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Externally Funded Projects

Note:  These are a select subset of current projects in the Department. 

Implicit One-handed Mobile User Authentication on Touch-screen Handheld Devices

Source:  National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI: Lina Zhou, PhD, Co-PI: Dongsong Zhang

Awarded: 2017nsf-logo-primary

People often store private and sensitive data on their mobile devices, and the security of these devices is essential. This project advances and develops a new process for verifying a user’s legitimate right to access a mobile device. Existing research has not made this process very usable for many people who lack dexterity or the use of both hands. This research aims to design and develop a method for one-handed authentication on a touch-screen mobile handheld device. The objective is to improve both security and usability of authentication. The proposed methods also will detect unauthorized access to a mobile device in a continuous manner, even if the password is stolen. The interdisciplinary nature of this work will promote teaching, training, and education in mobile security and privacy, human-computer interaction, mobile accessibility, machine learning, and behavioral science. The researchers will actively engage students at both graduate and undergraduate levels in their research activities, and make a strong effort to engage women and underrepresented minorities.

The project will support one-handed mobile authentication on a touch-screen mobile handheld device by inducing thumb biometrics and by enabling one-handed text entry based on thumb strokes. This project will advance authentication research and practice by: (1) laying the groundwork for one-handed authentication in support of both point-of-entry and implicit continuous authentication; (2) introducing a new venue for improving the security of one-handed authentication by inducing and fusing thumb biometrics from user interactions with a touch-screen mobile device; (3) creating new design principles for improving the usability of mobile authentication; and (4) addressing accessibility challenges for users with situational or visual impairments via the support of keypress-less text entry on a mobile touch screen. This project will lend itself to a new solution that can address the common security-usability tradeoff of mobile authentication methods.

 

I-Corps: A Sensor Technology Box for Smart Health

nsf-logo-primarySource:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Nirmalya Roy, PhD, Co-PI: George Karabatis, PhD

Awarded:  2015

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the U.S. population of people aged 65 and up will grow more than double in between 2010 and 2050. The market for remote patient monitoring is expected to grow from $10.6 billion in 2012 to $21.2 billion in 2017. Inspired by this growing market need, this project aims to build an integrated and reliable sensor system that can be deployed for independent living applications across multiple homes for monitoring functional, behavioral and cognitive health of older adults. This enables the older adults to live independently in their own home environment and helps them age gracefully. The project targets to develop a low-cost interoperable platform technology which is highly-available and affordable by low-income group. The sensor prototypes and services developed in this project will be deployed in retirement community and assisted living centers in greater Baltimore metropolitan area. The scope of the project involves designing a low-cost solution connecting the varied sensor technologies and diverse software platforms to an end-user controlled system for independent living applications.  The project aims to minimize the sensor malfunctioning, power consumption, network resource usage, connectivity and bandwidth requirements; producing a scalable and reliable system that can be rapidly deployed in home environment with minimal overhead. The specific goals of the project include: (1) design inexpensive miniaturized ARM-based motion sensor nodes with high reliability, (2) integrate the sensors with service-oriented architecture and models, (3) develop activity recognition algorithms, and (4) evaluate the overall system performance. These goals will be reevaluated through rigorous testing, deployment and customers’ feedback during the I-Corps curriculum. By streamlining the proposed solutions in a low-cost, reliable and interoperable system the project is expected to accelerate the rapid development and deployment of a one-stop technological solution for remote home health and wellness monitoring. The team will investigate the potential market opportunity by interviewing the customers, develop proof-of-concept prototype and deploy that in real settings for the validations. The feedback from the users will be incorporated in the prototype design phase and a business plan will be postulated at the end of the I-Corps program.

NIH SBIR Phase II

Source:   National Institutes of Health (NIH)

MPI: Dongsong Zhang, PHD (Joint research with University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Radiant, Inc.)

Awarded:  2015

NIH_LogoAdolescent and young adult (AYA) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) patients face a variety of well-documented physical and emotional challenges. These patients face a protracted 12-month recovery period marked by numerous physical, emotional and psychosocial challenges. Failure to meet these challenges not only engenders distress, anxiety and depression, but can also result in serious consequences to health such as organ damage and/or chronic, severe graft versus host disease. The proposed study will evaluate a mobile, interactive intervention to promote self-management behaviors among AYA allogeneic HSCT recipients during their extended outpatient recovery period. This program utilizes an innovative approach that directly links behavioral objectives to game mechanics within a social intervention space. The intervention addresses constructs key to motivation and adherence such as barriers, resiliency, social support, and positive reinforcement. By completing structured “real world” behavioral tasks on an appropriate schedule, participants earn virtual achievements and social recognition in the online environment. The intervention offers a set of relevant social network features, including mechanisms for participant-to-participant communication, competition, and collaborative problem solving. The overall goal is of the program is to maximize positive psychological and physical health outcomes. This intervention has been demonstrated to be acceptable, usable and feasible in a previous pilot study.

