Category Archives: Seminars

LIVE: Charles Wallace at White House Conference on Aging Monday Afternoon

2015 White House Conference on AgingProf. Charles Wallace was invited to the White House Conference on Aging because of his Breaking Digital Barriers project and the ongoing outreach to research, understand, and help bridge the technology gap experienced by older Americans. Wallace is participating on the Technology and the Future of Aging panel, which begins at 3:50pm July 13, 2015.

There is an official website for the White House Conference on Aging.

The conference is being streamed live at:

Online@Library is a joint outreach project between the Michigan Technological University Computer Science Department and the Portage Lake District Library that provides free computer help. These computer help sessions with individual tutors are held every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the library through August. Student volunteers show participants how to use the internet to keep in touch with people, share pictures and letters, find information, solve computer problems, and much more. Tutors help each participant with their own particular needs. People may attend as many of the sessions as they wish, and those who have devices (such as laptops, tablets, phones, cameras, etc.) may bring them. Online@Library is free and everyone is welcome.

More information can be found at the Breaking Digital Barriers website:

Charles Wallace
Charles Wallace, center, attends the White House Conference on Aging.

Financial Engines’ CEO Lawrence Raffone a Panelist at the White House Conference on Aging

The panel addressed Technology and the Future of Aging, and was moderated by Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Other panelists included Susannah Fox, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Rachel Holt, Regional General Manager, East Coast, at Uber; Tom Parkinson, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, at Peapod LLC; Charles Wallace, Associate Professor, Computer Science, at Michigan Technological University; and Donna Levin, Co-Founder & VP, Policy, CSR and Global Workplace Solutions, at United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez delivered the closing remarks.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily:
Follow them: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

Chuck Wallace Shares How to Break Digital Barriers at White House Conference

“We’re looking at this from the user perspective,” Wallace says. “And we’re hoping to take this from an outreach, educational opportunity to build in more of a research component to better understand what’s happening with these users.”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Allison Mills.

Aging Together: Students and seniors breaking down technology barriers

We’ll age out of the technology gap.

I think that’s an unspoken belief around helping seniors overcome technology barriers. Everyone today uses the Internet and owns a device. Barriers will fall as people of all ages get swept into the “cloud” and embrace the “Internet of Things.”

I may have felt the same until talking with Michigan Tech Professor Charles Wallace.

Read more at MLive, by Dustin Block.

Jeon Presents at International Conference on Auditory Display

ICAD 2015Myounghoon “Philart” Jeon (CLS/CS) and colleagues presented four research projects at the International Conference on Auditory Display (ICAD) in Graz, Austria: “Regulating drivers’ aggressiveness by sonifying emotional data,” “Subjective assessment of in-vehicle auditory warnings for rail grade crossings,” “Exploration of semiotics of new auditory displays: A comparative analysis with visual displays,” and “Cultural differences in preference of auditory emoticons: USA and South Korea.” Jeon also successfully hosted the workshop on “In-vehicle Auditory Interactions” at ICAD. This workshop was partly supported by MTTI.

From Tech Today.

ICAD 2015 – ICAD in Space: Interactive Spatial Sonification was held July 8-10.

Invited Talk for Soner Onder in Switzerland

Soner Onder
Soner Onder

Professor Soner Onder (CS) will be giving an invited talk at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 16, 2015. The talk is entitled Breaking out of Control-Flow Jail: Single Assignment Compiler, Single-Assignment Architecture. EPFL is a research university that specializes in physical sciences and engineering. It is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and sciences, ranking 17th overall and 10th in engineering according to 2015 QS World University Rankings.

Workshop: Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research

The Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) will host the first workshop on “Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research.” We would like to invite researchers and practitioners interested in in-vehicle user interfaces and applications. This workshop aims to identify plausible research projects and collaborators for each identified project, introduce possible funding agencies and proposal submission logistics, and plan and schedule activities that will culminate in competitive proposal submission.

