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Gamecock Computing Symposium Award Winners

Our first Gamecock Computing Research Symposium was a major success. We had over 40 research posters. All who attended had very positive things to say about it and other departments are already thinking about copying us, if they can! If you do not already follow our Twitter feed (also posted on this page, right column) then you might have missed this photo album, taken by Prof. Nelakuditi or this one, by me. Most importantly, we want to congratulate Mr. Jarrell Waggoner and Mr. Nicholas Stiffler for winning the poster awards! Both shown here receiving their awards from Dr. Huhns.

Robots Helping Children with Autism

Laura Boccanfuso, one of our graduate students, is featured on this WISTV news story along with her robot Charlie:
Charlie is short for Child Centered Adaptive Robot for Learning Environments, designed by a USC graduate student to help kids with autism.  "She is designed to promote basic communication skills," said Charlie creator Laura Boccanfuso. "Two of the most important communication skills are imitation and turn taking." Charlie is designed to be handled by kids but sometimes kids play hard, which is why she has some break away features. "We want the robot to just be sitting on a table, and allow the child to explore her, touch the eyes, touch the nose, and the hands and get to know her so she and he feels comfortable interacting with the robot," said Boccanfuso.
Full story at WISTV.com. The College of Engineering coverage of this story. medGaget blog coverage. USC News coverage.

Genome3D: Exploring the Genome in a Computer

Prof. Jijun Tang and colleagues at MUSC have received a grant from the NSF for their collaborative research on "Developing a 3D Browser to Explore Genomes". This project builds upon the success of the Genome3D and leverages recent findings on complex spatial genomic models. Exploring genomes through 3D visualization will significantly advance genome research in integrating epigenomic data, studying long range inter- and intra-chromosome interaction, and analyzing structural features of genetic variations. Check it out on the video below.

Digital Image Analysis Research Grant

Together with Prof. David Miller from the Center for Digital Humanities, Prof. Song Wang has been awarded a research grant from National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for their project "PARAGON: Intelligent Digital Collation and Difference Detection." In this project, they will develop new image processing algorithms and open-source software to automate the detailed comparison of scanned images captured under varying circumstances, whether scanned, camera-taken from different heights or angles, rotated, differently lighted, or even slightly warped. This research will substantially reduce the intensive labor that is currently required in the study of print materials and facilitate the digitalization of rare and fragile historical documents. The USC News has an article on the Center for Digital Humanities that mentions this research.

Student Receives Palmetto Pillar Award

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Nicholas Stiffler, a graduate student in Computer Science and Engineering, has won the 2012 Palmetto Pillar Award in the category of Student Achievement. This is a statewide award that is given annually by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Information Technology Council (ITC) and honors the best and brightest of the Midlands technology community. Congratulations!

New Faculty: Prof. Matt Thatcher

We are happy to welcome Dr. Matt E. Thatcher our newest Professor. He comes here from the University of Lousville where he was a Professor of Computer Information Systems. Before that, he was an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are in IT value, software patent policy design, IT offshoring, and the social costs of information privacy. His office is in Swearingen 3A58 and he will be teaching 190: Computing in the Modern World and 390: Professional Issues in Computer Science and Engineering this Fall.

Computational Biology Research Grants

Our Computational Biology Research lab, headed by Dr. Valafar, has received two separate research grants for continued support of their work. The first one is for their ongoing project on the "South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)", funded by National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)/NIH. The second award comes to Dr. Stephanie Irausquin, a Research Scientist in the lab, in the form of a National Science Foundation fellowship for her project titled "A Novel RDC Analysis Pipeline for Determination of Protein Structure and Dynamics."

52apps: Another Student Startup

52apps is a new company formed by some of our students that is building one new app every week based on users' ideas. They appeared on the local news tonight. Check our their homepage every week to see what new app they built this week, and lend them your support.

Dr. Bakos Receives EPSCoR Award

Dr. Jason Bakos has received a grant from the state EPSCoR office under their Scientific Advocate Network for the purchase of equipment, like the device shown here, to support his research on Power Efficiency Instrumentation for DSP-Based Supercomputing.
Our objective is to construct a general-purpose heterogeneous parallel computer comprised mostly of these DSPs, and to develop the runtime libraries necessary for them to execute existing scientific codes. This would allow for field portable teraflop-class parallel computers without the need to rewrite application software.

New Faculty: Prof. Gabriel Terejanu

We would like to welcome Dr. Gabriel Terejanu who has joined the department as an assistant professor. He comes to us from the University of Texas, Austin where he was a postdoctoral researcher working on Bayesian model validation in the Center for Predictive Engineering and Computational Sciences (PECOS). His research interests are in the area of uncertainty quantification, information fusion, and decision making under uncertainty. He has already moved into office 3A50 and will be teaching CSCE 758: Probabilistic System Analysis in the Fall.

