Congratulations to Computer Science Professor Ross Knepper, who has received a grant from the Air Force’s Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). The program fosters creative research in science and engineering to early career researchers. Knepper’s grant will focus on “Enabling Robust Persistent Autonomy in Robots.” YIP will award $20.8 million in grants to 58 scientists and engineers over the next three years.
Kudos to CS Professor Kilian Weinberger, who has been elected 2018 co-program chair for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). AAAI is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.
A new optimization technique could help conservation biologists choose the most cost-effective ways of connecting isolated populations of rare, threatened and endangered species living in protected areas. The work demonstrates how computer science and optimization programming can have applications to new areas such as sustainability, noted Carla Gomes, Professor of Computing and Information Science at Cornell University and former PhD student co-author Bistra Dilkina. Cornell's Institute for Computational Sustainability received a $10 million NSF Expeditions in Computing Award that helped support the optimization research.
"This work opens up new directions in terms of understanding tradeoffs for different species," Gomes said. "If we can get synthesis rather than just optimize for one, it's more efficient."
"Hundreds of citizen scientists without any formal materials engineering background are advancing the field through Materials Discovery—an initiative led by Carla Gomes, Professor of Computer and Information Science, and Bruce van Dover, Chair of Materials Science and Engineering.
Searching through a seemingly infinite amount of x-ray diffraction data from the synchrotron and other sources involves tremendous amounts of computational power and human insight. But by combining computational techniques with a citizen science community that can identify simple patterns within images, Gomes’ lab can analyze over one-million different combinations of materials in a single day. Using the UDiscoverIt platform on their home computers, citizen scientists can volunteer—and sometimes earn cash—by combing through images, searching for patterns representing crystal structures that are optimized for sustainable technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and solar cells."
CS student Phil Daian was quoted by CoinDesk for a recent talk he gave at ethereum’s developer summit on smart contract security and program verification: http://www.coindesk.com/ethereum-formal-verification-smart-contracts. Daian spoke to the interest in formal verification methodology more broadly, telling the audience he believes it could help ethereum solve key issues.
Deborah Estrin (CS), Nate Foster (CS), Arnaud Sahuguet (Director of the Foundry, Cornell Tech), Fred Schneider (CS), and David Shmoys (ORIE) received a $1M grant from the National Science Foundation's Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure (CICI) program.
The objective of the CICI program is to “develop and deploy security solutions that benefit the scientific community by ensuring the integrity and reliable of the end-to-end scientific workflow… Therefore, an increasing area of focus for the NSF is the development and deployment of hardware and software technologies and techniques to protect research cyberinfrastructure across every stage of the scientific workflow.” More information on the grant can be found here.
The winning proposal’s abstract is as follows:
Individuals today generate microscale data as a byproduct of their daily activities through use of mobile phones, wearable devices, and online services. The availability of microscale data creates new opportunities for solving a variety of complex planning problems at the institutional level, but it also raises concerns about security and privacy for the individual. Our ability to realize the opportunities is threatened by these concerns. We propose to develop and evaluate an architecture that allows individuals to monitor and manage sharing of their microscale data in order to maximize individual and institutional utility.
This project will develop a software framework to support the implementation of data-driven planning applications where individuals will have fine-grained control over use of their data. Work on the project will focus on: (i) creating a campus testbed capable of acquiring microscale data streams from sources such as wireless access points, card readers, room sensors, and point-of-sale systems; (ii) building a data management platform that offers flexible controls for imposing use-based restrictions on queries and transformations of microscale data; (iii) developing applications that use microscale data to solve practical planning problems related to transportation, space, and food in a campus setting. Having an open-source platform that addresses fundamental security and privacy challenges for microscale data has the potential for large impact on real applications and industry. Under the auspices of this funding, the investigators will also develop masters-level projects on microscale data-driven planning, providing the next generation of engineers with training in an emerging interdisciplinary area.
Elaine Shi has been named the 2016 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator for her proposal, entitled “ShinE: Secure Hardware in Effect.” The award seeks to support academic scientists who show exceptional promise for doing creating research. “This is an honor and a testament to Elaine’s research accomplishments and promising ideas,” said Interim Cornell President Hunter Rawlings.
More information about the award can be found here.
BigRed Hacks (BRH) drew over 400 students from across the country to its annual 36-hour student-run hackathon. For three days, teams of up to 4 students worked tirelessly to create computer applications for a variety of uses with a special emphasis on this year's theme of sustainability. BRH was created three years ago by two CS undergraduates, Junia George and Leon Zaruvinsky, in an effort to bring the hackathon culture to Cornell; since then, the planning committee has grown to a team of 22 students.The event was organized as part of the student hackathon league, Major League Hacking, and was sponsored by over 20 companies including Microsoft, Dell, Bloomberg, and Oracle with special support from the Cornell Computer Science Department, including Events Coordinator Jessie White and Professor Ross Tate. To kick off the event, Professor Carla Gomes, director of the Institute of Computational Sustainability, presented at the opening ceremony with a talk entitled, "Computational Methods for Balancing Environmental, Economic, and Societal Needs."
The hackathon itself ran for three days in the Physical Sciences Building with various networking opportunities, snacks, and of course, plenty of designing, coding, building, and iterating. After a 2-hour project expo on Sunday, the hackathon ended with a closing ceremony which presented multiple awards for the projects:
Special Prize Winners
Best Use of Nessie API: GarbagemonGO, Cheddar
Best Use of Microsoft Technology: BinGO
Best Cornell-Related Hack: Cornell Course Advisor (CUCA)
Most Security Conscious App: HTTPS Security Demo
Best Data Privacy Hack: HTTPS Security Demo
Further coverage on the event can be found at the Cornell Daily Sun.
Computer Science PhD student Alane Suhr received a 2016 Microsoft Research Women's Fellowship. The award supports female computer scientists at a select list of 10 North American universities for a year of graduate study. Suhr's research interests are in natural language processing, particularly semantics and pragmatics.