Search Google Appliance

CMNS e-News - November 2012

Vol. 3, No. 1 November 2012
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
Jayanth Banavar, Dean
Mary Kearney, Editor

Honors and Awards:
What's New:
In the News:
Alumni News:


On November 16, the university formally announced the establishment of the Center for Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging in UMIACS. The Center joins computer scientists, life scientists, engineers, physicists, biostatisticians and others at the College Park campus with imaging specialists, physicians, clinicians and additional health experts in Baltimore. Leadership of the joint center will be split between the two campuses: Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and director of the university's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), will lead efforts in College Park; Owen White, associate director for bioinformatics at the Institute of Genome Sciences and professor in the School of Medicine, will direct CHIB activities in Baltimore. More information at

"Emotion Tracking for Memory, Health and Awareness"
Speaker: Mary Czerwinski, Microsoft
Date and Time: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11am
Location: 2119 Hornbake Building, South Wing, University of Maryland-College Park
In Honor of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab's 30th Anniversary, we would like to invite you to the third lecture in our Distinguished Lecturer Series.
Abstract: In this talk a novel system we designed that allows users to reflect upon their moods while doing desktop computing activities and other daily events will be described. We surveyed potential users of such a system to see what they remembered about their mood swings and behavioral patterns emotionally over time, and it was clear that they felt they did not have a good handle on this after even 48 hours.

"Implanted Computers for Creating Improved Medical Treatments"
Speaker: Robert Fischell
Date and Time: December 6, 4:00pm
Location: 1103 Bioscience Research Building
Dr. Fischell is the father of modern medical stents, the rechargeable pacemaker, and implantable insulin pumps. A biomedical inventor with more than 200 patents, he is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people throughout the world. Please RSVP:


On November 1, 2012 the American Mathematical Society named its inaugural class of Fellows recognizing members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. The class of 1,119 Fellows included fourteen (14) Math faculty and seven (7) alumni (for alumni, see Alumni News):

1. Jeffrey Adams
2. Stuart Antman
3. Joel Cohen
4. Giovanni Forni
5. Mark Freidlin
6. William Goldman
7. Maurice Heins (Professor Emeritus)
8. Rebecca Herb (Professor Emerita)
9. Ricardo Nochetto
10. Jonathan Rosenberg
11. Eitan Tadmor
12. Richard Wentworth
13. Scott Wolpert
14. James Yorke

Ten (10) CMNS faculty are among the 702 new Fellows named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as a Fellow of AAAS, the world's largest general federation of scientists and the publisher of the journal Science, is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, 16 February, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

1. Millard Alexander (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) for distinguished contributions to the field of theoretical and computational chemistry, particularly in the area of open shell species and non-adiabatic effects.

2. Andrew Baden (Physics) for distinguished contributions to the field of experimental particle physics, particularly for ideas contributing to the discovery of the top quark and to searches for new particles.

3. Marco Colombini (Biology) for distinguished contributions to the field of membrane channel biophysics, specifically for elucidating the structure and dynamics of channels formed in the mitochondrial outer membrane.

4. William Fagan (Biology and SeSync) for contributions to the field of ecology, particularly in spatial, theoretical, and conservation-related topics involving population dynamics and species interactions.

5. Michael Fuhrer (Physics and IREAP) for experimental studies of the fundamental electronic transport properties of nanostructured carbon materials.

6. Theodore Jacobson (Physics and JSI) for contributions to quantum gravity, black hole thermodynamics, and the formulation and phenomenology of Lorentz-violating modifications of particle and gravitational physics.

7. Christopher Monroe (Physics and JQI) for the development and demonstration of novel techniques for quantum information processing and quantum simulation with trapped ions.

8. Cynthia Moss (Psychology and Biology) for distinguished research in the field of neuroethology, particularly for studies of sensory information processing, adapative behaviors, spatial perception and memory in echolocating bats.

9. Aravind Srinivasan (Computer Science and UMIACS) for distinguished contributions to algorithms, probabilistic methods, and networks.

10. Raymond St. Leger (Entomology) for distinguished contributions to the fields of mycology, pathology and microbial control, particularly for studies unraveling the mechanisms by which fungi and insects interact.

A team representing UMD has won the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest for the Mid-Atlantic region, placing first in a field of 173 teams. The team is comprised of students Shangfu Peng, Ang Li, and Hossein Esfandiari. The win qualifies them to advance to the world-final competition to be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia in Summer, 2013. Two other UMD teams also placed well. Team #2, Milad Gholami, Melika Abolhassani and Anirudh Bandi, placed 7th. Team #3, Mandeep Bedi, Luke Valenta, and David Karesh, placed 9th. All three teams are coached by Mohammad Hajiaghayi (Computer Science and UMIACS).