SBE: Small: Behavioral Control of Deceivers in Online Attacks

Source:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Lina Zhou, PhD, Co-PI: Dongsong Zhang, PHD

Awarded:  2015

nsf-logo-primaryOnline attacks can cause not only temporary asset loss, but long-term psychological or emotional harm to victims as well. The richness and large scale of online communication data open up new opportunities for detecting online attacks. However, attackers are motivated to constantly adapt their behaviors to changes in security operations to evade detection. Deception underlies most attacks in online communication, and people are poor at detecting deception. Against this backdrop, this project aims to improve the resilience of solutions to online attacks and enable predictive methods for their detection. Although a complete set of deception behaviors of online attackers is assumed to be unknown, there is a reason to expect that some behaviors are more difficult for attackers to control than others. By identifying such behaviors and their relations in online communication, the project lays the groundwork for the development of resilient and predictive approaches to the detection of online attacks, and advances the state of knowledge on online deception behavior and its identification. At the educational front, the project provides new educational material for enriching the curriculum in cyber security and related disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of this work contributes to graduate student training toward a new generation of scientists who are capable of conducting multi-disciplinary cutting-edge research using a variety of research methods. The PIs actively engage students at both graduate and undergraduate levels in their research activities, particularly making a strong effort to engage women and underrepresented minorities. Online attackers’ evolving behaviors can make the existing solutions to online attacks become ineffective quickly. This project not only discovers new deception behaviors and their relations from the discourse and structure of online communication, but also determines attackers’ behavioral control during online attacks by comparing different types of online deception behavior. Further, this project develops techniques for automatic extraction of deception behaviors from online communication by building upon natural language processing and network analysis techniques. Some anticipated advances include: (1) deception theory extension by investigating deception behavior in online attacks via a new lens of behavior control, (2) guidelines on how to improve the resilience of online attack detection methods by identifying deception behaviors that likely escape the attackers’ control attempt, (3) a predictive approach to attack detection in online communication by exploring the temporal relationships among deception behaviors, and (4) techniques for extracting deception behaviors from online discourse and structure. This project can lead to integrative and effective methods for online attack detection

CPS: Breakthrough: Low-cost Continuous Virtual Energy Audits in Cyber-Physical Building Envelope

Source:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Nirmalya Roy, PhD, Co-PIs: Nilanjan Banerjee, PhD, Ryan Robucci, PhD

Awarded:  2015

nsf-logo-primaryElectricity usage of buildings (including offices, malls and residential apartments) represents a significant portion of a nation’s energy expenditure and carbon footprint. Buildings are estimated to consume 72% of the total electricity production in the US. Unfortunately, however, 30% of this energy consumption is wasted. Virtual energy assessment is an approach that can optimize building energy efficiency and minimize waste at a low cost with minimal expert intervention. A virtual energy audit includes a thorough and near real time analysis of different sources of building energy usage, individualized energy footprints of load appliances and devices, and proactive identification of energy holes and air leakages. This project builds a low cost solution that combines the use of non-intrusive single point energy monitoring and low cost IR cameras to provide continuous energy audits. The system will provide continuous virtual audit reports to the landlords or residential users. The system will be deployed in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore City, Maryland, where poor insulation problems are assumed to be fiscally insurmountable and low cost solutions to determining these issues is important for the landlords. To develop a scale-able low cost virtual energy auditing system, this breakthrough research pursues the interfaces of smart building sensing, computing and actuation. The project will be executed under three main research thrust areas. First, it utilizes an autonomous discovery, profiling and rule-based predictive model to capture the relationship between disaggregated power measures and a device’s actual usage patterns to pinpoint any abnormal consumption. Second, the PIs develop zero-energy far-infrared imaging sensors for low cost low frequency heat map scanning and air leakage detection. Third, the project engineers and evaluates cyber-physical building sensing system with a control level design perspective for virtual energy auditing that drives the realization of deep energy savings and building efficiency. Additionally, the PIs with collaboration from Constellation will host building energy education projects and workshop where undergraduate, high school, and underrepresented group of students would understand how to design and program energy meters and smart plugs.

