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Frank Vahid to Present Seminar

The College of Computing is pleased to present a lecture by Dr. Frank Vahid on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., in Fisher 139. Vahid’s talk, “Teaching lower-division CS/CE: Our improvement experiences and research results for physical and online courses,” relates the story of University of California Riverside (UCR) successful efforts to improve introductory CS courses over the past decade.

Vahid is a professor of computer science and engineering at UCR, and co-founder and chief learning officer of zyBooks.

Vahid’s research focuses on improving college-level CS/CE/STEM education, and embedded systems. He is the author of textbooks from Wiley, Pearson, and zyBooks on topics including C++, C, Java, data structures, digital design, computer organization, embedded systems, computing technology, and introductory math and algebra.

Many universities seek to improve introductory computer science courses, and to offer online courses. Dr. Vahid and his colleagues at UCR have had particular success introducing changes to their teaching methods.

Before improvements, UCR intro courses fell into the common U-shaped grade distribution with a high fail/withdraw rate. After introducing changes–including the replacement of textbooks with web-native interactive, animated content and questions–the grade distribution now looks like a rising staircase (with DFWs on the left and As on the right). Good student performance in subsequent courses and highly-positive course evaluations from both majors and non-majors were received at a school with high enrollments of low-income, first-generation, and minority students. 

Additional UCR course modifications include using the interactive content to encourage class preparation, reserving class time for extensive live coding of examples (with lots of mistakes made) and peer instruction; teaching the Coral language before C++, and switching from one-large-program each week to many small programs–enabled by auto-grading.

UCR started teaching online versions of CS1 and CS2 courses in 2013, making refinements over the years, such as synchronous online scheduled lectures and labs and extensive use of online chat. The modifications have led to students in online sections doing as well as students in physical sections, with equally high course evaluations (and many stating a preference for online). The model has been reproduced at other schools. 

In 2012, Vahid and his colleagues formed zyBooks, a company to provide scalable growth and continual professional improvement of UCR’s online content and platform. The zyBooks platform and content has grown to serve over 500,000 students at 600 universities in the U.S.

Vahid has received several teaching awards, including UCR Engineering’s Outstanding Teacher award and UCR’s Innovative Teaching award, both in 2017. In recent years, he has spoken about CS/CE education at over 50 universities across the country.

Vahid’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, (university and NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants), the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the U.S. Dept. of Education (university and SBIR grants), and companies including Google and Intel. He received his B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine.

Vahid has spoken at dozens of U.S. college of universities about UCR’s research, such as the following, in no particular order: Texas A&M, Univ. of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, Univ. of Florida, Univ. of Texas (Austin), UT San Antonio, Florida International Univ., Florida Atlantic Univ., Miami Univ., Miami Dade Community College, Drexel, Tufts, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell, The College of New Jersey, Southern New Hampshire Univ., Univ. of Minnesota Twin Cities, Univ. of Minnesota Duluth, Michigan State Univ. Central Michigan Univ., Indiana State Univ., California State Univ. Northridge, California State Univ. Fresno, San Jose State Univ., Univ. of New Mexico, New Mexico State Univ., Univ of Alabama Birmingham, Univ. of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Lone Star College, UT Rio Grande Valley, Boston Univ., Rutgers, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Jacksonville State Univ., and more…   

“Plus many many dozens of virtual presentations. It’s been an absolute honor and privilege to visit each department and to meet each and every faculty member, and students too,” Vahid said.


Faculty Candidate Hongyu An to Present Lecture February 12

The Colleges of Computing and Engineering invite the campus community to a lecture by faculty candidate Hongyu An on Wednesday, February 12, at 3:00 p.m. in Chem Sci 101. Hongyu’s talk is titled, “Brain on a Chip: Designing Self-learning and Low-power Neuromorphic Systems.”

Hongyu is a doctoral candidate in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering at Shenyang University of Technology, Shenyang, China, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Mo., respectively.

In 2019, Hongyu was awarded the Paul E. Torgersen Research Excellence Award and a fellowship from the Advanced Short-Term Research Opportunity Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2017, he was awarded an NSF Student Travel Fellowship Award, and a paper authored by Hongyu was nominated as best paper in the IEEE International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED).

Hongyu’s research interests include neuromorphic and brain-inspired computing, energy-efficient neuromorphic electronic circuit design for Artificial Intelligence, three-dimensional integrated circuit (3D-IC) design, and emerging nanoscale device design. 