David Inouye (Biology) has been elected President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), taking office after the 2013 annual meeting (Minneapolis, MN). Inouye will serve as President-elect, President (2014-2015), and Past-President over a three-year period. The ESA, founded in 1915 and with 10,000 members world-wide, will hold its 2015 annual meeting in Baltimore, MD.

Bill Jeffery (Biology) has been awarded the 2012 Alexander Kowalevsky medal from the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists (Russia). The award was first presented in 1910 and recently awarded to distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to evolutionary morphology and embryology. Recent recipients have included Eric Davidson, Walter Gehring and Peter Holland. For more information, go to

Margaret Palmer (Entomology and SeSync) and Tony Janetos (ESSIC and Joint Global Change Research Institute) were among those named inaugural Fellows of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) – a recently unveiled program to honor members who have made outstanding contributions in the advancement or application of ecological science in academics, government, non-profit organizations or the broader society.

Jan Sengers (IPST), with co-authors R. Perkins, I.M. Abdulagatov and M. Huber, received a diploma from the Director of the Institute of Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences for their paper "Critical Thermal-Conductivity Enhancement in Molecular Fluids" which was recognized as the best presentation at the All-Russian Conference on "Physics of the Phase Transitions."


Ashok Agrawala (Computer Science and UMIACS), Naval Research Laboratory, $150,000, "PinPoint and Horus: Geo-location Technologies."

Rama Chellappa (UMIACS, ECE and Computer Science), US DOT-Federal Railroad Administration, $251,772, "Optimal Anomaly Detection for Vision-based Inspection of Railway Components."

Lori Feaga (Astronomy), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $165,000, "Deep Impact HRI-IR Temporal Characterization of Hartley 2's Surface and Coma Heterogeneity."

Michael Fuhrer (Physics and IREAP), Sankar Das Sarma (Physics and JQI) and William Cullen (Physics), Office of Naval Research, $200,000 additional funding bringing the total award to $3,116,667, "Tailoring Electronic Properties of Graphene at the Nanoscale."

Zhihong Nie (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $112,512, "Biomimetic Self-assembly of Polymer-inorganic Hyrid nanocompartments."

Massimo Ricotti (Astronomy and Joint Space Science Institute), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $153,236 additional funding bringing the total to $447,588, "Multi-scale Simulations of the First Galaxies with Radiative Transfer."

Steve Rolston (Physics and Joint Quantum Institute), NIST, $235,000 additional funding bringing the total to $4,490,728, "The Joint Quantum Institute."

YuHuang Wang (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $115,000 additional funding bringing the total award to $585,000, "CAREER: Outerwall-selectively Functionalized Double-walled Carbon nanotubes."


The Center for Scientific Computation and Math Modeling (CSCAMM) hosted a KI-Net conference on "Kinetic Description of Social Dynamics: From consensus to Flocking",, on November 5-9, 2012. KI-Net is an NSF Research Network in Mathematical Sciences hosted in CSCAMM, devoted to interdisciplinary studies of kinetic descriptions in natural sciences. The conference brought together leading researchers to review recent developments of social dynamics, from experimental highlights to theory and simulation. The purpose was to build rigorous links between the relevant discrete, kinetic stochastic and continuum transport models with focal topics on self-organized dynamics, ranging from opinion dynamics and supply chains to the dynamics of human crowd and flocking.

On Wednesday November 14, 2012, over 350 Maryland middle school girls attended the annual "Cool Careers Cybersecurity for Girls Summit." The event was organized by the Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) and CyberWatch K-12 Division, and sponsored by Google and Educational Technology Policy, Research, & Outreach. MC2 partners with government and industry to provide educational programs to prepare the future cybersecurity workforce, and develop new, innovative technologies to defend against cybersecurity attacks. CyberWatch K-12 Division creates programs to expand knowledge in cyber-awareness and cybersecurity.

Robert Adler (ESSIC), gave an invited address at the "Water for Life: Symposium on the Role of Space Data," Tokyo, Japan, November 12. Sponsored by NASA and the Japanese space agency (JAXA), the symposium was part of a review and celebration of 15 years of on-orbit success of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Adler's talk, "Global Flood and Landslide Estimation Using Satellite Rainfall Information" described advances using TRMM and other satellite information in this area. Adler received a Certificate of Appreciation from NASA and JAXA in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the scientific activities, applications and accomplishments of 15 successful years of TRMM."

Pedro Barbosa (Professor Emeritus, Entomology) with co-editors Drs. Deborah Letourneau (UCSC) and Anurag Agrawal (Cornell) published the book "Insect Outbreaks Revisited," Wiley-Blackwell, September 2012. The book provides a collection of perspectives on why and when to expect outbreaks of insects in managed and unmanaged ecosystems, what to focus on as causes and how to management and mitigate any adverse consequences.

Mathew Biddle (ESSIC, at NOAA/NODC) has compiled an Arctic regional climatology. The Arctic Ocean is an area of intense activity both for environmental and commercial interests. To facilitate study of the region a new set of high-resolution long-term mean surface/subsurface temperature and salinity fields was created. These mean fields incorporate a great deal of data not previously available.

Michael Fisher (Physics and IPST) was the invited speaker at the APS Mid-Atlantic Senior Physicists Group meeting, November 14. Fisher's topic was "Pictures, Models, Approximations, and Reality: Phase Transitions and our Understanding of the Physical World."

Jim Gates (Physics) gave an NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences 2012-2013 Distinguished Lecture, November 19 on "SUSY and the Lords of the Ring (SUSY stands for SuperSymmetry)." Gates also gave a public lecture at the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center, FL on November 15, which was presented as part of the 79th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society.

O.W. (Wally) Greenberg, Physics, gave an invited talk, "What Stuff is Made Of: Quarks and Leptons," at the Science and Technology Series in the Riderwood Retirement Community in Silver Spring, MD, November 1, 2012.

Jeff Hollingsworth (Computer Science and UMIACS) served as the General Chair and Alan Sussman (Computer Science and UMIACS) served as the Undergraduate Student Chair of SC12 – the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, held in Salt Lake City, November 10-16. The conference attendees represented more than 50 countries and more than 350 exhibitors.

David Inouye (Biology) gave an invited seminar at Aarhus University, Denmark, November 8, where he also participated in a workshop on arctic/alpine phenology.

Samir Khuller (Computer Science and UMIACS) was recently named to the European Symposia on Algorithms Steering Committee for a three year term. The Symposia cover research in efficient algorithms and data structures in computer science, discrete applied mathematics, operations research and mathematical programming. For more info:

Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IPST and IREAP) was the Stanley Corrsin Award Lecturer at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics, November 18, San Diego, CA. Lathrop's topic was "Quantum fluid flows: the strange things we see in superfluid helium."

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) has been appointed a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the Climate Working Group of NOAA. Murtugudde was also appointed an editor of "Earth Perspectives."


Yiannis (John) Aloimonos (Computer Science and UMIACS) was interviewed on NPR, November 27 on whether music conductors influence their orchestras. The interview stemmed from a research study by Aloimonos and colleagues on figuring out if human movements share something in common with human language.

Tony Busalacchi (AOSC and ESSIC) was interviewed by WJLA TV, November 13. Busalacchi talked about climate change, rising sea levels and the recent increase in wild weather. Busalacchi was quoted in a New Scientist article, November 7, on environmental satellites failing.

Elena del Campillo (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), alumnus Sivacharan Gaddam, (2009 B.S. Biological Sciences), Dorinne Mettle-Amuah (HS STEM Intern, 2010) and Jean Henek (HS STEM Intern, 2011) published an article in PLOS One (online), November 16, on the role of an endo β-1,4 glucanase (ATGH9C1) in root hair and seed endosperm development in Arabidopsis. The work is of interest to plant biologists as it demonstrates the involvement of ATGH9C1 in the development of two plant tissues of short-existence and specific functions and is significant because this endo β-1,4 glucanase has, in addition to the canonical cellulase catalytic site, a carbohydrate binding domain (CBM49) that is conserved throughout plant evolution.

Rita Colwell ((UMIACS and Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology) was featured in Earthzine, November 28, particularly her research studying Vibrio cholera.

H. Dennis Drew (Physics) published an article in Nature Physics, News & Views, November 6, on topological crystalline insulators.

James Earl (Astronomy, Professor Emeritus), with his wife Sylvia, were the subject of an article in The Capital Gazette, November 27. The couple was honored for their philanthropic activities at the annual Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County's Celebration of Philanthropy luncheon. Through the Helena Foundation (which honors Earl's mother), the Earls have supported a great many causes, from the arts and environment to education and health care.

