Faculty Presenters

Kevin Knuth

Assistant Professor

Departments of Biology and Physics,
College of Arts & Sciences


Searching for Complex Organic Molecules in Space

In the last decade it has become clear that the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen produced by red giant stars and blown off in their stellar winds combine with hydrogen to form complex organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Hundreds or even thousands of different PAH species could be present in an interstellar cloud. When illuminated by a nearby star each species emits a characteristic infrared spectrum. However from Earth, we are only able to observe a spectrum consisting of a sum of the individual PAH spectra. As a result, we know that PAHs are present, but we do not know whether a given species is present and in what quantity.
We present our ongoing work to apply Bayesian source separation techniques toward characterizing these complex spectra. My collaborators at NASA Ames Research Center are building a database of spectra from over a thousand PAH species. These will be used by our machine learning algorithms, which rely on Markov chain Monte Carlo, to compute the probabilities that hypothesized PAH mixtures account for the recorded spectra. By combining expertise from astrophysics, organic chemistry, machine learning, and informatics we are working to better understand the organic chemistry of interstellar clouds.

Senem Güney

Assistant Professor

Department of Communication,
College of Arts & Sciences


Foreshadows into the Next Field Adventure: Technology as Communicative Infrastructure in Interorganizational Collaboration

Senem Güney will talk about her future research program as an organizational ethnographer interested in communicative practices that sustain interorganizational collaboration-especially in cases where collaboration takes place among organizations that are distributed across physical and social boundaries. Her presentation will focus on some organizational issues-such as building trust, establishing shared frameworks of action, and cultivating communities of learning-that are key to the success of complex collaborative enterprises. She will give an overview of these issues as themes for a fieldwork-based study of collaboration and discuss potential research questions that could be based on these themes and that could be of interest to students of technology and contemporary organizational life.

Yvette Mattern

Assistant Professor

Department of Music,
College of Arts & Sciences


Informing the Conceptual: The Emergence of Video Technology in the Late 60s and Early 70s

Yvette will discuss her recent project ANALOG that was developed during her three-month residency at the BALTIC contemporary art in Gateshead, England. Her research focused on the development of the technology of video as a conceptual tool for artists and musicians, in the late sixties and early seventies. This technological development established an aesthetic language that intersected a variety of mediums and disciplines.

Toni Naccarato

Assistant Professor

School of Social Welfare


Foster Care Youth and the Role of the Independent Living Skills Program on the Propensity for Educational Human Capital Accumulation

Very little has been studied with respect to evaluating the Independent Living Skills Program (ILP) and even less is known about program outcomes that include preparing foster youth for the complexities of adult life. This study looks at the ILP in one California county in the area of education as human capital using an ordered probability model. The purpose was to answer the question: "Does ILP enhance the youth's propensity for educational achievement?" Data were collected using four ILP forms from the fiscal year 2001 - 2002 for all ILP eligible youths. The study's outcome provided limited feedback regarding the youths' ILP experiences and their "propensity" for educational attainment. One principle finding was that the data collection tools for this population need to be revised in order to begin to study ILP in a more statistically rigorous manner. One recommendation is to revise the four ILP forms to obtain more concise information that should then be collected at the end of the youth's tenure in foster care, as well as five years later. Recommendations are made for an ILP that considers human capital accumulation as a contemporary theory for training youth for the demands of economic conditions of the 21st century.

Janet Stamatel

Assistant Professor

School of Criminal Justice


Impact of the Information Revolution on Criminal Justice Research

The information technology (IT) revolution has had a large impact on the criminal justice system. For example, it has generated new offenses (computer crimes), changed policing practices, and introduced new methods for tracking and punishing offenders. In a less obvious way, it has also significantly changed the types and amounts of information available to a wide range of audiences. The IT revolution has created an information paradox: on the one hand there are numerous complex database systems that require specialized training for use and, on the other hand, other types of information are quite transparent and easily accessible to a wide range of audiences.
In this presentation I will focus specifically on how the information revolution has impacted criminal justice research with respect to the skills required for data utilization, the challenges involved in ensuring the responsible use of such information, and the ways in which criminal justice information is used and misused by a variety of audiences. I will demonstrate how informatics can be applied to traditional criminological research questions by introducing a current research project comparing cross-national crime trends in Europe. I will highlight the information challenges of this project, such as data access and utility, geographic and temporal coverage, comparability of indicators, and the potential misuse of this type of information.

