Yasin N. Silva, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor
Arizona State University

Office: FAB N131    Phone: 602-543-2818
Fax: 602-543-6073    Mail Code: 2352

Bienvenidos to my personal web space! My name is Yasin Silva. I am an Assistant professor of Applied Computing in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU. I obtained my Ph.D. and Master's degrees in Computer Science at Purdue University - Indiana USA. I am happily married to Lee Ann, a Spanish teacher, and we have three wonderful children, Gabriel, Caden and Lily.

My current areas of research deal with similarity-aware data analysis, query processing and optimization, big data analytics, privacy assurance in databases, and scientific database systems. However, I am always very interested in exploring other areas related to data management systems and security in general.

In this site you will find information about my research and teaching work. You will also find information about other projects that Lee Ann and I are involved in, especially Hands-On Spanish Travel, an educational travel company designed to create cultural awareness and acceptance of the Hispanic community.

I hope you enjoy your visit. If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email.


BullyBlocker to be a supported project of the Dion Initiative (Oct., 2014)

On October 6th, Phoenix's first lady, Nicole Stanton, and ASU president, Michael Crow, united forces to kick-off a state-wide child well-being and bullying prevention effort (The Dion Initiative). BullyBlocker, one of my research projects, is one of three projects supported by this initiative. The initiative will offer interdisciplinary support and funding to advance the development of the BullyBlocker app and extend its capabilities.

In the pictures, the BullyBlocker team appears with President Crow, Mayor Stanton, and the first lady, Nicole Stanton.


Undergraduate research proposal funded (Aug., 2014)

Our undergraduate research proposal entitled "DBSnap: Building Database Queries by Snapping Blocks” has been awarded funding from the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO). I look forward to working in this project with Jaime Chon, an outstanding Applied Computing student, who started working in this project in Summer'14 under an NCUIRE Scholarship award.


Paper accepted in the International Conference on Similarity Search and Applications (SISAP '14)! (July 2014)

The paper "Index-Based R-S Similarity Joins" co-authored with one of my undergraduate students (S. Pearson) has been accepted in the 7th International Conference on Similarity Search and Applications (SISAP 2014). In this paper, we present a general index-based approach to solve the Similarity Join problem between two relations. We look forward to presenting our work in SISAP 2014.


SimDB Results Highlighted in ASU Research Bulletin (May 2014)

The results of our work in the SimDB project were highlighted in the May 2014 edition of the ASU Knowledge Enterprise Bulletin. The referenced work (Database Similarity Join for Metric Spaces) was developed with two undergraduate students: Spencer Pearson and Jason Cheney.


Great Media Coverage of BullyBlocker on TV, Radio and the Web! (Jan., 2014)

Our BullyBlocker project and crowdfunding campaign received outstanding media coverage on TV, radio, and many web-based news outlets and social communities. Our research work was featured in ABC 15, CBS 5, Telemundo, Fox 10, KTAR Radio, Campus Technology, ASU News (article 1, article 2), The State Press, AZLatinos, etc. All this coverage brought attention to the important issue of cyberbullying, our solution and research that takes place at the ASU-West campus.

BullyBlocker Participated in a Crowdfunding Campaign (Dec., 2013 - Jan., 2014)

My research project BullyBlocker participated in a crowdfunding program at ASU. The goal of this project is to build a model and an app to identify if a minor is being cyberbullied in Facebook and report this to the minor’s parents. While our campaign has come to an end, the research work and app implementation continues. With $3, 215.00 raised, we will be able to purchase the required hardware to continue the app implementation. Thank you to all our supporters! You can follow this project in our Facebook page.

Best Paper Award - SISAP'13! (Nov., 2013)

Our paper "Database Similarity Join for Metric Spaces" recently presented at the 6th International Conference on Similarity Search and Applications (SISAP 2013) has received a Best Paper award. Congratulations to my undergraduate student co-authors Spencer Pearson and Jason Cheney!


Paper accepted in ACM SIGCSE 2014! (Oct., 2013)

Our paper "Integrating Big Data into the Computing Curricula" co-authored with my colleague Suzanne Dietrich and two of my students (Jason Reed and Lisa Tsosie) was accepted at the ACM SIGCSE '14 conference. SIGCSE is regarded as the premier international conference in computer science education. We look forward to presenting the paper in Atlanta!


