Category: Computer Science

2019 Graduate Research Colloquium Award Recipients

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) hosted the 11th Annual Graduate Research Colloquium March 27 and 28, to celebrate the hard work and outstanding achievements of our graduate students. The event has grown from a one-session event with a handful of participants into a two-day event with a record 85 participants, representing 17 academic schools and departments. The event ended with an awards banquet honoring presenters, award nominees and three new awards recognizing departments for supporting graduate education. Congratulations to the 2019 graduate student recipients for their outstanding accomplishments.

Congratulations to Daniel Byrne who received the Graduate Student Service Award!  Read the full Tech Today article here

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Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research

2018-19 Songer Award Recipients. Pictured Left to Right: Abby Sutherland, Billiane Kenyon, Jeremy Bigalke, Rupsa Basu, Matthew Songer, and Laura Songer.

Matthew Songer, (Biological Sciences ’79) and Laura Songer (Biological Sciences ’80) have generously donated funds to the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) to support a research project competition for undergraduate and graduate students. Remembering their own eagerness to engage in research during their undergraduate years, the Songers established these awards to stimulate and encourage opportunities for original research by current Michigan Tech students. The College is extremely grateful for the Songers’ continuing interest in, and support of, Michigan Tech’s programs in human health and medicine. This is the second year of the competition.

Students may propose an innovative medically-oriented research project in any area of human health. The best projects will demonstrate the potential to have broad impact on improving human life. This research will be pursued in consultation with faculty members within the College of Sciences and Arts. In the Spring of 2019, the Songer’s gift will support one award for undergraduate research ($4,000) and a second award for graduate research ($6,000). Matching funds from the College may allow two additional awards.

Any Michigan Tech student interested in exploring a medically related question under the guidance of faculty in the College of Sciences and Arts may apply. Students majoring in any degree program in the college, including both traditional (i.e., biological sciences, kinesiology, chemistry) and nontraditional (i.e., physics, psychology, social science, bioethics, computer science, mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. Students are encouraged to propose original, stand-alone projects with expected durations of 6 – 12 months. The committee also encourages applications from CSA students who seek to continue research projects initiated through other campus mechanisms, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Pavlis Honors College activities or the Graduate Research Forum (GRF).

Funds from a Songer Award may be used to purchase or acquire research materials and equipment needed to perform the proposed research project. Access to and research time utilizing University core research facilities, including computing, may be supported. Requests to acquire a personal computer will be scrutinized and must be fully justified. Page charges for publications also may be covered with award funds, as will travel to appropriate academic meetings. This award may not be used for salary or compensation for the student or consulting faculty.

To apply:

  • Students should prepare a research project statement (up to five pages in length) that describes the background, methods to be used, and research objectives. The statement also should provide a detailed description of the experiments planned and expected outcomes. Students must indicate where they will carry out their project and attach a separate list of references/citations to relevant scientific literature.
  • The application package also should provide a concise title and brief summary (1 page) written for lay audiences.
  • A separate budget page should indicate how funds will be used.
  • A short letter from a consulting faculty member must verify that the student defined an original project and was the primary author of the proposal. The faculty member should also confirm her/his willingness to oversee the project. This faculty letter is not intended to serve as a recommendation on behalf of the student’s project.

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 22. Applications may be emailed to djhemmer@mtu.edu.

The selection committee will consist of Matthew Songer, Laura Songer, Shekhar Joshi (BioSci) and Megan Frost (KIP). The committee will review undergraduate and graduate proposals separately and will seek additional comments about the proposed research on an ad-hoc basis from reviewers familiar with the topic of the research proposal. Primary review criteria will be the originality and potential impact of the proposed study, as well as its feasibility and appropriateness for Michigan Tech’s facilities.

The committee expects to announce the recipients by early May of 2019. This one-time research award will be administered by the faculty advisor of the successful student investigator. Students will be expected to secure any necessary IRB approval before funds will be released. Funds must be expended by the end of spring semester 2020; extensions will not be granted. Recipients must submit a detailed report to the selection committee, including a description of results and an accounting of finds utilized, no later than June 30, 2020.

