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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website,, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit

Global Impact of UMD Computer Scientist Recognized

April 11, 2014

Lee Tune 301-405-4679
Tom Ventsias 301-405-5933

  Samet shows his NewsStand app, which gives users a new way to find worldwide news.
  Samet shows his NewsStand app, which gives users a new way to find worldwide news.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Probably very few of the millions of people who use Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth know that these and many other computer applications -- ranging from games, to map and image processing, to computer graphics and visualization -- are made possible, in significant part, by the pioneering "spatial information" work of Distinguished University Professor Hanan Samet (computer science, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, and Center for Automation Research). 

However, the many awards Samet has received in recent years – including the just announced 2014 W. Wallace McDowell Award from the IEEE Computer Society – clearly show that his computer science and computer engineering peers do recognize his foundational contributions.

The W. Wallace McDowell Award, the highest technical honor given by the IEEE Computer Society, goes to individuals for "outstanding theoretical, design, educational, practical or other innovative contributions in the field of computing." Samet was recognized for his groundbreaking work in "multidimensional spatial data structures, translation validation and proof-carrying code."

Other top accolades Samet has received include the Association for Computing Machinery's (ACM) 2011 Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award, which honors "specific theoretical accomplishments that significantly affect the practice of computing," and the 2009 University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Research Award.

"We are very proud of Hanan's research and scholarship. His work has high scientific value, but also impacts our everyday lives—from computer games to navigational tools to biomedical imaging," says Jayanth Banavar, dean of UMD's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

The IEEE Computer Society award is named for W. Wallace McDowell, who spent decades overseeing IBM's development of the first commercial electronic calculator. Previous winners read like a who's who of giants in the computing and information technology industry.

They include FORTRAN creator John W. Backus (1967); supercomputer pioneers Seymour Cray (1968), Gene Amdahl (1976) and Ken Kennedy (1995); the architect of IBM's mainframe computer Frederick Brooks (1970); Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore (1978); Donald Knuth, the father of algorithm analysis (1980); microprocessor inventor Federico Faggin (1994); World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee (1996); Lotus Notes creator and Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie (2000); and IBM Fellow Ronald Fagin (2012).

Samet was recognized for his groundbreaking work in "spatial data structures, translation validation and proof carrying code.""Hanan can be regarded as the world's leading authority in spatial databases and multidimensional data structures," says Distinguished University of North Carolina Computer Science Professor Dinesh Manocha, who is not affiliated with any of the awards Samet has received. "In fact, a lot of folks attribute the development of the field of spatial databases to Hanan's pioneering work in the 80's and his first two books on the topic that were published in 1990. Those earlier books, along with his more recent book Foundations of Multidimensional and Metric Data Structures are regarded as the bibles of this field."

Samet authored the award-winning "Foundations of Multidimensional and Metric Data Structures" (Morgan-Kaufmann, 2006) and the first two books on spatial data structures, "Design and Analysis of Spatial Data Structures" and "Applications of Spatial Data Structures: Computer Graphics, Image Processing, and GIS" (Addison-Wesley, 1990).

His 1975 Stanford University doctoral thesis dealt with proving the correctness of translations of the LISP programming language, which was the first work in the field that 20 years later became known as translation validation and the related concept of proof carrying code. This work enables proving the correctness of the bootstrapping process, which is crucial to porting on embedded systems.

Samet is founding editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Spatial Algorithms and Systems, and the founding chair of ACM SIGSPATIAL. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Association for Pattern Recognition, ACM, IEEE and the UCGIS.

Samet's recent work involves spatio-textual search as realized in an application he and his students developed called NewsStand, which lets users search for worldwide news on their computers or mobile devices with a query interface displayed on a world map.

Samet likens the research to exploiting the power of spatial synonyms, saying that NewsStand is useful because you don't have to plug in keywords, you just have to have an idea of an area or topic you want to explore.

