Category: Workshops

VPR Research Series: Funding Graduate Students

Meet the VPR Sponsored Operations Team and VPR Staff

by Office of the Vice President of Research

Join VPR team members and other members of the Michigan Tech research community from noon to 1 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 12) for presentations and discussion to help you and your team as you pursue funding for your research and other externally supported programs.

This month’s discussion will be led by Will Cantrell, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. Cantrell will describe how researchers can work with graduate students to provide the best learning experience while achieving research goals, followed by a question and answer session.

Session attendees will also have a chance to meet the Sponsored Programs Operations Team and VPR Staff. Attendees will have the chance to ask presentation and general VPR-related questions at the end. Join this virtual session via Zoom.


Research Day is Thurs., Jan. 7

by Research Development

The eighth annual research day event will be held Thursday (Jan. 7). We welcome research faculty from all ranks, research staff, postdocs, and staff who support research to join, learn, and share. The theme for the day is: Research Efficiency; Knowing the right things to optimize your research strategy.

All information and sessions happening on Research Day can be accessed through the Research Day site.

Interested participants are encouraged to RSVP for sessions here.


Celebrate Husky Innovation January 25-29

Husky Innovate is organizing Innovation Week, a series of innovation themed events the week of January 25 to 29, 2020. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students, faculty and alumni to meet virtually to engage around the topic of innovation.

We will host panel discussions, alumni office hours and the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 28.

We will celebrate entrepreneurship, innovative research and projects on campus and within our extended MTU community.

If you are interested in hosting an innovation tour, participating in a panel discussion, leading a workshop or something else, sign-up here.

Faculty and staff are invited to celebrate innovation week with an innovation themed learning module or student activity.


Accessible Computing Expert Dr. Richard Ladner to Present Keynote November 13

The ICC’s Center for Human-Centered Computing invites Michigan Tech faculty, staff, students, and alumni to a keynote lecture by leading accessible design expert and research scientist Dr. Richard E. Ladner on Friday, November 13, 2020, at 1:00 p.m., via online meeting.

Join the Zoom meeting here.

His talk, “Accessible K-12 Computer Science Education,” is the final event of HCC’s Husky Research Celebration, a showcase of interdisciplinary HCC research through a series of virtual lab tours, virtual mini talks, and lectures presented in a 360-degree virtual space. More details here.

Ladner is a Professor Emeritus in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, where he has been on the faculty since 1971.

His current research is in the area of accessible computing, a subarea of human-computer interaction (HCI). Much of his current research focuses on accessible educational technology.

Ladner is principal investigator of the NSF-funded AccessComputing Alliance, which works to increase participation of students with disabilities in computing fields. He is also a PI of the NSF-funded AccessCSforAll, which is focused on preparing teachers of blind, deaf, and learning disabled children to teach their students computer science.

Lecture Title: Accessible K-12 Computer Science Education

Lecture Abstract: For the past twelve years there has been rapid growth in the teaching of computer science in K-12 with a particular focus on broadening the participation of students from underrepresented groups in computing including students with disabilities. Popular tools such as Scratch, ScratchJr, and many other block-based programming environments have brought programming concepts to millions of children around the world. Code.org’s Hour of Code has hundreds of activities with almost half using block-based environments. New computer science curricula such as Exploring Computer Science and Computer Science Principles have been implemented using inaccessible tools. In the meantime the United States has about 8 million school children with recognized disabilities which is about 16% of the K-12 student population. It is generally not the case that these students are adequately served by the current K-12 computer science education or any of the block-based programming environments.

In particular, the approximately 30,000 blind and visually impaired children are left out because only a few educational tools are screen reader accessible. In this talk we address this problem by describing two programming environments that are accessible: the Quorum Language and Blocks4All. The Quorum Language, created by Andreas Stefik, is a text-based programming language whose syntax and semantics have been created to be as usable as possible using randomized controlled trials. The language is not at all intimidating to children. For younger children, Lauren Milne created Blocks4All a block-based programming environment that can be used by anyone including children who are blind or visually impaired. Blocks4All uses a touchscreen platform similar to ScratchJr and takes advantage of the fact the blind children already know how to use touchscreen devices using their built-in screen readers. The challenge for the future of K-12 computer science is to be more inclusive to all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability status.

Founded in 2015, the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) promotes collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and learning experiences in the areas of computing education, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing, and scalable architectures and systems, for the benefit of Michigan Technological University and society at large.

The ICC creates and supports an arena in which faculty and students work collaboratively across organizational boundaries in an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation. The ICC’s 55 members represent more than 20 academic disciplines at Michigan Tech.

The Center for Human-Centered Computing (HCC) focuses on the research and development of novel interfaces for human-agent interaction, assistive technologies, intelligent health, computational modeling, and examining trust and decision making in distributed systems.

The Center is directed by Associate Professor Elizabeth Veinott, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, a cognitive psychologist who focuses on two main areas of research: decision making and learning using serious video games.


Junqiao Qiu to Present Lecture November 6

Assistant Professor Junqiao Qiu, Computer Science, will present his lecture, “Speculative Parallelization for FSM-centric Computations,” this Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., via online meeting.

Join the Zoom meeting here.

Lecture Abstract

As a fundamental computation model, finite-state machine (FSM) has been used in a wide range of data-intensive applications, including malware detection, bioinformatics, semi-structured data analytics, natural language processing and even machine learning. However, FSM execution is known to be “embarrassingly sequential” due to the state dependences among transitions. Current studies find that speculation is a promising solution to address the inherent dependencies in FSM computations and thus enables scalable FSM parallelization.
This talk will firstly introduce the fundamental scalability bottleneck in the current FSM parallelization, and then an aggressive speculation, a generalized speculation model that allows a speculated state to be validated against the result from another speculation, is proposed to address the scalability limitations. Finally, this talk will discuss the possibility to enlarge the applicability of the proposed approach and go beyond the FSM-based computations.

