CIS Highlights

Computer Systems Lab with ECE

The Cornell Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) brings together faculty members with common interests from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and CS at Cornell.

The field of computer systems is both experimental and theoretical, having grown out of computer architecture; parallel computer architecture; operating systems and compilers; computer protocols and networks; programming languages and environments; distributed systems; VLSI design and fabrication; and system specification and verification.

Graduate students are admitted to either ECE or CS. Usually students with primary interest in computer architecture, multiprocessor design, VLSI, computer-aided design (CAD), and circuit design enroll in ECE, while students with interest in compilers, operating systems, and programming environments enroll in CS. There are no rigid student classifications; ECE students can have a thesis advisor in CS and vice-versa. Indeed, the interdisciplinary composition of the research teams is a strength of the Computer Systems Laboratory.

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National Science Digital Library (NSDL)

Cornell and Columbia Universities share the distinction of heading up the National Science Digital Library, a project that links the resources of more than 100 smaller Internet resources. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the electronic library aims to bring teachers and students a wealth of ideas and information in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. Heading the project is an expert on digital libraries and electronic publishing,
who also directs CIS's Information Science program.

For ten years before it won this assignment, Cornell's digital libraries group had been researching architectures, protocols, services, and policies of distributed information that facilitate the creation, management, accessibility, and longevity of distributed information.

Digital library research at Cornell is rooted in the practical problems of large-scale electronic publishing, Web information systems, scholarly communication, and the long-term preservation of digital information. One important focus is interoperability. How can coherent information services be created from sources around the world that are managed by independent organizations, with very different goals and technologies? Cornell's particular interests are
in simplicity, lowering barriers to collaboration, and finding automatic ways to carry out labor-intensive tasks.

services from heterogeneous, independently managed digital libraries include the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, which enables technically inexperienced groups to share information, and the FEDORA mechanisms, which enable more sophisticated users to work with digital library content.

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The Information Assurance Institute

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)/Cornell Information Assurance Institute (IAI) supports a broad spectrum of research and education efforts aimed at developing a science-and-technology base that can enhance information assurance and networked information-systems trustworthiness—system and network security, reliability, and assurance. IAI is also intended to foster closer collaborations among Cornell and AFRL researchers. Fred B. Schneider is the director.

AFRL researchers participate in Cornell research projects, facilitating technology transfer and exposing Cornell researchers to problems facing the Air Force; Cornell researchers become involved in AFRL projects and have access to unique AFRL facilities. The institute thus makes both Cornell and AFRL more attractive places to work, facilitating recruitment of higher-caliber personnel at each site.

Under the auspices of IAI, Cornell researchers are now involved in the development of the Air Force's Joint Battlespace Infosphere. Various other technical collaborations are also being explored—in the use of “gossip protocols”, in language-based security policy-enforcement technology, and in data mining from networks of sensors.

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The Intelligent Information Systems Institute

The mission of the IISI, founded in December of 2000, is threefold: to perform and stimulate research in computational and data-intensive methods for intelligent decision-making systems; to foster collaborations within the scientific community; and to play a leadership role in the research and dissemination of the core areas of the institute. The institute is funded by AFRL/U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Carla Gomes is the director of the institute. The Scientific Advisory Board of the institute consists of Robert Constable (Cornell), Nort Fowler and Charles Messenger (Information Directorate of the AFRL [AFRL/IF]), and Neal Glassman and Juan Vasquez (AFRL/AFOSR).

The IISI supports basic research within CIS, promoting a cross-fertilization of approaches from different disciplines, including computer science, engineering, operations research, economics, mathematics, statistics, and physics. Areas of research within the IISI are: search and complexity, planning and scheduling, large-scale distributed networks, data mining and information retrieval, reasoning under uncertainty, natural-language processing, machine learning, multi-agent systems, and combinatorial auctions.

Current IISI members at Cornell are Carlos Ansotegui (encodings and solvers for combinatorial problems using propositional logic [SAT], many-valued SAT, or constraints [CSP]); Krishna Athreya (branching processes, Markov chains, mathematical statistics, and applications to computer science); Claire Cardie (natural-language understanding and machine learning); Rich Caruana (machine learning, data mining, and bioinformatics); Raffaello D'Andrea (dynamics and control); Carmel Domshlak (modeling and reasoning about preferences and uncertainty, combinatrial search and optimization, and AI applications); Johannes Gehrke (database systems and data mining); Carla Gomes (artificial intelligence and operations research); Joseph Halpern (knowledge representation and uncertainty); Juris Hartmanis (theory of computational complexity); John Hopcroft (information capture and access); Thorsten Joachims (machine learning and information retrieval); Jon Kleinberg (algorithm design– networks and information); Lillian Lee (statistical methods for natural-language processing); David Schwartz (computer-game design); Meinolf Sellmann (OR and constraint programming [CP] for hard combinatorial problems); Bart Selman (knowledge representation, complexity, and multi-agent systems); Phoebe Sengers (intelligent systems in human and social content and human–computer interaction); David Shmoys (algorithms for large-scale discrete optimization); Chris Shoemaker (large-scale optimization and modeling); Steve Strogatz (complex networks in natural and social science); and Stephen Wicker (intelligent wireless-information networks).

Several research projects that involve direct collaborations between Cornell and AFRL/IF researchers were initiated through the IISI. These cover topics such as probabilistic decision-making, architectures for active memory systems, multi-agent sensor networks, and visualization of reasoning and search methods. Over the past year, the IISI has hosted or sponsored several conferences and workshops: the Tenth International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming; the Seventh International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing (SAT ‘04); the 2004 HLT–NAACL; the International Conference on Integration of AI and OR Techniques in Constraint Programming for Combinatorial Optimization Problems (CP–AI–OR ‘04); the IISI Workshop on Strategic Research Directions in AI; and the AFRL/IISI Workshop on Mixed Initiative Decision Making.

To further its research mission, the IISI hosts many short-term visitors, and several scientists who make medium- and long-term visits. Visitors have included researchers from AFRL/IF, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, AT&T Labs, Ben-Gurion University, Carnegie Mellon University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ILOG Corporation, Microsoft Research, New York University, Rutgers University, Stanford University, Technion, University of Alberta, University of Barcelona, University of British Columbia, University of Lisbon, University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, University of Dallas, University of Washington, York University, and Washington University at St. Louis.

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