Wide media coverage about the work on Facebully with one of my students (Oct., 2013)

The research work with Lisa Tsosie, one of my undergraduate student collaborators, and her participation in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference (GHC), 2013 received important media coverage. Lisa is a bright young researcher and is an active member of my Facebully and SimCloud projects. Stories appeared at AZ Central, The State Press, Your West Valley, The Navajo-Hopi Observer, ASU News, and the printed edition of the Arizona Republic newspaper (Sept. 29, 2013).


How an Algorithm Helps Improve Swiss Decision Making (September, 2013)

An article about how one of my similarity join algorithms is used in the Swiss Feed Database appeared in the ASU New College blog. The use of this algorithm enables the system to efficiently identify replacements for missing values in queries over large datasets. Finding good replacements, in turn, improves the quality of the results obtained by various data analysis tools. Link to the story.


Keynote speech at University of Zurich (July 8, 2013)

I had the honor to give the keynote speech at the Swiss Feed Database Workshop organized by the Database group led by Prof. Michael Böhlen (University of Zürich, Switzerland). The workshop included several interesting presentations focused on similarity and nearest neighbor search. I was particularly interested on learning how researchers at the University of Zurich have applied one of my Similarity Join algorithms as one of the core techniques to handle missing values in the context of agricultural data (Swiss Feed Database)! It was also great to talk to Prof. Böhlen and his team about their current research projects and directions. Thank you for the invitation Michael!

Visit to University of Salzburg (July 10-11, 2013)

I had the pleasure to visit and present at the University of Salzburg, Austria following an invitation from Prof. Nikolaus Augsten, head of the Database Group at the U. of Salzburg. During this visit, I presented my work on Similarity Queries, focusing primarily on the results presented in a recent VLDB Journal paper. Particularly, I described how similarity queries with multiple similarity operators can be efficiently evaluated and optimized. I also had very interesting conversations with Prof. Augsten and his team members about their research on similarity operators on graphs and string data. Thank you for the invitation Nikolaus!

Refereed Book Chapter Accepted!

Our manuscript "Similarity Join for Big Geographic Data" has been accepted for publication in the book: Geographical Information Systems: Trends and Technologies, CRC Press. This chapter presents the results of my work with three outstanding students: Jason Reed, Lisa Tsosie and Timothy Matti, and focuses on the study of highly scalable similarity joins with geographic data and distance functions. The book is expected to be published in 2014.


Paper published in the VLDB Journal!

Our paper "Similarity Queries: Their Conceptual Evaluation, Transformations, and Processing", Y.N. Silva, W.G. Aref, P.-A. Larson, S. Pearson and M.H. Ali, has been published in the VLDB Journal (2013). In this paper we focus on the study of similarity queries that contain one or multiple first-class similarity database operators (Similarity Selection, Similarity Join, and Similarity Group-by). We introduce a comprehensive conceptual evaluation model for similarity queries, and present a rich set of transformation rules to extend cost-based query optimization to the case of similarity queries.


Paper accepted in the International Conference on Similarity Search and Applications (SISAP '13)!

The paper "Database Similarity Join for Metric Spaces" co-authored with two of my undergraduate students (S. Pearson and J. A. Cheney) has been accepted in the 6th International Conference on Similarity Search and Applications (SISAP 2013). In this paper, we focus on the study, design and implementation of DBSimJoin, a Similarity Join database operator for any dataset that lies in a metric space. We look forward to presenting our work in SISAP 2013.


Research poster accepted at Grace Hopper Celebration

Our research poster proposal “Facebully: Towards the Identification of Cyberbullying in Facebook”, Lisa M. Tsosie, Yasin .N. Silva, has been accepted at the upcoming Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), 2013. Lisa has also been awarded a Google Women of Color scholarship to attend GHC (largest conference for technical women in the world!). She was selected from a highly competitive pool of over 900 applicants. Congratulations Lisa!


Student obtained 2nd place in New College's Reseach Expo!

Two of my students, Lisa Tsosie and Spencer Pearson, participated in the New College’s Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Projects Expo 2013 (ASU). They both did a great job presenting their research posters. Lisa presented her work on Facebully (identification of cyberbullying in Facebook) and Spencer presented his work on index-based similarity joins. Lisa obtained the second prize in the Mathematical and Natural Sciences category. Congratulations!


We received an Amazon Educational Grant!