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


GSG to Host Grant Writing Webinar Nov. 12

As a student or a researcher, a necessary component of your work is applying for a multitude of grants to obtain funding for future projects. Peter Larson, director of research development at Michigan Tech, will conduct a seminar on Grant Writing from 4 to 5  p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 via Zoom.

Larson specializes in creating effective grant and research proposals, particularly in the non-technical proposal sections that researchers often struggle with. Please send any topics or questions you wish to see discussed to gsg-prodev@mtu.edu so we can structure the seminar to better suit your needs.

Those who participate in the seminar will get a chance to enter a raffle draw. Space is not really limited but just so we know how many students to expect, be sure to register.


Health Informatics MS: Virtual Info Night is Tues., Oct. 27

Are you thinking about attending graduate school? Are you open to learning about emerging career areas in which you can leverage your undergraduate learning in healthcare or computer science?


Register for Health Informatics M.S. Info Night

Join Info Night

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., via online Zoom meeting, the Health Informatics Master of Science and Accelerated Master’s programs will present a virtual info session for current students.

Please pre-register for the free info session here.

From the general to the specific, the info session will cover what you need to know about applying for and completing a Health Informatics master’s degree at Michigan Tech.

Attendees will consider the benefits of an advanced degree, learn about the fast-track accelerated master’s program, review the the online application process, and more.

Associate Professor Guy Hembroff, Health Informatics graduate program director, and Jacque Smith, director of Enrollment Services for the Michigan Tech Graduate School, will host the info session.

A link to the virtual info session will be shared shortly.


Jim Keller to Present ICC Distinguished Lecture October 30

Dr. James Keller, recently retired Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the EE/CS department at University of Missouri, Columbia, will present his lecture, “Soft Streaming Classification,” on Friday, October 30, 2020, at 3:00 p.m., via Zoom online meeting.

The talk is an Institute of Computing and Cybersystems’ (ICC) Distinguished Lecture Series event.

Join the meeting here.


A Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Keller recently received the IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award for his “fundamental work on fuzzy pattern recognition, fuzzy clustering, and fuzzy technologies in computer vision.” He holds a number of additional professional and academic honors and awards.

Lecture Abstract

As the volume and variety of temporally acquired data continues to grow, increased attention is being paid to streaming analysis of that data. Think of a drone flying over unknown terrain looking for specific objects which may present differently in different environments. Understanding the evolving environments is a critical component of a recognition system.

With the explosion of ubiquitous continuous sensing (something Lotfi Zadeh predicted as one of the pillars of Recognition Technology in the late 1990s), this on-line streaming analysis is normally cast as a clustering problem. However, examining most streaming clustering algorithms leads to the understanding that they are actually incremental classification models.

These approaches model existing and newly discovered structures via summary information that we call footprints. Incoming data is routinely assigned crisp labels (into one of the structures) and that structure’s footprints are incrementally updated; the data is not saved for iterative assignments.

The three underlying tenets of static clustering:

  1. Do you believe there are any clusters in your data?
  2. If so, can you come up with a technique to find the natural grouping of your data?
  3. Are the clusters you found good groupings of the data?

These questions do not directly apply to the streaming case. What takes their place in this new frontier?

In this talk, I will provide some thoughts on what questions can substitute for the Big 3, but then focus on a new approach to streaming classification, directly acknowledging the real identity of this enterprise. Because the goal is truly classification, there is no reason that these assignments need to be crisp.

With my friends, I propose a new streaming classification algorithm, called StreamSoNG, that uses Neural Gas prototypes as footprints and produces a possibilistic label vector (typicalities) for each incoming vector. These typicalities are generated by a modified possibilistic k-nearest neighbor algorithm.

Our method is inspired by, and uses components of, a method that we introduced under the nomenclature of streaming clustering to discover underlying structures as they evolve. I will describe the various ingredients of StreamSoNG and demonstrate the resulting algorithm on synthetic and real datasets.


Yu Cai is PI of 2-year NSA GenCyber Project

Professor Yu Cai, Applied Computing, a member of the ICC’s Center for Cybersecurity, is the principal investigator on a two-year project that has received a $99,942 grant from the National Security Agency (GenCyber). The project is titled, “GenCyber Teacher Camp at Michigan Tech. “

Lecturer Tim Van Wagner (AC) and Assistant Professor Bo Chen (CS, DataS) are Co-PIs. Cai will serve as the camp director, Tim Van Wagner as lead instructor.

This GenCyber project aims to host a week-long, residential summer camp for twenty K-12 STEM teachers in 2021 at Michigan Tech. Target educators are primarily from Michigan and surrounding states.

The objectives of the camp are to teach cybersecurity knowledge and safe online behavior, develop innovative teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content, and provide professional development opportunities so participants will return to their home schools with contagious enthusiasm about teaching cybersecurity.

The GenCyber camp will be offered at no cost to camp participants. Room and board will be provided. Teacher participants will receive a stipend of $500 for attending and completing camp activities.

Read about the 2019 Michigan Tech GenCyber camps for teachers and students here.


Recap: Virtual Parallel-in-Time Workshop 2020

The virtual 2020 Parallel-in-Time conference, co-organized by Assistant Professor Benjamin Ong (DataS, Mathematics), took place June 8 to 12, 2020.

The conference consisted of 20 presentations, including one by Mathematics department graduate student, Nadun Dissanayake.

140 participants in more than a dozen countries registered and participated in the conference. View the conference video lectures and program information here.

The primary focus of the Parallel-in-Time Workshop was to disseminate cutting-edge research and facilitate scientific discussions on the field of parallel time integration methods.

Download the conference program booklet here.