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Focus 2006

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Enhancing E-Commerce Experiences
Commerce professor and ICICS member Izak Benbasat is exploring ways to improve
communication between humans and computers in corporate and e-commerce environments.
► Human-computer Interfaces
► Business-to-consumer E-commerce
► Intelligent Support Systems
In the bustling cyber-world of online
shopping, it is no longer enough to
have a flashy, easy-to-navigate website.
While speed, accuracy and security of
transactions are still crucial design
features for any e-business, how a
company communicates with people
is becoming equally important.
Today's e-shoppers are a savvy,
sceptical and growing market. Izak
Benbasat, Canada Research Chair in
Information Technology Management,
believes that companies should
complement their transactional
activities with relationship-enhancing
ones, such as improved product
description and service, customer
trust and positive company image.
Avatars at Your Service
Any retailer knows that providing
good service is crucial to building relationships with customers. Online shopping is no exception, and e-shoppers
have indicated a need and preference
for some kind of human contact.
Continued on page 2
Fall 2006 Vol. 17, No. 2
Perfecting Neural Control of Assistive Devices 3   Fifteen Recent ICICS Members 5-6
Dynamic Matchmaking— Decoding a Deluge of Data 7
Bridging the Software Policy Gap 4   Passing Notes 10 ICICS' growth spurt shows no signs of
slowing down! In this edition of FOCUS,
we introduce you to fifteen recent
members in a special fold-out section. The
four researchers we profile highlight the
innovation and outreach ICICS
members excel at.
Gary Birch's position as head of the
Brain Interface Lab at the G.F. Strong
Rehabilitation Centre keeps him focused
on practical results in his research. Gary
hopes to improve the quality of life for
those living with assistive devices through
his work on self-paced brain interfaces.
The commonalities between problems drives Canada Research Chair Kevin
Murphy's machine learning research.
The probabilistic models he uses to
abstract meaning from massive amounts
of data have application in both robotic
vision and bioinformatics.
Commerce professor Izak Benbasat's
research shows that online consumers are
looking for an e-commerce experience as
informative, responsive, and socially
fulfilling as traditional shopping can
be. The customer-service interface he
is developing to accomplish this will
also have a place in corporate
E-commerce will benefit from the
middleware that Eric Wohlstadter of
Computer Science has developed to
handle the policy requirements of
different applications within web-based
systems. Eric is also working on a
language that will automate rule-checking
in programming and save developers a lot
of time.
We hope you enjoy this edition of FOCUS.
Rabab Ward, ICICS Director
t: Continued from page 1
Benbasat and colleagues have been
investigating methods to improve
service and product recommendation
systems by incorporating text, speech,
text-to-speech conversion, and
humanoid avatars representing sales
assistants into a Web interface. They
are examining issues such as trust,
social presence (the degree to which
you feel the person with whom you are
communicating is there with you) and
telepresence, or the feeling that you
are in another environment, such as a
store represented on the Web. Their
findings are not surprising. Humans
still prefer a live human voice, which
is the most costly method of providing
customer service and advice. Text-
based systems were the next preferred
method and text-to-speech systems the
least preferred, presumably because
they sounded artificial. The addition of
a "talking head," or three-dimensional
avatar representing a sales assistant,
actually augmented all interactions and
increased the sense of social presence.
Designing Benevolent Agents
The challenge in designing virtual
advice systems is not just to provide
good information, but to understand
affect, or the emotional response of
the shopper. There can also be
incongruence in design goals between
generating higher traffic and sales for
the e-vendor and designing a
recommendation agent (RA) that is
perceived by the customer as being
competent, benevolent and honest—
all dimensions of trustworthiness. "A
lot of people have difficulty ascribing
these human-like characteristics to a
piece of software," admits Benbasat.
He and his colleagues developed an
explanation mechanism that allows RAs
to communicate information in order
to enhance users' trust and beliefs. For
digital camera purchasers, they found
that an RA that provided explanations
about how it reasons and asked
questions that focused on customers'
needs (such as how often the person
wished to take pictures of objects
far away), was perceived as being more
trustworthy than one that asked about
product attributes alone (such as the
power of zoom one wished the camera
to have). However, the improvement
in the level of trust was only ten to
fifteen percent. "There are many ways
to improve these trusting beliefs,"
Benbasat notes. "If you have a
properly designed agent, people will use
other mechanisms in the absence
of explanations." Benbasat's ICICS and
Sauder School of Business colleagues
include Hasan Cavusoglu, Ronald
Cenfetelli and Jai-Yeol Son.