 

Discovering Anomalous Spatio-temporal Associations

2000px-US-ArmyCorpsOfEngineers-Seal.svgSource:   Army Corps of Civil Engineers

PI:  Vandana Janeja, PhD,

Awarded:  2015

The focus of this project is the discovery of unusual spatio-temporal associations across multiple phenomena from distinct application domains in a spatial region. We propose to find such associations across multiple phenomena represented by the series of anomalous windows discovered in each domain over a period of time. An anomalous window is made up of a set of contiguous points in a region and is unusual with respect to the rest of the data in the region, in terms of an attribute of interest. This proposal aims to discover potentially significant links between several such series of anomalous windows across domains in a spatial region across intervals of time.

Tactile Authentication Methods for Mobile Devices in Cyber-Security Settings

Source:   Office of Naval Research (ONR)

PI: Ravi Kuber, PhD, (in collaboration with Dr. Adam J. Aviv, USNA)

Awarded:  2015

ONR_red_blue_150dpiThe researchers seek to better understand the capabilities of mobile devices in cyber security applications involving tactile authentication, where visual, movement-based, or tactile feedback from the device or provided to the device is integral to the authentication mechanics. First, we will design new authentication systems that utilize the vibration motors and the movement sensors such that users can select tactile authentication sequences (termed: tactile passwords) and authenticate with those passwords locally on the device and remotely over the network; and second, we will investigate implementing two-factor authentications systems that utilize mobile device sensors and feedback during online communication such that users can authenticate using standard credentials as well as through some biometric-like identifier. To supplement these research goals, we will also investigate the usability of in-place authentication systems (e.g., text and graphical passwords) on tactile devices and examine their efficiency with respect to memorability and error rates in multiplexed scenarios.

Integrating Cybersecurity with Undergraduate IT Programs

Source:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Vandana Janeja, PhD, Co PIs: Aryya Gangopadhyay, PhD, Carolyn Seaman, PhD

Awarded:  2015nsf-logo-primary

Cybersecurity has become a matter of national and global importance because of the economy’s dependence on the Internet, and on cyber-infrastructure. Workforce development through cyber education and training are key towards protecting the ever-growing cyberspace and cyberinfrastructure. However, US universities are not graduating nearly sufficient workforce in the IT areas, let alone cybersecurity. Academic programs in STEM and IT fields are uniquely positioned to address this need. Tailoring curricula in these areas to include cyber education can bridge the gap existing between the demand and supply of trained workforce. Existing certificate programs do not offer a data analytics perspective along with a software security and network security perspective for undergraduate curricula. In addition, the existing certificates are not seamlessly integrated with the existing curriculum towards a bachelor?s degree. This project is motivated to fill this gap.

A Hybrid Semiconductor-Soft Matter Device as a Route to a Scalable, Self-assembled Spin Register for Optical Quantum Error Correction

Source:   Office of Naval Research (ONR)ONR_red_blue_150dpi

PI:  Nirmalya Roy, PhD

Awarded:  2015

[Abstract forthcoming]

EAGER: Exploring Appropriate 3D Printing Paradigms in Special Education

Source:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Amy Hurst, PhD

Awarded:  2014nsf-logo-primary

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a promising technology that is gaining acceptance in mainstream education as a means to engage students in real world problem solving, design, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics. This technology offers unique and exciting benefits in special education classrooms allowing students, instructors, and therapists to quickly design and produce customized physical objects such as tangible learning aids or custom assistive technology. For example, instructors can 3D print objects to visualize abstract scientific concepts, or create custom grips and handles to help students access classroom technology. This technology also offers the opportunity for individuals who cannot safely operate traditional manufacturing machines to build and customize physical objects. While there are many promising opportunities for this technology to impact special education, the needs and abilities of students with disabilities and their instructors have been largely ignored in the design of existing 3D modeling tools, machine operation, and instruction. Specifically, many of the existing tools have a steep learning curve, are not accessible, or are time consuming to use. In this project, the investigators will work closely with special education instructors to evaluate existing tools and develop new ones that serve the needs of this diverse and unique population.  More information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1451661

nsf-logo-primary

CHS: Small: Gestural Image Annotation Systems in Coordinated Surgical Practice

Source:   National Science Foundation (NSF)