Big Ten Conference Announces New York City Office

April 10, 2014

Scott Chipman, Big Ten Conference

East Coast office space provides expanded coverage and service for 14 Big Ten institutions that span from the Colorado border to the Atlantic Ocean

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference announced it will open a second office in New York City to help serve the needs of its 14 member institutions. The Big Ten New York City office will be located at 900 Third Avenue and will be fully staffed and operational by June 1. The University of Maryland will join the Big Ten Conference on July 1 and recently announced its plan to celebrate the move. The "THINK B1G" plan includes a series of special events, campus celebrations, and promotional activities.

Big Ten ConferenceThe office is located in Midtown Manhattan, with easy access to airports and other transportation, and will feature both office and meeting space. Three Big Ten staff members working in branding, championships, communications and compliance will be based in the New York City office to provide expanded coverage and service, while Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany and senior staff will maintain a presence in both the New York City office and the conference’s current headquarters located in Rosemont, Ill. In addition, other conference and institutional administrators will utilize the space as necessary when conducting business on the East Coast. The Big Ten and its member institutions will also have access to satellite office space in Washington, D.C.

“The Big Ten has been a terrific partner as we have prepared to join the conference. The establishment of offices on the East Coast is just another example of their ongoing outreach efforts,” University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said. “The University of Maryland draws students from across the country and the world, but the region between College Park and New York City is especially important to us. We’re glad that the Big Ten will have an expanded presence on the East Coast.”

“We are excited to be on the East Coast and to open a second office in New York City,” Delany said. “With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, we have become a conference with a significant presence in two regions of the country. While the space will be utilized full time by Big Ten staff, it will also be open to our member institutions conducting business in the city. New York is one of the world’s greatest cities, and this provides an opportunity for connecting with our many conference partners, media and alumni in that area.”

“As we look forward to officially joining the Big Ten, we’re thrilled that the conference has opened offices on the East Coast to strengthen the bond with our institution,” Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi said. “Rutgers University has a significant presence in New York City with alumni, students and business partners, and we’re happy that the Big Ten and its member institutions will be joining us in the metropolitan area.”

“Indiana University is thrilled that the Big Ten has given member institutions office space in New York City,” Indiana University Director of Athletics Fred Glass said. “It is a strong display of commitment to our new members and a substantial investment in the eastern part of the conference's expanded footprint. New York has one of the largest concentrations of IU alumni in the country, and it is terrific that we now have a home base of operations in the nation’s largest city.”

“The Big Ten now stretches from the Atlantic Ocean across the Missouri River, and establishing a base of operations in New York City for all 14 institutions is a natural next step,” Northwestern University Director of Athletics Jim Phillips said. “As a university with a large alumni population in New York, and one that recruits students, faculty and student-athletes from throughout the Northeast, we’re very much looking forward to what will be a home-away-from-home in Manhattan.”

The Big Ten has made a series of announcements highlighting the conference’s increased presence on the East Coast, beginning with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers as future conference members in November 2012.  Last June, the Big Ten announced the acceptance of Johns Hopkins University as the conference’s first sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse and also announced an agreement to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, sending conference football teams to play at Yankee Stadium on an annual basis.

Maryland and Rutgers are set to officially join the Big Ten on July 1, 2014, giving the conference more than 520,000 total students and 5.7 million living alumni. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 institutions will feature almost 9,500 student-athletes on 350 teams in 43 different sports. With the debut of men’s and women’s lacrosse during the 2014-15 academic year, the Big Ten will sponsor 28 official sports. Maryland and Rutgers are already members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, an academic consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that is a model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities. In 2012, Big Ten institutions produced over $9.5 billion in research expenditures.

University of Maryland Announces Plan to Celebrate Move to Big Ten Conference

April 8, 2014

Brian Ullmann 301-314-6650

Campus-wide Integration Adopts 'THINK B1G' Theme

The University of Maryland today announced plans to commemorate the historic move to the Big Ten Conference.  The "THINK B1G" plan includes a series of special events, campus celebrations, and promotional activities to mark the University's entry into the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2014.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today announced plans to commemorate the historic move to the Big Ten Conference.  The "THINK B1G" plan includes a series of special events, campus celebrations, and promotional activities to mark the University's entry into the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2014.

