Wednesday, June 10, 2015

IBM Cambridge Talk 6/12 11am: Ben Shneiderman on Event Analytics

Ben Shneiderman from the University of Maryland will be visiting IBM Friday, June 12th and giving a talk at 11AM in the Commons, 2nd floor, 1 Rogers St, Cambridge, MA. Ben is a very influential researcher and I highly recommend you come see his talk! Details follow...

Title: Interactive Visual Discovery in Event Analytics: Electronic Health Records and Other Applications

Abstract:
Event Analytics is rapidly emerging as a new topic to extract insights from the growing set of temporal event sequences that come from medical histories, e-commerce patterns, social media log analysis, cybersecurity threats, sensor nets, online education, sports, etc. This talk reviews our decade of research on visualizing and exploring temporal event sequences to view compact summaries of thousands of patient histories represented as time-stamped events, such as strokes, vaccinations, or admission to an emergency room. Our current work on EventFlow (www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/eventflow) supports point events, such as heart attacks or vaccinations and interval events such as medication episodes or long hospitalizations. Demonstrations cover visual interfaces to support hospital quality control analysts who ensure that required procedures were carried out and clinical researchers who study treatment patterns that lead to successful outcomes. I show how domain-specific knowledge and problem-specific insights can lead to sharpening the analytic focus so as to enable more successful pattern and anomaly detection.

Bio:
BEN SHNEIDERMAN (http://www.cs.umd.edu/~ben) is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/) at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, and IEEE, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His contributions include the direct manipulation concept, clickable web-link, touchscreen keyboards, dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps, innovative network visualization strategies for NodeXL, and temporal event sequence analysis for electronic health records.

Ben is the co-author with Catherine Plaisant of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (5th ed., 2010) http://www.awl.com/DTUI/. With Stu Card and Jock Mackinlay, he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999). His book Leonardo’s Laptop appeared in October 2002 (MIT Press) and won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. His latest book, with Derek Hansen and Marc Smith, is Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (www.codeplex.com/nodexl, 2010).

Driving Instructions: IBM Client Center - 1 Rogers Street Cambridge, MA

From Boston Logan International Airport:
If you are arriving at the airport, you may travel either by car, taxi or limousine to the center. We are located approximately 15 minutes from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).
Head North then Slight right. Keep right at the fork to continue toward MA 1A S
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for MA 1A S/Interstate 93 N/Sumner Tunnel and merge onto MA1A S.
Turn left to stay on Massachusetts 1A S
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for MA 3 N/Storrow Drive
Keep right at the fork. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for MA-28 N/Leverett Cir/N Station. Slight right toward Nashua St
Turn left onto Nashua St
Take the 1st right onto MA-28 N/Monsignor O'Brien Highway
Turn left onto Edwin H Land Blvd
Turn right onto Rogers St

From the North:
Take I-93 S to Boston
Take exit 26 for Massachusetts 3 N toward Massachusetts 28/Storrow Drive/North Station
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Route 28 N/Leverett Cir/North Station N -
Keep left at the fork. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for MA 28 N/O'Brien Hwy
Continue straight. Turn left onto Nashua St
Take the 1st right onto MA-28 N/Monsignor O'Brien Highway
Turn left onto Edwin H Land Blvd Turn right onto Rogers St

From the South:
Go I-93 N / US-1 N / RT-3 N toward Boston
Take exit 26 toward Storrow Drive
Keep left at the fork, follow signs for MA-28N/Leverett Cir/N Station
Slight right toward Nashua St
Turn left onto Nashua St
Take the 1st right onto MA-28 N/Monsignor O’Brien Highway.
Turn left onto Edwin H Land Blvd
Turn right onto Rogers St

From New York and West:
Take the Interstate 90 E/Interstate 90 W (Tolls) ramp to Masspike/Springfield/Boston
Keep right at the fork, follow signs for I-90 E/I-95/Boston and merge onto I-90 E
Take exit 18 on the left toward Cambridge
Continue straight
Turn right onto Cambridge St
Turn right onto Memorial Dr
Continue onto Edwin H Land Blvd
Turn left onto Binney St
Take the 1st right onto 1st St

Parking at the Center:
The IBM Client Center is located at 1 Rogers Street Cambridge, MA. The building is U shaped positioned between Edwin H. Land Blvd and 1st Street. The sign on the front of the building states "Charles Park.”

There is no on-site parking at the Center. You can park across the street at the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall located at 100 Cambridgeside Place Cambridge, MA 02141 (view map below). If you park at the Galleria Mall for 5+ hours, we can validate your parking ticket for a discounted rate at the front desk of the Client Center.

Below is a map that shows where the mall is in relation to the center. Once guests park their cars, they will take the elevator/escalator to the first floor of the mall. They will walk towards the end of the mall where the Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen are located. The center is in the building directly across the street. Guests will have to walk along the side of the building, until they reach Rogers Street. From there, they will turn right and the front doors are located directly ahead.

