Archive for the 'Science' Category


Terminator Toddlers? Not yet.

toates-1Tim Oates, Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Machines have far exceeded human physical abilities in many areas (e.g., endurance, moving heavy objects, flying), but they have a long way to go to match the physical dexterity and mental abilities of an average 3-year-old.

Why is this? Will we ever have intelligent machines? I’ll be discussing these and other implications of researching Artificial Intelligence tomorrow night to kickoff the Fall “Dessert and Discussion” series with UMBC alums. Click here to find out when and where.



“Smog Blog” Paints Picture of Air Pollution for SciAm

Scientific article on UMBC's "Smog Blog"

Scientific article on UMBC's "Smog Blog"

UMBC PHYSICS PROFESSOR and JOINT CENTER FOR EARTH SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR RAY HOFF and his team’s “Smog Blog” were heavily featured over at Scientific American’s site today.

UMBC’s own U.S. Air Quality blog, a.k.a. the “Smog Blog,” is a big part of Scientific American’s article and slideshow on how the U.S. government and UMBC researchers use satellite data to chart the quality of the air we breathe.

Hoff has run the Smog Blog with a team of current and former graduate students and other volunteers since 2003. “From a personal perspective, I thought it would be a good teaching tool,” he notes, “but it turned out to be much more than that.”



Google flu trends: Web searches as pandemic sensors

COMPUTER SCIENCE PROFESSOR TIM FININ, an expert on deep data-mining of the Web and social networks, blogs at UMBC ebiquity about the swine flu outbreak and how Web searches can predict pandemic patterns ahead of an outbreak:

Google has had a special “flu trends” site up for many months that provides “up-to-date estimates of flu activity in the United States based on aggregated search queries.”

They have found that how many people search for flu-related topics is a leading indicator for reports on how many people actually have flu symptoms. They believe that this metric “may indicate flu activity up to two weeks ahead of traditional flu surveillance systems”….

So, is Google magic? The explanation for why changes in in the level of flu searches precedes changes in the level of flu symptoms is more mundane.

“So why bother with estimates from aggregated search queries? It turns out that traditional flu surveillance systems take 1-2 weeks to collect and release surveillance data, but Google search queries can be automatically counted very quickly. By making our flu estimates available each day, Google Flu Trends may provide an early-warning system for outbreaks of influenza.



Early Humans & Climate Change

Geography and Environmental Systems Professor Erle Ellis says the latest research indicates early human agriculture had an impact on climate change.



2009 Resolutions: Clean Water For the World

Sociology Professor Andrea Kalfoglou



Tim Brennan, Professor of Public Policy

Tim Brennan
Professor of Public Policy
Phone: 410-455-3229
Brennan is an internationally known expert on electricity markets and
regulation. He has written numerous articles and co-authored two books on
electricity and energy policy. His recent research has focused on energy
efficiency, and presently serves on the Maryland Energy Outlook Advisory
Committee. He served on the White House staff as senior economist for
industrial organization and regulation with the Council of Economic Advisers.

UMBC’s Faculty Experts Vlog


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