DAC faculty members and assistant professors of ECE, Devi Parikh and Dhruv Batra’s project on Learning Common Sense through Visual Abstractions was featured in Newsweek. The article focuses on an artificial intelligence algorithm they trained to understand and predict visual humor, representing a major development towards creating “common sense” machines. Read more about Devi and Dhruv’s algorithm here.
Chang-Tein Lu, Associate Director of DAC and Associate Professor of Computer Science became an Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Scientist. ACM is the world’s leading association of computing professionals. As a distinguished member, Chang-Tein, is recognized as an innovative leader in the field of computing. To read more about ACM click here.
Chang-Tien Lu, associate professor of computer science and associate director of DAC is leading Virginia Tech as it takes part in a multi-university effort to apply big data solutions to regional challenges. Chang-Tien will be playing a vital role in the university’s broad-base collaboration on the project, an initiative supported by the National Science Foundation that brings together research universities across the south to develop a Big Data Regional Innovation Hub. Read more about Chang-Tien’s part in this project here.
Chris North, professor of computer science and associate director of DAC, and Kurt Luther, assistant professor of computer science were awarded a $500,000 grant from NSF over three years from its cyber-human system program area. The grant focuses on using crowdsourcing to help analyze big data and solve problems. Crowdsourcing, in this sense, means soliciting contributions of data from a large group of people, most of whom are online users. To read more about Kurt and Chris’s project click here.
Lenwood Heath, a professor of computer science and faculty member of DAC is of a part group of faculty members at Virginia Tech awarded a five-year $3.6 million Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that is aimed at mitigating the global threat of antibiotic resistance spread through the contact or consumption of contaminated water. Disease free water is a global health challenge that commands an international team effort. To read more about this project click here.
DAC will create and administer a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. certificate program called UrbComp, which is set to launch in spring 2016. The UrbComp Ph.D. certificate is focused on big data and urbanization through a $3 grant over five years from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program. UrbComp will be open to students from both the Blackburg and National Capital Region campuses who are pursuing a Ph.D. in one of eight departments: computer science, mathematics, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, population health sciences, urban affairs and planning, civil and environmental engineering, or sociology. To read more about the program click here.
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!