Computer science faculty receive funding for new GAANN program

A team of faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering have received finding from the Department of Education GAANN program to support a proposal titled “Data-Driven Cybersecurity.”

The project provides full PhD fellowships for up to six fellows for up to three years. Fellows will pursue their PhD degree focusing on introducing data scientific solutions to address pressing national cybersecurity concerns. 

  • Total budget: $932,814  ($746,250 federal and $186,564 non-federal/CU cost-share)
  • PI: Farnoush Banaei-Kashani
  • Co-PIs: Haadi Jafarian and Ashis Biswas
  • Project start time: October 1, 2018
  • Project period: 3 Years

Congratulations!

New app created by CU researchers offers customized advice to improve learning

ok-googleOK Google, I Need My Study Tips

University of Colorado researchers have created on-demand, voice-activated apps to enhance learning and teaching for members of CU Anschutz Medical Campus and CU Denver.

VoxScholar ™ has released its first two apps, CU Study Skills and CU Faculty Development. These apps make it possible for faculty and students to talk to Google Assistant to receive study tips or to get information on faculty development topics.

VoxScholar is an initiative funded by the CU Department of Medicine and was developed by faculty at the CU Anschutz School of Medicine and the CU Denver College of Engineering and Applied Science.

While multiple voice-activated platforms exist, using the Google Assistant platform allows for the creation of higher education apps without extensive and costly infrastructure investment. Students and faculty using the apps can use devices they already own, including cell phones. This approach to academic innovation helps keep higher education affordable, responsive and relevant.

“One goal of the project was to leverage technology everyone had in their pocket – a cell phone – to transform learning,” said Janet Corral, PhD, associate professor of medicine, who leads the project. “Our busy learners and faculty are working in multiple sites: campuses and clinics, homes and offices, in the city and in rural communities. Often, they need just-in-time access to information and cannot wait until the next time they are on campus for face-to-face sessions.”

The VoxScholar apps provide more than other voice-activated apps, which typically offer information on campus meals or laundry services. VoxScholar’s apps focus on academic performance by offering improved study skills or evidence-based teaching advice. For example, students can get timely, practical tips on how to handle multiple choice questions or manage time during an exam. Faculty can get advice on leading small group sessions or improving learner engagement.

Corral is a scholar in the Department of Medicine’s Program for Academic Clinician Educators (PACE), which launched in 2017 and provides grants to support faculty in developing and improving innovative educational programs, and in engaging in educational research to guide how we teach and assess health professions learners.

Suzanne Brandenburg, MD, vice chair for education in the Department of Medicine, said, “Dr. Corral’s innovative work has the potential to transform medical education. I’m delighted that our unique PACE program has provided her the resources, time and mentorship needed to achieve this milestone.”

Corral collaborated with the CU Denver Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Science to develop VoxScholar. Assistant Professor Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, PhD, an expert in intelligent and large-scale data-driven systems, along with his PhD student, Javier Pastorino, worked with Corral to develop these apps.

“We have introduced novel ideas based on machine learning and text mining to make the apps smart,” said Banaei-Kashani. “For instance, the apps can capture and use the context of the conversation with the learner or faculty member and personalize the tips it provides accordingly.”

The VoxScholar apps innovate by relying on artificial intelligence. The apps are designed to send specific tips based on the specific student’s needs. Similarly, educators offering lecture-based programming in a classroom setting receive different tips than faculty who teaching in a hospital or other clinical setting.

“The spaces where we work and study are complex, and I wanted the apps to do better than our existing fact-based learning modules and tips sheets. My goal was to create apps that respond just-in-time to what people need, and, furthermore, help coach them to success,” said Corral. Both apps have been developed in consultation with academic leaders, faculty and students. Students and faculty have also beta tested the apps prior to release.

The apps are available for free through the Google Play store, but require an official affiliation with CU Anschutz Medical Campus or CU Denver to access the content. VoxScholar plans to release additional apps throughout the spring and summer as students return to the health professions programs on both campuses.

WICS teaches coding to Highlands Ranch Middle School students

outreachpic2The CU Denver Women in Computer Science (WICS) student group has been busy teaching classes at Highlands Ranch Middle School this semester.

The computer science juniors and seniors taught middle school students about programming, highlighted how the ample uses of code in today’s world, and talked about how a career in coding could benefit their lives.

WICS president Tegan Straley says, “It was fantastic to see the enjoyment of problem-solving in action when the students began practicing the Scratch programming language. The classes were valuable for everyone involved, and WICS is looking forward to many more future outreach events!”

