Daphne Yao presides over first Cyber(W) workshop

Associate Professor of Computer Science Daphne Yao and her colleague Professor Elisa Bertino from Purdue presided over the first Cyber(W) workshop in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 30.

The workshop was inspired by the significant gender imbalance in all security conferences, in terms of the number of publishing authors, PC members, organizers, and attendees. What causes this gender imbalance remains unclear. However, multiple research studies have shown that a diverse group is more creative, diligent, and productive than a homogeneous group. In order to maintain a sustainable and creative workforce, substantial efforts need to be made by our security community to broaden the participation from all underrepresented groups in cyber security research conferences.

 The workshop co-located with the ACM CCS, one of the top security conferences in the world.

The workshop received generous sponsorships from CRA-W, ACM SIGSAC, the Virginia Tech Department of Computer Science and Stack Center, MIT Lincoln Laboratories, and the University of Texas, Dallas.

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ACM recognizes Professor of Computer Science Kirk Cameron as 2017 Distinguished Member

The ACM Distinguished Member program, initiated in 2006, recognizes those members with at least 15 years of professional experience who have made significant accomplishments or achieved a significant impact on the computing field. This year Professor of Computer Science Kirk Cameron was recognized as a 2017 Distinguished Member in the category of Contributions to Computing.

Read more about the recognition and see other honorees here.

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Department of Computer Science convenes advisory board

The Department of Computer Science has formed an advisory board to serve as stewards of the department’s continued growth in academia, advancement, and outreach.  The membership includes a diverse cross-section of alumni, several of whom have been engaged with the department for many years, and represent myriad industries from banking to gaming. An inaugural meeting of the Department of Computer Science’s newly formed advisory board occurred Oct. 20.

“We enjoyed welcoming members of the advisory board to the Blacksburg campus for our inaugural fall meeting,” said department head and Professor Cal Ribbens.  “Their advice on strategic planning and advancement will be invaluable as we continue to grow as a department and respond to new challenges and opportunities.”

Current advisory board members are:

Michael Austin is director of Corporate Strategy at Eastman.  He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Virginia Tech

Jeremy Barksdale is a user experience researcher at Microsoft. Barksdale has a doctorate in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Jamika Burge is the head of Research Curriculum and Outreach at Capital One. She has a doctorate in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Ron Forbes is an event producer at Riot Games.  Forbes has a bachelor’s in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Stephen Gillote is founder and CEO of Reinventing Geospatial Inc. (RGi).  He has a bachelor’s in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Greg Lavender is managing director and global head of Technology Architecture and Engineering in the Office of the CTO at Citigroup. He has a doctorate in computer science from Virginia Tech.

James E. Miller is CEO of Strategic Resources International. Miller has a bachelor’s in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Barbara Ryder is an emerita faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech where she held the J. Byron Maupin Professorship in Engineering and served as department head from 2008-2015.

Iccha Sethi is a senior software developer at Atlassian.  Sethi has a master’s in computer science from Virginia Tech.

Madhan Subhas is an entrepreneur and software engineering executive working on a new startup after successful exit of a previous startup. Subhas has an MS in CS from Virginia Tech.

Laurian Vega is a user experience and systems engineer at Next Century Corporation.  Vega has a doctorate in computer science from Virginia Tech.

J.D. Young retired from Oracle and continues working as an entrepreneur and investor.  Young has a bachelor’s in computer science from Virginia Tech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tanushree Mitra appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science

Tanushree Mitra has been appointed assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. She is one of 27 new faculty members hired by the college for the 2017-18 academic year.

Mitra’s research combines computer science and sociology, more popularly known as computational social science. Blending concepts from both these fields, she uncovers insights about social life and  human behavior online using large datasets.

“What excites me most about computer science is the interaction between computer systems and their human users and the plethora of new applications and opportunities that this can enable,” said Mitra.

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Virginia Tech researcher brings interactive games to museums

Museums have a captive audience in visitors who typically meander through static exhibits depicting various scenes of cultural and natural history. But in the new digital age, the museum audience is increasingly digitally savvy and accustomed to learning through interactive games and other forms of digital media.

A Virginia Tech researcher is helping to bridge the digital gaps that visitors experience in museums by studying virtual spaces that could serve to make institutions more interactive, social, and gamelike — and hopefully more appealing — to 21st century audiences.

Panagiotis Apostolellis, an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, and a team of researchers assessed the ability of museums to provide young visitors with an enjoyable and augmented learning experience by harnessing the educational value of virtual environments and computer games for a large audience.

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Smartwatch app could inspire more frequent physical activity, Virginia Tech study finds

An interdisciplinary study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech suggests the secret to obtaining your summertime fitness goals might not be the amount of weight you’re bench pressing or how many miles you run, but generating friendly competition to keep you one step ahead of your fitness buddies.

The concept of friendly competition in group exercise being explored by the researchers uses a smartwatch app that could help people in a group exercise program get —and stay — more active.

