Soundbyte: Fall | Winter 2002-2003
The Internet has become an important and integral part of our daily lives, by and large, making our lives simpler and better. Sometimes, however, we are frustrated by it: files can take forever to download, the quality of voice communication leaves much to be desired, and we still cannot watch our favorite shows on the Internet. These experiences leave us wondering why the Internet exhibits such great performance/quality variations, and why it still cannot provide all the services we want.
The Computer Networking and Multimedia Research Group, led by Professors David Du and Zhi-Li Zhang, is working to address some of these issues with the ultimate goal being to exploit the full potential of the Internet. One of their research directions is to look at the problem of delivering value-added services over the Internet. By value-added services, they mean services that are over and above the communication primitives available today, such as, high-bandwidth subscriber services (video streaming), real-time communication services (voice over IP, videoconferencing), and integrated communication services. Other research projects seek to improve the robustness of the Internet so that it will better support applications with Quality of Service (QoS) requirements.
In its current form the Internet lacks essential properties required for delivering these services effectively. One such deficiency is the limited support for communication primitives. The Internet was designed to provide a best-effort connectivity service. There is no guarantee that any packet will be delivered by a fixed time or even that it will be delivered at all. When a user has a session with a remote server, the train of packets that flow from the user to the server transit a number of routers. At each router, all packets are given the same equal treatment. The immediate consequence of the current Internet architecture is that the Internet cannot support applications with quality of service (QoS) requirements.
To further illustrate some of the issues and challenges facing the Internet it helps to understand how the underlying networks are pieced together to form the global Internet. The Internet "fabric" is, in a t the lower level of abstraction, the Internet is a massive collection of routers that cooperate to carry traffic from one point to another point. At the higher level of abstraction, these routers are grouped into "network domains" (or in the Internet routing jargon, Autonomous Systems), each of which is owned and managed by a distinct administrative entity. As a consequence, within each network domain things run pretty smoothly. However, the interconnection between these domains is a completely different matter. The interesting aspect of these interconnections is that the path of traffic from one network domain to another network domain is based more on commercial arrangements than geography. For example, if you reside in the Twin Cities and subscribe to a broadband service from Time Warner, traffic from your PC to the University computers goes through Denver or Los Angeles, depending on the direction. The interconnection between these entities is unregulated and sometimes not visible externally. The other artifact of this arrangement is the "too many cooks spoiling the pot" syndrome. Since there is no centralized authority that governs the operation of these domains, there is a lot of instability that is caused by the day to day operation of these domains -- and this makes the "whole" Internet unpredictable. Moreover, the peering points (the interconnections between network domains), which are not under the authority of either side, have been anecdotally blamed as being the bottleneck.
In this particular area, the group's research is aimed at attempting to understand the large-scale structural properties of the Internet. Given the size and heterogeneity of the Internet, we may as well treat it as a black box. Events that occur far away serve as inputs to the black box, and the events that we observe locally are considered to be the outputs. As the event is being propagated from input to output there are both amplifying and damping factors at work, which depend on the structure of the graph inside the black box. Thus knowledge of the structural properties will provide insight into modeling the behavior of the Internet.
A related area of interest is in developing techniques to monitor the Internet so that we can assess the "health" of the Internet. The non-cooperating nature of commercial agreements between network domains has the effect of obscuring information, and it happens very often that observations made at a certain point are very loosely coupled with the actual events that trigger changes. The network group is exploring ways in which a distributed set of monitoring entities can be used to stitch together locally observed events to produce a "composite" picture of the actual event or events. They hope their research in this direction will help in developing algorithms that improve the robustness of the Internet.
Pictured from left to right, front row: Chang-Ho Choi, David Du, Zhi-Li Zhang, Ewa Kusmierek; second row: James Beyer, Kuai Xu, Joseph Hong, Esam Sharafuddin, Dingshan He, Yinzhe Yu; last row: Yingfei Dong, Guor-Huar Lu, Sanghwan Lee, Jeff Krasky, Jaideep Chandrashekar, Srivatsan Varadarajan
However, making the underlying network well-behaved does not in itself solve the problem. Supporting QoS and enabling new applications require support and cooperation from the underlying network providers. One of the network group's more significant research initiatives toward addressing this issue is the Service Overlay Network (SON) architecture. In this comprehensive approach, they are investigating the feasibility of enabling service delivery by utilizing virtual service specific overlay networks or "clouds". The overlay networks are tied to the underlying network domains by "service gateways". Service requests are quickly passed to the appropriate service cloud. Within the cloud, the service provider can ensure that QoS requirements are met by means of negotiating Service Level Agreements (SLA) with the network domains that it spans. Since network providers now stand to profit from these agreements, they have a strong economic incentive to respect the agreements. One of the key advantages of this architecture is that it allows the overlays to bypass the peering points among the network domains, and thus avoids the potential performance problems associated with them. Relying on the bilateral SLAs the SON can deliver end-to-end QoS-sensitive services to its users via appropriate provisioning and resource management.
