
Date (
Fall 2006
) 
Speaker and Abstract 
2006/09/08 
Speaker:
SOCS
Professors
Affiliation: McGill University
Area:
Computer Science
Title: SOCS Research  Part I
Abstract: This Colloquium, as well as the next one on Sept. 15th, aims at giving a overview of the research being done within the various groups at SOCS. The attendance to both events is mandatory for new M.Sc. students, but all students and profs are invited to hear about what's happening in our department.
Biography of Speaker:


2006/09/15 
Speaker:
SOCS
Professors
Affiliation: McGill University
Area:
Computer Science
Title: SOCS Research  Part II
Abstract: During this colloquium, every SOCS professor presents an overview of his research in 10 minutes.

2006/09/22 
Speaker:
Tetsuo
Asano
Affiliation: Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Area:
Computational Geometry
Title: AspectRatio Voronoi Diagram with Applications
Abstract: Triangulation is quite important in many areas such as Finete Element
Method and computer graphics. In a simple setting we would like to
triangulate a simple polygon possibly using a number of internal points.
Since a flat or skinny triangle may cause numerical errors, we would
like to improve a triangulation if such triangles are included. More
precisely, triangles are evaluated by their aspect ratios, which are
defined by the ratio between the longest and shortest sides or between
the longest side and its corresponding height. Our ultimate goal is
to optimize the worst aspect ratio of triangles contained by moving
internal points (since polygon vertices are fixed). The problem of
achieving the best triangulation in the sense looks quite hard.
So, our secondary goal is local improvement of a triangulation.
That is, given a triangulation, we find an internal point incident to
a triangle of the worst aspect ratio and move it to a locally optimal
point in its neighborhood. More precisely, once we find such an internal
point p, remove all triangles incident to p. Then, we have a starshaped
polygon (or a convex polygon) around the point. We want to find a
point q such that the worst aspect ratio among the triangles resulting
by drawing chords from q to all the vertices of the starshaped polygon
is optimized. We can show that such a point is a vertex of a Voronoi
diagram, called an aspectratio Voronoi diagram which is defined as
follows.
Given a set of line segments in the plane, a point belongs to a Voronoi
region of a line segment if the aspect ratio of a triangle defined by
the point and the line segment is largest among all line segments.
These Voronoi diagrams are different from an ordinary Voronoi diagram
for a point set. After introducing interesting properties, we present
three efficient algorithms for finding a point to minimize the largest
aspect ratio.

2006/09/29 
Speaker:
Daniele
Micciancio
Affiliation: University of California, San Diego
Title: Cyclic Lattices: Cryptographic Applications and Open Problems
Abstract: Cyclic codes are among the most useful and widely used error
correcting codes in coding theory and communication applications.
We consider a similarly defined class of "cyclic lattices" (and
generalizations), and discuss cryptographic applications,
connections with other problems in algebraic number theory,
and open problems concerning their computational complexity.
Biography of Speaker:

Daniele Micciancio is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science
and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Micciancio got
his MS (1996) and PhD (1998) degrees from MIT, and joined UCSD as a
professor in 1999, after spending one more year at MIT as a postdoc.
Dr. Micciancio is the recepient of a Matchey Award (FOCS 1998), NSF CAREER
award (2001), Hellman fellowship (2001) and Sloan research fellowship (2003).
His research interests include computational problems on lattices, coding
theory and cryptography. He is the author of the book "Complexity of Lattice
problems: a cryptographic perspective".

2006/10/06 
Speaker:
Janos
Pach
Affiliation: City College, CUNY Renyi Institute and NYU
Title: Hypergraph Coloring and Frequency Allocation
Abstract: The following two strongly related coloring problems for geometrically
defined hypergraphs arose in connection with frequency allocation in
cellular networks.
1. What is the smallest number of colors needed to color the vertices
of a hypergraph so that each hyperedge H has a vertex whose color is
not shared by any other element of H?
2. Suppose that every hyperedge of a hypergraph is sufficiently large.
Is it possible to color the vertices with k colors so that every
hyperedge contains at least one point of each color?
We give some partial answers to these questions in various settings
and ask many open questions.
Biography of Speaker:

Janos Pach received his Ph. D. in Mathematics in 1981, from
Eotvos University, Budapest, with the Gold Ring of the
President of the Hungarian Republic. He is Distinguished Professor
of Computer Science at City College, New York, Senior Research Fellow
at the Renyi Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and
Research Professor at Courant Institute, New York University. His
main fields of interest are discrete and computational geometry,
convexity, and combinatorics. He has written more than 200 research
papers. His most recent book ``Research Problems in Discrete Geometry''
with Peter Brass and Willy Moser (McGill) was published last year by
Springer. Janos Pach is coeditorinchief of Discrete &
Computational Geometry and serves on the editorial boards of seven
other professional journals. For his scientific achievements, he
received the Grunwald Medal from the Janos Bolyai
Mathematical Society (1982), the Lester R. Ford Award from the
Mathematical Association of America (1990), the Renyi Prize
and the Academy Award from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
(1993, 1998). One of his daughters is a freshman at McGill.

