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28 October 2013

Speaker: Marc Levoy, VMware Founders Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University 
Title: What Google Glass Means for the Future of Photography
Host School: UNC
UNC Host: Anselmo Lastra (lastra at


Although head-mounted cameras (and displays) are not new, Google Glass has the potential to make these devices commonplace. This has implications for the practice, art, and uses of photography. So what’s different about doing photography with Glass? First, Glass doesn’t work like a conventional camera; it’s hands-free, point-of-view, always available, and instantly triggerable. Second, Glass facilitates different uses than a conventional camera: recording documents, making visual todo lists, logging your life, and swapping eyes with other Glass users. Third, Glass will be an open platform, unlike most cameras. This is not easy, because Glass is a heterogeneous computing platform, with multiple processors having different performance, efficiency, and programmability. The challenge is to invent software abstractions that allow control over the camera as well as access to these specialized processors. Finally, devices like Glass that are head-mounted and perform computational photography in real time have the potential to give wearers “superhero vision”, like seeing in the dark, or magnifying subtle motion or changes. If such devices can also perform computer vision in real time and are connected to the cloud, then they can do face recognition, live language translation, and information recall. The hard part is not imagining these capabilities, but deciding which ones are feasible, useful, and socially acceptable.


Marc Levoy is the VMware Founders Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He received degrees in Architecture from Cornell University in 1976 and 1978 and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina in 1989. In previous lives he worked on computer-assisted cartoon animation (1970s), volume rendering (1980s), and 3D scanning (1990s). His current interests include light field sensing and display, computational photography, and computational microscopy. At Stanford he teaches computer graphics, photography, and the science of art. Outside of academia, Levoy co-designed the Google book scanner, launched Google’s Street View project, and currently works on Google’s Project Glass. He is a NSF Presidential Young Investigator, 1996 winner of the SIGGRAPH Achievement award, and a fellow of the ACM.


18 November 2013

Speaker: Luiz Andre Barroso, Google Fellow
Title: 3 Hard Problems in Large-Scale Computing
Host School: Duke
Duke Host: Alvin Lebeck (alvy at


As the field of warehouse-scale computing matures we continue to find new and interesting problems to solve. Some of the most interesting problems are the ones that are trivial to explain once identified, and yet remain very hard to solve. I’ll present three examples of such problems drawn from our experience building and operating large computing systems at Google.


Dr. Barroso is a Google Fellow and his technical interests range from distributed systems software to the design of Google’s computing platform. While at Google he has co-authored some well-cited articles on warehouse-scale computing, energy proportionality and storage system reliability. He also co-wrote The Datacenter as a Computer, the first textbook to describe the architecture of warehouse-scale computing systems. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro, and a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California. Dr. Barroso is an ACM Fellow and AAAS Fellow, serves on the National Academies’ Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, and was a coauthor of a National Academies Report The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level?


27 January 2014

Speaker: Edward A. Lee, University of California, Berkeley
Title: Cyber-Physical Systems: A Fundamental Intellectual Challenge
Host School: UNC
UNC Host: Sanjoy Baruah (baruah at


The term cyber-physical systems (CPS) refers to the integration of computation and networking with physical processes. CPS is firmly established as a buzzword du jour. Yet many of its elements are familiar and not altogether new. Is CPS just a rehash of old problems designed to attract new funding? In this talk, I will argue that quite to the contrary, CPS is pushing hard at the frontiers of engineering knowledge, putting severe stress on the abstractions and techniques that have proven so effective in the separate spaces of cyber systems (information and computing technology) and physical systems (the rest of engineering). My argument will center on the role of models, and I will show that questions about semantics of models become extremely challenging when the models are required to conjoin the cyber and the physical worlds.


Edward A. Lee is the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at U.C. Berkeley. His research interests center on design, modeling, and analysis of embedded, real-time computational systems. He is the director of the nine-university TerraSwarm Research Center, a director of Chess, the Berkeley Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems, and the director of the Berkeley Ptolemy project. From 2005-2008, he served as chair of the EE Division and then chair of the EECS Department at UC Berkeley. He is co-author of nine books (counting second and third editions) and numerous papers. He has led the development of several influential open-source software packages, notably Ptolemy and its various spinoffs. He received the B.S. degree in Computer Science from Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1979, the S.M. degree in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 1981, and the Ph.D. degree in EECS from the University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, in 1986. From 1979 to 1982 he was a member of technical staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, in the Advanced Data Communications Laboratory. He is a co-founder of BDTI, Inc., where he is currently a Senior Technical Advisor, and has consulted for a number of other companies. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator, and won the 1997 Frederick Emmons Terman Award for Engineering Education.