Any questions may be directed to Megan Frost (mcfrost@mtu.edu), David Hemmer (djhemmer@mtu.edu) or Shekhar Joshi (cpjoshi@mtu.edu).

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Two new grants in one month, way to go, Robert!

Congratulations to Robert Pastel for his new grant of $116,561 as a part of a collaborative NSF project, titled “Collaborative Research: MSB-FRA: Scaling Climate, Connectivity and Communities in Streams project”. This is a $1.4 million grant that involves Oklahoma University,  University of Arizona, University Louisiana at Lafayette, Virginia Tech, Northern Arizona University, University of California at Berkeley, and Michigan Tech. The project studies the ecology of intermittent streams as they dry. Northern Arizona University and Michigan Tech will develop smartphone applications for mapping wet and dry stream reaches for researchers and citizen scientists.
Two new grants in a month, way to go, Robert!

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Robert Pastel receives a new NSF grant of $61,760 for the project titled: “SCC: Community-Based Automated Information for Urban Flooding”

Robert Pastel is a Co-Principal Investigator on this NSF grant led by Arizona State University (ASU).  The project is titled, “SCC: Community-Based Automated Information for Urban Flooding” and the abstract is as follows:  Flooding is the most damaging natural hazard in the U.S. and around the world, and most flood damage occurs in cities. Yet the ability to know when flooding is happening and communicate that risk to the public and first responders is limited. At the same time there is a surge in digitally connected technologies, many at the fingertips of the general public (e.g., smartphones). The need is for new flood information that can be generated from primary observations that are collected in exactly the right places and times to be coupled with the ability to more effectively communicate this risk to communities. This project will develop the Integrated Flood Stage Observation Network (IFSON), a system that can take in crowd-sourced information on flooding (from cameras, a smartphone app, and social media), intelligently assess flood risk (using machine learning), and communicate those risks in real time. IFSON will be scalable to any community or city and will provide a backbone for new crowd-sourced technologies.

This project will i) integrate several new technologies (each that directly engages with different communities) to provide new insights into and communication capacity around urban flooding hazards, ii) connect a range of communities to each other in near-realtime (from the general public to first responders to infrastructure managers) and develop flood sensing and avoidance capacities that can be used anywhere in the U.S. or even internationally, iii) develop new insights into how urban morphology contributes to flood risk, and iv) leverage prior funding by connecting practitioners from existing sustainability research networks and sending data to CUAHSI and eRams. Additionally, this research will develop outreach activities that will educate the public and practitioners on how flooding hazards occur, their impacts, and how to mitigate risks. The research will directly empower and engage local citizens in flood event reporting and response, and explores a concrete model for what it would mean to have a “smart and connected community” for minimizing flood risk. Although driven by a number of novel technologies and techniques, the central focus of this work is on the interface of community with technology and, in particular, how modern network technologies can engage and bring together ordinary citizens, city planners, first responders, and other local stakeholders within a shared, collaboratively constructed information space; a broad range of educational and outreach opportunities are included to engage stakeholders and amplify project impact. In addition to training students through research positions, the project will create a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. It will also connect with national, state, and local societies across a number of disciplines. For example, the project will work with the City of Phoenix during their Monsoon Preparedness day to educate first responders on how to use project results. Interdisciplinary course modules that show how to engage various communities (including the public, first responders, and infrastructure managers) in mitigating flood risk will be developed and disseminated. Additionally, infrastructure managers will be recruited to participate in workshops on how project data will reveal new insights into the condition of infrastructure and what strategies can be employed to reduce hazards.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Congratulations Robert!

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Students Invited to Apply for Spring Break Trip to Silicon Valley

Tech Today announces:

Aspiring student entrepreneurs and innovators are invited to apply for the Michigan Tech Silicon Valley Experience, a spring break tour of California Bay Area companies that includes meetings with entrepreneurs and Michigan Tech alumni who are leaders in their field.