Online Shopping and Virtual
Community Building
An increasing number of e-retail-
ers are tapping into the psychology of
online consumers by designing their
sites as virtual meeting places, where
like-minded consumers can exchange
comments, ideas and product reviews.
The exponential proliferation of blogs,
both private and corporate, reveals
the extent to which people want to
interact online, as well as perform
transactions. Benbasat is studying the
effects of personalization, where a
retailer like Amazon.com might recommend items based on a customer's
prior purchases and online behaviour.
"When you feel that the website is
reacting to the products you are
perusing and trying to understand your
needs, it is a type of personalization
that creates a higher social presence,"
says Benbasat. Similarly, a website that
provides consumer reviews creates a
perceived social presence as well as
useful product information. Together
these aspects significantly affect
customer loyalty. "Shopping is both a
cognitive activity and a social
activity, and when you buy a product
both instrumental reason and affect are
involved. So we are trying to capture all
of these factors in our work."
Izak Benbasat can be reached
at 604.822.8396 or
FOCUS Perfecting Neural Control of   ^^
Assistive Devices
New ICICS member Gary Birch is advancing brain interface technology to improve the
design of assistive devices for people with physical disabilities.
► Brain Interface Technology
► Assistive Devices
► Asynchronous Control
For over thirty years, Gary Birch has been
living without the use of his legs and with
limited use of his arms and hands. A car
accident severed his spinal cord the
summer that he graduated from high
school. Over 1,000 people a year suffer
from spinal cord injuries in Canada. Others
suffering from neuromuscular and other
degenerative diseases have a similar loss of
function and motor control. Gary Birch's
tragic experience motivated him to become
one of the world's top researchers in brain
interface technology and assistive devices.
He started his career at UBC, earning
a BA Sc and then a PhD in Electrical
Engineering in biomedical signal processing
in 1983. Birch is now executive director of
the Neil Squire Society, adjunct professor
in Electrical and Computer Engineering at
UBC, and head of the Brain Interface Lab
at G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre.
"What really makes our group unique
is that we work on a day-to-day basis
with people who have all kinds of disabilities," says Birch, who collaborates with
ICICS colleagues Rabab Ward and Peter
Lawrence, both from ECE. "Since our
investigations are rooted in the real world,
we take a practical approach to research
problems." Birch's work in assistive
technologies goes beyond signal processing
to encompass wireless technologies and
human—computer interaction. "I am
interested in any technology that can enable
people with disabilities to better
participate in the home, at
work, or in recreational
activities," he says.
"A lot of work has been done by people who don't have a
background in assistive technology or a connection with the end user, so they
tend to come up with very artificial environments."
Gaining Asynchronous Control
The technology that Birch and his lab
have developed is a brain-controlled switch
that detects brain signals as patterns in a
user's electroencephalograms related to
imagined movements. These signals are
measured by EEG sensors attached
to the scalp. Previous brain interface
(BI) research has focused on synchro
nized control devices, where the system
dictates control. When a synchronized BI
system is turned on, the user is regularly
prompted for input and only allowed to
control the assistive device during specific
periods. Synchronous systems only provide
control intermittently, and not necessarily
when the user intends it.
Continued on page 8
Fall 2006 Dynamic Matchmaking—
Bridging the Software Policy Gap
Computer scientist Eric Wohlstadter is a middleman of software engineering.
He develops techniques to facilitate component reuse, crosscut between
software languages and systems, and improve design rule checking.
► Adaptive Middleware
► Policy Matchmaking
► Design Rule Optimization
In the dynamic world of software
development, particularly for web-based
services that are distributed over the
Internet, one of the major challenges is the
communication between software components from different systems. For example,
an online retailer and a credit card service
provider each have different policies—or
QoS requirements. The credit card provider's policy might focus on security and privacy, while the online retailer is interested
in functional policies such as shipment
and delivery. The business-to-business web
of a single e-commerce transaction could
involve a company such as Amazon.com
and several different services providers, such
as shippers or credit card companies. In
the space of a few minutes, we can place an
online order, have the transaction
completed and know the delivery date—
all seemingly done with an ease and
simplicity that belies the complexity of
communication between layers of software
components in different systems.
