Winter Research Awards

Publish Date: 02/23/2012

Congratulations to CS faculty who have recently been awarded research funding from the Army Research Office, NEC Labs, NIH, NSF, and the S2ERC Center.

Dr. Naren Ramakrishnan and his Co-PIs Drs. Aditya Johri (Department of Engineering Education) and G. Alan Wang (Department of Business Information Technology) were recently awarded funding from NSF's TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Program.  The VT team is part of a consortium that has been jointly awarded $3M for developing new data mining and visualization tools for characterizing the portfolio of projects conducted through the National Science Foundation's TUES program. 

The goal of the project is to allow a non-expert in data mining from the STEM education community to intuitively and interactively mine a large amount of data visually and, for instance, determine which TUES-funded projects relate to problem-based learning, or automatically generate the names of thought leaders in a specific STEM sub-field. Users will be able to synthesize knowledge, explore synergistic projects, and gain an understanding of how ideas are adopted by others in the community—increasing the impact of NSF STEM investments that improve student learning.  

The grant—"Deep Insights Anytime, Anywhere (DIA2)—Central Resource for Characterizing the TUES Portfolio through Interactive Knowledge Mining and Visualizations"—is awarded jointly to Purdue, Virginia Tech, Stanford, and Arizona State University. 


Drs. Alexey Onufriev and Wu Feng, co-PIs, were awarded new funding from the NIH for their grant "Analytical Electrostatics: Methods and Biological Applications."  According to Onufriev, "the goal of the grant is to develop novel physics-based methods to improve both accuracy and speed of atomic-level modeling of bio-molecules, including in-silico drug design. Plans are also in place to accelerate some of the methods on novel parallel platforms, including GPUs."  Read more about the grant here.


Dr. Deborah Tatar and colleagues Steve Harrison, Dennis Kafura, Manuel Pérez-Quiñones, Cliff Shaffer and Chris Corallo (Executive Director of Organizational Development, Quality, and Innovation, Henrico County Public Schools) all co-PIs or senior personnel, have been awarded a new NSF CE21 planning grant.  Dr. Tatar describes the grant this way: "Computational thinking is important in its own right as a key enabler of effective participation in 21st century life and as an increasingly important underpinning to subject matter learning across the disciplines. We take an integrated approach to promoting Computational Thinking (CT) in which we build CT activities into current instructional practices across core middle school curriculum. We locate nascent CT activities in the existing curriculum, reinforce and develop the overlap between the curricular area and the target CT area, and subsequently reinforce the CT content in a short, reinforcing instructional unit."  Read more about this grant.


Dr. Ramakrishnan also received new funding from the NEC labs for a proposal entitled "Data Mining Techniques for Sustainable Data Centers."  Ramakrishnan describes this work: "This project explores the use of data mining techniques for creating sustainable data centers by mining data across the IT stack.  In a typical data center installation, dynamically optimizing sustainability across power, cooling and IT subsystems ... is hard, and data mining techniques can complement first principles approaches such as CFD-based models. This project will work in collaboration with NEC Labs to model the disparate entities of IT ecosystems, and use knowledge gained from historical data to transform the system to a more sustainable operational state."


Dr. Danfeng Yao has been awarded new research funding through the Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC) which is an NSF Industry and University Cooperative Research Center. The Hume Center is a participant in this I/UCRC.  Dr Yao's proposal was entitled "User-Centric Dependency Analysis in Programs for Identifying Malware." The work is about detecting malicious programs through novel user-intention based control-flow dependence analysis.


Co-PIs Dr. Ing-Ray Chen and C.T. Lu were awarded funding from the Army Research Office (ARO) for their grant proposal "Dynamic Trust Management in Delay Tolerant Networks."   Dr. Chen describes the project: "Delay tolerant networks (DTNs) are characterized by high end-to-end latency, frequent disconnection, and opportunistic communication over unreliable wireless links. In this proposal we design and validate a dynamic trust management protocol with the objective to provide a subjective yet accurate assessment of 'trust' of nodes in a dynamic DTN and demonstrate the utility of the trust protocol with practical Army DTN applications. Untreated in the literature, we consider dynamic trust management where the best trust setting is adjusted dynamically in response to changing DTN environment conditions such as an increasing population of misbehaving nodes or evolving hostility or social relations as time progresses to maximize application performance. For security applications built on top of trust management, we investigate trust-based secure routing and trust revocation algorithms to detect misbehaving nodes based on information provenance. The validation part leverages a mathematical model to describe a large number of nodes, each with its own mobility, social, quality-of-information (QoI), and quality-of-service (QoS) behaviors derived from multi-layer composite networks. The proposed trust management protocols are validated by comparing measured subjective trust against ground truth based objective trust and evaluating the performance of proposed trust-based security applications."