Dec 06, 2002
UM Students win CAD Contest
Congratulations to Matt Guthaus and DoRon Motter, Ph.D. students in EECS,
who won the ACM SIGDA CAD contest at the International Conference on
Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD). Fifteen teams of two Ph.D. students each
from UM, MIT, Berkeley, USC, CMU, UT Austin, Wisconsin and others were
given a linux box, a C compiler and some standard libraries to use in
solving a set of CAD-related problems. The competition tested CAD
knowledge and problem-solving, programming and teamwork skills.
According to word on the grapevine, Matt and DoRon were far and away the
best team. They won $1000 each. Congratulations!
Dec 06, 2002
Eric Marsman Receives Outstanding GSI Award
Eric Marsman, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has received a 2001-2002 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor
(GSI) Award. Marsman was one of only 20 U-M graduate student
instructors to receive the award.
Recipients of the Outstanding GSI award have demonstrated
"exceptional ability, creativity and continuous growth as teachers."
The award is also recognition of outstanding service as a mentor
and advisor to students, colleagues and others in need of
help. Marsman satisfied all of these requirements as an instructor of
EECS 427, VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Design I, which is
his particular area of interest
In describing his growth as a teacher, Marsman said that the
technical nature of the course "required understanding concepts
that I didn't grasp when taking the course, but needed to be able to
explain to students when they asked about them. So my technical
ability, as well as communication skills, were vastly improved while
teaching the class."
Marsman recognizes the significance of the Outstanding GSI
award. "It's an honor!" he said. "To have the students you
worked so hard for recognize your efforts and say to someone else,
"Hey, this guy did his job well," makes it extra special."
Marsman is also a past recipient of an ASEE Outstanding Student Instructor Award, which recognizes
student instructors who have shown excellence in teaching during the academic year.
October 16, 2002
IN THE CLASSROOM
Education Is Put in Hands of Teenagers
Youths in Palmdale are given Palm Pilots to help with assignments. But some researchers say gadgets won't improve student performance.
By David Pierson, Times Staff Writer
Zera Sanford holds her education in the palm of her hand--with a Palm Pilot.
As part of a technology experiment, Highland High School in Palmdale gave her and 31 other students hand-held computers to keep track of homework, download research material and complete classroom assignments. They are part of a growing national trend at high schools to use similar devices, the size of a calculator with a 2 1/2 inch-by-2 inch screen.
With a pencil-sized pointer, users can write on the screen or tap on it to open programs and issue commands. At close range, messages can be beamed from one hand-held computer to the next, much like a wireless pager. The computers can store textbooks, even though some say the screens are too small to read.
"It's not just an expensive notebook," Sanford said while beaming a message to a friend. "I don't see why anybody would pass the opportunity to use one of these."
School spending on hand-held computers, whether Palm Pilots, Handsprings or other brands, is predicted to increase from $5 million during the 2000-01 school year to $310 million by 2005-06, according to a study by International Data Corp., a market research company.
Hand-held computers cost as little as $99 and are considered a less fussy option to lap-tops, which generally cost more than $1,000. Highland's hand-held program cost $4,000 for 35 devices and was paid for by the Antelope Valley Union High School District's educational technology office.
"The way you get productivity out of technology is when it's ubiquitous," said Elliot Soloway, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who has developed educational software for the hand-held computers.
"Education changed when every kid was given a paper book," he said. "Education will change again when every kid has a computer, and the only way to do that is with a hand-held computer" because of its low cost.
At Highland High, the Palm Pilots are being tested on students in Spanish teacher Jim Trumps' class. The instructor has the technological savvy and passion that experts say is essential to getting new computer programs up and running. Trumps, who pitched the hand-held computer idea to the school district, designed his own Web site where students can check their grades and download assignments.
"The problem with lap-tops is students have to carry them from class to class and they already have 70 pounds of books ... ," Trumps said. "But kids don't mind holding Palm Pilots. You can do most of the work on a hand-held that you would do on a lap-top."
The Antelope Valley district has had a lap-top program for five years. Currently, 600 of the district's 20,000 students carry lap-tops they own or borrow from the schools. Kent Tamsen, director of educational technology, said the Palm Pilots might replace lap-tops, but a study first must determine the effects both technologies have on student achievement.
