flexible in dynamic environments with evolving tasks, meaning they must learn from and communicate effectively with people. In this talk, I will describe current research in our lab on combining natural language learning and robotics to build robots people can use in the home.


Dr. Cynthia Matuszek is an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research occurs at in the intersection of robotics, natural language processing, and machine learning, and their application to human-robot interaction. She works on building robotic systems that non-specialists can instruct, control, and interact with intuitively and naturally. She has published on AI, robotics, machine learning, and human-robot interaction. Matuszek received her Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Washington.

🗣️ talk: Human Factors in Cyber Security, 12-1 Fri 4/13, ITE 229, UMBC

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

Human Factors in Cyber Security

Dr. Josiah Dykstra

Cyber Security Researcher, US Department of Defense

12:00–1:00pm Friday, 13 April 2018, ITE 229, UMBC

Humans play many roles in the effectiveness of cyber security. While users are often blamed for security compromises, human strengths and weaknesses also affect people who perform design, implementation, configuration, monitoring, analysis, and response. The fields of human computer interaction generally, and usable security specifically, have drawn attention and research to some aspects of human factors, but many opportunities remain for future work.

In this talk, I describe several of my research projects related to human factors in cyber security. The first was a study of how individual differences affect cyber security behavior, and active follow-on research to predict users who might become victimized. The second was a study of stress and fatigue in security operations centers, including a new survey instrument for collecting data in tactical environments. The third was a research prototype using augmented reality to assist humans in cyber security analysis, and an analysis of preliminary results.

Finally, I will present and invite discussion about a new idea for improving security by making it “disappear.” Despite decades of tools and techniques for secure development, and valiant work at adoption and usability, it is clear that many users cannot or will not avail themselves of appropriate cyber security options. It may be time to rethink the amount of interaction required for most users, and if hands-off, behind-the-scenes cyber defense should be the norm.


Josiah Dykstra serves as a Senior Executive Service government civilian and Subject Matter Expert for Computer Network Operations research in the Laboratory for Telecommunication Sciences within the Research Directorate of the National Security Agency. His research includes human augmentation, cyber risk assessment, and cyber effects. He is an active collaborator with academic, industry, and government researchers around the country. Dykstra earned the PhD degree in computer science at UMBC in 2013 studying under Alan T. Sherman. Dr. Dykstra is the author of the 2016 O’Reilly book, Essential Cybersecurity Science, Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and winner of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.


Host: Alan T. Sherman,

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab meets biweekly Fridays. All meetings are open to the public.

🗣️ talk: Challenges and pitfalls in big data analysis, 3:30 Thr 4/12 ITE325

CHMPR Distinguished Lecture

Challenges and pitfalls in big data analysis

Yoav Benjamini, Tel Aviv University

3:30-5:00 Thursday, 12 April 2018, ITE 325b, UMBC

I shall warn about the pitfalls resulting from the false assurance that “we have all data at hand”, and discuss the challenges that are not commonly recognised such as the validity and replicability of the analysis results. Examples will be given from our work on the Health Informatics part of the European Human Brain Project, as well as from our studies in neuroscience and genomics.

Yoav Benjamini is the Nathan and Lily Silver Professor of Applied Statistics at the Department of statistics and operations research at Tel Aviv University. He holds B.Sc in physics and mathematics and M.Sc in mathematics from the Hebrew University (1976), and Ph.D in Statistics from Princeton University (1981). He is a member of the Sagol School of Neuroscience, and of the Edmond Safra Bioinformatics Center both at Tel Aviv University. He taught as a visiting professor at Wharton, UC Berkeley and Stanford and is currently visiting Columbia University. Prof. Benjamini is a co-developer of the widely used and cited False Discovery Rate concept and methodology. His current research topics are selective and simultaneous inference, replicability and reproducibility in science, model selection, and data mining. His applied research fields are Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Animal Behavior and Brain Imaging, and as a member of the European Human Brain Project he is involved in health informatics research. Prof. Benjamini served as the president of the Israel Statistical Association, He received the Israel Prize for research in Statistics and Economics at 2012, and is an elected member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

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