3rd Quarter 2017, Volume 28
Message from the Director
As I write this note, VACCINE is transforming to an Emeritus DHS Center of Excellence on August 31st, 2017. In this “emeritus” status, the VACCINE collaboration network and many projects will continue to operate as normal but we will have reduced staff as we work to secure additional funding for new projects and growing existing ones. We have several funded projects continuing with DHS support and have a DHS Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) for the next 5 years that enables DHS components to easily and quickly engage us with projects.
As many DHS Centers are transforming to emeritus status, DHS announced this month two new COEs. George Mason was awarded the Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis (CINA) COE and part of our network will be engaged in this new center. A planning meeting in September will determine the work plan and engagement of our extended VACCINE team. I want to thank all of you that participated in our team’s proposal for this COE and we are looking for other funding opportunities to take advantage of the great ideas and work that you put into the effort. Thank you to all of the PIs that invested your time and energy into our proposal and best wishes to the George Mason team.
I would like to congratulate Ross Maciejewski, Associate Professor at Arizona State, who will be the director of a new DHS COE, the Center for Operational Efficiency Analysis. Many of you have been fortunate to work with Ross over the years as he was a great member of the VACCINE team working on many of our successful projects and our summer MSI faculty program. Ross is a former graduate of our group and was part of VACCINE’s first HS-STEM graduate student class. Please join me in congratulating Ross on this new role!
Congratulations also to Louis Ngamassi on receiving a DHS $1M award to facilitate the transfer of big data into knowledge that will improve situational awareness and collaborative decision-making to support evidence-based disaster management. (See details below.)
I also with to thank both Eugene Jones and Jen Christopher for their contributions to VACCINE and wish them success as they move onto new opportunities in their career.  VACCINE’s success is directly attributable to our people and partners and they have been great members of the VACCINE team.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our next Public Safety Luncheon on August 29th in the Purdue Research Park. We plan to review the accomplishments of VACCINE in the previous eight (8) years, discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic on our community and review the enhancements to SMART that could result from a DHS First Responders Group (FRG) task order. It should be a very interesting session!
Below you will see some of the work we have been doing over the summer, much of which will continue this Fall. If you are interested in any of these projects, please contact us. I wish you all a great and safe start to your Fall activities.
David Ebert

Morgan State Boot Camp

As a part of our goal to build a diverse, highly capable, technical workforce for the Homeland Security Enterprise, students from Morgan State University recently completed a week-long summer workshop on the science of visual analytics from June 26th-30th at VACCINE. The workshop included instructor-led discussions on the science of visual analytics and hands-on training exercises on a wide range of topics (e.g., Investigative Analysis, Community Outreach & Crime Prevention Technology, information visualization techniques, document and cluster analysis methods, and programming exercises). The students also participated in engaging seminars on Introduction to Visual Analytics, Global Network Cameras & Public Safety, and a hands-on Introduction to GIS by faculty members.  Additionally, we conducted student-led demonstrations of our tools and technologies.

Congratulations to Dr. Ross Maciejewski

Congratulations to Dr. Ross Maciejewski from Arizona State University for best paper at the Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis) 2017.  The award was given to Jonas Lukasczyk, Gunther Weber, Ross Maciejewski, Christoph Garth, and Heike Leitte for Nested Tracking Graphs. 
Also, DHS has selected Arizona State University to lead the Center of Excellence for Accelerating Operational Efficiency, and ASU designated Ross as the Center Director. “As lead institution, Arizona State University will spearhead a consortium of academic, industry, government, and laboratory partners throughout the country to develop advanced analytic tools and technologies,” said Dr. Matthew Clark, director of S&T’s Office of University Programs, which manages the DHS Centers of Excellence (COE) system as part of S&T’s Research and Development Partnerships Group. “Based on our rigorous and extensive selection process, we believe Arizona State University will be a strong and enthusiastic partner with the Department’s operational agencies and the COE network. Congratulations to Ross and his team!
Dr. Ross Maciejewski

VALET Used for Community Engagement by Lafayette Police Department

Officer Shana Wainscott, the LPD crime prevention specialist, has begun to use VALET to help her communicate crime data more effectively with Lafayette neighborhood groups.  VALET’s visual interface and its ability to interact dynamically with crime data will be an important asset to Officer Wainscott when she holds community town hall meetings. Not only will she have the ability to explain the variation of criminal activity by neighborhood, but also she will be able to interactively present various categorical crime data in real time on a spatiotemporal visual display by using VALET. This will be very instrumental in her approach to conveying crime information to the community in a coherent and timely manner.  

FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Workshop

Dr. Louis Ngamassi, a professor at Prairie View A&M University and a VACCINE PI, gave a presentation at the Department of Homeland Security- Science and Technology University Centers of Excellence: FEMA EMI Higher Education Pre-Symposium Workshop. The 19th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium was held June 5th-8th in Emmitsburg, MD. Dr. Ngamassi presented on Emergency Preparedness/Management Research and Education at Minority Serving Institutions. Dr. Ngamassi’s main research interests are to understand the issues that humanitarian organizations face in their coordination efforts, particularly in the domain of Information and Communication Technologies. Second, to understand how information systems can be better designed, developed, deployed and used for full cycle disaster management. His third research interest is determining how situational awareness can be improved through social media visual analytics. Dr. Ngamassi also discussed his research methodology, shared examples of his research work, and he described the integration of his research in his course “Crisis Informatics”. “Crisis Informatics” examines the inter-connectedness of information, people, and technologies in a crisis. It explores how information is collected, organized, processed, and used for crisis management. The course also includes a visual analytic component involving the use of NODEXL to explore crisis related information generated through social media. Lastly, he discussed his collaboration with DHS COE VACCINE. His research with VACCINE includes a baseline assessment of visual analytics for disaster management and system requirements for full cycle disaster management. Dr. Ngamassi also collaborates with VACCINE on training with a workshop on visual analytics and a webinar.  
Dr. Louis Ngamassi