We have been recently selected to receive an AWS in Education Coursework grant! This Amazon grant will play a key role in our efforts to integrate highly distributed technologies, particularly the MapReduce framework and Big Data analysis using Hadoop, into the Applied Computing curricula at ASU-West. The award will provide our students with AWS credits and will be used in our advanced databases and distributed systems courses (Spring and Fall 2013).


ASU News video highlights research with one of my undergraduate students

An ASU News video highlights the research work performed by undergraduate students and ASU faculty under the NCUIRE (New College Undergraduate Inquiry and Research Experiences) program. NCUIRE enables a close interaction between students and faculty members at ASU-West to perform high-quality research. The video highlights, among others, the work with one of my undergraduate students (Spencer Pearson). You can watch the video here.


Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Institute

On March 4th, 2013, I participated in the 6th Arizona MGE@MSA Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Institute held at the Arizona State University Tempe Campus. This institute was a great opportunity to discuss and learn more about how we can increase the participation and retention of underrepresented groups in higher education. I particularly enjoyed meeting and talking with Richard Tapia, a distinguished professor who has inspired many African-American, Native American and Latino/Latina students to pursue careers in computing and mathematics.


Collaborative Research Project: ASU - HP Labs

I recently started a collaborative project with Rares Vernica from HP Labs. In this project (“MapReduce-based Parallel Face Clustering”), we are studying techniques to efficiently support distributed similarity-aware operators that use face-similarity functions on complex face-feature vectors.


Undergraduate research proposal funded

Our undergraduate research proposal entitled "FaceBully: Identifying Cyberbullying Behavior in Facebook” has been awarded funding from the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO). I look forward to keep collaborating in this project with my student Lisa Tsosie during Spring 2013.


We received an Amazon Research Grant!

Our proposal "Similarity Join Operators for Cloud Systems" recently received an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Research grant. We look forward to keep using Amazon’s great cloud services in our research work!


ASU News story features the participation of my students in VLDB and Cloud-I

A story in ASU News featured the participation of two of my undergraduate students (Spencer Pearson and Jason Reed) in the VLDB conference and VLDB/Cloud-I workshop in Istanbul, Turkey. Congrats Spencer and Jason! Link to the story.


Undergraduate research proposal funded

Our undergraduate research proposal entitled "Study, Evaluation and Comparison of Similarity-aware Algorithms for Clouds Systems” has been awarded funding from the Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO). I look forward to working in this project with Lisa Tsosie, an outstanding undergraduate student in the Applied Computing program.


VLDB 2012 Travel Fellowship Awards

Two of my undergraduate students, Jason Reed and Spencer Pearson, received the VLDB 2012 Travel Fellowship awards. The awards will allow them to attend VLDB’12 and Cloud-I in Istanbul, Turkey. I look forward to presenting with them the results of our research work. Congratulations Jason and Spencer!


Paper accepted in VLDB/Cloud-I 2012

Our paper "MapReduce-based Similarity Join for Metric Spaces", Y. N. Silva, J. M. Reed and L. M. Tsosie, has been accepted in the The VLDB International Workshop on Cloud Intelligence (VLDB/Cloud-I 2012). This paper is co-authored with two of my undergraduate students (Jason Reed and Lisa Tsosie). We look forward to presenting our paper in Istanbul!.


Paper accepted in VLDB 2012!

Our demonstration paper "Exploiting Database Similarity Joins for Metric Spaces", Y. N. Silva and S. Pearson, has been accepted in the 38th International Conference on Very Large Databases (VLDB 2012). This paper is co-authored with my undergraduate student Spencer Pearson, who did a great job implementing our Similarity Join operator in PostgreSQL. At VLDB, we will present the operator and demonstrate how it can be efficiently used in real-world applications.


News story features my work with two undergraduate students

A story in the ASU New College Newsletter featured the research work with two of my students. The featured work has been developed under two NCUIRE (New College Undergraduate Inquiry and Research Experiences Program) funded projects. NCUIRE is a great ASU program that supports research partnerships between faculty and undergraduate scholars. Link to the story.


Demo Paper accepted in SIGMOD 2012!

Our demo paper "Exploiting MapReduce-based Similarity Joins", Y. N. Silva and J. M. Reed, has been accepted in the 2012 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data. This paper is co-authored with my undergraduate student Jason Reed. We look forward to presenting our MapReduce-based Similarity Join operator at SIGMOD '12.


