talk: James R. Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, 12-1pm Fri. Oct 6, 132 PAHB, UMBC

Lecture by James Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, 12-1pm Fri. Oct. 6 at UMBC

James R. Clapper, former US Director of Intelligence, will give a public lecture on Friday, 6 October 2017 in the lecture hall (room 132) of the Performing Arts & Humanities Building at UMBC.

The Honorable James R. Clapper served as the fourth US Director of Intelligence from August 9, 2010 to January 20, 2017. In this position, Mr. Clapper led the United States Intelligence Community and served as the principal intelligence advisor to President Barack Obama.

Mr. Clapper retired in 1995 after a distinguished career in the U.S. Armed Forces. His career began in 1961 when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and culminated as a lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. His intelligence-related positions over his 32 years in uniform included Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Headquarters, US Air Force during Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and Director of Intelligence for three combatant commands: US Forces, Korea; Pacific Command, and Strategic Air Command. He served two combat tours during the Southeast Asia conflict, and flew 73 combat support missions in EC-47’s over Laos and Cambodia.

Directly following his retirement, Mr. Clapper worked in industry for six years as an executive in three successive companies with the Intelligence Community as his business focus. He also served as a consultant and advisor to Congress and to the Departments of Defense and Energy, and as a member of a variety of government panels, boards, commissions, and advisory groups. He was a senior member of the Downing Assessment Task Force which investigated the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996, was vice chairman of a commission chaired by former Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia on the subject of homeland security, and served on the NSA Advisory Board.

Mr. Clapper returned to the government two days after 9/11 as the first civilian director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA). He served in this capacity for almost five years, transforming it into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as it is today.

Prior to becoming the Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Clapper served for over the three years in two Administrations as the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he served as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on intelligence, counterintelligence, and security matters for the Department. In this capacity, he was also dual-hatted as the Director of Defense Intelligence for the DNI.

Mr. Clapper earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, and an honorary doctorate in strategic intelligence form the then Joint Military Intelligence College.

His awards include three National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medals, two Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award, three Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, the Presidentially-conferred National Security Medal, and many other U.S. civilian and military, as well as foreign government awards and decorations.

He is married to the former Susan Terry, and they have two grown children and four grandchildren

CSEE faculty Banerjee and Slaughter to give short talks at UMBC Grit-X, Sat. 10/14, UMBC

Two CSEE faculty give short talks at UMBC Grit-X

Back by popular demand from UMBC’s 50th Anniversary weekend, it’s Grit-X! Head to UMBC’s Black Box Theatre on Saturday, 14 October 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to noon, and be enlightened by short TED-style talks from some of the most intriguing alumni and faculty minds. See the complete program and register for the event here.

The first session (10:00—10:30am) includes a talk by CSEE professor Nilanjan Banerjee:

When What You Wear Understands You, Prof. Nilanjan Banerjee

How can cutting-edge research on textile sensors and wearable radar sensors help us recognize gestures, monitor sleep fragmentation, and diagnose sleep disorders? The Banerjee lab has developed and applied sensors to users with upper extremity mobility impairments, adults suffering from insomnia and restless leg syndrome, and kids with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, with the intent to begin answering that question.

and the second session (10:45—11:15am) has one by CSEE professor Gymama Slaughter:

The Art of Powering Implantable Electronics, Gymama Slaughter

The number of smart implantable devices is on the rise, especially as we approach the ramping up of the “internet of things.” A key challenge for implantable electronic devices has been keeping these devices properly and conveniently powered. Current battery technologies are sealed within these devices, thereby forcing the surgical replacement of the device once the battery is depleted. We need an inconspicuous means of powering implantable electronics with imperceptible methods that moves us toward new innovative solutions to the power challenge in implantable devices. A lightweight bio-solution that leverages the biochemical energy from human biological fluids is a step forward for powering these smart implantable technologies.

Talk: Role of the Defense Information Systems Agency, 12p Fri 9/22

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Tech Talk with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

James Curry

Lead Engineer – Cyber Security Range
IDC – Cyber Workforce Development Division
Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 22 September 2017, ITE 228, UMBC

A broad reaching brief on some of the technical aspects of DISA’s role as a combat support agency within the Department of Defense. Topics will include Scalability and the challenges of Big Data Analytics, Interoperability of systems, Visualization, Incident Response and Digital Forensics, Challenges with Classification Guidance, Supply Chain Risk Management, and Software Defined Networks/Infrastructure as a Service. Attendees are highly encouraged to ask questions.