PI:  Helena Mentis, PhD

Awarded:  2014

Gestures, deictic referencing (pointing at objects and regions of interest), and manipulation of digital images are an integral aspect of decision making in collaborative scientific and medical work. In modern minimally invasive surgical interventions, medical imaging has come to play an increasingly important role, but due to concerns of asepsis image manipulation during surgical decision making are typically constrained. In this project, the PI will explore the use of new technology such as the Kinect to address this issue, by developing techniques for “touchless” interaction to coordinate and enhance communication among team members in the operating room. The results of this research will provide a deeper understanding of collaborative practices around image use and the benefit of technological tools for annotating and referencing those images, which will significantly benefit patient outcomes. The findings will have broad impact, in that they will be translatable to other expert collaborative environments that utilize imagery in order to have a positive effect on team work practices. The PI will disseminate project outcomes broadly to both the medical and the human-computer interaction (HCI) communities. An understanding of how new imaging interaction techniques can be integrated into and, in turn, shape coordinated practice will constitute an important contribution to the state of the art. To achieve these goals, the PI will identify coordinated practices and their relationship to imaging use through a detailed field study of laparoscopic surgery. She will then iteratively design and implement a gestural image annotation prototype for laparoscopic surgeons to reference and annotate endoscopic video. And she will determine the effects of the imaging manipulation on coordinated surgical practice through an experimental study.  More information is available at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1422671.

 

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Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing

Source:   National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

Co PI:  Amy Hurst, PhD (in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and Syracuse University)

Awarded:  2013

The researchers are working on methods for easily modifying software to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Researchers will develop ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to log on to the Web, make user interfaces more accessible, and change the presentation of information on the Web to streamline experiences for people with disabilities, caregivers and service providers. The researchers also will look for ways to leverage help from other people on the Web — crowdsourcing — to increase accessibility for all.  More in formation about the project is available at http://inclusiveweb.org/.

constellation_smallUMBC Energy Education through Green Building

Source:  Constellation Energy

PI:  Nirmalya Roy, PhD., Co PI:  George Karabatis, PhD ., Co PI:  Aryya Gangopadhyay, PhD

Awarded:  2013

200 students will engage in a competition to develop new interactive demand response technologies. The challenge the students will address is informed ‘localized’ optimization of large numbers of low-to-medium load appliances, which currently aren’t managed by commercially available demand response technologies, and consume approximately 50%’ of a commercial building’s energy consumption. By using new emerging ‘smart plugs’ which embed a micro-controller and low-power communication device, power consumption will be monitored and the data will be communicated wirelessly. Students will benchmark power consumption data to build a dynamic catalog, and develop a web-based portal for visualizing detailed historical and real time energy consumption. Ultimately, these systems will make energy consumption visible and actionable. Further, students will investigate motivational practices to convince individual consumers to reduce their energy footprints.  For more information about Constellation’s EEnergy to Educate grant program go to  http://www.constellation.com/community/pages/energy-to-educate-grants.aspx

northrop-grumman-it-logo-lg

Personalized Decision Support System to Enhance Evidence Based Medicine

Source:  Northrup Grumman

Co-PI:  Vandana Janeja, PhD

Awarded: 2013

NG Health IT and UMBC are collaborating together to advance the fields of healthcare and bioinformatics, with an initial emphasis targeting Personalized Medicine. As progress in biomedical analysis and personalized medicine provide new sources and levels of information about genomics and other ‘omics, problems of sorting through, integrating, and presenting this information to clinical practitioners to allow them to reach sound, actionable, conclusions represents a significant challenge. Together we hope to provide significant value for the VA and MHS systems by providing improved access to care and improved clinical decision making utilizing genomic, proteomic, and other ‘omic information. The work being done focuses on the data access and analysis of multiple sources of healthcare data. Included in the work in Personalized Medicine are collaborative projects that will focus around improving health care quality in VA & MHS hospital systems.

 

eager logoEAGER: Understanding Barriers to Workplace Collaboration for People with Visual Impairments

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Shaun Kane, PhD

Awarded: 2013

The focus of this research is to explore and identify barriers to collaboration between people with and without visual impairments. This research will support the development of tools that will bridge the gap between the non-graphical user interfaces used by people with visual impairments and the graphical interfaces used by sighted people, enabling individuals with any level of visual ability to collaborate at school or work. Building on prior research on developing accessible user interfaces for people with visual impairments, this project will explore the challenges of collocated synchronous collaboration between people with and without visual impairments. The researchers will conduct formative interviews and observational studies of professional adults with and without visual impairments to understand the barriers to collaboration within and across these populations. Very little prior research has explored these issues. This project will conduct a deep exploration to reveal accessibility barriers that were previously hidden and unknown.   More information about this project can be found here.

eager logoEAGER: Enhancing Mobile Device Users’ Levels of Situational Awareness through Tactile Feedback

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Ravi Kuber, PhD

Awarded: 2013

In this project the PI will explore a novel approach to allowing individuals to monitor their wider environment for potential obstacles and threats while engaged in a task where the eyes are occupied. Specifically, he will focus on mobile device users, who often perform visually-demanding tasks such as composing and reading text messages while ambulatory, so that they may fail to notice the presence of pedestrians, approaching vehicular traffic or other objects which they are at risk of encountering. The PI’s approach is to present tactile feedback via a head-mounted interface in order to communicate the presence of obstacles. A sequence of studies are to be conducted to determine whether tactile cues can be designed to support informed decision-making by the user.   More information about this project can be found here.

logo_samsung-advanced-institute-of-technologyTowards Building Secure and Trustworthy Decentralized Social Network Platforms

Source:  Samsung Global Outreach Program (GRO)
PI:  Bin Zhou, PhD
Awarded: 2013
Online social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook nowadays have become one of the major information sources for millions of users. Associated with this, however, are increasing concerns about the trustworthiness of information disseminated throughout social networks and privacy breaches of participants’ personal information shared in those online social networks. Unfortunately, social network companies are able to easily collect huge collections of users’ data. Users have no controls on shared information in those centralized online social network platforms. The objectives of the project are three-fold: to design a decentralized social network platform in which users have full controls on the shared information, to develop practical solutions to detect untrustworthy and spam information disseminated by malicious users in the proposed social network platforms, and to derive mechanisms to evaluate security risk of participants and protect individual’s private information shared in decentralized social network platforms.

 

Agency-for-Healthcare-Research-and-Quality1

Towards Effective and Efficient Adoption of Health IT in Home Health Care

Source:  Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

PI:  Gunes Koru, PhD, Key Personnel: Anthony Norcio

Awarded: 2013

Higher quality of care, improved health outcomes, and reduced costs become important targets in home health care due its necessity and importance. Successful and effective adoption of health information technology (IT) by Home Health Agencies (HHAs) is a critical tool for achieving those targets. However, currently, the level of health IT adoption is limited in HHAs for various reasons including the issues with eligibility to receive incentives for electronic health records systems purchase from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore, the major problem for advancing health IT in the home health care industry is to leverage health IT to effectively respond to HHAs’ important challenges and opportunities about improving the quality of care and health outcomes as well as reducing costs; this should be done in an efficient manner by considering the contextual determinants of health IT adoption. So far, the pressing challenges and opportunities of HHAs have not been sufficiently studied from an information systems analysis perspective. In addition, the determinants of health IT adoption in HHAs have not been studied by collecting rich contextual data from HHAs. To address this gap, this research project will:  (i) Assess the challenges experienced by HHAs in delivering home care, including the privacy and security challenges, and the opportunities to improve quality of care and health outcomes, to reduce costs, and to improve access  (ii) Assess the current health IT adoption activities and investigate the issues that can be addressed for successful and more efficient health IT adoption  (iii) Iteratively refine, organize, and report the evidence about health IT adoption in HHAs in an evidence base and make recommendations about key solutions and strategies that can be implemented by HHAs as well as other parties such as vendors and government agencies.

ciseDesign and Implementation of a Fine-Grained Appliance Energy Profiling System for Green Building

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Nirmalya Roy, PhD

Awarded:  2013

Green building applications need efficient and fine-grained determination of power consumption pattern of a wide variety of consumer-grade appliances through non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM) techniques for an effective adaptation and percolation of demand response model down to the consumer level appliances. A key inhibitor to the widespread adoption of such demand response policy at the consumer grade appliances for intelligent building energy management, is the inability of smart plug to efficiently determine, control or infer the power consumption pattern of multiple devices in tandem. In practice, deploying smart plug based NILM and acquiring the low-level power measures of a large number of devices is often difficult or impossible due to the deployment complexity and varying characteristics of devices and thus must instead be employed at the circuit-level and inferred through the incorporation of novel usage-based measurement and probabilistic level-based disaggregation algorithm. But the challenges in deploying non-intrusive load monitoring algorithm involve disaggregating individual device’s consumption from the aggregate power measurement, as well as modeling and incorporating the usage based prediction. Thus in this project we will focus on advanced machine learning and data analytics algorithms that capture the measurement based approach and circuit level NILM with the autonomous profiling and prediction logic to enable the deployment of flexible and fungible smart plug and the evolvability of future DR model in green building applications.  For more information go to http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1344990.

Student Support for Participation in IDoESE, IASESE, and ESEM 2013 in Baltimor

logoESEIW

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Carolyn Seaman, PhD

Awarded:  2013

This grant supports travel for students to attend the Empirical Software Engineering International Week, which will take place in Baltimore in October 2013. The week includes a number of co-located conferences that are the main meetings for the international community doing empirical research in the field of Software Engineering. More information can be found at http://umbc.edu/eseiw2013/. Empirical Software Engineering has the potential to be an increasingly productive and transformative part of the Software Engineering research landscape, because the quantity of usable/analyzable data has increased dramatically just over the last few years. Repositories and community development sites are become more common and larger. Tools for mining and analyzing Software Engineering data are appearing and accelerating the pace of research. NSF’s support of student travel will increase intellectual advances in the field and create broader impacts including improvements in software engineering and global experiences for the future workforce. For more information go to http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1340881.

