Category Archives: News

GenCyber Camp for Teachers Garners Local Media Coverage

Michigan Tech hosted two week-long GenCyber camps this summer. The first, held June 17–21, 2019, hosted 30 local middle/high school students. The second camp, August 12–16, 2019, hosted 21 local K-12 teachers. Camp participants gained cybersecurity knowledge, understood correct and safe online behavior, and explored ways to deliver cybersecurity content in K-12 curricula.

A story about the GenCyber teacher camp was reported on August 16, 2019, by TV6: “GenCyber cyber security training camp comes to Michigan Tech” and on August 13, 2019, by the Keweenaw Report: “Teachers Learn How To Include Cybersecurity In Their Lessons.”

Learn more about the camps on the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems blog: https://blogs.mtu.edu/icc/2019/06/04/inspiring-the-next-generation-of-cyber-stars-2/.


Computer Science Faculty Students Attend Innovation and Technology Conference

Computer Science doctoral candidate Briana Bettin

The College of Computing and the Computer Science Department were well represented at the 24th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education  (ITiCSE 19), July 14-17, at University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Senior Lecturer Leo Ureel, along with  James Heliotis,  professor of computer science at Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology, led a working group titled, “Towards an Ability to Direct College Students to an Appropriately Paced Introductory Computer Science Course.” Professor Linda Ott and Associate Professor Charles Wallace participated in the working group, “1.5 Degrees of Separation: Computer Science Education in the Age of the Anthropocene.”

PhD student Briana Bettin presented her paper, “More Effective Contextualization of CS Education Research: A Pair-Programming Example,” co-authored with Linda Ott and Leo Ureel.  Charles Wallace presented his poster, “A Prototype MATLAB Code Critiquer,” co-authored with Leo Ureel and undergraduate computer science student Marissa Walther.  Associate Professor Jean Mayo (ICC/CyberS) presented, ” Teaching Integer Security Using Simple Visualizations,” co-authored with Lecturer James Walker, recent PhD graduate Man Wang, Adjunct Professor and Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Western Michigan University Steven Carr, and Professor Ching-Kuang Shene.  Also attending the conference was computer science undergraduate Miriam Eikenberry-Ureel.

 


Bo Chen is PI of $200K NSF Research and Development Grant

Bo Chen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Bo Chen (Comp Sci/ICC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $199,975 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled “EAGER: Enabling Secure Data Recovery for Mobile Devices Against Malicious Attacks.” This is a potential two-year project.

Abstract: Mainstream mobile computing devices like smart phones and tablets currently rely on remote backups for data recovery upon failures. For example, an iPhone periodically stores a recent snapshot to iCloud, and can get restored if needed. Such a commonly used “off-device” backup mechanism, however, suffers from a fundamental limitation that, the backup in the remote server is not always synchronized with data stored in the local device. Therefore, when a mobile device suffers from a malware attack, it can only be restored to a historical state using the remote backup, rather than the exact state right before the attack occurs. Data are extremely valuable for both organizations and individuals, and thus after the malware attack, it is of paramount importance to restore the data to the exact point (i.e., the corruption point) right before they are corrupted. This, however, is a challenging problem. The project addresses this problem in mobile devices and its outcome could benefit billions of mobile users.

A primary goal of the project is to enable recovery of mobile devices to the corruption point after malware attacks. The malware being considered is the OS-level malware which can compromise the OS and obtain the OS-level privilege. To achieve this goal, the project combines both the traditional off-device data recovery and a novel in-device data recovery. Especially, the following research activities are undertaken: 1) Designing a novel malware detector which runs in flash translation layer (FTL), a firmware layer staying between OS and flash memory hardware. The FTL-based malware detector ensures that data being committed to the remote server will not be tampered with by the OS-level malware. 2) Developing a novel approach which ensures that the OS-level malware is not able to corrupt data changes (i.e., delta) which have not yet been committed to the remote server. This is achieved by hiding the delta in the flash memory using flash storage’s special hardware features, i.e., out-of-place update and strong physical isolation. 3) Developing a user-friendly approach which can allow users to conveniently and efficiently retrieve the delta hidden in the flash memory for data recovery after malware attacks.

Link to an Unscripted article about related research at  https://www.mtu.edu/unscripted/stories/2018/march/how-to-speed-up-bare-metal-malware-analysis-and-better-protect-mobile-devices.html.


Welcome and Invite to Reunion Celebration on Friday, August 2

Adrienne Minerick

Dear Alumni, Colleagues and Friends,

Welcome to Michigan Tech’s new College of Computing! By now you’ve received the latest Michigan Tech magazine and have read the announcement of Michigan Tech’s newest college. This is an exciting time at Michigan Tech as we reimagine existing programs, add new majors, and pursue innovative new initiatives to prepare our graduates—and Michigan Tech—for Industry 4.0!