Michael Evans (Geology and AOSC), with colleagues, published a Letter in Nature Geoscience, November 25, discussing claims by Michael Mann et al. to have identified a discrepancy between the degree of volcanic cooling in climate model simulations and the analogous cooling indicated in a tree-ring based Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstruction.

Samuel Gralla (Physics) and Alexander Le Tiec (JSI) were quoted and/or mentioned in an article in New Scientist, November 13 on expanding Stephen Hawking's theory that black holes should emit a small amount of radiation to 'moving' black holes.

Michael Hicks (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in an article in The New York Times, November 5, on the recent theft of 3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers from the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Jeff Hollingsworth (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in Science, News & Analysis section, November 2, in an article on government-wide restrictions on conference travel and the effect on scientific conference attendance. The story was picked up by Computerworld, November 14.

Jianyang Li (Astronomy), with colleagues, published an article in Nature, November 1 reporting that the asteroid Vesta shows its own form of space weather, which is quite different from that of other airless bodies visited.

Jonathan McKinney (Physics and JSI) with colleagues at Stanford and Princeton universities, published an article in Science (online), November 15. The authors used fully three-dimensional general relativistic magnetohydrodynamical simulations to study accreting Black Holes (BH) with various BH spin vectors and disk thicknesses with magnetic flux reaching saturation, revealing a "magneto-spin alignment" mechanism that causes magnetized disks and jets to align with the BH spin near BHs and further away to reorient with the outer disk.

Chris Monroe (Physics and JQI) was quoted in a News Feature article in Nature, November 14 on quantum simulators.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was interviewed by Al Jazeera, November 27, about US droughts and its financial impacts. Fox 5 interviewed him on November 8 about Hurricane Sandy and global warming. He was also interviewed on Headlines Today (India), November 1, in a segment on the impact of Hurricane Sandy in MD, NY and NJ.

Margaret Palmer (Entomology and SeSync) was quoted in the Charleston Gazette, November 17, in a story on mountaintop removal and strip mining.

Roberta Rudnick (Geology) was profiled in PNAS (early edition), November 19. As a recently elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the profile accompanies Rudnick's inaugural article (Issue 52, vol. 108, pp. 20873.)

Jessica Sunshine (Astronomy), with colleagues, published an article in Nature, November 1, on localized dark and bright materials, often with extremely different albedos, recently found on the asteroid Vesta's surface.


On November 1, 2012 the American Mathematical Society named its initial class of Fellows recognizing members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. The inaugural class of 1,119 Fellows included seven (7) Mathematics alumni:

1. Matthew H. Baker (1994 B.S.), Georgia Institute of Technology
2. Jim M. Cushing (1968 Ph.D., advisor Monroe Martin), University of Arizona
3. Svetlana Katok (1983 Ph.D., advisor Don Zagier), Pennsylvania State University
4. Joseph D. Lakey (1991 Ph.D., advisor John Benedetto), New Mexico State University Las Cruces
5. Edward Saff (1968 Ph.D., advisor Joseph Walsh), Vanderbilt University
6. Audrey Anne Terras (1964 B.S.), University of California, San Diego
7. Nolan R. Wallach (1962 B.S.), University of California, San Diego

Research conducted by R. Paul Butler (1993 Ph.D. Astronomy, advisor Roger Bell) et al. was featured in BBC News, Science and Environment section, November 8. The research team, using the Harps instrument at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile, found three previously unknown planets around the star HD 40307, making it a six-star planet system. The 3 planets are in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist. One of these planets, HD 40307g, might be capable of supporting liquid water on its surface.

John (Jack) Callahan (1985 B.S. and 1993 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Jim Purtilo) is on loan from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to the Office of Naval Research's London office until June 2014. Callahan is working with ONR-Global (ONRG) which builds and fosters international connections, propelling the execution of long-range strategic efforts that address the future needs of the naval fleet and forces and international partners. ONRG sponsors the Visiting Scientists Program, the Collaborative Science Program and the Naval International Cooperative Opportunities in Science and Technology Program (NICOP). The programs – exchange visits, conferences and workshops, seed funding – foster collaboration between Navy personnel, scientists and technologists around the world.

Antony Casalena (2005 B.S. Computer Science) was interviewed on CBS News (Money Watch, Start Up), November 28. Casalena, Founder and CEO of Squarespace, talked about why he started the company and turning the idea into a business.

