Parang Saraf’s VAST grand challenge award is the NCR highlight of the week

Parang Saraf

Parang Saraf, a DAC/CS Ph.D. student in the National Capital Region, recently accepted the VAST Challenge 2014 Grand Challenge Award for Effective Analysis and Presentation in Paris, France. The VAST Challenge provides an opportunity for visual analytics researchers to test their innovative thoughts on approaching problems in a wide range of subject domains against realistic datasets and problem scenarios. The award was presented during the IEEE Vis Conference, where Saraf spoke for 30 minutes about the team’s solution to the challenge.

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EMBERS Featured in Virginia Tech Magazine

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The EMBERS project, sponsored by IARPA was featured in a major spread of the Virginia Tech Magazine.

Through the use of big data, Naren Ramakrishnan and his team from the computer science department’s Discovery Analytics Center (DAC) may make forecasting the future as commonplace as forecasting the weather.

The term “big data” refers to the use of algorithms and other tools to train computers to spot trends in collections of information that are too massive and complex to analyze with traditional methods. The proliferation of data has accelerated with the integration of computers into our daily lives, from social media on our phones to tracking buying habits at the grocery store.

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Analysis by DAC CS PhD candidate Prithwish Chakraborty about the US flu season

prithwish-updatedPrithwish Chakraborty, DAC/CS PhD student is helping organize the Flu Forecasting questions on the SciCast prediction market  (https://scicast.org/flu) this year. Participants are required to predict several flu season characteristics, at national and at regional levels (10 HHS regions). Read his analysis


Briefing to VA Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson and Sen Mark Warner’s staff

Naren Ramakrishnan

Naren Ramakrishnan, director of the Discovery Analytics Center and Bryan Lewis, public health policy analyst, Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, presented research being done in their respective laboratories in a briefing to Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson. Senator Mark Warner’s staff were also in attendance. It was a great opportunity to brief them and present DAC’s cutting-edge research in forecasting and analytics.

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Visual Analytics Team Awarded $1 Million NSF Grant

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Members of the Visual Analytics team include (from left) Xinran Hu, Chris North, Leanna House, Scotland Leman, Lauren Bradel, Jessica Zeitz Self, and Ian Crandell.

Big Data: Everyone wants to use it; but few can. A team of researchers at Virginia Tech is trying to change that.

In an effort to make Big Data analytics usable and accessible to nonspecialist, professional, and student users, the team is fusing human-computer interaction research with complex statistical methods to create something that is both scalable and interactive.

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Devi Parikh’s Project Covered by AAAS

Devi ParikhAn enormous gap exists between human abilities and machine performance when it comes to understanding the visual world from images and videos. Humans are still way out in front.

“People are the best vision systems we have,” said Devi Parikh assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. “If we can figure out a way for people to effectively teach machines, machines will be much more intelligent than they are today.”

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EMBERS featured in the Wall Street Journal

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Analysts for the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and more than a dozen other government organizations depend on their ability to forecast national and global events to help ward off various threats to the country, but old-style approaches can produce flawed results. Read more


Dhruv Batra’s Project Featured in VT News

dhruv_batra_200When Dhruv Batra of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering travels in September to Zurich for the 2014 European Conference on Computer Vision, he will be a rising star in the growing field of vision and pattern recognition in computers.

The assistant professor with Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering previously co-led a tutorial in the research field at another industry conference in Ohio this past June. On his way to Zurich, Batra will give talks on the same subject — creating software programs that help computers “see” and understand photographs just as humans can – at software giant Microsoft’s research lab at Cambridge University and then a separate event at Oxford University, both in the United Kingdom.

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Lenwood Heath Oversees Implementation of Revolutionary Naming System for Organisms

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Lenwood Heath, DAC faculty member, is working with Boris Vinatzer, associate professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences who has developed a new way to classify and name organisms based on their genome sequence and in doing so created a universal language that scientists can use to communicate with unprecedented specificity about all life on Earth.  Heath oversaw the development of the bioinformatic pipeline to implement the system. He was interested in collaborating with Vinatzer because of the potential to empower scientists to communicate accurately with one another about biological systems. To read more about their collaboration click here.


CloudCV continues to make a splash!

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Congrats to Dhruv Batra for his Windows Azure for Research Award! Microsoft will provide one year of computing and storage support to CloudCV on their Azure cloud platform.

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