Brown CS News

James Hays, Roberto Tamassia and Andy van Dam Receive Faculty Research Awards from Google

James Hays and Alexei Efros (Asst. Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University) received an award to investigate the use of Internet imagery for image understanding tasks. Computer vision and computer graphics algorithms benefit from large amounts of training data, and websites such as Flickr and Picasa offer several orders of magnitude more training data than current data sets. However, the annotations and labels that accompany these images are sparse, noisy, and in some cases novel to the research community. James and Alexei are researching robust search and learning methods to address the challenges of this data -- massive scale and weak labeling -- and to drive new image understanding applications (such as geolocation) using Internet training data. Roberto Tamassia and John Tyler (Associate Professor of Education, Public Policy and Economics) were recently given a research award from Google in support of their research on developing an innovative web-based school information system that will employ a cloud computing platform and incorporate advanced techniques for data management, security and privacy. The envisioned system will facilitate communication and data sharing across school districts and will enable large-scale educational research and analysis while providing an access control framework to protect the privacy and confidentiality of administrative and educational school records. Andy van Dam and his graphics research team also received a research award from Google to study gestural user interfaces on mobile phones. This project will extend the group's ongoing research in multi-touch and pen interaction sponsored by Microsoft on the Surface, a table-top gesture-driven display. Gestural interfaces allow users to simultaneously specify a command, and accompanying options (e.g., which item? how much?) in a single motion. In addition, gestures do not require users to look at or target small command buttons when invoking commands. Mobile phones are in many ways an ideal application of gestural interfaces because users are on the go and often multitasking as they use their smartphones, while in line at the grocery store, gas station, or airport. Google Research Awards are provided to facilitate more interaction between Google and academia and also nurture stronger relations and partnerships with universities. The intent of the awards is to support academic research aimed at improving information access.

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