Nirenburg: Cognitive Architecture for Simulating Bodies and Minds, 2/18

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

A Cognitive Architecture for
Simulating Bodies and Minds

Professor Sergei Nirenburg
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1:00-2:15pm Friday, 18 February 2011, ITE 227, UMBC

This talk is an overview of a cognitive architecture that supports the creation and deployment of intelligent agents capable of simulating human-like abilities. The agents, have a simulated mind and may also be supplied with a simulated body. These agents are intended to operate as members of multi-agent teams featuring both artificial and human agents. The agent architecture and its underlying knowledge resources and processors are being developed in a sufficiently generic way to support a variety of applications. In this talk we briefly describe the architecture and two proof-of-concept application systems we have developed within it: the Maryland Virtual Patient (MVP) system for training medical personnel and the CLinician’s ADvisor (CLAD).We organize the discussion around four specific aspects of agent capabilities implemented in MVP and CLAD: physiological simulation, knowledge management and learning, decision-making and language processing.

This is joint work with Marjorie McShane and Stephen Beale, with contributions from Jesse English, Ben Johnson, Bryan Wilkinson and Roberta Catizone.

Sergei Nirenburg is Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering of UMBC and Director of its Institute for Language and Information Technologies (ILIT). He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Nirenburg has written or edited seven books and has published over 180 refereed articles in various areas of computational linguistics and artificial intelligence. His research interests cover a variety of topics in AI, cognitive modeling and natural language processing (machine translation, computational semantics, computational lexicography, natural language analysis and generation, knowledge acquisition and intelligent interfaces). In 1987-96 he served as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Translation. He is a member of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics (ICCL). He has founded and has been Steering Committee Chair (1985-2007) of a series of 11 scientific conferences on theoretical and methodological issues in machine translation.

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CWIT Bits and Bytes

UMBC Center for Women and Information TechnologyThe UMBC Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) will hold the second Bits & Bytes event on February 20-21, 2011 for academically talented young women who are juniors in high school and excel in math and science. This year's event is sponsored by Northrop Grumman and is intended to engage local high school girls in the college atmosphere and expose them to the possibilities open to them in Engineering or IT majors in college.

Along with in-depth exposure to life as a college student and UMBC as an institution, the students will participate in an Engineering or IT design competition and will interact with current college students involved in the CWIT Scholars Program, including staying overnight in a residence hall on campus and attending a college class with one of the CWIT students.

Volunteer for the MD FIRST Lego League championship

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

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."

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.

Luebke: GPU Computing: Past, Present and Future, 1pm Fri Feb 4, ITE227

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

GPU Computing: Past, Present, and Future

Dr. David Luebke
Director of Research, NVIDIA Corporation

1:00-2:15pm Friday, 4 February 2011, ITE 227

Modern GPUs have outgrown their graphics heritage in many ways to emerge as the world's most successful parallel computing architecture. The GPUs that consumers buy to play video games provide a level of massively parallel computation in a single chip that was once the preserve of supercomputers. The raw computational horsepower of these chips has expanded their reach well beyond graphics. Today's GPUs not only render video game frames, they also accelerate astrophysics, video transcoding, image processing, protein folding, seismic exploration, computational finance, radioastronomy, heart surgery, self-driving cars – the list goes on and on.

When thinking about the future of GPUs it is important to reflect on the past. How did this peripheral grow into a processing powerhouse found everywhere from medical clinics to radiotelescopes to supercomputers? Why the graphics card and not the modem, or the mouse? Have GPUs really outgrown graphics and will they thus evolve into pure HPC processors? (hint: no)

This talk is intended as a sort of "state of the union" for GPU computing. I'll briefly cover the dual heritage of GPUs, both in terms of supercomputing and the evolution of fixed function graphics pipelines. I'll discuss "computational graphics", the evolution of graphics itself into a general-purpose computational problem, and how that impacts GPU design and GPU computing. Finally I'll describe the important problems and research topics facing GPU computing practitioners and researchers.

David Luebke helped found NVIDIA Research in 2006 after eight years on the faculty of the University of Virginia. Luebke received his Ph.D. under Fred Brooks at the University of North Carolina in 1998. His principal research interests are GPU computing and real-time computer graphics. Luebke's honors include the NVIDIA Distinguished Inventor award, the NSF CAREER and DOE Early Career PI awards, and the ACM Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics "Test of Time Award". Dr. Luebke has co-authored a book, a SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater piece, a major museum exhibit visited by over 110,000 people, and dozens of papers, articles, chapters, and patents.

CSEE grad student documentary film: LEVÉ HAITI

Leve HaitiHuguens Jean, '03, '11, Ph.D., electrical engineering, and Clifford Muse '11, information systems, returned to Haiti in March 2010, after the devastating January earthquake, to fulfill their grandfather's last request of them. As he was dying of cancer, he asked that at his funeral they celebrate his life and "find the joy." "I had no idea what that meant until we encountered these people in Haiti," said Jean, "These images of life continuing on."