James Curry is DISA’s Lead Engineer for the Cyber Security Range (CSR), which is chartered to develop and host a realistic DoD Information Network (DODIN) environment for Training, Testing, or Exercises. In this position, he has designed and built fully virtual implementations of DISA’s Internet Access Points (IAPs) and its Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS), enabling the DoD Workforce to train in an IaaS on-demand environment that realistically matches DISA’s core infrastructure. He is a Scholarship for Service (SFS) recipient (2008-2009) and received his Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from New Mexico Tech. Email:

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

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

talk: Results from the SFS Summer Research Study on NetAdmin, 12p Fri 9/8

UMBC Cyber Defense Lab

Results from the SFS Summer Research Study at UMBC

Enis Golaszewski, UMBC

12:00–1:00pm, Friday, 8 September 2017
ITE 228 (or nearby), UMBC

In summer 2017, UMBC held a cybersecurity research workshop that featured the UMBC Scholarship For Service (SFS) cohort working with the cooperation of the UMBC Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to analyze the security of NetAdmin, a software tool developed and used by DoIT. The workshop included six new SFS scholars transferring to UMBC from Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College and provided students with experience in analyzing the security of software while uncovering serious flaws in the NetAdmin tool. NetAdmin allows authorized research faculty at UMBC to make research servers running on campus accessible to connections originating from off-campus.

Because NetAdmin directly modifies the campus firewall, possible security weaknesses in its architecture, implementation, or usage could present a significant risk to UMBC computer systems. During the four-day study, students uncovered multiple critical security flaws and developed recommendations for mitigating them. These flaws include architectural weaknesses, injection attack vulnerabilities, and susceptibility to man-in-the-middle attacks. The workshop was successful for improving the security of NetAdmin as well as integrating the incoming SFS scholars with the existing UMBC cohort.

In this talk, we will focus on the technical details of our security analysis of the NetAdmin tool.

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

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: Sarit Kraus on Computer Agents that Interact Proficiently with People, Noon Fri 8/4


Computer Agents that Interact Proficiently with People

Prof. Sarit Kraus
Deptartment of Computer Science, Bar-Ilan University
Ramat-Gan, 52900 Israel

12:00-1:00pm Friday, 4 August 2017, ITE ITE 217B, UMBC

Automated agents that interact proficiently with people can be useful in supporting, training or replacing people in complex tasks. The inclusion of people presents novel problems for the design of automated agents strategies. People do not necessarily adhere to the optimal, monolithic strategies that can be derived analytically. Their behavior is affected by a multitude of social and psychological factors. In this talk I will show how combining machine learning techniques for human modeling, human behavioral models, formal decision-making and game theory approaches enables agents to interact well with people. Applications include intelligent agents that help drivers reduce energy consumption, agents that support rehabilitation, employer-employee negotiation and agents that support a human operator in managing a team of low-cost mobile robots in search and rescue task

Sarit Kraus (Ph.D. Computer Science, Hebrew University, 1989) is a Professor and is the Department Chair of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University. Her research is focused on intelligent agents and multi-agent systems (including people and robots). In particular, she studies the development of intelligent agents that can interact proficiently with people. She studies both cooperative and conflicting scenarios. She considers modeling human behavior and predicting their decisions necessary for facing these challenges as well as the development of formal models for the agent’s decision making. She has also contributed to the research on agent optimization, homeland security, adversarial patrolling, social networks and nonmonotonic reasoning.

For her pioneer work she received many prestigious awards. She was awarded the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, the ACM SIGART Agents Research award, the EMET prize and was twice the winner of the IFAAMAS influential paper award. She is an ACM, AAAI and ECCAI fellow and a recipient of the advanced ERC grant. She also received a special commendation from the city of Los Angeles, together with Prof. Tambe, Prof. Ordonez and their USC students, for the creation of the ARMOR security scheduling system. She has published over 350 papers in leading journals and major conferences. She is the author of the book “Strategic Negotiation in Multiagent Environments” (2001) and a co-author of the books “Heterogeneous Active Agents” (2000) and “Principles of Automated Negotiation” (2014). Kraus is a senior associate editor of the Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence Journal and an associate editor of the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and of JAIR. She is a member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Multi-agent Systems (IFAAMAS).

talk: Data-Driven Applications in Smart Cities, 1pm Fri May 5

UMBC CSEE Seminar Series

Data-Driven Applications in Smart Cities—Data and Energy Management in Smart Grids

Zhichuan Huang
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1:00-2:00pm, Friday, 5 May 2017, ITE 231

The White House announced the Smart Cities Initiative with an $160 million investment to address emerging challenges in this inevitable urbanization. Under the scope of this initiative, my work addresses emerging problems in the smart energy systems in connected communities with a data-driven approach, including sensing hardware design, streaming data collection to data analytics and privacy, system modeling and control, application design and deployments. In this talk, I will focus on an example of data driven solutions for data and energy management in smart grids. I will first show how to collect the energy data from large-scale deployed low-cost smart meters and minimize the communication and storage overhead. Then I will show how we can conduct energy data analytics with the collected energy data and utilize data analytics results for real-time energy management in a microgrid to minimize the operational cost. Finally, I will present the real-world impact of my research and some future work about CPS in smart cities.


