Danny Dig with his students and collaborators won four prestigious research paper awards at international conferences this year. Dig, an associate professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, researches software engineering. His focus is on interactive program transformations that improve programmer productivity and software quality.
Distinguished Paper Award (awarded by ACM SIGSOFT at FSE ’17)
Mike Rosulek, assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, received a Visa Faculty Research Award to advance methods of customer privacy and fraud detection.
“We’ve known for several decades that cryptography can protect not just data at rest, but also data in use, at least in principle. Finally, in the last several years these cryptographic ideas have been improved to become truly practical,” Rosulek said.
Rosulek and his colleague at Visa, Payman Mohassel, will be working to improve a tool from cryptology called private set intersection, which allows two parties to find items in common on two separate lists without revealing any other information from the lists.
Their research will help make complicated queries faster to process. For example, a company may want to know how many customers they have in common with another company without revealing who those customers are.
The funds will support one graduate student for a year who will be helping to develop new prototypes that would make advanced cryptography practical for companies.
“This award demonstrates that industry leaders see the potential of advanced cryptography to protect data during use and solve real-world privacy challenges,” Rosulek said.
Gabor Temes, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, will recieve the 2017 University Research Award from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). The award recognizes his excellence in research for contributions in interface electronics, including analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, switched-capacitor filters and amplifiers, and sensor interfaces.
Temes has a 60-year career that has spanned industry and academia. His research in the area of analog integrated circuits – the interface between the “real” analog world and digital signal processors – has improved the quality of sound and data communications.
He holds 14 patents and has more than 500 publications, including several books. His long career has earned him many accolades including the IEEE Kirchhoff Award and election to the National Academy of Engineering.
He will receive the award in conjunction with the SIA Annual Award Dinner on Nov. 14, 2017 in San Jose, Calif.
Alannah Oleson, undergraduate student in computer science at Oregon State University, was one of a handful of students from all over the world to win the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship. The scholarship acknowledges women who are improving technology and have demonstrated outreach for their community.
Oleson is helping to improve technology in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI) with Margaret Burnett, distinguished professor of computer science. Oleson is working on the GenderMag project which helps programmers to design gender inclusive software.
Her outreach to the community included mentoring two high school students through Saturday Academy, which is a program designed to help students from under-represented communities gain experience in STEM fields. She taught them how to program and what it is like to work on a research project. A couple of years after the summer-long program, Oleson saw one of her students at Oregon State going through engineering orientation. Oleson felt proud to see him choose to major in computer science after participating in the Saturday Academy program.
“To see him go from whatever he had overcome to being a computer scientist and feeling like I played a part in that was really cool,” Oleson said.
Scholarship winners are awarded $10,000 and a one-year creative cloud subscription; are assigned an Adobe research mentor; and are given an opportunity to interview for an Adobe internship. Oleson succeeded in receiving an Adobe internship and worked in San Jose, CA for 10 weeks on a research team this summer.
“All I had known was living in Roseburg, so the experience of being in the middle of the tech world was fantastic. It made me feel more confident in my career,” she said.
After the internship, Adobe decided to sponsor Oleson’s senior capstone project. In the future, Oleson hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction and eventually work in industry research.
Five students in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will be heading to Germany this summer to compete in the 2017 Rohde & Schwarz Engineering Competition. Their performance in the U.S. preliminary round earned them a spot at the world league competition.
Aaron Schraner, an electrical and computer engineering student, was motivated to compete since he participated last year on a team from the Oregon Institute of Technology that won the 2016 regional competition. Based on his experience there, he recruited Karen Harper for additional electrical engineering knowledge. All the other team members are in computer science: Braxton Cuneo, Erich Kramer, and Andy Tolvstad.
Their task was to make improvements to software for a digital-signal processing application that could ultimately make video streaming better. Specifically, they were asked to speed up the processing of the software-based DVB-T2-Coder, based on the open source GNU Radio project, while maintaining accuracy.
“Signal processing is traditionally very, very computationally intensive, so any optimizations you can get out of something like that are going to be very beneficial to your workflow,” Andrew Tolvstad said.
