June 2012 Archives

Dr. Marjan Trutschl, a graduate of UMass Lowell’s Computer Science doctoral program, was recently named the Abe Sadoff Distinguished Chair in Bioinformatics at Louisiana State University in Shreveport (LSUS).

Prior to joining LSUS, Dr. Trutschl (MS 1997, ScD 2002) and his wife, Dr. Urska Cvek, also a UML graduate (MBA 2007, ScD 2004), worked as research assistants at the Institute for Visualization and Perception Research under the mentorship of Professor Georges Grinstein.

During that time, Grinstein, Trutschl, Cvek, and other group members co-founded Anvil, Inc., a bioinformatics data mining and visualization software firm.

In 2002, Drs. Trutschl and Cvek accepted faculty positions in the Computer Science Department at LSUS.  Dr. Trutschl also became Visiting Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.  In 2003, they co-founded the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics at LSUS and, in 2006, were named its co-directors.

Dr. Trutschl is now Associate Professor of Computer Science, co-director of the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics at LSUS and Director of the Biomedical Informatics Core at the Center for Molecular and Tumor Virology at LSUHSC-S.  

He has received several awards including Outstanding Research Award (LSUS, 2005), Circle of Excellence Award (LSUS, 2009) and Distinguished Researcher Award (NCRR/IDEA Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, 2010).

His research focuses on data visualization, biomedical informatics, neural networks, data mining and cluster and distributed computing and is funded by NIH, NSF, Department of Defense, several pharmaceutical companies and other organizations.

Drs. Trutschl and Cvek will co-chair the MediViz Symposium at the International Conference on Information Visualization in France this summer.

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Dr. Marjan Trutschl
Computer Science Department doctoral student Beibei Yang presented a research paper co-authored with Prof. Jesse Heines, Domain-Specific Semantic Relatedness from Wikipedia: Can a Course be Transferred?, at the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics - Human Language Technologies (NAACL-HLT) 2012 conference. The event was held June 3–8, 2012 in Montréal (Québec), Canada.

The conference covered a broad spectrum of disciplines working towards enabling intelligent systems to interact with humans using natural language, and towards enhancing human-human communication through services such as speech recognition, automatic translation, information retrieval, text summarization, and information extraction.

Yang and Heines analyzed the problem of transferring credits across undergraduate institutional. About 1/3 of all college students in the U.S. transfer between institutions. In their work, Yang and Heines proposed a Wikipedia-based domain-specific semantic relatedness measure that analyzes course descriptions to suggest whether a course can be transferred from one institution to another.

They showed that the proposed work received a high correlation of 0.85 when compared to human judgment on computer science courses. And it only took less than 1 minute to compare one pair of courses on a standard laptop system.

Their poster at the conference attracted many researchers from universities and organizations including CMU, Stanford, University of Edinburgh, Google, IBM research, and Nuance.

Yang also received a travel grant of $500 from the conference.

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Ph.D. student Beibei Yang at the NAACL-HLT 2012 student research workshop. (Courtesy Andy Dufilie)

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