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Welcome to the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

 

During this season of giving, the College of Computing covers every angle, whether you enjoy giving or receiving or you just want to celebrate the spirit of computing (and hacking)! For a fourth holiday season running, the College presents its Holiday Gift Guide, an assemblage of inspired, ambitious and definitely digital “gifts” for under your tree, real or virtual. Since 2011, the Holiday Gift Guide has stood as the digital yuletide source for all things computing.

 

“Once again, we celebrate the holidays in true GT Computing fashion, with our annual light-hearted and informative guide to some of our newest and best research,” said College of Computing Dean Zvi Galil. Even if your shopping list includes the digital aficionado who has everything, we can suggest an alternative to the usual Turing Test offerings or a way to expand your knowledge through an online course in machine learning. Or you can focus on giving back by using data science for a social good or contributing to the freedom of the Internet.

 

Happy Holidays!

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Robot Drummer


What is it?

Little drummer boys and girls, slip this on and become a three-armed cyborg. Georgia Tech’s robotic drumming prosthesis has one drumstick controlled by the musician and a second one with a mind of its own. While you’re rocking out, the robotic drumstick “listens” to the music in the room, picks up the beat, improvises and moves on its own. And, because it’s controlled by a computer, the secondary stick can move faster than humanly possible. Pa rum pum pum pum.  

 

Who’s it for?

Amputees such as Atlanta-area drummer Jason Barnes, a musician who lost part of his right arm when he was severely shocked in 2012.  

 

What’s it cost?

Not for sale. Sorry Ringo. Money can’t buy you love or this device; at least not yet.

 

From the Workshop of:

Gil Weinberg

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Health Sensor for Google Glass


What is it?

Perhaps a more effective way than an apple to keep the doctor away. Our researchers have found that Google Glass can correctly detect its wearer’s pulse and respiration rhythms with high accuracy in real time, thus offering a practical, health-related use for the high-tech eye wear.

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone concerned with health from fitness nuts to hypochondriacs. Anyone who would do anything to limit visits to the doctor’s office. Anyone eager to test the limits of Google Glass’s built-in sensors – accelerometer, gyroscope, and camera.

 

What’s it cost?

Compared to the cost of Google Glass itself ($1,500), a potential user would hardly balk at any price.

 

From the Workshop of:

Jim Rehg and the Affective Computing Group in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab

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Barbie — I Can Be a Computer Engineer: The Remix!


What is it?

digital remix of a Barbie children’s book that introduces an entirely new narrative of Barbie’s career ambitions in computer science. The original book was pulled by publisher Random House after public criticism over its portrayal of an inept Barbie. The remix shows a more progressive and realistic take on computing from Georgia Tech women who are engaged in the field. 

 

Who’s it for?

Holiday reading that will inspire your little girl (or guy) to start planning a career in technology. Whether she wants to be the next Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg or break new ground in software or hardware development, the remix inspires young readers to seek their dream code and gives them ideas for their next Barbie tea party (laptop not included). 

 

What’s it cost?

Legal answer: The non-commercial, transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

 

Plain English: It’s free.

 

From the Workshop of:

Casey Fiesler and Miranda Parker

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Lovelace 2.0


What is it?

An alternative to the celebrated “Turing Test” to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence. The artificial agent passes the new test, named after Ada Lovelace, if it develops a creative artifact deemed to require human-level intelligence and it meets certain creative constraints given by a human evaluator. Just as with human art, there doesn’t need to be any aesthetic value, so it’s anybody’s guess what a Da Vinci or Mozart of the robot world might produce. 

 

Who’s it for?

Artificial Intelligence enthusiasts hopeful that this first step to self-aware machines gives us more Johnny Fives than Terminators. Those looking to make AI creativity a trend including but not limited to: art gallery curators, writing clubs, disc jockeys, local artists and miniature model builders. 

 

What’s it cost?

Free. (Warning: The methodology for the test might require some Turing-level skills.)

 

From the Workshop of:

Mark Riedl

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CS 7641 – Machine Learning


What is it?

Only the best-reviewed course in the most-publicized MS CS program in the entire world. Professors Charles Isbell and Michael Littman alternate turns as Jedi and Padawan in this tag-team approach to graduate computer science instruction. Maybe it's their keen fashion sense (see photo at left), playful banter, or old-fashioned song and dance, but these two professors have taken CS pedagogy to a whole new level.

 

Who’s it for?

An increasingly large population of computationalists, it seems. After drawing some 5,400 applications in its first 13 months, the OMS CS program is poised to break new enrollment records in 2015. Some 400 students have enrolled in CS 7641 over two semesters.

 

What’s it cost?

That depends. If you just want a nifty GT certificate of completion, you can take CS 7641 for non-credit from GT Professional Education for less than $400. If you're ready for a full-fledged Georgia Tech master’s degree, it’ll cost a bit more but still far less than you'd pay otherwise—about $6,600 for the whole degree, start to finish.

 

From the Workshop of:

Charles Isbell and Michael Littman

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Yahoo! Servers


What is it?

What the buzz is all about. The arrival of 200 servers from our purple-clad friends in the Silicon Valley made noise this October. Yahoo gifted the servers through their Y-STAR program (Yahoo Servers To Academic Researchers). Though Yahoo’s holiday gift came early, the relationship between Georgia Tech and the Internet giant is hardly a limited engagement. Yahoo and Georgia Tech have established a collaborative relationship that is only expected to increase into the future.

 

Who’s it for?

Big data-loving Yellow Jackets across campus. The server donation will advance research efforts in multiple colleges and schools at Georgia Tech. Students will benefit from the opportunity to gain experience with industry-scale big data platforms while faculty and students alike will benefit from increased opportunities to conduct big data research.

