News featuring Scotland C. Leman

Data scientists combat hate crimes and other violence

Research associates Brian Mayer (top) and Nathan Self (bottom) meet virtually to review targeted violence events on the dashboard developed by the Sanghani Center.

About the series: Every complex problem has many multidisciplinary angles. Leveraging expertise and energy, Virginia Tech faculty and students serve humanity by addressing the world’s most difficult problems.

With risk of political and targeted violence on the rise across the United States, national and local leaders are asking Princeton University’s nonpartisan Bridging Divides Initiative (BDI) to provide them with more timely, reliable, and context-specific data on targeted violence events that could help them engage locally and better inform their policy decisions. 

As part of their response to this plea, BDI’s team of Princeton social scientists collaborated with data scientists at the Sanghani Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics to identify targeted violence events. These often include hate crimes and other incidents that target individuals because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other perceived characteristics. Click here to read more about this research.

DAC faculty and students share research, organize workshop at 2018 IEEE VIS Conference in Berlin

Chris North, associate director of the Discovery Analytics Center, and Ph.D. students Michelle Dowling and John Wenskovitch will be in Berlin, Germany, from Oct. 21 to 26, attending the 2018 IEEE VIS Conference.

In addition to presenting their research, the three are organizers of a conference workshop: Machine Learning from User Interaction for Visualization and Analytics.

IEEE VIS is the worldwide largest and most important conference on Scientific Visualization, Information Visualization and Visual Analytics. It is the premier forum for advances in visualization in academia, science, government, industry, and beyond.

Dowling, who is also a National Science Foundation research trainee in the Urban Computing Certificate program, will present SIRIUS: Dual, Symmetric, Interactive Dimension Reductions, which she coauthored with Wenskovitch, DAC Ph.D. student J.T. Fry, and DAC faculty Leanna House, Scotland Leman, and North.

Wenskovitch will present the second accepted DAC paper, The Effect of Semantic Interaction on Foraging in Text Analysis, which he coauthored with DAC Ph.D. student Lauren Bradel, Dowling, House, and North.

The workshop taking place on Oct. 22 has been designed to bring together researchers from across all VIS fields to share their expertise and generate an open discussion about what is currently learned from user interaction and where future research in this area can go.

DAC Director Naren Ramakrishnan named Inventor of the Month


Members of the staff of the Discovery Analytics Center. Left to right are Nathan Self, Patrick Butler, and Naren Ramakrishnan.

DAC and director, Naren Ramakrishnan, are featured as this month’s Virginia Tech​ Inventors of the Month by the Office of Research and Innovation for work in Early Model Based Event Recognition using Surrogates (EMBERS) software project.

EMBERS is a fully automated system for forecasting significant societal events, such as influenza-like illness case counts, rare disease outbreaks, civil unrest, domestic political crises, and elections, from open source surrogates. To read more about EMBERS click here.

Scotland Leman receives W.J. Youden Award

Scotland lemanCongratulations to Scotland Leman, DAC faculty member and associate professor in the department of statistics, on receiving the W.J. Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing. Dr. Leman was presented with the award at the 2016 Fall American Statistical Association Technical Conference. The award recognizes the authors of publications that make outstanding contributions to the design and/or analysis of interlaboratory tests or describe ingenious approaching to the planning and evaluation of data from such tests.  Click here to read more about the award.

NSF funds UrbComp, program focused on big data and urbanization


DAC will create and administer a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. certificate program called UrbComp, which is set to launch in spring 2016.  The UrbComp Ph.D. certificate is focused on big data and urbanization through a $3 grant over five years from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program. UrbComp will be open to students from both the Blackburg and National Capital Region campuses who are pursuing a Ph.D. in one of eight departments: computer science, mathematics, statistics, electrical and computer engineering, population health sciences, urban affairs and planning, civil and environmental engineering, or sociology. To read more about the program click here.