"The move to the Big Ten Conference is a university-wide effort," said President Wallace D. Loh.  "It's more than a change in athletic conference.  Arts, academics, research – all will be enhanced by this transition."

"For our alumni, for our fans, for our students and for the entire university community, this is an exciting time to be a Terp," said director of athletics Kevin Anderson.  "I could not be more excited to start competing in the Big Ten Conference."


Key components of the plan, which was developed by a university task force that represented all six divisions of the university plus athletics, include:

  • Annual Red-White Spring Football Game – This college football tradition will be played under the lights on Friday, April 11 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, and will feature Big Ten Network t-shirt giveaways and post-game fireworks.
  • Fearless Ideas Events – A series of events for alumni and friends featuring special 'THINK B1G' programming.  Events include Maryland in Manhattan, April 24; Fearless Ideas Rockville, May 1; and Fearless Ideas Arlington, May 8.
  • "From the Gridiron to the Battlefield:  Progress in Understanding and Mitigating Brain Injury" – Taking advantage of UMD's position as the closest institution in the Big Ten to our nation's capital, a special Traumatic Brain Injury Research Forum will bring together University of Maryland researchers with the head of the CIC's Traumatic Brain Injury Research Collaboration.
  • 16th Annual Maryland Day – This annual event draws over 100,000 alumni and friends to College Park to enjoy over 450 exhibits, events and performances.  On Hornbake Plaza, there will be autograph sessions with the football and men's and women’s basketball teams, plus an interactive tent with the Big Ten Network, plus plenty of THINK B1G giveaways.
  • THINK B1G Campus Celebration – A two-day celebration marking the official joining of the Big Ten Conference, June 30-July 1.  Includes a special event in Baltimore and a Big Ten Night at Nationals Park on June 30, and a campus celebration featuring food, giveaways and a special program featuring President Loh, Kevin Anderson, and other surprises on July 1.
  • Destination Maryland: THINK B1G – A new conference for influential high school guidance counselors from Big Ten markets is planned for summer 2014.
  • Campus-wide Launch Event – On first day of classes, September 2, a campus-wide celebration event featuring B1G games and giveaways. 
  • Homecoming Weekend – Special inaugural season merchandise, commemorative memorabilia, new signage, a Homecoming Festival on McKeldin Mall, and much more is being planned for Homecoming Weekend, October 16-19, all around the 2014 theme – THINK B1G.
  • Special Unveiling of a new THINK B1G Ice Cream Flavor - A special commemorative B1G ice cream flavor will be ready for unveiling at the July 1 on-campus event, courtesy of the chefs in Dining Services.

In addition, a comprehensive two-month THINK B1G marketing campaign is planned to include outdoor billboards, campus signage, social media marketing, contests and giveaways.

For more information on these and other events, please visit

TerpVision 13: Don't Hold Back

April 7, 2014

Hundreds of students gathered recently for the sixth annual Social Enterprise Symposium. Hosted by the Center for Social Value Creation in the Smith School of Business, the symposium brought together thought leaders to explore the role of business in creating economic prosperity and social change.

Researchers Find Keys to Societal Sustainability

April 7, 2014

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267
Lee Tune 301-405-4679

Big Bend Power Station near Apollo Beach, Florida. By: Wknight94COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A new analytical tool adds human factors to a widely-used biological model of how animal populations interact, suggesting that human societies can reach a steady state that is sustainable when they do not over-deplete natural resources and avoid extreme economic inequality.

The paper, titled "Human and nature dynamics (HANDY): Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies," was published in the May 2014 issue of the journal Ecological Economics. Its authors are Safa Motesharrei, a Ph.D. candidate in applied mathematics at the University of Maryland; Jorge Rivas of the Institute of Global Environment and Society; and Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at UMD.

