Noteworthy achievements 2012-2013

Bren School faculty, students and research initiatives are some of the most well regarded successes on the UC Irvine campus. We are pleased to announce the following noteworthy achievements.

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Awards, grants and other honors can be sent to to be considered for publication.


Papers by LUCI lab faculty, students lauded at UbiComp 2013

photo: Don Patterson


Associate professor Don Patterson and fellow authors of the research paper “Inferring High-Level Behavior from Low-Level Sensors” were presented the 10 Year Impact Award at the ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2013), held September 8-12 in Zurich, Switzerland.

According to the award committee, the paper, first presented at UbiComp 2003, “is an excellent example of how one can learn very useful context information from simple GPS traces, and it formed the basis for today's thriving smart cities/smart transportation work. It is a nice example of how higher order information can be gleaned from everyday sensing — which is an important thread of work at Ubicomp and one of the enduring methods.”

A UbiComp 2013 best paper award also was given to graduate students Lynn Dombrowski, Jed Brubaker and Sen Hirano, and faculty members Melissa Mazmanian and Gillian Hayes — authors of “It takes a network to get dinner: Designing location-based systems to address local food needs.”


Tsudik delivers keynote at IEEE TrustCom-13

photo: Gene Tsudik


Chancellor’s Professor Gene Tsudik gave the keynote talk “Secure and Minimal Architecture for Remote Attestation of Embedded Devices” at the 12th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications (IEEE TrustCom-13), held July 16-18 in Melbourne, Australia.

The annual conference brings together researchers and practitioners working on trusted computing and communications, and provides a forum to present and discuss emerging ideas and trends in this highly challenging research field.

Tsudik’s research interests include many topics in security, privacy and applied cryptography. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Information and Systems Security (TISSEC).


Baldi selected as ISCB Fellow

photo:  Pierre Baldi


The International Society for Computational Biology has selected Chancellor’s Professor Pierre Baldi as an ISCB Fellow.

The ISCB Fellows program honors members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding contributions to the fields of computational biology and bioinformatics. The 2013 fellows were recognized at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology conference, held July 21-23 in Berlin.

Baldi, who directs the Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics at UC Irvine, also is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

His research focuses on understanding biological and artificial intelligence, through the development of machine learning and data mining approaches to study fundamental problems in chemo- and bio-informatics, systems biology, and computational neuroscience. His group has developed databases and software applications for use in numerous biology and chemistry settings, including comparing genomes, predicting protein properties, understanding gene regulation, and screening and designing new drugs.


Ihler receives NSF CAREER Award

photo:  Alexander Ihler


Alexander Ihler, associate professor of computer science, has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his project, “Estimation and Decisions in Graphical Models.” Ihler will receive $442,000 over five years for his CAREER project, which seeks to develop a new framework for exact and approximate methods for advanced computational reasoning problems. It extends the abilities of intelligent systems to reasoning and decision-making under uncertainty, and it applies and tests these methods on a variety of application domains, including sensor networks and computer vision.

The CAREER program is the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Ihler joined the UC Irvine faculty in 2007. His research focuses on artificial intelligence and machine learning, specifically on statistical methods for learning from data and on approximate inference techniques for graphical models. Applications of his work include data mining and information fusion in sensor networks, computer vision and image processing, and computational biology.


Smyth serves as program chair for UAI 2013

photo:  Padhraic Smyth


Computer science professor Padhraic Smyth served as program chair for the 29th Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI 2013), held July 11-15 in Bellevue, Wash. Sponsored by Microsoft Research, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Toyota and IBM, UAI is the leading international conference on the use of probabilistic models and algorithms in artificial intelligence and machine learning. More than 240 papers were submitted to the conference; 73 were accepted for presentation at the meeting, after extensive peer review by a program committee of over 200 researchers in the area. Topics included approximate inference algorithms, machine learning methods, causal models, Markov decision processes, and applications in medical diagnosis, biology and text analysis.


Tomlinson’s work contributes to UCI’s STARS gold rating

photo: Bill Tomlinson


UC Irvine has received the prestigious STARS gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, in part due to informatics professor Bill Tomlinson’s efforts. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages responsible stewardship of Earth's resources in all aspects of higher education.

Over the past several years Tomlinson, who heads the Social Code Group, and his team have undertaken a series of information technology projects — e.g., Software Engineering for Sustainability; Games, Education, and Sustainability; and Resource Sharing — that have contributed to the STARS gold rating.