“There was one loop we optimized that was run about 1.2 million times,” Karen Harper agreed.
“Just by changing a data type that was 32-bits wide to one that was 64-bits wide, we took another 5 to 10 percent off the total amount of time it took to run the program,” Aaron Schraner said.
During the competition, students made improvements to the code that was then automatically compiled and tested for performance once they submitted it via Git. Rohde & Schwarz continuously published a leader board of the top performing teams so the teams could watch their ranking move up or down.
The team members are excited to have an all-expenses paid trip to Germany, and are squeezing the trip into very busy lives of classes and internships. They also have a chance to win $3,000 for the top prize, $1,500 for second place, and $750 for third place.
But the money was not the only objective.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Tolvstad said. “Just the thrill of trying to take something and make it the best it can possibly be by just rearranging its parts.”
This final will be held in Munich, Germany at the Rohde & Schwarz headquarters. Rohde & Schwarz is a privately held company with over 10,000 employees worldwide, including a design center in Beaverton.
The following quote comes from the the Education Committee of the Computing Research Association award announcement:
Margaret Burnett, Ph.D., is a distinguished professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU), a member of the ACM CHI Academy, and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. Burnett has contributed pioneering research on how ordinary users interact with software and optimizing that interaction. This resulted, in part, in the development of a new subarea, which is at the intersection of human-computer interaction and software engineering, called end-user software engineering.
Throughout her academic career, Burnett has continuously worked with undergraduate researchers and even accommodated high school students in her lab. She has mentored 39 undergraduate students in research; 21 were from underrepresented groups in computing, 32 co-authored published research papers, and 25 went on to graduate studies. A selection of the honors of her highly accomplished mentees includes three Google Scholarships, three NSF Graduate Fellowships, and two National Physical Sciences Consortium Graduate Fellowships. In her nomination, several mentees attested to her personal influence on and involvement in their lives and careers.
Impressively, Burnett influenced the culture of faculty undergraduate research mentoring in her school, increasing it to 50% participation. She has also led efforts to better support a diverse undergraduate population through trips to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the adoption of a diversity plan, and new experimental scholarships for incoming freshmen women in computing. She has received awards from NCWIT, Microsoft, and OSU for her mentoring and research.
Graduate student Ziad Eldebri was the winner of the Lattice Hackathon Contest hosted by Lattice Semiconductor. He was awarded the grand prize of $5,000 and a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eldebri competed against other students across the country to create an original idea on how to improve a battery powered device using Lattice FPGA. Eldebri’s winning idea was to develop a LIPO battery charger that could be used in any product that uses Lattice FPGAs.
“It was awesome, because I got to attend the Consumer Electronics Show and see state of the art electronics that ranged from 3D printed cars to drones that will talk to you,” Eldebri said. “I also got to learn more about Lattice Products and FPGAs.”
The goal of the competition was to create new ideas on how we can use FPGAs to improve our lives and the electronic devices that we use every day.
Computer science students Bret Lorimore, Chris Vlessis and George Harder took a big plunge into big data when they participated in DataFest, a nationwide hackathon-style event, in April.
The group won the Best Use of Outside Data award in the American Statistical Association competition hosted at over 20 universities, including Oregon State University. DataFest is a competition that challenges students to analyze a complex data set over a single weekend.
“We had nine teams with a total of 38 students from Oregon State, University of Oregon and Reed College, representing statistics, computer science, neuroscience, biophysics and biochemistry, business, math, and economics,” said Charlotte Wickham, an assistant professor of statistics at Oregon State and organizer of the event.
Competitors didn’t have any access to the data ahead of time, nor did they know where the data would come from. This year, Ticketmaster provided data that included information about the company’s Google analytics, ad words, website user “click” data and ticket sales.
Though participants were given millions of data points, the tasks they were given to accomplish were not highly defined. Students needed to decide for themselves what research question they wanted to answer and then worked to extract valuable information out of the data.
“They wanted people to come up with information that Ticketmaster could use as an actionable item to improve their business,” said team member, Lorimore.
