List of Announcements (details below):


Huzefa Rangwala to Receive 2014 Mason Teaching Excellence Award

Huzefa Rangwala, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, has been selected as a recipient of a 2014 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award.

The award will be presented to him at the upcoming Celebration of Teaching Excellence.
    Monday, April 21st, from 3:30pm-5:00pm
    Center for the Arts, Main Lobby


Seminar:  CS Dept.:  Apr. 9, 1pm

Title: Computational Learning Sciences
Speaker: Dr. Aditya Johri, Associate Professor, Applied Information Technology, George Mason University

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
1 PM
ENGR 4201


The field of Learning Sciences conducts research on how people learn across a range of domains with and through the use of artifacts. This understanding is then used to design more productive learning environments. How people learn, our understanding of how people learn, as well as our ability to design learning environments is undergoing a tremendous transformation with increasing digitization of artifacts and our practices. Increased digitization, in addition to other affordances, implies computational capabilities embedded in artifacts. How does this impact learning? This question gives rise to a new area of research I call Computational Learning Sciences (CLS). In this talk I start an exploration of this area and work towards a problem definition for it by presenting findings from a study of newcomer participation in a Java programming community. I emphasize the inherently socio-technical nature of learning and outline three relevant and useful avenues for CLS research: 1. Content Curation – through aggregation, recommendation, and crowdsourcing; 2. Collaboration Configuration – through analytics and modeling of learner and teacher activity; and, 3. Competency Certification – through formative, dynamic and summative assessment.


Aditya Johri studies the use of information technologies for learning and knowledge sharing, with a focus on cognition in informal environments. His research is funded through several NSF grants including an Early Career Award. He is a co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research (CHEER), Cambridge University Press (2014). He received his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University. He can be reached at [log in to unmask].  More information at:


Seminar:  CS Distinguished Lecture: Apr. 11, 11am

Title: or and Censorship: Lessons Learned
Speaker: Roger Dingledine

Friday, April 11, 2014
11 AM
Research Hall, Room 163


Tor is a free-software anonymizing network that helps people around the world use the Internet in safety. Tor's 5500 volunteer relays carry traffic for around a million daily users, including ordinary citizens who want protection from identity theft and prying corporations, corporations who want to look at a competitor's website in private, people around the world whose Internet connections are censored, and even governments and law enforcement.

The last year has included major cryptographic upgrades in the Tor software, dozens of research papers on attacking and improving the Tor design, mainstream press about government attempts to attack the Tor network, discussions about funding, FBI/NSA exploitation of Tor Browser users, botnet related load on the Tor network, and other important topics.

In this talk I'll aim to strike a balance between explaining Tor's "intellectual merit" side (all the neat research problems that Tor raises, and how we've positioned ourselves to get so much attention from academics) and Tor's "broader impact" side (the many ways that Tor has changed lives around the world).


Roger Dingledine is project leader for The Tor Project, a US non-profit working on anonymity research and development. While at MIT he developed Free Haven, one of the early peer-to-peer systems that emphasized resource management while maintaining anonymity for its users. He works with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the US Navy, Voice of America, the National Science Foundation, and other organizations to design and develop systems for anonymity and traffic analysis resistance. He organizes academic conferences on anonymity, speaks at such events as Blackhat, Defcon, Toorcon, and the CCC congresses, and also does tutorials on anonymity for national and foreign law enforcement. Roger was honored in 2006 as one of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35 by Technology Review magazine.