Guest Speakers

  • Andrew Kun (University of New Hampshire)
  • Bruce Walker (Georgia Tech)
  • Andreas Riener (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
  • Collin Castle (Michigan Department of Transportation)

There is no registration fee, but an RSVP is preferred. Please RSVP to Steven Landry, assistant organizer,, by Thursday, April 30.

Catered lunch and wine and cheese reception will be provided. The day before and after, the Mind Music Machine Lab will also have a demo session on research facilities, including multiple driving simulators, robots and virtual environment.

Participants, who want to present their research interests and skill sets can send a single power point slide to Steven Landry, assistant organizer,, by Thursday, May 14.

Research presentation is not mandatory. You can attend without any presentation.

This workshop is hosted by Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Department of Computer Science.

From Tech Today.

Workshop on “Developing Partnership and Advancing Driving Research”
Date and Location
When: May 28th 2015 Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: Great Lake Research Center (GLRC) at Michigan Tech

Grad Seminar MS Defense: Xiang Li

Poplar Gene Expression Data Analysis Pipeline

Thursday, December 13  4pm
Fisher 325

MS Defense:  Xiang Li
Advisor: Hairong Wei

Abstract: Analyzing large-scale gene expression data is tedious and time-consuming. To solve this problem, we develop a set of pipeline tools for rapid processing poplar gene expression data. In our pipeline tools, DEG pipeline is designed to identify biologically important genes that are differentially expressed under certain condition in multiple time points. Pathway analysis is designed to evaluate the expression of a set of genes catalyzing biological pathways. Domain pipeline evaluates the output from DEG pipeline. It is designed to figure out the enriched protein domains related to DEGs. GO pipeline also evaluates the output from DEG pipeline and attempts to figure out the enriched GO terms.

Our pipeline tools can analyze both microarray gene data and high-throughput gene data. These two types of data are obtained by two different technologies. A DNA microarray is a collection of microscopic DNA spots attached to a solid surface. High throughput sequencing, also called as the next-generation sequencing, is a new technology to measure gene expression levels by sequencing MicroRNAs (miRNAs), and obtain each miRNA’s copy numbers in cells or tissues.

We also develop an on-line tool for the pipelines to facilitate users to analyze their data. Besides the analyses mentioned above, it can also perform GO hierarchy analysis, i.e. construct GO trees by taking a list of GO terms as input.

CS Department Seminar, Aly Farahat, PhD Defense

July 16, 2pm

Title: Automated Design of Self-Stabilization


Nowadays, we witness an increasing impact of software system failures due to the
growing abundance and steady proliferation of software into our daily activities.
Self-stabilization is a property of a distributed system such that, regardless of the
legitimacy of its current behavior, the system behavior shall eventually become legitimate and shall remain so thereafter. Despite its elegance, self-stabilization is very difficult to
design and verify manually. We pursue two approaches towards the automated design of
self-stabilization. The first approach explores the global state space of distributed
protocols, through a set of heuristics, to automatically add self-stabilization to these
protocols. Towards this end, we develop software tools that implement our heuristics and
obtain existing and new self-stabilizing protocols on various network topologies. The
second approach investigates the global behavior of a distributed protocol by reasoning
about the local state space of just one of its components/processes. In particular, we
provide necessary and sufficient conditions — verifiable in the local state space of every
process — for global deadlock and livelock-freedom of protocols on ring topologies. Local
reasoning potentially circumvents state explosion and partial information in distributed
systems, thereby enabling our assertions about global deadlocks and livelocks to hold for
rings of arbitrary size.