Kalnay, an internationally recognized weather and climate scientist, worked in leadership positions at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for two decades and currently serves on the UN Secretary General's Scientific Advisory Board on Sustainability. She is renowned, in part, for leading the National Weather Service's advances in weather modeling in the 1990s. Her recent work has focused on advancing understanding of climate change and environmental sustainability through improved modeling of the coupled interaction of earth and human systems.
HANDY's starting point is a well-known model in biology and population ecology, commonly known as the "predator-prey model," which is used to understand the dynamics of animal populations. The researchers applied that model's concepts to human societies, and incorporated two new variables that are not included in existing models: accumulation of wealth and economic stratification between rich and poor. These changes are necessary, the researchers say, to reflect that some segments of human society use more resources than others, and accumulated wealth can delay, but not prevent, the decline that occurs when a population exceeds the carrying capacity of its environment. With HANDY, the researchers say, they have developed a practical method for using the relevant natural, social and economic conditions to estimate a human society's carrying capacity.
While some HANDY scenarios are suggestive of past civilizations that flourished and then collapsed, such as the ancient Romans and Mayans, the model was not created to explain specific societies' collapse, team members said.
The model is "not intended to describe actual individual cases" – such as modern Western society – "but rather to provide a general framework that allows carrying out 'thought experiments' for the phenomenon of collapse and to test changes that would avoid it," the authors wrote in the research paper.

"The model does not say that society's collapse is imminent," said Rivas, "nor does it predict a collapse for 'Western' or 'industrial' civilization despite some pre-publication reports to the contrary."

"HANDY is not a forecasting model," Motesharrei said. "It cannot be used to predict the future of any society. It can, however, help us understand the possible underlying mechanisms in the evolution of a society."

This minimal modeling approach focuses on the long-term behavioral properties of dynamical systems, the authors explain. The goal is not to find precise solutions for the variables of the real system, but instead to address questions such as:

  • In the long run, will the system settle at a steady state?
  • What are these possible steady states?
  • What factors determine which long-term behavior is followed?

"The results of our model are optimistic, because they show that by making certain decisions, we can bring about a sustainable future," said Rivas. Unlike physical and natural systems, such as the solar system or an ecosystem, "we can, as humans, make critical choices that can change the long-term path that our social system will take, and we can optimize such choices using scientific models. This is a key takeaway lesson of this paper."
However, the model shows that "if we continue to over-deplete nature, and if inequality continues such that the rich consume far more than the poor, the system eventually collapses," Kalnay said.

Leadership for 21st-Century Public Health

April 4, 2014

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Faculty and student researchers, public health experts, community members and state partners will join together at the University of Maryland to discuss current and emerging public health issues, such as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, HIV/AIDS, cancer prevention, tobacco control and the role of physical activity in preventing chronic disease.

Public Health Research@Maryland The second annual Public Health Research@Maryland day on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, will focus on cultivating “Leadership for 21st Century Public Health” and showcase innovative public health research. The event will also mark the 50 years of progress made since the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health in 1964 on reducing diseases and deaths due to tobacco product use.

Public Health Research@Maryland day is part of the MPowering the State initiative, designed to enhance collaboration between the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). This annual event is sponsored by UMD's School of Public Health and UMB's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the School of Medicine. This year’s event is held in partnership with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officers Foundation.

Dr. David Satcher, the first Surgeon General to focus on eliminating health disparities for all racial and ethnic groups, will deliver a keynote address on issues Surgeons General have tackled over the years and the results of their efforts. Dr. Richard Carmona, who issued the landmark Surgeon General’s report about the dangers of second-hand smoke, will address the future of tobacco control.

Panels will be led by public health experts from both the University of Maryland, College Park and Baltimore campuses. The full schedule can be found at

In addition, keynote lectures by Surgeons General David Satcher and Richard Carmona, as well as several panel sessions, will be streamed live online at

About MPowering the State
The University of Maryland: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership.  Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus the collective expertise on critical state-wide issues of public health, biomedical informatics, and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market, and the next generation of innovators.  The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy, and the very fabric of higher education.