Tomlinson’s 2010 MIT Press book, “Greening through IT,” explores the ideas behind these projects, which have been presented at the National Science Foundation’s Workshop on the Role of Information Sciences and Engineering in Sustainability and at the National Academies’ Workshop on Innovation in Computing and Information Technology for Sustainability.


Brock awarded Data Science for Social Good fellowship

photo: John Brock


Computer science Ph.D. student John Brock is among three dozen fellows taking part in the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good program this summer.

The highly selective program — founded by Google chairman Eric Schmidt and the University of Chicago’s Rayid Ghani — allows fellows to work closely with governments and nonprofits to take on real-world challenges in such areas as education, health, energy and transportation. From June through August, they will apply their coding, machine learning and quantitative skills, collaborate in teams, and learn from mentors in industry, academia and the Obama campaign.

The 36 fellows — a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from all over the world — were selected from a pool of 550 applicants.

Brock, who last fall received the inaugural Butterworth Recruitment Fellowship from the Bren School, is primarily interested in applied machine learning, computing in developing countries and crisis informatics.


Mazmanian receives early career faculty award from Intel

photo: Melissa Mazmanian


Assistant professor of informatics Melissa Mazmanian has been awarded $40,000 as part of the 2013 Intel Early Career Faculty Honor Program (ECFHP). The ECFHP was created to help Intel connect with the best and brightest early career faculty members at top universities around the world. The award supports recipients’ academic research and allows them to travel to Intel and/or Intel-sponsored events in order to network and collaborate with the company’s researchers.

Mazmanian’s research interests revolve around the experience of communication technologies as used in-practice within organizational and personal contexts. She has conducted a variety of ethnographic and qualitative research projects on the individual experience and social dynamics that emerge when people adapt to using wireless modes of communication.


Gillen joins NIH Center for Scientific Review study section

photo: Dan Gillen


Associate professor of statistics Dan Gillen has been appointed to a six-year term as a member of the Biostatistical Methods and Research Design (BMRD) Study Section, a division of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review.

Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. The BMRD Study Section reviews applications focused on the development and application of statistical methodology for biomedical studies.

Gillen’s research focuses primarily on the development of statistical methodology for censored survival data and group sequential methods for the design and analysis of clinical trials. He serves as associate editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association and the Journal of Statistical Software, and is past president of the Western North American Region of the International Biometrics Society.



Tsudik awarded Astor Visiting Lecturership

photo: Gene Tsudik


Computer science professor Gene Tsudik in May gave a talk on “Security and Privacy in Named-Data Networking” at the University of Oxford as an Astor Visiting Lecturer. Astor Visiting Lecturerships provide funding for weeklong visits by distinguished academics from the United States to Oxford. Only one per year is granted in the area of computer science.

Tsudik currently serves as Director of Secure Computing and Networking Center (SCONCE) and Director of the Networked Systems (NetSys) Graduate Program at UC Irvine. Since 2009, he has been the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Information and Systems Security (TISSEC).


CS team receives ACM ICMR Best Paper Award

photo: Dmitri Kalashnikov


photo: Sharad Mehrotra


photo: Liyan Zhang


Associate adjunct professor of computer science Dmitri Kalashnikov, computer science professor Sharad Mehrotra and Ph.D. student Liyan Zhang received a Best Paper Award at the 2013 ACM International Conference on Multimedia Retrieval. Their paper, “A Unified Framework for Context Assisted Face Clustering,” develops a novel context-based methodology for improving the quality of automatic face clusters — a key component for face tagging and image management. The proposed framework is capable of fusing heterogeneous contextual features and self-tunes to a given image album by leveraging bootstrapping ideas. ACM ICMR 2013, held April 16-19 in Dallas, is a top international conference on multimedia retrieval.


Smyth presents talk at SIAM International Conference on Data Mining

photo: Padhraic Smyth


Computer science professor Padhraic Smyth gave an invited plenary talk on “Modeling Individual-Level Data in the 21st Century” at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) International Conference on Data Mining. Considered one of the major international conferences in the field of data mining, the May 2-4 event in Austin, Texas, drew leading academic and industry researchers from North America, Europe and Asia. Smyth's talk described how we, in recent decades, have progressed from collecting relatively simple data about individuals (such as age and address) to much more detailed behavioral data from both the digital world (web browsing and searches, social media data, email), as well as the physical world (fitness, activity and sleep monitoring devices). In his talk, Smyth outlined what new algorithmic techniques will be required to analyze such data and how this type of analysis can benefit individuals in a variety of ways, including health monitoring and personal information management.