Paper accepted in ICDE 2012!

Our paper "Exploiting Common Subexpressions for Cloud Query Processing", Y. N. Silva, P. -A. Larson, J. Zhou has been accepted as a full paper for publication in the proceedings of the 28th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2012 and for full-length oral presentation at the conference. ICDE '12 will take place in Washington, DC, USA. Congratulations to my co-authors. See you in Washington DC!


Demo paper accepted in ACM SIGMOD 2010!

Our Demo paper "SimDB: A Similarity-aware Database System", Y. N. Silva, A. M. Aly, W. G. Aref, P. -A. Larson was accepted in the 2010 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data. The SIGMOD ’10 conference will take place in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 6-11, 2010. See you there!


Two papers accepted in ICDE 2010!

Our research paper "The Similarity Join Database Operator", Y. N. Silva, W. G. Aref, and M. Ali was accepted as a Full Paper in the 26th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2010. Our paper "Supporting Real-world Activities in Database Management Systems", M.Y. Eltabakh, W.G. Aref, A.K. Elmagarmid, Y.N. Silva, and M. Ouzzani was also accepted in the same conference as a short paper. The ICDE ’10 conference will take place in Los Angeles, USA. Congratulations to all my co-authors!


Paper accepted in the VLDB PhD Workshop 2009!

Our research paper "Similarity-aware Query Processing and Optimization", Y. N. Silva and W. G. Aref (Advisor) was accepted in the PhD workshop of the 35th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases. The VLDB PhD workshop is one of the premier forums for PhD students working in the area of data management systems. The VLDB ’09 conference will take place in Lyon, France.


Finished Summer '09 Internship at Microsoft Research

I spent the summer '09 at the Microsoft Research (MSR) lab in Redmond, WA where I had the honor and pleasure to work with Paul Larson and Jingren Zhou. My research task during this summer involved enhancing the optimizer of a massive data distributed management system to make efficient use of common query sub-expressions.

Being at Microsoft Research was also a great opportunity to interact with its great researchers; I especially enjoyed the discussions with different researchers of the Database and Data Management, Exploration and Mining groups. It was also a great experience to present the research work I have done at Purdue to MSR researchers and the results of my summer work to both the MSR researchers and the SQL Server team.
Together with my wife and two sons, I explored the beautiful parks and beaches during the weekends. We especially enjoyed exploring the rainforests at the Olympic Peninsula.

Paper and Demo accepted in ICDE 2009!

Our research paper "Similarity Group-by", Y. N. Silva, W. G. Aref, and M. Ali was accepted as a full paper in The 25th IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2009. Our demo "Hippocratic PostgreSQL", J. Padma, Y. N. Silva, M. Arshad, W. G. Aref was also accepted in the same conference! Congratulations to all my co-authors!


Demo and Paper accepted in EDBT 2009!

Our demo paper "Exploiting Similarity-aware Grouping in Decision Support Systems", Y. N. Silva, M. U. Arshad, W. G. Aref. and our research paper "Supporting Annotations on Relations", M. Y. Eltabakh, W. G. Aref, A. K. Elmagarmid, M. Ouzzani, Y. N. Silva were recently accepted in the 12th International Conference on Extending Database Technology (EDBT), 2009 . The conference will be held in the beautiful city of Saint-Petersburg, Russia.


Finished Summer '08 Internship at IBM Research Almaden Center

My summer '08 was full of great challenges and a lot of fun working with the Information Management Group at the IBM Almaden Research Center (IBM ARC), San Jose, CA where I had the pleasure and honor to work with Guy Lohman and Sandeep Tata. My work at IBM ARC involved designing and prototyping a data management system that can inherently support unstructured and structured data.

This was a great opportunity to meet several other researchers at IBM Research and learn about other exciting projects currently in development at IBM. Lee Ann, Gabriel and I took advantage of the weekends to visit the surrounding national parks and beautiful coastal cities, and to spend time with new great friends.

Completed 'Mini-MBA' Program at The Krannert School of Management, May 2008

The beginning of my summer was packed with interesting business related classes and hands-on activities having been selected by the Computer Science Department to participate in the Applied Management Principles Program at the Krannert School of Management.

This executive education program is designed for select doctoral students in science and engineering and industry participants. We received instruction in interesting topics like accounting, human resource management, financial management, marketing, strategic management and entrepreneurship.