AIDR 2019 Conference Brings AI Researchers to Pittsburgh

In May, 150 researchers, librarians, scientists, computer scientists and industry professionals from 10 countries and dozens of organizations convened at Carnegie Mellon University for the 2019 Artificial Intelligence and Data Reuse (AIDR) Conference. The event was organized by PSC and Carnegie Mellon’s University Libraries and was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

During the three-day conference, attendees heard from numerous speakers about their experiences using artificial intelligence to tackle a diverse set of topics related to big data. Sessions addressed diverse challenges facing researchers, including a focus area on life sciences, panels focusing on challenges and opportunities, with an emphasis on ethics and smart cities and presentations on topics ranging from handwriting recognition to analysis of honeybee behavior. Student awards recognized outstanding presentations and posters.

PSC-Affiliated Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Receives $12.5-Million Renewal Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded Trusted CI, the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, a $12.5 million renewal grant to extend the center through 2024. The Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research is the lead organization for the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, in collaboration with PSC, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Internet2 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Over the past seven years, Trusted CI pioneered and set the standard for the NSF Cybersecurity Center of Excellence through continuous innovation in cybersecurity, and cultivating the NSF community’s trust in Trusted CI as a partner and a leader. Thus far, Trusted CI has helped over 250 projects improve their strength in cybersecurity. In addition to work toward a comprehensive cybersecurity framework, Trusted CI will initiate an innovative training program in 2020. Working with regional networks throughout the country, Trusted CI will train a wide range of people in cybersecurity skills to protect national research endeavors.

Pittsburgh Girls Code

Girls from Oakland Catholic High School successfully completed two Project GCode workshops in March. The workshops cap a year that saw 29 girls from local middle- and high schools, with help from partner organizations Gwen’s Girls and Assemble Pittsburgh, try their hand at programming applications for mobile devices.

PSC established the GCode program in 2016 as a way to entice more girls, particularly those of color, to consider studies and careers in coding and computer science. The goal is to expose young women to key programming concepts in a way that engages them and builds their interest in continuing their education in CS/IS and to introduce them to career opportunities in related technology fields. The program this year was supported by $40,000 in grants from Microsoft Corporation.

BEST Summer Institute Trains High School Teachers in Computational Biology

High school science teachers from five local school districts came to PSC from July 31 to August 2 for the 13th Annual BEST Summer Institute, “Topics in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.” The BEST curriculum, developed in 2006 in collaboration with local teachers, is an introduction to bioinformatics to help teachers launch classes and in some cases whole curricula to enable their students to benefit from this critical career path.

The workshop presented critical topics and new tools in the field and updated curriculum references, giving the teachers useable lessons and classroom activities that can be used as curriculum supplements for any biology classroom. Participants’ school districts included Plum, Hempfield, Baldwin-Whitehall, Mt Lebanon and California Area.

The workshop was taught by long-time BEST teachers from Oakland Catholic, Pittsburgh SciTech and PA Cyber Charter high schools. Workshop topics included DNA/protein structure and function, intro to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, evolution, genomics and sequence analysis and clinical relevance. The program, funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has spurred classes or curricula at 15 local high schools.

Computer Simulation: Antibody-Resistant Infection Registry Can Reduce Prevalence

A registry of patients with antibiotic-resistant infections featuring automated alerts can reduce infection prevalence, according to a study by scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, PSC and elsewhere. The scientists reported their results in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in May.

A simulation of 462 hospitals and other health care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area suggested that near-perfect facility participation can reduce new carriers of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) by nearly 12 percent and CRE prevalence by almost 8 percent. Even when the researchers assumed that participation by hospitals in the registry would be low (25 percent of Illinois facilities), the registry reduced new carriers by over 9 percent and prevalence by almost 3 percent. The result came about because non-participating institutions benefited from shared cases being identified.

PSC Team Wins Best Student Paper Award

PSC student-mentor team Evgeny Toropov, Paola A. Buitrago and José Moura took the Best Student Paper in the Advanced Research Computing Software and Application Track at the PEARC19 advanced research computing conference in Chicago. Their paper “Shuffler: A Large Scale Data Management Tool for Machine Learning in Computer Vision” described a new, open-source tool to help artificial intelligence (AI) researchers manage and update image data for “training” AIs in a way that allows it to be updated and expanded while keeping it understandable to the humans managing it.

PEARC19, which took place July 28 to August 1, explored current practice and experience in advanced research computing including modeling, simulation and data-intensive computing. The primary focus was on machine learning and artificial intelligence. The PEARC organization coordinates the PEARC conference series to provide a forum for discussing challenges, opportunities and solutions among the broad range of participants in the research computing community.

Bridges Powers AI Poker Demonstration

On the heels of the announcement that a CMU AI, Pluribus, had beaten the world’s best humans at six-player Texas Hold’em while running on PSC’s Bridges (see article <link to feature article on Pluribus>here</link>), Bridges once again ran a software card shark designed by Noam Brown and Tuomas Sandholm of Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, taking on all comers. The demonstration took place in August at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) in Macao, China.

The IJCAI is a gathering of international AI communities to review progress in artificial intelligence research and practice and to celebrate achievements in the field. This year was the conference’s 50th anniversary gathering.

PSC Interns Explore Data, Biology, Computing Architecture

August saw the completion of PSC’s summer internships, with 12 undergraduate and graduate students from Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) presenting their results. This bumper crop of students was partially thanks to the first year of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program, designed to facilitate hands-on learning experiences at PSC or the NSF Center for Space, high performance and Resilient Computing at Pitt.

Interns presented on a number of high performance computing topics, including analyzing Big Data, using deep learning to automate discovery of nerve-cell pathways in serial microscope images, analyzing simulations of microscopic events inside living cells, simulating the motion and activities of biomolecules, programming graphics processing units for scientific applications and setting up tools for biologists to make use of the Brain Image Library online.