Research Focus

Dr. DeBlasio has recently moved to Carnegie Mellon University‘s Computational Biology Department as an Assistant Teaching Professor. As a result, his lab is currently in transition and not highly active. For details about Dr. DeBlasio’s previous work see his personal website:

Our group studies how to improve science by automating and optimizing the tools used by domain scientists. We do this primarily by making input specific parameter value choices which help to reduce false information introduced by using less than ideal (or default) parameter choice. Using a framework called Parameter Advising we are able to, without an increase in wall clock time in most cases, find parameter vectors that are much better then the defaults. This framework has been applied to both protein multiple sequence alignment and reference-based transcript assembly, but is very general and can be applied to domains both within and outside of computational biology.

Beyond the algorithm configuration problem, Dr. DeBlasio also has interests in hashing and sketching, primarily focused on minimizer schemes (also called winnowing schemes). Minimizer schemes are a method to represent long strings by some representative k-mer (k length substring) in order to improve the resource consumption of sequence analysis applications (such as genomic read mapping, or document similarity).

Work to be presented at SPIE Defense and Commercial Sensing in April

Work related to our US Space Force’s UCRO project will be presented during the Algorithms, Technologies, and Applications for Multispectral and Hyperspectral Imaging meeting at SPIE DCS on April 23. The talk, Using neural networks to classify hyperspectral signatures of unresolved resident space objects, will discuss our work on using deep learning methods. The paper includes undergraduate Luis Cedillo and masters student Kevin Acosta as authors in addition to Drs. DeBlasio and Velez-Reyes who are the co-investigators on the project.

Luis Cedillo presents poster at UCRO 1.0

Undergraduate student Luis Cedillo will present work related to our project “Innovative Analysis of Spectra-Temporal Signatures using Machine Learning for Ground-Based Remote Sensing of Unresolved Resident Space Objects”, collaborative work with Kevin Acosta and Dr. Miguel Velez-Reyes (Electrical and Computer Engineering) at the University Consortium Research Opportunity meeting in Boulder, CO. This stands as our one year anniversary of the project funded by the US Space Force through the University Consortium Research Opportunity.

Demetrius to present poster at Great Minds in STEM

Following his win for best poster (covered in UTEP News article) at the UTEP COURI Symposium in the Spring and a well received reception at the RECOMB 2022 poster session, lab member Demetrius Hernandez will be participating in the poster competition at the Great Minds in STEM meeting in Pasadena, CA on October 6th. The poster is tentatively titled “Efficient minimizer schemes using deep networks”.

Talk at New Mexico Tech on 26 September 2022

Dr. DeBlasio will be giving a talk titled “Building an Automated Scientist: Three stories of accelerating scientific discovery” in the Computer Science Department Seminar Series at New Mexico Tech (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology) in Socorro, NM on Monday, 26 September 2022 at 5:30 pm. The slide deck used is attached below. This talk will discuss several of the major projects currently happening in the group and the background from Dr. DeBlasio’s previous work that is relevant. The abstract is also below the fold.

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3 lab members present, Demetrius wins best poster

On Saturday, 30 April 2022 3 members of the lab presented posters at the annual UTEP COURI (Campus Office for Undergraduate Research Initiatives) Symposium. Approximately 115 undergraduates presented 110 posters from across the university. From those, our own Demetrius Hernandez won best poster presentation in the “Engineering, Computational, and Applied Science” category (covered in UTEP news). Congratulations Demetrius!

The lab’s contributions are listed below in no particular order:

  • Hector RichartIncreasing protein multiple sequence alignment parameter advising accuracy by considering secondary structure information
  • Luis Cedillo — Facet-NN: Improved accuracy estimation using neural networks
  • Demetrius HernandezEfficient minimizer schemes using deep networks

    UTEP IDR Event on 30 March 2022

    I will be giving two talks at the UTEP Interdisciplinary Engagement Event on 30 March 2022. My talk, titled “Who needs a manual? Automating scientific tools to accelerate innovation. Building an Automated Scientist: Parameter Advising for Accelerated Discovery” (slides below) will be conducted twice: once at 1:00pm at Station B and once at 3:00pm at Station A in the Interdisciplinary Research Building (IDRB) Room 2.204. The full schedule of presentations can be found here, with the other speakers including colleagues from around campus and including here within Computer Science.

    Handout | Slides

    Talk in the Biology Department Seminar

    Dr. DeBlasio will give a talk in the UTEP Biology Department Seminar on Friday 11 October 2019 at 12:30pm in room 2.168 in the Biological Sciences Research Building. This talk gives an overview of his work geared towards building an automated bioinformatician though the application of a framework called Parameter Advising. Below are links to his slides and relevant publications discussed.

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