Graduate Assistance in the Areas of National Needs

dep of edSource:  U.S. Department of Education

PI:  Aryya Gangopadhyay, PhD,

Co-PIs: George Karabati,s PhD, Carolyn Seaman, PhD, Anita Komlodi, PhD, Renetta Tull, PhD

Awarded: 2012

This Department of Education award has provided funding for several fellowships for PhD students in the IS departments.
This is a competitive grant that is awarded to sustain and enhance the capacity for teaching and research in areas of national need.  Click here for more information.

 

Toward A User-Centered, Inclusive and Personalized Approach to Mobile Web Adaptation

nsfSource:  National Science Foundation (Award number: 1250395)

PI: Dongsong Zhang, PhD     Co-PI: Lina Zhou, PhD

Awarded: 2012

The PI’s goal in this exploratory research is to seek ways to fundamentally improve user experience and accessibility when browsing Web pages on mobile handheld devices. In this project, the PI will develop and evaluate a transformative user-centered, inclusive, and personalized approach to mobile Web adaptation that dynamically adapts the content and display of Web pages based on users’ information needs, device characteristics, and accessibility requirements (e.g., color blind users).  The project team is building a prototype cloud-based service that integrates the above user context, device context, and environmental context for mobile Web adaptation. The project will provide unique insights to manufacturers of mobile devices and to mobile application designers on how to provide context-aware adaptive interfaces for handheld devices that improve users’ navigation performance and overall Web browsing experience.  Click here for more information.

Mobile Gesture Interaction for Kids: Sensing, Recognition, and Error Recovery

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Lisa Anthony, PhD

Awarded: 2012touch

With the popularity of mobile devices increasing, their respective audiences are expanding as well. Many of today’s mobile devices require touch input and are designed primarily for adults. However, recently, it’s been seen that children are starting to use these devices more- be it cell phones, tablets, or multimedia players. Children have a variety of limitations that can affect their user experience with these devices that have touchscreens. This study seeks to determine what differences lie in adults and children’s touch interactions with mobile devices. The overall goal is to provide research findings that will help application developers create better touch user interfaces for children.  Click here for more information.

 

Voting Voice: A Mobile Voters’ Guide for People with Aphasia

Source:  Information Tech & Innovation FoundationITIF-Logo

PI: Shaun Kane, PhD

Awarded: 2012

This project will develop the Voting Voice to improve voting accessibility for people with aphasia by creating a web-based voter’s guide that is optimized for people with aphasia.  Prior research shows that written materials can be made more accessible to people with aphasia by simplifying text and providing material in different formats (e.g., images, video, or recorded audio). However, most voting materials are not delivered in a format that is accessible to people
with aphasia. VotingVoice will improve the ability of people with aphasia to make informed choices and vote independently a their polling pace.  Click here for more information. 

 

Using Game Mechanics to Improve Outcomes Among Stem Cell Transplant Survivors

Source:  NIH SBIR Program Phase I, in collaboration with Radiant Creative Group and Houston Cancer CenterNIH-Blue-Logo

PI: Dongsong Zhang, PhD

Awarded: 2012

1ff4ba1Adolescent and young adult (AYA) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) patients face a variety of well-documented physical and emotional challenges, such as coping with immunosupression and its socially isolating effects; fatigue, adherence to complex medication regimens; and meeting hydration and nutrition requirements. Failure to meet these challenges not only engenders distress, anxiety and depression, but can also result in serious consequences to health such as organ damage and/or chronic, severe graft versus host disease. The awarded Phase I study will evaluate the feasibility and patient acceptance of an internet-based, interactive, and personalized intervention to promote self-management behaviors among AYA allogeneic HSCT recipients during their extended outpatient recovery period. We will utilize an innovative approach that directly links behavioral objectives to game mechanics. The intervention will offer a set of relevant social network features, including mechanisms for patient-to-patient communication, competition, and collaborative problem solving. The overall goal is to maximize the positive psychological and physical health outcomes.  Click here for more information. 