The Internet offers far more possibilities than what we have seen or imagined so far. One major effort they are undertaking is to develop a large-scale, Internet wide, intelligent storage system. By connecting various increasingly smart storage devices to the Internet, they could turn the Internet into a global information repository and vast storage system. Furthermore this intelligent storage system will allow you to access files and documents in the same manner, no matter where you are and what computer system you are using. With such a system in place, you won't have to kick yourself for forgetting to copy that important document you need to your laptop before your travel, or for forgetting to synchronize it back to your desktop in your office when you return from your trip. All you will need to do is to plug your laptop into the Internet, and you will be able to access the document as if it were in your local disk drive. To realize this vision, a research consortium on Intelligent Storage Systems (DISC) has been established at the University's Digital Technology Center (DTC). Led by Professor David Du, this consortium involves several faculty members (Professors Yongdae Kim, David Lilja, Ahmed Tewfik, Jon Weissman and Zhi-Li Zhang) as well as graduate students in the DTC. Industrial partners including StorageTek, IBM, Seagate, Intel, Cisco and EMC have either joined the endeavor or expressed interests in supporting the research activities in DISC. The assembled team is working on many challenges in building such a large-scale, intelligent storage system. Based on the OSD (Object Storage Device) model, they are currently developing a two-tier, self-organizing system architecture to support various capabilities required of the envisioned intelligent storage system: fast search and retrieval, data migration and consistency, user and device mobility, QoS, and security.
A global intelligent storage system is just one of many possibilities that the Internet can offer. Another exciting service, dubbed "grid computing", leverages all the computers connected to the Internet and turns the Internet into a giant computer. As a giant computing grid, the Internet will offer various value-added computing services on-demand, and enable geographically dispersed users to seamlessly perform computing and collaborate over the Internet. Towards this goal, various software tools and utilities, collectively referred to as middleware, must be integrated into the Internet. Working with other researchers, they are investigating a number of research issues in this area. Two types of novel middleware systems with emphasis on collaborative experimentation are under development. Professor Du is part of a research team, led by Prof. George E. Brown, Jr., that is working on an NSF-funded project in the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), called the Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing (MAST) system. The MAST system will be used to test three-dimensional components of large-scale building and bridge structures that are subjected to cyclic loading to investigate the integrity of new and existing structural systems subjected to earthquakes. The objective is to allow researchers to remotely access the system and conduct collaborative experiments over the distance.
-J. Chandrashekar, Z. Duan,
Z-L Zhang and David Du
The year 2003 is already shaping up to be quite eventful for the University and the Department. With the state facing the largest projected budget deficit in its history, the University has seen steep cuts in its budget---$25M in state appropriations in FY03 and as much as $185M in the FY04-FY05 biennium as proposed by the new governor, Tim Pawlenty. Dealing with this will be one of the first tasks of newly inaugurated University President Robert Bruininks. Exactly how these cuts translate to the departmental level remains to be seen, but it is clear that they will be quite severe. The situation is further exacerbated by an already weak economy and the prospect of war with Iraq.
The department remains committed to weathering this situation and to continuing to enhance its research, teaching, and service missions. Our faculty recruiting efforts last year culminated in the hiring of four outstanding new faculty members: Yongdae Kim (UC Irvine; network security), Donglin Liang (Georgia Tech; software engineering), Stergios Roumeliotis (Caltech; robotics), and Loren Terveen (AT&T Labs; human-computer interaction); they are featured in this newsletter. Recruiting efforts for the current year are in full swing, and the outlook appears promising given the record number of outstanding applications we have received.
Our professional Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) is celebrating its fifth year of success. The program has produced a growing number of software engineering professionals for a wide range of companies in Minnesota, including large multi-nationals such as 3M, IBM, Guidant, Unisys, and Lockheed-Martin. The MSSE program is also featured in this newsletter. Given the increasing demand for better-trained software engineers in fast-developing countries, such as India and China, we are also in the process of creating a new distance learning program for students overseas.
