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2017 June

Archive for June, 2017

Jennifer Sleeman dissertation defense: Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling

June 27th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in Big data, Earth science, Machine Learning, NLP, Ontologies, Semantic Web

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense

Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling

Jennifer Sleeman
9:00am Thursday, 29 June 2017, ITE 325b, UMBC

Understanding how a particular discipline such as climate science evolves over time has received renewed interest. By understanding this evolution, predicting the future direction of that discipline becomes more achievable. Dynamic Topic Modeling (DTM) has been applied to a number of disciplines to model topic evolution as a means to learn how a particular scientific discipline and its underlying concepts are changing. Understanding how a discipline evolves, and its internal and external influences, can be complicated by how the information retrieved over time is integrated. There are different techniques used to integrate sources of information, however, less research has been dedicated to understanding how to integrate these sources over time. The method of data assimilation is commonly used in a number of scientific disciplines to both understand and make predictions of various phenomena, using numerical models and assimilated observational data over time.

In this dissertation, I introduce a novel algorithm for scientific data assimilation, called Dynamic Data Assimilation for Topic Modeling (DDATM), which uses a new cross-domain divergence method (CDDM) and DTM. By using DDATM, observational data in the form of full-text research papers can be assimilated over time starting from an initial model. DDATM can be used as a way to integrate data from multiple sources and, due to its robustness, can exploit the assimilating observational information to better tolerate missing model information. When compared with a DTM model, the assimilated model is shown to have better performance using standard topic modeling measures, including perplexity and topic coherence. The DDATM method is suitable for prediction and results in higher likelihood for subsequent documents. DDATM is able to overcome missing information during the assimilation process when compared with a DTM model. CDDM generalizes as a method that can also bring together multiple disciplines into one cohesive model enabling the identification of related concepts and documents across disciplines and time periods. Finally, grounding the topic modeling process with an ontology improves the quality of the topics and enables a more granular understanding of concept relatedness and cross-domain influence.

The results of this dissertation are demonstrated and evaluated by applying DDATM to 30 years of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) along with more than 150,000 documents that they cite to show the evolution of the physical basis of climate change.

Committee Members: Drs. Tim Finin (co-advisor), Milton Halem (co-advisor), Anupam Joshi, Tim Oates, Cynthia Matuszek, Mark Cane, Rafael Alonso

UMBC Data Science Graduate Program Starts Fall 2017

June 16th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in Big data, Data Science, Database, Datamining, KR, Machine Learning, NLP


UMBC Data Science Graduate Programs

UMBC’s Data Science Master’s program prepares students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds for careers in data science. In the core courses, students will gain a thorough understanding of data science through classes that highlight machine learning, data analysis, data management, ethical and legal considerations, and more.

Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the basic computing principles behind data science, to include, but not limited to, data ingestion, curation and cleaning and the 4Vs of data science: Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity, as well as the implicit 5th V — Value. Through applying principles of data science to the analysis of problems within specific domains expressed through the program pathways, students will gain practical, real world industry relevant experience.

The MPS in Data Science is an industry-recognized credential and the program prepares students with the technical and management skills that they need to succeed in the workplace.

For more information and to apply online, see the Data Science MPS site.

Data Science MD: Getting Started with NLP, Sentiment Analysis and OpenNLP

June 15th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in Machine Learning, NLP

The topic of this month’s Data Science MD meetup is Getting Started with NLP, Sentiment Analysis and OpenNLP. The meeting will be 6:30-9:00pm, Monday, June 19 in Building 200 Room E100 at the JHU Applied Physics Laboratory. The meeting starts with networking and food and feature talks by two practitioners.

Brian Sacash (Deloitte & Touche): NLP and Sentiment Analysis

Natural Language Processing, the analysis of language, can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Brian will walk through the Natural Language Tool Kit (NLTK), a Python library built for language analysis, and cover its core functionality. Through live coding he will demonstrate how to build a simple sentiment analysis engine from scratch.

Daniel Russ (NIH): It Takes a Village To Solve A Problem in Data Science

The talk will discuss a scientific case study in data science, computer-based occupational coding of free text job histories taken during epidemiological research studies. Beginning with a rationale for occupational coding, how the coding is performed, and how SOCcer is built on top of Apache OpenNLP. Throughout the talk, I will try to emphasize the importance of working as an interdisciplinary team.

See the meetup announcement to RSVP and get directions and more information.

DC-Area Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Seminar

June 10th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Privacy, Security


The DC-Area Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Seminar (DCAPS) is a seminar for research on computer and communications anonymity, privacy, and security in the D.C. area. DCAPS meets to promote collaboration and improve awareness of work in the community. Seminars occur three times a year. It meets at different locations and has been hosted in the past by George Mason University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, University of Maryland, College park and UMBC. DCAPS meetings are free and open to anybody interested. To join the seminar mailing list, contact the organizer, Aaron Johnson, at aaron.m.johnson AT

UMBC Seeks Professor of the Practice to Head new Data Science Program

June 7th, 2017, by Tim Finin, posted in Data Science, Semantic Web, UMBC

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is looking to hire a Professor of the Practice to head a new graduate program in Data Science. See the job announcement for more information and apply online at Interfolio.

In addition to developing and teaching graduate data science courses, the new faculty member will serve as the Graduate Program Director of UMBC’s program leading to a master’s degree in Data Science. This cross-disciplinary program is offered to professional students through a partnership between the College of Engineering and Information Technology; the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences; the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; and UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies.

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