ICS Faculty inventors honored

The University of Hawaii launched the first Hawaiʻi chapter of the National Academy of Inventors, an organization of more than 200 U.S. and international universities and research institutions and more than 3,000 individual members who have obtained patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Among those recognized at the inaugural dinner were current ICS Faculty members Kim Binsted, Lipyeow Lim, and Jan Stelovsky. They also got their own trading cards!

For more information, see the UH News announcement.

Sitchinava awarded $400K by NSF to research provably efficient GPU algorithms

Assistant Professor Nodari Sitchinava has received a grant in the amount of $400,000 over four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is part of the joint $800,000 project with New York University to study the algorithmic aspects of GPU computing and to develop a simple but accurate theoretical model for GPUs. The project aims to develop and implement algorithms that will improve the state of the art code base of general purpose computation on GPUs in the areas of combinatorial algorithms, computational geometry, visualization, search algorithms, and data structures.

The project is funded through the NSF’s “Algorithms in the Field” program.

Semi-seminar on monoidal computer

Dusko Pavlovic will run an informal weekly seminar on monoidal computer on Fridays from 11-12 noon in ASECOLab (POST 311).  He describes it as follows:

If anyone is interested in a

  • diagrammatic model of computation
  • that lets you prove things about computability, complexity,
  • randomized computation, one-way functions
  • central dogma of (program) evolution
  • and more
  • all entirely in pictures

then please join us!

I will begin with a very quick introduction into semantics of computation, spell out the graphical language of monoidal computer, and then proceed towards one of the applications developed so far, depending on participants’ interests and my focus.

Monoidal computer has evolved as my answer to the following questions:

Why is it that the practice of computation is mostly driven by high level programming languages, but the theory of computation is still done in low level machine languages of turing machines, boolean circuits etc?

Why is there no high level view of cryptography? (this has a practical impact: people describe their algorithms in english, which leads not only to misunderstandings and errors in implementation, but also to substantially erroneous proofs.)

I use the tools developed in semantics of programming languages to try provide such a view. I will try to reach the point where we can define one-way and trapdoor functions. this requires capturing feasible randomized computation modulo computational indistinguishability.

Another direction is to define a von Neumann-style model where genes are programs, organisms are computational processes (but with resources, not just with data), and to try to explain algorithmically the central dogma of evolutionary genetics: that the dynamic adaptations acquired by an organism cannot be inherited. wouldn’t evolution be more efficient if they could? Why was LaMarck wrong?


Robertson and HICHI members win Best Paper award at CHI 2015

The paper “Designing Political Deliberation Environments to Support Interactions in the Public Sphere,” by HICHI lab members Bryan Semaan (now at Syracuse University), Heather Faucett (now at UCI), Scott Robertson, Misa Maruyama and Sara Douglas, won a Best Paper Award at CHI 2015 in Seoul. According to the conference organizers: “The SIGCHI Best of CHI Awards honor exceptional submissions to SIGCHI-sponsored conferences. Receiving a Best Paper Award is an outstanding accomplishment. It indicates that the CHI Associate Chairs and Best Papers committee identified your paper as being among the top 1% of all submissions to CHI 2015.”
Abstract: “Little is known about the challenges and successes people face when piecing together multiple social media to interact in the online public sphere when: seeking information, disseminating information, and engaging in political discussions. We interviewed 29 US citizens and conducted 17 talk-out-loud sessions with people who were using one or more social media technologies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to interact in the online public sphere. We identified a number of challenges and workarounds related to public sphere interactions, and used our findings to formulate requirements for new political environments that support the interactions in the public sphere. Through evolving requirements generation, we developed a new political deliberation technology, dubbed Poli, which is an integrated social media environment with the potential to enable more effective interactions in the public sphere. We discuss several remaining questions and limitations to our tool that will drive future work.”

Binsted receives $1M funding from NASA

Professor Kim Binsted has received funding of $1M over three years from NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)  for her project “Using Analog Missions to Develop Effective Team Composition Strategies for Long Duration Space Exploration”. Binsted’s proposal was one of 24 selected to help investigate questions about astronaut health and performance on future deep space exploration missions.

More information about the joint NASA/NSBRI program is available here.