Zhichuan Huang is a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is interested in incorporating big data analytics in Cyber-Physical Systems (also known as Internet of Things under some contexts) for data driven applications in Smart Connected Communities. His current focus is on data driven solutions for smart energy systems including from sensing hardware design, streaming data collection to data analytics and privacy, system modeling and control, application design and deployments. His technical contributions have led to more than 20 papers, featuring 14 first-author papers in premier venues, e.g., IEEE BigData, ICCPS, IPSN, RTSS and best paper runner-up in BuildSys 2014.

Organizer: Tulay Adali

About the CSEE Seminar Series: The UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering presents technical talks on current significant research projects of broad interest to the Department and the research community. Each talk is free and open to the public. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for future talks.

talk: Big Microbiome Data, 10am Tue May 2, UMBC

Information Systems Eminent Scholar Talk

Big Microbiome Data

Xiaohua Hu, Drexel University

10:00am Tuesday, 2 May 2017, ITE 459, UMBC

We know little about the microbial world. Microbiome sequencing (i.e., metagenome, 16s rRNA) extracts DNA directly from a microbial environment without culturing any species. Recently, huge amount of data are generated from many micorbiome projects such as Human Microbiome Project (HMP), Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract (MetaHIT), et al. Analyzing these data will help us to better understand the function and structure of microbial community of human body, earth and other environmental eco-systems. However, the huge data volume, the complexity of microbial community and the intricate data properties have created a lot of opportunities and challenges for data analysis and mining. For example, it is estimate that in the microbial eco- system of human gut, there are about 1000 kinds of bacteria with ten billion bacteria and more than four million genes in more than 6000 orthologous gene family. The challenges are due to the complex properties of microbiome: large-scale, complicated, diversity, correlation, composition, hierarchy, incompleteness etc.

Current microbiomes data analysis methods seldom consider these data properties and often make some assumptions such as linear, Euclidean space, metric-space, continue data type, which conflict with the true data properties. For example, some similarities are non-metric because the prevalent existence of some species; and the interactions among species and environment are complex in high order. Thus it is urgent to develop novel computational methods to overcome these assumptions and consider the microbiome data properties in the analysis procedure.  In this talk, we will discuss some computational methods to analyze and visualize microbiome big data. Our studies are focusing on 1) novel machine learning and computational technologies for dimension reduction and visualization of microbiome data based on non-Euclidean spaces (manifold learning) to discover nonlinear intrinsic features and patterns in these data to overcome the linear assumptions, 2) novel statistical methods for variable selection in microbiome data by integrating group information among variables.

Xiaohua Tony Hu is a full professor and the founding director of the data mining and bioinformatics lab at the College of Computing and Informatics. He is also serving as the founding Co-Director of the NSF Center on Visual and Decision Informatics, IEEE Computer Society Bioinformatics and Biomedicine Steering Committee Chair, and IEEE Computer Society Big Data Steering Committee Chair. He joined Drexel University in 2002. He founded the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics, the IEEE International Conference on Big Data and the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. In 2001, he founded the DMW Software in Silicon Valley, California. He received many awards, including NSF CAREER Award and IEEE Data Mining Outstanding Service Award.  Tony’s current research interests are in data/text/web mining, big data, bioinformatics, information retrieval and information extraction, social network analysis, healthcare informatics, rough set theory and application. He has published more than 270 peer-reviewed research papers in various journals, conferences and books He has obtained more than US$8.5 million research grants in the past ten years as PI or Co-PI. He has graduated 19 Ph.D. students from 2006 to 2017 and is currently supervising nine Ph.D. students.

talk: Practical Introduction to Penetration Testing , 12pm 4/28, ITE227, UMBC

The UMBC Cyber Defense Lab presents

A Practical Introduction to Penetration Testing

Dr. Arno Wacker
University of Kassel, Germany
and UMBC 2017

12:00noon Friday, 28 April 2017, ITE 227, UMBC

While many students learn the theoretical concepts of cybersecurity and cryptology at universities, their exposure to real life systems and the application of learned theoretical foundations in the real world is usually limited. Additionally, most students and sometimes even students of cybersecurity often deal with cybersecurity threats on a very abstract level, thereby being unaware that these threats are not abstract but real for everyone, including for themselves.

Therefore, this talk intends to raise the awareness about real cybersecurity threats for everyone by demonstrating live the process of penetration testing a system. I will show live how an attacker can gain control over a victim’s PC in a matter of seconds, and how this attack can be prevented. To do so, several techniques and tools will be used, including breaking a WPA-protected wireless network, defeating SSL/TLS encryption, and obtaining a reverse shell with system rights on the victim’s computer.

