talk: Intelligent Agents in the OntoAgent Cognitive Architecture

EE Graduate Seminar

Intelligent Agents in the OntoAgent Cognitive Architecture

Professor Sergei Nirenburg
Director, Institute for Language and Information Technologies
Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

11:30am-12:45pm Friday 30 September 2011, ITE 231

OntoAgent is a constantly evolving cognitive architecture that facilitates development of and experimentation with artificial intelligent agents (ontoagents). Distinguishing characteristics of Ontoagents include the following.

  • They model human information processing capabilities by simulating conscious perception and action, which involves reasoning and decision-making;
  • They are intended to operate in a hybrid network of human and artificial agents; and
  • They incorporate: (a) an ontological world model and a memory (fact repository) of instances of ontological objects, events and properties; (b) OntoSem, a natural language processing module that supports two-way translation between texts (including dialog turns) and their semantic and discourse/pragmatic meanings; (c) a goal- and plan-oriented reasoning module; (d) a decision theory for choosing goals, plans and individual actions that relies on knowledge (beliefs) about self, other agents, the ontological world model, the current world state and memory of past world states and past actions; (e) a capability for verbal, mental and simulated physical action; (f) (optionally) a physiological model, making them what we call double agents with simulated bodies as well as simulated minds and providing an additional channel of perception; and (g) (optionally) personality traits, preferences and psychological states that influence their overtly perceived or subconscious preferences in decision-making.

OntoAgent has so far provided the basis for two proof-of-concept systems:

  • Maryland Virtual Patient (MVP) modeling a patient and a tutor to help training in medical diagnostics and treatment; and
  • CLinicians ADdvisor (CLAD) assisting clinicians by reducing their cognitive load.

This talk will give a brief introduction to OntoAgent functionalities implemented in MVP and CLAD.

Professor Nirenburg has worked in the areas of cognitive systems, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing (NLP) for over 30 years. His professional interests include developing computational models of human cognitive capabilities and implementing them in hybrid-engine models of societies of human and computer agents; computational studies of meaning in natural languages; and representation and management of knowledge about the world and about language. He is Member of the Intl Committee on Computational Linguistics (ICCL) and Honorary Editor of Machine Translation (served as Editor-in-Chief in 1987-96). He has been Program Committee Chair for: Machine Translation Summit III (Washington, DC, 1991), the Conference on Applied NLP sponsored by the Association for Computational Linguistics (Seattle, WA, 2000), and COLING 2004 in Geneva, Switzerland. He served as a director of two NATO-sponsored Advanced Studies Institutes on Language Engineering for Lesser-Studied Languages (Ankara, Turkey, 2000 and Batumi, Georgia, 2007).

Host: Professor Joel Morris

Modern Threat Environment and the Impact of Technology Shifts

Cybersecurity Lecture

Modern Threat Environment and the Impact of Technology Shifts

Neal Ziring
Information Assurance Technical Director
National Security Agency

6-7pm Tuesday 20 September 2011 in ITE 102 (LH 8)

Neal Ziring will give a special guest lecture in CYBR620 (Introduction to Cybersecurity) on the modern threat environment and the impact of shifts in technology, such as the move from IPv4 to IPv6 and the security of systems and networks topics.

Mr. Neal Ziring is currently a technical director in the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), at NSA. The IAD provides cryptographic, network, and operational security products and services to protect and defend national security systems. Prior to his role at the IAD level, Neal with a technical director for the Vulnerability Analysis and Operations Group, which provides technology evaluations, defensive operations, and secure configuration guidance for the DoD and the IC. During that time, Neal also served as security architect for two major NSA mission systems programs, collaborated with NIST on the Security Content Automation Protocol (S-CAP) specifications, and lead analysis efforts for Cloud Computing technology and IPv6. Neal has degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Washington University. Before coming to NSA in 1989, he worked at AT&T Bell Labs.

EE seminar: Thesis/Dissertation Accomplished: How To Do It! 11:30am 9/23, ITE 231

Students at the UMBC Dissertation House

EE Graduate Seminar

Thesis/Dissertation Accomplished: How To Do It!

Wendy Y. Carter-Veale, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator, PhD Completion Project/PROMISE
Director, Educational Research Institute

11:30am-12:45pm, Friday 23 September 11, ITE 231

It is very important for graduate students, MS/PhD, to understand and be prepared for the thesis/dissertation process. The structure of and writing the thesis/dissertation is a major component of this process, and usually not given adequate attention until much later in the educational program.

Dr. Wendy Carter, as Program Coordinator for the PhD Completion Project/PROMISE here at UMBC, leads workshops on the thesis/dissertation process, both at UMBC and UMCP, and at various professional meetings. She will provide an overview of the tools, strategies, and resources that she has designed ( to empower students to complete their thesis/dissertation based on the individual's schedule and temperament.