3 February 2014

Speaker: Tom La Porta, Pennsylvania State University
Title: Quality of Information-Aware Networking
Host School: NCSU
NCSU Host: Munindar Singh (mpsingh at


In this talk I introduce the concept of QoI-Aware networking. Most communication network theories, designs and control algorithms address performance metrics such as throughput, delay or errors, in terms of data bits. We postulate that communication networks should be viewed as information sources, and thus should be evaluated and controlled in terms of the quality of information they convey. We consider information metrics such as completeness, accuracy, precision and timeliness. Many of these metrics must be specified in the context in which the information is being used. We consider both end-device processing and network transfer when processing QoI-aware information requests. In this talk I define QoI, provide an overview of the research ongoing in the ARL-funded Academic Research Center for Communications Networks led by Penn State, show specific results from the research, and discuss current problems.


Thomas F. La Porta received his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from The Cooper Union, New York, NY, and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University, New York, NY. He joined the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Penn State in 2002. He is the Director of the Institute for Networking and Security Research at Penn State. Prior to joining Penn State, Dr. La Porta was with Bell Laboratories since 1986, where he was the Director of the Mobile Networking Research Department in Bell Laboratories. He is an IEEE Fellow and a Bell Labs Fellow.

Dr. La Porta was the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing and served as editor-in-chief of IEEE Personal Communications Magazine. He holds over 30 patents. His research interests include mobility management, signaling and control for wireless networks, mobile data systems, protocol design, and security for these systems.


10 February 2014

Speaker: Craig Douglas, University of Wyoming
Title: Big Data and Dynamic Applications
Host School: NCSU
NCSU Host: Mladen Vouk (vouk at


Dynamic Applications is a paradigm whereby applications and measurements become a symbiotic feedback control system with the ability to dynamically incorporate additional data into an executing application and to dynamically steer the measurement process, which provides more accurate analysis and prediction, more precise controls, and more reliable outcomes.

Big Data is a paradigm for methods to handle nearly infinite amounts of data that is either streamed or is historically stored in (potentially ever growing) datasets for data mining. Almost all interesting Dynamic Applications overlap with Big Data. Solving one solves for the other one, so it makes sense to study both simultaneously.

The ability of an application to control and guide the measurement process and determine when, where, and how it is best to gather additional data has itself the potential of enabling more effective measurement methodologies. Furthermore, the incorporation of dynamic inputs into an executing application invokes new system modalities and helps create application software systems that can more accurately describe real world, complex systems. This enables the development of applications that intelligently adapt to evolving conditions and that infer new knowledge in ways that are not predetermined by the initialization parameters and initial static data.

The need for such Dynamic Applications combined with Big Data has already emerged in business, engineering and scientific processes, analysis, and design. Manufacturing process controls, resource management, weather and climate prediction, traffic management, systems engineering, civil engineering, geological exploration, social and behavioral modeling, cognitive measurement, and bio-sensing are examples of areas likely to benefit from the combined approach.


Dr. Craig Douglas is an SER Professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. His research interests include simulating contaminant transport, wildland fires, combustion, and ocean circulation using dynamic data-driven techniques. He is best known for his work in multigrid methods. He has run MGNet, a repository for information related to multigrid, multilevel, multiscale, aggregation, defect correction, and domain decomposition methods, since its inception in 1991. Dr. Craig Douglas conducted the Dynamic Data-Driven Application System 2011 Workshop (DDDAS 2011) in conjunction with the International Conference on Computational Sciences 2011 (ICCS 2011) in Singapore.


17 February 2014

Speaker: Erik Demaine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Algorithms Meet Art, Puzzles, and Magic
Host School: NCSU
NCSU Host: Blair Sullivan (blair_sullivan at


When I was 6 years old, my father Martin Demaine and I designed and made puzzles as the Erik and Dad Puzzle Company, which distributed to toy stores across Canada. So began our journey into the interactions between algorithms and the arts (here, puzzle design). More and more, we find that our mathematical research and artistic projects converge, with the artistic side inspiring the mathematical side and vice versa. Mathematics itself is an art form, and through other media such as sculpture, puzzles, and magic, the beauty of mathematics can be brought to a wider audience. These artistic endeavors also provide us with deeper insights into the underlying mathematics, by providing physical realizations of objects under consideration, by pointing to interesting special cases and directions to explore, and by suggesting new problems to solve (such as the metapuzzle of how to solve a puzzle). This talk will give several examples in each category, from how our first font design led to building transforming robots, to how studying curved creases in origami led to sculptures at MoMA. The audience will be expected to participate in some live magic demonstrations.