VALET Helps Researchers Study Link Between Animal Abuse And Domestic Violence

VACCINE’s Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit (VALET) is playing an integral part in helping researchers study the link between animal abuse and domestic abuse. VALET is used by law enforcement to analyze crime data and to support decision-making. The project aims to find supporting data regarding a link between animal abuse and child abuse in Greater Lafayette. Lyn Freeman, associate professor of small animal surgery and biomedical engineering, and her summer research assistant, Mallory Stuckwisch, a third-year veterinary student, are leading the project.

8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics

Chittayong (Jao) Surakitbanharn, the VACCINE research scientist, presented at the 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics 17-21 July, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA. 
Presentation session: System Interaction in Mixed Reality Environments and Emergency Management

Paper Title: Improving the communication of emergency and disaster information using visual analytics

Abstract: Technological advances in communication and the ubiquity of mobile devices have changed the role of emergency information during disasters. Information can now be easily shared between disaster managers, first responders, government agencies, and the public via websites and social media. However, is it unclear how the emergency information is accessed, understood, trusted, and used. This paper first reports on case studies of how disaster information is currently communicated in Queensland, Australia. Second, we propose concepts from visual analytics to improve the quality and effectiveness of communicating information. Third, we propose metrics and situation awareness experiments to measure the quality and effectiveness of new systems.

Chittayong (Jao) Surakitbanharn

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF)

The core of the Purdue SURF program is to provide students across engineering, science and technology disciplines a research experience with real-world applications. On the Purdue campus each summer, SURF brings undergraduate students into state-of-the-art research laboratories, teams them with a faculty member and graduate student mentor, and introduces them to the research tools used on the cutting-edge of science, engineering, and technology. By working closely with the creative and innovative team at VACCINE, this year’s four SURF students were not only able to explore, discover and transform ideas into reality to advance society and improve people’s lives; they were also introduced to the opportunities and challenges faced daily in various homeland security fields. At the end of the program, each SURF student is required to participate in a poster presentation to review the projects they worked on during the 11-week program. Students presented on the following:
Aubrey Akers - “Application of Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit in Veterinary Research: Exploring the Link between Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence.”
Diego Rodriguez-Baquero “Web-Based Interactive Social Media Visual Analytics.”
Ian Campbell - “MetricVis: A Visual Analytics Tool for Evaluating Multidimensional Data.”
Rohan Kashuk - “Visually Analyzing the Impacts of Essential Air Service Funding Decisions.”
Diego Rodriguez-Baquero

Successful MSI Faculty Workshop at Prairie View A&M

The 5th Annual MSI Visual Analytics faculty workshop was hosted by our VACCINE partner, Dr. Louis Ngamassi, at Prairie View A&M University in Texas during the first week of June. The two-day workshop was led by VACCINE’s Dr. David Ebert, Dr. Alex Endert (GATech), Dr. Ross Maciejewski (Arizona State University), Dr. Louis Ngamassi (PVAMU), and Dr. Bradley Warner (United States Air Force Academy). The learning topics and activities focused on understanding the theory and foundation of visual analytics, incorporating user feedback and machine learning for human-in-the-loop VA hands-on instructor-supported tutorials of visual analytic software, and a unique collaborative group breakout session to guide faculty in creating VA course modules to implement into current course curriculum. The workshop resulted in several MSI faculty members successfully adding VA components, such as Tableau and a VA introduction, into their curriculum this fall.
MSI Facutly Worshop Participants
MSI Faculty Workshop Attendees

Dr. Ngamassi receives Scientific Leadership Award

Dr. Louis Ngamassi at Prairie View A&M University in Houston, Texas has been awarded a $1M grant by DHS for the five-year research project “An Interdisciplinary Skills Development Project for Improved Disaster Management through Innovative Social Media.” This project transfers big data into knowledge that will improve situational awareness and collaborative decision-making to support evidence-based disaster management. Dr. Ngamassi and other Prairie View faculty will work with VACCINE to develop new educational offerings to train students in data-driven disaster management and to ultimately contribute to the homeland security enterprise. Congrats Dr. Ngamassi!
Public Safety Luncheon
The next Public Safety Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, Aug 29th from 12-1:30 pm at KURZ at the Purdue Research Park.  The topics will be adapting SMART for the DHS First Responders Group, local impact of the opioid epidemic and an overview of VACCINE successes in the past eight (8) years.  
Congratulations to Gene Jones on his new position as Manufacturing Business Development Consultant for Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Gene will be managing the Defense Manufacturing Assistance Program by overseeing the budget and reporting, coordinating sales and outreach to defense manufacturers, and delivery of market and product assessments/consulting services. Gene has been the Managing Director of VACCINE for over a year. We wish Gene the best of luck in his new position! 
Gene Jones
Gene Jones
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