GlueQoS—Middleware "Sweetener"
and Policy Matchmaker
Middleware is software that connects
two otherwise separate applications, such
as two different types of databases, or two
sides of an application, such as clients
and database server. Policy matchmaking
and enforcement over dynamic web-based
systems are key features of the GlueQoS
middleware that ICICS member Eric
Wohlstadter has developed with members
of the Advanced Enterprise Middleware
group at IBM Research. In most current
types of policy middleware, the business
client (such as Amazon) would be asked
to fulfill certain requirements (such as
entering a password) to log on to the server
system, but would have no way of
expressing its needs (fulfillment rate,
shipping, etc.).
The "sweetening" power of GlueQoS
is both dynamic and even-handed.
"The dynamism of our middleware is
the ability to monitor policies to ensure
they are enforced," says Wohlstadter.
"The symmetry allows both client and
server needs to be resolved in policy
matchmaking." His work is currently
being funded by MacDonald Dettwiler
& Associates.
Playing by the Rules
Every programming language has
a set of rules that must be followed in
order for the program to execute. In
addition, individual companies or
software development teams have
their own programming rules which
don't come with "off-the-shelf
programming languages such as
Java or C++.
Continued on page 8 Recent ICICS Members
We welcome 15 outstanding researchers to ICICS. Watch for more about their work in this and upcoming issues of FOCUS.
■ "   Gary Birch
Neil Squire Foundation/
I    Electrical and Computer
(See profile on page 3)
Karen Cheung
Electrical and Computer
Research: Biomedical
"My research focuses on bioMEMS (bio
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) for both
therapeutic and diagnostic applications.   In the
near future, implantable microelectrode arrays
may be used for the neural control of prosthetic
limbs, and it will be crucial to improve the
biocompatibility of these implants.   In another
project, I will investigate on-chip cell culture
within microfluidic systems for hands-free,
efficient monitoring and characterization of
cells. Such a system will lead to more sensitive,
more efficient, and cheaper diagnostics and
drug discovery. I look forward to collaborating
with ICICS members Professor Boris Stoeber
on microfluidics projects, and Professor Konrad
Walus on a cell patterning project."
|   Edmond Cretu
& Electrical and Computer
I    Research: Advanced
^^^^^Bff M    Microsystems and Smart Sensors.
"Two dominant directions mark the present
engineering world: the diffusion of information
technology into almost every facet of modern
life, and the micro/nano-miniaturization of
engineering systems. My research originates from
the blending of these two aspects, and targets
advanced microsystems and smart sensors, where
one can take advantage of the combination of
microstructures and advanced signal processing
algorithms. A major theme of "macro-engineering at microscale" is the functional integration
benefits resulting from the tight (nonlinear)
coupling between multiple energy fields
(e.g., mechanical and electrical) at small scales.
These benefits include both the improvement
of the performance of existing devices
(for instance, highly sensitive accelerometers),
and the generation of completely new
applications, such as real-time mechanical
spectrum analyzers. Neuromorphic engineering,
and learning and using some of the mechanisms
devised by nature, together with nonlinear signal
processing, are also placed high on my list of
research interests. The interdisciplinary character
of ICICS and its philosophy and mission, make
me more than enthusiastic; ICICS affords rich
collaborations, especially related to biomedical
Thomas Froese
Civil Engineering
Research: Advanced Information
and Communications
Technologies (ICT).
"I work in the area of advanced information
and communications technologies for the
architecture, engineering, construction, and
facilities management (AEC/FM) industries.
AEC/FM works, such as buildings or public
infrastructure, are large, complex, and information-sensitive projects that bring together many
people from different companies and disciplines
to collaborate for short durations on one-of-a-
kind ventures.  My work helps to provide the
information infrastructure to support new ICT
in AEC/FM.   I have contributed to the data
standards that allow the major software
applications used in the industry to share
project information. I have also co-founded a
company offering online project collaboration
services for construction projects, and I am
working to develop project information
management as a sub-discipline of construction
project management.  This work supports an
ICT trend that is leading to faster, cheaper,
and better construction. I look forward to the
collaborations that ICICS makes possible."
Dana Grecov
Mechanical Engineering
Research: Non-Linearities
and Multiple Length Scales.