In the four weeks since Trumps distributed the hand-held computers for students to keep for the school year, he's had them draw a comic strip on the device with dialogue in Spanish. He's beamed questions and answers for quizzes. And every day the children plug their Palm Pilots to a platform connected to a desk-top computer that downloads media Web sites and study guides.
"I've been reading a lot more," said 14-year-old Danielle Edwards. "When I'm bored, I study my Spanish vocabulary [on the Palm Pilot]. I also never used to check the news and weather, but now I do it all the time."
But some researchers say the technology is doomed to disappoint because not enough teachers will be properly trained to use the devices. They warn that some schools have spent lavishly on technology in the past -- such as on educational television -- without ever showing higher achievement.
Teachers "are hardly given any technical assistance and professional help to integrate the technology into daily classes," said Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University and author of "Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom."
Educational psychologist Jane M. Healy , the author of "Failure to Connect--How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds," questioned whether the hand-helds would improve children's behavior. She said hiring qualified teachers and reinvigorating marginalized programs such as the arts and athletics are "far more important than an electronic toy."
Palm Inc., which manufactures the devices used by Trumps' class, says it holds 82% of the education market. Since 2000, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company has given out $2.3 million worth of the equipment to learn more about how to market the product. Though not at Highland, the hand-held computers have been given to schools in Berkeley and Lennox, Calif., as well as to schools in New Jersey, West Virginia and Nebraska.
Mike Lorion, vice president of education at the company, said teachers can use the Palm Pilot to see what class a student wandering the hallways should be in. Teachers can follow text displayed on a hand-held being read aloud by a student and highlight words that were mispronounced. Instantly, the child has a note of what needs improvement.
However, Bob Moore, vice chairman of the Consortium of School Networking, a Washington, D.C., organization that promotes computer technology in schools, thinks the computer that works best for students will have to be a happy medium between a hand-held and a lap-top.
"It's a promising technology," he said of hand-helds. "The one thing I'm concerned with is the small screen. How usable is it? It's good for calendars and contacts, but how useful is it for kids and teachers?"
Predictably, students have found their own uses for the devices.
Though this has not happened in Trumps' classroom, stories abound about students elsewhere downloading software that enables them to switch on and off televisions and power VCRs to the dismay of unsuspecting teachers. They download games such as "Dope Wars," a strategy game in which the player must outsell computer opponents in make-believe drugs.
Trumps warns his students that if he finds one of them playing games in his or another teacher's class, he'll take the device away.
The computers also have created a social fabric. One of Trumps' first assignments was for the class to exchange phone numbers. Students who never spoke to each other before now call each other several times a week to gossip and talk about schoolwork.
"We're more organized," said 14-year-old Clarrisa Camacho. "We're learning new stuff while communicating with each other."
Oct 16, 2002
Professor Dragomir Radev's work on news summarization
Professor Dragomir Radev's work on news summarization was featured in Wired News, La Stampa (Turin, Italy), Il Giornale (Vicenza, Italy), L'Arena (Verona, Italy), The Hindu (Chennai, India), The
Michigan Daily, The Ann Arbor News, The University Record. Dragomir was also interviewed for local NPR affiliate WEMU-Ypsilanti. NewsInEssence has been under development by the CLAIR. (Computational Linguistics And Information Retrieval) group - Six SI and EECS students have been involved in the design and development of the system. Research on NewsInEssence was partially supported by
NSF-IIS-ITR Grant#0082884. The underlying public domain MEAD text summarization system was
partially supported by NSF-IIS Grant#0097467, which included support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Oct 12, 2002
More good news about Elliot Soloway
More good news about Elliot Soloway may be found at:
Sep 26, 2002
Prof. Noble's research featured in New York Times article
New York Times (9/26/2002)
For Users Who Dash Back and Forth, a Watchful Laptop
By ANNE EISENBERG
LOSING a laptop computer is one of the hazards of the mobile age. But laptops and the data they contain do not have to be lost for snoopers to get hold of their secrets.