The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 8, and the application form can be found at SVE Experience 2019 Application. Up to fifteen students will be selected for this experience. Major funding for the trip is provided by Michigan Tech alumnus Kanwal Rekhi, as well as the Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship and the School of Business and Economics in collaboration with 14 Floors.

Silicon Valley is known for its software giants, high-tech startups, Fortune 1,000 companies, innovative culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem—the environment that affects local/regional entrepreneurship, such as culture, policies, talent, entrepreneurial organizations, regional resources, and networks.

The Silicon Valley Experience will showcase multiple perspectives of a day in the life of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and business leaders. This tour will provide an interactive opportunity for students to discover more about a variety of industry settings, to sample various innovative corporate cultures through tours and presentations, and to meet and talk with successful alumni entrepreneurs.

Students who are accepted will have the opportunity to:

  • Tour companies like Google, Netflix, Hewlett Packard, Facebook, Ford, Clari, BYTON, Twilio, Autodesk, Waymo, the Porter Vineyard, as well as recent Michigan Tech alumnus startup, Handshake
  • Meet with entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Talk with Michigan Tech alumni who are leaders in their field
  • Get answers to your real-world business, innovation, and leadership questions
  • Gain firsthand knowledge of the enterprises that are revolutionizing global business

Lodging, some food and ground transportation to and from toured companies will be covered. Students will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own air travel. As part of the student application, students will create a two-minute video describing how they will share their experience with the University community upon completion of their travel in order to positively contribute to our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Students who have a demonstrated financial need can apply for a limited travel scholarship. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Casper.

by Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship

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The 2018 NCL Cyber Competition Results Are In…

In Fall 2018, Alex Larkin has a great achievement in NCL Cyber Competition Regular Season. His national rank is 17th out of 3324 participant, a great jump from 36th in Spring 2018. In addition,  our NCL team (“Michigan Tech Hackers”) ranked 81 out of 360 teams in NCL Cyber Competition Postseason.  It was the first time we have a team involved in this competition and our team did an excellent job as a starting point. The team consists of three CS undergraduate students, Alexander Larkin, Jon Preuth, and Jack Bergman. Bo Chen, CS Assistant Professor, is the faculty coach.
The NCL was founded in May 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for collegiate students to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills. It is a defensive and offensive puzzle-based, capture-the-flag style cybersecurity competition. Its virtual training ground helps high school and college students prepare and test themselves against cybersecurity challenges that they will likely face in the workforce. All participants play the games simultaneously during Preseason, Regular Season and Postseason.
Excellent work!

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$35K Gift from Google to Computer Science!

The Department of Computer Science, supported by a gift from Google, will hold a 3-day workshop to introduce female undergraduate students with an interest in computer science, to research experiences, provide them with information about graduate school, and provide them with an opportunity to interact with current graduate students.  The department has a long history of working to increase the enrollment of women in our undergraduate program,  This workshop expands those concerted efforts to our graduate program.  Special thanks to Google and the CS faculty Laura Brown, Jean Mayo, Linda Ott, and Leo Ureel.  The workshop will be held on the weekend of April 6 at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

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Crowdsourced App Gauges Flood Waters

Top of Agate St, Houghton on the day of the flood.When flood waters rise, more data helps better predict and monitor changing conditions. And soon there will be an app for that.

The system is called the Integrated Flood Stage Observation Network (IFSON) and can take crowdsourced flood data, like smartphone photos, webcams and social media posts, then use image processing to assess flood stage and potential damage. Later versions of the app will use machine learning techniques. With those risks identified, IFSON can communicate flood information to first responders in real time. The platform will be adaptable for different neighborhoods and communities.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

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Dylan Gaines receives 3rd place in the ACM ASSETS 2018 Student Research Competition

Dylan Gaines, a Computer Science undergraduate, received 3rd place in the ACM ASSETS 2018 Student Research Competition.  Dylan presented a poster and a talk on his work on Tap123, an interface for entering text without visual feedback.  Tap123 offers the potential for faster and easier to learn text input for users who are visually impaired.  ASSETS is the premier venue for research on assistive technologies and accessible computing.

Congratulations Dylan!

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