DAC faculty member Aditya Prakash, an assistant professor in the department of computer science is working on a multi-disciplinary project about the Russian flu epidemic of the late 19th century. He is working with faculty in the department of history, specifically professor Tom Ewing and associate professor Amy Nelson. They have received a $175,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for their research and are collaborating with the Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany t0 examine medical discussion and news reporting during the epidemic. To read more about this project click here.
Research assistant professor Ravi Tandon has joined the University of Arizona on a tenure-track assistant professorship. Congratulations to Ravi! While at DAC, his research focused on information-theory based approaches to data analytics and forecasting. He participated in the IARPA-supported EMBERS project where he developed new quickest event detection and social media analytics approaches. DAC bids him a fond farewell with best wishes for his career! Read more
Devi Parikh and Dhruv Batra, DAC faculty members and assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering have received another Google Research Award in the amount of $92,000 for their Visual Question Answering (VQA) project. This is Parikh’s third Google Research grant, and Batra’s second. The grant will be to develop a new approach in teaching computers to understand images with the goal of enabling the computer to provide a natural-language answer to a specific question. To read more about the grant click here.
Congratulations to Aditya Prakash on his Facebook Faculty Award, one of only 10 such awards given this year! The award will support novel information diffusion related research focusing on understanding, predicting and countering virality on social-media websites and platforms. For example, some of the questions Aditya will study include: “What content could go viral? How much and when? Given a context, how to identify and counter negative viral campaigns?” Look forward to exciting results from this research!
Congratulations to Saurav Ghosh! The DAC/CS Ph.D. student co-authored SourceSeer: Forecasting Rare Disease Outbreaks Using Multiple Data Sources“, which garnered the Best Paper Award at the SIAM International Conference on Data Mining held in Vancouver, Canada.
DAC faculty members and assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering, Devi Parikh and Dhruv Batra’s project on artificial intelligence in collaboration with Microsoft, Visual Question Answering (VQA), was featured in Bloomberg Business. Visual Question Answering is a new dataset containing open-ended questions about images. The system takes an image as an input and a question about that image, then produces an answer as an output. To read more of the article click here.
Transpose, a new Seattle startup that bills itself as a holistic information management platform, today announced a $1.5 million funding round. Transpose is the brainchild of Samah Gad, DAC (CS) PhD graduate and Hussein Ahmed also a CS PhD graduate. Formerly known as KustomNote, the nine-person company has developed software that helps customers create structure and pull intelligence from large sets of data across all devices.
DAC faculty members Devi Parikh and Dhruv Batra, assistant professors of electrical engineering received Outstanding New Assistant Professor Awards. They were presented with the awards at the eighteenth annual Virginia Tech College of Engineering faculty reception. They were awarded for teaching innovation, research, service, and outreach for 2015. To read more about their awards click here.
In the online, big data world, it’s important to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is true when it comes to refining search results and culling a Twitter feed, and it’s true with photographs, too. Dhruv Batra’s latest innovation recently posted to arXiv.org takes advantage of all sorts of social and technological cues to figure out who really matters in an image. “We have the ability to look at a scene and, just by coding what people are doing, how people are looking at each other, we can get a sense of the important actors,” says Dhruv Batra, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and creator of the program, along with graduate student and lead designer Clint Solomon Mathialagan and Andrew Gallagher, an engineer at Google. Read more.
Newsweek profiles the Discovery Analytics Center’s EMBERS Project, which is funded by IARPA. EMBERS offers a glimpse into just how much “big data” has changed the game by magnifying the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to forecast—with phenomenal accuracy—human behavior on a global scale by scouring Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Tumblr, Tor, Facebook and more. EMBERS is using algorithms and a variety of advanced tools to sort through dense and complex information for patterns in the chaos—patterns that frequently point to events before they happen, such as civil uprisings, disease outbreaks, humanitarian crises, mass migrations, protests, riots, political routs, even violence. Click here to read more.