Ant Ozok, Information Systems, on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

photo 3Technological advancements such as direct deposit, ATMs and cell phone apps have changed the way people bank. A recent news report found that 50% of the population had not visited a bank branch in the last month.

Ant Ozok, associate professor of information systems, visited WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss technological innovations that have transformed personal banking. Ozok, who specializes in human computer interaction, emphasized the importance of a positive user experience, saying, “Banks need to take the precautions that are necessary so that users do what they need to do in an efficient way.”

Click here to listen to “Personal Banking Technology” on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

COEIT Uses Constellation Energy’s Education Award For Undergraduate Research

UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology is using an Energy Education Award from Constellation Energy to provide energy research opportunities for a significant number of undergraduate students.

This semester, students in IS 420: Advanced Database Development received technology to collect the power consumption data of different appliances and devices. They are also working to build a web-portal (GUI), which will capture human actions, energy behavior and footprint over a specific period.

Project involvement encourages the students to think differently about energy systems and promotes advanced study and career preparation in the energy industry. The Constellation project helps students gain a greater sense of social awareness and deeper understanding of energy system technologies, as well as enhance their basic research and development skills through this hands-on experience. By combining their intrinsic research abilities and inspiration, the students will become conscious about the importance of being a responsible energy user in their daily lives and beyond.

Read more about the Energy Education Award here.

U.S. News Ranks UMBC’s Information Systems Online M.S. as a Top Program

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.

See the rankings.

Learn how U.S. News & World Report calculated the rankings.

Gymama Slaughter, CSEE, Receives NSF CAREER Award

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.”

Read more about Gymama Slaughter.


First hackUMBC concludes successfully

“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.”

Read the full story

Amy Hurst, Information Systems, Collaborates on $3.7 million project

Amy Hurst, Collaborates on Multi-University Project To Improve Web and Cloud Computing Accessibility

Will Help People With Disabilities Take Full Advantage of Online Resources

“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.”

Read the full article 


Upal Ghosh, Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering, in the Dover Post

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.

Enter Upal Ghosh.ghosh

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 Nominates Two Students for 2013 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award

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.