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.
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today highlights possibilities in interdisciplinary research between data analysts and humanities researchers. It showcases DAC’s Digging into Data project as a “model-in-progress for how data-driven analysis and close reading can enhance each other”. The research focuses on several questions: How did reporting on the Spanish flu spread in 1918? And how big a role did one influential person play in shaping how the outbreak was handled? Read More
Congratulations to DAC/CS PhD Student Sathappan Muthiah on receiving Deployed Application Award at IAAI (Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence) 2015 for his paper “Planned Protest Modeling in News and Social Media“. The CS department also recognized his work with a Pratt fellowship for Spring 2015 – Congratulations twice!
Chang-Tien Lu, associate director of DAC and associate professor of computer science has been awarded a $300,000 subcontract from the United States Army Research Office and United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center. He will use the grant to develop an automated tool to make sense of data captured in news articles, tweets, images, and audio and video streams.
Naren Ramarkishnan, director of DAC and professor of computer science along with Ing-Ray Chen, also a professor of computer science are co-principle investigators of the grant. They will help Lu oversee the projects research. To read more about grant click here.
As featured in the Big Data Journal: “Forecasting has long been a mystic art with techniques shrouded in mystery. Approaches from big data and machine learning are now revolutionizing the science of predictive analytics. The EMBERS system has been producing early warnings of civil unrest across Latin America for over two years. In February 2014, EMBERS forecast the occurrence and spread of student-led protests in Venezuela days in advance. For more information, please see the article by Doyle and colleagues in this issue of Big Data.” Read more
Devi Parikh, assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and DAC faculty member received close to $1 million “to teach machines to use ‘common sense’ in image analysis.” Parikh, who leads the Computer Vision Lab at Virginia Tech, is the recipient of the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. She’s using the money to help computers “read” complex images with the use of cartoon clip art scenes. To read more about Devi’s grant click here.