At the heart of the group exercise research is a Fitbit-like smartwatch and its software developed by Andrey Esakia, a Ph.D. candidate in Virginia Tech’s Department of Computer Science who worked on the project to study the effects of technology in group physical activity. The work is supported by a multidisciplinary seed grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.

Esakia collaborated with the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences to incorporate the hardware and software of the watch into an existing initiative, FitEx, from the Physical Activity Leadership Team of Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Physical Activity Research and Community Implementation Laboratory. FitEx is an eight-week physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption program delivered in community settings.

 

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Overlap in computer modeling holds key to next-generation processing, Virginia Tech researchers find

Exascale computing — the ability to perform calculations at 1 billion billion per second — is what researchers are striving to push processors to do in the next decade. That’s 1,000 times faster than the first petascale computer that came into existence in 2008.

Achieving efficiency will be paramount to building high-performance parallel computing systems if applications are to run in environments of enormous scale and also limited power.

A team of researchers in the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering discovered a key to what could keep supercomputing on the road to the ever-faster processing times needed to achieve exascale computing — and what policymakers say is necessary to keep the United States competitive in industries from everything to cybersecurity to ecommerce.

“Parallel computing is everywhere when you think about it,”said Bo Li, computer science Ph.D. candidate and first author on the paper being presented about the team’s research this month. “From making Hollywood movies to managing cybersecurity threats to contributing to milestones in life science research, making strides in processing times is a priority to get to the next generation of supercomputing.”

Li will present the team’s research on June 29 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th International Symposium on High Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing in Washington, D.C. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

 

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Daphne Yao receives $1.2 million Office of Naval Research (ONR) grant

Daphne Yao, an associate professor of computer science, is the principle investigator on a new three-year $1.2 million Office of Naval Research (ONR) grant, title “Data-driven Vulnerability Repair in Programs with a Cloud Analytics Architecture for Practical Deployment.” Na Meng, computer science assistant professor, and Trent Jaeger, computer science professor at Penn State University, are co-principle investigators on the grant. Yao is also the Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. ’56 and L-3  Fellow.

Abstract:
The proposed effort is toward a secure software ecosystem that enables the automatic attack detection, vulnerability localization, code repair against attacks including stealthy exploits. In this project, we will focus on vulnerability location and code repair that leverage and build upon existing security detection solutions, i.e., detection-guided localization and repair. In preparation for near-term deployment, we will also develop a new cloud data analytics framework that minimizes the client-side effort and substantially enhances the transparency and usability of data-driven security tools.
Danfeng Yao

 

Na Meng

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Distinguished Lecture Series Finale

Keith Sturgill, vice president and chief information officer for Eastman Chemical Company, was awarded the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award by the Department of Computer Science on April 21.  Mr. Sturgill was welcomed back to campus by faculty and students, and gave the final lecture of this year’s Distinguished Lecture Series.  Sturgill spoke about technology’s ability to solve problems in the corporate arena and how young professionals can harness that ability in their careers throughout various disciplines.

“Virginia Tech was a key factor to the successful trajectory of my career,” said Sturgill. “I received an education that prepared me to think broadly and thrive and be innovative in an environment that was ever changing and touched many areas of not only information technology but also the chemical industries.”

Sturgill joined Eastman in 1986 as a systems analyst after graduating from Virginia Tech. He has had various and growing responsibilities around implementation of enterprise wide technologies that have significantly impacted the business strategies and financial health of Eastman.

A native of Wise, Virginia he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Virginia Tech in 1986. Sturgill is also a graduate of the Tuck Executive program at Dartmouth College, and has served various roles in multiple IT associations. He has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of America’s SAP User Group since 2011.

Currently he leads the strategy, use, and delivery of information technology services to Eastman’s global businesses. He is also responsible for driving improvements and productivity across Eastman through the widespread use of Six Sigma methods and leadership. Under Sturgill’s tutelage his organization delivers technology to nearly 11,000 Eastman employees spread throughout the company’s international operations.

 

 

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NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Virginia Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing program recognized 65 high-school women for their accomplishments and aspirations in computing and technology.  The award event was held at the Bank of America facility in Richmond, Virginia, and featured a welcome by Mr. Victor Branch, Senior Vice President – Bank of America, and a keynote speech by Mr. Michael Karafotis, Global Wholesale Banking, Production Support Executive at Bank of America.  The event was chaired by Ms. Libby G. Bradford, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Student Engagement in Computer Science at Virginia Tech.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a coalition of over 900 universities, corporations and organizations dedicated to increasing the meaningful participation of women in computing. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to acknowledge the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field, and generate visibility for women’s participation in computing-related pursuits. Award-winners have been selected for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing and desire to pursue computing-related studies. The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is sponsored nationally by AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg and Microsoft with additional support from Google, Intel, Motorola Solutions Foundation and Northrop Grumman.

“It feels so good to be involved in this.  We see real progress happening.  Young women who might have been overlooked or discouraged now actively moving into computing with support and encouragement from people in the field.  But there is more than that.  There is an overall feeling that this is good, this is working.  Then, even more, a feeling that this is awesome!   We are making this happen together–the balance is changing!” said Ms. Jennifer Rupert, Academic & Career Advisor Virginia Tech and Virginia Affiliate committee member.   In the affiliate’s six year history, 239 students have been recognized.

