Logo: University of Southern California

Events Calendar

Select a calendar:

Filter June Events by Event Type:


Events for the 3rd week of June

  • PhD Defense - Simon Woo

    Mon, Jun 12, 2017 @ 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Computer Science

    University Calendar

    PhD Candidate: Simon Woo
    Date: June 12, 2017
    Time: 9:00am-11:00am
    Location: SAL 322
    Jelena Mirkovic (Adviser)

    Ron Artstein

    Kevin Knight

    Elsi Kaiser (outside member)


    Textual passwords are widely used for user authentication, but they are often difficult for a user to recall, and easily cracked by automated programs, and heavily re-used. Weak or reused passwords are guilty for many contemporary security breaches. Hence, it is critical to study both how users choose and reuse passwords, and the reasons that they adopt unsafe practices. In this thesis, I first examine the reasons why people create weak passwords and reuse these over multiple accounts. My research complements the body of existing works by studying the semantic structure, strength and reuse of real passwords, as well as conscious and unconscious causes of unsafe practices, using a test group population of 50 participants. Significant reuse and weak passwords clearly demonstrate the need for alternative authentication methods that are more memorable, secure, and less reused. My next three key thesis topics focus on developing novel authentication mechanisms that can directly improve current approaches. The first approach, "Life-Experience Passwords (LEPs)." uses a person's prior life experience as information to generate more memorable and secure authentication questions. We show that LEPs significantly raise the level of memorability and security compared to existing passwords and security questions. My second approach constructs more memorable and more secure passphrases through the novel use of mnemonics - multi-letter abbreviations of passphrases (MNPass), made of the first letters of each word in a passphrase. I apply mnemonics when generating and authenticating passphrases and show that the mnemonics-based approach improved recall compared to randomly generated passphrases and enhanced strength compared to user-selected passphrases. My last work explores password creation with semantic feedback (GuidedPass). I analyze user-input passwords and provide real-time, specific suggestions for improvement based on their existing semantic structure. GuidedPass passwords are 10^4 to 10^7 times stronger and as memorable as user initial passwords. GuidedPass passwords are also 100 times stronger and 1.2 times more memorable than passwords created with only password-meter feedback.

    Simon Woo is a Ph.D. candidate advised by Prof. Jelena Mirkovic. His current research focuses on improving user authentication, and understanding human factors in cybersecurity to better design secure systems.

    Location: 322

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Lizsl De Leon

  • MHI CommNetS seminar

    Mon, Jun 12, 2017 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Dr. Costas A. Courcoubetis, Singapore University of Technology and Design

    Talk Title: Drivers, Riders and Service Providers: The impact of the sharing economy on Mobility

    Series: CommNetS

    Abstract: Joint work with S. Benjaafar and H. Bernhard.
    Ride sharing, the practice of sharing a car such that more than one person travels in the car during a journey, is often heralded as a more sustainable alternative of private transportation. It is widely believed that ride sharing through sharing economy platforms will significantly reduce congestion in populated urban areas. We introduce a model in which individuals may share rides for a certain fee, paid from the rider(s) to the driver through a ride sharing platform. Collective decision making is modelled as an anonymous non-atomic game with a finite set of strategies and payoff functions affine in the individuals' types that include their utility for using private transportation and their income. We demonstrate that equilibria in this game may be represented as convex partitions of the two dimensional type space and are unique for almost all parameter combinations. With this model we study how congestion and ownership are affected through the introduction of a ride sharing platform to a population of given characteristics. In particular, we examine whether the potential reduction in congestion widely expected is actually attainable once monetary incentives are introduced that affect both the behaviour of users and the price choices of the platform.
    We find that when car costs are low, casual ride sharing (P2P) will dominate the ride sharing market. When car costs are high, professional ride sharing (B2C) will dominate. Focusing on a monopolist revenue maximizing platform we encounter some paradoxical phenomena: For example, increasing car ownership costs as a measure to curb traffic volume might yield counter-intuitive outcomes: an increase in traffic volume, ownership and platform revenue coupled with a decrease in welfare. Comparing a revenue - with a welfare-maximizing platform we find that when cars are cheap the two platform objectives may be aligned. When cars are expensive, a revenue maximizing platform tends to induce an equilibrium with strictly worse welfare and strictly higher congestion compared to the welfare optimum. This suggests that in such a setting, a monopolist platform would need to be regulated more strictly to avoid socially undesirable outcomes.

    Biography: Prof. Costas A Courcoubetis was born in Athens, Greece and received his Diploma (1977) from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, his MS (1980) and PhD (1982) from the University of California, Berkeley, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He was MTS at the Mathematics Research Center, Bell Laboratories, Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Crete, Professor in the Department of Informatics at the Athens University of Economics and Business, and since 2013 Professor in the ESD Pillar, Singapore University of Technology and Design where he heads the Initiative for the Sharing Economy and co-directs the new ST-SUTD Center for Smart Systems. His current research interests are economics and performance analysis of networks and internet technologies, sharing economy, regulation policy, smart grids and energy systems, resource sharing and auctions. Besides leading a large number of research projects in these areas he has also published over 100 papers in scientific journals and conferences. He is co-author with Richard Weber of "Pricing Communication Networks: Economics, Technology and Modeling" (Wiley, 2003).