NSF fellowship awarded to 1st-year Ph.D. student

photo: Kristin Roher


Ph.D. student Kristin Roher has been awarded a 2013 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). She is among 32 UC Irvine students to have received the fellowship this year.

The highly prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is designed to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States. It provides outstanding graduate students with three years of support, including a $30,000 annual stipend.

Roher’s research goal is to contribute to the effort of aiding developing societies in becoming more environmentally sustainable through IT interventions — “greening through IT” — in hopes that it will help reduce the looming threats of global climate change and other environmental concerns. She is interested in designing technologies that will help software developers build systems that meet stakeholder needs while reducing the environmental impacts brought about by those systems — “Software Engineering for Sustainability.”


Microsoft Research, Google Research and UC Mexus recognize Hayes

photo: Gillian Hayes


Assistant professor of informatics Gillian Hayes has been awarded three grants totaling $110,000 in support of her research on children with autism and on families of high-risk infants.

Most recently Hayes received a 2013 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) award, presented by Microsoft Research, for her project “Empowering Interactive Surfaces with Body-Based Interactions to Provide Step-by-Step Guidance to Children with ASD.” SEIF supports academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices and teaching methods. Hayes’ proposal was one of 16 worldwide this year to receive a $25,000 SEIF award.

In 2012 Hayes received a $60,000 Google Faculty Research Award for her proposal “Providing Privacy-Sensitive Social Support for Families of High-Risk Infants Using Mobile Computing.” Google Research Awards support the work of world-class full-time faculty members at top universities around the world. Additionally, Hayes and co-PI Monica Tentori of CICESE (The Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education) received $25,000 in seed funding from UC Mexus (the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States) for their project “Enriching Interactive Visual Supports with Video Modeling for Children with Autism.”

Hayes is director of the Social & Technological Action Research (STAR) group and director of technology research at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California. Her research focuses on vulnerable populations in their efforts to understand their own data.


Harris, student receive Best Paper Cyber Security

photo: Ian Harris


Associate professor of computer science Ian Harris and his student Zi-Shun Huang received the Best Paper Cyber Security award at the 13th annual IEEE Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (IEEE HST) for “Return-Oriented Vulnerabilities in ARM Executables.” The paper explores detecting security vulnerabilities in ARM processors, the predominant type of processor used in mobile and embedded applications. IEEE HST is the leading international conference addressing the challenges of homeland security technology innovation gaps. It brings together innovators from leading academic, industry, business, Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, and government programs to provide a forum to discuss ideas, concepts, and experimental results. Harris' research interests include functional verification, natural language processing for design automation, and embedded systems security. Huang’s research has a strong focus on security issues and attack/defense on ARM processors.



Richardson receives Retrospective Paper Award

photo: Debra Richardson


Informatics professor Debra Richardson and co-authors Stephanie Leif Aha and T. Owen O'Malley have received a 2013 ACM SIGSOFT Retrospective Paper Award for “Specification-based Test Oracles for Reactive Systems,” which appeared in ICSE ’92: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Software Engineering.

A leader in software engineering research, Richardson inspired much of the work in “specification-based testing,” beginning with her early development of the Partition Analysis Method, which proposed incorporating information from both specification and implementation in an integrated application of verification and testing techniques.


Fowlkes receives NSF CAREER Award

photo: Charless Fowlkes


Charless Fowlkes, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his project, “Combinatorial Inference and Learning for Fusing Recognition and Perceptual Grouping.” The CAREER program is NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty members. Awardees are chosen because they exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Fowlkes will receive more than $500,000 over five years for his CAREER project. His research focuses on computational vision, both in understanding the information processing capabilities of the human visual system and in developing machine vision systems. He also works on developing tools for biological image analysis in order to measure morphology and spatial patterns of gene expression in developing animals.


Assembling complete individual genomes: Xie, Li awarded $662K NIH grant

photo: Xiaohui Xie


photo: Chen Li


Computer science faculty Xiaohui Xie and Chen Li have been awarded a three-year grant of nearly $662,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop new computational tools essential for future advances in sequencing human genomes.