This research is part of the Hawaii Space Exploration and Analog (hi-seas.org) project.

Pavlovic co-chairs National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber-Defense Research

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R).

“This designation is demonstrative of the quality and substance of the education the University of Hawaiʻi has to offer, and more importantly underscores justification for additional grant and research capacity to be brought to bear on information assurance and cybersecurity related curricula,” stated Captain Cliff Bean, Commander of National Security Agency/Central Security Service Hawaiʻi. “Increasing the number of students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields is critical to federal government agencies, the State of Hawaiʻi, local industry and businesses.”

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa electrical engineering Associate Professor Yingfei Dong, a network security specialist, and information and computer sciences Professor Dusko Pavlovic, a security science specialist, led the UH effort to apply for the National Center of Academic Excellence program.

Read the full press release here.  At the ceremony, ICS Chair David Chin and Yingfei Dong is shown with Dr. Leonard T. Reinsfelder (Associate Director for Education and Training at NSA), Lynne Clark, (Chief, National Information Assurance Education and Training Program), and Jacqueline Sullivan (Acting Program Lead for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Training & Education Program):


ICS Affiliate of NCWIT recognizes regional winners

Nine female high school student from throughout the state, including five from Kalani High, were recognized as Hawaiʻi Regional Winners for their notable projects in computer science by the National Center for Women and Information Technology. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing (AspireIT) honors young women who are active in computing and technology.

The Hawaiʻi affiliate of NCWIT is supported by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Information and Computer Sciences. Department Chair and Professor David Chin spoke to the students about how computer sciences and engineering are really about creativity and how each of them can “create something real that comes out of your mind.”

Two of the five Kalani students won scholarships to attend UH Mānoa and take courses in the Department of Information and Computer Sciences. Madisyn Sim received the 2015–2016 scholarship, while Camelia Lai received the 2016–2017 academic year scholarship. In addition, Riley Kishaba, Yongqi Lin and Madisyn Sim, all from Kalani High, received the 2015 Hawaiʻi Affiliate Award Runner-Up recognition in the National AspireIT competition. Other students recognized for their oustanding work are Erina Baudat of Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, Yu-Ann (Ashley) Chen of Hilo High, Sara Nakagaki of Kalani High and Aliya Petranik of Punahou School.

ICS Professor Kim Binsted presented her current work with the HI-SEAS project led by the UH and funded by NASA. The project isolates a group of people in a structure high atop Mauna Loa on Hawaiʻi Island to try and find solutions that will one day sustain travelers to deep space.

ICS Professor Susanne Still also spoke to the high school students about her work studying machine learning or machines that learn by getting feedback.

ICS team leads effort for Coast Guard security exercise

The University of Hawaiʻi hosted the first national Maritime Cybersecurity Exercise at UH Mānoa. Conducted by the United States Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, the two-day event focused on maritime industrial computer systems and networks, with a focus on Hawaiʻi’s container cargo distribution system.

“Specifically for Hawaiʻi, our maritime community is essential because that’s where our goods come in from. They come in via ship or barge, they’re transported around the state,” said Capt. Shannon N. Gilreath, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu.

The cybersecurity exercise follows the recent cyberattacks on the Sony Corporation and other high profile companies, highlighting the vulnerability of even the most sophisticated network systems.

“In the same way that we prepare for hurricanes and tsunamis, we’re trying to prepare our maritime community from a potential cyberattack,” Gilreath said.

The exercise brought together information technology professionals from the Coast Guard and the community, as well as students, faculty and staff from the university’s information technology and computer science programs.

A UH team led by ICS Assistant Faculty Specialist Gerald Lau developed a hands-on exercise involving an interactive simulation of maritime industrial computer systems and networks—called a cyber range.

For more details, see the news release.

Nostalgia just became a law of nature

Simon Dedeo recently published an article titled “Nostalgia just became a law of nature” reviewing Professor Susanne Still’s research into the relationship between the dissipation in a system and what we know about the system.   Read the entire article here.

Jason Leigh to deliver colloquium presentation on Advanced Visualization Instrumentation at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications

Jason Leigh, professor of Information and Computer Sciences and director of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications will deliver a presentation on March 20, 2015 on Advanced Visualization Instrumentation at the National Center for Supercomputing and Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.