Congratulations to UMBC’s Department of Information Systems for being ranked a top online graduate program in information technology by U.S. News & World Report. The UMBC program was ranked #19 in the nation, and is one of just two programs in Maryland to appear on the list.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on December 11, 2013 that Gymama Slaughter, an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE), received an NSF CAREER Award.
NSF notes, “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”
“We are delighted about this NSF CAREER Award to Dr. Slaughter,” says Dr. Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research at UMBC. “This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Slaughter’s rapidly growing reputation as a productive and promising researcher and teacher and it also reflects well on UMBC’s ability to attract and nurture top faculty talent as embodied by Dr. Slaughter.”
Slaughter will use the $400,000 award to “fabricate and characterize a self-powered biosensing microsystem that simultaneously generates bioelectricity and monitors glucose.”
“Held in the UMBC Skylight Room from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday this past weekend, UMBC’s first-everhackathon was open to all UMBC students of any skill level, from innovators and explorers to designers and hardcore coders. Its purpose was to allow students to mingle and collaborate for 24 continuous hours of community exploration to grow technology projects from scratch while expanding their connections to other students, industry leaders, and faculty. Admission was free and attracted students from across the UMBC campus community, including CS, CE, EE, IS, Biology, Biotechnology, Math, Physics, and Media Studies.”
The mechanical engineering capstone poster session will be held 10-1 in the ENGR Atrium. A total of 12 projects will be on display.
Amy Hurst, Collaborates on Multi-University Project To Improve Web and Cloud Computing Accessibility
“The researchers are working on methods for easily modifying software to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Researchers will develop ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to log on to the Web, make user interfaces more accessible, and change the presentation of information on the Web to streamline experiences for people with disabilities, caregivers and service providers. The researchers also will look for ways to leverage help from other people on the Web — crowdsourcing — to increase accessibility for all.
“Authentication or logging into a service is an integral yet mundane part of peoples’ Internet experience,” said Yang Wang, assistant professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse. “However, most existing authentication schemes tend to be difficult to use for people with disabilities. We’re very excited about this opportunity to explore new authentication schemes that can provide a much better experience for people with disability.”
The team also will explore ways to dynamically change pointing and clicking actions on Web pages. “For example, if an individual is having difficulty smoothly controlling a mouse, we could detect this and smooth their input,” said Amy Hurst, assistant professor of human-centered computing in the Information Systems Department at UMBC.”
In an effort to assist employees during these economic times, the Dept. of Human Resources has updated their online resources and professional development opportunities for the Fall 2013 semester.
Cleaning up polluted sediments isn’t an easy task. Standard remediation methods include dredging contaminated sediments or capping with clean sand. Both procedures are costly and disruptive to the existing ecosystem.
Ghosh, who researches the effects of toxic pollutants on the environment, had developed a way of using the charcoal, the same kind found in home water filters, to effectively bottle up the contamination and keep it out of the ecosystem.
Ghosh’s idea had been tried successfully before, but only to a small degree, Greene said. Ghosh did some reconnaissance of Mirror Lake and agreed the procedure could work on a larger scale.
Ghosh’s method is less expensive and less disruptive to the environment. On November 4 the State of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control started spreading Ghosh’s pellets across Mirror Lake in Dover.
The project not only covers the 3.5 acres of the lake and its immediate environs, but stretches down the St. Jones River to just past the Court Street Bridge.
Making the project the largest of its kind in the country.
Tests have shown the charcoal infusion can contain up to 90 percent of PCBs and up to 84 percent of mercury contamination. The result is that a process that could have taken between four and seven decades, if allowed to proceed naturally, could mean a safer Mirror Lake within the decade.
And that is good news for the residents of Dover.
Read the complete article in the Dover Post.
UMBC has nominated two students for the 2013 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, an annual world-wide competition hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
A UMBC awards committee selected the two students from among all dissertations in computer science and engineering at UMBC, nominated by any advisor, successfully defended in the period October 2012–September 2013. The two nominees are Matthew Anderson (Advisor: Tulay Adali) and Josiah Dykstra (Advisor: Alan T. Sherman), both in the CSEE Dept.
The winner will receive a $20,000 prize from Google and a book contract.