The brothers missed their grandfather's funeral when the earthquake made travel to Port-au-Prince impossible, but they resolved to find a way to honor his memory. The new documentary film Lift Up," co-directed by Jean and UMBC alumnus Philip Knowlton, records their journey back home.

The film will be screened at 8:00pm this on Thursday January 27 in the UMBC Commons Skylight room. Admission is free.

Guidelines for smart grid cybersecurity, 2/15/2011

The North American electric power system has been called the world's largest interconnected machine and is a key part of our national infrastructure. The power grid is evolving to better exploit modern information technology and become more integrated with our cyber infrastructure. This presents unprecedented opportunities for enhanced management and efficiency but also introduces vulnerabilities for intrusions, cascading disruptions, malicious attacks, inappropriate manipulations and other threats. Similar issues are foreseen for other cyber-physical infrastructure systems including industrial control systems, transportation, water, natural gas and waste disposal.

A one-day Smart Grid Cyber Security Conference will be held at UMBC on February 15, hosted by the UMBC Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department and Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator. The conference will be a comprehensive presentation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding an Inter-agency Report 7628 (NISTIR 7628) named Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security which is a critically important document for guiding government, regulatory organizations, industry and academia on Smart Grid cybersecurity. This regional outreach conference is valuable to any organization that is planning, integrating, executing or developing cyber technology for the Smart Grid.

The conference is free, but participants are asked to register in advance to help us organize for the correct number of participants.

A full copy of the 600 page report is available here.

Palanivel Kodeswaran dissertation defense, 10am 1/31/11


Palanivel Kodeswaran will defend his Ph.D. dissertation, "On the use of context and policies in declarative networked systems", at 10:00am on Monday, 31 January in ITE 325. The research was directed by Professor Anupan Joshi. The defense is open to the public.

Abstract: Managing complex networks while ensuring that certain high level goals such as security are met is a complicated process. This is evidenced by the recent Internet outages caused by operators misconfiguring BGP routers. Clearly, there is a growing need to separate the high level goals/policies from the low level mechanisms that implement the various services. We propose a declarative framework for specifying and enforcing high level policies in networks. The declarative framework offers flexibility in terms of specifying the higher level goals rather than focusing on the lower level mechanisms employed in the implementation, and robustness in terms of recovering from failure. One of the key building blocks of our framework is to allow applications to expose their semantics, thereby allowing the underlying network to exploit the semantics and provide better-than-best-effort service where possible. Our framework employs semantic web languages such as OWL and RDF to formally express application and network specifications, and thereby leverages the inherent reasoning and conflict resolution capabilities of these languages. Once the applications and networks are formally specified in our framework, operators can write adaptation policies to jointly adapt the application and network layers in response to changing network conditions. Our experiments with video over wireless show that the joint adaptation provides higher performance compared to no adaptation as well as application/network layer alone adaptation. Furthermore, the adaptation policies are easy to express in our framework and can be dynamically changed at run time. We also show how our framework can be used to automatically configure BGP routers. High level organizational routing policies can be captured in our framework through appropriate ontological specifications. These specifications which can then be checked for correctness are automatically compiled into appropriate low level BGP configurations by our framework and installed on the routers. Furthermore, the logical basis of our specifications enables reasoning, and routers can engage in an argumentation with their neighbors to diagnose and recover from routing misconfigurations through policy controlled reconfigurations. In cases where the argumentation protocol does not converge or the reconfiguration needed is not permitted by policy, the network administrator is alerted along with a log of the argumentation protocol executed so far, helping in isolating the location and cause of failure.

Global Game Jam at UMBC, 28-30 January


2011 Global Game Jam

UMBC will be the Baltimore host site for the 2011 Global Game Jam, an international computer game making festival taking place this coming weekend, January 28th-30th. This is a 48 hour event, where teams from around the globe work to each develop a complete game over one weekend. The first year had 54 sites in 23 countries. Last year, there were 124 sites in 34 countries. The Baltimore site is open to participants at all skill levels, and it is not necessary to be a UMBC student to register. Thanks to generous support by Next Century there is no registration fee for the UMBC site. Participation will be limited to the first 40 registrants.

The jam will start at 5:00pm on Friday 28 January in the UMBC GAIM Lab, ECS room 005a. At that time, the theme for this year's games will be announced, and we'll brainstorm game ideas and form into teams. There is no need to come as a team: each individual has an equal chance to pitch their game ideas, and you can join the team whose game you like best. Teams will have until 3:00pm on Sunday 30 January to develop their games. We'll have demos of each game and selection of local awards, wrapping up by 5:00pm Sunday.

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