Other initiatives in education include improving some of our service courses and creating a series of new courses related to computer security to meet the needs of our students. Our faculty members have also submitted a record number of proposals to federal agencies in hopes of reaping the benefits of expanded federal research funding opportunities available this year.
Last summer, the department sponsored a global-campus program offered by two of our faculty members, Prof. Jaideep Srivastava and Prof. Baoquan Chen, at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Twenty two students from a variety of departments in IT participated in this program. It was a great success. For more details, please see the article on page 6. A similar program is planned for this summer.
We are planning to host our biennial departmental Open House again this year, on Friday, October 17, 2003, during the University's Homecoming Week. Planned events include exhibits that showcase the research activities in the department, laboratory tours, plenary talks, panel discussions, and other activities geared towards our alumni and industrial partners. We hope that you will be able to join us. More details will be available in late-summer/early-fall on our department web site at http://www.cs.umn.edu.
The support of our alumni and friends during these difficult timesis critical. I urge you to advocate on behalf of the University and the Department. Please visit http://www1.umn.edu/urelate/govrel/ forinformation on the many ways in which you can help. Thank you for your continued support.
Secure group communication is an increasingly popular research area, having received much attention in recent years. Since most group communication takes place over the wide-open expanse of the Internet, security is a major concern. The fundamental security challenge revolves around secure and efficient group key management. Centralized key management methods (key distribution) are appropriate for 2-party (e.g., client-server or peer-to-peer) communication as well as for large multicast groups. However, many collaborative group settings require distributed key management techniques. Kim's main research focuses on secure and efficient distributed group key management techniques for secure group communication systems. He is currently extending his previous research into other network applications such as storage area networks.
Ever-increasing demands and complexity of software systems have constantly called for improvement in software quality and programming productivity. Software quality and programming productivity greatly depend on the capabilities of programmers in reasoning about and understanding software artifacts. The major goal of Liang's research is to develop program analysis techniques that automatically extract information from program artifacts to enhance such capabilities. One focus of his current research is to develop practical program analysis techniques that can efficiently extract information from programs up to millions of lines of code. Another focus of his current research is to develop effective visualization techniques that leverage the collected information to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of various software development and maintenance activities. The third focus of his current research is to develop new testing and analysis techniques for next generation software---software that lives in the ubiquitous computing environment.
Stergios I. Roumeliotis
In Stergios Roumeliotis's view, most of the events that synthesize our world are non-deterministic in nature and therefore, are only amenable to stochastic methods in order to comprehend them and control their outcome. His research has concentrated mainly on sensing techniques - analysis, modeling and fusion - for autonomous robot navigation. Specific examples of these platforms are wheeled rovers, tracked vehicles, unmanned helicopters and spacecrafts, and their domain of application spans from indoors to outdoors and from autonomous landing to planetary exploration. The same theoretical framework is also appropriate to deal with equivalent issues pertinent to arrays of networked sensors, intelligent embedded systems and problems that require processing of large and diverse amounts of sensory information. It is within the focus of his research to develop efficient probabilistic algorithms based on strong theoretical foundations for real-time state estimation from noisy and uncertain sensor information. These estimation algorithms are necessary to support intelligent behavior such as perception and representation of the environment, planning under uncertainty, autonomous navigation and control.
Loren Terveen's research interests are human-computer interaction and computer-mediated communication. More specifically, he is interested in extending recommender systems to help people form relationships and build community. Such systems can identify people's shared interests, creating a context to bring them together and organize their interaction. He also is interested in the design of mobile devices for providing peripheral awareness of information. Currently, he is working on experiments to investigate how similarity between people (of their knowledge and personal characteristics) affects online interaction, both objective outcomes and the building of relationships. In the longer term, he is planning projects to (1) create theory and develop guidelines for increasing people's contribution to online communities, (2) develop mobile, location-aware applications that can support people's information needs and enhance their social experience of large meetings and events, and (3) investigate how socially meaningful places constrain people's information needs and then incorporate the concept of places into location-based community information systems.
In the fall of 1997, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering launched the Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) program in collaboration with the Center for Technological Leadership (CDTL). Since the MSSE program began, 205 students have enrolled, including the 79 current students. The students' employers represent a wide cross-section of companies, including some of Minnesota's giants such as 3M, Best Buy, IBM, Guidant, Lockheed Martin, St. Paul Companies, United Defense, UNISYS Corp., University of Minnesota, and West Group.
