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Welcome to the 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!

Wearable computers for dogs? A Golden Ticket into the beautiful world of algorithms? A collectible card  set of the College’s stable of robots? The College of Computing has all of these and more, as for the third straight year its Holiday Gift Guide decks the halls with some of the more inspired, ambitious and definitely digital “gifts” ever placed under the virtual tree. Launched in 2011 to international acclaim, the Holiday Gift Guide has become a yuletide staple around the College’s halls, as faculty and student “elves” spend the year busily hammering together phone chargers, mobile apps and dark silicon in anticipation of the Big Day.

 

"This is the third year we've commemorated the holidays with a light-hearted, informative guide to some of our newest and best research," said Dean Zvi Galil. "What better way to wake up on that special morning than, say, to find hundreds of new Twitter followers virtually sitting in your living room, drinking your egg nog? Perhaps you can read them my favorite holiday story, How the Grinch Solved for P=NP."

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FIDO

What is it?

Computing has gone to the dogs. Seriously. FIDO, which stands for Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations, is a wearable computer designed to help assistance dogs communicate with their handlers. By activating one of the sensors on the high-tech vest, dogs can send either audible cues or text notifications to their handler’s smartphone. 

 

Who's it for?

While we'd all love to strap one of these vests on our favorite pooch, FIDO is designed for working dogs (assistance dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, etc.). Who knows? Maybe it will even create new jobs … for dogs.

 

How much does it cost?

Woof, woof, woof! (If your dog had FIDO, he’d tell you this means it’s not available for purchase yet.)

 

From the workshop of:

Melody JacksonThad StarnerClint Zeagler

 

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OMS CS

 

What is it?

The MOOC heard ‘round the world! Georgia Tech’s online Master of Science in Computer Science is the first fully “massive-online” degree program on Earth, offered in collaboration with Udacity and AT&T.

 

Who’s it for?

Working professionals. Full-time parents. Active military personnel. Basically anyone who wants to advance his or her skills and qualifications in computer science—especially those students unable to enroll in an on-campus degree program due to money, time, location or all of the above. Degree seekers must qualify for Georgia Tech graduate admissions, but next year OMS CS will offer non-credit tracks for anyone who feels up to the challenge!

 

How much does it cost?

This might be the best part—most students will pay less than $7,000 for a degree from one of the world’s finest computing schools.

 

From the workshop of

Too many to name, but the idea for OMS CS was hatched by College of Computing Dean Zvi Galil and Udacity founder & CEO Sebastian Thrun.

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Dark Silicon

What is it?

The much-anticipated Episode VII of the Star Wars saga? An unexplored nebula for the Starship Enterprise to visit? Wrong on both counts. Dark silicon is an area of computer architecture addressing the power limits of multiple CPUs or cores on a single chip. To increase power efficiencies, the concept of dark silicon allows only a fraction of the cores to be powered while the rest remain "dark."

 

Who’s it for?

Moore’s Law-breakers and anyone else who believes computing must take a new direction for faster and more efficient processing in the years to come. Or for anyone who wants the ability to post Snapchats and Instagrams at even more blazing speeds.

 

How much does it cost?

Wasn’t there a credit card company that deemed some things revolutionary and game-changing as … well … priceless?

 

From the workshop of:

Assistant Professor Hadi Esmaeilzadeh

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Mactans Charger

What is it?

What is the holiday season without a little coal in the Christmas stocking? For the computer aficionado, this mobile device charger fits the bill. Outfitted with a small, inexpensive single-board computer and designed to resemble a typical iPhone or iPad charger, Mactans stealthily installs a malicious app onto the charged device and then holiday havoc may ensue.

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone wishing to investigate the extent to which their devices are vulnerable to security threats, even amid such seemingly innocuous activities as charging a phone. Or for Grinches who have nothing better to do than greedily infect other people’s devices. (Which would likely come with a holiday card, visit or fine from your friendly neighborhood NSA.)