Outstanding Undergraduate Awards

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering has selected the following students for CSE's 2012 Outstanding Senior Awards:
  • USC Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering: Dustin Brown
  • USC Outstanding Senior in Computer Science: Garret Debruin
  • USC Outstanding Senior in Computer Information Systems: Martin Nenov
  • The South Carolina Society of Professional Engineering (SC SPE) Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering: Daniel DeCola.
  • The Gintz Award: Eric Randall
Also, this year the following undergraduate students received scholarship awards. Jonathan Kilby, senior, Computer Engineering: Bridging Scholarship, for a semester or a year of study in Japan. Also, a Freeman-ASIA grant, for undergraduates to study in East and Southeast Asia. Also, a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, for undergraduates to study abroad. John Lem, Junior, Computer Science. Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, for undergraduates to study abroad. Brandon Washington, Freshman, Computer Science. Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, for undergraduates to study abroad. Congratulations to all of you! Information on how to apply the travel scholarships can be found in our study abroad website

Grier wins Goldwater Scholarship

We would like to congratulate Mr. Daniel Grier, a junior in Computer Science and Math, on winning the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship to graduate school! This marks the twentieth consecutive year that USC has had one or more Goldwater Scholars. A total of 41 Goldwater Scholarships have been won by USC students since 1990. William "Cole" Franks, Daniel Grier, and Gerry Koons have been named 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The 282 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,123 mathematics, science, and engineering students, nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. The Goldwater Scholarship is awarded nationally to sophomores and juniors pursuing bachelors’ degrees in natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering and intending to pursue a career in research and/or college-level teaching: virtually all the scholars intend to obtain a PhD in their respective fields. The University, as well as all other institutions of higher education, may only nominate four students for this award. Grier is a junior with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, and is a member of the South Carolina Honors College. A National Merit Scholar, he is the recipient of both the Lieber and Palmetto Scholarships, as well as the Wilson Scholarship, given by the department of Computer Science and Engineering for undergraduate research. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, he is also the recipient of the Computer Research Association (CRA) Undergraduate Research Award. His current research includes work with Dr. Stephen Fenner in USC’s Computer Science and Engineering Department on two-player mathematical strategy games played over partially ordered sets. Grier is currently participating in the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program in Hungary. He is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor society, a math tutor at Dreher High School, and plays on the International Men’s Soccer Club Team at USC. Grier plans to complete a PhD in Mathematics and conduct research in discrete mathematics while teaching at the university level. Also see the Daily Gamecock article.

CloudShouts: Another Student Startup

Rishi Patel, a CIS major, along with two other USC students, Ian Castrovinci and Dennis Lopez, have just released CloudShouts. CloudShouts is an iphone, and soon to be Android, app that lets you post messages, photos, and have conversations with other people in the same geographic "cloud". Right now there is a USC cloud, along with 10 other University clouds along the Eastern seaboard. So, go download the free iphone app. From their about page: "CloudShouts was founded by three University of South Carolina students that noticed inefficiencies within their college community. Inspired by foursquare and Localmind, the team strives to solve these inefficiencies by designing their own community-sharing platform. The future of communication is changing fast, and the CloudShouts team is building it."

Graduate Student Day Winners

Once again the department was very successful at Graduate Student Day. We had one first place winner, Jarrell Waggoner, and two second place winners Laura Boccanfuso and Ishtiaq Rouf. Congratulations to both. For the full story see here or the links below.

Dr. Tong Receives NSF Career Award

Dr. Yan Tong, a Computer Science and Engineering assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, College of Engineering and Computing, has received the National Science Foundation's CAREER award. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is NSF's most prestigious award in support of the early career-development activities of junior faculty. The award will support her research on facial recognition, that is, on developing algorithms that can detect whether a person in a video is smiling, angry, confused, etc. This work is innovative in that it blends both visual and auditory information so the software uses both what it sees and what it hears in the video to determine how the person's face looks like. In more detail:
This project develops a unified multimodal and multialgorithm fusion framework to recognize facial action units such as “lip corner raiser” and “lips apart”, which describe complex and rich facial behaviors. This framework systematically captures the inherent interactions between the visual and audio channels in a global context of human perception of facial behavior. Advanced machine learning techniques are developed to integrate these relationships together with uncertainties associated with various visual and audio measurements in the fusion framework to achieve a robust and accurate understanding of facial activity. It is these coordinated and consistent interactions that produce a meaningful facial display. The basic research in this unified fusion framework can foster advanced computer vision and machine learning technologies with applications across a wide range of fields varying from entertainment to psychiatry to human-computer interaction. An integration of research and education promotes cutting-edge training on human-computer interactions to K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students, especially encourages the participation of women in engineering and computing.
The NSF CAREER program recognizes and supports the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century. CAREER awardees are selected on the basis of creative career-development plans that effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their institution and department.

Dr. Huang Receives Air Force Research Award

Dr. Huang has received an award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in support of his research on "Collaborative DoD DURIP proposal: A Distributed Platform for Capturing, Analyzing, and Combating Botnet Attacks," which is a collaboration with the University of Texas.