CHASS Unites with Statistics Department, Department of Homeland Security and Bell Labs to Fight Terrorism

By Catherine Szilagyi, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

UCR Team – (front row from left) James Lin, Lan Ye, Daniel Jeske, (2nd row from left) Rui Xiao, Minh Ly, Ted Younglove, Sean Cox, Ryan Rich (Douglas Holt, not in picture)

Last November, the Department of Homeland Security awarded UC Riverside, in collaboration with Lucent Technologies, an $800,000 grant. The University’s portion of the grant will amount to $320,000, and it will fund the development of methods to help Homeland Security accurately analyze data concerning national security threats.

Dr. Daniel Jeske, Associate Professor of UC Riverside’s Statistics Department, and Dr. Behrokh Samadi, a Researcher and Technical Manager of the High Performance Communication Systems Lab at world-famous Bell Laboratories, will be managing the year-long project.

Students and staff members have thus been given the opportunity to get hands-on experience through their involvement with this groundbreaking business enterprise. Five students, two of whom are undergraduate students, and staff research members were selected to participate in the project. Of the team selected, the UC Riverside researchers have been divided into two subgroups: one dedicated to Statistical analysis methods and the other to Computer Science. Dr. Jeske is leading the former which includes members of Statistical Consulting Laboratory, Ted Younglove, Lan Ye, Minh Ly, and Rui Xiao. James Lin, Director of CHASS College Computing (C3) of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is leading the latter which includes members of C3, Ryan Rich, Sean Cox and Douglas Holt.

The task of the project will be to provide tools for the Department of Homeland Security to test the validity and accuracy of Information Discovery and Analysis Systems, which according to Dr. Jeske are basically “tools that look through different types of data and try to piece together a story.” The tools will aid the Department of Homeland Security in dealing more effectively with the ongoing threat of terrorism and other national security issues.

The partnership between UC Riverside and Bell Laboratories, in pursuit of high-profile research, represents an important milestone for the campus. In addition to setting a new precedent in terms of undergraduate research involvement, the project, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, will also enable the University to secure future government assignments more easily.

Together with Bell Laboratories, one of the primary technological innovators in the world, UC Riverside will be providing unmatched research opportunities for its students. As Dr. Jeske observed, “This is a huge opportunity for our students to gain important experiences in data mining and computer science. Having that on their resumes when they go to look for jobs makes them significantly more marketable. Another plus for the students is that they get to see how Bell Laboratories works, and work with some of the very best engineers in the world.”

As one of the two undergraduates selected for research, Computer Science subgroup member Sean Cox, also a programmer of C3 mentioned that, “This current project is a wonderful opportunity to gain experience working on something where I have some degree of freedom to determine what I work on and what experience I'll get…” Sean also noted that he “enjoy[s] learning and stretching, and this project gives [him] that opportunity more than a cookie-cutter database business application” would. Fellow undergraduate researcher and C3 programmer Doug Holt also expressed that being selected for the opportunity was “a real honor” because of the chance to “work with professionals in this line of work, from Bell Laboratories, and to learn from them.”

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