 

How much does it cost?

If you really need to add this to your holiday shopping list, you must really be a Grinch. The Apple fix, on the other hand, is free with the iOS 7 upgrade.

 

From the workshop of:

Research scientists Tielei Wang and Billy Lau of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC).

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FLAMEL

What is it?

According to legend, alchemist Nicolas Flamel lived past the ripe old age 600 by drinking an “Elixir of Life” he created from the only known Philosopher’s Stone. Georgia Tech now offers its own version of this elusive and enduring substance: FLAMEL: From Learning, Analytics, and Materials to Entrepreneurship and Leadership Doctoral Traineeship Program.

 

Who’s it for?

While FLAMEL won’t extend your lifespan, it could still make you immortal. As Georgia Tech’s newest NSF-sponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT), FLAMEL offers qualified students the opportunity to accelerate the design and manufacture of new materials by using applications in big data. For the extremely bright Harry Potterish student on your list, FLAMEL is the perfect gift.

 

How much does it cost?

Less than zero! FLAMEL pays accepted recipients more than $60K over a two-year period.

 

From the workshop of:

Institute for Data & High Performance Computing (IDH), including Richard Fujimoto.

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The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible

What is it?

An engaging book from Lance Fortnow that delves into the most important open problem in all of computer science: Can every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by a computer also be quickly solved by a computer? Fortnow captures in plain terms the excitement of the P-NP dilemma and how algorithms solve such pressing issues as the most efficient routes through Disney World and finding friends in social networks.

 

Who’s it for?

The non-computer science reader who finally has an accessible text that explains why computer scientists get so work up explaining the influential and predictive power of algorithms. For Charlie, who can fully appreciate the vast improbability of securing a Golden Ticket. For Veruca Salt’s father, who might have saved a lot of money, time and labor, if he understood the “beautiful” complications surrounding P and NP.

 

How much does it cost?

The hardback retails for $26.95 and can be purchased through a number of online bookstores near you.

 

From the workshop of:

Lance Fortnow, chair of the School of Computer Science

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SMARTSign for Google Glass

What is it?

SMARTSign for Google Glass lets parents of deaf or hard-of-hearing children learn American Sign Language (ASL) by displaying a virtual tutor right in front of their eyes - literally and without any chance of detention. The friendly digital assistant offers users short video lessons wherever and whenever, such as just getting out of bed, eating breakfast or walking about town. Just please nix the lessons while driving.

 

Who’s it for?

Parents who wish to boost their proficiency in ASL even amid their busy days. Educators who work with special-needs children and could use the quick-and-easy reference with a Glass tutor any time. Grandparents who babysit their deaf grandkids and want to find new ways to spoil them. 

 

How much does it cost? 

Free for Glass wearers [contact kim [at] tinmanlabs [dot] com] of the world and for Android fans at the Play Store. Scheduled for an early 2014 iOS release.

 

From the workshop of:

Thad Starner; Harley Hamilton; Kimberly Xu, Ph.D. alumna of HCC; and Helene Brashear

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Twitter Followers. Lots of ‘em.

What is it?

Like the title suggests, this research provides the key to earning more Twitter followers. And, no, it’s not some social media gimmick. Our professors used actual data (a half-million tweets over 15 months) to determine reliable predictors for building a Twitter following. This research offers proven strategies for growing your Twitter audience, such as: don't talk about yourself, be happy, and cool it on the hashtags. 

 

Who's it for?

Perfect for a Tweeter who wants more followers (in other words, anyone with a Twitter account). Specifically, that social media manager who works for a college with the most amazing social media presence on campus. #shamelessplug 

 

How much does it cost?

Unlike expensive services that make you pay for Twitter followers, this social media gold is provided to you absolutely free.

 

From the workshop of:

Eric Gilbert, C.J. Hutto, Sarita Yardi

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Robot Baseball Cards

What is it?

