Dhruv Batra’s upcoming CVPR work covered in the Boston Globe


In the online, big data world, it’s important to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is true when it comes to refining search results and culling a Twitter feed, and it’s true with photographs, too. Dhruv Batra’s latest innovation recently posted to arXiv.org takes advantage of all sorts of social and technological cues to figure out who really matters in an image. “We have the ability to look at a scene and, just by coding what people are doing, how people are looking at each other, we can get a sense of the important actors,” says Dhruv Batra, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and creator of the program, along with graduate student and lead designer Clint Solomon Mathialagan and Andrew Gallagher, an engineer at Google. Read more. 

Newsweek profiles DAC’s EMBERS project

One of the many protests against the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014.

One of the many protests against the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014.

Newsweek profiles the Discovery Analytics Center’s EMBERS Project, which is funded by IARPA.  EMBERS offers a glimpse into just how much “big data” has changed the game by magnifying the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to forecast—with phenomenal accuracy—human behavior on a global scale by scouring Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Tumblr, Tor, Facebook and more. EMBERS is using algorithms and a variety of advanced tools to sort through dense and complex information for patterns in the chaos—patterns that frequently point to events before they happen, such as civil uprisings, disease outbreaks, humanitarian crises, mass migrations, protests, riots, political routs, even violence. Click here to read more.

Big- Data Project on 1918 Russian Flu Highlights DAC Collaboration with Humanities Researchers

Soldiers with the Spanish flu are hospitalized inside the U. of Kentucky gym in 1918. In one prevention method examined in a new study, New Yorkers were advised to refrain from kissing “except through a handkerchief.”

Soldiers with the Spanish flu are hospitalized inside the U. of Kentucky gym in 1918. In one prevention method examined in a new study, New Yorkers were advised to refrain from kissing “except through a handkerchief.”

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today highlights possibilities in interdisciplinary research between data analysts and humanities researchers. It showcases DAC’s Digging into Data project as a “model-in-progress for how data-driven analysis and close reading can enhance each other”. The research focuses on several questions: How did reporting on the Spanish flu spread in 1918? And how big a role did one influential person play in shaping how the outbreak was handled? Read More

DAC student Sathappan Muthiah receives Deployed Application Award at IAAI

sathappan-updatedCongratulations to DAC/CS PhD Student Sathappan Muthiah on receiving Deployed Application Award at IAAI (Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence) 2015 for his paper “Planned Protest Modeling in News and Social Media“. The CS department also recognized his work with a Pratt fellowship for Spring 2015 – Congratulations twice!

CT Lu receives grant from the US Army

nvc-11Chang-Tien Lu, associate director of DAC and associate professor of computer science has been awarded a $300,000 subcontract from the United States Army Research Office and United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center.  He will use the grant to develop an automated tool to make sense of data captured in news articles, tweets, images, and audio and video streams.

Naren Ramarkishnan, director of DAC and professor of computer science along with Ing-Ray Chen, also a professor of computer science are co-principle investigators of the grant.  They will help Lu oversee the projects research.  To read more about grant click here.


The EMBERS is featured on the cover of the Big Data Journal (Dec 2014 issue)

Venezuelan Spring EMBERS predictions

As featured in the Big Data Journal: “Forecasting has long been a mystic art with techniques shrouded in mystery. Approaches from big data and machine learning are now revolutionizing the science of predictive analytics. The EMBERS system has been producing early warnings of civil unrest across Latin America for over two years. In February 2014, EMBERS forecast the occurrence and spread of student-led protests in Venezuela days in advance. For more information, please see the article by Doyle and colleagues in this issue of Big Data.” Read more

Press Coverage on Devi Parikh’s work in AI

Devi Parikh

Devi Parikh, assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering and DAC faculty member received close to $1 million “to teach machines to use ‘common sense’ in image analysis.” Parikh, who leads the Computer Vision Lab at Virginia Tech, is the recipient of the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. She’s using the money to help computers “read” complex images with the use of cartoon clip art scenes. To read more about Devi’s grant click here.


Devi Parikh’s award featured in VTNews

Devi Parikh

Devi Parikh, an assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and DAC faculty member at Virginia Tech, has received an Allen Distinguished Investigator Award for close to $1 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to teach machines to use “common sense” in image analysis. Parikh uses cartoon scenes crafted from clip art to help computers “read” complex images. “Humans interpreting visual scenes can take advantage of basic knowledge about how objects typically interact, but computers,” Parikh said, “don’t have the same skill”.

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Devi Parikh has been named a 2014 Allen Distinguished Investigator

Devi Parikh, Asst Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Congratulations to Devi Parikh who has been named a 2014 Allen Distinguished Investigator! Devi’s work will impart common sense reasoning to computers to accomplish human-like visual recognition. She is in great company! Read More

Parang Saraf’s VAST grand challenge award is the NCR highlight of the week

Parang Saraf

Parang Saraf, a DAC/CS Ph.D. student in the National Capital Region, recently accepted the VAST Challenge 2014 Grand Challenge Award for Effective Analysis and Presentation in Paris, France. The VAST Challenge provides an opportunity for visual analytics researchers to test their innovative thoughts on approaching problems in a wide range of subject domains against realistic datasets and problem scenarios. The award was presented during the IEEE Vis Conference, where Saraf spoke for 30 minutes about the team’s solution to the challenge.

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