"I'm using theory and
computations to understand problems in which
non-linearities and multiple length scales give
rise to complex behaviour. These problems bring
together ideas and theories for a variety of disciplines in science and engineering, which is why
I'm very happy to be collaborating with ICICS
members. These ideas and theories include
non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, numerical simulation, computational fluid dynamics, rheology
of complex fluids, and computational material
science. My current research work focuses on
the simulation of visco-elastic lubrication,
multiscale process modelling of liquid
crystalline materials, bio fluid mechanics, and
the simulation of industrial processing flows."
Xiaodong Lu
Mechanical Engineering
Research: Mechatronics,
Electro-mechanical Systems,
i    Precision Machine Design.
"My research interest is to design ultra-precision
instruments and machine equipment capable of
handling nanometric motion with high speed,
high stiffness, and high accuracy. To achieve
this, I'm working towards the integration of
electro-mechanics, precision machine design,
structural dynamics, electronics, real-time
computer design, signal processing, estimation,
and advance control algorithms. Currently, my
ICICS research group focuses on three projects:
ultra fast tool servos for fabricating 3-D patterns
with sub-nanometer resolution; next generation
scanning probe microscopes for fast scanning
of large samples; and active spindles with
nanometer accuracy for precision manufacturing
and metrology."
Kevin Murphy
Computer Science
(See profile on page 7)
Robert Pritchard
UBC School of Music
Research: Electroacoustic
and Computer Music.
"I am a composer, theorist
and a specialist in electroacoustic and computer music.   I belong to the research group
Music, Sound and Electroacoustic Technologies
(MuSET), dedicated to the exploration of
computer applications to music and sound.
I'm developing interactive tools for gestur-
ally controlling the processing and synthesis
of sound, speech and music in performance.
Currently, I'm concentrating on speech
synthesis and diffusion methods controlled
by Cybergloves and position trackers, but
over the next year this gestural control work
will be expanded to include video processing
and servo motor control, allowing artists to
perform in real-time within a highly integrated
multimedia environment."
Sheryl Staub-French
Civil Engineering
Research: Cost Estimating,
Design for Constructability,
Construction, Feature-Based Product Modelling.
"My primary research interests include activity-
based cost estimating, constructability reasoning,
and feature-based product modelling. Activity-
based cost estimating focuses on developing,
implementing and testing theories to represent
how features of building product models affect
construction activities to support cost estimates.
Constructability reasoning investigates facility designs. Recognizing constructability issues
early in a project's delivery process helps identify
design constraints which limit a contractor's
ability to plan and perform construction
operations effectively. Specifically, my work
focuses on developing and testing computer-
based models to simulate constructability
reasoning and predict problems. Finally, feature-
based product modelling creates representations
from the construction perspective. This has led
to the formalization of a computer-interpretable
vocabulary using the concept of features to
represent the different design conditions that
affect construction costs and constructability."
Leo Stocco
Electrical and Computer
Research: Medical
Robotics, Haptic Interfaces,
Electro-mechanical Optimization.
"My past research has focused on mechanical
robot optimization, human—computer interfaces,
and most recently, surgical robots. Advances in
medical devices help surgeons to improve surgical outcomes and shorten recovery times. The
introduction of robotics into total hip and knee
replacement surgery eliminates the need for bone
cement, thereby extending the life of the implant
indefinitely and opening the door to minimally
invasive procedures and anatomical corrections
that are not possible using conventional
methods. My future research activities involve
computer graphics and intelligent medical devices. I plan to collaborate with ICICS member Dr.
Tim Salcudean of ECE in the near future."
Boris Stoeber
Mechanical Engineering
& Electrical and Computer
Engineering (joint
Research: Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems
(MEMS), Microfluidics, and Sensor Technology.
"My research focuses on the broad area of
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS),
including microfluidics, sensor technology,
micro-optical systems and actuators as well as
microsystem integration for biomedical
applications and for environmental control.
My current research work on microfluidics
involves flow physics of complex microflows
including concepts for flow control in
microfluidic devices, new strategies for laminar
mixing and investigations of visco-thermal flow
instabilities. The interdisciplinary aspect of
MEMS research has allowed me to establish
several ICICS collaborations on these topics."
nEric Vatikiotis-Bateson
Research: Auditory-Visual
Speech Processing.
