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    College of Computing Invites Applications for Two Faculty Positions

    Are you interested in a faculty position with the new Michigan Tech College of Computing? Do you know someone who is?

    Michigan Technological University’s College of Computing invites applications for two (2) assistant, associate, or full professor positions to start in August 2021.

    Areas of particular interest include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and data science; exceptional candidates in other areas of computing will also be considered.

    Successful candidates will demonstrate a passion for their research, an enthusiasm for undergraduate and graduate education, and a strong commitment to cultivating diverse and inclusive learning environments.

    View the positions description and apply here: https://www.employment.mtu.edu/cw/en-us/job/492473

    Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To learn more about this opportunity, please visit https://www.mtu.edu/computing/about/employment/ or contact the search chair, Dr. Timothy Havens, at thavens@mtu.edu. Applications received by March 1, 2020 will receive full consideration.

    Michigan Tech is building a culturally diverse faculty committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment and strongly encourages applications from all individuals. We are an ADVANCE Institution having received three National Science Foundation grants in support of efforts to increase diversity, inclusion, and the participation and advancement of women and underrepresented individuals in STEM.

    Michigan Tech actively supports dual-career partners to retain a quality workforce; we offer career exploration advice and assistance finding positions at the University and in the local community. Please visit https://www.mtu.edu/provost/programs/partner-engagement for more information.

    An applicant must have earned a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computing, or a closely related area. Michigan Tech places a strong emphasis on balancing cutting-edge research with effective teaching, outreach, and service. Candidates for these positions are expected to demonstrate potential for excellence in independent research, excellence in teaching, and the ability to contribute service to their department and profession. Salary is negotiable depending upon qualifications.

    Michigan Tech is an internationally renowned doctoral research university with 7,100 students and 400 faculty located in Houghton, Michigan, in the scenic Upper Peninsula on the south shore of Lake Superior. The area provides a unique setting where natural beauty, culture, education, and a diversity of residents from around the world come together to share superb living and learning experiences.

    The College of Computing has 36 faculty members, 650 undergraduate students in five degree programs (Computer Science, Computer Network and System Administration, Cybersecurity, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics, and Software Engineering) and 90 graduate students in four MS degree programs (Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Data Science, Health Informatics, and Mechatronics) and Ph.D. degree programs in Computer Science and Computational Science and Engineering.


    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.


    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.


    Software Engineering Program Ranked Among the Best

    Michigan Tech’s BS in Software Engineering is in the top 10 nationwide according to College Rank. The website ranked the 35 Best Bachelor’s in Software Engineering.

    Michigan Tech, which appears at number nine on the list, was one of only two Michigan colleges to make the ranking. The University of Michigan – Dearborn was ranked 15th.

    “It’s great to see our program get this well-deserved recognition,” says Professor and Chair Linda Ott, Computer Science. “We consistently hear from industries that hire our graduates that our alumni are well-prepared and quickly become productive developers in their organizations.”

    “Our students gain a solid theoretical framework, which provides the foundation for life-long career growth and success, as well as extensive practical, hands-on experience through class projects, internships and the Michigan Tech Enterprise program,” Ott explains.

    College Rank uses a ranking methodology based on three aspects — Potential Salary After Graduation (40%), Individual Program Accreditation (30%) and Overall Affordability (30%).

    “This program will help you to secure your position in a well-regarded profession,” says the College Rank website about Michigan Tech’s Software Engineering program. “You’ll be able to work with teams in your classes as well as labs and in the Senior Enterprise or Design programs. The Enterprise Program is a unique opportunity that brings together students of all majors to work on real projects with real clients in a business-like environment. You’ll receive guidance and coaching from faculty mentors throughout every step of your journey here.”


    Computing Majors on Team that Takes 3rd in Lockheed CTF Competition

    Two College of Computing RedTeam students are part of a five-member team that finished 3rd in last weekend’s invitation-only Lockheed Martin Advanced Technologies Laboratories (ATL) Capture the Flag cybersecurity competition.

    The multi-day virtual event involved 200 students on 40 teams. It opened for answer submission Friday, January 8, at 8:00 p.m., and closed Sunday, January 10, at 8 p.m.

    The 3rd Place team, GoBlue!, trailed the 2nd Place team by only 14 points. RedTeam members are Michigan Tech undergraduates Dakoda Patterson, Computer Science, and Trevor Hornsby, Cybersecurity, and three University of Michigan students from the RedTeam’s partnership with that institution.