The program is a rigorous two-year graduate program for software professionals seeking to expand their theoretical and practical knowledge of software development. Candidates must be working professionals with at least one year of on-the-job software development experience and a B.S. or B.A. degree in computer science or a related field. Admission to the program is competitive. Classes are held one day a week, on alternating Fridays and Saturdays, and are taught by our regular faculty as well as business professionals with extensive research, teaching, and corporate experience. By all accounts the program has been highly successful and we are looking forward to expanding the program offerings over the next few years. To give a feel for the program on a personal level, two of our alumni have the following to say:
Megan Graham, MSSE '99: Process Lead, Software Verification Group, Guidant Corporation.
Pluses: "Each week, I brought something new back to work with me that I could use immediately. There was a symbiotic relationship between my education and my work experience that allowed me to enhance both simultaneously."
What She Says: "There is an opportunity to gain from other students' work experiences, which enhances the learning environment. The format allows students and professors to develop into a team, and as a team we are better able to learn from each other. I would definitely recommend the program and have! It's a great opportunity to take your career to the next level, as well as to develop relationships with software professionals."
Larry Zalesky, MSSE '01: Senior Principal Engineer, Deltec
Recent Move: Deltec promoted Zalesky the same year that he completed his Master of Science degree in software engineering.
His Story: Zalesky decided to attend the program with his wife, Pam. The two worked collaboratively on a capstone project to explore the software issues behind the use of palm pilots in drug delivery. The capstone was the start of work that continues today.
What He Says: "I wanted a degree with a technical emphasis. I liked the software engineering classes in design and was able to take ideas from class back to work."
If you want more information regarding the Master of Science Program in Software Engineering, please contact Shelli Burns, MSSE Recruitment/ Admissions ( ) or get the information on line at www.cdtl.umn.edu (click on software engineering).
The program only admits students in the Fall-application deadline June 15, 2003. We hope to see some of you back in the classroom for your MSSE degree in the fall.
-Mats Heimdahl, Associate Professor,
MSSE Director of Graduate Studies
China, May 21 - June 9, 2002
During a three-week period in May/June 2002, twenty-two students from the Institute of Technology attended a Global Seminar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The University's Global Campus program, whose goal is to provide students with an international experience as part of their Minnesota curriculum, organized this seminar geared towards students interested in understanding the emerging global nature of the high-technology industry where teams in various parts of the world interact with each other as a distributed enterprise. The Institute of Technology believes experiences such as this seminar are beneficial in helping to prepare students to participate more effectively in an increasingly global economy.
Susan Kubitscheck of the IT Dean's office, and Dr. Hong Yang, the Director of the University of Minnesota's China Center, helped organize the visit, while Profs. Baoquan Chen and Jaideep Srivastava, both of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, provided the academic experience. Ms. Kubitschek and Prof. Chen led the student group for the first half of the program, and Prof. Srivastava led the group in the second half.
Students earned three semester credits for the seminar. The curriculum consisted of one credit each of databases, computer graphics, and a special course titled "Globalization of the Software Industry". Visits to a number of companies, including Happy E-Pie, Tong Fan/Zi Guang, Founder Research, Microsoft Research Asia, ChinaSoft/Computer Associates and Medtronic supplemented in-class teaching. The course work and company visits provided the students a first hand experience of the issues and logistics in interacting with technologists as well as the work environment in China, both of which they are likely to face in their future careers.
The last but certainly not least important aspect of the seminar was a well-designed and rich cultural experience program consisting of visits to a number of well known cultural and historical landmarks in Beijing, including the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Forbidden city, Summer Palace, Beijing University, Tsinghua University, and Wangfujing Street; and a three day visit to Shanghai. The opportunity to interact with students at Tsinghua University was also an invaluable contribution of the seminar.
The feedback on the program shows that it was a wonderful educational and cultural experience for the students. A web site recounting the experience has been created at http://www-users. cs.umn.edu/~baoquan/china02.html.
Student participants were Abdirizak Abdi, Jamal A. Abdulahi, Kate Anderson, Nat Clark, Kyle Crum, Micah Dyrud, Chet Harrison, Mandy Jepson, Frank Kumosz, Julie Lee, Danny Lo, Tom Manley, Aden Millah, Mat Moeser, Jaime Nivala, Charlie Nutter, Candy Pederson, John Peterson, Lisa Rassel, Daniel Rogahn, Adam Wolff, and Bill Zhou.
The University is planning to offer this seminar again in summer 2003. The planned itinerary will be Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. For information please contact Susan Kubitschek at .
