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    Shane Mueller to Present Lecture Jan. 22, 3 pm

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture, by Dr. Shane Mueller on Friday, January 22, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    Mueller is an associate professor in the Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors program of the Cognitive and Learning Science department. His lecture is titled, “Explainable AI, and principles for building human-centered XAI systems.”

    Join the lecture here.

    Mueller’s research focuses on human memory and the representational, perceptual, strategic, and decisional factors that support it. He employs applied and basic research methodologies, typically with a goal of implementing formal quantitative mathematical or computational models of cognition and behavior.

    He is also the primary developer of the Psychology Experiment Building Language (PEBL), a software platform for creating psychology experiments.

    Mueller has undergraduate degrees in mathematics and psychology from Drew University, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan. He was a senior scientist at Klein Associates Division of Applied Research Associates from 2006 to 2011. His research has been supported by NIH, DARPA, IARPA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Army Research Institute, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and others.

    Lecture Title:

    Explainable AI, and principles for building human-centered XAI systems

    Lecture Abstract

    In recent years, Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) has re-emerged in response to the development of modern AI and ML systems. These systems are complex and sometimes biased, but they nevertheless make decisions that impact our lives. XAI systems are frequently algorithm-focused; starting and ending with an algorithm that implements a basic untested idea about explainability. These systems are often not tested to determine whether the algorithm helps users accomplish any goals, and so their explainability remains unproven. I will discuss some recent advances and approaches to developing XAI, and describe how many of these systems are likely to incorporate many of the lessons from past successes and failures to build explainable systems. I will then review some of the basic concepts that have been used for user-centered XAI systems over the past 40 years of research. Based on this, I will describe a set of empirically-grounded, human user-centered design principles that may guide developers to create successful explainable systems.


    Vijay Garg, UT Austin, to Present Lecture Feb. 19, 3 pm

    Dr. Vijay Garg of University of Texas Austin, will present a lecture on February 19 3:00 p.m. The lecture is presented by the Department of Computer Science.

    Join the lecture here.

    Vijay Garg is a Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

    He is an IEEE Fellow and is the director of the Parallel and Distributed Systems laboratory at UT Austin. His research contributions are in the areas of distributed algorithms, global predicate detection, distributed debugging and simulation, fault-tolerance, lattice theory and supervisory control of discrete event systems. His research has been supported by NSF, IBM, Texas Advanced Research Program, TRW, SRC, and Compaq among others..


    Software Engineering Program Ranked Among the Best

    Michigan Tech’s BS in Software Engineering is in the top 10 nationwide according to College Rank. The website ranked the 35 Best Bachelor’s in Software Engineering.

    Michigan Tech, which appears at number nine on the list, was one of only two Michigan colleges to make the ranking. The University of Michigan – Dearborn was ranked 15th.

    “It’s great to see our program get this well-deserved recognition,” says Professor and Chair Linda Ott, Computer Science. “We consistently hear from industries that hire our graduates that our alumni are well-prepared and quickly become productive developers in their organizations.”

    “Our students gain a solid theoretical framework, which provides the foundation for life-long career growth and success, as well as extensive practical, hands-on experience through class projects, internships and the Michigan Tech Enterprise program,” Ott explains.

    College Rank uses a ranking methodology based on three aspects — Potential Salary After Graduation (40%), Individual Program Accreditation (30%) and Overall Affordability (30%).

    “This program will help you to secure your position in a well-regarded profession,” says the College Rank website about Michigan Tech’s Software Engineering program. “You’ll be able to work with teams in your classes as well as labs and in the Senior Enterprise or Design programs. The Enterprise Program is a unique opportunity that brings together students of all majors to work on real projects with real clients in a business-like environment. You’ll receive guidance and coaching from faculty mentors throughout every step of your journey here.”


    Computing Majors on Team that Takes 3rd in Lockheed CTF Competition

    Two College of Computing RedTeam students are part of a five-member team that finished 3rd in last weekend’s invitation-only Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratories (ATL) Capture the Flag cybersecurity competition.

    The multi-day virtual event involved 200 students on 40 teams. It opened for answer submission Friday, January 8, at 8:00 p.m., and closed Sunday, January 10, at 8 p.m.

    The 3rd Place team, GoBlue!, trailed the 2nd Place team by only 14 points. RedTeam members are Michigan Tech undergraduates Dakoda Patterson, Computer Science, and Trevor Hornsby, Cybersecurity, and three University of Michigan students from the RedTeam’s partnership with that institution.

    Michigan Tech RedTeam faculty advisors are Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science.

    “We were lucky to be one of the 40 teams invited,” said Cai. “This was no small task, as the CTF included a large number of points in Reversing and “pwning” challenges, which proved to be fairly difficult. Other challenges were Cryptography, Stegonography, Web Exploitation, and miscellaneous challenges.”

    CTF competitions place hidden “flags” in various computer systems, programs, images, messages, network traffic and other computing environments. Each individual or team is tasked with finding these flags. Participants win prizes while learning how to defend against cybersecurity attacks in a competitive and safe arena.

    Top Three Teams

    PlacementTeam NameInstitutionTotal Points
    1st PlacenullbytesGeorge Mason University3697
    2nd PlaceChrisSucksGeorge Mason University3330
    3rd PlaceGoBlue!Michigan Tech and University of Michigan 3316

    Lan Zhang, ECE, to Present Lecture Jan. 15, 3 pm

    Assistant Professor Lan “Emily” Zhang, Electrical and Computer Engineering, will present her lecture, “Augmenting Radio Environments for Better Wireless Ecosystems,” on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., via online meeting.

    The lecture is hosted by the Michigan Tech Department of Computer Science. Zhang is a member of the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) research group of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

    Zhang’s research interest span the fields of cyber-physical systems, distributed machine learning, wireless communications, and cybersecurity. In her talk, she will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces, e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs), to augment radio environments for various purposes.

    Join the Zoom lecture here. (https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/83259089532)

    Lecture Abstract

    In the last several decades, wireless technologies have become well-established to fight against propagation obstacles. Most conventional efforts are focused on optimizing end devices, such as transmitters and receivers, in order to adapt to the given transmission environment for better communications. However, the recent rapid convergence of the cyber and physical worlds (Cyber-Physical Systems or CPSs) presents unprecedented challenges to the wisdom of conventional design. Given ever-growing service demands, as well as the diverse wireless application scenarios, it is critical to adaptively augment the radio environments in a cost-effective way, while maintaining the aesthetic nature of living environments.

    In her talk, Zhang will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces–e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs)–to augment radio environments for various purposes. Specifically, she will focus on three promising areas for enhancing the throughput and reliability of wireless communications, mitigating the physical-layer security threats, and facilitating wireless sensing activities. Both model-based and learning-based methods will be used for theoretical and practical analysis.

    Biography

    Dr. Lan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. She received a Ph.D. degree in computer engineering from the University of Florida in 2020, and M.S. and B.Eng. degrees in telecommunication engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2016 and 2013, respectively.

    Zhang has served as a technical program committee member for several respected conferences, such as NeurIPS-SpicyFL 2020 and the 2020 IEEE IFOCOM poster/demo section. She has also served as reviewer for leading journals, such as IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and IEEE Transactions on Wireless Computing.