Colloquia Announcements


Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 10:00am, UB230

Mr. Md Nasir Uddin Laskar

Department of Computer Science
University of Miami

will present

Understanding Texture Sensitivity in the Brain Visual System
with Deep Neural Networks

Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained on visual object recognition have shown intriguing ability to predict some response properties of brain visual systems. However, the factors (e.g., if the model is trained or not, receptive field size etc.) and the computations (e.g., convolution, rectification, pooling, normalization etc.) that give rise to such ability are yet to be understood. Considering texture sensitivity as a paradigmatic example, and recent brain experimental data in the second cortical visual area (V2), I will show some qualitative similarities between the CNN model neurons and the brain data across a number of metrics. I will also present a systematic quantification technique that I developed, to select neurons from the CNN layers that best describe the brain experimental data. This research opens the door to answer a long standing research question about correspondence between primate and machine vision.

This is a Department of Computer Science PhD Defense.


Thursday, 5th December 2019, 12:30pm, UB305

Dr. Kuang-Ching Wang

Clemson University

will present

Networking Research in an Era of Convergence

Networking research has played a central role in a broad range of major research pursuits in the last two decades. Networking has been a key driver for advancements from HPC to cloud, from big data to artificial intelligence (AI), from Internet of Things (IOT) to cyber physical systems (CPS), from precision medicine to precision agriculture, and from smart cities to connected communities. Throughout this exciting period, I have been fortunate to participate in a series of national-scale NSF projects aimed at discovering, enabling, and transforming research and stimulating economy across broad science and engineering disciplines. In many ways, our efforts contributed to the now prevalent “convergence” strategy in numerous major NSF and NIH programs. My research group focuses on networking and computer systems research set in application contexts from genomics to health care, transportation, smart power grid, autonomous vehicle, and a broad range of AI projects. The unique research trajectory also helped me appreciate the power of “team science”. In this talk, I will give an overview of my research journey, the impressive collaborations I have had with people in U.S. and globally, and share my thoughts on how networking research will continue to be a core strategy for transformative advances in science, engineering, and our society.


Monday, 2nd December 2019, 11:15am, UB230

Dr. Zhizhong Han

Department of Computer Science
University of Maryland, College Park

will present

Deep Learning based 3D Shape Understanding

Understanding 3D shapes is vital in 3D computer vision, especially as unmanned systems become ever more connected in our life. The overarching goal is to propose intelligent algorithms to help machines to understand the 3D would like what humans can do in various applications, such as classification, recognition, segmentation, shape completion, and shape captioning, et al, which however is still challenging. In this talk, I will present my recent works on 3D shape understanding using novel deep learning models. Specifically, I will introduce how we can leverage supervised or unsupervised methodology to enable deep learning models to learn from 3D shapes in different representations, such as multiple views and point clouds. The introduced deep learning models are discriminative or generative networks, which are designed to finish different tasks in different applications. Based on my experience, I will also present some new directions or methods that would improve the ability of 3D shape understanding.


Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Prof. Liang Liang

School of Architecture
University of Miami

will present

Towards Robust Convolutional Neural Networks for
Malaria Parasite Identification in Thin Blood Smear Images

The detection of malaria is conventionally performed by laboratorians through visually examining blood smear images under a microscope. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have great potential for automated image-based malaria diagnosis without human interaction. However, CNNs could be vulnerable to adversarial noises, which have been demonstrated on some popular image datasets, such as ImageNet: state-of-art CNNs make wrong predictions for input images with adversarial noises. In this study, we developed a CNN for malaria parasite identification, with the goal of improving CNN robustness to adversarial noises.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Monday, 18th November 2019, 11:15am, UB230