Sometimes members of a family excel in the same craft. Wolfgang Mozart and his sister Fanny were both talented musicians. Another brother and sister who are both successful in the same profession are Tom and Marilyn Rochat, members of the Computer Science Associates, an advisory council for the Computer Science and Engineering Department. Both are software engineers, Marilyn at Medtronic and Tom at General Dynamics, and both are alumni of Computer Science and Engineering graduate programs.
Tom and Marilyn grew up in Saint Louis Park, the children of a public school music teacher. They both majored in mathematics as undergraduates and then taught in the public school system, but their paths from schoolteacher to software engineer were very different.
Marilyn Rochat majored in mathematics, German, and secondary education at Gustavus Adolphus College. After graduation she taught seventh and eighth grade mathematics in Roseville for three and a half years before going to Ghana for the Peace Corps. There she taught mathematics for three years. Most people join the Peace Corps for a two-year assignment, so her family began to wonder whether she would ever return to Minnesota. To their relief she did return after three years. During the next five years she worked as a recruiter for the Peace Corps in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
After working four years recruiting for the Peace Corps, Marilyn started working halftime at Control Data when Tom told her of an opening in his group. After a year, she resigned from the Peace Corps to work fulltime in the computer industry, and at the same time she started taking graduate courses in computer science because she felt a need to further her education in this area. After six years of taking courses, mostly through UNITE, the program at the University that provides distance education for professionals, she completed a Master of Science in Computer Science.
The year before completing the master's degree, Marilyn changed employers, joining the Arrythmia Management Group at Medtronic in product development. There she develops software for an instrument called a programmer that communicates with a defibrillator, pacemaker, or other implanted cardiac device. When a patient with a defibrillator visits a clinic, a doctor or nurse places the magnetic wand of the programmer over the defibrillator. Data collected by the defibrillator, such as arrythmias that occurred, therapies it provided, and information on the battery and leads is collected in the programmer. In addition to examining the data, the clinician can also adjust the defibrillator settings.
Tom Rochat went to the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate, majoring in mathematics and completing preparation to be an elementary school teacher. After two years of teaching, he decided he would prefer to teach at a junior college, and so he returned to the University to get a masters degree in mathematics. There he was advised to also get a minor in computer science. While taking computer science courses, he decided he wanted to be a software engineer. Later, in the 90's, Tom earned a MCIS degree from the Computer Science and Engineering Department.
After completing the master's degree in mathematics, he joined Control Data. His group at Control Data is now part of General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. They provide systems for the military including both software and hardware.
Since his time at Control Data, Tom has been involved with high performance computing, a very challenging and exciting field. Many of the applications he works on require special-purpose hardware, so he is involved in hardware design as well as the design of software for very interesting hybrid architectures that have involved parallel processors and different types of interconnections between the processors.
Tom became involved with the Computer Science Associates because the group he was part of at Control Data was a member. He wanted to be involved with the University so when the representative from his group to the CSA wanted to step down, Tom took the position. Tom has worked with members of the Department on research. This included company funded research in the Digital Multimedia Research Center, run by David Du and work with Professors Pen Yew and David Lilja on compilers. Tom was the Chair of CSA from 1996 to 1999.
Marilyn got involved with the CSA when Tom was an assistant to the Chair. He mentioned that Medtronic did not have a representative on the CSA and suggested she attend. After asking around her company Marilyn started attending CSA meetings as Medtronic's representative.
Alumni Marilyn and Tom Rochat have contributed to their companies through their work as software engineers and to the CS&E Department through their involvement with the Computer Science Associates.
Pictured left to right: Yinzhe Yu (Academic Excellence Fellowship), Jian Liu (Honeywell Fellowship), Monica LaPoint (John Deere Fellowship), and Srivatsan Varadarajan (Guidant Fellowship).
The graduate program in Computer and Information Science has a number of new and existing fellowships sponsored by industry and fellowships from the Graduate School. The Guidant Foundation has generously established a yearly fellowship for one of our graduate students. For 2002-03, the third year of this award, the recipient is Srivatsan Varadarajan, a PhD student who will complete his dissertation by the end of summer 2003. Varadarajan works with Jaideep Srivastava and Zhi-Li Zhang in multimedia and networked systems on Quality of Service in different applications.
Last spring Honeywell, a supportive member of our Computer Science Affiliates, funded four 25% fellowships. These are awarded to PhD students who are deep into their research to encourage them to finish soon. The awardees were Jian Liu, Sunghee Kim, Raja Harinath and Xiuzhen Cheng.