"My research focuses on
auditory-visual speech processing.   I look at
the linkage between the production and perception of multimodal speech behaviour. New
experimental and measurement techniques are
being developed for recording and analyzing
spoken communication in natural settings, both
inside and outside the laboratory.   Key to this
development is the perfection of a non-invasive,
video-based measurement system that can be
used anywhere that face video can be recorded.
Specifically, I'm researching computational
modelling of audiovisual speech production.
I'm also looking at the dependencies between
observable measurement domains, such as the
brain, vocal tract, voice source, face, and head.
In addition, I'm involved in several exciting
collaborative projects within ICICS."
Carlos E. Ventura
Civil Engineering
Research: Earthquake
Bl   ,     Engineering, Structural
^^^^^^^^    Dynamics, Instrumentation
and Testing of Structures.
"My research work is on earthquake
engineering, structural dynamics and modal
testing. My main interest is evaluating the
dynamic behaviour of structural systems
subjected to extreme dynamic loads, such as
earthquakes and blast loads. This includes
experimental studies in the field and in the
laboratory of structural systems and components.
I have developed novel techniques for regional
estimation of damage to structures
during earthquakes, and conducted detailed
studies on nonlinear dynamic analysis of
structures and methods to evaluate the
dynamic characteristics of large Civil
Engineering structures. My current research
includes the development of performance-based
guidelines for the seismic retrofitting of
schools. I'm also studying methods to evaluate
the interaction between critical infrastructures
vulnerable to natural and man-made hazards,
and working on structural health monitoring
of bridges."
A   Konrad Walus
Electrical and Computer
Research: Nano Devices
and Circuits.
"My recent work has studied the future
potential of an emerging computing
paradigm, called quantum cellular automata
(QCA), which is implemented using coupled
quantum dots in single molecules.  QCA is
attractive because it enables computing using
molecular devices that do not require
individual external connections; information
processing using QCA requires only the
electrostatic interactions between QCA
devices. Currently, I am working with ICICS
members Drs. Lucas Chrostowski, to develop
a method for optically clocking QCA circuits,
and Andre Ivanov, to develop strategies for
efficient testing of QCA circuits.  My
other research interests include printable
organic devices, for which I have teamed up
with ICICS researcher Dr. John Madden,
to develop an experimental printing system
for implementing these circuits."
Eric Wohlstadter
Computer Science
(See profile on page 4)
Fall 2006 Decoding a Deluge of Data
Computer scientist and statistician Kevin Murphy employs machine learning and probability
theory to develop artificial systems that can make abstract interpretations from low-level data.
► Machine Learning
► Probabilistic Graphical Models
► Computer Vision
"Computers are good at arithmetic and
bad at understanding images, and people
are the other way around," says Kevin
Murphy, new ICICS member and Canada
Research Chair in Machine Learning and
Computational Statistics. He is interested in bridging the gap between current
machine learning abilities and human
abilities of finding and understanding
patterns in data.
One advantage that people have that
machines do not is prior experience.
People learn to solve many related tasks
during their life, so when they are faced
with a new challenge for the first time—
such as recognizing a new kind of vehicle—
they are able to rapidly learn from a small
number of examples. In contrast, in most
current machine learning techniques, the
computer starts out as a "tabula rasa," and
requires a large amount of data to
learn anything.
Object Recognition:
Seeing the Forest before the Trees
One domain in which Murphy has
been exploring such "multi-task learning"
is visual object recognition. The basic idea
is that it may be easier to learn to recognize many things at once than to recognize
objects in isolation. One reason for this is
that visual "parts" can be "shared" across
categories. This reduces the amount of
training data required.
Another reason is that many objects
co-occur, that is, objects together form part
of scenes. It turns out to be easier to
recognize scenes first, and then to
recognize the objects within them. For
example, it is easy to distinguish indoor
images from outdoor images, based on the
global statistics of the image (e.g., average
brightness, presence of horizon lines, etc).
Having recognized the scene as an outdoor one then primes the system to expect
certain kinds of objects, such as cars and
pedestrians. This "top-down" approach to
computer vision is particularly important
in real-time applications like robotics.
Machine Learning for Bioinformatics
Recently, Murphy has started to
collaborate with ICICS colleague
Raymond Ng on a problem in cancer
genetics. Specifically, the goal is to find
repeatable patterns in comparative
genomic hybridization (CGH) data.
"This is essentially a signal
segmentation problem," Murphy says.