Walk away from an operating laptop for a few moments, and interlopers can help themselves, even if the computer has a cryptographic file system to keep sensitive information secure. That is because once the owner has supplied the initial decryption key, typically when logging in, anyone using the laptop has access to data stored on the disk.
To limit vulnerability to intrusions, some systems ask users to prove who they are by regularly resupplying their password each time the laptop awakens from its "sleep" mode. The password is then used to derive a decryption key.
But many people dislike features of this sort and disable them or reset the prompts for longer intervals.
"There's a tension," said Brian D. Noble, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan who specializes in research on mobile computing. "For a security system to be effective, the laptop must constantly ask you to prove who you are. But the user wants that to happen as infrequently as possible."
Now Dr. Noble and one of his graduate students, Mark Corner, have come up with a high-security system for the slothful. The new system protects data by automatically scrambling it the moment users walk away, then quickly restoring it upon their return.
Called Zero-Interaction Authentication or ZIA, the system requires that laptop owners wear a small device or token — in this case a wristwatch equipped with a processor and a short-range wireless link — to communicate with the laptop. When the token moves out of range, ZIA re-encrypts information on the laptop within five seconds, before someone else can gain access to it. When the laptop detects that the token is back within range, the system decrypts the data within six seconds.
At the beginning of the process, the user enters a password on the watch. "That's to make sure an imposter isn't wearing your token," Dr. Noble said. Then, each second, the laptop broadcasts a cryptographic request that only the token can correctly answer. This procedure, an exchange of cryptographic numbers, is a standard security measure.
But Dr. Noble has endowed the token with another function: the token, not the laptop, holds the master key to the cryptographic process for securing data on the computer.
"Our project is about moving the master key away from the laptop, so that the token has the master key," he explained. When users want to get data off the disk, they must have the key. "Only the token knows this key," he said. "So, no token nearby, no decryption of data from the disk."
Neither the modest processing power of the token nor the slowness of wireless connections poses a problem for encryption or decryption, he said. "The stored keys that you are decrypting on the token are small enough to enable the process," he said. "Individual users should not notice any slowness in the exchange."
The wristwatch, which runs the Linux operating system, was designed at I.B.M. under the direction of Chandra Narayanaswami, manager of wearable computing at the company's T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
David Johnson, an associate professor of computer science and of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, said that ZIA had a noteworthy design, particularly in the way that encryption and decryption are handled in the operating system's disk cache, the spot in the system where data is temporarily deposited when it is pulled from the hard disk.
When users leave, the system re-encrypts data in the cache. "When they return and want to use that data again," Dr. Johnson said, "ZIA can decrypt it faster than by going back to the disk to get a fresh copy." ZIA takes advantage of the cache's tendency to be reused.
While ZIA is a prototype, systems using other approaches to block unauthorized access to a laptop are commercially available.
Ensure Technologies of Ann Arbor, Mich., uses a wireless radio transmitter embedded in a badge to communicate with the computer, which is equipped with a plug-in radio transceiver. The system automatically locks the keyboard and renders the screen blank within 1.6 seconds, said George Brostoff, the company's president.
The distance between badge and machine can be set so finely that the system will shut off access even if the user simply swivels away from the screen, he said. The user can set a longer distance, for instance, for working in an airport lounge or for making presentations from a laptop. In the future, Mr. Brostoff said, the company plans on embedding the transmitter in watches, cellphones and other devices.
Dr. Noble said he hoped that ZIA's token encryption would help laptop owners, especially doctors, maintain security with little effort. "I first thought of this system for use in hospitals," he said, after talks with his wife, who is a doctor, and with doctors at the University of Michigan hospital.
But he learned that while many doctors like using laptops on their rounds, they often leave their machines behind, for instance, while doing tests. "Confidential patient records could be exposed then," he said.
"But the doctors didn't like the constant reauthentication needed to prevent this," he said, "so I wanted something that required nothing of them at all."
Sep 09, 2002
High Schools Are Flunking Tech
The Business Week article High Schools Are Flunking Tech mentions Professor Elliot Soloway's research.