DNA sequencing has become an indispensable tool for basic biomedical research, understanding disease mechanisms and the development of new, increasingly personalized treatments. Current sequencing of an individual’s genome is done by extracting short segments of DNA, randomly sampling those segments and then assembling the hundreds of millions, or even hundreds of billions, of pieces into a whole genome, which remains a costly undertaking. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques, which enable the rapid generation of billions of bases of genes at relatively low cost, pose a significant computational challenge on how to analyze the large amount of sequence data efficiently and accurately.

“Although a number of computational tools have been developed to address this problem, they are insufficient in mapping and studying genome features located within repeat, duplicated and other so-called unmappable regions of genomes,” says Xie.

The primary goal of his NIH-funded research is to develop computational algorithms and open-source software to improve both the efficiency and accuracy of NGS analysis tools and expand the accessibility of those tools to previously understudied regions. This will create a new way of mapping the sequencing to the reference genome, identifying all mapping locations instead of one or only a few. That will be followed by a machine-learning method to resolve ambiguously mapped reads by pooling information from the entire collection of reads.

UCI computer scientists on the project are collaborating with biologists developing NGS assays to study biomedical problems, including Timothy Osborne of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Kyoko Yokomori of the UCI School of Medicine and Ken Cho of UCI’s School of Biological Sciences.

The UCI team’s work to reduce the cost and improve the accuracy of sequencing ultimately may make it possible to create an individual patient’s genome as part of a routine diagnostic procedure.


Meenakshisundaram, Mukherjee receive best paper award at ICVGIP 2012

photo: Gopi Meenakshisundaram


photo: Uddipan Mukherjee


Tweening Boundary Curves of Non-Simple Immersions of a Disk,” by associate professor of computer science Gopi Meenakshisundaram and Ph.D. student Uddipan Mukherjee, won the sole best paper award at the eighth Indian Conference of Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing (ICVGIP) held in Mumbai, India.

Tweening, also known as shape morphing, is an important concept in keyframe animation wherein an initial shape is transformed smoothly into a final shape. The paper introduces a robust tweening algorithm capable of creating smooth transformations between non-simple polygonal shapes that are immersions of a disk. All the intermediate shapes that are generated by the authors’ algorithm are guaranteed to be disk immersions.

Both Meenakshisundaram and Mukherjee are members of UC Irvine’s Interactive Graphics and Visualization lab, also known as iGravi. Meenakshisundaram’s research focuses primarily on topics related to geometry and topology motivated by problems in computer graphics and interactive rendering, medical and biological image processing and visualization. Mukherjee’s research interests include computer graphics, geometry processing, image processing and multimedia.


Enhancing privacy in embedded systems: Tsudik receives grant from Bosch

photo: Gene Tsudik


Bosch Research and Technology Center has awarded computer science professor Gene Tsudik $50,000 to support his efforts to enhance privacy in embedded systems. This grant represents the first partnership between Bosch and UC Irvine.

The term “embedded systems” refers to systems that control specific functions within a larger structure. Embedded systems help control everything from pacemakers, security systems and cell phones to planes, trains and automobiles. Used by the billions in countless applications, these systems have become essential to daily life. As long as they operate safely and effectively, most of us never even think about them.

Tsudik, who also directs the Secure Computing and Networking Center (SCONCE) at UCI, continuously explores ways to increase the security of such systems. Bosch Research and Technology Center — the research arm of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of appliances, automotive components, security systems, medical equipment and many other devices dependent on embedded systems — sought Tsudik’s collaboration in research on embedded systems security.

As more devices use embedded systems, and as these systems increasingly communicate with other equipment, privacy becomes even more challenging and essential. “Communication between embedded systems is like opening a new door,” Tsudik observes. “Once that door is open, you never know who — or what — might come in.”

Through his collaboration with Bosch and his ongoing research, Tsudik seeks to improve security and to maintain integrity of embedded devices in the most efficient manner.


Li, Mehrotra receive DASFAA 10-year Best Paper Award

photo: Chen Li


Sharad Mehrotra


Computer science professors Chen Li and Sharad Mehrotra have won the 2013 DASFAA 10-year Best Paper Award, to be presented by the Database Systems for Advanced Applications at its 18th international conference. The award recognizes the best paper from DASFAA proceedings 10 years prior, based on the criterion that the paper has had the biggest impact (research, products, methodology) over the last decade.