Anderson’s dissertation explores theory and applications of independent vector analysis, which is useful in detecting targets in images. Dykstra’s dissertation explores how to carry out a digital forensics examination for cloud computing, including technical and legal aspects.
ACM will announce the winner in early 2014. This is the first year in which UMBC has ever nominated a student for this award.
This is a follow-up to keep the campus community informed regarding the unexpected closure of the Y Preschool Center at UMBC on Sept. 18 due to water damage and related safety considerations. There have been a number of questions about the center, and we would like to provide the campus community with additional information.
How has the closure impacted UMBC families using campus child care services?
The 18 UMBC families directly impacted by the closure faced a very difficult challenge in finding alternative arrangements for their children on such short notice. Individuals and offices throughout the campus stepped up to support affected parents and families, serving as points of contact to hear needs and concerns, and assisting with referrals to other campus offices, as needed. Human Resources was able to arrange for liberal leave policies to go into effect for employees unable to make it to work in the days following the closure. The Office of Undergraduate Education worked with students affected by the closure to address any short-term academic concerns.
On behalf of the campus, we would particularly like to thank Jess Myers, director of the Women’s Center, Fritze Charne-Merriweather, special assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Jarrett Kealey, assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Human Resources and The Women’s Center staff.
For anyone still facing concerns or challenges, please contact Fritze Charne-Merriweather at 410-455-2395 or email@example.com. The Women’s Center is located in The Commons, Room 004 and can be reached at 410-455-2714 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will we know more about the future of child care/preschool service on campus?
After the remaining materials in the center are removed (to be completed the week of Oct. 7), we will consult outside experts to determine the logistics and cost associated with repairing the damaged building, which will help us to determine the feasibility of the repairs. We anticipate a full report, including a cost estimate, by December.
UMBC values child care as an important part of supporting families and a good work-life balance. While the building evaluation is conducted, we will bring together a group of interested campus community members to explore the future of child care for the UMBC community. Anyone interested in participating in this discussion should contact Lynne Schaefer, email@example.com.
Why wasn’t the problem found sooner?
The child care center situation was identified when staff in the center reported water damage on a portion of the drywall. Facilities Management then removed several feet of drywall to determine the cause.
UMBC has two methods for identifying water infiltration problems in buildings: visual inspection and self-reporting. As our building engineers and tradespersons perform work throughout the campus, they will take note of anything they see that may require further investigation. Occasionally, we receive calls from offices to report visible water damage. Unfortunately, with more than 4 million sq. ft. of building space on campus, these are the only feasible methods for identifying such occurrences. It is not advisable to perform destructive testing unless water damage is evident, visually.
We will continue to periodically report on this issue, as it evolves. In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns or comments, please contact Lynne Schaefer, Vice President for Finance and Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former governor of Michigan John Engler and U.S. Manufacturing Council’s Mary Isbister to discuss the role of higher education in preparing the U.S. workforce for global competitiveness in a panel discussion at NBC News’ fourth annual Education Nation Summit.
The segment, What It Takes: Keeping Up with the Competition, Part II – Our Workforce, moderated by NBC News “TODAY” co-anchor Matt Lauer, revolves around the recently released Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) report, which compares the skills and competencies of the adult workforce in 23 countries. According to the exam, Americans performed below the international average on math, reading and problem-solving.
“Scores will continue to go down until we bridge the gap between the haves and have nots,” said Dr. Hrabowski. “We need a new value system that it’s cool to be smart in America. We need to celebrate academics like we celebrate sports.”
The panel discussion was also covered by WBAL-TV in a story highlighting the disparity in test results between the U.S. and other nations. Dr. Hrabowski agreed with Sec. Arne Duncan that the growing “opportunity gap in our country” needs to be addressed. “We have so many, a large percentage, of our Americans who are from low-income families, who have not had an education and have not had the opportunity to learn to read and think critically,” Hrabowski said.
The Education Nation Summit brings together more than 300 of the country’s top thought leaders and influencers in education, government, business, philanthropy and media to discuss the relationship between education and opportunity – helping to engage the U.S. in an unprecedented discussion about how to improve education and prepare our youth for the jobs of the future.