Our First Annual EECS Alumni Reception was a success! It was held at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, LA in conjunction with the Design Automation Conference. Feel free to click on the link below to view some of the pictures we took and see how much fun it was! [Full Story]
May 19, 2002
Internet Protocols Book Published
Title: INTERNET PROTOCOLS -Advances, Technologies and Applications
Authors: Dr. Subrata Goswami
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers, firstname.lastname@example.org
ISBN 1-4020-7476-X, List Price $125.00
Abstract: IP technology has progressed from being a scientific topic to being one of the most popular technologies in networking. Concurrently, a number of new innovations and technological advances have been developed and brought to the marketplace. These new ideas, concepts, and products are likely to have a tremendous influence on businesses and on our everyday lives. This book addresses many of these newer technological developments and provides insights for engineers and scientists developing new technological components, devices and products. New developments in Mobility, Storage, Telecommunications, etc. are explored in substantial details. Unlike many other books that go very deep into one area, this book covers the essentials of many different areas and at the same provides ample depth for the interested reader. Another distinguishing feature of the book is how IPv6 is treated on equal footing as IPv4 whenever applicable. The book makes extra effort to place IP protocols and principles in practical context through many real world examples of software, hardware, systems and network implementations. The book is about 400 pages and divided into 10 Chapters.
May 18, 2002
Keven O'Conner Receives 2002 CSE Alumni Society Merit Award
Kevin O'Connor, Chairman and co-founder of DoubleClick Inc., received the 2002 Alumni Society Merit Award. As co-founder, Kevin has grown DoubleClick from two people working in a basement to a global corporation that employs almost 1200 people. He oversees new market development, long-term strategic direction, and the overall vision of the digital marketing solutions company. Before founding DoubleClick in 1996, he co-founded the Internet Advertising Network (IAN). The software technology pioneered by IAN paved the way for the creation of Doubleclick and the first full-service Web advertising network.
May 17, 2002
Larry Page Honored with 2002 Alumni Society Award
Larry Page (BSE CE 95), co-founder and president of Google, Inc. has been awarded the 2002 Alumni Society Recent Engineering Graduate Award by the College of Engineering.
After graduating from UM, Larry went to Stanford to pursue his PhD. There, he teamed up with fellow doctoral student Sergey Brin to create the Internet search engine, Google. Based on it's PageRank algorithm, Google brought a new level of speed and accuracy to information retrieval on the Internet.
As Google's founding CEO, Page grew the company to 200 employees and profitability before moving into his current role as president of Products. He continues to share responsibility for Google's day-to-day operations with it's current CEO, Eric Schmidt, and co-founder Brin.
An East Lansing native, Page's father was a professor of computer science at Michigan State University. At UM, Larry received many leadership awards, and served as president of the Eta Kappa Nu honor society. He built a programmable plotter and inkjet printer out of Legos.
In 2002, MIT Technology Review magazine named Larry Page a "Young Innovator Who Will Create the Future", and a "World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow".
May 16, 2002
Recent Interview With the Society President
Reporter: I've scanned around the various pages of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Societys website and it seems to answer many of the questions about the Society. When did it go on-line?
President: It's good to hear you say that. Getting the word out about the Society was our main objective. Although there is still much work to be done before our organization is operating the way we hope it will, the website provides an outline of a few of the many exciting things we have planned. It was published on January 31 of this year, thanks to the outstanding help from Catharine June and others.
Reporter: How did the Society get started?
President: Mainly through the efforts of Professor Richard B. Brown, Department Chair, who could see the potential benefits of a departmental alumni society. He called a meeting of all interested departmental alumni and friends during Homecoming Weekend last October and, as a result of that meeting, the EECS Alumni Society formally came into existence with the adoption of bylaws and the election of officers.
Reporter: Who are the officers?
President: Theyre listed elsewhere on the website but here is the list. Bill Becher, President; Shelia Hermami, Vice President; Steve Schwartz, Treasurer; Catharine June, Secretary; and Board of Directors: Jamie Phillips, Rob Rutenbar, Navnit Shah, and Don Walker. Professor Richard Brown is, of course, Department Chair and Professor George Haddad is the Faculty Liaison. Two positions remain to be filled, Publicity Chair and Student Representative. Were hoping to fill those positions shortlythat is, as soon as our members volunteer to take on these responsibilities.
