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    Winter WonderHack Is February 19-21

    By Winter Wonderhack

    Winter WonderHack is just around the corner. The event begins February 19, 2021, at 9:00 p.m., and ends February 21, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

    Are you an up-and-coming coder? Do you have a coding project in mind you’ve been itching to finally bring to fruition? Or perhaps you have no ideas, but you need to add some new projects to your resume, something you can brag about to recruiters?

    Do you like to win prizes? How about just hanging out and/or playing games?

    Do all of the above and more at the virtual Winter WonderHack February 19-21.

    The event is sponsored by the College of Computing, Wolfram Language, Auto Owners Insurance, and Domino’s Pizza.

    “Okay, but what IS Winter WonderHack?” you may ask.

    Winter WonderHack is a hackathon hosted annually by MTU’s very own Humane Interface Design Enterprise, or HIDE. It is an event that extends over 36 hours, in which groups ranging in size from one to four people come together to build and code any project from scratch–but it’s not all work and no play! There are a wide range of activities that will be occurring all day and all night for you to take a break from brainstorming and just have fun!

    After the 36th hour on Sunday, all projects will be presented to a panel of judges, and then prizes will be awarded under a variety of categories, ranging from the Most Creative project to the Most Useless!

    For the entire weekend, MTU’s Red Team will host a Capture the Flag event. On Saturday, a Rocket League tournament will occur! Both events will be conducted virtually via Discord. (For anyone worried about missing out, Rocket League is available free for download on PC, PS4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch.)

    All events during Winter Wonderhack are free, and all levels of technical backgrounds are welcome to attend! To register, visit the Winter Wonderhack website at https://winterwonderhack.com/#, and click on the Register link.

    Do you have more questions about the event? Please reach out to team@winterwonderhack.com. We hope to see you there!


    Innovation Week is January 25-29

    by Pavlis Honors College

    Innovation Week is a celebration of innovation both on and off campus. We will host talks with alumni entrepreneurs, showcase campus innovation and interactive events.

    Learn about innovative research, new ventures, solutions to Covid-19 and education prototypes. Connect with alums, students and faculty. Drop in for one event or several!

    Register soon to receive a Google calendar invite with Zoom link.

    MTU Health Research Institute
    Monday, January 25, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/HRI_talk 

    Health research at Michigan Tech has been steadily growing for over 10 years. This growth has led to many practical uses for the technology developed. Three researchers, Dr. Megan Frost (Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology), Dr. Bruce Lee (Biomedical Engineering), and Dr. Weihua Zhou (College of Computing) will discuss their experiences with start-ups and apply their research to relevant health problems.

    Private Equity Investment for Innovation
    Tuesday, January 26, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/equity_for_innovation_talk

    Entrepreneurs exploring financing options for their innovation, future private equity investors, and current equity investors will find this panel discussion with Michigan Tech private equity experts invaluable.  

    Topics include: 

    • Private investors goals and strategies
    • The types of opportunities that investors look for
    • Business stages and when investing is appropriate
    • Terms involved
    • Exit strategies for entrepreneurs
    • Current investment trends in private investing

    Panelists include: John Rockwell, Karl LaPeer, Tom Nye, and Jeff Helminski

    Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS)
    Wednesday, January 27, 12:00 -1:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/APS_talk 

    Jeremy Worm of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) will provide an overview of APS LABS and discuss innovative approaches to research, education, and collaboration with industry. A panel discussion with APS LABS leadership will follow the overview.

    Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) is focused on clean power generation and nearly all aspects of mobility with emphasis on ground vehicle systems. APS LABS is a full service organization conducting fundamental research, applied research & advanced engineering, product development, and validation testing. APS LABS supports commercial partners ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, and serves in a lead, or sub-role on many government contracts with commercial partners. 

    IDEA Hub Innovation Hour
    Wednesday, January 27, 3:00 – 4:00 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/IDEAhub_talk 

    IDEA Hub leaders will share their innovative education pilot projects and approaches to address the challenges of Education in the 21st Century.