Getting in the Building

You can come to the main entrance and just beeline for the elevator bank. Don't worry about the security desk to the side. Come up the second floor and we'll have someone waiting there for you at the glass doors. If for some reason there is not, please call me at (617) 693-8548 and just let it ring a long time -- I should be able to get it in my office or on my cell.

Please contact Cody Dunne if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Graph/Network Visualization Internship @ IBM Watson, Cambridge MA

Update: The intern positions are no longer available.

To apply please email your CV and three references to Cody Dunne cdunne [AT] us.ibm.com.

Job description

IBM Watson (Cambridge, MA) is hiring a summer intern to join the Cognitive Visualization Lab. We are looking for candidates with a research track record in graph drawing or network visualization, preferably with additional experience in JavaScript, WebGL, and human-computer interaction.

Our research group aims to advance the state of the art on visual analytics. We are an interdisciplinary group comprised of computer scientists, data scientists, social network analysts, and designers. We are working on a diverse set of truly fascinating projects, including pure R&D/papers (VIS/InfoVis/VAST, CHI, EuroVis, Graph Drawing), applied mathematics, developing prototypes for the most important industries in the world, and gallery installations. Many internships have resulted in academic publications, patents, and new features in IBM products. One of our main areas of interest is developing new graph/network layout techniques that help users understand and analyze complext datasets.

Our laboratory is located a few minutes from the MIT campus in an inclusive and friendly work environment. Despite being small geographically, Boston has 61 colleges and universities and hosts a vibrant academic atmosphere.

Research Keywords

Graph Drawing, Network Visualization, Information Visualization, Network Analysis, Human-Computer Interaction

Key Responsibilities

  • Design, implement, and evaluate a novel visual analytics prototype following user-centered design principles.
  • Collaborate with domain experts within Watson.
  • Publish and present results to both the academic community and to non-scientists.

Required:

  • M.S. student in Graph Drawing, Information Visualization, Computer science, or a directly related field.
  • Publication history within the academic community related to Graph Drawing/Network Visualization.
  • Research skills including data visualization, processing, modeling, analysis, and user studies/usability testing.
  • Programming and data analysis proficiency, ideally including web-based visualization tools. E.g., JavaScript, D3, jQuery, WebGL, three.JS.
  • Excellent communication skills for conveying technical material to both scientists and non-scientists in both written and oral presentations.
  • Strong desire to work in a team environment.
  • English: Intermediate

Preferred:

  • PhD student
  • English: Fluent

IBM is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. IBM is also committed to compliance with all fair employment practices regarding citizenship and immigration status.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Verizon Wireless injecting tracking UIDH header into HTTP requests

Reading Hacker News today, I found a frightening post on Verizon Wireless injecting tracking UIDs into HTTP requests. The upshot is that Verizon Wireless is sending a unique identifier for you to each and every unencrypted website you visit, which means that advertisers (or worse) can track everywhere you have been. This occurs even if you opt out of all the Verizon tracking, use a privacy mode in your browser, enable Do Not Track, use a different browser, send your own bogus UIDH header, change to a new phone, or use a tethered laptop for browsing. The only known solution is to encrypt all your browsing. You can do this using HTTPS Everywhere, but this only works if the website supports HTTPS. The best solution is to use full encryption using a VPN like Tunnelbear or TOR. More details follow.

First a little bit of background. When your browser accesses a webpage, it uses a protocol called HTTP to talk with the server hosting the webpage. As part of the request, your browser sends some header fields which provide information about what you want to get back. This includes your IP address and some information about your browser which can actually be enough to uniquely identify you. To see some of the information your browser is sending, check out your request headers here or here.

Verizon Wireless is adding its own header, X-UIDH, which includes a unique identifier that it sends to the webpage. You can check whether your phone is getting the header added here or here. Just make sure you turn off wifi before running the test. Verizon has two patents on the subject: Obtaining targeted services using a unique identification header (uidh) and Multi-factor authentication using a unique identification header (uidh). The most illuminating part is Figure 5 from the first patent:

It becomes very clear that all this is intentional, which was confirmed by my call to Verizon. I talked with a representative of Verizon Wireless, and once they understood the situation they offered several (ineffective) solutions. (1) Use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Naturally, this will only work for the small subset of web services that provide HTTPS. (2) Use Do-Not-Track in the browser. However, my testing showed this had no effect. (2) Use a privacy mode. Again, this had no effect. After talking with a supervisor, the representative then told me that this behavior is normal and expected. Moreover, he claimed that the UIDH header and a standard HTTP connection are a sign to the webserver that you are a good internet citizen, and not a hacker trying to do something untoward. This was a blatant misrepresentation of why some websites do not support HTTPS. After further discussion he ended up agreeing with me, but said there was nothing he could do to help.