Li and Mehrotra’s 2003 paper, “Efficient Record Linkage in Large Data Sets,” co-authored with Liang Jin (M.S. ’03) describes an efficient and accurate approach to record linkage.

The annual DASFAA international database conference provides a forum for technical presentations and discussions among database researchers, developers and users from academia, business and industry. DASFAA 2013 will be held April in Wuhan, China.

Mehrotra’s current research focuses on building sentient spaces using multimodal sensors, data privacy and data quality. Li’s research interests are in the fields of databases and information retrieval, including search, data-intensive computing, data integration and sharing, data warehouses, data cleansing, and Web information management.

In 2012, Li and Mehrotra won the SIGMOD Test-of-Time Award for their paper, “Executing SQL over Encrypted Data in the Database-Service-Provider Model.” The paper was co-authored by Hakan Hacigumus (M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’04) and IBM collaborator Bala Iyer.


NSF awards $500K grant to Welling, Shahbaba

Max Welling


Babak Shahbaba


The National Science Foundation has awarded computer science professor Max Welling and assistant professor of statistics Babak Shahbaba $500,000 to fund the project "Efficient Bayesian Learning from Stochastic Gradients."

Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is a technique that allows one to draw representative samples from almost any probability distribution. While the MCMC technology has revolutionized the usefulness of Bayesian statistics over the last few decades, it has not been able to scale well to today’s very large data problems. Welling and Shahbaba will examine a new family of MCMC procedures that requires only a few hundred data-cases per update.

"We believe this new class of methods will for the first time unlock the full strength of Bayesian methods for very large datasets," stated Welling and Shahbaba in their NSF proposal. "Due to their highly practical nature, the techniques developed under this grant are likely to gain widespread acceptance across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines as well as in industry."

The grant will enable UC Irvine students to collaborate with students and postdocs from the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol. Research results will be integrated into artificial intelligence and machine learning courses at UCI through class projects.


Johnson elected to IBS executive board

Wesley Johnson


Statistics professor Wesley Johnson has been elected to the International Biometric Society (IBS) executive board. IBS promotes the development and application of statistical and mathematical theory and methods in the biosciences. Members include statisticians, mathematicians, biological scientists and others devoted to interdisciplinary efforts in advancing the collection and interpretation of information in the biosciences.

Johnson’s eclectic research interests include developing Bayesian statistical methods for biostatistical and epidemiologic applications. He is currently involved with collaborative efforts to develop Bayesian nonparametric and semi-parametric methods in survival analysis, longitudinal analysis, analysis of diagnostic outcome data, and joint modeling of survival and longitudinal data.


Nardi, alumna elected to 2013 CHI Academy

Bonnie Nardi


Beki Grinter


SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) has announced that informatics professor Bonnie Nardi and Bren School alumna Beki Grinter (MS ’94 and Ph.D. ’96) have been elected to the 2013 CHI Academy — an honorary group of individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field of human-computer interaction.

SIGCHI is the premier international society for professionals, academics and students who are interested in human-technology and human-computer interaction. CHI Academy members are considered principal leaders whose efforts have shaped the discipline and/or industry, and led the research and/or innovation in HCI. The criteria for election are:

  • cumulative contributions to the field
  • impact on the field through development of new research directions and/or innovations
  • influence on the work of others

Nardi is the fourth Bren School professor elected to the CHI Academy, joining fellow informatics faculty Paul Dourish (2008), Gary Olson (2003) and Judy Olson (2001). The Olsons also were recognized in 2006 with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the most prestigious honor given by SIGCHI. A complete list of the 2013 SIGCHI awardees is available here.

Nardi’s research interests include activity theory, games and social media, interaction design, and society and technology. Her recent books include: “Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method,” written with Tom Boellstorff, Celia Pearce and T.L. Taylor, published in September 2012 by Princeton University Press, and “Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World,” co-edited with Paul M. Leonardi and Jannis Kallinikos, published in January 2013 by Oxford University Press. Grinter is a professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.


FALL 2012

CS professors, students receive SmartGridComm Best Paper Award

photo: Lubomir Bic


photo: Michael Dillencourt


Graduate students Kiyoshi Nakayama and Kyle Benson, along with computer science professors Lubomir Bic and Michael Dillencourt, have received the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications Best Paper Award for “Complete Automation of Future Grid for Optimal Real-Time Distribution of Renewables.”