Watch the defense:

Echo 360

CS Department Seminar, Christopher Brown, PhD Candidate

March 30, 2012, 3:00 PM, Room 214 – Rekhi Hall

Title: Generating Automated Usability Tests for User Centered Design

The agile approach to software development gives top priority to satisfying the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. A key component of the agile approach is test driven development (TDD), which involves the continuous maintenance of an automated regression test suite. One area that appears resistant to TDD is usability testing, due to its inherently subjective nature. Without automated usability testing, many HCI intensive applications cannot be developed in a fully agile manner.
This research project will provide automated usability tests that can supplement standard usability testing. It uses generative programming techniques to create test code based on common usability heuristics. Generated code can adapt to varying styles of interface, and can ground subjective decisions in objective criteria. [Video]

CS, Center for Computer Systems Research and ECE Seminar – Brian VanVoorst, Speaker

Title: An Introduction to Point Cloud Understanding
Brian VanVoorst, MTU Alumni & Technical Director of BBN Technologies

Thursday, March 22,2012 – 135 Fisher Hall – 2:00 PM

Abstract: A point cloud is a collection of 3D points from a 3D sensor such as a LIDAR, stereo camera, or a Microsoft Kinect system. These 3D sensors are used in applications of robotics, mapping (such as the Google Street View platforms), and entertainment. At BBN there are multiple projects under way with a common theme of “point cloud understanding.” Point cloud understanding is an area of computer vision research in which algorithms are developed to extract knowledge from point clouds. In this talk an overview of 3D sensors and their point clouds, discuss challenges computer scientists face in processing point clouds, explain some of the key algorithms and data structures, highlight the differences between point cloud understanding and image understanding, and explore opportunities for sensor fusion. I will draw heavily upon the real-world challenges we face in our ongoing research projects. This talk will be accessible to computer scientists and engineers at all levels.

Biography: Brian VanVoorst joined BBN Technologies in 2008 as a Technical Director to help form the BBN Technologies office in Minnesota. He has more than 19 years of experience working on and leading research and development programs. His most recent work is in the area of the automated understanding of LIDAR point clouds. His previous work has been in many areas, including real-time and fault-tolerant systems, mobile ad-hoc networking, parallel processing, and parallel system benchmarking. He also has worked extensively with robotics and was part of a team that was a finalist for the DARPA Urban Challenge. Before coming to BBN, VanVoorst was a researcher at Honeywell Labs for 14 years and spent two years at the NASA Ames Research Center. VanVoorst earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Michigan Technological University. From 1999–2001 he held a lectureship position at Michigan Tech and taught in the Computer Science Department while continuing to work for Honeywell. He holds one patent with four applications pending and has published more than 20 papers in conference proceedings and journals.

CS Department Seminar – Dr. Timothy Havens, Speaker

Department of Computer Science Seminar
February 27, 2012 – 4:04 PM – Room G005 – Rekhi Hall
Title: “Fuzzy Kernel Clustering of Large Scale Biomedical and Bioinformatics Data”

Dr. Timothy Havens

Since the early 1990’s, the ubiquity of personal computing technology has produced an abundance of staggeringly large data sets—it is estimated that Facebook alone logs over 25 terabytes of data per day and large bioinformatics data sets that integrate microarrays, sequences, and ontology annotations continue to grow. To compound this fact, these data sets are populated from disparate, often unknown, sources and are in a wide-range of formats. There is a great need for systems by which one can elucidate the similarity among and between groups in these data sets and produce easy-to-understand visualizations of the results. In this talk, I will discuss a method for efficiently and accurately approximating the solution of the kernel c-means clustering algorithm, specifically focusing on the fuzzy variant. Kernel clustering has been shown to be effective for data sets where the groups are not linearly separable in the input space or are high-dimensional. However, kernel fuzzy c-means (kFCM) presents computation and storage requirement challenges: clustering 500,000 objects requires 1 terabyte of main memory. I will show that on medium scale data (~50,000 objects) the approximate kFCM (akFCM) algorithm gives up to three orders of magnitude speed-up and a constant factor reduction in memory footprint with little-to-no degradation in performance, as compared to literal kFCM. I also demonstrate that akFCM performs well on large-scale data (>500,000 objects), including magnetic resonance imaging volumes. Last, I will apply the clustering method to bioinformatics data composed of genes described by Gene Ontology annotations to show how akFCM can be used for comparative genomics.