Paul Cassak (2006 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Jim Drake) and Lisa Holland (1990 B.S. Chemistry) were panelists on a West Virginia University NSF Career Award Proposal Workshop, November 13 where they shared their experiences with the CAREER program and offered insight into obtaining funding. Both have appointments at the West Virginia University: Cassak is an Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Holland is an Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry.

Kevin Chang (1995 B.S. Biological Science) is a Senior Licensing and Patenting Manager, Infectious Disease and Medical Engineering Branch, NIH-Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Prior to joining OTT, Chang, who earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Louisiana State University Sciences Center, was a technology transfer specialist fellow at the National Cancer Institute Technology Transfer Center. Previously he spent several years as a postdoctoral fellow at NCI-Frederick researching retroviral vectors and replication.

Cliff De Souza (1991 Ph.D. Physics, advisor Ted Kirkpatrick) was named Principal Executive Officer of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings (MUSHD), earlier this year. De Souza simultaneously became the Head of International Business and chairs a newly formed international Management Committee, comprising the CEOs of MUSHD's four international offices and International business managers.

Philip London (1973 B.S. and 1978 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Charles Rieger) has been named Vice President of Strategic and Product Marketing for SynapSense Corporation, Folsom, CA. Prior to joining the company, London was Vice President of Software Technology and General Manager of the Data Center Infrastructure Management group at APC by Schneider Electric. SynapSense provides data center infrastructure management solutions focused on improving reliability and energy efficiency.

Robert E. Morris (1974 B.S. Chemistry) is the 2012 recipient of the NRL-Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Applied Science Award in recognition of his work in coupling novel chemometric algorithms with state-of-the-art analytic methods to provide advanced diagnostics and prognostics of Navy mobility fuels. Morris, Head of the Chemical Sensing and Fuel Technology section of the Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from American University in 1983.

Carole Teolis (1986 B.S. Mathematics and Engineering, 1994 Ph.D. Engineering) was featured in Live Science "Behind the Scenes," a partner publication of the National Science Foundation, November 16. Teolis, Co-founder, CTO and Chairman of TRX Systems, discussed her early career and how it lead to the development of NEON – an indoor navigation technology that has solved the problem of locating, mapping and tracking people inside buildings where GPS is not available, e.g. firefighters.

Svetlana (Lana) Yarosh (2005 B.S. Computer Science and Psychology) has been featured on AT&T's "Profiles in Innovation." Yarosh, a Senior Member Technical Staff at AT&T Labs Research, uses her skills to design new communications technology to find new ways to connect families over long distances. Yarosh received her Ph.D. in Human-centered Computing, "Supporting Remote Synchronous Interaction with Children," from Georgia Institute of Technology, May 2012.

Lilian (Shiao-Yen) Wu (1968 B.S. Mathematics) was the 13th Annual Kenneth Schraut Memorial Lecturer, University of Dayton, November 3. Wu, who is Program Executive, Global University Programs, IBM Technology Strategy and Innovation, talked about "Creating Macroscopes with Technology and analytics: New Possibilities in Our Lives – The Important Role of Tomorrow's Mathematics Professionals." Wu was a member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), NSF's Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering and served on the Advisory Committee of NSF's Engineering Directorate, NSF's Committee on international Science and Engineering, and NSF's Corporate Alliance. Among her other professional services, she served on AAAS's Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology and DOE's Secretary of Energy's Laboratory Operations Advisory Board. Wu earned her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University.




Astronomy Department – Dr. Stuart Vogel, Chair
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department – Dr. James Carton, Chair
Biology Department – Dr. Gerald Wilkinson, Chair
Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics Department – Dr. Norma Andrews, Chair
Chemistry and Biochemistry Department – Dr. Michael Doyle, Chair
Computer Science Department – Dr. Samir Khuller, Chair
Geology Department – Dr. Roberta Rudnick, Chair
Entomology Department– Dr. Charles Mitter, Chair
Mathematics Department – Dr. James Yorke, Chair
Physics Department – Dr. Drew Baden, Chair
Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling (CSCAMM) – Dr. Eitan Tadmor, Director
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) – Dr. Tony Busalacchi, Director
Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) – Dr. Rajarshi Roy, Director
Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP) – Dr. Thomas Murphy, Director
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) – Drs. Steve Rolston and Charles Clark (NIST)
Joint Space-Science Institute (JSI) – Drs. Allesandra Buonanno and Jean Cottam (NASA)
Maryland Pathogen Research Institute (MPRI) – Dr. David Mosser, Director
National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) – Dr. Margaret Palmer, Director
UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) – Dr. Amitabh Varshney, Director