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Fix-IT Day 2013

Our ACM student group held their annual Fix-IT Day this weekend in which they were able to send 121 people home very happy that their computers were now in working order. The students removed malware (including some rootkits), applied patches, and installed free firewall and virus-protection systems. They not only fixed the computers, but also educated the people in how to maintain their computers themselves. We would like to thank our ACM student members for providing this great service to the Columbia community. You can view a slideshow of photos from the event.

Mr. Stiffler wins UPE Award

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Nick Stiffler, one of our PhD students, has received an Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) Special Recognition Scholarship Award ($1,250) for his outstanding research and academic record in computing. UPE is the international honor society in the computing and information disciplines. Congratulations, Nick!

Bioinformatics Grant

Our Computational Biology Research lab, headed by Dr. Valafar, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)/NIH for their project entitled "South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) Bioinformatics (Year 4 of 5)."

Book on Robot Operating System

Dr. Jason O'Kane has just published his book titled "A Gentle Introduction to ROS." The book is also free to download as a pdf. From the backcover:

ROS (Robot Operating System) is rapidly becoming a de facto standard for writing interoperable and reusable robot software. This book supplements ROS's own documentation, explaining how to interact with existing ROS systems and how to create new ROS programs using C++, with special attention to common mistakes and misunderstandings.

New Faculty: Prof. Jenay Beer

We would like to welcome our newest assistant professor Dr. Jenay Beer to the department. She comes to us from Georgia Tech where she worked in the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory and received both PhD and Master's degrees in Engineering Psychology. She is interested in human-robot interactions and how to to build robots that can help older adults. Her office is 3A58. Below is a video of her TEDx talk at Georgia Tech.

Security Risks in Heart Devices

Dr Xu and her research team have discovered security vulnerabilities in the sensors of cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers. She explains:

As researchers, it's our responsibility to always challenge the common practice and find defenses for vulnerabilities that could be exploited before unfortunate incidents happen. We hope our research findings can help to enhance the security of sensing systems that will emerge for years to come.

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