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Computing & Mathematical Sciences Events

Upcoming Events 

Seminar: Change Detection in High Dimensional Datastreams 2 Apr 2019
Change detection problems are ubiquitous in science and engineering: promptly detecting changes is often key to understand the dynamics of a monitored process and for activating suitable countermeasures.

During this talk, I will address the problem of detecting distribution changes in high-dimensional datastreams and present QuantTree, a recursive binary splitting scheme that yields histograms for change-detection purposes. In fact, we theoretically prove that in QuantTree the bin probabilities do not depend on the distribution of stationary data, and the same holds for any test statistics based on bin counts, like the Pearson's one. Therefore, when using QuantTree it is possible to numerically compute the detection thresholds on univariate and synthetically generated data, yet guaranteeing a controlled false positive rate in any dimension and for any data distribution. Experiments show that QuantTree can effectively detect changes and control the false positive rate in high dimensional datastreams, even when the number of training samples is relatively small.

Our extensive experiments also indicate that all the considered techniques suffer of the detectability loss problem, namely that detecting a change of a fixed magnitude becomes increasingly more difficult when the data dimension scales. This is an intrinsic difficulty of change-detection methods, which we further investigate and analytically demonstrate to occur when monitoring the log-likelihood of a Gaussian datastream.

CISSP (ISC)² CBK Training Workshop 5 Aug 2019
The University of Waikato is the NZ official training provider for the prestigious (ISC)2 certification training program.

The next workshop training dates have been finalised for 5-9 August 2019 at the Novotel Lakeside Rotorua.

This training course is intended for professionals who have at least 5 years of recent full-time professional work experience in 2 or more of the 8 domains of the CISSP CBK and are pursuing CISSP training and certification to acquire the credibility and mobility to advance within their current information security careers. The training seminar is ideal for those working in positions such as, but not limited to:

  • Security Consultant
  • Security Manager
  • IT Director/Manager
  • Security Auditor
  • Security Architect
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Systems Engineer
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Director of Security
  • Network Architect


Past Events

Industry Talk: Tales from the Frontier of Genomics 22nd Mar 2019
In this talk, Sean will give some background on past projects he has been involved with, leading up to his current work in DNA sequence analysis at Real Time Genomics. The main part of the discussion will concern the challenges in processing human DNA sequence data. In particular, the talk will step through the computational steps involved in taking the output of a genomic sequencing machine through to generating outputs suitable for clinical interpretation. These steps include the mapping of sequence data to a reference human genome, the identification of germline and somatic variants in a sample, and clinical interpretation. Current problems in genomics including evaluation and bench-marking of results, dealing with pedigrees, and the detection of copy number and structural variants will be mentioned. Lessons learned and success stories from dealing with data from real customers will be presented. Time permitting, a brief introduction to metagenomic analysis and strain detection will be given. The talk will concentrate on computational aspects of dealing with large datasets and accurately determining variants in individual samples including the ranking of variants using a machine learning approach. There will be some discussion of the best practice software engineering techniques used by Real Time Genomics. In particular, the continuous integration environment, testing framework, and Jumble system for measuring code and test quality in Java will be shown. Brief mentions of projects involving entity extraction and text classification, leading to SureChEMBL system for identification of chemicals in patent documents. Only a minimal knowledge of genomics will be assumed.

Seminar: Advanced Infrastructure: Is Artificial Intelligence going to be a game changer? 19th Mar 2019
Computational methods have gained increasing attention in engineering and materials science applications, as they allow for the prediction of the failure of systems that would be prohibitive to test experimentally (either for their size or the external actions to simulate). In order to describe complex phenomena such as crack nucleation and propagation, computational tools must be able to accurately describe the material at the length scale at which they occur (the so-called ‘local’ scale). Meaningful predictions, however, rely on the description of the response of entire engineering systems (‘global’ scale). The exponential increase in computational power recorded in the last decade will inevitably lead to the possibility of simulating every atom or molecule in a bridge or a medical implant in a not-so-distant future. Until that day arrives, current practices to take into account physical phenomena that happen at different length scales revolve around the concept of multiscaling: we can solve the problem in exam at different observational levels (i.e. the local and global scales) and bridge the information between them by means of appropriate mathematical theories. In my recent works, I am investigating the possibility to embed classical multiscale theories in the framework of Artificial Intelligence, with the ultimate goal of increasing accuracy and efficiency of the model without compromising on the detailed physical description of the numerical models. We will discuss possible applications of Artificial Intelligence techniques to the regional-scale simulation of a flood protection infrastructure.