Workshop: Coordinating the Science of Team Science

Source:  National Science FoundationNSF logo1

PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

Awarded: 2012

Two coordination workshops, and supporting organizational meetings, are proposed for United States federal agencies that have programs currently funding research into scientific virtual organizations. These efforts support an emerging “Science of Team Science” that seeks to understand the sociotechnical infrastructure required for successful distributed eScience practice. Partnering with the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, these proposed workshops will bring together agency leaders, program officers, and staff from organizations as diverse as NIH, NSF, NIST, NASA, DOE, DARPA, and DHS for dialogue about their needs, visions, and funding plans for Science of Team Science research.

The first workshop, tentatively scheduled for Winter 2012, will be a planning and coordination session among key Washington, D.C.-based agency stakeholders. A second integration workshop, targeted for Spring/Summer 2013, will be a broader, more inclusive event incorporating staff from all relevant agencies and national labs. These workshops will be supported by a series of organizing meetings and will result in a draft NITRD/NSF report.

Distributed eScience is the rapidly realizing future for almost all scientific inquiry. The goals of this project are to better understand the public policy underlying this transformation and to enable the super additive effects of coordinating funding efforts across multiple agencies. The promise of developing a clear, unified agenda is a more rapid maturation of both scientific methods and policies in support of eScience.  Click here for more information.

Prediction, Measurement, and Circumvention of Cyber threats through Contextual Semantics

Source:  Northop Grumman

PI: George Karabatis, PhD

northrop-grumman-it-logo-lgAwarded: 2012

This project targets the following critical research problems in dealing with Cyber threats: Generate a prediction model to identify known and unknown cyber-attacks by utilizing context and semantics.  The most exciting aspect from the initial phase of this research was the discovery that   “correlation” – a very widely used similarity measure in Cybersecurity –  did not yield the best prediction results on incoming security threats. Instead, “Anderberg coefficients” combined with context and semantic networks produced superior results. Armed with this knowledge we embarked on the ambitious journey of discovering not only known cyber-attacks, but also exploring the ground of discovering “zero-day” cyber security attacks. These are attacks that are not known, only the malicious hackers who created them are aware of and have been using them, but these attacks are not addressed by security patches, or security components of computer systems that are being attacked; they are simply unknown attacks which do exist and undermine our computer systems. Some of them eventually become known attacks after they are discovered by security experts and are made publicly known. However, until then they remain “unknown” or “zero-day” attacks.  We utilized semantic knowledge and exploited context in order to identify known and zero-day attacks. The research results have been published at peer-reviewed journals and international conferences. Specifically, we created methodologies, algorithms, and a prototype computer system which implements these innovative techniques. We used data mining, and machine learning techniques to design algorithms that discover zero-day attacks with high probability. We also evaluated our findings by testing the prototype system using the NSL-KDD intrusion detection dataset. The results of our experiments on the NSL-KDD dataset prove the superior capability of our techniques with a success rate in correctly identifying zero-day attacks over 80%, surpassing all other known techniques.

 

CDI-Type II: GLOBE: Evolving New Global Workflows for Land Change Science

GLOBE-LOGO1Source:  National Science Foundation

Co-PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

Awarded:  2011

GLOBE is an NSF funded project composed of UMBC researchers and students from Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE), Geography and Environmental Systems (GES), and Information Systems (IS).  It is an online collaborative environment that enables land change scientist and researchers to synthesize and integrate local and regional case studies to assess the global relevance of their work. GLOBE allows researchers and institutions to rapidly share, compare and synthesize local and regional studies using global datasets of human and environmental variables.  Understanding human impact on the environment is hindered by our limited knowledge of coupled human and natural systems (CHANS). While remote sensing and global climate modeling have transformed how we observe and model global patterns, human systems and their impacts are not observable from space, nor can they be modeled globally without a better grasp of how CHANS function locally.  GLOBE allows researchers and institutions to rapidly share, compare and synthesize local and regional studies using global data-sets of human and environmental variables through two types of analysis: Similarity and Representativeness.  GLOBE uses paradigms from collaborative social computing and advanced mathematical models to aggregate and analyze local and regional CHANS case studies to enable the synthesis and integration of globally-relevant information for land change scientists.  More information can be found on the GLOBE website.

Online Searching in a Foreign Language

google_globeSource:  Google

PI:  Anita Komlodi, PhD

Awarded:  2012

A strong disparity exists between the language distribution of Web content and the representation of speakers of different languages among Web users. While the majority of content on the Web is in English, English language speakers account for only about one-fourth of all Web users. This disparity forces many non-native speakers of English to search in English to satisfy their information needs. When searching in a foreign language for content that was created in an unfamiliar culture, searchers face a myriad of problems: they may speak the language but not grasp the slight variations in meaning that will change their search results drastically; they may not be aware of trustworthy sources; and they may face unfamiliar information architecture and design styles in websites. In this research we study foreign language searchers’ behavior to identify and describe the challenges these searchers face.

