Category: College of Computing

Dean Livesay to Hold Open Office Hours Fridays, 3-4 pm

New College of Computing Dean Dennis Livesay will hold open virtual office hours every Friday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., beginning February 5, 2021.

All faculty, staff, and students who wish to chat with Dr. Livesay are invited to “stop in” to this weekly Zoom meeting. Appointments are not needed.

Open office hours will not be held when classes are not in session.

Link to the meeting here: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/83846079187.

CsE PhD candidate Karen Colbert Named 2021 Diversity Scholar

Ms. Karen Colbert , a PhD student in Computational Sciences and Engineering and a graduate research assistant for ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, has been selected as a Diversity Scholar for the 2021 RStudio Virtual Conference.

Ms. Colbert is one of 70 Diversity Scholars selected from around the globe, all of them focused on building skills for teaching and sharing. Ms. Colbert notes that her role as a Diversity Scholar will focus on ways she can use RStudio to help “bridge equity for Native faculty and faculty who serve Tribal communities.”

A plethora of teaching and user workshops and resources are available through the RStudio network. Following completion of the Virtual Conference, Ms. Colbert will participate in two online workshops and become part of an enhanced network of scholars and resources, available both before and after the conference.

Ms. Colbert says that a large barrier facing tribal colleges is accessibility and sustainability with regard to costly technology, such as licenses, equipment, and support. Since RStudio is open source and has vast capabilities to perform tasks ranging from web design to reporting to statistical analyses and assessments, Ms. Colbert hopes that learning how to “teach” R will enable her to host workshops for faculty. She says it may also help her design an interactive course to help those who may be intimidated by programming, and ultimately create a platform to introduce tribal colleges to the data visualization, supercomputing, and cloud computing communities.

In addition to the equity gaps facing Native faculty, Ms. Colbert also acknowledged that there are many equity gaps for faculty at all ranks and across institutions, including MIchigan Tech.

This is where Ms. Colbert’s connection to ADVANCE at Michigan Tech–and its mission to enhance equity in STEM faculty–comes into play. She hopes that her research, her experiences as a Diversity Scholar, and her position as a graduate research assistant with ADVANCE, will allow her to pursue opportunities to bring resources to all faculty members.

Further, she will endeavor to assist faculty in demonstrating “their best work to the world in the most professional way, whether it’s for teaching undergraduates or within our own research.”

Ms. Colbert believes this goal starts with making tools and resources accessible to everyone. Her ultimate aim is to develop unique R packages as a part of the solution.

Ms. Colbert holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and a master of science in data science, both from Michigan Tech. She also serves as lead math faculty at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga. Mich., in addition to pursuing her PhD and conducting research.

ADVANCE is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at advance-mtu@mtu.edu and visit our website at mtu.edu/advance.

Read the original ADVANCE blog post here.

ETS-IMPRESS Scholarship for Transfer Students in Technology Majors

Applying to MTU as a transfer student? Interested in engineering technology? Check out the ETS-IMPRESS scholarship program.

Open to community college transfer students, applicants must select as their major the College of Computing undergraduate degree programs in Computer Network and System Administration (CNSA) and Electrical Engineering Technology (EET), or the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) bachelor’s program.

The program requires participation in the Honors Pathway Program in the Pavlis Honors College, as well as mentoring activities. It fulfills unmet need of $4,500.

Other requirements are listed on the scholarship website, and the deadline for application is February 15.

When I had discovered the ETS-IMPRESS scholarship, it took very little time to understand how helpful it would be to my life, both in and out of college. Not only was I able to afford to go to college, but I was also getting more out of my college experience.

Brad Gipson, 3rd-year CNSA major

Check out ETS-IMPRESS scholar Caleb Devonta Rogers’ story, below, in which he describes his journey to MTU and his plans for his Honors Project, and remember to apply by February 15!

View the original blog article.

New NSF Project to Improve Great Lakes Flood Hazard Modeling

Thomas Oommen, Timothy C. Havens, Guy Meadows (GLRC), and Himanshu Grover (U. Washington) have been awarded funding in the NSF Civic Innovation Challenge for their project, “Helping Rural Counties to Enhance Flooding and Coastal Disaster Resilience and Adaptation.”

The six-month project award is $49,999.

Vision. The vision of the new project is to develop methods that use remote sensing data resources and citizen engagement (crowdsourcing) to address current data gaps for improved flood hazard modeling and visualization that is transferable to rural communities.

Objective. The objective of the Phase-1 project is to bring together community-university partners to understand the data gaps in addressing flooding and coastal disaster in three Northern Michigan counties.  

The Researchers

Thomas Oommen is a professor in the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences department. His research efforts focus on developing improved susceptibility characterization and documentation of geo-hazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) and spatial modeling of georesource (e.g. mineral deposits) over a range of spatial scales and data types. Oommen is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Tim Havens is associate dean for research, College of Computing, the
William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, and director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His research interests include mobile robotics, explosive hazard detection, heterogeneous and big data, fuzzy sets, sensor networks, and data fusion. Havens is a member of the ICC’s Center for Data Sciences.

Guy Meadows is director of the Marine Engineering Laboratory (Great Lakes Research Center), the Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering, and a research professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. His research interests include large scale field experimentation in the Inland Seas of the Great Lakes and coastal oceans; nearshore hydrodynamics and prediction; autonomous and semi-autonomous environmental monitoring platforms (surface and sub-surface); underwater acoustic remote sensing; and marine engineering.

Himanshu Grover is an asssistant professor at University of Washington. His research focus is at the intersection of land use planning, community resilience, and climate change.

About the Civic Innovation Challenge

The NSF Civic Innovation Challenge is a research and action competition that aims to fund ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-identified priorities.

Health Research Institute Panel Is January 25, 12 pm

Michigan Tech’s Health Research Institute (HRI) will host a panel discussion on Monday, January 25, 2021,, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

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 Assistant Professor Dr. Weihua Zhou (College of Computing) will discuss their experiences with start-ups and applying their research to relevant health problems.

Winter WonderHack Is February 19-21

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!

College of Computing Overview with Tim Havens Is Tues., Jan. 19, 7-8 pm

Please join the College of Computing’s Tim Havens at a College of Computing Undergraduate Overview on Tuesday, January 19, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The virtual event is presented by Michigan Tech Admissions. The focus of the event is on prospective students.

Event Details: Check out our diverse selection of majors, including Computer Network and System Administration, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics, Software Engineering, and our first-year computing undecided program, General Computing.

Register for the live Zoom session here.

View the University Events Calendar listing here.

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.”

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.

1010 with … Tim Havens, Weds., Jan. 20, 5:30-5:40 pm

You are invited to spend one-zero-one-zero—that is, ten—minutes with Dr. Timothy Havens on Wednesday, January 20, from 5:30 to 5:40 p.m. EST.

Havens is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Computing, Director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems, and the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems at Michigan Tech.

In this informal discussion, Havens will talk about undergraduate research opportunities at Michigan Tech, his research in AI and machine learning, and answer your questions about the College of Computing.

We look forward to spending 1010 minutes with you!

Did you miss the December 16, 1010 with Nathir Rawashdeh? Watch the video below.

The 1010 with … series continues on Wednesday January 27 … with more to come!