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Do not be a Gl***hole, use Face-Block.me!

March 27th, 2014, by Prajit Kumar Das, posted in Ebiquity, Google, Mobile Computing, Policy, Semantic Web, Social, Wearable Computing

If you are a Google Glass user, you might have been greeted with concerned looks or raised eyebrows at public places. There has been a lot of chatter in the “interweb” regarding the loss of privacy that results from people taking your pictures with Glass without notice. Google Glass has simplified photography but as what happens with revolutionary technology people are worried about the potential misuse.

FaceBlock helps to protect the privacy of people around you by allowing them to specify whether or not to be included in your pictures. This new application developed by the joint collaboration between researchers from the Ebiquity Research Group at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Distributed Information Systems (DIS) at University of Zaragoza (Spain), selectively obscures the face of the people in pictures taken by Google Glass.

Comfort at the cost of Privacy?

As the saying goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you”. Google Glass suits this description as it is always available and can take a picture with a simple voice command (“Okay Glass, take a picture”). This allows users to capture spontaneous life moments effortlessly. On the flip side, this raises significant privacy concerns as pictures can taken without one’s consent. If one does not use this device responsibly, one risks being labelled a “Glasshole”. Quite recently, a Google Glass user was assaulted by the patrons who objected against her wearing the device inside the bar. The list of establishments which has banned Google Glass within their premises is growing day by day. The dos and donts for Glass users released by Google is a good first step but it doesn’t solve the problem of privacy violation.

FaceBlock_Image_Google_Glass

Privacy-Aware pictures to the rescue

FaceBlock takes regular pictures taken by your smartphone or Google Glass as input and converts it into privacy-aware pictures. This output is generated by using a combination of Face Detection and Face Recognition algorithms. By using FaceBlock, a user can take a picture of herself and specify her policy/rule regarding pictures taken by others (in this case ‘obscure my face in pictures from strangers’). The application would automatically generate a face identifier for this picture. The identifier is a mathematical representation of the image. To learn more about the working on FaceBlock, you should watch the following video.

Using Bluetooth, FaceBlock can automatically detect and share this policy with Glass users near by. After receiving this face identifier from a nearby user, the following post processing steps happen on Glass as shown in the images.

FaceBlock_Image_Eigen_UncheckFaceBlock_Image_Eigen_CheckFaceBlock_Image_Blur

What promises does it hold?

FaceBlock is a proof of concept implementation of a system that can create privacy-aware pictures using smart devices. The pervasiveness of privacy-aware pictures could be a right step towards balancing privacy needs and comfort afforded by technology. Thus, we can get the best out of Wearable Technology without being oblivious about the privacy of those around you.

FaceBlock is part of the efforts of Ebiquity and SID in building systems for preserving user privacy on mobile devices. For more details, visit http://face-block.me

Tutorials by Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research students,1-5 Wed 6/12

June 10th, 2013, by Tim Finin, posted in Multicore Computation Center

logo

UMBC's Center for Hybrid Multicore Productivity Research, an NSF Industry & University Cooperative Research Center is holding its Industry Advisory Board meeting at UMBC 12-14 June. Students from UMBC and UCSD will present tutorials on a number of the technologies underlying ongoing CHMPR projects in a session from 1:00-5:00 on Wednesday June 12 in ITE 456. The tutorial session is free and open to the public.

  • 3-D Printing – Timothy Blattner (UMBC)
  • Semantic Table Information – Varish Mulwad (UMBC)
  • Social Media Elastic Search – Oleg Aulov (UMBC)
  • Machine Learning for Social Media – Han Dong (UMBC)
  • Virtual World Interactions – Erik Hill (UCSD)

Directions and parking information is available here.

Three ebiquity student posters at the 2012 GHC

October 5th, 2012, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, GENERAL

Three Ph.D. students from the ebiquity lab have posters at the ACM Student Research Competition and General Poster Session of the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference. The GHC conference is the largest technical conference for women in computing and results in collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for junior women and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. Conference presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industry, academia and government. Top researchers present their work while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields.

The three ebiquity lab students with posters this year are:

Automation of Cloud Services lifecycle by using Semantic technologies,
Karuna Panda Joshi

We have developed a new framework for automating the configuration, negotiation and procurement of services in a cloud computing environment using semantic web technologies.We have developed detailed Ontologies for the framework. We have designed a prototype, called Smart Cloud Services, which is based on this framework and also incorporates NIST’s policies on cloud computing. This prototype is integrated with different cloud platforms like Eucalyptus and VCL.

