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

Microsoft at UMBC Tue 9/6 to discuss internship and full-time positions

Microsoft will be on campus to meet with undergraduate and graduate students interested in internship and full-time positions in the Seattle area. Interested students should come to the the Skylight Room in the Commons between 6:30 and 7:30pm on Tuesday September 6.

There are opportunities for Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Systems majors and more. Food will be available and also chances to win cool prizes.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP via the Events tab in your UMBCworks account (access myUMBC under the Jobs and Internships topic in myUMBC).

President Freeman Hrabowski on UMBC's Cybersecurity Strategy

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski was recently interviewed by The Daily Record on UMBC's educational and research programs in cybersecurity and their importance to the region and nation.

"We anticipate significant growth in this area over the next five years as the nation continues to stand up our cybersecurity resources. In addition, cybersecurity has implications for a broad range of sectors, including healthcare, energy and financial services. These industries have a strong footing in the Maryland economy, so the job outlook is strong, as is the need for innovative technologies to address new and emerging problems. Our ability to prepare a workforce to address cybersecurity challenges makes Maryland a real leader in this area."

The interview is part of a special supplement on cybersecurity and higher education published in August.

Google describes challenges in detecting Web-based malware

A new Google technical report, Trends in Circumventing Web-Malware Detection documents that it has become difficult to identify malicious Web sites as antivirus software is becoming less effective against them. The researchers analyzed four years' worth of data from 160 million Web pages using its Safe Browsing service, which warns users when they attempt to visit a site thought to have malware. Attackers have developed evasion techniques to avoid having their sites flagged as malicious. ACM TechNews notes that

"One of the ways hackers get around virtual machine-based detection is to require the victim to perform a mouse click, which triggers the site to automatically execute an attack. Browser emulators can malfunction when the malicious code is scrambled. A new, more complex JavaScript code is designed to stop emulated browsers and make manual analysis of the code more difficult, according to the Google engineers. Google also has come across IP cloaking, where a malicious Web site will refuse to serve harmful content to specific IP ranges, especially those used by security researchers. In August 2009, Google found that about 200,000 sites were using IP cloaking."

See also an article on NetworkWorld.

Final MDC3 cyber challenge team registration session 9/7

The Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference (MDC3) will provide an opportunity for students and professionals to network in a fun environment while participating in exciting games and learning about computer safety and cybersecurity skills. MDC3 teams of up to six players will compete in one of three categories: high school, college and university, and industry professionals. High school teams will focus on cyber defense techniques whereas college, university and professional teams will compete in a capture the flag match.

Students must be enrolled at a Maryland high school, college, or university. Professionals’ employers must have an office in Maryland and must be either a company or government agency. This summer’s final free Maryland Cyber Challenge orientation session will be held Thursday, August 25th at UMBC.

  • Professional Session: 4:30 – 5:30pm
  • High School & College Session: 6 – 7pm

Who should attend an orientation session?
Students, parents, teachers, administrators, cybersecurity professionals or anyone who wants to learn more about MDC3.

Why should I attend an orientation session?
To learn more about MDC3, including rules, format, scoring and CyberNEXSâ„¢, the system used during the competition.

Where are the orientation sessions?
The UMBC Technology Center, Main Seminar Room 1450 South Rolling Road Halethorpe, MD 21224

George Dyson on the birth of the computer

In his 2003 TED talk, George Dyson tells stories from the birth of the modern computer — from its 17th-century origins to the hilarious notebooks of some early computer engineers.



A Google a Day puzzles improve Web searching skills

The three Rs (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) were the education basics of generations past, but maybe now we should add a fourth, information Retrieval. We all turn to Web search engines like Bing and Google whenever we need to know something and the technology has revolutionized how we access and even think about information. But how adept are you at using modern search engines?

Google introduced A Google a Day as a daily puzzle to help you improve your search skills.

"A Google a Day is a new daily puzzle that can be solved using your creativity and clever search skills on Google. Questions will be posted every day on agoogleaday.com and printed on weekdays above the New York Times crossword puzzle. We’ll reveal each puzzle’s answer the next day in the Times and on agoogleaday.com, along with the search tips and features used to find it.

Just like traditional crossword puzzles, the difficulty of the questions increases over the course of the week, so by Thursday or Friday, even the most seasoned searcher may be stumped." (source)

Here's today's question:

With many people playing, you would expect to find lots of spoilers online as people comment on the daily puzzle on Twitter, Facebook or their blogs. To prevent this, Google's A Google a Day site uses a special interface that "excludes real-time updates and other things that are likely to include spoilers as people post the answers to the puzzle online."

Google is not the first company to think of using Web search games for marketing. Microsoft introduced Club Bing in 2007 to promote its new Bing search engine and now hosts a number of Web search related games on its site.

AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarships

The Associated Press and Google announced a scholarship program to foster digital and new media skills in student journalists. The AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship program will provide $20,000 to six undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at "the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media during the 2012-2013 academic year."

The program is open to U.S. citizens who are college sophomores or higher with at least one year of full-time undergraduate or graduate study remaining. Applicants must submit a project or concept that explains how his or her strategy moves digital journalism forward. Applications are due by 27 January 2012.

UIST Student Innovation Contest

The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology sponsors a Student Innovation Contest (SIC) with the goal of innovating new interactions on state-of-the-art hardware. They give you the latter, and you show them what you can do.

This year they will be working with the new Microsoft TouchMouse. In addition to supplying you the hardware for free, Microsoft is providing exclusive access to a pre-release of the TouchMouse API. This lets you get at the underlying 2D capacitive image captured the mouse’s sensor matrix. You will get a chance to hack together some cool demos before the everyone else gets their hands on the API. Contestants will demo their creations at the October 17th demo reception. The winner will be announced the following day.

Teams must register by August 17th and will receive hardware in September. See the UIST SIC site for more information.

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.

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