Welcome to Booster!
Volume 18  July  2014
Letter from the Director
On July 21st, the VACCINE team met in Indianapolis for our research retreat. While many topics were covered, we focused on four main research areas: Interaction, Evaluation, Core Visual Analytic Techniques, and Geospatial Research. We reviewed the accomplishments of our team and the field of visual analytics in general over the past five years and looked forward to challenges for the next five years. As we enter Year 6 of VACCINE, one thing that became abundantly clear is that our work is not done. While researchers, students, and staff have made progress by leaps and bounds – everything from developing accredited decision making software to providing tools used for solving financial fraud cases in Kuala Lumpur to developing a gang graffiti decoding app that has been requested by hundreds of agencies – there are still new facets and applications to explore over this next year and for many years to come.  Look for the summary of challenges within visual analytics to appear on our website in the coming month.
Port Resilience Decision Framework Toolkit Research Project
VACCINE student Silvia Oliveros-Torres represented the Center at a U.S. Coast Guard meeting in July in San Francisco. The “Port Resilience Decision Framework Toolkit Research Project” is funded by DHS Science & Technology through the Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce (CSR) based at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The goal of the project is to research better ways to assist port decision makers by understanding both the data sources and decision processes involved by Coast Guard personnel when planning for and responding to port disruptions. There is wide support for the concept of investigating promising technologies that can assist port decision makers with the decision of closing a port, facilitate the re-opening of a port after its closure, and minimize the regional/national economic impacts of any such closure.
Interviews will be conducted with several Coast Guard Sector's personnel with regard to Maritime Transportation Security planning and resilience from the port. The mission is to understand what kind of tools the Coast Guard personnel uses, how they use them, what kind of data flows throughout the chain in command, how data is captured throughout the different steps, and how to improve the planning process.
Below: Silvia Oliveros-Torres (VACCINE), Grace Python (SIT), Kai Trepte (MIT), Jim Rice (MIT) gather in San Francisco to discuss the Port Resilience Decision Framework Toolkit Research Project.
VACCINE Concludes Summer MSI Program
VACCINE concluded its MSI Summer Research Program in July. Undergraduate students from Morgan State University had visited the Center for a two-week period to learn more about the field of visual analytics. Sessions included such topics as correlation and prediction in visual analytics, perception and visual memory, mobile security, visual perception, geospatial visual analytics, and evaluation of systems in visual analytics. Morgan State students completing the program included Reggie Callaway, Jude Obiefule, Jordan Beckford, and Leon Scott.
Below: Morgan State University students meet with VACCINE lab members during their visit to Purdue University.
FIU Celebrates Summer MSI Program Success 
This summer, Dr. Shu-Ching Chen, a professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University, one of the partner universities of VACCINE, hosted Professor Mahmoud Quweider and his two students, Hector Guzman and Antonio Quiroga, from the Computer & Information Sciences Department at The University of Texas at Brownsville. This summer experience is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Summer Research Team Program for Minority Serving Institutions sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Office of University Programs.
The research topic of Professor Quweider’s team was on Content Based Image Retrieval Systems for Homeland Security Applications (CBIR4HSA) which falls into DHS’s targeted area – Advanced Data Analysis & Visualization. According to Chen, “This research topic matches very well with my research areas. Professor Quweider is very organized and provides great leadership and mentorship to his students. He is clear on his research goal and knows how to lead his students to reach this goal. At the end, their team produced very good research results, and it will definitely lay down a solid foundation for research papers and proposals. This program also provided a great opportunity for them to visit a public urban research university with 50,000 students in Miami for research and campus experience.” 
Student of VACCINE PI a Fellow for “Data Science for Social Good” Program
Nadya Calderon, a Ph.D. student of VACCINE PI Brian Fisher of Simon Fraser University, is a current fellow of “Data Science for Social Good.” Calderon is the only visual analytics student in a group of data miners and machine learning researchers. President Obama’s chief data scientist Rayid Ghani selected 48 socially minded aspiring data scientists from around the world for the summer fellowship in Chicago. Funded by Google chairman Eric Schmidt, the fellowship’s purpose is “to tackle problems that really matter.” Working closely with governments and nonprofits, fellows take on real-world problems in education, health, energy, transportation, and more. Calderon is working on an environmental project: Conservation International - Using Sensor Data to Inform and Evaluate Environmental Initiatives. 
VACCINE Conducts MSI Faculty Training Workshop at Morgan State University
VACCINE conducted an MSI Faculty Training Workshop at Morgan State University on July 29th and 30th as part of its overall education program to expand the teaching of visual analytics at Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). The program focuses on preparing MSI faculty to teach visual analytics courses. Learning topics and activities in this two-day workshop focused on understanding the theory and foundation of visual analytics, integrating visual analytics into course curriculum, developing learning communities for interdisciplinary courses, hands-on instructor-supported tutorials on extracting social media and potential analysis and use of available visual analytic software, and a unique group designed application learning assignment.
Pictured below: Attendees at the MSI Faculty Training Workshop
Save the date: VACCINE's Annual Meeting has been set for October 15th and 16th, 2014 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Please watch future newsletters and the VACCINE website for more information regarding this event.
- VACCINE will be hosting a Public Safety Consortium Meeting on August 28th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in West Lafayette, Indiana.
For additional information regarding this event, please contact Mary Padget.
- VACCINE hosted Sean Zabriskie from the Computational and Statistical Analytics National Security Division of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on July 1st for exploration of the Center’s capabilities and possible projects with PNNL.
- VACCINE director Dr. David Ebert met at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C. on July 23rd to present tools, technologies, and capabilities that could enhance the organization’s disaster response and recovery initiatives.
- VACCINE met with INCONTROL Simulation Solutions CEO Louis Schijve and Azizur Rahman, Vice-President North America, on July 7th to see what opportunities for partnership exist between the two organizations.
- Chief Gary Coons and Chief Tim Baughman from the Department of Public Safety- Communications Division for the city of Indianapolis met with the VACCINE team on July 16th to discuss joint projects.
One immediate result of the visit was their request to test VACCINE’s social media analysis tool, SMART, at an Indianapolis event the first weekend after the meeting. 
- VACCINE director Dr. David Ebert met with representatives from AT&T on July 9th to present an overview of VACCINE, its capabilities, and how AT&T might be able to utilize existing technologies of the Center.
- VACCINE managing director Kaethe Beck visited the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center on July 23rd-24th in New London, Connecticut as part of a group of subject matter experts invited to document best practices and lessons learned in transitioning DHS Center of Excellence research products to the USCG.
- Kaethe Beck, VACCINE Managing Director, attended the SIGMA video stakeholder meeting on July 15th at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts.
- Farewell to VACCINE Team Member:  VACCINE would like to extend its gratitude to the Center’s administrative assistant Carrie Underwood for her years of service as she departs for a new position.
This past spring, Underwood graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. in Human Resource Development for Higher Education and Industry, and she has accepted the position of Director for Student Recruitment and Enrollment at a university in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. The Center wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors.
- Recent Ph.D. graduate and VACCINE student Albert Parra has accepted a position as a Research Scientist for Facebook.
Parra was a member of the Video and Image Processing Laboratory (VIPER) in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Purdue University, under the direction of Professor Edward J. Delp.
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