Monika Calef

Assistant Professor

Department of Geography and Planning,
College of Arts & Sciences


Interactions Among Humans and Fire in the Boreal Forest of Interior Alaska from a GIS Perspective

Boreal forests contain vast amounts of carbon in their cold soils which is released during frequent fires. In this study we assess the impact of human presence on fire regime in Interior Alaska by investigating three research questions: 1) Does the type of fire ignition (have a significant impact on fire size?; 2) Does distance from towns, roads or rivers affect fire size and ignition?; and 3) Does human impact on fire regime vary with population size? We overlaid the large-firescar database for 1988-2002 and the fire ignition database containing fire points from 1956-2000 with all named settlements, major highways and major rivers in Interior Alaska. Next, we created human and lightning fire prediction models using stepwise logistic regression. Currently, humans are responsible for high fire frequency near towns and roads while total area burned for all types of fires is reduced near settlements and roads. Human impact on fire regime is related to town size and distance to roads. According to our fire prediction model, lightning fires are strongly driven by low precipitation, advanced stand age, high June temperature and proximity to rivers. Human activities clearly influence fire regime in localized areas of Interior Alaska.

Ozlem Uzuner

Assistant Professor

Department of Information Studies,
College of Computing & Information


Semantic Interpretation of Medical Clinical Records: The Case of Deidentification.

Deidentification of clinical records is a crucial step before these records can be distributed to non-hospital researchers. Most approaches to deidentification rely heavily on dictionaries and heuristic rules; these approaches fail to remove most PHI that cannot be found in dictionaries. They also can fail to remove PHI that is ambiguous between PHI and non-PHI.
Named entity recognition (NER) technologies can be used for deidentification. Some of these techologies exploit both local and global context of a word to identify its entity type. When documents are grammatically written, global context can improve NER.
Here, we show that we can deidentify medical discharge summaries using support vector machines that rely on a statistical representation of local context. We compare our approach with three different systems. Comparison with a rule-based approach shows that a statistical representation of local context contributes more to deidentification than dictionaries and hand-tailored heuristics. Comparison with two well-known systems, SNoW and IdentiFinder, shows that when the language of documents is fragmented, local context contributes more to deidentification than global context.

Chun-Shuo Chen & Terry Maxwell

PhD Student / Assistant Professor

Department of Information Studies,
College of Computing & Information


The Dynamics of Bi-Lateral Intellectual Property Negotiations: Taiwan and the United States

This study analyzes the progress of copyright enforcement in Taiwan in the period from 1985 to 2000. As a rapidly industrializing country, Taiwan has faced significant pressure from its international trade partners to improve intellectual property protection. This pressure has been strongest from the United States, Taiwans largest partner. Analysis of the progress of intellectual property protection in Taiwan provides an opportunity to learn more about the dynamics of intellectual property policy development in developing countries, and the impact of U.S. actions on internal IP politics and cultural development. The paper will survey the significant milestones in Taiwanese copyright policy development over the last two decades, and conclude with a conceptual model that can be tested through analysis of other case studies of cross-jurisdiction intellectual property relationships.

Huahai Yang

Assistant Professor

Department of Information Studies,
College of Computing & Information


NaLIX: An Interactive natural language interface for querying XML

For structured information such as those represented in XML, powerful and precise query semantics, such as aggregation, nesting and value join, can be specified if a user (i) knows the schema and (ii) is able to write query in a formal query language such as XQuery. Both of these two requirements are not realistic for an untrained user. We have developed NaLIX to enable a regular end user to have full power of a formal query language while entering an English sentence as query. The sentence will be translated, potentially after reformulation by the user through interactive feedbacks, to a formal query language expression to retrieve precise results. I will demonstrate the interactive query formulation process, discuss the design of the system, and present results of a user study on NaLIX.

Hae-Deok Song

Assistant Professor

Department of Educational Theory and Practice,
College of Computing & Information


Developing a System Dynamics Model that Simulates the Faculty Adoption of Online Learning Technology

Faculty have different concerns as they integrate new technology into their teaching. Without reducing these concerns, technology integration will not be successful. Four main stages of faculty concern were identified based on Hall's concern-based adoption model. Reviewing literature, we have identified support factors that may decrease the faculty's concerns and incorporated them into the simulation model. The current simulation model will aid educators or administrators to evaluate the impact of the support factors on faculty adoption of online learning technology.