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    CS Dept. Lecture: Tim Frick, Mightybytes

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture by Tim Frick, founder and president of Mightybytes, on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    In his talk, “People, Planet, Pixels: Toward Sustainable Digital Products and Practices,” Frick will discuss how sustainable web design and responsible digital practices can help create an internet that is clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient.

    Lecture Title

    “People, Planet, Pixels: Toward Sustainable Digital Products and Practices”

    Speaker Bio

    Tim Frick started his digital agency Mightybytes in 1998 to help purpose-driven companies, social enterprises, and large nonprofits solve problems, amplify their impact, and drive measurable results. He is the author of four books, including Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services. Tim regularly presents at conferences and offers workshops on sustainable design, measuring impact, and problem solving in the digital economy.

    Lecture Abstract

    The internet has a larger environmental impact than the commercial airline industry. It currently produces approximately 3.8% of global carbon emissions, which are rising in line with our hunger to consume more data. Increasingly, web technologies are also being used to sow discontent, erode privacy, prompt unethical decisions, and, in some countries, undermine personal freedoms and the well-being of society. Web technology has the potential to bring huge benefits to society and the environment, but only if we use it wisely.

    In this talk, author and digital agency owner Tim Frick will discuss how sustainable web designand responsible digital practices can help us create an internet that is clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient—principles outlined in the Sustainable Web Manifesto, of which Tim is a co-author. Elements of this talk are also based on Tim’s book, Designing for Sustainability: A Guide to Building Greener Digital Products and Services. Creating an internet that works for people and planet is possible. The methods described in this talk will show you how.


    Cooperative Eco-driving Automation Improves Energy Efficiency, Safety on City Streets

    by Kelley Christensen, University Marketing and Communications

    Connected and automated vehicles, which can interact vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and between vehicles and roadway infrastructure like traffic signals and stop signs (V2I), promise to save energy and improve safety. In a new study published in Transportation Research Part B, Kuilin Zhang (CEE/CS) along with Shuaidong Zhao ’18, now a senior quantitative analyst at National Grid, propose a modeling framework for V2V and V2I cooperative driving. Cooperative driving helps cars and their drivers safely and efficiently navigate.

    The framework uses an eco-driving algorithm that prioritizes saving fuel and reducing emissions. The automated algorithm calculates location-based traffic control devices and roadway constraints using maps and geographic information. Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

    Kuilin Zhang is a researcher with the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ (ICC) Center for Cyber-Physical Systems.


    Meryl Spencer to Present Lecture, Feb. 26, 3 pm

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture by Meryl Spencer, Michigan Tech Research Institute, on Friday, February 26, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    Spencer’s lecture is titled, “Advancing Robotics through competition.”

    Join the virtual lecture here.

    Meryl Spencer is a research scientist with the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI). Her research interests include Multi-Agent Teaming, Robotics Simulation, Applications of Graph Theory, Biomimicry For Robotics, Emergent Behavior, Reinforcement Learning, and Camouflage Detection in Machine Learning.

    Lecture Title

    “Advancing Robotics through competition “

    Lecture Abstract

    Michigan Tech is a top competitor in the DARPA Subterranean challenge, which pits teams of fully autonomous vehicles against difficult underground environments to find artifacts hidden in caves and mines. In this talk, Dr. Spencer will give an explanation of the graph-based approach the Michigan Tech team is using to enable joint searching of gps-denied environments with a heterogeneous team of robots.


    CS Dept. Lecture: Hongyu An, ECE, Friday, March 5

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture by Assistant Professor Hongyu An, ECE, on Friday, March 5, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    An’s lecture is titled, “Designing an Energy-Efficient Neuromorphic System through Two-Layer Memristive Synapses.”

    An will introduce Brain-inspired Computing, an emerging approach for an energy-efficient artificial intelligent system through hardware and software co-design.

    Join the virtual lecture here.

    Lecture Title

    Designing an Energy-Efficient Neuromorphic System through Two-Layer Memristive Synapses

    Lecture Abstract

    Recently, deep learning is suffering from the excessive-high power consumption issue, which cannot be resolved alone by software/algorithm optimization. In this talk, An will introduce an emerging concept named Brain-inspired Computing, which is an emerging approach for an energy-efficient artificial intelligent system through hardware and software co-design.