Terps Victorious in International Design Competition

April 4, 2014

Maggie Haslam,

University of Maryland takes first place in Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition

Andrew Casavant, Matthew Miller, Rameez Munawar, David Ensor and Amina Mohamed.COLLEGE PARK, Md. - An interdisciplinary team of five graduate students from the University of Maryland’s architecture, urban planning, real estate development and landscape architecture programs has taken first place in the 2014 Urban Land Institute / Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition (ULI/Hines). Their winning revitalization plan for Nashville’s Sulphur Dell neighborhood was selected by an international jury of experts in urban design, landscape architecture, planning and development, beating out fellow finalists Harvard University, University of Texas and Georgia Institute of Technology.

“We could not be more proud of our students and the unique vision they brought to this competition,” said David Cronrath, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “Academically speaking, this is akin to winning the NCAA Final Four. It’s a huge achievement for the University of Maryland.”

Over 160 teams from 72 of the most prestigious universities in the world competed in this year’s design competition, with four teams advancing to the finals this week. ULI announced Maryland’s win yesterday in Nashville at the competition’s conclusion. As the winning team, the UMD students will go home with the $50,000 first prize.

“This year’s finalists found creative but financially feasible ways of building off the area’s strengths while attending to the concerns of flood resilience and healthy living,” said Jury Chair Bart Harvey, ex-chairman of the Board of Trustees of Enterprise Community Partners and board member at Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C. Harvey and the jury also noted the finalists’ meticulous market research in designing their proposals, along with a solid understanding of what type of development would appeal to Nashville culture.

Andrew Casavant, Matthew Miller, Rameez Munawar, David Ensor and Amina Mohamed.Now in its 12th year, the ULI/Hines competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of graduate students to create a dynamic design and development solution for a real large-scale site in just two weeks. While this is an ideas competition, it is part of the Urban Land Institute’s continued mission to engage young professionals in collaborative solutions, responsible land use and creating better communities. The competition demands a variety of expertise to navigate complex zoning codes, understand investment opportunities, examine community, site challenges and develop exciting yet realistic urban design solutions. This year’s competition site, the historic Sulfur Dell neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, is a largely underused downtown neighborhood that was formerly home to the nation’s oldest baseball stadium. The assignment required teams to devise a creative yet economically feasible urban design plan that focuses on healthy living while incorporating real-world development, preservation, transportation and land use requirements.

Maryland’s entry, entitled “Chords,” brings together the daily experiences of Sulphur Dell’s diverse community through four north-south connectors, referred to by the team as “strings.” The diversity of “chords” made by individuals accessing the variety of amenities along the “strings”—green spaces, a farmers market, an entertainment district, housing and bike paths—create the intertwining rhythms indicative of a healthy, strong community.

“It’s very satisfying to see our students’ talent, dedication and collaborative spirit recognized in such a competitive arena,” said Professor of Architecture Matthew Bell, FAIA, one of the team advisors. “This is a very meaningful win. We are most proud of our team.”

The competition is open to graduate students who are pursuing real estate-related studies at universities in the United States and Canada, including programs in real estate development, urban planning, urban design, architecture and landscape architecture. In the past five years, the University of Maryland has reached the ULI/Hines finals three times and received one honorable mention.

Read ULI’s statement and see footage of the team presenting, here.

Maryland’s winning team includes Andrew Casavant (Master of Community Planning), David Ensor (Master of Architecture), Matthew Miller (Master of Architecture), Amina Mohamed (Master of Landscape Architecture) and Rameez Munawar, (Master of Real Estate Development). Professor of Architecture Matthew Bell, FAIA and professional advisor Tim Phillips of the Bozzuto Group (MRED ’11) are the team’s advisors. To read more about “Chords” and view UMD’s presentation board, visit the ULI/Hines competition site.


April 16
UMD announced today changes to its UMD Alerts system, a channel used to provide critical information and instructions... Read
April 11
Distinguished University Professor Hanan Samet recognized for his groundbreaking work in spatial data structures,... Read
April 10
The Big Ten Conference announced it will open a second office in New York City to help serve the needs of its 14 member... Read
April 8
UMD today announced plans to commemorate the historic move to the Big Ten Conference.  The "THINK B1G" plan... Read