As you saw in the magazine, Michigan Tech embraces an exciting, diverse learning and research community. Computing and information science are an essential part of it all. Computing skills and computational thinking are essential in virtually all fields and job markets today, and Michigan Tech’s College of Computing is in position to ensure all our graduates are prepared, comfortable, and agile in a world in which cyber-technologies influence virtually everything.

The new College of Computing (CC) merges a talented, forward-thinking, innovative group of faculty and staff. We oversee core undergraduate degrees in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA), Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Software Engineering, with minors in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, and Data Acquisition and Industrial Control.  Our graduate degrees include Computer Science (MS and PhD), Cybersecurity, Data Science, Health Informatics, and Mechatronics. On the research front, CC faculty and students are developing innovative software and hardware solutions to address today’s societal, technological, and sustainable challenges. Visit www.mtu.edu/computing to learn more.

I am pleased to introduce myself as the founding Dean of the College of Computing, effective July 1, 2019. It is an honor to help launch the College of Computing and assist in positioning Michigan Tech for this new era.

By way of my background, I am a chemical engineering BS graduate of Michigan Tech (’98); I completed my MS and PhD in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame du lac (USA). I returned to Michigan Tech in 2010, and am currently a Professor of Chemical Engineering. I have also served the University as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the College of Engineering, Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development, and Dean of the School of Technology.

As you may know, Michigan Tech’s Alumni Reunion is just around the corner, August 1-3, 2019. Graduates from all years and majors are welcome, and we sincerely hope to reconnect with many of you—our computing/software and electronics/robotics alumni!

At a special celebration Friday, August 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., we’ll be sharing additional information about the College of Computing, and showing off some of our senior design projects. It is our hope that you’ll gain a few new and fun memories at this event.  Please join us outside Rekhi Hall (weather permitting) or on the second floor of Rekhi Hall for this wonderful opportunity to catch up with everyone and share your best—and perhaps even some of your worst—Michigan Tech memories! Ice cream and light refreshments will be served. The event is free and guests and family members are welcome.

Please let us know if you’re able to attend this College of Computing event, and register for the Reunion, at www.mtu.edu/alumni/connect/reunion. We look forward to seeing you in Houghton!

Best regards,

Adrienne Minerick, PhD

Dean, College of Computing


Soner Onder to Give Invited Talk

Soner Onder
Soner Onder

Tech Today announced that Soner Onder (CS) is giving an invited talk titled “Program semantics meets architecture: What if we did not have branches?” at a workshop organized in honor of the 80th birthday of Yale Patt of University of Texas, Austin. Patt is a very prominent researcher with decades of accomplishments in Computer Architecture.

The workshop titled “Yale: 80 in 2019, Pushing the Envelope of Computing for the Future” scheduled to take place on July 1-2, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, is organized by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Barcelona Supercomputing Center, and is being sponsored by Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) of Spain, among others.


Grant Funds Virtual Keyboard Research

What if an everyday surface, like a table, could be transformed into a rich, interactive surface that can remotely operate things like computers, entertainment systems, and home appliances?

That’s what Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) researchers Keith Vertanen (CS)  and Scott Kuhl (CS) set out to do with a $44,000 seed grant from Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Paul Williams ’61.

Vertanen and Kuhl are members of the ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing, which integrates art, people, design, technology and human experience in the research of multiple areas of human-centered computing. They were assisted in this research by PhD candidate Siva Krishna Kakula, and undergraduate Zachary Garavet.

The team’s research goals were threefold:

  • To create machine learning models that can precisely locate a user’s taps on a surface using only an array of inexpensive surface microphones
  • To demonstrate the feasibility and precision of the models by developing a virtual keyboard interface on an ordinary wooden table
  • To conduct user studies to validate the system’s usability and performance.

Read the full story.


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).


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.



On the Road

Timothy Havens

Tim Havens (ECE/CS) presented a paper entitled, “SPFI: Shape-Preserving Choquet Fuzzy Integral for Non-Normal Fuzzy Set-Valued Evidence,” this month at the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence in Rio de Janeiro. Havens also co-authored two other papers presented at the conference. WCCI is the biennial meeting of the three leading computational intelligence conferences: International Conference on Fuzzy Systems, International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, and Congress on Evolutionary Computation. Co-authors on the paper were Tony Pinar (ECE), Derek Anderson (U. Missouri) and Christian Wagner (U. Nottingham, UK). As general chair of the Int. Conf. Fuzzy Systems 2019 in New Orleans, Havens also presented a pitch for the upcoming event at the WCCI awards banquet.

Additionally, Havens presented an invited seminar, “How to Win on Trivia Night: Sensor Fusion Beyond the Weighted Average,” at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on July 16.