2006/10/20 
Speaker:
Gail
Murphy
Affiliation: University of British Columbia
Area:
Software Engineering
Title: Reducing Information Overload for Software Developers
Abstract: Software developers are innundated with information: many systems comprise
hundreds of thousands of lines or more of source code, their email inboxes
are clogged with notifications of new bugs reported and so on. Many of the
tools developers use have been engineered to present and deliver this
information as fast as possible. The work in our research group aims to
reverse this trend by presenting just the information a developer needs when
they need it by exploiting structure and patterns in the ways developers
work. In this talk, I will present the results of two research projects
that take different approaches to this problem. In the Mylar project, we are
using patterns in taskbased interaction to focus the user interface of an
integrated development environment. In the Sybil project, we are using a
recommendation approach to ease the task of bug triage.
Biography of Speaker:

Gail Murphy is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the
University of British Columbia. She joined UBC in 1996 after completing
Ph.D. and M.S. degrees at the University of Washington. Before returning to
graduate school, she worked as a software engineer at a research and
development telecommunications company for 5 years. She also holds a B.Sc.
degree from the University of Alberta. She works primarily on building
simpler and more effective tools to help developers manage software
evolution tasks. In 2005, she held a UBC Killam Research Fellowship and also
received the DahlNygaard Junior Prize for her work in software evolution
from AITO. In 2006 she received an NSERC Steacie Fellowship and the CRAW
Anita Borg Early Career Award. She has recently been a coauthor on two
papers awarded SIGSOFT distinguished paper awards. One of the most rewarding
parts of her career has been collaborating with many talented graduate and
undergraduate students.

2006/11/03 
Speaker:
Stephen
Hsu
Affiliation: University of Oregon
Title: Introduction to Technology Startups
Abstract: 20 years ago applied research and development was concentrated at
corporate labs like Bell, IBM, Xerox PARC, etc. Today, innovation is more
likely to be found at small, venture capital backed companies founded by
creative risk takers. The odds have never been greater that you, a scientist
or engineer, might someday work at (or found!) a startup company. This talk
is an introduction to this important and dynamic part of our economy, from
the perspective of a professor and serial entrepreneur.
Biography of Speaker:

Dr. Stephen D. H. Hsu is a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Oregon. He received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991 and B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1986. He was a Harvard Junior Fellow and assistant professor at Yale University before moving to Oregon in 1998. He is a cofounder of SafeWeb, which was acquired by Symantec on October 15, 2003. In 2005 Stephen, along with SafeWeb cofounder James Hormuzdiar, cofounded Robotgenius, an Oakland based security software company.

2006/11/17 
Speaker:
Daniel
Levitin
Affiliation: McGill University
Title: Understanding Musical Preferences: Perspectives from Cognitive Science
Abstract: In 2006 so far, more than 1,000 times as many music files were
downloaded illegally as legally. This has sent analysts and industry
executives scurrying to find ways to remonetize the music industry
(and it has sent film company executives running for the smelling
salts). Over 20 startups around the world have been tackling the
problem of developing robust music recommendation engines as a way to
charge consumers for music (by charging for the recommendation
service), but so far, none have been as successful as a good disc
jockey at creating coherent, interesting playlists. I will review
the work I did as the chief architect of MoodLogic.com, the first
internet music recommendation system (which just sold to the AMG
Group), followed by my work on the second generation music
recommendation system, MusicGenome (now incorporated in Pandora.com),
up through the fourth generation recommendation system that McGill
licensed to Astral Media for RadioLibre.ca last spring. One problem
with music recommendation is that musical preferences are
multidimensional, describing a 60D nonEuclidean manifold. Sound
examples will be included.
Biography of Speaker:

Daniel Levitin, Ph.D. is the Bell Chair in the Psychology of
Electronic Communication at McGill, with a principal appointment in
the Department of Psychology. He holds an Associate membership in
the SOCS, and in the Schulich School of Music. Prior to entering
academia, he was an awardwinning record producer, and served as
VicePresident of talent acquisition (and later President) of
415/Columbia Records, which was sold to Sony Music in 1990. He
worked for Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's Interval Research (a
Silicon Valley ThinkTank) during the 1990s, developing the ideas
that eventually became the first music downloading and recommendation
dotcom, MoodLogic, and working with computer industry pioneers
including David Liddle (Xerox Alto and Star), Joy Mountford (Apple
Computer Desktop design), Malcolm Slaney (Apple Computer sound
tools), and Dick Shoup (the laser printer). He has authored 50
scientific articles on music cognition, and statistical methods for
analyzing acoustical data (including spherical statistics and
functional data analysis). Prior to joining McGill, he taught
Computer Science at Stanford University. He is the author of the
bestselling book "This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a
Human Obsession."