By experiencing these attacks in a simulated penetration test, we can gain a deeper understanding of the theoretical foundations and their implications for real-life scenarios. With this knowledge, the attack vectors can be mitigated to a bare minimum. In many cases, the cybersecurity-aware usage of IT systems is already countering many real threats.

Prof. Dr. Arno Wacker is an assistant professor with the University of Kassel in Germany and the head of the research group Applied Information Security (AIS). Currently, he is a visiting assistant professor at UMBC teaching the network security class. He is also the lead of the open source project CrypTool 2  and a member of the steering group of MysteryTwister C3 . His main research interests are modern security protocols for decentralized distributed systems, computerized cryptanalysis of classical ciphers, and cybersecurity awareness. At the University of Kassel, he teaches classes about cryptology and cybersecurity. Additionally, he regularly offers cryptology workshops for students at local schools and gives talks about penetration testing for companies. Email: <>

Host: Alan T. Sherman,

talk: Human-Like Strategies for Language-Endowed Intelligent Agents, 11am Fri 4/48, UMBC

The UMBC Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research (CHMPR)
is pleased to present as part of our distinguished lecture series

Human-Like Strategies for Language-Endowed Intelligent Agents

Dr. Sergei Nirenburg
Professor of Cognitive Science
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

11:00am Friday, 28 April 2017, ITE 325b


Artificial intelligent agents functioning in human-agent teams must correctly interpret perceptual input and make appropriate decisions about their actions. These are arguably the two central problems in computational cognitive modeling. The RPI LEIA Lab builds language-endowed intelligent agents that extract meaning of text and dialog and use the results together with input from other perception modes, a long-term belief repository, rich models of the world and of other agents, and a model of the interaction situation to make decisions about actions. Specific phenomena we currently concentrate on include incrementality, treatment of unexpected input and non-literal language (e.g., metaphor), analysis of agent biases and “mindreading,” and deliberate concept learning. All these studies are characterized by our belief in the ultimate utility of building causal models of agent capabilities that are inspired by human strategies in language processing and decision-making that go beyond analogical reasoning. In this talk I will give an overview of our recent work in the above areas.

Sergei Nirenburg is Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also serves as Head of the Department of Cognitive Science. He has worked in the areas of cognitive science, artificial intelligence and natural language processing for over 35 years, leading R&D teams of up to 80. Dr. Nirenburg’s professional interests include developing computational models of human cognitive capabilities and implementing them in computer models of societies of human and computer agents, continuing development of the theory of ontological semantics, and the acquisition and management of knowledge about the world and about language. Academic R&D teams under Dr. Nirenburg’s leadership have implemented a variety of proof-of-concept and prototype application systems for cognitive modeling, intelligent tutoring and a variety of NLP tasks (machine translation, question answering, text summarization, information extraction, computational field linguistics, knowledge elicitation and learning). Dr. Nirenburg has written two and edited five books and published over 200 scholarly articles in journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings.

talk: Resynchronization of circadian neurons, 1pm Fri 4/21

UMBC CSEE Seminar Series

Resynchronization of circadian neurons and the east-west asymmetry of jet-lag recovery

Zhixin Lu
University of Maryland, College Park

1-2pm Friday, 21 April 2017, ITE 231

Cells in the brain’s Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) are known to regulate circadian rhythms in mammals. We model synchronization of SCN cells using the forced Kuramoto model, which consists of a large population of coupled phase oscillators (modeling individual SCN cells) with heterogeneous intrinsic frequencies and external periodic forcing. Here, the periodic forcing models diurnally varying external inputs such as sunrise, sunset, and alarm clocks. We reduce the dimensionality of the system using the ansatz of Ott and Antonsen and then study the effect of a sudden change of clock phase to simulate cross-time-zone travel. We estimate model parameters from previous biological experiments. By examining the phase space dynamics of the model, we study the mechanism leading to the difference typically experienced in the severity of jet-lag resulting from eastward and westward travel.

Zhixin Lu, PhD Candidate, joined the Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos Group in the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011, as a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Edward Ott’s group. He acquired expertise in nonlinear dynamics and complex systems. Together with the colleagues from UMD, he used methods from nonlinear dynamics theory to investigate the synchronization of circadian neurons, the statistical properties of critical avalanching firing in integrate-and-fire neuron models, as well as dynamical behavior of artificial recurrent neuronal networks. His main research interests are the applications of nonlinear dynamics and the theory of complex networks to biological and artificial neural networks.

Host: Fow-Sen Choa; Organizer: Tulay Adali

About the CSEE Seminar Series: The UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering presents technical talks on current significant research projects of broad interest to the Department and the research community. Each talk is free and open to the public. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for future talks.

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