"What makes it difficult is that the signal
is so noisy.
Continued on page 8
Fall 2006 ►   Birch: Continued from page 3
Imagine not being able to move the
cursor of your computer when you want,
or turn on the lights, or change TV
channels. Instead the device operates by
polling the user at regular intervals, which is
disruptive to normal daily activities.
In order to develop asynchronous, or
self-paced, BI devices Birch and his lab
realized the need to define different periods
of control. Intentional control (IC) is
differentiated from the state of No Control
(NC), when a person does not intend use
and wants the system to remain quiet,
such as when they are talking, thinking
or simply observing. Birch realized that
in many applications, people are more
frequently in a NC state. By allowing
the user to define when things happen,
asynchronous control is less intrusive, less
frustrating, less fatiguing, and much more
rewarding for the user.
Currently, there are only three other
groups around the world working on
asynchronous BI technology. Birch and
his lab plan to expand their work in noninvasive EEG systems for use in
implantable devices, where miniature
radio transmitters are screwed into the
skull. Although more invasive, these
devices are desirable from a cosmetic and
practical standpoint, and scientists believe
they will also have an improved signal-
to-noise ratio. "Everything we have learned
about user control challenges can be
applied to implantable technology. So we
are making contributions on two levels."
Gary Birch can be contacted at
604.473.9363 or garyb@neilsquare.ca
►   Wohlstadter: Continued from page 4
"People follow these rules for
different reasons," says Wohlstadter.
"Often it is to ensure the software is
easy to maintain." However, this additional
coding can become complicated and
cumbersome over time, especially
when the software is not properly
modularized. Imagine a car being made
as one giant interweaving piece of
machinery, Wohlstadter explains. When
something malfunctioned, you couldn't
just replace a fuel pump or starter; the
entire vehicle would have to be replaced.
Several books have been written on
developing design rules, but so far there
has been a lack of support to encode these
informal rules so they can be automatically
checked or enforced. Wohlstadter
and ICICS colleague Kris De Voider have
been working with Microsoft to develop
a language that is specific for design
rules and that operates on a much higher
level than traditional programming
languages. "The benefit for programmers
is that they can check as many rules as
they want without being limited by
implementation constraints."
Eric Wohlstadter can be reached at
604.822.0409 or wohlstad@cs.ubc.ca
►   Murphy: Continued from page 7
In addition, the variation in the signal
due to cancer is masked by other sources
of variation, which are specific to each
person. The challenge is to tease apart
these different signals." The approach
Murphy is following is to use hierarchical
Bayesian models, which are capable
of leveraging prior biological
Computational Statistics
Many of the models that people use
in machine learning—whether for
computer vision, bioinformatics or
other applications—are quite complex.
Computational tractability turns out to
be a very important issue. In a third
strand of research, Murphy is investigating
efficient algorithms for approximate
inference in complex probabilistic
graphical models. He is also interested in
developing software to make such complex
algorithms more widely accessible to the
user community.
Kevin Murphy can be contacted at
604.822.9878 or murphyk@cs.ubc.ca
FOCUS Passing Notes: Continued from backpage
NSERC-Pratt & Whitney Canada Industrial
Research Chair Wins Top Honours
Yosuf Altintas' "Virtual Machining
System" was selected as the "Science-based
Manufacturing Technology of the Year"
for the International Machine Tool Show
held in Chicago in September. The IMTS
is the largest show of its kind in the world,
with 125,000 attendees. A short film about
the technology was shown during the
CCPE Award for Elizabeth Croft
The Canadian Council of Professional
Engineers has given Elizabeth Croft
(Mech Eng) its Award for the Support
of Women in Engineering. Hundreds of
young female students have been inspired
by Croft to enter the engineering
profession. Her initiatives such as UBC's
Engineering Tri-Mentoring Program
have helped them flourish. Croft works
in robotics and industrial engineering.
Gail Murphy a Two-Time Winner
Gail Murphy (CS) has won one of six
NSERC Steacie Fellowships awarded for
2006. Murphy has also been given the
2006 Anita Borg Early Career Award by
the Committee on the Status of Women in
Computing Research. The award
recognizes research contributions of women
in computer science and/or engineering
as well as their outreach to women.