Banaei-Kashani and team receive NIH R21 award

CUD_7-18_ENG_041__D3_6259Farnoush Banaei-Kahani, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, and a team of researchers have received an NIH R21 award for their proposal “Omics Data Integration to Identify Disease Pathways in COPD.” This is a two-year award for $275K with equal support for the three PIs and up to two post-docs with potential for R01 funding in the next phase.

The team consists of:

  • Katerina Kechris (PI), Associate Professor, Biostatistics, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Farnoush Banaei-Kashani (Co-PI), Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Colorado Denver
  • Russ Bowler (Co-PI), Professor, Precision Medicine, National Jewish Health

Congratulations!

Regents approve Dunn’s appointment as new CEAS dean

Dunn HeadshotDenver (June 16, 2017) – The University of Colorado Denver announced today the appointment of Martin Dunn, Ph.D.  as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Dunn, who was hired following a national search, will succeed Marc Ingber who is stepping down after serving as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) for seven years and taking a faculty position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dunn will assume the dean position in January 2018.

“Dr. Dunn will bring a new viewpoint to CEAS that directs academic scholarship toward creating and translating knowledge that broadly impacts both academia and industry,” said David Engelke, acting provost and dean of the Graduate School.

 

Dunn joins CEAS from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) where he is currently the associate provost for research.  In this role he designs, builds and manages the research and innovation enterprise for the university. He also directs the SUTD Digital Manufacturing and Design Research Centre.

Previously, Dunn has worked for the Boeing Company, Sandia National Laboratories and the National Science Foundation.  He also has held a faculty position at the University of Colorado Boulder since 1993 in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“The significance of universities – and in particular engineering colleges – has never been greater,” said Dunn. “At CU Denver I will champion experiential technical learning with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurial and global perspectives, holistically integrated with the development of human and social skills like creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking.  The CU Denver engineering experience will be continually contemporary and allow our students to differentiate themselves and stand out in the market.”

With his extensive background in academia, government and industry, Dunn will bring a rich perspective to CEAS. He will champion contemporary experiential learning with emphasis on entrepreneurial and global perspectives. He aims to support scholarship and partnerships that create and translate knowledge to have an impact both locally and internationally.

Stephen Gedney, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, will lead the college from July 1 until January 2018 when Dunn will begin his tenure as dean.

CEAS kickball 2016-photos and recap

On Friday, October 7, more than 40 students, staff and faculty convened on the CU Denver athletic field to play kickball. The weather was beautiful, and everyone had a great time. The first game between the Hemoglobin Trotters (bioengineering) and the Bit Kickers (computer science) ended with a Hemoglobin Trotters victory. Game two was ASCE/civil engineering versus the Grass Kickers (electrical, mechanical and college staff), and resulted in a ASCE/civil engineering victory.

Check out the pictures below. We can’t wait for next year’s games!

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Year-End Celebration recap

On May 13, more than 250 faculty, students, staff, alumni and guests attended the fifth annual College of Engineering and Applied Science Year-End Celebration. Guests enjoyed a catered BBQ lunch, photobooth, badminton, and an awards ceremony.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2017 event, scheduled for May 12, 2017.

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Students Shine at Spring Senior Design

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Photo credit: Kate Seppala Photography

On Friday, May 13, 24 teams participated in the Spring 2016 Senior Design Competition and Open House. Nearly 100 students from civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and the College of Architecture and Planning showcased their capstone projects in the North Classroom Atrium. Projects ranged from the design of a new museum for the Denver Police Department to a solar powered boat. Teams presented to a panel of eight industry judges, competing for cash prizes.

The overall winner of the event was Hand Gesture Recognition in Real-time via 3-D Printed Capacitive Wristband from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Departmental winners included:

The event also hosted a group of 60 eighth grade students from Clyde Miller K-8 in Aurora. The students spent an hour meeting with the teams, asking questions about each project, and working on a scavenger hunt.

The Senior Design event is made possible each semester by donors Donald and Karen White.

Banaei-Kashani receives GAANN award

Farnoush Banaei-Kashani, assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has received a three-year GAANN (Graduate Assistant in Farnoush Banaei-KashaniAreas of National Need) award from U.S. Department of Education to establish an interdisciplinary doctorate fellowship program on the topic of “Big Data Science and Engineering.” The fellowship program will aim to recruit, retain, and train five doctorate fellows on the topic of Big Data Science and Engineering, while founding an education and research program at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering on the same topic in collaboration with a number of other schools and departments across University of Colorado Denver. The fellows will be enrolled in the Computer Science and Information Systems doctorate program and will engage in interdisciplinary research.
Banaei-Kashani is actively recruiting students for the spring 2016 term. Please contact him at farnoush.banaei-kashani@ucdenver.edu for additional information.