According to the abstract: “In this paper, a novel distributed control technique, which integrates tie-set graph theory with an intelligent agent system, is presented to distribute renewable energy resources to consumers in a future large-scale power grid connecting with huge amounts of real-time end-use devices on its demand side automatically and perfectly.”

The IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid Communications (SmartGridComm) is the premier conference aimed at developing the Smart Grid, which has become an urgent global priority — promising economic, environmental and societal benefits.


Eppstein receives GD2012 best paper award

46-vertex Halin graph formed from a complete ternary free tree

“Planar Lombardi Drawings for Subcubic Graphs,” authored by computer science professor David Eppstein, has recieved the best paper award in the combinatorial and algorithmic aspects track of the 20th International Symposium on Graph Drawing.

Lombardi drawing is a style of information visualization inspired by the art of Mark Lombardi, who drew social networks in which the nodes and edges represent the players and financial connections in international conspiracies — using a style characterized by curved edges and even node spacing. Eppstein’s paper uses circle packings and hyperbolic geometry to show how to construct Lombardi drawings for every planar graph that has, at most, three edges per node.

Eppstein’s research focuses on many topics in computational geometry and graph algorithms, including: graph drawing and information visualization; dynamic graph algorithms and dynamic closest pair data structures; and mesh generation and optimal triangulation.


Securing the Internet’s next generation: Tsudik receives $95K from Cisco

photo: Gene Tsudik


Cisco Systems has awarded $95,000 to help support the work of computer science professor Gene Tsudik in making the next-generation Internet more secure. An expert in computer security and privacy, Tsudik leads a team that is exploring security advantages and strengthening potential weaknesses of Named-Data Networking (NDN) in preventing denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Such attacks disable their victims by overloading them with communications from “zombies” or “bots” — that is, computers that have already been compromised by hackers for malicious purposes.

NDN aims to replace the current Internet Protocol (IP). Rather than the IP method of assigning names to computers and addresses to their network interfaces, NDN names the content that travels through the network. To provide trust in communicated information, each piece of named content must be signed by its producer.

The current IP-based Internet allows anyone to “talk” to any entity, such as a computer or a router. This opens the door for DoS and attack types. And attacks are not the only problem with today’s Internet. Tsudik says the Internet’s decades-old architecture “was not designed for the kind of communication that takes place over it today: web traffic and rich multimedia communication. It was primarily designed for email and remote terminal access.”

In other words, the Internet is not just threatened by hackers and other miscreants; it is also a victim of its own popularity. Billions of people use it intensively, and cracks are starting to show.

Tsudik is one of a number of experts from dozens of institutions who answered the call from the National Science Foundation to construct a more resilient future Internet architecture. To make that next incarnation safer from attacks (such as DoS), Tsudik and his group at UCI are collaborating with colleagues at the Palo Alto Research Center — where the security team is lead by Ersin Uzun, a former Ph.D. student of Tsudik’s — and UCLA. They are also jointly exploring privacy protection techniques for NDN.


Patterson receives AIJ Prominent Paper Award

photo: Donald Patterson


Informatics associate professor Donald Patterson, with co-authors Lin Liao, Dieter Fox and Henry Kautz, have been recognized with the inaugural AIJ Prominent Paper Award. Their paper, “Learning and inferring transportation routines,” was published in volume 171 (April 2007) of the Artificial Intelligence journal. It introduces a hierarchical Markov model that can learn and infer a user’s daily movements through an urban community, and applies it in an application that helps cognitively-impaired people use public transportation safely.

The recently instituted AIJ Prominent Paper Award recognizes outstanding papers published not more than five years ago in the AI Journal that are exceptional in their significance and impact. Factors considered for the award include: the paper’s influence on a new line of research, whether the paper has made any major theoretical advances, and whether the paper has influenced applications.

Patterson said he and his co-authors have decided to donate their 500 Euro prize — which Google will match 1:1 — to the Alzheimer’s Association, “which is in line with the ideas in the paper.” Patterson’s current research interests focus on context-aware computing and how to make a computer operate appropriately when it leaves the office and moves into the greater world. He is a faculty affiliate of LUCI (Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction).





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