If you think baseball season is over until spring, it’s time to reconsider. The holidays are the perfect time to take your loved one out to the ball game. Forget the peanuts and Cracker Jack—we’ve got an all-star lineup of robots featuring 14 of Georgia Tech’s heavy hitters. With Simon and Golem Krang at lead-off and clean-up, our one-of-a-kind set of trading cards is quickly becoming a collector’s item. Look for the Curi rookie card in 2014!

 

Who’s it for?

Originally created as a giveaway for the more than 400 middle and high school students attending National Robotics Week in April 2013, these cards make the perfect gift for baseball and robot enthusiasts of all ages.

 

How much does it cost?

Although the printed deck of cards is in limited supply and hard to find, you can print a complete set for free, just by clicking here. They make a perfect stocking stuffer; all that’s missing is gum.

 

From the workshop of:

Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM), including Henrik Christensen, Tom Collins, Magnus Egerstedt, Ayanna Howard, Charlie Kemp, Wendy Rogers, Mike Stilman, Lina Teng, Andrea Thomaz, Jun Ueda, Gil Weinberg and Mick West.

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2014 Emerging Cyber Threats Report

What is it?

A survival manual for the world’s cyber security forces. Issued each year by Georgia Tech, the report details some of the most prevalent and serious threats building in cyberspace. Moving your IT operations to the cloud? Outfitting your house with the latest “wired” appliances? The Emerging Cyber Threats Report will help you stay connected—and safe.

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone who understands that the Internet is a constant cyber-struggle between the forces of good and evil. The bad guys never rest—they just get mitigated.

 

How much does it cost?

Absolutely nothing. The report is available online for free—which is a heckuva lot less than you’ll pay if you’re waylaid on the information superhighway by techno-brigands.

 

From the workshop of:

The tireless researchers in the Georgia Tech Information Security Center and the Cyber Technology and Information Security Laboratory of the Georgia Tech Research institute

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Breathe Easier Through Texting

What is it? 

Texting is a way of life, and now it can improve the lives of pediatric asthma patients. Children with asthma who responded about their symptoms via text messages using a novel Georgia Tech SMS system showed improved pulmonary function and a better understanding of their condition within four months, compared to other groups. Proof positive that texting is not a waste of time and can actually help children become more knowledgeable about their conditions.

 

Who’s it for? 

Parents who want an “all-you-can-eat” family texting plan with a bonus medical tool to boot. Text-happy kids with asthma who need a friendly reminder or two to take their meds. Early adopters of mHealth technologies, who can add this new texting technique to their arsenal.

 

How much does it cost? 

Available for any pediatricians and families who are interested in using texting to improve asthma treatment, but individual carrier rates do apply!

  

For the workshop of:

Tae-Jung Yun of Samsung Electronics Co. and alumnus of the doctoral HHC program and Research Scientist Rosa Arriaga. Research paper at A Text Message a Day Keeps the Pulmonologist Away.

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XScala

What is it?

Supercomputing for the masses! With a $2 million NSF grant, Georgia Tech researchers are creating tools that will enable developers to use hardware accelerators more productively and effectively. What does that mean for you? When you choose XScala this season, you can give that special someone unprecedented capability on her tablet or smartphone.

 

Who’s it for?

Just about anyone on your list—even your great-aunt Gertie, who may want to use her smartphone to check her health records or to look up the meaning of “phablet.” XScala, a software framework for developing efficient accelerator kernels like large dictionary string matching or dynamic programming, will take capabilities previously available only to elite scientists and deliver them to everyone on the planet.

 

How much does it cost?

The best price ever: The resources are open source, which means free! XScala technology-enabled algorithms and software will soon be available in their own app store, known as XBazaar. Unfortunately, you’ll need to give Gertie an IOU because XScala breakthroughs won’t be available until 2014.

 

From the workshop of:

Center for High Performance Computing (HPC), including David Bader, Rich Vuduc and Jason Riedy.

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Happy Holidays from the College of Computing!

 

We hope our 2013 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 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!