A Knowledge-Based Approach To Intrusion Detection Modeling,
M. Lisa Mathews

Current state of the art intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) are signature-based systems that detect threats and vulnerabilities by cross-referencing the threat/vulnerability signatures in their databases. These systems are incapable of taking advantage of heterogeneous data sources for analysis of system activities for threat detection. This work presents a situation-aware intrusion detection model that integrates these heterogeneous data sources and builds a semantically rich knowledge-base to detect cyber threats/vulnerabilities.

Unsupervised Coreference Resolution for FOAF Instances,
Jennifer Alexander Sleeman

Coreference Resolution determines when two entity descriptions represent the same real world entity. Friend of a Friend (FOAF) is an ontology about people and their social networks. Currently there is not a way to easily recognize when two FOAF instances represent the same entity. Existing techniques that use supervised learning typically do not support incremental processing. I present an unsupervised approach that supports both heterogeneous data and incremental online processing.

Akshaya Iyengar (MS 2011) on Wikipedia

December 24th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, UMBC

It’s very nice to see ebiquity alumna Akshaya Iyengar (MS, 2011) helping Wikipedia during its fund raising campaign. If you visit Wikipedia you might see her gracing a page you get, as I did just a minutes ago. See this screenshot and read her statement on why she has been donating to Wikipedia here. Her generosity has inspired me to contribute also.

Ten years of words from ebiquity papers

September 16th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, NLP, Semantic Web

Here’s a word cloud that visualizes the 200 most significant words extracted from over 400 papers from our research group over the past ten years. Significance was estimated by tf-idf where the idf data is from a collection of newswire articles (thanks Paul!). The word cloud was created with Wordle.

DARPA uses computer game to learn anti-submarine warfare tactics

April 5th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in AI, GAIM, Machine Learning

DARPA is developing a new component to track “quiet submarines” to be part of the Navy’s Anti Submarine Warfare toolkit and is using a software game to collect effective strategies for its use.

“Before autonomous software is developed for ACTUV’s computers, DARPA needs to determine what approaches and methods are most effective. To gather information from a broad spectrum of users, ACTUV has been integrated into the Dangerous Waters™ game. DARPA is offering this new ACTUV Tactics Simulator for free public download.

This software has been written to simulate actual evasion techniques used by submarines, challenging each player to track them successfully. Your tracking vessel is not the only ship at sea, so you’ll need to safely navigate among commercial shipping traffic as you attempt to track the submarine, whose driver has some tricks up his sleeve. You will earn points as you complete mission objectives, and will have the opportunity to see how you rank against the competition on DARPA’s leaderboard page. You can also share your experiences and insights from playing the simulator with others.”

This is a kind of crowdsourcing — leveraging the experiences of a large number of people playing a game. Applying various kinds of machine learning algorithms to the simulator data could be an effective way to train an autonomous tool for this task.

Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference

February 7th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, UMBC

UMBC, SAIC, the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Tech Council of Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development have joined to hold the Maryland Cyber Challenge and Conference on October 21-22, 2001. The event is designed to increase cyber awareness as a career choice in Maryland, improve the appreciation for cyber oriented curriculum in college and high schools, and convey cyber defense as a sport to increase interest in careers involving cyber security.

The competition will be divided into high school, collegiate and professional divisions. Qualifying rounds take place over the Internet between April and August 2011 using SAIC's Cyber Network Exercise System (CyberNEXS), a scalable training, exercise and certification system.  The top eight teams in each division will meet at the MDC3 event in October for the final round followed by an award ceremony at UMBC. MDC3 participants will also be able to learn from and network with other cybersecurity professionals, researchers, and scholars at the conference, which will include presentations, a career fair and a vendor exhibition.

For more information see this press release and the SAIC MDC3 site.

Computer Science lecturer position available at UMBC

February 5th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in UMBC

The UMBC CSEE Department invites applications for a non-tenure track, full-time lecturer position to teach a variety of undergraduate computer science courses. Both a demonstrated ability to teach such courses and a strong interest in teaching undergraduates are essential. Applicants must have, or be about to receive, an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Computer Science or a related discipline. Applications should be submitted by 15 March 2011 and the position will start on 23 August 2011.

UMBC to host Maryland FIRST Lego League championship

February 2nd, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in AI, UMBC

Lego RobotUMBC will host the 2011 FIRST Lego League Maryland State Championship on Saturday February 26 in the UMBC Retriever Activities Center.

FIRST Lego League (FLL) an international competition for elementary and middle school students that is run by the FIRST organization with support by Lego. FLL teams use Lego Mindstorms kits to build small autonomous robots built with a limited number of sensors and motors that complete to perform predefined challenge given tasks.