Reporter: I see you have a Student Representative. I thought this was an Alumni organization?
President: We thought involving students in the organization would create benefits both for the Society and the students. Getting the students involved in the Society before they graduate will, hopefully, influence their continual interest in the Society after graduation. It will also help make the Society better aware of the needs of the students, and help us focus our support on those needs. Examples of this is the mentoring program and career assistance activities.
Reporter: Mentoring and career assistance. What do you have in mind for these?
President: As students progress through their program, questions often arise not only about technical matters but also about career choices. Since our Society membership is made up of professionals in the field, we thought it would be a good idea to connect the students with these professionals. The alumni can benefit too, by identifying future employees for their organizations. We plan to make the Mentoring and Career Assistance programs available exclusively to departmental students and Society members, which should provide a degree of confidentiality and serve as additional motivation for students and alumni to join the Society.
Reporter: What other types of activities are you planning?
President: Well, naturally, we are planning the usual alumni activities: honoring our fellow alumni, getting together at a tailgate party during Homecoming Weekend, ultimately having our own Society newsletter, linking the faculty and alumni together so they might share common interests, and much more. Were also thinking of offering departmental tours and special lectures during Homecoming Weekend so our alumni can see all the great things our department has been doing.
Reporter: Its interesting that you did not mention gifts and donations among the activities youre planning. Isnt the Society interested in that sort of thing?
President: (Laughs) Certainly it is. We expect the Alumni to continue to support the Department, the College and the University through generous contributions as they have done in the past. Our treasurer, Steve Schwartz, has been working hard setting up procedures and methods for gift-giving. I suppose the omission reveals my philosophy and approach to organizing the Society. I did not want the Society to become simply a solicitor of financial contributions. Instead I wanted to emphasize its other goals, objectives such as: the mutual benefits--socially and intellectually--between our alumni, students, faculty and friends; camaraderie within the membership; and all those other activities beneficial to our professional and academic community.
Reporter: What are the major needs of the Society at this time?
President: Im glad you asked. As I said earlier, this website was our initial effort. I thought we needed to describe what our goals and objectives are and to establish a preliminary outline of where we planned to go so potential members could see what we are about. Now that those objectives have been established, we need to get the word out about the existence of the Society so we can increase our membership base.
And most importantly, we need help in carrying out all our presently planned activities. That is, we need volunteers, persons willing to serve on our committees and spend the time necessary to get the various efforts rolling. Identifying potential helpers has been one of the most frustrating parts of my job so far. Frankly, I just dont know enough of our members personally to make assignments. We need our members to volunteer. Those interested in helping should forward a note to our Society Secretary at EECS-Alumni-Society@umich.edu listing the activities they would be interested in supporting and a brief description of why they believe they would be particularly effective. The amount of time they could devote would be helpful, too. Ill do my best to match volunteers to assignments. Our most pressing needs currently are for Publicity Chair; Student Representative; Newsletter Editor and members of the networking committees including mentoring, career assistance and notes and the events committees including Homecoming Weekend departmental tours, get-togethers and the tailgate party. If anyone would like to discuss any of these further or has any other ideas they can contact me personally at email@example.com.
Reporter: Well, it certainly sounds as if the Society is off to a good start. I wish you much success.
President: Thanks! We believe we have the makings of a great organization and look forward to a rapid increase in its activities and member benefits.
May 15, 2002
Note from the Society President
Welcome to the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Societys home page. The Society already has many exciting projects and activities in the works and is planning many more for the future. Re-visit this page often to see what is in store.Although Ill be describing some of these events in future notes, for now Ill simply say how excited I am to be able to lead the Society in its early stages of organization, development and planning. The Society promises to be a vibrant organization producing many benefits for the Alumni, the Students, the Department, the College and the University. It is an organization where friends can meet, where helpful ideas and assistance can be exchanged, and where everyone has an opportunity to express their gratitude to this great university.But for these plans to develop successfully we need your help; we need you to become an active member in the Society! To do this, go to the Membership page and sign up. Do it while you are thinking about it. Its FREE so no need to put it off. And then volunteer to serve on a committee or become an officer. As our membership grows larger, the better and more effective the Society will become with your help. And while youre thinking about it, go to the College of Engineering Alumni page and Update Your Contact Information there, too.You can also help us by telling other Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates and friends about this website. Encourage them to sign up too. The Society is open to all of our graduates, students and friends.I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you at our next get-together. Until then - Go Blue!