    Michigan Tech RedTeam faculty advisors are Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, and Assistant Professor Bo Chen, Computer Science.

    “We were lucky to be one of the 40 teams invited,” said Cai. “This was no small task, as the CTF included a large number of points in Reversing and “pwning” challenges, which proved to be fairly difficult. Other challenges were Cryptography, Stegonography, Web Exploitation, and miscellaneous challenges.”

    CTF competitions place hidden “flags” in various computer systems, programs, images, messages, network traffic and other computing environments. Each individual or team is tasked with finding these flags. Participants win prizes while learning how to defend against cybersecurity attacks in a competitive and safe arena.

    Top Three Teams

    PlacementTeam NameInstitutionTotal Points
    1st PlacenullbytesGeorge Mason University3697
    2nd PlaceChrisSucksGeorge Mason University3330
    3rd PlaceGoBlue!Michigan Tech and University of Michigan 3316

    Lan Zhang, ECE, to Present Lecture Jan. 15, 3 pm

    Assistant Professor Lan “Emily” Zhang, Electrical and Computer Engineering, will present her lecture, “Augmenting Radio Environments for Better Wireless Ecosystems,” on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., via online meeting.

    The lecture is hosted by the Michigan Tech Department of Computer Science. Zhang is a member of the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) research group of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC).

    Zhang’s research interest span the fields of cyber-physical systems, distributed machine learning, wireless communications, and cybersecurity. In her talk, she will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces, e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs), to augment radio environments for various purposes.

    Lecture Abstract

    In the last several decades, wireless technologies have become well-established to fight against propagation obstacles. Most conventional efforts are focused on optimizing end devices, such as transmitters and receivers, in order to adapt to the given transmission environment for better communications. However, the recent rapid convergence of the cyber and physical worlds (Cyber-Physical Systems or CPSs) presents unprecedented challenges to the wisdom of conventional design. Given ever-growing service demands, as well as the diverse wireless application scenarios, it is critical to adaptively augment the radio environments in a cost-effective way, while maintaining the aesthetic nature of living environments.

    In her talk, Zhang will discuss a series of studies leveraging smart-surfaces–e.g., meta-surfaces or reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs)–to augment radio environments for various purposes. Specifically, she will focus on three promising areas for enhancing the throughput and reliability of wireless communications, mitigating the physical-layer security threats, and facilitating wireless sensing activities. Both model-based and learning-based methods will be used for theoretical and practical analysis.

    Biography

    Dr. Lan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. She received a Ph.D. degree in computer engineering from the University of Florida in 2020, and M.S. and B.Eng. degrees in telecommunication engineering from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in 2016 and 2013, respectively.

    Zhang has served as a technical program committee member for several respected conferences, such as NeurIPS-SpicyFL 2020 and the 2020 IEEE IFOCOM poster/demo section. She has also served as reviewer for leading journals, such as IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and IEEE Transactions on Wireless Computing.

    Lan Zhang, ECE

    Master’s Defense: Taylor Morris, CS, Tues., Jan. 5

    Computer Science graduate student Taylor Morris will present a Master’s Defense on Tuesday, January 5, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

    Presentation Title: “Using Text Mining and Machine Learning Classifiers to Analyze Stack Overflow.”

    Advisor: Associate Professor Laura Brown, Computer Science

    Link to the Michigan Tech Events Calendar entry here.


    1010 with … Nathir Rawashdeh, Weds., Dec. 16

    Nathir Rawashdeh (right) and Dan Fuhrmann, Interim Dean, Dept. of Applied Computing

    You are invited to spend one-zero-one-zero—that is, ten—minutes with Dr. Nathir Rawashdeh on Wednesday, December 16, from 5:30 to 5:40 p.m.

    Rawashdeh is assistant professor of applied computing in the College of Computing at Michigan Tech.

    He will present his current research work, including the using artificial intelligence for autonomous driving on snow covered roads, and a mobile robot using ultraviolet light to disinfect indoor spaces. Following, Rawashdeh will field listener questions.

    We look forward to spending 1010 minutes with you!

    Did you miss last week’s 1010 with Chuck Wallace? Watch the video below.

    1010 with … Chuck Wallace, Assoc. Prof, Computer Science, December 9, 2020.

    The 1010 with … series will continue on Wednesday afternoons in the new year on January 6, 13, 20, and 27 … with more to come!