"Guided by adult mentors and their own imaginations, FLL students solve real-world engineering challenges, develop important life skills, and learn to make positive contributions to society. FLL provides students age 9-14 with an opportunity to challenge their math and science skills in an internationally recognized competitive environment. FLL combines a hands-on, interactive robotics program with a sports-like atmosphere. Teams of up to 10 players focus on team building, problem solving, creativity, and analytical thinking to develop a well thought out solution to a problem currently facing the world – the Challenge."

The UMBC organizers, led by UMBC Mechanical Engineering Professor Anne Spence, need volunteers from the UMBC community to help on the tournament day as well as to help set up in on Friday. If you are interested in helping please register online. Volunteering to help in the Maryland FLL championship is a great way to help engage young people in science and technology and have some fun doing it.

UMBC 2nd in Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship

December 30th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in UMBC

Alan Sherman reports that “UMBC advances to Final Four of College Chess, placing 2nd at 2010 Pan-Am Intercollegiate, after losing to arch rival UTD in close, hard-fought match last evening in Milwaukee. 28 teams competed in this six-round team Swiss event, including Stanford, Yale, Univ of Chicago, Univ. of Toronto.” The top four teams are UT Dallas, UMBC, UT Brownsville and Texas Tech. See here for the final standings of all 28 teams.

Tech Council of MD CyberMaryland Forum, Wed AM 12/08/2010

December 3rd, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Security, UMBC

The Tech Council of Maryland is the state’s largest technology trade association and has more than 500 members. It is sponsoring a series of meetings on cyber security:

“Understanding that the conversation about cyber security needs to continue among all stakeholders, the Tech Council of Maryland is moving its CyberMaryland Forum throughout the state. The Forum is open to anyone with an interest in the cyber security industry.”

The next CyberMaryland Form meeting will be held this coming Wednesday morning at UMBC:

“The next meeting of the CyberMaryland Forum will be held on Wednesday December 8, 2010 from 8:30 to 11:30 am at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Our content will cover the latest developments in the state’s initiative to be the “Epicenter for Information Security and Innovation”, the development of the UMBC/Northrop Grumman Cyber Incubator program to help grow fledgling cyber security companies and other hot topics in the cyber security industry. To learn more about the CyberMaryland Forum, contact Mark Glazer at 240-243-4045 or mglazer@techcouncilmd.com.

The Tech council encourages UMBC faculty, staff and students to participate and is waiving the registration fee for the UMBC community. The meeting will be held in the main conference room at UMBC’s South Campus Technology Center at 1450 South Rolling Road.

Chinese Tianhe-1A is fastest supercomputer

October 28th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in High performance computing, Multicore Computation Center

Tianhe-1AChina’s Tianhe-1A is being recognized as the world’s fastest supercomputer. It has 7168 NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and achieved a Linpack score of 2.507 petaflops, a 40% speedup over Oak Ridge National Lab’s Jaguar, the previous top machine. Today’s WSJ has an article,

“Supercomputers are massive machines that help tackle the toughest scientific problems, including simulating commercial products like new drugs as well as defense-related applications such as weapons design and breaking codes. The field has long been led by U.S. technology companies and national laboratories, which operate systems that have consistently topped lists of the fastest machines in the world.

But Nvidia says the new system in Tianjin—which is being formally announced Thursday at an event in China—was able to reach 2.5 petaflops. That is a measure of calculating speed ordinarily translated into a thousand trillion operations per second. It is more than 40% higher than the mark set last June by a system called Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that previously stood at No. 1 on a twice-yearly ranking of the 500 fastest supercomputers.”

The NYT and HPCwire also have good overview articles. The HPC article points out that the Tianhe-1A has a relatively low Linpack efficiency compaed to the Jaguar.

“Although the Linpack performance is a stunning 2.5 petaflops, the system left a lot of potential FLOPS in the machine. Its peak performance is 4.7 petaflops, yielding a Linpack efficiency of just over 50 percent. To date, this is a rather typical Linpack yield for GPGPU-accelerated supers. Because the GPUs are stuck on the relatively slow PCIe bus, the overhead of sending calculations to the graphics processors chews up quite a few cycles on both the CPUs and GPUs. By contrast, the CPU-only Jaguar has a Linpack/peak efficiency of 75 percent. Even so, Tianhe-1A draws just 4 megawatts of power, while Jaguar uses nearly 7 megawatts and yields 30 percent less Linpack.

The (unofficial) “official” list of the fastest supercomputers is TOP500 which seems to be inaccessible at the moment, due no doubt to the heavy load caused by the news stories above. The TOP500 list is due for a refresh next month.

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