News archive

The weekly Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab Seminars time is changing! Effective later in summer 2015, lab seminars will be held at 10am on Fridays, instead of 11:30am on Fridays.

Georgia Kastidou, a PhD student supervised by Robin Cohen, was a finalist for the Google Canada Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Georgia was competing with female undergraduate and graduate students across Canada for an award that honours students with high academic standing who have done research on topics that "revolutionize the way that we think about technology" and who have had outstanding records of leadership activities, including ones that assist in "removing barriers that keep women and minorities from entering the computing and technology fields". Georgia received a $1,000 scholarship together with a trip to Google's office in New York City, to meet with other awardees and with Google officials. Georgia is one of the most prolific volunteers within the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. Her scholarship application included innovative proposals for motivating students to enter computer science and excellent descriptions of her past and current research, to show its merit in producing computer systems that are of benefit to society. Congratulations, Georgia!

Aaditeshwar (Adi) Seth, a PhD student co-supervised by S. Keshav (of our Networks Group) and Robin Cohen, has received one of the prestigious Knight Foundataion Awards, valued at $200,000. The Knight Foundation offers awards to individuals and groups who propose to conduct activities of benefit to society, through technological advances. Adi's proposal is to work in India to provide low-cost, universal access to information in remote areas, through innovative systems that accomplish the networking and delivery of computerized communication. Other awardees this year included Sir Tim Berners-Lee, so Adi is in very good company! This is an excellent achievement not only for Adi but as a nod to the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, within the world at large. Adi is currently conducting research within artificial intelligence on the topic of designing personalized recommender systems to propose messages to users based on their social networking. The models he is developing could then be used to drive the delivery of specific information in the system that will be introduced to India.

Allan Caine's work on CAPTCHA's has been getting a lot of media attention recently. Allan demonstrated the security that CAPTCHA's should provide in a protocol used by some popular ecommerce systems does not work, and in fact that it is possible to implement a bot which is 100% effective at breaking CAPTCHA's which use this protocol. Allan was interviewed on CBC's MarketPlace for a segment investigating how ticket-brokers are able to buy up large quantities of tickets for popular shows or sporting events. The story also appeared on CBC's The National, and Allan was also interviewed on the local CTV news.

Reid Kerr, from the Artificial Intelligence Group, is this year's recipient of the Alumni Gold Medal for Masters students, to be awarded at the Fall Convocation on October 20. The Medal honours the top Masters student at the University of Waterloo. Reid completed a thesis under the supervision of Robin Cohen entitled "Toward Secure Trust and Reputation Systems for Electronic Marketplaces". In his thesis, Reid developed an original approach to the challenging problem of promoting trust in electronic marketplaces. Contrasting with existing models that attempt to learn about untrustworthy behaviour, Reid established a framework where rational sellers are best off acting honestly, due to the risk of losing "trust units" required for transactions. Reid is continuing with his PhD studies in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, under the supervision of Robin Cohen. Congratulations Reid!

Shai Ben-David recently gave an invited tutorial at the PASCAL Workshop on Analysis of Patterns, in Bertinoro, Italy. In December he will be giving an invited keynote talk at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) workshop on Representations and inference on probability distributions.

Jie Zhang has been selected as one of only 15 students worldwide to participate in AAAI07's Doctoral Consortium. He was selected as well as one of only 17 students worldwide to participate in AAMAS07's Doctoral Mentoring program. By the end of this summer, Jie should have a lot of valuable advice towards the completion of his PhD! Well done, Jie.

Kate Larson and Robin Cohen, along with their graduate students Greg Hines, Michelle Zhang, Jie Zhang and Reid Kerr are off to the AAMAS07 conference next month, to be held in Hawaii. Greg is presenting a paper at the Adaptive and Learning Agents workshop, Michelle is presenting one at the Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce workshop, while Jie and Reid both have poster presentations at AAMAS as well as papers at the workshop on Trust in Multiagent Systems. Kate will be running the Doctoral Mentoring Program at AAMAS as well.

The IAPR best paper award at the 2007 International Conference on Computer Vision Systems (Biefeld, Germany) was given to the paper "Assisting Persons with Dementia during Handwashing using a Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (PDF)" co-authored by Pascal Poupart and his colleagues Jesse Hoey (University of Dundee), Axel von Bertoldi (University of Toronto) and Alex Mihailidis (University of Toronto).

Pascal Poupart (member of the AI group) and his colleagues Mohammad Ghavamzadeh (University of Alberta) and Yaakov Engel (University of Alberta) will give the tutorial on "Bayesian Methods for Reinforcement Learning" at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Corvallis, Oregon on June 20th, 2007.

Faculty member Kate Larson has won an Early Researcher Award.

Kevin Regan has received the Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies Award as the top master's student in the Faculty of Mathematics at the fall convocation. Kevin's thesis was titled "A Social Reputation Model for Electronic Marketplaces Sensitive to Subjectivity, Deception and Change".

Jie Zhang and Robin Cohen, both members of the AI group, were recognized for their work at the Canadian Semantic Web Symposium held on June 6 in Quebec City. Their paper, "A Trust Model for Sharing Ratings of Information Providers on the Semantic Web" won the best paper award.

David Pal, a PhD student in the AI group, won the "best student paper award" at the 19th Annual Conference on Learning Theory (COLT'06) for his paper "A Sober Look at Clustering Stability (PDF)". His co-authors are Shai Ben-David and Ulrike von Luxburg.

COLT is the major international conference in theoretical machine learning. It will took place in Pittsburgh in June 2006.

Michael Yu-Kae Cheng from the Artificial Intelligence Group in the School of Computer Science has been awarded UW's Alumni Gold Medal, to be presented at the Fall 2005 convocation. The award recognizes the top Masters student at the University; there is only one award each year.

Michael completed a Masters thesis entitled "A hybrid transfer of control approach to designing adjustable autonomy multiagent systems" in May 2005, under the supervision of Prof. Robin Cohen. He is currently working at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

Michael presented his research this summer at the Canadian AI, User Modeling, and Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems conferences.

Kevin Regan received the "best student paper" award at the Third Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust for his paper "The Advisor-POMDP: A Prinicpled Approach to Trust through Reputation in Electronic Markets". Congratulations Kevin!

Shai Ben-David has started a reading group on Principles/Foundations of Clustering. It takes place on Wednesdays at 2pm in the AI Lab. More information can be found on Shai's webpage.

Shai Ben-David is organizing a NIPS workshop on "Theoretical Foundations of Clustering (PDF)".

Members of the AI group have been busy travelling this summer. Michael Cheng and Kate Larson both presented work at AAMAS'05 which was held in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Michael, Kevin Regan and Pascal Poupart all travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland where Michael presented his work at User Modeling, Kevin presented at the DASUM workshop, and Pascal presented at IJCAI. Shai Ben-David was also in the UK where he was an invited speaker at the PASCAL workshop on Statistics and Optimization of Clustering that took place in London in July.