CAGS/UMI Distinguished
Dissertation Award
The Canadian Association for Graduate
Studies has selected ECE professor
Konrad Walus as one of two winners
of this year's CAGS/UMI Distinguished
Dissertation Award. Sponsored by
University Microfilms International (UMI),
the award recognizes Canadian doctoral
dissertations that make unusually
significant and original contributions to
their academic fields.
UBC Programming Team at
ACM World Finals
After winning the ACM Regional Collegiate
Programming Contest in November 2005,
the Computer Science programming team
tied for 13th place out of 81 qualifying teams
at the World Finals in San Antonio, Texas
in April 2006. Congratulations to Matthew
Chan, Dustin Tseng, Yury Kholondyrev
and coach Bartholomew Furrow.
Faculty of Science Achievement
Awards for Service
Kellogg Booth (CS) has won a Faculty
of Science Achievement Award for Service,
for his efforts in recruiting and developing
faculty in Graphics and Human—Computer
Interaction associated with the Imager lab.
Kelly was also acknowledged for his
work on departmental space and
computing infrastructure issues over the
last several years.
Moyra Ditchfield of the Computer
Science technical staff has also won a
Faculty of Science Achievement Award
for Service. Moyra was selected for her
work on the departmental aspects of the
ICICS/CS Addition and Dempster Pavilion
construction, and for years of managerial
excellence and technical innovation.
Best Paper Award for ECE Professors
Lutz Lampe and Robert Schober of ECE,
along with W.H. Gerstacker, have won
a Best Paper Award from the European
Association for Signal Image Processing for
their paper, "On Suboptimum Receivers for
DSCDMA with BPSK Modulation." The
award was presented at the European Signal
Processing Conference in Florence, Italy in
TLEF Funding for ECE Professors
The UBC Teaching and Learning
Enhancement Fund has awarded ECE
professors Vincent Wong, Hussein
Alnuweiri, Konstantin Beznosov, and
Victor Leung  $27,900 to create a
hands-on interactive learning lab for
undergraduate and graduate students.
The lab will allow students to perform
a variety of experiments on a dedicated
PC network.
BCNET Coolest Applications
Contest Winners
Three Computer Science graduate students
swept the BC.Net Coolest Applications
Contest in April. Son Vuong's students
Xin Liu and Anthony Yu took first and
second place, respectively, and Camilo
Rostoker (supervisors Alan Wagner and
Holger Hoos) took third. Cash prizes
ranged from $1,500 to $3,500. BCNET
provides advanced networking to the province's research and education community.
Collaborative Research and Development
Grant for Wireless Research
Victor Leung and Vincent Wong of ECE
have been awarded a $180,000 NSERC
Collaborative Research and Development
Grant sponsored by Bell Canada for their
project, "Interworking between Cooperative
Access Networks over IP Backbone". The
project aims to support seamless mobility
management between different types of
wireless networks (e.g., cellular wireless,
Interactive Workroom Improvements
Kellogg Booth and ICICS colleagues,
along with UBC Fisheries Centre researcher
Villy Christensen, have won a $113,000
NSERC Research Tools & Instruments
award for their project, "Direct Multi-
touch Interaction for a Very Large Wall
Display." The team will use advanced input
sensing technology developed by SMART
Technology to augment the collaborative capabilities of the ICICS Interactive
Edmond Cretu Wins Romanian
Academy Award
Significant contributions to Romania's
intellectual and cultural life are recognized
annually by the Romanian Academy with
once-in-a-lifetime awards. Edmond Cretu
(ECE), along with his former research
group from Delft University of
Technology, have been given the
"Tudor Tanasescu" award by the
Academy's Information Science and
Technology section for their
microsystems research.
Computer Science Graduate
Wins Faculty of Science Prize
Jihong Ren (CS), a student of Mark
Greenstreet, has won the inaugural
Faculty of Science Graduate Prize—PhD.
The award recognizes the student whose
record is the best among all doctoral
graduates in the Faculty of Science.
Jihong's thesis focuses on optimal
equalizing filter design for high-speed,
point-to-point, off-chip buses.
Fall 2006 Passing Notes:
MSS Program Expands to Greece
Since January 2000, the Master of
Software Systems program under the
directorship of Panos Nasiopoulos (ECE)
has been equipping science and engineering
graduates for careers in the software
industry. Now, thanks to the program's
expansion to the DEI Institution in
Thessaloniki, Greek students have the
same opportunity. The first students
started the 16-month program in
January 2006.