    Host: Prof. Insoon Yang

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 248

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Annie Yu

  • AI Seminar

    Wed, Jun 14, 2017 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Information Sciences Institute

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Eran Hadas, Cal Tech


    Abstract: This talk will provide an introduction to Computational literature as an intersection between Natural Language Processing and Computational (Artificial) Creativity. It will feature examples of computer-generated texts, and showcase some rule-based, statistical and neural network based techniques.

    Biography: Eran Hadas is an Israeli poet, software developer, and new media artist, the author of seven books. He creates hypermedia poetry and develops software-based poetry generators. Among his collaborative projects are a headset that generates poems from brainwaves, and a documentarian robot that interviews people about the meaning of being human. Hadas is a visiting scholar at Caltech, where he is teaching Computational Literature.

    Host: Mayank Kejriwal

    Webcast: http://webcastermshd.isi.edu/Mediasite/Play/111124490ef14024881e149e572c

    Location: Information Science Institute (ISI) - 11th floor large conference room

    WebCast Link: http://webcastermshd.isi.edu/Mediasite/Play/111124490ef14024881e149e572c1

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Kary LAU

  • Fiber Optics Manufacturing in Space (FOMS): Live Payload Demo

    Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 02:30 PM - 03:30 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Dmitry Starodubov, FOMS Inc. and University of Southern California

    Talk Title: Fiber Optics Manufacturing in Space (FOMS): Live Payload Demo

    Abstract: Photonics manufacturing is taking the first steps outside our planet. The sustainable orbital manufacturing with commercially viable and profitable operation has tremendous potential for driving the space exploration industry and human expansion into outer space. FOMS Inc. team identified an opportunity of revolutionary optical fiber manufacturing in space that leads to the first commercial production on orbit. This NASA and CASIS sponsored mission is driven by strong commercial potential for manufacturing operations on board the International Space Station. The emerging Space Fiber TM product line applications are discussed. The world's first actual orbital manufacturing payload prototype will be demonstrated.

    Biography: Prof. Dmitry Starodubov is a Chief Scientist of FOMS Inc. (San Diego, CA) who also recently joined USC Electrical Engineering as a visiting research faculty. Dr. Starodubov carrier path includes high profile technology positions including Technology Officer of IPG Photonics (NASDAQ: IPGP), Director of Bio- and Nano Photonics at POC and Technology Officer of USC startup D-STAR Technologies. He is an author of 23 US Patents, more than 100 publications and recipient of 2002 Photonics Excellence and 2012 Photonics Prism awards. Dr. Starodubov is a Senior OSA Member and Fellow of SPIE.

    Host: Alan Willner, x04664, willner@usc.edu

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 248

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Gerrielyn Ramos

  • NL Seminar - From Noisy Information Extraction to Rich Information Retrieval in Unusual Domains

    Fri, Jun 16, 2017 @ 03:00 PM - 04:00 PM

    Information Sciences Institute

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Mayank Kejriwal, USC/ISI

    Talk Title: From Noisy Information Extraction to Rich Information Retrieval in Unusual Domains

    Series: Natural Language Seminar

    Abstract: Information Extraction IE or the algorithmic extraction of named entities, relations and attributes of interest from text-rich data is an important natural language processing task. In this talk, I will discuss the relationship of IE to fine-grained Information Retrieval IR, especially when the domain of interest is unusual i.e. computationally under-studied, socially consequential and difficult to analyze. In particular, such domains exhibit a significant long-tail effect, and their language models are obfuscated. Using real-world examples and results obtained in recent DARPA MEMEX evaluations, I will discuss how our search system uses semantic strategies to usefully facilitate complex information needs of investigative users in the human trafficking domain, even when IE outputs are extremely noisy. I briefly report recent results obtained from a user study conducted by DARPA, and the lessons learned thereof for both IE and IR research.

    Biography: Mayank Kejriwal is a computer scientist in the Information integration group at ISI. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin under Daniel P. Miranker. His dissertation involved domain-independent linking and resolving of structured Web entities at scale, and was published as a book in the Studies in the Semantic Web series. At ISI, he is involved in the DARPA MEMEX, LORELEI and D3M projects. His current research sits at the intersection of knowledge graph construction, search, inference and analytics, especially over Web corpora in unusual social domains.

    Host: Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight

    More Info: http://nlg.isi.edu/nl-seminar/

    Location: Information Science Institute (ISI) - 11th Flr Conf Rm # 1135, Marina Del Rey

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Peter Zamar