 

What’s it cost?

Freeeeeee!

 

From the Workshop of:

Polo Chau

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Falling Cats


What is it?

In the mundane world, they are cute, furry companions that bring us joy with their natural instinct for jumping, pouncing, and landing on four feet with ease. To Georgia Tech researchers, they are the inspiration for developing new methods to reduce the impact of falling robots.

 

Who’s it for?

The animal lover on your gift list, of course! Who can resist the delightful combination of falling robots and frolicking cats together in the same video? The research under investigation will hopefully one day teach robots how to fall — and how to land, safely, from a jump or a relatively high fall. These feats are especially important for robots used in search-and-rescue missions in hazardous conditions. 

 

What’s it cost?

Sharing the video is free for all, thanks to YouTube. And with the potential to save lives, both military and civilian first responders will enjoy the long-term benefits of the research, a welcome gift for any season. 

 

From the Workshop of:

Karen Liu, Jun Ueda, Jeffrey T. Bingham, Jeongseok Lee, and Ravi N. Haksar

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Social Media Avengers


Who are they?

Georgia Tech’s Social Media Avengers are merely the world’s most esteemed assemblage of experts concerning social media, whether it involves the language of Twitter, the effectiveness of Kickstarter, ethics in technology, fair use of images on Facebook, and terms of services across the spectra. Leveraging the strength of their expertise, research, and labs, the Social Media Avengers can speak to just about any issue or situation that occurs in the social media realm of cyberspace.

 

Who do they fight for?

They fight for anyone who wants to understand or participate in the ever-evolving arena of social media.

 

What do they charge?

As with any troupe of social media heroes, their services come free to those in need. Social Media Avengers Assemble!

 

From the Workshop of:

Ian Bogost, Amy Bruckman, Munmun De Choudhury, Jacob EisensteinCasey Fiesler, and Eric Gilbert

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Captioning on Glass


What is it?

Captioning on Glass (CoG) uses Google Glass to provide real-time captioning on the device’s head-mounted display. Your conversational partner speaks into a smartphone and the speech is nearly instantly converted to text and displayed on Glass. It’s like having a conversation piped right into your eye.

 

Who’s it for?

CoG allows the deaf and hard-of-hearing to converse with others. It enables these users to focus on the speaker’s lips and facial gestures and quickly glance at the screen to keep up with the conversation more easily. Or you could start a trend with real-time transcriptions, like showing your significant other what he or she really said with the on-screen dialogue. 

 

What’s it cost?

The app is free through Google, but you need the Google Glass hardware to use it.

 

From the Workshop of:

Jim Foley, Qian Xie, Jay Zuerndorfer, and Thad Starner

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Data Science for Social Good


What is it?

One of the best and most altruistic presents available anywhere – a gift that helps improve an entire community now and in years to come. Through a summer fellowship program known as DSSG, students are matched with experienced data science mentors who work together to solve data problems that directly benefit their local community.

 

Who’s it for?

Exceptional data science students and nonprofits, local governments, or federal agencies with an analytics problem to solve. The inaugural year saw teams working on projects such as City of Atlanta emergency 911 dispatch procedures and methods to turn empty lots into small­-scale urban farms as a source of healthier, sustainable food.

 

What’s it cost?

Thanks to the Oracle Academy and several Georgia Tech units, the DSSG teams are able to solve analytics problems for free.

 

From the Workshop of:

Ellen Zegura, School of Computatational Science and Engineering, School of Computer ScienceInstitute for People and Technology, and Institute for Data and High Performance Computing

 

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Encore


What is it?

The holiday season is not just about receiving, it’s about giving. What better way for a computer scientist to celebrate the holiday season than to give the gift of Internet freedom? Introducing “Encore,” a single line of code designed to work behind the scenes to collect baseline measurements of online censorship. 

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone who wants a real and true accounting of Internet accessibility around the globe. And they don’t have to lift a finger. These measurements happen automatically in the background after a page has loaded and do not affect site performance or user experience. Most users won't ever notice them or realize they are helping to measure web accessibility, although the tool provides ways to inform users that their browsers are conducting the measurements.

 

What’s it cost?

This might be the best part of any gift involving the Internet — free!

 

From the Workshop of:

Nick Feamster and Sam Burnett 

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HackGT


What is it?

Greatness. Glory. A few prizes (you know, just $120,000 worth). HackGT made history this year as the first ever Georgia Tech-sponsored hackathon and the South’s largest hackathon to-date. And no, not THAT kind of hacking. We’re talking the smartest, fastest and most innovative tech creations students can dream up in just 36 hours.

 

Who’s it for?

Any student who has the skills, grit and tenacity to design/engineer/build a startup-worthy idea in one weekend. And with only 36 hours to achieve greatness, the ability to code in your sleep really helps. A lot.

 

What’s it cost?

Nada. Zilch. With incredible sponsors like TechSquare Labs, Microsoft, Uber, Pindrop and more, HackGT covered many of the fees required for brilliant hackers, representing the top tech schools in the country, to participate. Yes, the hackers lost a bit of sleep. But with winning creations like Pick Me Up, “a program that uses emotional analysis on texts to help customers go to businesses that will make their day better,” we think that the experience far outweighs the loss of a few zzz’s.

 

From the Workshop of:

HackGT

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Happy Holidays from the College of Computing!

 

We hope our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide brought a smile to your face. If we can send you more information about any of these projects, please don’t hesitate to email the College’s communications [at] cc [dot] gatech [dot] edu (Office of Communications).

 

And, if you’d like to help make next year’s guide just as special by supporting the College’s research, just click here for information on how to give.

 

Happy Holidays!