Welcome to Booster!
Volume 11  December  2013
Message from the Director
To Continued Impact, Growth, and Success in the New Year
As 2013 comes to a close, it is a great time to review the past year and plan for the year ahead. In 2013, VACCINE continued to enahnce it’s strengths: People, Excellence, and Impact.  I have always said that one of VACCINE’s core values is our investment in people – our team and our partners.  Over the past year, our partnerships continued to grow and strengthen.  The commitment that partner agencies show continues to amaze me; from our long standing partners such as the Purdue Police and Fire Departments, West Lafayette and Lafayette Police Departments, and Tippecanoe County Sherriff Department that have been with us since the beginning to our U. S. Coast Guard partners who continue to give us new opportunities for impact, great opportunities to discuss global challenges (i.e., the National Maritime Strategic Risk Stakeholders Alliance Meeting we held at Purdue in November)  and great research challenges, to our newest partners that include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and New York Police Department.  In terms of VACCINE’s team, we continue to attract amazing students to work to solve these problems with our world class faculty across the globe. Here at Purdue, we had Heather Connell, Carrie Underwood, and Toyinda Wilson-Long join our staff to help foster and manage our growth and success.
Our Center team continues its excellent work in having a substantial impact in the field of visual analytics and effective decision making; from impactful research papers at the top research conferences (e.g., IEEE VIS, and EG/IEEE Eurovis), to invited keynotes at international events, to organizing workshops in visual analytics, visualization,  cognitive psychology, human computer interaction, and data analytics, to organizing workshops to define the important research agendas for our field (e.g., the NSF Science of Interaction Research Agenda), to chairing these large scale conferences (e.g., Dr. John Stasko chairing IEEE VIS in Atlanta in October). Just as importantly, we continue to educate and graduate amazing students who enter the industrial, government, and academic work forces.
In terms of impact, we have successfully transitioned solutions to several agencies including the Indiana INGang Network with the Indiana State Police, the Cook County Sherriff’s Department in Illinois, and the U.S Coast Guard. These opportunities to work on real world, complex, messy, and challenging problems not only provide real world grounding and motivation to our research team, they help advance the rate of research by creating more complex problems to solve with more aspects and variables that we would ever imagine when we start development.
Our plans for 2014 are to continue to grow our people and partnerships to ensure that we are addressing important problems that fit our strategic goals and have the most impact for the investment. Our new relationships with several public safety and law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and new groups and challenges within the U.S. Coast Guard, give us a great opportunity to leverage our success, continue to transition technology, extend the state of the art of research, and have global impact. Our newer expansion into cybersecurity visual analytics, cybersecurity education, visual analytics for logistics and cascading critical infrastructure provide natural growth paths for our Center.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your interest, support, and partnership over the past year and look forward to growing our Center and relationships over the next year.
Transition Highlight: Georgia Tech’s Text Analysis Tool - Jigsaw
In the photo below, Carsten demonstrating Jigsaw running on the PowerWall at Konstanz University (Germany) in Daniel Keim's lab.
Jigsaw, a VACCINE- funded project at Georgia Tech, is a powerful text analysis tool developed under the leadership of Dr. John Stasko. It provides visualizations of documents and the entities within them to help analysts explore the document contents and develop hypotheses about plots and stories suggested in them. After several years of development, in 2012 the functioning tool was made available for free download on the project’s website. Since then, there have been more than 1100 downloads of the software. A core end-user group who remains in regular contact with Dr. Stasko has provided him and his team with valuable feedback that leads to future improvements of the tool.
Jigsaw has been used to explore a wide variety of domains and document collections including academic papers, grants, product reviews, business press releases, news articles, intelligence and police reports, statutes, and even books such as the Bible. The 9/11 report was also reviewed through Jigsaw. In West Lafayette where the VACCINE Center is located, for example, the tool is being used by the West Lafayette Police Department to attempt to identify leads on several cold cases they are trying to solve.
In early 2014, a survey of all Jigsaw users is planned to obtain feedback on the program, to gain insight into the ways it is being used, and to collect the success stories of how the tool helped organizations to solve a text/document analysis problem.Future enhancements of the tool continue. Current students Carsten Görg, Zhicheng Liu, Anand Sainath, and Chad Stolper are working on developing a tablet version of the program. For more information on the Jigsaw program and to download the program, please visit the Jigsaw website.
On December 2nd, Dr. Ebert and PhD candidate Abish Malik visited the Ohio Highway Patrol for a presentation of the recent updates to VALET and Scatterblog.
- On December 5th and 6th, Dr. Joe Kielman and Ms. Emily Saulsgiver with DHS visitied VACCINE Partners UNCC and Georgia Tech to review the latest technologies.
- DHS is hosting a technology showcase in Washington D.C this February. They have selected GARI and Scatterblog as the two VACCINE technologies to be demonstrated.
- DHS has opened the application for a Secretary's Honors Program (SHP) Cyber Student Voluneteer. Applications are due January 3rd. More information can be found here
- On January 15th our HS STEM Program Speaker Series will have its initial speaker, Dr. Nathalie Duval-Couetil, the director of the certificate and entrepreneurship and innovation program at Purdue University.
- DHS has opened the applications for internships during the 2014 summer. For more information please visit the website. Please note, the deadline is January 6th at 6:00PM
- VACCINE is working on rolling out a new version of its website, please check back frequently for updates.
- VACCINE will be looking for graduate students in the Fall of 2014 to apply for the HS STEM Fellowship. Additional information can be found here
- As part of our 2014 goals, VACCINE will be posting Training Videos to its Youtube Channel. For a sample, you can view the GARI Training Video.

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