Dr. Vanessa Aguiar-Pulido

Weill Cornell Medicine
Cornell University

will present

AI for Data-Driven Knowledge Discovery in Human Disease Research

The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies has ushered in a new era of genetic inquiry, decreasing the economic costs and turnaround time notably. However, with this growth of ‘omic’ data, computational challenges arise. Not only the volume of data is increasing but also the dimensionality, expanding the search space exponentially. As a result, many problems involve such a large set of possible solutions that finding the optimal one in a reasonable amount of time is not feasible. Therefore, developing new approaches for ‘intelligent’ data analysis is necessary. This talk will describe how artificial intelligence has been applied to identify potential genetic risk factors in complex genetic disorders (i.e., those that require genetic predisposition and environmental factors for the patient to develop the disease). Starting from an evolutionary computation-based algorithm for candidate gene analysis, we will move toward a totally unbiased, comprehensive approach that uses machine learning (more specifically, embedded feature selection) in ethnically diverse cohorts. Approaches such as the latter are fundamental to further human disease research in the age of precision medicine.


Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Chris Chung

School of Architecture
University of Miami

will present

RAD: Augmented Reality, Spatial Computing and Architecture

RAD-UM provides resources and expertise for project-based research on the spatial ramifications of embedded technology and ubiquitous computing. The research is premised on the notion that every building or landscape component can be equipped with computational power.Projects at RAD-UM develop models for such digitally enhanced environments to better handle persistent and emerging challenges in the areas of healthcare, building technology and sustainability.The projects are set up for multi-disciplinary collaboration and for potential development in partnership with industry. Computing is migrating from dedicated static appliances to mobile devices, objects of everyday life, and physical environments thanks to increasingly proliferating microchips and ever-expanding information networks.The spatial nature of ubiquitous computing directly implicates and empowers architecture, landscape, and urban design. RAD-UM capitalizes on this potential, bringing research to bear on the built environment from a variety of fields that exploit the spatial consequences of distributed computing responsive and interactive systems, augmented reality, embedded/situated technology, ambient intelligence, mobile computing and locative media.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


 Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Dr. Leo Siqueira

Department of Atmospheric Sciences
University of Miami

will present

High-performance Computing for Climate Modeling

This presentation will provide a brief overview of challenges in simulating weather and climate and the role of high-performance computing. Climate modeling requires representing a multitude of processes on a variety of timescales and space scales. It is also characterized by sensitive dependence on initial conditions and natural stochastic variability, so very long and ensemble integrations (many realizations showing the range of future climate outcomes) are needed to extract climate signals and estimate uncertainties. The increase in resolution, ensemble size, and inclusion of finer-scale processes in climate simulations leads to better accuracy but present particular high-performance computing challenge, taking current storage and computing resources to their limits.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


 Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Max Cacchione

Director of Innovation, UMIT
University of Miami

will present

Mixed Reality at UM

In this seminar, I will give an overview of current projects and an exploration of Mixed Reality modalities, and show interactive learning demos.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Prof. Dilip Sarkar

Department of Computer Science
University of Miami

will present

Blockchain Technology and its Applications

As of October 2019, total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is about $223 billion. To create Bitcoin, blockchain technology was combined with several other technologies. Now blockchain technology is used for many digital ledgers for diverse applications. In this talk, an overview of blockchain technologies is presented. First, background and history of technologies that are foundation of tamper evident and resistant digital ledgers are discussed. Two categories of blockchains and their current and potential future applications will be presented.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Prof. Lindsay D. Grace

School of Communication
University of Miami

will present

Making Games at Record Speed

Attendees will learn the basic tenets of making functional, publishable games in less than 7 days. The talk draws from the speaker's experience as Vice President of the non-profit that runs the largest game jam in the world, as well as personal experience as a top 100 mobile game developer. The talk combines practical tips with heuristics refined over making scores of digital games, professional consulting, and years of leading students toward successful game designs.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Mr. Amr Elsawy