    More specifically, An will introduce and discuss applying Three-dimensional Integrated Circuits (3D-ICs), Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs), and memristors to achieving a high-speed and energy-efficient system with the smallest design area. Our memristive synapses are utilized for storing the exported weights of the SNNs that have threshold function as the activation function. The simulation results demonstrate the significant improvement of memristive synapses on design area, power consumption, and latency.

    Speaker Bio

    Hongyu An is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. He obtained his doctoral degree in electrical engineering at Virginia Tech. He received an M.S. degree and B.S. in electrical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology and Shenyang University of Technology, respectively.

    He is the recipient of the 2021 Bill and LaRue Blackwell Graduate Research Ph.D. Dissertation/Paper Award and he was a DAC Young Fellow in 2020. His research areas include neuromorphic computing, energy-efficient neuromorphic electronic circuit design for Artificial Intelligence, spiking neural networks, and machine learning for medical applications.

    An is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’s (ICC) Center for Scalable Architectures and Systems (SAS).


    Info Sessions for CyberCorps Scholarship Are March 22, March 30

    An exciting scholarship opportunity has been announced for Michigan Tech students who wish to pursue cybersecurity-related degrees and work for government agencies after graduation.

    Two informational sessions will be presented, on March 22 and March 30, to help students complete the application process for the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program.

    Both sessions will provide the same information. Prior registration is required. Following, you will receive a confirmation email and instructions for joining the session.

    Recently funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the SFS Program provides full scholarships for two or three years of support for undergraduate and graduate students in selected cybersecurity-related degree programs.

    In return, following graduation recipients must agree to work for for the U.S. government in a cybersecurity-related position for a period equal to the duration of the scholarship.

    Applications are being accepted for the 2021-2022 cohort. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2021. View the list of eligible degree programs on the SFS website.

    Session #1 is on Monday, March 22, 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for Session #1 here.

    Session #2 is on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. EST. Register for Session #2 here.

    For more information, please visit the SFS website at https://www.mtu.edu/sfs/, or contact Professor Yu Cai (cai@mtu.edu).

    Read a Michigan Tech press release about this new scholarship opportunity:
    https://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2021/february/cybercorps-offers-huskies-scholarship-for-service-opportunity.html


    Computing Programs Ranked Among Best in Nation

    Several Michigan Tech College of Computing degree programs have been ranked among the best in the nation by Intelligent.com. In addition, the research guide ranked the University number three among all colleges in Michigan.

    Intelligent.com looked at nearly 2,300 accredited colleges and universities nationwide making evaluations based on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation and post-graduate employment. Programs were evaluated on a scale of 0 to 100 with Michigan Tech making it to the final list for 12 separate degree programs.

    The four College of Computing programs and their national ranking as rated by Intelligent.com are:

    Additional Michigan Tech degree programs included in the ranking are:


    Leo Ureel Receives 2020-21 CTL Award for Innovative Teaching

    The 2020-2021 CTL Instructional Award for Innovative or Out of Class Teaching is being presented to two instructors, and Assistant Professor Leo Ureel, Computer Science, and Libby Meyer, senior lecturer, Visual and Performing Arts.

    Ureel was nominated in recognition of his “student-centric efforts which have increased retention and diversified the cohort of first-year computing students.”

    Ureel’s presentation, “Three course innovations to support communication,” will be presented at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021, as part of the CTL Instructional Award Presentation Series.

    Link here to register for the event.

    Ureel is a member of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’s (ICC) Computing Education Center.

    Meyer’s presentation, “Beyond Carrots and Sticks: Mastery Based Grading and Narrative Assessment” will also be presented on February 18.

    During spring 2017, academic deans were asked to begin recognizing instructors making contributions in these areas as part of the Deans’ Teaching Showcase, effectively nominating them for instructional awards.

    CTL and Provost’s office members along with previous awardees then select one individual in each category from a pool composed of the Showcase and those nominated to the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

    Ureel Lecture Abstract

    Three course innovations to support communication Introductory courses present many communication challenges between faculty and first year students. In this context, we discuss three innovations used in our introductory computer science courses.

    The first is the use of Snap, a high-level, visual programming language, as a form of pseudocode during the first five weeks of the course to build student vocabulary and problem solving skills before tackling programming in Java.

    The second is a Code Critiquer developed as a Canvas plugin to provide immediate guidance and feedback to students when they submit their programming assignments.