Paul Bui, a teacher at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, received the 2017 Outstanding Educator award from the affiliate.

Virginia Affiliate winners are:

First Name Last Name School
Rebecca Abbott-McCune Blacksburg High
Janna Almokhtar Orange County High School
Navya Annapareddy* Battlefield High School
Brooke Barlow* Mclean High
Bilguunzaya Battogtokh Yorktown High
Sarah Bolstad* Midlothian High School
Katherine Cinnamon* Forest Park High School
Lidya Etissa South Lakes High School
Lydia Fozo* Forest Park High School
Rachel Fulk Rockbridge County High
Sydney Howard* Grassfield High School
Elizabeth Hu* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Laurel Hunter Governor’s School of Science and Technology
Danielle Kaldmaa Falls Church High School
Anika Kumar* South Lakes High School
Kirthi Kumar* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Hannah Lewis Albemarle High School
Kimberly Louie Chancellor High
Tian Low Woodbridge High
Jocelyn Marencik Deep Run High
Eleanor Ozer Galax High School
Samhita Pendyal Deep Run High
Christina Pfab Powhatan High School
Britney Phan Oakton High School
Kara Probasco Washington Lee High
Margaret Richey* Western Albemarle High
Caylor Scales Cumberland High
Riley Schnee Loudoun Valley High School
Marissa Sumathipala Broad Run High
Michelle Wu Princess Anne High

 

Virginia Affiliate Honorable Mentions are:

First Name Last Name School
Grace Barrett-Johnson Albemarle High School
Madison Crouch Western Albemarle High
Brianna Croye Hidden Valley High
Neha Damaraju* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Ally DeVall Colonial Forge High
ErinGrace Drake Battlefield High School
Heather Eichman Nansemond River High
Salonee Ferrao Hampton Roads Academy
Emily Haggard Loudoun Valley High School
Ankita Khera Forest Park High
Crystal Lee Woodson High
Mengyun Lee Hidden Valley High
Katie Liu New Horizons Gov School
melanie massie Radford High
Caroline McCain Rockbridge County High
Elizabeth Moar Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Lisa Moshiro Battlefield High School
Clara Na Briar Woods High
Cora Ormsby Floyd Kellam High
Angela Pastore Albemarle High School
Emma Peck Washington Lee High
Amber Perkins Powhatan High School
Grace Qian Oakton High School
Shravya Shetty Deep Run High
Caroline Spruell Cave Spring High
Destiny Stern Forest Park High School
Aiesha Suarez Del Real Stuart High
Hiwot Temesgen Washington Lee High
Sajni Vederey* Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Faith White Richlands High
Carol Yang Albemarle High School (Virginia)

 

*Also NCWIT National Honorable Mentions

Also recognized at the Virginia Affiliate Ceremony were sixteen NCWIT National Honorable Mentions:

First Name Last Name School
Navya Annapareddy Battlefield High School
Brooke Barlow Mclean High
Sarah Bolstad Midlothian High School
Katherine Cinnamon Forest Park High School
Neha Damaraju Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Jessica Edwards St Stephens & St Agnes School
Lydia Fozo Forest Park High School
Kriti Ganotra Rock Ridge High School
Sydney Howard Grassfield High School
Elizabeth Hu Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Anika Kumar South Lakes High School
Kirthi Kumar Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Rachel Naidich Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Hojung Park Albemarle High School
Margaret Richey Western Albemarle High
Sajni Vederey Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

 

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing offers both national and local affiliate competitions to generate support and visibility for women’s participation in communities nationwide. The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) works to correct the imbalance of gender in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance.

The “Aspirations in Computing Awards” event and the gifts received by the winners this year were funded by Bank of America, Eastman Chemical, The Washington Post and Virginia Tech.  Additional support was provided by General Motors, George Mason, Google IBM, and the University of Richmond.  Winners receive prizes from multiple companies and two trophies: one for the winner and one to be displayed at her high school.

For more information on the Aspirations program please visit here.

 

Back row (l. to r.) Amber Perkins, Jessica Edwards, Hojung Park, Hannah Lewis, Janna Almokhtar, Cora Ormsby, Christina Pfab, Margaret Richey, Lisa Moshiro, Salonee Ferrao, Shravya Shetty, Danielle Kaldmaa, Anika Kumar, Katherine Cinnamon, Lydia Fozo
Middle row (l. to r.) Riley Schnee, Emily Haggard, Aiesha Suarez Del Real, Laurel Hunter, Caylor Scales, Mengyun Lee, Angela Pastore, Grace Barrett-Johnson, Kriti Ganotra, Sydney Howard, Heather Eichmann, Caroline McCain, Tian Low, Rachel Fulk, Rebecca Abbott-McCune, Marissa Sumathipala
Front row (l. to r.) Samhita Pendyal, Britney Phan, Crystal Lee, Ally DeVall, Jocelyn Marencik, Kirthi Kumar, Navya Annapareddy, Neha Damaraju, Sarah Bolstad

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