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Dr. Vidal Receives NSF Grant Award

Dr. Barry Markovsky (Sociology) and Dr. Jose M Vidal have received and NSF award for their research project "Web-based Tools for Developing and Accessing Sociological Theory." This project brings together researchers from the Sociology department and the Computer Science and Engineering department in order to design, implement and test a web-based system for developing, improving and disseminating sociological theories across all areas of the discipline.

“I see it as a cross between stackoverflow and the wikipedia, but targeted towards scientists” said Dr. Vidal. “Both of those sites are showing us how an online community can be formed and function successfully to aggregate the knowledge of many individuals. However, they are not without their drawbacks: stackoverflow enforces a very strick question-and-answers format, while the wikipedia actively discourages scientists from contributing on the topics they have the most expertise (their own research). Our system will try to overcome these limitations.” The researchers hope to build a system what will facilitate the development of improved Sociological, and later scientific, theories using proven incentives and knowledge aggregation methods.

Jonathan Kilby wins Bridging Scholarship

Third year Computer Science and Engineering student Jonathan Kilby was recently awarded one of 20 Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan. The Bridging Scholarship is a national award that offers $2500 for a semester-long study program or $4000 for a full academic year, for undergraduate students. It is coordinated by the Association of Teachers of Japanese and funded by private foundations and major U.S. corporations.

Tenure-track Position Opening in Information Systems

Applications are invited for one tenure-track position at the full professor or associate professor level. Candidates should have a doctorate in information systems, including computer information systems and management information systems. Candidates are expected to demonstrate excellence in both research and teaching. The new faculty member’s responsibilities will include leading the undergraduate degree program in computer information systems as well as teaching courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Wang Receives Air Force Research Award

Dr. Song Wang has been awarded a research grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR/DOD) for his project "Metallic Material Image Segmentation by using 3D Grain Structure Consistency and Intra/Inter-Grain Model Information." The major goal of this project is to develop new effective image-processing algorithms and software tools to automatically segment microscopic images of metallic materials to accurately extract their 3D grain and subgrain structures, which determine mechanical and other important properties of the materials. On the right are a slice of a 3D microscopy polycrystalline titanium grain image and its segmentation result.

Desperate Fishwives: An Educational Game

The Free Times newspaper has an article on Desperate Fishwives, an educational game being developed by Dr. Buell, Dr. Heidi Rae Cooley from Media Arts, and their students. The game aims to teach high school and college students the realities of life in a 17th Century English village by having the player take on the role of various village characters.

John Hodgson, a USC computer science graduate student writing the game’s code, takes things a step further, explaining how immersion in an experiential environment could potentially prove more effective than more traditional classroom approaches.

“For students who have never lived in a 17th century English village, which is all of them, how will they know what that experience was like? Well, they can have a teacher tell them, and that might convince some; they’ll be able to regurgitate it on a test. Or we can create an experience about what it might have been like. By playing the game they learn the rules — what’s acceptable, what’s not, what people did what things. Nothing is actually told to them, but because of the way the game is designed they have to accept that reality.”

Update: The USC news also has an article on this research.

High Performance Computing Collaboratory

The Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) at the University of South Carolina will partner with the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) groups, a collaboration made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Drs Jijun Tang and Song Wang are participants in this award.

Students Win UPE Scholarships

Two CSE students, Mr. Martin A. Nenov at the undergraduate level and Mr. Hossen A. Mustafa at the graduate level, won Upsilon Pi Epsilon scholarships for graduate study. We had two winners out of 21 awards given nationwide. UPE is the Honor Society of the Computing Sciences, of which we have a local chapter.

Mussels or Wireless Sensors?

Dr. Xu, working with Dr. Helmuth from the Biology department, spent her Summer on a beach in Oregon testing wireless sensors that would monitor environnemental conditions. The research is being coverend in local news:

Dr. Xu is developing a sensor that looks like a Mussel that can be deployed and will relay information in realtime. The field test is designed to see how the current sensor behaves under real conditions and what changes need to be made to make it successful. If the sensor can be developed, researchers will have access to realtime information and will be able to see how changes in the environment are impacting the marine organisms. This could unlock a treasure trove of information for researchers worldwide.

Notice that the sensor is in the shape and color of a Mussel. It is attached to the Mussel bed by an epoxy that hopefully will keep the sensor intact through breaking waves as the tide advances.

Update: This work is now funded by an NSF grant titled "Intertidal Sensor Networks for Climate Change Studies in Intertidal Ecosystems."

Automatic Tagging of Photos Taken with Smartphones

Our graduate student Chuan Qin and Prof. Srihari Nelakuditi in collaboration with Systems and Networking Research Group at Duke University developed a system called TagSense for tagging photos taken with smartphones. TagSense leverages multiple sensors on smartphones carried by people to identify them in a picture and tag it with their names and activities. Articles about TagSense appeared in media outlets such as Popular Science. Visit here for more information on TagSense.


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