His research aims to build a self-learning, low-power neuromorphic system. Inspired by the learning mechanism of the human brain, Hongyu proposed and realized an Associative Memory Learning through neuromorphic circuits and memristors. The proposed learning method correlates two concurrent visual and auditory information together through Artificial Neural Networks. 

Lecture Abstract: How can a silicon brain in a chip be built with self-learning capability? What are the challenges for neural network-based artificial intelligence in the next decade, and how can those challenges be solved? 

In order to answer these questions, Hongyu introduces a cutting-edge research topic: Brain-inspired Computing. Also called neuromorphic computing, Brain-inspired Computing aims to physically reproduce the brain’s structure in a silicon chip to resolve critical challenges in deep learning deployment.

In his talk, Hongyu will explore the underlying biological mechanism of associative memory learning, novel non-von Neumann computer architectures, and circuit implementations with transistors and memristors. 

A widespread self-learning method in animals, associative memory enables the nervous system to remember the relationship between two concurrent events. Rebuilding associative memory is significant, both to reveal a way of designing a brain-like self-learning neuromorphic system, and to explore a method of comprehending the function of the human brain.

Hingyu is a reviewer for several top-tier conferences and journals, including IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems (TNNLS), IEEE Transactions on Circuits and System I: Regular Papers (TCAS-1),Design Automation Conference (DAC). Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition (DATE), International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS).

Visit Hongyu An’s personal website.

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Tomorrow Needs Seminar: Homin Song, Thurs., Jan. 23, 4 pm

Homin Song, a postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, will present a lecture on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 4:00 p.m., in EERC 103.

The lecture is part of the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar Speaker Series. It is presented in part by the Tomorrow Needs Faculty and Scientist Seminar Series sponsored by the Michigan Tech colleges of Computing and Engineering, Great Lakes Research Center, and Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. Learn more at mtu.edu/icc/seminars.

Song completed a Ph.D. in civil engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019. He holds an M.S. degree from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and a B.S. from Hanyang University, also in civil engineering.

Homin’s research interests lie in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) based on ultrasonic wave motion. His broad spectrum of expertise encompasses the topical areas of NDE/SHM, such as advanced ultrasound sensing technology, signal/data processing, numerical modeling, and experimental solid mechanics. His current postdoctoral research aims at developing a super-resolution non-contact ultrasonic array imaging technique via deep learning.

Homin was awarded the Student Best Paper Award at the 2017 International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, the Student Award for Research on NDT from American Concrete Institute, and the Outstanding Paper Award from the Korean Society of Civil Engineers. 

Abstract: Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) systems are essential for today’s modern structures to ensure their long-term performance and reduced maintenance cost. The talk will present two full-field high-resolution ultrasonic imaging approaches to detect, image, and characterize internal damage in various materials and structural elements. The first approach is a near-field imaging technique via noncontact ultrasonic scanning measurements. Development of novel ultrasonic scanning hardware, numerical and experimental wave mechanics study to understand complicated wave scattering, and wavefield data processing are presented. A unique application of the developed approach to large-scale concrete structures under realistic damage-promoting environments is also presented. The second approach is a far-field imaging technique based on deep learning. A novel hierarchical multi-scale deep learning approach designed to image subtle structural defects is presented. The results are compared with those obtained by a widely accepted high-resolution imaging technique, Time-reversal MUSIC. 

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Lunch with LaShana Lewis Tuesday, January 21, 12-1 pm

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the College of Computing invite College of Computing faculty and graduate students to join LaShana Lewis for a build-your-own-sandwich lunch on Tuesday, January 21, 12-1 pm, in Rekhi 218. Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/qpPHNpfr9ktB7wyP8.

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Ms. Lewis is a systems engineer at MasterCard and has been working in the diversity space for over 20 years. She is currently the CEO of L.M. Lewis Consulting, a company which aims to make employer’s companies more diverse through assistance with recruitment, hiring, and retention best practices.

Ms. Lewis is the keynote speaker for Michigan Tech’s 31st Annual MLK Banquet the evening of Monday, January 20, 2020, at 6 pm.  Please RSVP for this dinner at https://forms.gle/vVmrQSdkbAQ9KeCW8.


Congratulations, RedTeam@MTU!

National Cyber League Logo

RedTeam@MTU, one of Michigan Tech’s National Cyber League (NCL) teams, placed 8th out of 689 teams in the recent NCL Fall 2019 cyber competition team game. The team consists of seven College of Computing undergraduate and graduate students: Alexander Larkin, John Claassen, Jack Bergman, Jon Preuth, Trevor Hornsby, Shane Hoppe, and Matthew Chau. In addition, two RedTeam@MTU team members ranked in the top 100 out of 4149 players in the individual game: John Claassen (67th) and Alex Larkin (70th).

“This is a breakthrough since first joining the NCL competition in Fall 2017,” said faculty coach Bo Chen, assistant professor of computer science. “Congratulations to the RedTeam and John Claasen and Alex Larkin!”

Three teams and 21 players from Michigan Tech were involved this season, most of them with the RedTeam@MTU, a student organization which exists to promote a security-driven mindset among the student population, and to provide a community and resource for those wishing to learn more about information security.  The RedTeam is co-advised by Bo Chen and Yu Cai, professor in the College of Computing.

Students from hundreds of U.S. universities participated during the Fall 2019 NCL season, which comprised a week-long Preseason placement game, followed by a weekend Individual Game, and culminating in a weekend Team Game. A total of 689 teams and 4149 players  participated.

In addition, Michigan Tech ranks 11th among the top 100 colleges and universities in the “Team” Cyber Power Rankings, 51st in the Individual Rank, and 23rd in the Participation Rank. The Cyber Power Rankings were created by Cyber Skyline in partnership with the National Cyber League (NCL). The rankings represent the ability of students from these schools to perform real-world cybersecurity tasks on the Cyber Skyline platform, such as identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit vulnerable websites, recover from ransomware attacks, and more. Schools are ranked based on their top team performance, their top student’s individual performance, and the aggregate individual performance of their students. View the full ranking list at https://cyberskyline.com/data/power-ranking/fall-2019-national.

Founded in 2011 to provide an ongoing virtual training ground for participants to develop, practice, and validate their cybersecurity skills, the NCL 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 played the games simultaneously during all of the Fall season games.

The NCL challenges are based on the CompTIA Security+™ and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)™ performance-based exam objectives and include the following content: Open Source Intelligence, Scanning, Enumeration and Exploitation, Password Cracking, Traffic Analysis, Log Analysis, Wireless Security, Cryptography, and Web Application Security. Players of all levels can participate in the NCL games. Through easy, medium and hard challenges, students have multiple opportunities to excel.

Learn more about the NCL at: https://www.nationalcyberleague.org/.

Cyber Skyline Logo

Cyber Skyline is an immersive cloud platform on which to practice, develop, and measure technical cybersecurity skills. It is built for Incident Response Handlers, Security & Network Engineers, SOC Analysts, Software Engineers, Pentesters, and more. Visit the Cyber Skyline website at: https://cyberskyline.com.


BASIC Program Featured on TV 6-WLUC UPSide

Kelly Steelman

Building Adult Skills in Computing, or BASIC, is a program where anyone in the community who has questions about computers, smart phones, or tablets, can receive individual instruction. The BASIC program tutors, all Michigan Tech students, and faculty mentor Kelly Steelman, associate professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, were featured on the TV6 feature UPsiders on November 25, 2019.

View the video on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/uppermichiganssource/videos/2669673899926711/.

More about BASIC:

Since 2011, Michigan Tech students and faculty have been helping Copper Country community members improve their basic computer skills through the free tutoring program Building Adult Skills in Computing (BASIC).

The sessions take place every Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:00 at the Portage Lake District Library, Houghton, when Michigan Tech classes are in session. Up to 15 tutors are available this semester and all community members are welcome. Computer experience is not necessary and an appointment is not required.

“As the digital revolution continues to transform our society, many older adults and other groups are being left behind,” said Charles Wallace, associate professor of computer science. “Using computers, smartphones and other digital devices remains unfamiliar territory for many and it can be a source of great anxiety.”

Wallace explains that through this free tutoring, the BASIC program aims to overcome this anxiety and build the computer skills and digital literacy needed for participants to effectively operate digital devices and technology and safely find the information they need.

For more information, please contact Charles Wallace (906-487-3431, wallace@mtu.edu) or Kelly Steelman, associate professor of cognitive and learning sciences (906-487-2792, steelman@mtu.edu).


Weihua Zhou is PI on $25K R and D Grant from Tulane University

Weihua Zhou

Weihua Zhou, assistant professor, Health Informatics, and member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences, is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $24,497 federal pass-through research and development grant from Tulane University. The project is titled, “Trans-Omics Integration of Multi-Omics Studies for Male Osteoporosis.” This is a 7-1/2 month project.

Abstract: Osteoporosis is the most prevalent metabolic bone disease and it is representative of many diseases typical of aging. While advances in omics technologies,  such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and epigenomics, have been successful in identifying risk loci for osteoporosis, each technology individually cannot capture the entire biological complexity of osteoporosis. The integration of multiple technologies has emerged as an approach to provide a more comprehensive view of biology and disease. In addition, recent advances in image analysis have enabled the characterization of not only the bone mineral density but also the bone microarchitecture and biomechanical quality with the dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and quantitative computed tomography (QCT) measurements. The Tulane Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics (CBG), led by Dr. Hong-Wen Deng, has accumulated/is acquiring extensive multi-omics data and DEXA/QCT images through a number of research projects for osteoporosis and other related phenotypes. Tulane CBG is actively seeking collaborations with investigators who have the expertise and experience in integrative multi-omics analysis and advanced image analysis. With this NIH subcontract award (U19AG055373), Tulane CBG will collaborate with Dr. Weihua Zhou and his team on the development and implementation of sophisticated methods for multi-omics analysis and DEXA/QCT image analysis.
Dr. Zhou is looking for volunteer research assistants. Please visit his web pages for more details: https://pages.mtu.edu/~whzhou/, and read this blog post: https://blogs.mtu.edu/computing/2019/12/03/medical-imaging-…earch-assistants/.

Guy Hembroff Quoted in Article About Telehhealth

Guy Hembroff

Guy Hembroff, College of Computing associate professor, director of the Health Informatics graduate program, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’s Center for Cybersecurity, was quoted in the article, “Your virtual doctor is in,” published on November 20, 2019, in the online newspaper The Hill (the hill.com).

The article explores advances in telehealth services, areas for expansion, and barriers that remain for patients.

View the article here: https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/health-care/471165-your-virtual-doctor-is-in

The Hill is an American website, based in Washington, D.C. which began as a newspaper publisher in 1994. Focusing on politics, policy, business and international relations, The Hill coverage includes the U.S. Congress, the presidency, and election campaigns. On its website, The Hill describes its output as “nonpartisan reporting on the inner workings of Congress and the nexus of politics and business”. (Wikipedia)


Guy Hembroff Presents Paper at MobiHealth 2019

Guy Hembroff

Guy Hembroff, College of Computing associate professor, director of the Health Informatics graduate program,  and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’s Center for Cybersecurity, presented his paper, “The design of a holistic mHealth community library model and its impact on empowering rural America,” at MobiHealth 2019, the 8th EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare,  November 13-14, 2019, in Dublin, Ireland.

The objectives of the EAI International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare are to advance medical diagnosis, treatment, patient care and patient safety through application of sensing technologies (e.g. Internet of Things IoT), mobile computing, and effective data management methodologies. Contributions will be solicited regarding the interdisciplinary design and application of relevant technologies to help provide advanced mobile health care applications and infrastructures. The essence of the conference lies in its interdisciplinary nature, with original contributions cutting across boundaries but all within the sphere of the application of mobile communications (e.g. technologies, international standards, new and existing solutions, methodologies) aiming at the betterment of patient care and patient safety. As such, the conference will have a multi-tier approach, going from wearable and Implantable Devices to ubiquitous patient monitoring environments (e.g. remote monitoring, healthcare surveillance and Public Health).


Guy Hembroff Invited Speaker at MedFuse ’19

Guy Hembroff

Guy Hembroff, College of Computing associate professor, director of the Health Informatics graduate program,  and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystem’s Center for Cybersecurity, was an invited speaker at Medfuse ’19, held in Minneapolis, MN, on October 24, 2019. Hembroff’s presentation  was titled “Treating the patient holistically and securely.” He also served on the conference panel, “Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Security.”

Presentation Abstract: We propose a holistic mHealth community model for residents to overcome significant barriers of care and improve coordinated patient health intervention by integrating multiple health and safety data sources through a mobile digital personal health library application. AI algorithms strategically connect residents to community resources and provide customized health education aimed at increasing the health literacy, empowerment, and self-management of the user. Users are able to securely share their health data with others (e.g. physicians, caregivers). Clinicians can better track patients offering improved preventative measures and care management. The architecture’s security includes a touchless biometric feature, capable of large-scale identity management using a novel fingerprint algorithm to establish a unique health identifier (UHID) for each individual, with the use of facial-recognition as a secondary form of validation prior to a user viewing patient data. Standard smartphones and web cameras are utilized in the identify management process where the application is installed.

The MedFuse conference focuses on advancing Medical IoT (IoMT) devices and exploring the future healthcare implications of Health Informatics.