The John Deere Foundation sponsored another new fellowship earmarked as a minority fellowship. Monica Anderson LaPoint, who is returning to school after a number of years in industry to pursue her PhD with an interest in Robotics, received this award. She also received one of our Academic Excellence Fellowships, funded by a block grant from the Graduate School. Other recipients of this Academic Excellence Fellowships for 2002-03 are Michael Janssen, [name withheld], and Yinzhe Yu. These fellowships are designed to encourage new students who have demonstrated academic excellence to pursue their PhDs.
The block grant from the Graduate School provides the Department some additional fellowships. Our summer fellowship recipients include Jian Liu who recently defended his thesis, and Yingfei Dong and Amy Larson who will both defend at the end of the spring semester. In addition we have granted Excellence in Research awards to four students who have each presented a paper at a prestigious conference. The four awardees last year were Brian Bailey, John Eberhard, Baek-Young Choi and Uygar Oztekin.
Amy Larson and Yingfei Dong
We are also fortunate to have Mihaela Cardei receive a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the Graduate School. These fellowships are for students who are doing cutting-edge research and who will be completing their dissertation by the end of the year. The Graduate School also awards Graduate School Fellowships to excellent new graduate students for their first year. Our two recipients this year are Adam Matz and Dan O'Brien, both PhD students with great potential.
These fellowships offer important support to our graduate students by allowing them to devote their time to their research and thus hastening their graduation. The generosity of these groups and foundations are key to our continued accomplishments and successful PhD program.
Mark your calendar for Friday, October 17th, 2003 for the 4th Biennial Computer Science and Engineering Technology Forum.
Professor Vipin Kumar will give a keynote talk at the International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS'2003) in Nice, France, April 22-26, 2003. For further information, please visit http://www.ipdps.org/ipdps2003/index.html. IPDPS'2003 is a premier event held annually over the past 16th years. The conference is sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Parallel Processing in cooperation with the ACM SIGARCH. Further information about this year's and past IPDPS conferences is available at http://www.ipdps.org/.
Professor Jaideep Srivastava was an invited session speaker at the 5th annual Data Mining Technology Conference held by the SAS Institute in Cary, NC on October 22-23, 2002. For additional information on the conference, please visit http://www.sas.com/news/events/dmconf/speakers.html.
Professor Jaideep Srivastava been appointed a Program Co-chair for the 2003 PAKDD Conference to be held in Seoul, South Korea, April 30-May 2, 2003. For additional information please visit the conference website at http://aitrc.kaist.ac.kr/~pakdd03/.
Professor Jaideep Srivastava has been appointed to serve on the editorial board for the World Wide Web Journal. For additional information on the journal, please visit http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/1386-145X.
Professors Gary Meyer and Victoria Interrante have been named to serve on the editorial board of the ACM's (Association for Computing Machinery) newest journal, Transactions on Applied Perception.
The IEEE Board of Directors, at its meeting on November 17, 2002, elected Professor Shashi Shekhar an IEEE Fellow, effective January 1, 2003, "for contributions to spatial database storage methods, data mining, and geographic information systems." An IEEE Fellow is the highest form of membership in the IEEE.
"Service Overlay Networks: SLAs, QoS abd Bandwidth Provisioning" by Zhi-Li Zhang, Zhenhai Duan (his student) and Yiwei Thomas Hou, ECE, Virginia Tech, won the best paper award at the IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols. This is the first time the conference has given out a best paper award.
Professor Victoria Interrante has been named a Senior Member of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.). IEEE Senior Members "shall have been in professional practice for at least ten years and shall have shown significant performance over a period of at least five of those years...." Please visit the IEEE website at www.ieee.org for additional information.
Computer Science and Engineering undergraduates Colin McMillen and Kristen Stubbs were selected as finalists in the Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Award for 2003. Awards will be made at a research conference, yet to be determined. For additional information, please visit the CRA website at http://www.cra.org.
A recent letter from Craig Swan, U of M Provost for Undergraduate Education, identified members of the Computer Science and Engineering faculty who were cited for teaching excellence in a recent survey of graduating seniors. In response to the question "What was the best course you took in your progam/major while you were at the U? Who taught that course?" students cited the following CS&E faculty: John Carlis, Chris Dovolis, Wei Hsu, Victoria Interrante, George Karypis, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, John Riedl, Carl Sturtivant, Jamshid Vayghan, and Jon Weissman. Congratulations to all!
Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos was elected by the members of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society to its Administrative Committee (AdCom) for the period 2003-2005.
Microsoft Research will make an unrestricted gift of $50,000 in support of Professor Baoquan Chen's research project "A New Design Tool on Tablet PC". Additionally, Microsoft Research will procure three Tablet PCs for his use now and potentially one additional higher graphics-performance Tablet PC next year. This year Microsoft Research University Relations has received a total of 152 research proposals worldwide and awarded 24 of them.
Computer Science and Engineering held a homecoming reception for alumni and friends of the department on Friday, October 11, 2002, in Walter Library. The event was hosted by the Computer Science Graduate Student Association and sponsored by the Computer Science and Engineering Industrial Partners.
The Honeywell Foundation has awarded a $5000 grant to the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Foundation support is designed to build departmental partnerships on campus. Honeywell is a member of the Department's Industrial Partners Program. For additional information on the Program, please visit our website at: http://www.cs.umn.edu/external/partners.html
Professor Baoquan Chen received an NSF CAREER award totalling $408,959 over a fixe year period for his proposal "High Quality and Efficient Rendering of Discrete Primitives for Interactive Visualization."
Please send your Alumni News to: .
The Department's GroupLens Research Group is branching out in several exciting directions. Perhaps best known for their MovieLens film recommender system (www.movielens.org), the group has been developing and applying recommender technology to information overload problems for more than a decade. Simply put, systems like MovieLens use the opinions of a community of users to help evaluate and recommend items for individuals in that group. Some users may match best with a subcommunity that recommends "The Two Towers" while others receive recommendations for "Maid in Manhattan."
The group is exploring new directions along three fronts. First, they are looking beyond traditional centralized recommender systems. As Professor John Riedl points out: "Most of today's recommender systems are owned and operated by marketers trying to sell things. By exploring handheld recommenders and peer-to-peer recommendation systems, we can provide an alternative that allows the consumer to level the playing field and ensure honest, unbiased recommendations." The group is also exploring the applications that are enabled when recommendations are delivered to mobile devices. The group reported on their exploration of four mobile recommender interfaces at the 2003 ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces in January.
Second, the group is exploring the application of recommendation technologies to a new domain: that of research papers. The "TechLens" project is exploring how computer systems can help students and researchers find papers they don't already know about. They presented a paper on their preliminary results at the 2002 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in November, and ran a live demonstration where conference attendees could get recommendations based on the papers the attendee had already written. Professor Joseph A. Konstan explains: "Part of our excitement with research papers is the fact that authors already indicate which other papers they feel are important by citing them. Our CSCW paper both shows that mining these citations can provide useful recommendations to others, and opens the door to a variety of different recommendation techniques depending on the goals and experience of the person searching."
Finally, the Group is exploring a variety of topics related to human reactions to recommender systems. In April, they will present a groundbreaking paper at the 2003 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2003) that shows that users can be manipulated when recommender systems lie, but that at the same time users become less happy with systems that lie and choose to use them less often. As Professor Loren Terveen puts it: "We are excited to explore a variety of human factors issues, from the question of what motivates people to contribute their opinions to such a system, to how people decide to trust its recommendations, to broader questions of how people participate and organize themselves in on-line communities."
In all, the GroupLens Research Group promises to bring forward a variety of exciting results for years to come. For more information, visit http://www.grouplens.org.
-Joseph A. Konstan
We would like to express our thanks to the following alumni and friends. Your support is invaluable in helping the department. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the future. Thank you for your support!
- Honeywell Int'l. Fdn. Inc
- Intel Corporation
- John Deere Foundation
- Microsoft Corporation
- Navitaire Inc.
- Unisys Corporation
On Saturday morning last November 9th, students competing in the North Central Regional of the 27th annual ACM International Programming Contest arrived at the EE/CS Building. They were members of teams representing Saint John's University, Saint Cloud State University, and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The top three teams in the regional contest join the winners from other regional contests conducted all over the world to compete in the World Finals, held this year in Beverly Hills, California, March 22-25. The North Central Region runs a distributed contest with twelve sites, and this year the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities was one of the sites.
The morning activities included registration getting familiar with the local computer systems and contest rules and procedures. The actual contest started at 12:30. For five hours the contestants worked on the eight problems they had been given, ranging from the straightforward to very difficult. Problems are designed to look difficult even when they are not, so good analysis skills are needed to detect the level of difficulty. It is rare to have all eight problems solved in a contest.