Industry Talk: Advances in Self-Managed Clouds and Language Runtimes 15th Mar 2019
Cloud Computing abstracts computing resources and offers them in a pay-as-you go manner to its tenant clients. This is a strong benefit for SMEs and non-technical companies who do not have to carry the burden of managing their own servers, with all the nuances that come with it (such as keeping them performant and secure). The current state-of-the-art cloud approach is that of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which abstracts large parts of the software/hardware stack balancing development flexibility with reduced toil (i.e., repeating and tedious tasks). Crucially, cloud users rely on high-level languages—such as Node.js and Java—that are executed by Language Runtimes and provide a plethora of autonomic features, such as memory management and hardware-specific optimization. From a theoretical perspective, both Clouds and Language Runtimes can be explained through the theory of Self-Adaptive Systems, a cutting-edge field that aims to unify AI and Systems in its quest of explaining everything from cruise control in cars to autoscaling on the Cloud to autonomous exploration rovers. In this talk, applied research on the field of Self-Adaptive Clouds and Language Runtimes that was conducted in collaboration with IBM will be presented. The technical focus was on improving the satisfaction of nonfunctional requirements of the IBM Bluemix PaaS features and the J9 JVM (IBM’s Java Language Runtime). More specifically, the overarching theme was the overcoming of performance interference in clouds that co-locate multiple runtimes. Besides numerous academic publications, this project resulted in 2 patents and 4 anti-patents with IBM as well as was awarded the international “Project of the Year” distinction by IBM CAS in 2016. In Waikato, this work has culminated with the new Oceania Researchers in Cloud and Adaptive-systems (ORCA) lab, which currently hosts 9 research students, supervised by 7 faculty members.

Seminar: Towards Deep Continuous-Discrete Machine Learning 12th Mar 2019
Since the beginnings of machine learning - and indeed already mentioned in Alan Turing's groundbreaking 1950 paper "Computing machinery and intelligence" - two opposing approaches have been pursued: On the one hand, approaches that relate learning to knowledge and mostly use "discrete" formalisms of formal logic. On the other hand, approaches which, mostly motivated by biological models, investigate learning in artificial neural networks and predominantly use "continuous" methods from numerical optimization and statistics. The recent successes of deep learning can be attributed to the latter, the "continuous" approach, and are currently opening up new opportunities for computers to "perceive" the world and to act, with far-reaching consequences for industry, science and society. The massive success in recognizing "continuous" patterns is the catalyst for a new enthusiasm for artificial intelligence methods. However, today's artificial neural networks are hardly suitable for learning and understanding "discrete" logical structures, and this is one of the major hurdles to further progress.

Accordingly, one of the biggest open problems is to clarify the connection between these two learning approaches (logical-discrete, neural-continuous). In particular, the role and benefits of prior knowledge need to be reassessed and clarified. The role of formal logic in ensuring sound reasoning must be related to perception through deep networks. Further, the question of how to use prior knowledge to make the results of deep learning more stable, and to explain and justify them, is to be discussed. The extraction of symbolic knowledge from networks is a topic that needs to be re-examined against the background of the successes of deep learning. Finally, it is an open question if and how the principles responsible for the success of deep learning methods can be transferred to symbolic learning. In talk, I will discuss these topics and give examples of various recent approaches.

Seminar: Facets of Fairness and Transparency in Algorithmic Decision Making 5th Mar 2019
Modern predictive analytics and machine learning techniques contribute to the massive automation of the data-driven decision making and decision support. It becomes better understood and accepted, in particular due to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that employed predictive models may need to be audited. Disregarding whether we deal with so-called black-box models (e.g. deep learning) or more interpretable models (e.g. decision trees), answering even basic questions like “why is this model giving these answer?” and “how do particular features affect the model output?” is nontrivial. In reality, auditors need tools not just to explain the decision logic of an algorithm, but also to uncover and characterize undesired or unlawful biases in predictive model performance, e.g. by law hiring decisions cannot be influenced by race or gender. In this talk I will give a brief overview of the different facets of comprehensibility of predictive analytics and reflect on the current state-of-the-art and further research needed for gaining a deeper understanding of what it means for predictive analytics to be truly transparent and accountable.

Seminar: Self-adaptive Cloud - Predictive Autoscaling 26th Feb 2019
Self-adaptive systems are all around us. Moreover, we, as human beings, are the most advanced self-adaptive systems ever. What does it mean to be self-adaptive? Essentially, self-adaptive systems have notion of environment that they constantly observe as well as raison d'etre, i.e. why do they exist, what are their goals. Self-adaptive system utilizes observations to derive intrinsic “adaptation algorithms” that compute system’s “settings” that allow it to meet its goal (to fulfill its raison d'etre) within the corresponding environment conditions. This general biological concept was borrowed by computer science to enable automation in complex multi-parameter systems that are highly stochastic like cloud.