What can we do? First off, this is already being exploited in the wild so start using a VPN. Next, let's get Verizon Wireless to change this policy. Do your own testing, tell your friends, and post your complaints online! There is already a bunch on UIDH on Twitter.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Visualization Intern & Res. Sci. Positions @ IBM Watson & Research, Cambridge MA

Update: The positions are no longer available.

IBM's Watson Group (Cambridge, MA) is looking to hire several summer Research Interns and Research Scientists to join the Cognitive Visualization Lab. We are looking for candidates with a research track record in Information Visualization, preferably with experience in Human-Computer Interaction, decision-making processes, and social sciences.
Our research group aims to advance the state of the art on visual analytics. We are an interdisciplinary group comprised of computer scientists, data scientists, social network analysts, and designers. We are working on a diverse set of truly fascinating projects, including pure Research and Development (R&D)/papers (VIS/InfoVis/VAST, CHI, EuroVis), applied mathematics, developing prototypes for the most important industries in the world, and gallery installations. These positions would be working directly with Cody Dunne and Mauro Martino.
Our laboratory is located a few minutes from the MIT campus in an inclusive and friendly work environment. Despite being small geographically, Boston has 58 colleges and universities and hosts a vibrant academic atmosphere.

Research Keywords

Information Visualization, Data Science, Big Data Analytics, Information Design, Social Computing, Network Analysis, Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Science

Key Responsibilities

  • Design, implement, and evaluate a novel visual analytics prototype following user-centered design principles.
  • Investigate creative Human-Computer Interaction systems for deeper levels of expression and engagement.
  • Publish and present results to both the academic community and to non-scientists.

Internship Postings

Research Scientist Postings

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cygwin package manager and auto updates

I use Cygwin on my Windows machine to get access to all the wonderful Linux tools like grep, wget, etc. One problem with Cygwin is you have to run it's GUI installer again manually each time you want to add tools or update the ones you already have.

apt-cyg provides a command-line package manager that you can use to install tools without using the GUI installer. However, I didn't see a way to update the existing tools. You can write a simple batch script to do the automatic updates for you. You only need the three lines below, assuming you've installed cygwin to C:\cygwin. Then, run the batch file as administrator or create a shortcut to do that for you.

cd C:\cygwin
wget -N http://cygwin.com/setup.exe
setup.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode

If you want to pretty it up so you can scan the results of the commands easier, just add some echo statements:

@ECHO off
cd C:\cygwin
echo ======================================
echo Downloading latest cygwin installer...
echo ======================================
echo.
wget -N http://cygwin.com/setup.exe
echo.
echo ======================================
echo Updating all cygwin packages...
echo ======================================
echo.
setup.exe --no-desktop --no-shortcuts --no-startmenu --quiet-mode
echo.
echo ======================================
echo Update finished.
echo ======================================
echo.
pause

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Suppressing BibTeX fields for specific biblatex entry types

I use LaTeX for writing academic papers and biblatex for handling the citations and references in them. One problem I ran into is that biblatex prints out the location, address, month, and publisher for a lot of entries, which I prefer not to have in my reference list. Rather than editing the BibTeX .bib file and losing that data forever, you can tell biblatex to ignore or suppress specific pieces of it.

Below is my code. It suppresses location, address, month, etc. for all entries, and suppresses the publisher and editor field unless the entry is a book. You may need to modify this for whatever style you're using.

% Loads biblatex with clickable links from citations and the reference list, 
% with back references if the style supports them.
\usepackage[hyperref,doi,url=false,backref,style=alphabetic,maxbibnames=99]{biblatex}
\bibliography{refs.bib}

\AtEveryBibitem{% Clean up the bibtex rather than editing it
 \clearlist{address}
 \clearfield{date}
 \clearfield{eprint}
 \clearfield{isbn}
 \clearfield{issn}
 \clearlist{location}
 \clearfield{month}
 \clearfield{series}
 
 \ifentrytype{book}{}{% Remove publisher and editor except for books
  \clearlist{publisher}
  \clearname{editor}
 }
}

Edit on 2/9/2012: As @siretart helpfully points out in the comments, biblatex makes distinctions between fields, name lists, and literal lists in the source file. To see whether to use \clearfield, \clearname, or \clearlist check the biblatex manual for the data type. For example, date and series are fields, location is a literal list, and editor is a name list. I've updated the code above to reflect this.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Microsoft Security Essentials Automatic Updates

I love Microsoft Security Essentials, but I'm annoyed by having to do the virus signature updates manually with each Windows Update. This could be because I have Windows Update set to download but let me choose which ones to install. However, you can use the Task Scheduler to automatically run the signature update every day.

AddictiveTips provides instructions, but on my 64-bit Win7 machine the file location was different.

Instead of
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Essentials\MpCmdRun.exe SignatureUpdate
I used
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Security Client\Antimalware\MpCmdRun.exe" SignatureUpdate
So far, so good!