After toiling for five hours the contestants gathered to discuss problems and have dinner. Regional standings were announced and site winners given awards. The Blue team from the University was the site winner as well as the regional winner. The University Yellow team placed 19th, and the St. Johns Johnnies and the University Green team both placed in the 30's among 156 teams competing in the region.
For the sixth year, IBM has sponsored the ACM programming contest. During that time participation has nearly tripled to over 100,000 students from over 1,100 universities on six continents competed in the contest. The IBM sponsorship provided contest t-shirts, lots of food - brunch, snacks during the contest, and dinner, as well as some other expenses. The CS&E Department contributed staff support, especially systems staff to set up the computers and provide the facilities for the contest. Office support was also invaluable. The local ACM Student Chapter provided a lot of workers to help with the contest, the use of their room for the judging, and some funds for some contest supplies. Since Unisys supports the ACM Chapter, they also supported the contest.
Members of the teaching faculty were also involved in the contest. Bobbie Othmer was in charge of the arrangements, as well as the coach for the four University teams, Charles Swanson was head judge, and Carl Sturtivant was a judge.
The Blue team from the University of Minnesota took an early lead in the North Central Regional ACM Programming Contest and led all the way, completing seven of eight problems. Only the University of Wisconsin team from Madison was close, finishing with six problems solved. No other team solved more than five. The contest director thought that two of the eight problems were too difficult for any team to solve.
How did they do so well? First year graduate student and CS&E alumnus James Esser (Jimb), senior Jonathan Moon, and junior Elliot Olds are seasoned competitors. All three competed in the North Central Regional in November, 2001, at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where the University's teams placed twelfth and eighteenth in the region. The three have individually logged hours in the online competition TopCoder. Last spring Jimb was invited by TopCoder to compete in Boston as one of the top sixteen collegiate programmers in the country. (See the Spring/Summer 2002 SoundByte.) They and the other three University teams attended seven 2-hour practice sessions before the contest.
Strategy is important in any competition, and the Blue team had a winning one that optimized their individual strengths. Jon and Elliot worked on solutions individually and then gave their solutions to Jimb to translate into code. On more difficult problems they worked together, but the division of labor allowed them to complete problems quickly.
The team is currently preparing for the international competition that will be held March 22-25 in Beverly Hills, California. There they will compete against sixty-nine teams representing 25 countries. Carl Sturtivant has joined the coaching staff to provide more expertise in algorithms. Despite the fact that Jimb has left Minnesota for a programming position in San Jose, the team is still practicing together. Given the division of labor, it is possible to run distributed practices. They are all excited about the opportunity to compete in this prestigious international competition.
The Digital Technology Center (DTC) at the University of Minnesota in conjunction with the Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CS&E) and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) invite applications for three faculty positions with endowed chairs (two ADC Telecommunications chairs and one Qwest chair). The appointments will be at the rank of Associate or Full Professor with tenure in one of these departments, or, potentially in related disciplines represented within the DTC. Areas of interest span all aspects of wireless and mobile communications, networking, multimedia distribution, distributed computing, and storage. Applicants must possess a distinguished research record, demonstrated ability in establishing and leading a highly visible research program, and a commitment to teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
A Ph.D. in a relevant discipline is required.
The appointment will afford the right individuals the opportunity, resources, and flexibility to build a top-notch research program. In addition to these three chaired faculty positions, several positions in the areas of "digital technology initiative" are available in the CS&E and ECE departments This initiative affirms the strong commitment of the State of Minnesota in strengthening the University as a leader in the area of digital technology. $63.4M renovation of Walter Library was completed in late December 2001. The Digital Technology Center has 42,000 assignable square feet or approximately one-third of the space in Walter Library. The University-wide Digital Technology Center is funded by the State of Minnesota, in which ECE, CS&E, and the outstanding new faculty members will play a major role. The DTC is the home for the University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, the Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering, the Telecommunications and Advanced Networking Laboratory, and a Software Engineering and Internet Technologies Laboratory. The three new chaired faculty will find that DTC offers tremendous opportunities for collaborative and interdisciplinary research. For more information about the CS&E and ECE Departments, please visit their World Wide Web home pages at:
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, and the names of at least three references to:
Prof. David Du, DTC Search Committee Chair
c/o Ann Johns, Assistant Director for Human Resources
University of Minnesota,Digital Technology Center
599 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455.
You may also apply electronically to
Review of completed applications will begin immediately with the search remaining open until the positions are filled.