faculty research

Emily Whiting at TED-x-BeaconStreet

TEDxBeaconStreet gathers a group of thought leaders from a variety of fields to share their intriguing, actionable ideas. This November, Assistant Professor Emily Whiting spoke about her work in the emerging field of computational fabrication. 3D printers are revolutionizing the manufacturing and design industry, allowing us to create shapes of astounding complexity and precision. Emily Whiting explains that the power of digital fabrication goes beyond looks; an untapped potential exists to design not just the shape, but the physical behavior of 3D printed objects. The key is the unprecedented ability to create intricate, hidden interior structures. Prof. Whiting describes how computational methods can exploit fundamental principles of physics to produce these structures, changing the way we design for the world of digital fabrication and helping us re-imagine everyday objects.

Researchers Create New Intelligent Software

Computer scientists at Dartmouth have created artificial intelligence software that uses photos, instead of just text, to locate documents on the Internet, reports The Economic Times.

“By studying results from text-based image search engines, the software recognizes the pixels associated with a search phrase and applies them to other photos without tags or captions, locating them more accurately,” the newspaper explains .

Lorenzo Torresani, an associate professor of computer science and co-author of the study, says that “modern machine vision systems are accurate and efficient enough to make effective use of the information contained in image pixels to improve document search.”

Screens Talking to Cameras without You Knowing it

Graduate students Tianxing Li, Chuankai An, and Professors Andrew Campbell and Xia Zhou are awarded the Best Paper Award at ACM VLCS'14 for their work on advancing screen-to-camera communication.

We are all familiar with QRCodes: a coded image shown on the screen (e.g., smartphone screens, TVs), which can then be captured by a phone camera and translated into data.

The new system called HiLight removes the need of showing any coded images like QRCode while still enabling data transmissions between screens and cameras. HiLight encodes data into pixel color intensity changes, which human eyes cannot see yet cameras can.

By creating such a hidden communication channel, HiLight opens up new opportunities for smart devices (e.g., smartphones, smart glass) to interact with each other, enabling new interaction design and context-aware applications.

Check out HiLight, other projects and research opportunities in the newly formed DartNets Lab co-directed by Professors Xia Zhou and Andrew Campbell.

 

"Information Security War Room" at USENIX Security

Sergey Bratus and Felix 'FX' Lindner delivered a joint invited talk at this year's USENIX Security Conference. This premier conference brings together attendees from academia, industry, and government.

The talk entitled "Information Security War Room" examined the state of IT security, the implications of the ongoing computer insecurity epidemic for national security and "cyberwarfare", the current misguided attempts of various governments to regulate research into computer attacks, and the strategic options the computer security community has left to revert the current trend of ubiquitous insecurity, and to make practical progress towards computers we could finally trust.

The talk received considerable attention; slides posted online got over 30,000 download requests to date.

Felix and Sergey also co-chaired the 8th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies, at which a range of research projects was presented, from the Internet routing backbone and US highway traffic control infrastructure to security concerns in mobile phones and embedded devices such as computer mice, thumb drives, and other peripheral devices.

CS students phone in their feelings

Much of the stress and strain of student life remains hidden. The StudentLife study led by Professor Andrew Campbell built a smartphone sensing app that 48 computer science students used over 10 weeks of the spring term 2013. It revealed a number of interesting findings.  Researchers found that objective sensing data from the students' phones significantly correlated with academic performance and mental-health, such as, grades, GPA, stress, loneliness, depression and flourishing.

The study captured behavioral trends across the Dartmouth term. For example, students returned from spring break feeling good about themselves, relaxed (i.e., low stress levels), sleeping well and going to the gym regularly. That all changed once the Dartmouth term picked up speed toward midterm and finals, as shown in the plot.

Prof Sean Smith receives best paper of 2014 award

In their recently published 2014 Yearbook, the International Medical Informatics Association named Prof Sean Smith's Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association paper one of the best papers of 2014.  In that paper (http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~sws/pubs/sk13.pdf), Sean and Prof Ross Koppel (https://sociology.sas.upenn.edu/r_koppel)  of Penn built a taxonomy of usability problems in health IT.

Lorenzo Torresani wins the Google Faculty Research Award

Our own Lorenzo Torresani has won the Google Faculty Research Award. Dr. Torresani aims to use deep learning (i.e., learning of deep networks) to discover compact representations of video that work well for classifying human pose dynamics.

Dr. Torresani proposed to learn semantic primitives to represent human actions in video. The primitives are learned by training deep convolutional neural networks to classify different human pose dynamics. Such learned representation promises to significantly improve the accuracy of video understanding applications, including action recognition, semantic segmentation of video, as well as search and retrieval.

The technical novelty of the approach is twofold:

Prof. Bratus Tackles Ubiquitous Internet Insecurity

Dartmouth’s Sergey Bratus is on a mission to protect the Internet from cyber attacks and other criminal enterprises. It’s a big job.

Among his concerns about what he calls the “ubiquitous Internet insecurity” are credit card and identity theft and other misuses of the information highway. “We also hear reports of Internet infringement by repressive regimes targeting computers and smartphones of dissidents and protesters across the world,” says Bratus, a research assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science.

Read full Dartmouth Now article

Dartmouth IT Security Institute Gets New Leadership

Office of Public Affairs

Professor of Computer Science Sean Smith is assuming the leadership of Dartmouth’s Institute for Security, Technology, and Society (ISTS). The institute is dedicated to pursuing research and education to advance information security and privacy throughout society.

The torch has been passed to him by Denise Anthony, associate professor of sociology and director of ISTS since 2008. “I can move on from my position as director knowing that it is in Sean’s capable hands,” says Anthony. “Sean is a leading thinker in computer security and privacy research, and he is also an excellent teacher and collaborator who embodies the mission of ISTS.”

Anthony is embarking on a nine-month sabbatical and will continue to be involved in collaborative research projects through ISTS focused on privacy and healthcare IT as well as efforts to promote STEM education and career opportunities for women and minorities.

Algorithm: A Ninth-Century Term for 21st-Century Computing

Joseph Blumberg

Computer scientist Thomas Cormen still remembers that he “only got an A minus” in his algorithms course at Princeton. This minor blemish on his academic record didn’t stop Cormen, a New Yorker, from graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Curiously, it turns out that much of his professional life has revolved around the science of algorithms.

Whether we know it or not, our lives revolve around algorithms. Much of what we do today depends on computers, and algorithms are the step-by-step sets of instructions a computer must follow in order to do its job.

“Algorithms are at the core of all things digital,” says Cormen, a professor and chair of Dartmouth’s Department of Computer Science. “They run on your laptop, your smartphone, your GPS device, and in systems imbedded in your car, your microwave oven—everywhere.”

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