Welcome to Booster!
Volume 17  June  2014
Guest Message from VACCINE PI: John Stasko
The Role of Interaction and Interactive Systems
One the key benefits of visual analytics involves the interactive behavior of these types of systems. Interaction provides an analyst with the opportunity to engage data, to ask questions, and to get answers. 
Unfortunately, we understand the science of interaction less than we do the science of visual representation. Research into interaction and its benefits is a growing focus within visual analytics. 
VACCINE researchers presently are exploring the benefits of interaction, new interaction techniques and their utility, emergent types of interaction such as multi-touch gestures, and the theoretical foundations of interaction and its utility.
John T. Stasko                                                                    Professor & Associate Chair                                                 Director of the Information Interfaces Research Group
School of Interactive Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology
(Stasko was the EuroVis ‘14 capstone speaker and presented on this subject. See feature article below).
VACCINE PI John Stasko Serves as the Capstone Speaker at EuroVis 2014
VACCINE PI John Stasko served as the Capstone Speaker at EuroVis 2014. Stasko is Professor & Associate Chair and Director of the Information Interfaces Research Group in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
EuroVis is a Eurographics conference on visualization held this year from June 9th-13th. Hosted by Swansea University in the UK, EuroVis 2014 is the 16th annual visualization gathering organized by the Eurographics Working Group on Data Visualization and supported by the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (IEEE VGTC).
Stasko spoke on “The Value of Visualization...and Why Interaction Matters.” Stasko addressed why visualization researchers need to do a better job communicating the value of this field externally. According to Stasko, “visualization, by its very nature, provides inherent challenges to doing this.” In his talk, he explained these challenges and articulated his views on the value of visualization, including its unique capabilities for data presentation and analysis. He also described the advantages of interaction and discussed in depth “why interaction is so important to our field and how it has been under-utilized to date.” Stasko presented a number of new interaction ideas and techniques that can be integrated into future systems.
For a copy of Stasko’s slides, click here.  For the recording of his talk, please click here
Below: Stasko presenting at EuroVis 2014. Photo courtesy of Joseph Mearman.
FBI Exploring Use of VACCINE’S Gang Graffiti Recognition Tool
Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) Program Manager Joe Kielman was instrumental in facilitating a joint visit between VACCINE and the FBI to explore the use of the Center’s gang graffiti recognition tool, GARI. Purdue Professor Ed Delp, graduate students Albert Parra and Neeraj Gadgil from Delp’s lab, as well as VACCINE Engagement and Transition Manager Heather Connell met with members of the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), as well as representatives from DHS S&T, on June 18th at the MITRE officers in Bridgeport, WV for software demonstrations and discussions related to the tool’s potential use by this agency. 
GARI uses image analysis techniques to identify, interpret, and index gang graffiti and gang tattoo images. The tool can be used to track gang movements based on the geography of the graffiti images recorded. GARI allows the user to upload an image from their phone or computer to a server where it runs an algorithm to do an image match and determine what other image in the database this symbol most resembles. It then brings up the images that match most closely— which will have annotation describing what they mean—for example, if a particular gang uses a particular color or sign.
MITRE is a not-for profit company that operates multiple federally funded research and development centers that provide solutions for some of the nation’s most critical challenges in defense and intelligence, aviation, civil systems, homeland security, the judiciary, and health care.
VACCINE Student Recognized for Contributions to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations “Operation Island Express”
Rachel Sitarz, a doctoral student from St. John, Indiana, studying cyber forensics in the College of Technology, was recently recognized for her work with the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations for her work in a nationally coordinated 2012 investigation. Operation Island Express targeted a transnational document trafficking organization based in Puerto Rico and operating in about 33 states and the Dominican Republic. The documents were used to commit identification and financial fraud. The investigation resulted in 144 indictments; 87 federal/state criminal arrests with 57 convictions; 64 administrative arrests; interception of more than 1,000 documents; more than 1,400 trafficked identities; and seizure of five vehicles and nearly $200,000 in financial instruments. The HSI Executive Associate Director's Annual Awards Program honored the Chicago office for "Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments - Immigration Fraud."
Below: Student Rachel Sitarz presents her poster during a VACCINE event.
-  The Maine Information and Analysis Center (MIAC) in Augusta, Maine hosted VACCINE, along with several other DHS Centers of Excellence, on June 24th, 2014 for demonstrations of tools for possible use by this state fusion center. VACCINE tools demonstrated during this meeting were the Center’s social media analysis tool, SMART (Social Media Analysis and Reporting Toolkit) formerly known as ScatterBlogs, as well as a gang graffiti tool GARI (Gang Graffiti Automatic Recognition and Interpretation).  VACCINE Managing Director Kaethe Beck as well as VACCINE Engagement and Transition Manager Heather Connell were present to meet with MIAC and DHS Office of University Programs representatives to answer questions about these tools and how they might be of use to agencies in the state of Maine.
- VACCINE hosted USCG representatives Commander Kevin Hanson and Lt. Chad Conrad on June 18th-19th, 2014 to review active projects.
- VACCINE hosted Don Schulte and Tim Wagler from Westgate Crane Technology Park on June 4th, 2014 to explore possible connections with VACCINE. WestGate provides opportunities for commercial companies and university faculty providing federal contract work for the $2 billion Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in the 100-square-mile NSA facility in southwest Indiana.
- VACCINE hosted Azizur Rahman, Vice President, North America, for INCONTROL Simulation Solutions, on June 10th, 2014 for an overview of the Center's research and active projects and tools.
- VACCINE Director Dr. David Ebert gave a presentation on the field of visual analytics to representatives from GE Corporation during a visit to Purdue's campus on June 18th, 2014. 
- VACCINE will be hosting an MSI faculty workshop at Morgan State University in Baltimore on July 29th and 30th, 2014. 
- Students from Morgan State University will be visiting VACCINE from July 6th through July 19th, 2014. This will be the third year that Morgan State students have visited VACCINE to learn more about the field of visual analytics.
- VACCINE will be hosting a research retreat on July 21st in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- VACCINE's annual meeting has been set for October 15th and 16th, 2014 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
- The INGangNetwork Annual Training Conference will be held Thursday, August 14, 2014 at the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. A portion of the day will feature a discussion of VACCINE’s gang graffiti recognition tool, GARI. The conference is sponsored by the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association and Midwest Gang Investigators Association (MGIA). The event is open to all law enforcement officers and criminal justice personnel. The goal of the conference is to increase the skills of law enforcement officers and criminal justice personnel in order to achieve success in their common goals of sharing information and preventing and halting criminal gang activity. Indiana Gang Network (INGangNetwork) is a statewide criminal gang intelligence database. Intelligence entered in the INGangNetwork database can be accessed by members via mobile devices or online, allowing all law enforcement and criminal justice personnel to enter and retrieve intelligence on gang membership and activity. INGangNetwork is a powerful tool that makes it easy to collect, analyze, and share gang intelligence in a central location with the intent of preventing and reducing gang related activity in conformance with the privacy and constitutional rights of all individuals.
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