Ultimately, the team chose to tackle the effectiveness of Ticketmaster’s advertisements.
“We found Ticketmaster was wasting a lot of money on Google keywords,” Vlessis said.
The trio discovered that people were clicking on the ads but not following through to purchase tickets and as a result, the company lost more than $1.4 million over the course of a year on ineffective advertising.
Vlessis’s startup company, SteadyBudget, happens to solve the same types of problems presented at this year’s DataFest, so the team had access to additional data from advertising analysts.
They looked at general trends of how SteadyBudget analysts interact with their advertisements and the decisions they make about placing or pulling ads. The group then used that information to help make advertising decisions for Ticketmaster.
“It was a way to automate the task of identifying poor-performing keywords and good-performing keywords and make the decision to stop paying for the ones that aren’t working and continue paying for the ones that are,” Harder said. “So we would save them money and automate the process at the same time.”
Although DataFest was about solving a data problem, it was not all about the numbers. “We spent a lot more time brainstorming and talking about what we wanted to do than sitting down and writing code,” Harder said.
“When you get that much data, it’s hard to make any sense of it,” Lorimore said. “Identifying the questions to ask is a challenge in and of itself.”
The group also gained an appreciation for the different ways people approached the data. “Seeing some of the techniques others used, and the way they went about approaching the problems and finding solutions, was stuff I never would have thought of,” Vlessis said.
Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA, is honored this week by the Oregon State University Alumni Association at the 35th Annual Spring Awards. Huang is receiving the E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award for his significant contributions and accomplishments within the society and the university.
Since graduating in 1984, Huang has kept close ties with Oregon State as he has progressed through his career. He came to Oregon State when he was 16 to start his degree in electrical engineering. One of the best things that came out of his experience here, he said, was meeting his wife, Lori Mills. The two were assigned to be lab partners in an electrical engineering fundamentals class, and they married five years later. Together they are benefactors of the Kelley Engineering Center, contributing $2.5 million.
Huang, who was also a nationally ranked junior table tennis champion in high school in Beaverton, spoke to Oregon State students about how to succeed on a visit to campus in 2013.
“The most important thing is to do important work — to do relevant work. Then you have to do it with the best of your might,” he said. “If you do that…you’ll be surrounded by the world’s best at what they do, and then almost anything is possible.”
The success of NVIDIA was built on innovations for graphics processing units for computer gaming. The reach of NVIDIA is beyond video games, however, now entering the realm of artificial-intelligence projects such as self-driving cars. This month NVIDIA announced a new chip that is specifically designed for a technique called deep learning.
The Spring Awards Celebration will be held Friday, April 22, 2016 in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center, on the OSU campus in Corvallis. Registration is requested by April 20.
Carl Beery, a junior in electrical and computer engineering, took first place and a cash prize of $150 in the Mastery Challenge for winter term.
The Mastery Challenge is a new extracurricular program hosted by the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for all students, regardless of major. The program is based on a concept called gamification which uses elements of game playing, such as leader boards and badges, to motivate participants to gain new abilities such as 3D modeling and Python programming.
Beery had already been working on projects on his own, but he realized the Mastery Challenge would give him a better framework for learning new abilities and more motivation for completing tasks.
“The Mastery Challenge is a good starting point to learn about topics you wouldn’t have thought about trying on your own,” Beery says. “Without it, I wouldn’t have learned how to laser cut, and laser cutting is pretty cool.”
To participate, students login to the Mastery Challenge website with their university account to see the list of challenges for which they can earn achievements. In winter term two cash prizes were awarded — one for the highest number of achievements, and a second was awarded randomly to anyone earning at least one achievement.
Beery had completed eight achievements and was tied for first place when he realized a project he had been working on for class — an audio amplifier — would qualify him for four more achievements. He simply videotaped his class presentation and uploaded it to the Mastery Challenge website as proof of completion.
“The experience Carl had was what I was hoping for — a fun way to gain new skills that will benefit him in the future as he enters the job market,” says Don Heer, creator of the Mastery Challenge program and instructor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering.