Archives—December 2019

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, member of the ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing, 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/.

MEDC Cyber and Mobility Division Visits Michigan Tech

MEDC Logo

Michigan Tech’s ICC Center for Cybersecurity and the MTEC SmartZone hosted members of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC’s) Cyber and Mobility division in Houghton, MI, on December 2, 2019.

The group’s visit included presentations by several Michigan Tech faculty who are conducting research in the cyber and mobility space, strategic economic development discussions highlighting Michigan Tech and the local community, and tours of selected Michigan Tech cyber and mobility labs, including GLRC, APS Labs, and the KRC.

The tour concluded with a talk to Michigan Tech students by Karl Heimer of the MEDC regarding information and student opportunities with MEDC-affiliated CyberAuto and CyberTruck competitions.

For more information, contact Associate Professor Guy Hembroff, director of the ICC Center for Cybersecurity and the Health Informatics graduate program.


“Artificial UnIntelligence,” A Keynote Lecture from Meredith Broussard

Meredith Broussard
Artificial UnIntelligence Book Cover

The Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture’s Algorithmic Culture series continues with “Artificial UnIntelligence,” a keynote lecture from Meredith Broussard, on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Union Building Ballroom B, followed by a Q&A.

Collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a vast number of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding our technology actually work.

In this talk, author and professor Meredith Broussard looks at the inner workings and outer limits of technology, and explains why we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism—the belief that technology is always the solution—Broussard looks at whether self-driving cars really work and why social problems persist in every digital Utopia. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.

Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. You can follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via meredithbroussard.com.


Meet and Greet with Author Meredith Broussard Is Thurs., Dec. 5, 2-3 pm

Meredith Broussard Meet and Greet Flyer

A Meet and Greet with author and professor Meredith Broussard will take place Thursday, December 5, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm, in Fisher Hall Room 127.

Dr. Broussard will present a public lecture Thursday, December 5, 7:00 pm to 8:30 p.m., in the Memorial Union Building (MUB), Ballroom B.

Our collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a vast number of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding that our technology actually work.

In this talk, author and professor Meredith Broussard looks at the inner workings and outer limits of technology, and explains why we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism—the belief that technology is always the solution—Broussard looks at whether self-driving cars really work and why social problems persist in every digital Utopia. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.

Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. You can follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via meredithbroussard.com.

Download the event flyer.


Nathir Rawashdeh To Present Talk Fri., Dec. 6

Nathir Rawashdeh

Nathir Rawashdeh, College of Computing Assistant Professor of Mechatronics, Electrical, and Robotics Engineering Technology, will present a talk this Friday, December 6, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., in Rekhi 214. Rawashdeh will present a review of recent advancements in Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) applications, hardware, and software with a focus on vehicle localization and autonomous navigation. Refreshments will be served.

Abstract: Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) are being applied in many scenarios including, indoors, outdoors, and even extraterrestrial. Advancements in hardware and software algorithms reduce their cost and enable the creation of complete UGV platforms designed for custom application development, as well as research into new sensors and algorithms.


Algorithmic Culture Series Lecture: Artificial UnIntelligence Is Dec. 5

Meredith Broussard

The Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture’s Algorithmic Culture Series continues with “Artificial UnIntelligence,” a keynote lecture from Meredith Broussard, at 7 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 5) in Memorial Union Building Ballroom B, followed by a Q&A.

Collective enthusiasm for applying computer technology to every aspect of life has resulted in a vast number of poorly designed systems. We are so eager to do everything digitally—hiring, driving, paying bills, even choosing romantic partners—that we have stopped demanding our technology actually work.

In this talk, author and professor Meredith Broussard looks at the inner workings and outer limits of technology, and explains why we should never assume that computers always get things right. Making a case against technochauvinism—the belief that technology is always the solution—Broussard looks at whether self-driving cars really work and why social problems persist in every digital Utopia. If we understand the limits of what we can do with technology, Broussard tells us, we can make better choices about what we should do with it to make the world better for everyone.

Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. You can follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via meredithbroussard.com.

Learn more about the Institute for Policy, Ethics, and Culture here: https://www.mtu.edu/ipec/


Jinshan Tang Receives Research Excellence Fund Award

Jinshan Tang

The Vice President for Research Office recently announced the Fall 2019 Research Excellence Fund (REF) awards. The awardees included College of Computing Professor Jinshan Tang, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems, who was awarded a Portage Health Foundation (PHF) Infrastructure Enhancement (IE) Grants for his proposal, “High Performance Graphics Processing Units.”

The REF Infrastructure Enhancement (REF-IE) grants are designed to provide resources to develop the infrastructure necessary to support sponsored research and graduate student education. Funded projects typically focus on acquisition of equipment, enhancement of laboratory facilities, or enhancement of administrative support structure to expand the research capability of the unit.

For additional information about the Research Excellence Funds, visit the REF website.


Robert Pastel Presents at Social Science History Association Annual Meeting

Robert Pastel

Robert Pastel (Computer Science/ICC Center for Human Centered Computing), along with Gary Spikberg (MS Industrial Heritage and Archaeology) and Don Lafreniere (SS/GLRC), presented “A Semiautomated approach to Creating Record Linkages and High Resolution Geocoding Across Historical Datasets” at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, which took place November 21-24, 2019, in Chicago, IL.

The Social Science History Association is an interdisciplinary organization that publishes a journal, Social Science History, organizes an annual conference, supports graduate student travel to the conference, and awards book prizes. With scholars from history, economics, sociology, demography, anthropology, and other social sciences, the association brings together scholars in thematic networks where they can explore common questions.