    Innovation and Collaboration at the Library Activity
    Thursday, January 28, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
    Registration: bit.ly/library_innovation 

    Join us for a fun mixer activity at the Van Pelt and Opie Library in which we’ll see first-hand how collaboration leads to innovative solutions. Libraries are inherently interdisciplinary spaces that can serve as a jumping off point for active collaboration and innovation. Join librarians Jenn Sams and Erin Matas for a speed collaboration activity designed to let you meet new people, see a problem through a different lens, and inspire innovation. They will also share highlights about how the library supports and participates in innovative activities via a Patent & Trademark Resource Center, the 3D printers, and its innovative response to Covid-19.

    Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition
    Thursday, January 28, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
    Registration:  bit.ly/HuskyInnovateBobMark

    Pitch your idea and potentially win some cash! This year, we’ll be accepting two-minute idea pitches (evaluated on uniqueness and potential impact) and four-minute business model pitches (evaluated on scalability and actionable business models.) Register to compete by January 25, or join us in the audience to watch the event. Thousands of dollars worth of prizes offered!

    Journey as an Entrepreneur with Hajj Flemings
    Friday, January 29, 12:00 -1:00 pm
    Registration: bit.ly/Hajj_Flemings_talk

    Join us for a talk with entrepreneur and author Hajj E. Flemings, Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering (‘96) alum. Hajj will share his journey as an innovator and entrepreneur. Hajj has long embraced the entrepreneurial mindset and chose Michigan Tech because he enjoyed solving problems. Hajj is the founder of Rebrand Cities, a brand strategy consulting company that serves clients such as Cadillac, Pfitzer, Walt Disney and the Detroit Lions, to name a few. Hajj authored, The Brand YU Life: Re-thinking who you are through personal brand management.

    In 2011 Hajj was featured on CNN’s documentary series, “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley”. During filming of the series, he came to a deeper understanding of the meaning of “digital divide” for communities of color and dedicated himself to creating solutions. His insight led him to become founder and CEO of Brand Camp University, an educational platform that creates technology accessibility and supports job readiness for clients in underserved communities. In parallel, he led a new global civic design initiative within Rebrand City which focuses on eradicating the digital divide by getting 10,000 small businesses online.


    Husky Innovate Business Model Boot Camp is Today, Weds, Jan. 20

    Do you plan to pitch at the Bob Mark Business Model Competition?  

    Do you have an innovative idea that you want to develop further?   

    Are you interested in starting your own business or leading an innovative improvement project?   

    If yes, consider attending the Business Model Boot Camp – a virtual workshop, free to Michigan Tech students.

    Boot Camp Zoom Registration

    bit.ly/HuskyInnovateBootcamp

    Using the Business Model Canvas, students will work with members of the I-Corps teaching team to develop a business model for their innovation. We walk through steps involved to help you understand the relationship between your value proposition and the customers’ needs. The more clearly you understand this relationship, the better your position to launch a winning product or service.  

    If you plan to compete in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition, or if you’d like to learn how to develop a business model, this workshop is for you. There is a capacity of 15 contestants for our Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Priority will be given to those who have completed the Business Model Boot Camp.

    This event is hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization.


    Smart Start Seminar Today, Weds., Jan. 20

    New graduate students at Michigan Tech are invited to our virtual Smart Start. In Smart Start, we’ll introduce students to resources and policies to assist them to have a successful start to their graduate careers. It will be especially useful for students in their first year, but all students are welcome to attend.

    The seminar will be recorded for any students who cannot attend the zoom meeting. The seminar will be held at 2 p.m. today (Jan. 20) via Zoom. Please register online to receive streaming information and reminders to attend. It will be taped and available online for those unable to attend at that time.


    Register Now: 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium Is Friday, March 26

    The 2021 Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) will be held virtually on Friday, March 26, 2021. It requires that participants register for the event, provide an abstract, and create and narrate an electronic poster.

    This event is open to all Michigan Tech undergraduate researchers. Students wishing to participate must register online by Friday, February 5.

    The top three winners, based on judges’ reviews, will receive cash prizes for the best poster and narrated presentation combination. Winner will be announced Friday, March 26. 

    For event details, student application and resource materials, and judging information, visit the URS webpage or contact Paige Hackney.

    View and download photos from the 2019 Symposium on the Pavlis Honors College Flickr page. View the 2019 URS booklet that details all of the Symposium participant abstracts.


    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.