Visionaries in IT Forum May 4: Catherine Kuenzel of Northrop Grumman

Catherine Kuenzel of Northrop Grummon will speak on Your Future in Emerging Technologies as part of the UMBC Visionaries in Information Technology Forum on May 4, 2011. Her talk will cover emerging technologies in health, homeland security, cyber security and renewable energy.

Kuenzel is the the Vice President of Federal Mission Programs for the Civil Systems Division of Northrop Grumman's Information Systems. She has extensive experience in the information technology industry. She is skilled at leading teams that supply a full range of IT solutions to governmental clients, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense. Her current team provides services to a wide range of civil enterprise systems, from cyber security to law enforcement to document and records management.

The UMBC Visionaries in Information Technology Forum is an annual, four-part breakfast series created to help elevate the prominence and recognition of Maryland as a critical hub of information and emerging technologies. The forum is free and includes a complimentary breakfast. It will meet May 4, 2011 from 7:30am to 9:00am at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Baltimore, MD 21240. Since space is limited, registration is required.

Dissertation Defense: Towards Relational Theory Formation from Undifferentiated Sensor Data

Dissertation Defense

Towards Relational Theory Formation
from Undifferentiated Sensor Data

Marc Pickett

10:00am Monday, 18 April 2011
ITE 325b, UMBC

Human adults have rich theories in their heads of how the world works. These theories include objects and relations for both concrete and abstract concepts. Everything we know either must be innate or learned through experience. Yet it's unclear how much of this model needs to be innate for a computer. The core question this dissertation addresses is how a computer can develop rich relational theories using only its raw sensor data. We address this by outlining a "bridge" between raw sensors and a rich relational theory. We have implemented parts of this bridge, with other parts as feasibility studies, while others remain conceptual.

At the core of this bridge is Ontol, a system that constructs a conceptual structure or "ontology" from feature-set data. Ontol is inspired by cortical models that have been shown to be able to express invariant concepts, such as images independent of any translation or rotation. As a demonstration of the utility of the ontologies created by Ontol, we present a novel semi-supervised learning algorithm that learns from only a handful of positive examples. Like humans, this algorithm doesn't require negative examples. Instead, this algorithm uses the ontologies created by Ontol from unlabeled data, and searches for a Bayes-optimal theory given this "background knowledge".

The rest of the dissertation shows in principle how Ontol can be used as the "workhorse" for a system that finds analogies, discovers useful mappings, and might ultimately create theories, such as a "gisty" theory of "number".

Committee:

  • Tim Oates, Associate Professor, UMBC
  • Tim Finin, Professor, UMBC
  • Rob Goldstone, Professor, Indiana University
  • Sergei Nirenburg, Professor, UMBC
  • Matt Schmill, Research Faculty, UMBC

Serial entrepreneur David Turock to talk at Baltimore Emerging Technology Center

The Baltimore ACM Chapter, the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, and the Emerging Technology Center are hosting a free, public lecture on entrepreneurship by David Turock at 7:00pm, Wednesday 27 April in the ETC Canton facility (2400 Boston St., Baltimore).

David Turock will present a side-by-side comparison of two telecommunications start-ups that he launched: one successful, and one not. He compares and contrasts their funding sources, agility and scalability of their business models, hiring practices, and more. His experience and lessons learned will be valuable for aspiring tech entrepreneurs. He finishes with how his interests have shifted to using technology to promote social and environmental causes.

David Turock is a veteran entrepreneur and currently a Director of Counsel RB Capital. He holds a patent on VoIP, and is an expert on telecommunications technologies and their applications. Mr. Turock began his career working with AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1982 and Bell Communications Research in 1988, and subsequently founded enhanced telephone service provider, Call Sciences. He later formed Interexchange, which designed and operated one of the world's largest debit card systems. Most recently, from 2001 to 2007, Mr. Turock was Chief Technology Officer of Therap Services, a provider of informatics services to disabled patients. Mr. Turock received his B.S. in Experimental Psychology from Syracuse University, his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University, and his M.S.E. in Computer Science from the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Baltimore ACM chapter invites attendees for pizza starting at 6:30pm. There is no charge, but please RSVP to Emil Volcheck at

The ETC Canton facility is located at the American Can Company complex, 2400 Boston Street in Baltimore. ETC is on the 3rd floor of the building that houses the Austin Grille restaurant and the entrance is next to the Lenscrafters store. There is a 3 hour visitor parking in front of the building on the Boston Street side.

Talk: Diversity, Identity and Inclusion, 11am Fri 4/15 ITE229

Evening falls on the UMBC campus with downtown Baltimore in the background.

Diversity, Identity, and Inclusion

Dr. Manuel A. Perez-Quinones

Associate Professor of Computer Science
Virginia Tech

11:00am – 12:00pm Friday 15 April 2011, ITE 229

In this talk, Dr. Pérez-Quiñones presents basic definitions of these terms and briefly discusses some of the research literature on them.  He presents evidence that supports diversity and inclusion beyond the typical social justice argument. With this as a framing context, Dr.  Pérez-Quiñones describes his experiences over the last few years working in this domain in the context of university administration, professional service activities, and researcher. Anecdotally, the stories show incidents of biases, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and resistance to change.  Based on these experiences, Dr.  Pérez-Quiñones draws conclusions and provides advice for working in diverse groups, recruiting a diverse graduate student population, and fostering an inclusive work environment.

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,

Sponsors: Dr. Pérez-Quiñones's visit to UMBC is sponsored by Women in Science and Engineering, the PROMISE program, the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, and the Department of Information Systems.

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

cyberdawgs

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.

Committee:

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

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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Talk: Prediction markets for fun, feedback and the future, 10am Thr 3/17, ITE 456

Prediction Market for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election (Iowa Electonic Markets, 2008)

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Prediction Markets for Fun, Feedback and the Future

Dr. Sanmay Das
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

10:00-11:00am Thursday 17 March 2011
room 456 ITE, UMBC

Prediction markets, when they work well, solve a fundamental problem: how to aggregate individual beliefs into a meaningful quantitative estimate of the probability that a given event will occur. They also provide incentives for people to disseminate privately-held information. I will describe one way to help these markets work better: incorporating a learning agent who provides liquidity, called a market maker. Along the way, the design of this agent raises and solves some fundamental problems in reinforcement learning and Bayesian reasoning. I will also discuss the deployment of this market-making agent in two different settings with human participants. One of these settings is a novel experiment for comparing market structures. Another one, the RPI Instructor Rating Market, allows students to trade on the ratings their professors will receive, thus providing dynamic feedback to instructors on the progress of their classes; we find that market prices are, in fact, better than past ratings at predicting future ratings.

Joint work with Aseem Brahma, Mithun Chakraborty, Allen Lavoie, Malik Magdon-Ismail, and Yonatan Naamad.

Sanmay Das is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his Ph.D (2006) and S.M. (2003) degrees from MIT, where he was a student of Tomaso Poggio and Andrew Lo. Prior to that, he received his A.B. in Computer Science from Harvard College (2001). His research focuses on learning in social and economic systems. He has received an NSF CAREER award, is co-author on a paper nominated for the AAMAS Best Student Paper award, and has served as program co-chair for AMMA and workshops chair for the ACM EC conference.

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