Seminar:  C4I Center:  Apr. 11, 1:30pm

Title: Advancing Command and Control interoperability with Simulations in a University/Industry Project
Speaker: Dr. J. Mark Pullen

Friday, April 11, 2014
1:30 PM
ENGR 4705


Since 2003, a community focused on achieving interoperability among command and control (C2) systems and simulation systems has developed a new area of technology known as Battle Management Language (BML). Their vision is that a common basis for interoperation will lead to a future where military organizations can link their C2 and simulation systems without special preparation, in support of coalition operations. This seminar will describe a project to incorporate a Coalition BML capability into an operational military C2 system by integrating capabilities of an open source BML server (SBMLserver) from the George Mason University C4I Center into the Widely Integrated Systems Environment (WISE) for C2, developed by Saab Corporation. Use of this system combined Saab’s 9LandBMS C2 system with WISE, SBMLserver, and the US Army OneSAF simulation system. The 9LandBMS system is capable of operating in degraded communication environments, introducing the challenge of successful interoperabilty with data-intensive simulation systems in such an environment. The seminar will address the issues and current state of technology and standards for C2-simulation interoperability and explain the design and implementation principles employed for its incorporation into WISE. The resulting new capability offers coalitions the ability to achieve the long-sought goal of C2-simulation interoperation, using off-the-shelf products.


Dr. Mark Pullen is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center of Excellence in Command, Control, Communications, Computing, and Intelligence (C4I). Previously he was an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the US Military West Point, NY. Dr. Pullen’s research interests include net-worked multimedia applications, emphasizing command and control, networked education and training, distributed virtual simulation, and interoperation of command and control simulations. Dr. Pullen is Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the ACM, and licensed Professional Engineer. He is a recipient of the IEEE Harry Diamond Memorial Award “for designing and developing a worldwide network supporting distributed simulation and command control technology for the Department of Defense.” He received the Defense Superior Service Award on retirement from the U.S. Army. He is the author of over 150 publications, including the book, “Understanding Internet Protocols (Wiley, 2000) and developer of two open source software packages, the Network Workbench and Network EducationWare.


Sushil Jajodia Receives Funding from U.S. Dept. of Commerce (NIST)

Sushil Jajodia of the Center for Secure Information Systems received $50K from the U.S. Department of Commerce (NIST) for his project, “Network Diversity and Network Attack Surface Metrics and Their Applications to Cloud Computing and Moving Target Defense.”


Changes to Policy for NSF Award Abstracts

[The announcement below affects titles and abstracts for funded proposals. I reproduce it here from an email message I received. SGN]

Since the issuance of the December 11 2013 Important Notice to the Community (IN-135) that announced our focus on transparency and accountability, we have developed and are now implementing an approach for addressing the two primary areas of the initiative.

The first is improving public understanding of our funding decisions through our award Abstracts and Titles.

The second is ensuring that the broad areas of supported research (or portfolios) are aligned to the national interest, as defined by NSF’s mission, “…to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; to secure the national defense…”

In this notice, I want to clarify the NSF policy on award Abstracts and Titles.  We are acting to ensure that our award Abstracts and Titles clearly convey to the public justification for our actions.

First, NSF abstracts are the public face of NSF investments and decision-making and they can be used to immediately address a specific area of interest from those outside of the NSF regarding what projects are supported and why.  By providing clearer articulation of our actions we will benefit the scientific enterprise and better communicate the value and excitement of what we do.

An NSF award abstract, with its title, is an NSF document that describes the project and justifies the expenditure of Federal funds.

There are two major components of the NSF Abstract:

A nontechnical description of the project that states the problem to be studied, and explains the project’s broader significance and importance, that serves as a public justification for NSF funding. This component should be understandable to an educated lay reader.  It may include such information as the theoretical or analytical foundation of the proposed research, the fundamental issues that may be resolved by the research, the project’s relation to NSF’s mission, the project’s place in the context of ongoing research in the field, the project’s potential impact on other fields, and the prospect that it will lead to significant advances or the integration of related lines of inquiry.

A technical description of the project that states the goals and scope of the research, and the methods and approaches to be used. In many cases, the technical description may be a modified version of the project summary submitted with the proposal.

Thus, an NSF award abstract which is intended for a broad audience may differ from the Project Summary that is submitted as part of a technically reviewed proposal.

Furthermore, the title of an NSF supported project must describe the purpose of the research in nontechnical terms to the fullest possible extent.


Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

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Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633