An example of a self-adaptivity in the cloud is the predictive autoscaling technology. This technology aims to provide enough cloud resources and container replicas to serve the anticipated user demand according to some service-level objectives. Such technology uses advanced AI techniques and time series-related models to derive the capacity/performance model of application and to forecast the demand on this application. This AI-powered technology was recently introduced by AWS to EC2 service that offers various types of virtual machines.

In his talk, Vladimir Podolskiy, a Ph.D. student from the Technical University of Munich (Germany) will introduce an ongoing project in developing the predictive autoscaling engine SCALENDAR at TUM. Vladimir will give an overview of the SCALENDAR’s architecture, and will dive deeper into its components implementing various functions such as: workload forecasting, microservice capacity/performance modeling, application structural modeling, scaling actions scheduling, and scaling actions timely execution. The aim of the talk is to introduce the research project and to invite the colleagues from the University of Waikato to collaborate on corresponding research topics.

Seminar: Cloud Computing and Self-adaptive Management of Cloud 19th Feb 2019
With the introduction of cloud computing paradigm, it became possible to rent the compute and memory resources as well as storage capacity instead of owning them. The usage of these remote resources via Internet is billed on pay-as-you-go basis, i.e. you pay only for what you really use. Both cloud services providers and the users of such services came to understanding that they need to optimize the cloud. Cloud services providers are interested in minimizing the free hardware capacity and in increasing the reliability of the cloud. Cloud users, on the other hand, are interested in getting high quality of service and in minimizing the cost of the cloud services. Difficulties of cloud and cloud applications management require a high degree of automation, which, in turn, relies on how accurate models of cloud and cloud applications are. By utilizing the vast tracing, monitoring, logs and load tests/performance data, one can approach the task of automated cloud management with the concept of self-adaptive systems. The methods and models utilized by self-adaptive systems vary a lot, they span from formal and statistical models to cutting-edge AI techniques such as long short-term memory artificial neural networks and deep learning.

In his talk, Vladimir Podolskiy, a Ph.D. student from the Technical University of Munich (Germany) will give a background about cloud computing, cloud applications, and the concepts of self-adaptive systems as they are used for managing the cloud. The aim of the talk is to highlight the opportunities that cloud provides to its users and to point out how the modeling and methods from AI can be employed to automate the management of cloud.

Industry Talk: Commercial Applications of Machine Learning in Agriculture 8th Feb 2019
Using Machine Learning in an agricultural context for building predictive models on spectral, thermal and image data. Rapid application development is achieved with the help of workflows, by writing Java components only once and applying them without any additional code.

Industry Talk: Starting and growing a subscription software business from the Waikato — learnings from 10 years in business 1st Feb 2019
When Rocketspark was started 10 years ago in a Hamilton flat, they knew that the build costs of traditional web development were unrealistic for most small businesses, putting a beautiful and effective website out of reach. They could also see that traditional content management systems were too complicated for business owners and they couldn't afford to pay someone to manage the site themselves. Rocketspark is a website builder and ecommerce software platform where clients can easily build their own beautiful website without needing to know code—or if they’d rather pay someone else to build it for them, they can connect with a Rocketspark design partner. Over the last ten years Rocketspark’s founders have learned a lot about growing a subscription software business, finding their first customers, collecting customer feedback and interviewing customers, learning how to delight customers with hands-on customer support, releasing new features to customers, managing infrastructure and growing a team from just the founders to a team of 14 — almost all of them graduating from Waikato. Rocketspark recently secured a Callaghan Innovation Growth Grant and has employed 4 summer interns from the University of Waikato.

Seminar: Machine-Learning For Security Analysis: Opportunities and Challenges 8th Jan 2019
Machine learning (ML) is widely being used worldwide to solve problems in many areas including image recognition, natural language processing, anomaly detection, and more. Its success has also resulted in a lot of hype. While there is no doubt that many of ML techniques are very sophisticated, there are a number of challenges remaining.

In this talk I will summarise our work on using ML in the area of vulnerability detection using off-the-shelf ML techniques. I will compare results from the ML approach to those from static program analysis techniques. Labelled data used in this work comes from our earlier static analysis work. I will point to challenges and open questions that remain open in order for ML techniques to be useful for security analysis purposes, in a reliable way.

Seminar: Cyber Security Modeling and Analysis of Internet of Things 19th Dec 2018
A lot of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks. It is important to assess and enhance the security of IoT devices and IoT networks and service. The Cybersecurity Lab at the University of Canterbury (UC) along with other universities have received an MBIE grant on “advanced security technologies for the Internet of Things” (http://iotresearch.org/) as international collaborations between NZ universities (UC, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, and Victoria University of Wellington) and Universities in Korea (Korea University and Sungkyunkwan University). In this talk, I will introduce on-going research topics under the MBIE grant and (1) a cybersecurity modeling and evaluation framework will be presented, (2) security assessment of IoT networks with non-patchable IoT nodes and mobile IoT nodes and (3) network level security defense techniques including moving target defenses and deception techniques. Finally, future work research revenues will be discussed.