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Miami

will present

Imaging Processing and Computer Vision Methods for Diagnosis of Eye Disease

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a technology that images the front and back parts of the eye(i.e. cornea and retina) using backscattered light. OCT images show different layers of the parts of the eye. Different eye diseases change the shape of these layers which is an important sign for the presence of eye diseases. Imaging processing and computer vision methods are needed for the extraction of clinically relevant parameters from the OCT images which is necessary for the diagnosis of these diseases. These methods include image registration, image segmentation, 3D reconstruction, correction and thickness measurement. Our work focuses on processing corneal OCT images. We are building a corneal layer-thickness topography (CLTP) system to generate 3D thickness maps of different corneal layers. These maps are used for diagnosing different eye diseases such as keratoconus, Fuchs endothelial dystrophy and corneal graft rejection. In this talk, we will explore the different parts of our system.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Friday, 27th September 2019, 11:15am, UB230

Dr. Yelena Yesha

Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
University of Maryland Baltimore County

will present

Chios: Next Generation Permissioned Blockchain

Blockchain, widely known for being the technology underlying Bitcoin, has started to creep into areas that extend beyond cryptocurrency. Blockchain is a secure and reliable distributed service that maintains digital records in a tamper-proof way. There are two types of blockchains: permission-less blockchains (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum) and permissioned blockchains (e.g., Hyperledger Fabric). Existing blockchain systems are still facing several major challenges such as fine-grained access control, better support of messaging pattern, and modularity in design. In this talk, I will introduce Chios, a permissioned blockchain system that is unique in multiple applications such as IoT and data sharing. Chios features novel techniques to address significant challenges in blockchains. First, Chios is the first-ever system that achieves decentralized confidentiality and decentralized cryptographic based fine-grained access control. Second, Chios enables publish/subscribe mechanisms while resolving open problems in distributed systems, achieving strong security guarantees. Last but not least, Chios is truly modular and extensible. It currently supports more than 30 configurations, allowing various trade-offs among efficiency, function, and security. Also, Chios provides visualized interfaces so one can easily deploy and use Chios services and applications.

Yelena Yesha

Dr. Yelena Yesha is a tenured Distinguished University Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is also the Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics (CARTA). She received her B.Sc. degrees in Computer Science and in Applied Mathematics from York University, Toronto, Canada, in 1984, and her M.Sc. degree and Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from The Ohio State University in 1986 and 1989, respectively. She has published 11 books as author or editor, and more than 170 papers in prestigious refereed journals and refereed conference proceedings, and has been awarded external funding in a total amount exceeding 40 million dollars. Dr. Yesha is currently working with leading industrial companies and government agencies on new innovative technology in the areas of cybersecurity and big data analytics with applications to electronic commerce, climate change and health. Dr. Yesha is a fellow of the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Distinguished Scientist Seminar series.


Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Clay Ewing, Ph.D.

Department of Cinema and Interactive Media
University of Miami

will present

The Importance of Design

In today's society we constantly interact with systems. Whether designing a game, software application, database or anything else, it's important to design with purposeful intent and understand the impact that we are creating. This talk will cover mistakes made, lessons learned, and some hot tips on design.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Friday, 20th September 2019, 11:15am, UB230

Nick Tsinoremas, Ph.D.

Center for Computational Science
University of Miami

will present

Data Driven Compute Systems:
A Case Study in Bioinformatics and Healthcare Data Science

The Biomedical Informatics architecture at UM currently supports nearly 7 PB of biomedical research data and numerous projects including EHR data from three Health Care partner organizations. This session will provide an overview of the University of Miami Center for Computational Science's (UM CCS) data driven advanced computing systems design as well as the design of the new AI-ready system, Triton which support the biomedical architecture. The overall Biomedical Informatics and Bioinformatics architecture and the Miami CTSI program will be discussed in detail along with new innovative data driven approaches and applications for Health Care and Biomedical Research. Also included in this session will be an overview of University Research Integration Data Environment (U-RIDE) which is a core component of this architecture comprised of three main layers: URIDE Foundation, URIDE Analytics, and URIDE Search.


Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Dr. Zheng Wang

Department of Computer Science
University of Miami

will present

SCL: A Lattice-based Approach to Infer
Three-dimensional Chromosome Structures from Single-cell Hi-C Data

In contrast to population-based Hi-C data, single-cell Hi-C data are zero-inflated and do not indicate the frequency of proximate DNA segments. There are a limited number of computational tools that can model the three-dimensional structures of chromosomes based on single-cell Hi-C data. We developed SCL (Single-Cell Lattice), a computational method to reconstruct three-dimensional (3D) structures of chromosomes based on single-cell Hi-C data. We designed a loss function and a 2D Gaussian function specifically for the characteristics of single-cell Hi-C data. A chromosome is represented as beads-on-a-string and stored in a 3D cubic lattice. Metropolis-Hastings simulation and simulated annealing are used to simulate the structure and minimize the loss function. We evaluated the SCL-inferred 3D structures (at both 500 kb and 50 kb resolutions) using multiple criteria and compared them with the ones generated by another modeling software program. The results indicate that the 3D structures generated by SCL closely fit single-cell Hi-C data. We also found similar patterns of trans-chromosomal contact beads, Lamin-B1 enriched topological domains, and H3K4me3 enriched domains by mapping data from previous studies onto the SCL-inferred 3D structures. The C++ source code of SCL is freely available at http://dna.cs.miami.edu/SCL/.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 5:05pm, UB230

Donald B. Olson, Ph.D.

Department of Ocean Sciences
University of Miami

will present

Multi-variate Approaches to Fisheries Habitat

Fisheries, the act of taking fish, depend upon the physical and biotic factors that set up the habitat of targeted species and their availability to the fishery itself in terms of technology and proximity to market. At the same time, most of the hard data on these fish comes from the fishery catch itself making reconstruction of habitats and management of fisheries difficult. Setting up a system for defining fishery habitat from catch data and other available information is explored. In particular new fishery-independent data from sources such as tagging, genetics, and satellite mapping of ocean environments are discussed. Exploratory models of fish habitat are introduced and their use in fisheries described.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 5:00pm, UB230

Gang Ren

Center for Computational Science
University of Miami

will present

Multimodal Grammatical Inference from Musical Expressions:
Learning Syntactic, Semantic, and Structural Representations
Towards A Systematic Musical Language

Musical expressions carry rich structural and semantic information; our musical percept embraces multimodal experiences: visual, auditory, lyrics, scores, and myriad facets of artistic and intellectual concepts. Music’s expression is cognitively straightforward but analytically (reasoning rationally or “formally”) elusive: we all can genuinely feel the music, but a systematic decoding of musical expressions, a hypothetical parallel formal modeling process like that we have achieved on natural language processing, is still beyond reach. This presentation will report our initial attempts and progresses toward forming a systematic musical language using grammatical inference from multimodal representations of music. Specifically, we utilize a machine translation paradigm that models different but synchronized feature modalities as semantically coupled “languages”. From there, we systematically explore the syntactic, semantic, and structural properties of musical data. We will bring you along an amazing artistic adventure from Palestrina to Beethoven to Debussy and to Motown. We will compose a more rebellious Camila Cabello with Steve Reich’s tutelage, render an inappropriate cantata for a royal wedding toward impressionism and experimental, and spatially mixing Dr. Dre (instrumental only) with Stockhausen.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 5:00pm, UB230

Matthew Vega-Sanz

Co-founder/CEO of Lula Rides

will present

From 1 to 10: Building the Technical Team Beyond Myself

Matthew is the technical founder, and will discuss the journey of growing the Development Team beyond just himself. He will talk about problems we encountered while building and scaling the app, as well as the problems we had while hiring. Then, he will discuss how we overcame that, and still are working to overcome this.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 5:00pm, UB230

Dr. Michael Mannino

Center for Computational Science
University of Miami

will present

Computational Modeling of Brain Networks

I will describe and show a neuroinformatics package called The Virtual Brain, which simulates the human brain, using computational models to explore the dynamics of large scale brain networks, and how information flows between different brain regions.I will also discuss some more abstract issues about the use of simulation in computer science, and neuroscience in particular.

This is another in the Department of Computer Science Pizza Seminar Series. Refreshments will be served at 4:30pm in the reception area of the 3rd floor of Ungar.


Previous Colloquia Announcements