Identity theft, cancer detection among interactive demos at UH event

Future of computing showcased, prizes to win at April 8 Public Open House

HOUSTON, March 31, 2006 Cancer detection, homeland security and Mars topography are among the subjects of 12 interactive displays that will be showcased during an open house at the University of Houston.

Open to the public, the event will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 8 on the fifth floor of the Philip G. Hoffman Building at Entrance 14, off Cullen Boulevard at UH, and is hosted by the computer science department. To see all available demonstrations will take about two hours.

It is being held to educate the public on the future of computing and provide information to high school and community college students interested in pursuing a computer science education.

"The exhibits we have lined up introduce a totally new way of approaching computer science and demonstrate a renewed impact of our work on society," said Marc Garbey, UH computer science professor and chair of the department. "This is an exciting time in our field, because interdisciplinary collaborations and sophisticated computing are allowing computer scientists to create tools and solve problems in areas like the environment and medicine."

About a million dollars worth of equipment will be on display, such as a high-performance computing booth used by UH researchers to solve problems ranging from modeling Houston's air quality to creating designer drugs targeted at cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases. Other demonstrations will include a display of computational biomedicine techniques that look at cells for early signs of cancer, as well as have applications in heart attack risk detection.

Additional exhibits involve high-tech animation, smart robots, thermal facial imaging for health screening at a distance, 3-D infrared face recognition for identity theft, brain activity analysis for understanding brain function and behavior, teaching geometry to a computer through machine learning, remotely controlling robot cars and characterizing the Martian landscape through data analysis. More than a dozen faculty and numerous graduate students will be in attendance and available for interviews, such as Garbey, who will demonstrate his work on analyzing blood flow that has the potential to assist surgeons in tissue remodeling, such as vein grafting after artery failure.

Through a Science in Action contest, the general public will have an opportunity to answer a quiz on the research demonstrations to win software and hardware prizes totaling $5,000. Area high school students will be eligible for a group programming contest that carries a first-place prize of $2,400, with six $1,000 tuition scholarships for first and second place team members who plan to enroll in the UH computer science program. For UH students, there will be a research poster contest, judged by UH faculty and the public, with prizes totaling $2,000. Advance registration is only required for the teams participating in the programming contest, with 10 teams already entered.

Faculty members and graduate students will answer questions about and demonstrate the following research:

  • "Watch Your Blood Flow" Professor and Chair Marc Garbey
  • "Your Face is Your Password" Associate Professor Ioannis Kakadiaris
  • "See the Invisible" Assistant Professor Shishir Shah
  • "Teach the Computer" Associate Professor Kam-Hoi Cheng
  • "Find the Needle in the Haystack" Associate Professor Christoph Eick / Assistant Professor Ricardo Vilalta
  • "Crazy Racing" Assistant Professor Rong Zheng
  • "Robots to Go" Associate Professor Albert Cheng
  • "Graphics and Animation" Professor Olin Johnson
  • "Your Brain on Display" Associate Professor George Zouridakis
  • "Future Face" Associate Professor Ioannis Pavlidis
  • "High Performance Computing" Associate Professor Barbara Chapman / Assistant Professor Edgar Gabriel
  • "What's Inside Your Arteries" - Associate Professor Ioannis Kakadiaris


For more information, visit

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with nearly 400 faculty members and approximately 4,000 students, offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, mathematics and physics have internationally recognized collaborative research programs in association with UH interdisciplinary research centers, Texas Medical Center institutions and national laboratories.

For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at

To receive UH science news via e-mail, visit

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
    Published on All rights reserved.