Industry Talk: Real-world agile software development 14th Dec 2018
Agile is a work flow system that is rapidly gaining traction as a way organize and run projects within companies and organizations. Through the use of tribes, scrums, chapters, squads, sprints and missions small groups of people from differing backgrounds and skill sets collaborate to solve problems by sharing knowledge, ideas and effort. Agile breaks down barriers in traditional management structures by sharing knowledge and decision making among team members, giving the potential to greatly speed up workflows. There is no single best way to implement the Agile process as its performance and success varies based on the organization, team makeup, skill sets, project requirements and customer expectations. From my experiences as an employee in small to medium sized businesses working on various software projects I will give my thoughts and views on the challenges of real world software development, how we have applied components of the Agile Software Development process. I will describe some of the tools we use and others we have built to aid in our software development processes.

Australasian Conference on Combinatorial Mathematics and Combinatorial Computing 2018 10th Dec 2018
41ACCMCC will follow a similar format to previous conferences in the ACCMCC annual series, which is overseen by the Combinatorial Mathematics Society of Australasia (CMSA) and began in 1972. The conference programme will include keynote speakers, contributed talks in parallel sessions, a conference dinner and presentation of the CMSA student prize, and the CMSA Annual General Meeting.

Cyber Security Seminar: Australian Cybersecurity Policy at Federal Level (and its Relationship to both Cybercrime and Cyberconflict) 23rd Nov 2018

David Sanger, the national security correspondent for the New York Times and author of the recent book “The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age” stated in a recent interview that “..in cyber conflict, the advantage goes to the least-wired society attacking the most-wired society.”  In this regard governments worldwide, and at various levels, have rapidly published statements and policies related to appropriate responses to cyber-security and cyber-defence, now often referred to simply as “cyber”. Australia’s Federal Government released “Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy: Enabling Innovation, Growth & Prosperity” in 2016 with a “First Annual Update” in 2017. The strategy identified five major “themes” as requiring action over the years to 2020. These were based upon:

  1. A national cyber partnership;
  2. Strong cyber defences;
  3. Global responsibility and influence;
  4. Growth and innovation; and
  5. A cyber smart nation.

These need to be assessed against national military and defence policy overall, particularly in regard to funding and development as well as against similar policies and programs developing internationally, particularly in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region. Emphasis needs to be given to necessary support for training, education and research in the area, now deemed to be of critical national security importance.

International Conference On Asia-Pacific Digital Libraries 2018 19th Nov 2018
Since its beginnings in Hong Kong in 1998, ICADL has become one of the premiere international conferences for digital library research. ICADL 2018 at the University of Waikato in New Zealand offers a valuable opportunity for researchers, educators, and practitioners to share their experiences and innovative developments. The main theme of ICADL 2018 is “Maturity and Innovation in Digital Libraries”.

Industry Talk: Statistics & Alchemy 16th Nov 2018
Imagimation is a technology start-up incubator based in Frankton, which currently houses several electricity retailers, a game development studio, and a technology solutions provider doing “affordable intelligence”. Within the umbrella of Imagimation, we work with full-stack web development, native ML/AI applications, and video games, alongside many smaller areas of interest. Being a group of technology companies, almost everything we do is tech-related at some level. Our primary technology stack uses Microsoft products at every level: VS IDE; Azure storage, hosting and compute; Razor Pages and ASP .NET Core frameworks. We also use Python, C++, Java, Julia, and Node/React/Redux in varying capacities.

I started at Imagimation as purely a machine learning developer, but quickly found myself involved in many other projects and areas. I’ve worked in almost every role I had skills in, and many I hadn’t, including project management, web development, and business strategy. Currently, I am a technology lead for one start-up and the owner/CEO of another.

The key skills needed to establish yourself in a technology start-up are adaptability and the willingness to learn, comfort with ambiguity, communication, and a positive attitude. Everything else can be learned on the job.

Cyber Security Seminar: SafeToOpen: Fighting newly made phishing website 9th Nov 2018
SafeToOpen has emerged out of a huge need to protect against phishing attacks which require its own defence strategy. Phishing attacks are not easy to detect as they grow smarter. In combination with social engineering techniques, the attack vector is very difficult to detect using conventional security controls. SafeToOpen has been designed using advanced strategies uniquely for detecting and eliminating phishing attacks. It uses security intelligence feeds as well as specially crafted algorithms to detect and respond to phishin.