Inaugural ICICS/lndustry Dinner
The weather cooperated for a highly
successful industry dinner held by ICICS
on June 28 at Cecil Green House. Senior
executives from local high-tech industries,
along with their ICICS hosts and other
key UBC personnel, enjoyed talks by
Angus Livingstone and Gary Albach of
the Industry Liaison Office, and Rabab
Ward of ICICS. The cross-fertilization
made possible by this dinner has already
generated research collaboration.
CIHR Grant for Safer Anesthesia
The CIHR has awarded a $280,404
operating grant to PI Mark Ansermino of
BC Children's Hospital and co-PIs Peter
Choi (BCCH), Guy Dumont (ECE) and
Sidney Fels (ECE) to develop a system that
would automatically detect adverse events
during anesthesia and make appropriate
suggestions to clinicians.
$509,856 for Gene Expression Research
A team led by Charles Haynes of Michael
Smith Laboratories has been awarded a
$509,856 NSERC/CIHR CHRP grant
to develop a new tool for analysing gene
expression. Lukas Chrostowski of ECE is
a co-PI, along with Robin Turner (Michael
Smith Laboratories/ECE), Michael Blades
(Chemistry), and Philip Hieter (Medicine).
Guidance System for Treating
Prostate Cancer Receives U.S. and
Canadian Funding
Tim Salcudean (ECE), James Morris (BC
Cancer Agency) and Gabor Fichtinger and
A. Song from Johns Hopkins University
have been awarded an NIH grant of
US$273,659 to develop an ultrasound-
based system for localizing radioactive seeds
used in treating prostate cancer. Salcudean,
Morris and Ingrid Spadinger (BCCA)
have also received a $307,962 NSERC/
CIHR CHRP grant for their related study,
"Image-based guidance system for prostate
AMPEL/ICICS Student Workshop
The Advanced Materials and Process
Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) and
ICICS have opened a new student
prototyping workshop that is available to
all ICICS faculty, staff and grads for light
use. Heavier-use projects will be levied
appropriate user fees to help offset
maintenance and supervision costs.
ECE Researchers Study
Parkinson's Disease
Jane Wang and Rafeef Abugharbieh of
ECE, along with Farsal Beg of SFU, are
co-PIs on a study led by Martin McKeown
of the Brain Research Centre that
assesses functional brain connectivity
in neurodegenerative disorders such as
Parkinson's disease. The study is funded
by an NSERC/CIHR CHRP grant in the
amount of $343,963.
Carl Ollivier-Gooch Wins Killam
Teaching Prize
Carl Ollivier-Gooch of Mechanical
Engineering was one of three winners
of Killam Teaching Prizes at UBC this
year. The prize is considered to be the
University's highest teaching honour.
Nominations are put forward by students,
colleagues, and alumni in recognition of
excellence in teaching, and are adjudicated
within each Faculty.
ICICS Technical Committee
Wins Spencer Award
In the spring edition of FOCUS, we told
you about the NetApp Innovation Award
won by ICICS. Now the ICICS Technical
Committee, chaired by Luca Filipozzi
(ECE), has won a 2006 Richard A. Spencer
Award for their vision underlying the
ICICS Unified Network. The award
recognizes outstanding innovation and
creativity in IT at UBC.
Continued on page 9
»I»C»I»C»S» Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems www.icics.ubc.ca
UBC's Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) is an umbrella
organization that promotes collaboration between researchers from the faculties of Applied
Science, Arts, Commerce, Education, Forestry, Medicine, and Science. ICICS supports the
collaborative computer-oriented research of more than 150 faculty members and over 800
graduate students in these faculties. ICICS researchers attract approximately $15 million in
annual grants and contracts. Their work will have a positive impact on us all in the future.
ICICS, University of British Columbia
289-2366 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T1Z4
Editor:    Jake Jacobs, ICICS Publications Coordinator
Writing:    Kirsty Barclay, UBC;
Mary Anne McEwen, Mari-Louise Rowley,
Pro-Textual Communications;
Craig Wilson, ICICS Editorial Assistant
Photos:    Janis Franklin, UBC Media Group
Design:    Jarret Kusick Hitman Creative Media Inc.
Office:    University of British Columbia
289-2366 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4
Tel:    604.822.6894
Fax:    604.822.9013
E-mail:    info@icics.ubc.ca


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