UMBC Participates in National Engineering Education Initiative Announced at White House

UMBC is among more than 120 U.S. engineering programs leading a transformative movement in engineering education announced at the White House today.

In a letter presented to President Barack Obama, UMBC and peer institutions committed to establish special educational programs designed to prepare undergraduates to solve “Grand Challenges.” These challenges are complex yet achievable goals to improve national and international health, security (including cybersecurity), sustainability, and quality of life in the 21st century.

Together, the schools plan to graduate more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.

Dean Julia Ross, of UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology (pictured below), will represent UMBC at a special meeting of the White House and National Academy of Engineering to discuss this commitment on March 24, 2015.

win_rossFor more information, see


Richard Forno on Cyber Attacks on State Facilities

umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoRichard Forno was interviewed by the Associated Press about cyber attacks on the rise in Utah.

“Utah state officials have seen what they describe as a sharp uptick in attempts to hack into state computers in the last two years, and they think it related to the NSA data center south of Salt Lake City,”

wrote the Associated Press.

“Maybe these hackers are thinking: ‘If we can attack state systems, we can get info that NSA isn’t releasing,”

said Richard Forno.

Where does this leave Utah? Forno and Tim Junio, a cybersecurity researcher at Stanford University, say that the NSA data center may interest hackers who think they can get to the NSA by targeting state-run facilities that power the center.




Richard Forno on Cybersecurity and Government Accountability

Richard Forno, assistant director for UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, made an
appearance on All Sides With Ann Fisher, a public radio program broadcast out of
umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoColumbus, Ohio to discuss cybersecurity and corporate accountability. Mandy Trimble was sitting in for Fisher. Guests along with Forno were: Joseph Marks, a cybersecurity reporter for Politico Pro, and Dakota Rudesill, an assistant professor of law at the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University.

Trimble posed the question to Forno, should we implement corporate accountability in the event of cybersecurity breaches. Forno said, there is the “practicality of accountability,” because “problems like this [cybersecurity breaches] are quite likely to occur.”

“Would we “hold someone accountable for a traffic jam on the way to work?”

“It happens,” he said.

Listen to the program

UMBC Hackers to Go to Seoul

UMBC hackers have been participating in hackathons for a year. Their latest victory was in Michigan. Michael Bishoff and Sekar Kulandaivel won third place at MHacks, a competitive 1000 student hackathon at the University of Michigan.

10405357_391227567704346_4588016945018397492_nBishoff says, “We are proud to be representing UMBC at all of the hackathons that we attend and we are definitely giving our school a good reputation in the tech community.”

Kulandaivel and Bishoff created a haptic feedback suit that makes virtual reality more immersive. To do this, they created 12 vibrating modules that are placed on the user’s arms, legs, chest, and head. When various events occur in the virtual environment, the user will feel a vibration in the appropriate location on their body. For example, when a user falls in a virtual environment, they can feel a vibration in their legs, or when a user gets hit in their arm, they can feel a vibration on their appropriate arm.

Kulandaivel and Bishoff won a summer trip to Seoul, South Korea to represent UMBC at the Global Hackathon. The Global Hackathon is a 2000 person hackathon that is backed by the mayor of Seoul. The hackathon’s goal is to increase innovation and produce projects that make a global impact. Attendees of the event will include students from around the world.

Michele Williams Unveils Smart Scarf

michelewilliamsMichele Williams, human-centered computing PhD candidate, unveiled the Smart Scarf, at at the Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction at Stanford University and MIT’s Technology Review picked up
on it. Williams had the opportunity to work on the scarf as part of her internship with Microsoft Research.

The current prototype—which the researchers made after consulting with people with autism and hearing and visual disabilities—is a flexible laser-cut garment made of hexagons of industrial felt overlaid with conductive copper taffeta. Some of the modules can heat up, while others can vibrate.

All the modules are controlled by one master module that is also responsible for communicating with the smartphone app over Bluetooth. The modules link together with metal snaps and are interchangeable; if you want a heat-producing module closer to your stomach and a vibrating one on your neck, you can unsnap the chain and reconfigure it, says Asta Roseway, a principal research designer at Microsoft Research and a paper coauthor.


U.S. News Gives a Nod to the Department of Information Systems

Think of the best online master’s in computer information technology and what comes to mind? Why UMBC of course.

The program debuted at number 19 in 2014 on the Best Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs.  This year, the program was ranked number 11.  US News describes this list as “These are the Printbest online master’s in computer information technology programs, based on factors such as admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and academic and career support services offered to students”.

The department of Information Systems, prepares students to be successful in careers in Information Technology industry and academia.

Examples of areas of research interest are: Health IT, Human centered Computing, Database/Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence/Knowledge Management, and Software Engineering.  This program offers online students access to the same research faculty available to on-campus students.  The program is designed for students who are balancing careers, family, military and/or other life commitments, the focus to prepare them to grow their professional careers in information systems.