    The third is a grade visualization tool that helps students understand their current performance in the course and project a range that will contain their final grade. While not everyone teaches introductory computer science, we discuss how these or similar innovations and tools might apply to your course.

    Leo Ureel, Computer Science

    Vijay Garg, UT Austin, to Present Lecture Feb. 19, 3 pm


    This lecture has been canceled.


    Dr. Vijay Garg, University of Texas Austin, will present a lecture on February 19, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. The lecture is hosted by the Department of Computer Science.

    Vijay Garg Bio

    Vijay Garg is a Cullen Trust Endowed Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California at Berkeley and B. Tech. in computer science at IIT, Kanpur.

    His research interests are in distributed computing, discrete event systems and lattice theory. He is the author of “Elements of Distributed Computing” (Wiley, 2002), “Introduction to Lattice Theory with Computer Science Applications” (Wiley, 2015), and “Modeling and Control of Logical Discrete Event Systems” (Springer, 2012). He is an IEEE Fellow.

    Lecture Title

    Applying Predicate Detection to Discrete Optimization Problems

    Lecture Abstract

    We present a method to design parallel algorithms for the constrained combinatorial optimization problems. Our method solves and generalizes many classical combinatorial optimization problems including the stable marriage problem, the shortest path problem and the market clearing price problem.

    These three problems are solved in the literature using Gale-Shapley algorithm, Dijkstra’s algorithm, and Demange, Gale, Sotomayor algorithm. Our method solves all these problems by casting them as searching for an element that satisfies an appropriate predicate in a distributive lattice. Moreover, it solves generalizations of all these problems — namely finding the optimal solution satisfying additional constraints called lattice-linear predicates.

    For stable marriage problems, an example of such a constraint is that Peter’s regret is less than that of Paul. Our algorithm, called Lattice-Linear Predicate Detection (LLP) can be implemented in parallel with without any locks or compare-and-set instructions. It just assumes atomicity of reads and writes.

    In addition to finding the optimal solution, our method is useful in enumerating all constrained stable matchings, and all constrained market clearing price vectors. The talk is an extended version of a paper that appeared in ACM SPAA’20.


    Yakov Nekrich Paper Accepted for Top Computing Conference

    A publication by Associate Professor Yakov NekrichComputer Science, has been accepted to the 53rd Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC).

    The paper, “Optimal-Time Dynamic Planar Point Location in Connected Subdivisions,” describes an optimal-time solution for the dynamic point location problem and answers an open problem in computational geometry. 

    The data structure described in the paper supports queries and updates in logarithmic time. This result is optimal in some models of computation.  Nekrich is the sole author of the publication.

    The annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing (STOC), is the flagship
    conference of SIGACT, the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and
    Computation Theory, a special interest group of the Association for
    Computing Machinery (ACM).


    Beth Veinott to Present Lecture February 12, 3 pm

    The Department of Computer Science will present a lecture by Dr. Elizabeth Veinott on Friday, February 12, 2021, at 3:00 p.m.

    Veinott is an associate professor in the Cognitive and Learning Sciences department. She will present, “Beyond the system interface: Using human-centered design to support better collaborative forecasting.”


    Speaker Biography

    Elizabeth Veinott is a cognitive psychologist working in technology-mediated environments to improve decision making, problem solving and collaboration. She directs Michigan Tech’s Games, Learning and Decision Lab and is the lead for the Human-Centered Computing group of Michigan Tech’s Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

    She has been active in the ACM’s SIGCHI and on the conference organizing committees for CHI Play and CSCW. Prior to joining Michigan Tech in 2016, she worked as a principal scientist in an industry research and development lab and as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center. Her research has been funded by NIH, Army Research Institute, Army Research Lab, Air Force Research Laboratory, and IARPA.

    Lecture Abstract

    Teams use technology to help them make judgments in a variety of operational environments. Collaborative forecasting is one type of judgment performed by analyst teams in weather, business, epidemiology, and intelligence analysis. Research related to collaborative forecasting has produced mixed results.

    In her talk, Veinott will describe a case of using cognitive task analysis to develop and evaluate a new forecast process and tool. The method captured analysts’ mental models of game-based forecasting problems, and allowed the process to co-evolve with the system design. The tool was tested in a simulation environment with expert teams conducting analyses over the course of hours and compared to a control group. Challenges and lessons learned will be discussed, including implications for human-centered design of collaborative tools.