 

Workshop: Coordinating the Science of Team Science

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

Awarded:  2012

Distributed eScience is the rapidly realizing future for almost all scientific inquiry. The goals of this project are to better understand the public policy underlying this transformation and to enable the super additive effects of coordinating funding efforts across multiple agencies. The promise of developing a clear, unified agenda is a more rapid maturation of both scientific methods and policies in support of eScience.  Two coordination workshops, and supporting organizational meetings, are proposed for United States federal agencies that have programs currently funding research into scientific virtual organizations. These efforts support an emerging “Science of Team Science” that seeks to understand the sociotechnical infrastructure required for successful distributed eScience practice. Partnering with the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, these proposed workshops will bring together agency leaders, program officers, and staff from organizations as diverse as NIH, NSF, NIST, NASA, DOE, DARPA, and DHS for dialogue about their needs, visions, and funding plans for Science of Team Science research.  The first workshop, tentatively scheduled for Winter 2012, will be a planning and coordination session among key Washington, D.C.-based agency stakeholders. A second integration workshop, targeted for Spring/Summer 2013, will be a broader, more inclusive event incorporating staff from all relevant agencies and national labs. These workshops will be supported by a series of organizing meetings and will result in a draft NITRD/NSF report.  Details about this project can be found here on the NSF website.

 

RCN: Digital Society and Technologies Research Coordination Network

Source:  National Science Foundation, in collaboration with Syracuse University and University of Maryland College Park

Co-PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

Awarded:  2012

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now funding:  “A research coordination network (RCN) for Digital Societies and Technologies”.  The focus of the RCN is towards community building for sociotech scholars. This initial funding for this Digital Societies and Technologies RCN will run through December, 2016 in  support of three broad efforts: (1) sociotech community building; (2) planning and piloting shared sociotech resources(heading towards a community cyberinfrastructure) and (3) expanding the breadth, depth, impact and visibility of sociotech scholarship.  The goal of this program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies are  encouraged. Groups of investigators are being supported to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries. The RCN program’s focus is on a theme to give coherence to the collaboration, such as a broad research question or particular technologies or approaches. The general RCN program will provide review for proposals to participating core programs and directorates listed in the solicitation, excepting Mathematical & Physical Sciences. Click here for more information.

 

Ontology Development for Personalized Medicine and related Health IT Applications

nist_logoSource: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Co-PI: Aryya Gangopadhyay, PhD
Year of award: 2011
Abstract: This project deals with developing an objective evaluation method for measuring the quality of ontologies. Our methodology provides an overall quantitative measure for an ontology as a whole as well as  individual measures for each element in an ontology. Our proposed method has been tested using a number of real world ontologies.

 

download (22)Workshop: Building Capacity for Sociotechnical Innovation in Next-Generation Network Applications

Source:  National Science Foundation

PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

Awarded:  2011

This proposal seeks to further a network of sociotechnical researchers in academia and industry capable of developing innovative applications that leverage next-generation gigabit networking infrastructure. This will foster new multidisciplinary partnerships between the social and computing sciences that will challenge established researchers and develop a new generation of students capable and confident in working in this area. The complex domains addressed by these applications, for example city-wide, media-rich socialinformation spaces for homeless citizens, will necessitate fundamental advances in network science. The emergent co-evolutionary properties will also likely drive research in human-centered computing. The urban government partnerships enable a scale of deployment typically impractical for academic research labs. This will enable at-scale experimentation with a critical mass of users in authentic usage environments, which is essential for advancing our understanding of social computing. Click here for more information.

 

VOSS: Voluntary Virtual Organizations: Problem Solving through Collective Storytelling in MMOGs

Source:  National Science Foundation, in collaboration with the iSchool at the University of Washington

PI:  Wayne Lutters, PhD

images (7)

Awarded:  2009

This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). In highly dynamic information environments, how can spontaneous, self-organizing teams solve ill-defined problems? Networked individuals and affinity groups are increasingly engaged in voluntary and collective problem solving. Their voluntary virtual organizations have learned to harness the collective problem solving abilities of diverse groups. This study deeply examines voluntary teaming behavior in a subset of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) called Alternate Reality Games to discover the life cycle dynamics and characteristics of sustainable, results-oriented online teams. Because online teams, especially in Alternate Reality Games, depend upon far-flung volunteers working together through technology, the negotiation of group dynamics, problem definition and problem resolution is an ongoing, transparent process. Their reliance on technology renders the process of collective problem solving visible and available for study.  More information about the study can be found here on the NSF website.