Erik Demaine is a Professor in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine’s research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He received a MacArthur Fellowship as a “computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending–moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter”. He appears in the recent origami documentary Between the Folds, cowrote a book about the theory of folding (Geometric Folding Algorithms), and a book about the computational complexity of games (Games, Puzzles, and Computation). His interests span the connections between mathematics and art, particularly sculpture and performance, including curved origami sculptures in the permanent collection of Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.


3 March 2014

Speaker: László Lovász, Mathematical Institute, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Title: Geometric Representations of Graphs
Host School: Duke
Duke Host: Pankaj Agarwal (pankaj at


To represent a graph by a nice geometric picture is a natural goal in itself, but in addition it is an important tool in the study of
various graph properties and in the design of graph algorithms. We
survey several forms of this interplay between graph algorithms and geometry: algorithms for perfect graphs, maximum cut, connectivity, bandwidth. We discuss how to use a representation obtained from the adjacency matrix to compute an almost optimal weak regularity partition in constant time in the property testing model.


László Lovász is a Hungarian–American mathematician, best known for his work in combinatorics, for which he was awarded the Wolf Prize and the Knuth Prize in 1999, and the Kyoto Prize in 2010.

Lovász received his Candidate of Sciences degree in 1970 at Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His advisor was Tibor Gallai.

Until 1975, Lovász worked at the Eötvös University, between 1975–1982, he led the Department of Geometry at the University of Szeged. In 1982, he returned to the Eötvös University, where he created the Department of Computer Science. The former and current scientists of the department include György Elekes, András Frank, József Beck, Éva Tardos, András Hajnal, Lajos Pósa, Miklós Simonovits, Tamás Szőnyi.

Lovász was a professor at Yale University during the 1990s and was a collaborative member of the Microsoft Research Center until 2006. He returned to Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, where he was the director of the Mathematical Institute (2006–2011).

He served as president of the International Mathematical Union between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010.

Lovász wrote 6 papers with Paul Erdős, a mathematician who was famous for writing papers with co-authors, which earned Lovász an Erdős number of one.


1 April 2014
12:00 p.m.

Speaker: Shafi Goldwasser, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: The Cryptographic Lens
Host School: Duke
Duke Host: Kamesh Munagala (kamesh at


Going beyond the basic challenge of private communication, in the last 35 years, cryptography has become the general study of correctness and privacy of computation in the presence of a computationally bounded adversary, and as such has changed how we think of proofs, reductions, randomness, secrets, and information.

In this talk I will discuss some beautiful developments in the theory of computing through this cryptographic lens, and the role cryptography can play in the next successful shift from local to global computation.


Shafi Goldwasser is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in MIT, a co-leader of the cryptography and information security group and a member of the complexity theory group within the Theory of Computation Group and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.


14 April 2014

Speaker: Peter J. Ungaro, Cray Inc.
Title: The Fusion of Supercomputing and Big Data Analytics to Drive Scientific Discovery
Host School: UNC
UNC Host: Stanley Ahalt (ahalt at


Supercomputing is about getting the highest performance and most realistic simulations possible on “basketball court-sized” tightly integrated systems for scalability and usability.  Large Scale data analytics is about getting knowledge out of immense amounts of data on “warehouse-sized”, low-cost commodity and cloud-based systems.  In this talk, we will look at if the technologies and systems used to solve these problems are diverging or converging over time and how changes in system architecture and a more holistic approach can change the game for scientific discovery in the future.


Peter Ungaro serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cray Inc., “the supercomputing company”. Prior to his appointment as President and CEO in 2005, Ungaro was the Senior Vice President responsible for sales, marketing and service. Ungaro was named CEO of the Year for 2006 by Seattle Business Monthly magazine for his leadership in turning around the company and one of the “40 under 40” by Corporate Leader Magazine in 2008. In 2013, Bloomberg named him #4 on their list of “Top Tech Turnaround Artists” for generating a total shareholder return of over 361% since becoming CEO of Cray.

Ungaro was appointed to the United States Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council and served from 2010 to 2012. The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector and government policies and programs that affect U.S.manufacturers.

Before joining Cray in 2003, Ungaro served as Vice President of Sales for Worldwide Deep Computing, at IBM. In that role, he led global sales of all IBM server and storage products for high performance computing, life sciences, digital media and business intelligence markets. He held a variety of other sales leadership positions since joining IBM in 1991. Ungaro received a B.A. in business administration from Washington State University.