Dr. Carter has a BA and MA from Stanford University, a MS in Management and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University, and a MS and the PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Host: Prof. Joel M. Morris

Henry Sienkiewicz on Cloud Computing in the Government


UMBC CSEE Colloquium

Cloud Computing

Henry J. Sienkiewicz

Chief Information Officer
Defense Information Systems Agency

11:30-12:30 Friday, 16 September 2011
Room 231, ITE Building

Mr. Henry Sienkiewicz will discuss the opportunities and challenges for using cloud computing in government agencies.

Henry J. Sienkiewicz is the Chief Information Officer for the Defense Information Systems Agency. As the DISA CIO he is responsible for developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of the Agency's information technology (IT) architecture, enabling DISA to accomplish its critical combat support missions. As CIO, he ensures that agency IT and information assurance programs and policies are fully coordinated, integrated, and effectively implemented and are aligned with the Agency's strategy. Mr. Sienkiewicz joined DISA in 2008 as the Technical Program Director for DISA Computing Services before moving to the CIO position. He is a founding member of George Washington University's technology transfer council, retired from the US Army Reserves, and has been involved in many academic and entrepreneurial pursuits throughout his extensive IT career.

Hosts: Professor Yelena Yesha and Joel Morris

directionsupcoming talks

POSTPONED: talk: Nonlinear Optical Signal Processing in Optical Fibers and Waveguides

CSEE Graduate Seminar

Nonlinear Optical Signal Processing in
Optical Fibers and Waveguides

Dr. Gary M. Carter
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1-2pm Friday, 16 September, 2011, ITE 227

postponed until later in the Fall

Advances in optical fiber and semiconductor technology have progressed to the degree that nonlinear optical signal processing can be demonstrated at extraordinarily high data rates. This talk will review some of the work of Dr. Carter's research group in photonic crystal fibers, silicon nano wires, and AlGaAs optical waveguides.

Hosts: Profs. Joel M. Morris and Yelena Yesha

Upcoming CSEE talks

Talk: Genetic information for chronic disease prediction

Genetic information for chronic disease prediction

Michael A. Grasso, MD, PhD
University of Maryland School of Medicine

1:00pm Friday 23 September 2011, 227 ITE

Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease are commonly occurring polygenic-multifactorial diseases, which are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. The identification of people at risk for these conditions has historically been based on clinical factors alone. However, this resulted in prediction algorithms that are linked to symptomatic states, which have limited accuracy in asymptomatic individuals. Advances in genetics have raised the hope that genetic testing may aid in disease prediction, treatment, and prevention. Although intuitive, the addition of genetic information to increase the accuracy of disease prediction remains an unproven hypothesis. We present an overview of genetic issues involved in polygenic-multifactorial diseases, and summarize ongoing efforts use this information for disease prediction.

Michael Grasso is an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and an Assistant Research Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He earned a medical degree from the George Washington University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society in the Computing Sciences, the Kane-King-Dodec Medical Honor Society, and the William Beaumont Medical Research Honor Society. He completed a residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and currently works in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He has been awarded more than $1,200,000 in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Bureau of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Defense, and has authored more than 35 scholarly papers and abstracts. His research interests include clinical decision support systems, clinical data mining, clinical image processing, personalized medicine, software engineering, database engineering, and human factors. He is also a semi-professional trumpet player and is interested in the specific medical needs of performing artists, especially instrumental musicians.

Host: Yelena Yesha


talk: Analysis of Brain Network Connectivity in fMRI Data using Spatial Dependence

EE Graduate Seminar

Analysis of Brain Network Connectivity
in fMRI Data using Spatial Dependence

Sai Ma
EE PhD Candidate, CSEE Dept, UMBC

11:30-12:45 Friday 9 September 2011, ITE 231

Due to low invasiveness and high spatial resolution, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become popular in neuroimaging field to determine where activity occurs in brain as a result of performing cognitive tasks or merely being at rest.  One of the most active areas in current fMRI research involves exploring functional connectivity, i.e., statistical interactions, among distributed neural units. Understanding connectivity elucidates how functional systems process information in brain. More interestingly, disorganized connectivity has shown to be related to various kinds of mental disorder.

Data-driven methods, especially independent component analysis (ICA), have been successfully applied to fMRI data analysis and provided an opportunity to study brain functional connectivity on a network, hence multivariate scale. However, independence is a strong assumption which is not necessarily nor typically satisfied in real applications. For this reason, dependent component analysis (DCA) has emerged to generalize ICA by grouping components into independent subsets while within subset dependence is allowed.

