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Machine Learning & Urban Computing Laboratory
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Mahdi Hashemi
Assistant Professor
Director of Machine Learning and Urban Computing Laboratory
Department of Information Sciences and Technology
George Mason University
Office: Engineering Building, Rm. 5353, Fairfax Campus
E-Mail: mhashem2@
PhD Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Google Scholar Profile

We live amidst real-time data flows, with sensors measuring everything from air quality to traffic, with our own cell phones and social media yielding information about our whereabouts and activity levels, with buildings reporting on their own energy consumption and maintenance. The role of machine learning in smart cities is to provide a seamless and data-driven operating environment. This is only one of the visions/goals of smart cities but one that is the focus of our research. Our research focuses on devising new algorithmic, statistical, mathematical, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and hybrid methods to tackle complex problems in urban computing and intelligent transportation, in addition to analytical and visualization methods to make sense of spatial-temporal data. We leverage the data to make cities smarter, environmental resources sustainable, and quality of life better for citizens.




Intelligent Transportation 2020 Spatial-Temporal Data Prediction 2020



Determinant Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues
Smart Cities Smart Cities
Smart Cities Smart Cities Analytics
Video Analytics for Event Detection Intelligent Transportation Systems
Deep Reinforcement Learning for Traffic Light Control



Welcome

Welcome to the Machine Learning and Urban Computing Group. If you have not started already, please strengthen yourself in Python and Algorithms. You can find my list of publications on my website. I recommend you to read the ones that are relevant to your research, before our first meeting. Always read the new publications that appear on my website. Check this link . Under final project it has helpful instructions about how to write a paper.


Weekly group meetings

Members will be assigned time slots during these meetings to present their research ideas and progress, regardless of how mature the idea is, to receive constructive criticism and feedback from their peers and the advisor. All group members are encouraged to provide feedback to their peers and propose new ideas to expand or extend that research. New research ideas might rise from these discussions. Sometimes the advisor might give a brief talk on topics that concern the group about academic procedures, academic milestones, research milestones, courses, goals, expectations, etc.


Individual meetings

Individual meetings will be arranged upon your request. The email requesting an individual meeting, must specify the reason or agenda for the meeting.


One-Page Research Proposal Summary

At the beginning of every research, you need to write a one-page proposal and email it to me. This is a mandatory first step. It must include the following sections (font: Times New Roman, font size: 11, line spacing: Single, Paragraph spacing: 0):

Title
Title of your research.
Overview
Summary of what you want to do, why is it significant, what is the motivation for doing this research?
Contribution
What has been done in this field and how your work contributes in this field. Contribution means how your research would add to the state-of-the-art science or knowledge. Contribution does not mean describing what you like or want to do.
Impact
What pressing problem might it help us solve? What would the knowledge obtained from your research do for us? How does it advance science?

This is all assuming that you are not repeating someone else’s work. If someone else has already done something similar and answered these questions, you cannot duplicate it and claim it as your own.


Lab Unfinished Projects Excel Sheet

The following excel sheet helps me to keep track of who is working on how many and what projects: . This excel sheet is for you to put the title of your papers that are under work, submitted, or rejected. You can see your name in this excel sheet. If you do not, just add your name. Write the title of each individual paper under your name. Before the title, determine the status of your paper. A paper’s status could be three things: (1) Under Development, (2) Submitted, and (3) Rejected n Times. For instance, if I am still working on a paper and it has never been submitted, I should write under my name:
Under Development: A new model for traffic prediction
If I have a paper that has been rejected two times and I am still working on it to fix it, I should write:
Rejected 2 Times: A new model for traffic prediction
If for any reason, the title of your project changes, you need to update the title in this excel sheet as well. When a paper is accepted, you must remove it from this excel sheet, because then it will go in your personal excel sheet under the published papers.

Funding Policy for PhD

Following are the guidelines regarding how the PhD funding decisions are made:

Summer Funding:
If you are a GRA, to qualify for summer funding, you have to have published or accepted a minimum of 5 papers during the past 12 months, up to April 01.
If you are a GTA, to qualify for summer funding, you have to have published or accepted a minimum of 3 papers during the past 12 months up to April 01.
Academic Year Funding:
If you are a GRA, to keep your academic year funding for the next academic year, you have to have published or accepted a minimum of 3 papers during the past 12 months up to August 01. If the number of published papers is 2 or 1, you will be transferred from GRA to GTA. If it is 0, you will not have any academic year funding.
If you are a GTA, to keep your academic year funding for the next academic year, you have to have published or accepted a minimum of 1 paper during the past 12 months up to August 01. If the number of published papers is 0, you will not have any academic year funding. If it is 4 or more, you will be transferred from GTA to GRA, depending on availability of funds.
Acceptable Publications:
Conferences with a rank of A or B. Conferences with a rank of C do not count. A rank of C is equivalent to an acceptance rate of 25% or more. In other words, only conferences with acceptance rates of 24% or less will count.
Journals must have an impact factor, be related to our field, and belong to a reputable publisher. Before submission to a journal we will discuss whether or not it counts.
Publication fees:
I will pay the registration fee for conferences that I recommend or approve. You are responsible for travel costs and you can always apply for university scholarships or conference scholarships. It is important to submit to domestic conferences to be sure that travel costs are manageable and no visa will be needed. I will always recommend domestic conferences.
If you intend to submit to a Journal that has publication fees, you need to talk to me in advance to see if I will cover the publication fees. I usually do for prestigious and high impact journals.
To defend PhD proposal:
At least 5 papers (published or accepted), at least one of which should be a journal paper.
To defend PhD dissertation:
At least 10 papers (published or accepted), at least two of which should be journal papers.

GMU Writing Center

The GMU writing Center (https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/) teaches writing skills for PhD students, e.g. dissertation writing. They offer one-to-one meetings. You are required to contact them and go through their training. I will check with you at some point to see your certificate of training through Mason Writing Center.


Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants

The office of Graduate Fellowships (gradfellows.gmu.edu) helps Graduate students find and win fellowships, scholarships, and grants. Contact Dr. Kay Agoston kagoston@gmu.edu to make an appointment.

List of Internal Awards: https://provost.gmu.edu/academics-and-research/graduate-education/awards-and-grants

List of external grants:


The Structure of Proposal for PhD Dissertation
  1. Abstract
    • In the Abstract, you should answer the question: how your research contributes "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense; and for other purposes." The abstract should clearly highlight the contribution of your work.
  2. Chapter 1: Problem statement and motivation
    • Clearly state what problem is the focus of the work. State the research questions and/or hypotheses.
    • Why is it important to address the problem?
  3. Chapter 2: Introduction
    • Highlight the reasons why the problem needs to be addressed
    • Briefly describe the proposed approach
    • Explain the objectives
    • Explain the challenges
    • Explain the contributions
  4. Chapter 3: Background and related work
  5. Chapter 4: Proposed approach
  6. Chapter 5: Preliminary research
  7. Chapter 6: Proposed tasks/timelines


Open PhD Position

One PhD position is available, for applicants interested in the research conducted in our lab. Please submit your application for the IST PhD program here. The minimum requirements are:

Open Positions for Master Students

To be considered for TA or RA positions, you have to have passed AIT 636 and AIT 690 (Urban Computing).



PhD Students
Pic Sarik Dhungel, 06/2021 - Present
Google Scholar
Project(s): Intelligent Transportation, Machine Learning
Pic Zinat Ara, 06/2020 - Present
Google Scholar
Project(s): Intelligent Transportation, Machine Learning
Pic Jahnavi Jonnalagadda, 03/2020 - Present
LinkedIn
Project(s): Spatial-Temporal Data Prediction, Machine Learning

Master Students
Pic Vishwajeet Vijay Paradkar, 06/2020 - 08/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, Deep Learning
Pic Prashanti Maktala, 02/2020 - 05/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Global land temperature forecasting using long short-term memory network
Pic Srikanth Vadlamani, 03/2020 - 05/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Studying the impact of streetlights on street crime rate using geo-statistics
Pic Sai Shashank Gourisetty, 02/2020 - 05/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Detecting breast cancer in cell images using deep convolutional networks

Undergraduate Students
Pic Ian Fitzgerald, 11/2020 - Present
LinkedIn
Project(s): Understanding online disinformation and propaganda
Pic Cydney Teasdale, 06/2020 - Present
LinkedIn
Project(s): Understanding online disinformation and propaganda
Pic Chandler Teasdale, 06/2020 - 11/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Understanding online disinformation and propaganda
Pic Kaylyn Matis, 06/2020 - 11/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Understanding online disinformation and propaganda
Pic Seungcheol Lee, 06/2020 - 08/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Database, Web Service, Front End Visualization
Pic Jongkeung Choi, 06/2020 - 08/2020
LinkedIn
Project(s): Database, Web Service, Front End Visualization

Mahdi Hashemi received the Ph.D. degree in Computing and Information from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, in 2017. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the Department of Information Sciences and Technology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA. He is the founding director of the Machine Learning and Urban Computing Group, where he also specializes in intelligent transportation, spatial-temporal data mining and prediction, and online disinformation mining and detection. He served on the program committee of MLDM 2021 and is a Reviewer Board Member of Information and a Topics Board Member of Remote Sensing, since 2020. He received the Mason Summer Team Impact Project Award to mentor a multidisciplinary team of undergraduate students in 2020. He was nominated for the 2021 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award.



Journal Papers

Conference Proceedings