May 06, 2002
UMich Student Wins $6,000 in Coding Competition
EECS graduate student Tom Sirgedas won $1,000 in the semifinals of the Sun Microsystems and TopCoder Collegiate Challenge programming competition that took place April 19th, 2002. Entering the semifinals, Tom reigned as the Midwest Regional Champion winning $5,000. He is working toward his Master's degree in Computer Science and Engineering.
A total of 16 national finalists (out of an original 512) were invited to compete for a grand prize of $100,000 at the onsite competition at the University Park Hotel @ MIT in Cambridge, MA. The winner of the grand prize was a student from Stanford University.
Scoring in TopCoder competitions is based on two factors: intensity, or the ability to use a particular coding language well under the pressure of peer-to-peer competition; and velocity, the ability to write good code quickly and accurately. Scores are calculated using TopCoder's objective assessment model designed to fairly and accurately gauge a contestant's performance.
Other participants in the finals were from Stanford, M.I.T., Caltech, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Georgia Tech, Michigan Tech, University of Central Florida, Virginia Tech, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Oberlin College and Purdue University.
For more information on how to participate in TopCoder's weekly online matches and registration details, visit our website: http://www.topcoder.com.
Feb 17, 2002
Mourou Elected Member of NAE
I am delighted to announce that Gerard Mourou has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
As you know, this is a very high honor which reflects well on all of the EECS Department We are very proud of you, Gerard!
Jan 16, 2002
The students, staff, and faculty of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department can be proud that the University of Michigan Solar Car Team has officially placed as the first American team, the first university team, and third overall in the 2001 World Solar Challenge, which took place from Darwin to Adelaide through the Outback of Australia from November 18th to 25th. Among the members of the race team were 5 EECS students (Eric Carlson, Chris Deline, Blair Lorimer, Saaj Shaw, and Michael Yagley) and Brian Gilchrist from our faculty. In addition, more students have helped to develop the car over the last two years. It is probably not unexpected to note that electrical and computer technologies make up a significant part of the solar car.
To paraphrase the Team's Student Leader, Nader Shwayhat, the team drove Michigan's M-Pulse car as hard as they could and aside from a four-minute motor change on day three, they suffered no breakdowns, setbacks, or problems and did not even have to replace a single tire throughout the entire 3000-kilometer distance. Over the course of the race, the team set several records, both personal and official, and in the process, truly inspired and impressed the crowds in Australia. With a final finishing time of 34.25 hours and an average speed of 87.52kph (54.35mph), the Michigan team secured the fourth fastest time in the competition's 14-year history and the fastest overall time ever recorded for a university team.
The only teams to have traveled faster than Michigan was Honda Motor Company from the mid-1990's (which Michigan missed by only 45 minutes) with their average speed of 89.4 kph and this year's incredible first and second place finishers: the Alpha Centari Group (Netherlands, ESA) and the Aurora Motor Vehicle Association (Australia) who averaged an amazing 91.81kph and 90.21kph, respectively. Additionally, the team set a new personal record for the longest, single-day distance ever traveled by a Michigan Solar Car Team by driving 762 km (473.2 miles) on Day 4 of the competition.
The team was very proud of their accomplishments at the 2001 World Solar Challenge and were honored to have represented the University of Michigan before such a large, international audience.
EECS congratulates all who were a part of this exciting project!
Jan 03, 2002
2001 Grand Prix 373
The 2001 Grand Prix 373 took place on the afternoon of December 20, 2001, at the 2nd floor of the EECS Building. This race was the culmination of a 3-week long final project for 17 of the students who took EECS 373 in the Fall semester, 2001. For more information, please click here.