Based on ICA and motivated by DCA, we aim to develop effective and efficient analysis schemes to extract, characterize, and quantify network connectivity pattern in fMRI data. We define functional network connectivity as spatial dependence among ICA-derived components, instead of second-order temporal correlation between time courses, to capture high-order statistics. According to this definition, we present our work on the study of network connectivity by several data-driven methods, including ICA, DCA, hierarchical clustering, hypothesis testing, and graph theoretical analysis.

seminar Host: Prof. Joel M. Morris

Talk: Opportunities in Computational Materials Science

Opportunities in Computational Materials Science

Juana Moreno and Randall Hall

Center for Computation and Technology
Louisiana State University

1:00pm Friday 9 September 2011, ITE 227

The White House Materials Genome Initiative intends to double the speed with which we discover, develop, and manufacture new materials. In order for this initiative to be successful an unprecedented collaboration between computer scientists, applied mathematicians, computational scientists, and engineers with expertise in each of the aspects of the simulation-guided design of modern materials must be established. We must also take advantage of the enormous national investments in the next generation of hyperparallel, heterogeneous, multicore supercomputers to develop experimentally verified algorithms. In this talk I will describe new collaborative efforts in Louisiana towards developing a State-wise team of scientist to attack the challenges in the design of new materials, and the current opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Dr. Juana Moreno is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU. She received her Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from Rutgers University and was faculty at the University of North Dakota before joining CCT. Her research focuses on modeling, using a variety of computational tools, the transport and magnetic properties of correlated electron systems, including diluted magnetic semiconductors, heavy fermion compounds and low-dimensional systems.

Dr. Randall Hall received his B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and his PhD in Chemistry with Bruce Berne from Columbia University. He was a postdoctoral associate with Peter Wolynes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He joined the faculty at LSU in 1986. He is currently the Webster Parish Chapter Alumni Professor at LSU. He is a co-PI of the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Appliations (LA-SiGMA).

Host: Yelena Yesha

Talk: Smart Grid Demand Response, 4pm Wed 8/17

Demand Response; What is it and
What are the Business Opportunities?

Dr. Bjorn Frogner

4:00pm Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator
UMBC South Campus

Bjorn will discuss the aspect of the Smart Grid called Demand Response (DR). DR is where the action is in the Smart Grid. Implementation of DR is made possible by the merger of the following two forces.

  • The State of Maryland has set the goal of reducing average electricity consumption by 15% and reducing the peak-to-average consumption by 15%. These two requirements will reduce the peak capacity needs by 30%. The goal is to reach these goals by 2015. This makes DR more valuable than all other renewable energy sources combined for the next five years.
  • Smart Meters are already available in many businesses and they are soon going to be installed in 1.5 million homes in BGE and PEPCO customer residences. These meters will provide two-way communication and data readings from our homes as frequently as every 15 minutes. This provides tremendous opportunities for changes in the way we consume electricity.

These forces will rapidly transform the electric utility industry. DR will make the cost of electricity become a function of supply and demand which will make electricity be like other commodities where the market determines the price. If you are well-informed, you may save money. And, if you are real well-informed, you may be able to see some of the many new business opportunities that are being created by DR.

Bjorn Frogner has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from University of California at Berkeley. He worked for about 35 years across a broad range of technologies, primarily related to energy and IT, while he lived in Silicon Valley in California. He moved to Annapolis, Maryland, in 2009 and he now works part-time as Entrepreneur-in- Residence at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His function there is to help startup companies in the clean energy field. He had many years of experience with the electric grid during the 70s and 80s. He has spent significant amount of time during the last 18 months making himself informed about the cyber security for the electric grid.

Talk: Passive House; what is it and how does it work?

Passive House; what is it and how does it work?

Brian Uher, ECORE Living

4:00pm Wednesday 20 July 2011
MD Clean Energy Technology Incubator, UMBC South Campus

Brian Uher will discuss the engineering and design principles behind Passive House – a rigorous building performance standard that ECORE Living is deploying in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to the rigorous, voluntary, Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency in a building. It results in very low (<80%) energy requirements for space heating or cooling. Any building can be constructed to the standard. Passive design is not an attachment or supplement to architectural design, but a design process that is integrated with architectural design. Although it is mostly applied to new buildings, it has also been used for retrofits. As of August 2010, there were approximately 25,000 such certified structures of all types in Europe, while in the United States there were only 13. ECORE Living is in negotiations with several developers in the DC and Baltimore areas for initial implementation in this region.

Brian Uher is a co-founder of ECORE Living, LLC, a subsidiary of ECORE Ventures. He has developed methods for incorporating return-on-investment with standard energy modeling and auditing techniques to quantify and extend the value of intelligently applied sustainable building techniques, including market projections and capital project analyses. Brian has spoken widely to the real estate and development communities with a focus on a market-based approach to selling green and high performance building. He is currently working on several deep retrofit projects and is developing Passive House optimization strategies for East Coast row houses that will be deployed at scale in 2011 and 2012.

Brian is a LEED accredited professional, HERS/RESNET certified, BPI analyst and envelope professional and taught the Green Remodeling course for the Washington DC chapter of National Association of the Remodeling Industry. He is also a certified Passive House Consultant (residential and commercial standards), the most rigorous performance standard available today. He holds a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and the Wharton School of Management, holds a master's of science degree in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Chicago.


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