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( Winter 2006 )
Speaker and Abstract
2006/01/13 Speaker: Godfried Toussaint
Affiliation: McGill University
Area: Computational Music
Title: Computational Methods for the Analysis and Generation of Musical Rhythm Timelines
Abstract: Musical rhythm timelines are considered from the symbolic input point of view. Several methods used to represent rhythms, as well as measure rhythmic similarity are reviewed. New measures of rhythm similarity are proposed, and algorithms for their efficient computation are discussed. Analysing the histograms of inter-onset duration intervals in rhythms yields interesting mathematical and computational problems, and suggests methods for the automatic generation of new rhythms that have specific properties. Viewing rhythms as sequences (or strings) of symbols, suggests using tools from bioinformatics to perform phylogenetic analyses of families of rhythms. Such tools allow us to "reconstruct" "ancestral" rhythms, which may be used in automatic music composition systems, or to test theories of the evolution of musical rhythms. These applications will be illustrated with examples from African, Latin-American, and Flamenco music.
2006/02/03 Speaker: Marc Raboy
Affiliation: McGill University, Department of Art History and Communication Studies
Area: Ethics
Title: Who controls the Internet? The Politics of Internet Governance
Abstract: The recent UN World Summit on the Information Society highlighted the complexity of what on the surface appears to be a very simple and yet unanswerable question: Who controls the Internet? A multistakeholder Working Group on Internet Governance, set up under the patronage of Kofi Annan, produced a report defining the parameters of the topic, developing a list of public policy areas that needed to be addressed, and suggesting various scenarios for global Internet governance (see Then the politicians took over. Headlines and editorials in the world press in October and November 2005 skimmed the surface of the issue, framing it as a power struggle between the US government and all the rest, with calls for multilateralism coming from quarters as disparate as the European Union, China and Iran. The issue is much more complex however. Internet governance is not the monopoly of governments, but involves a complex interaction of influencing actors including not only government but also corporate investors, computer scientists and engineers, and ordinary users who infuse the technology with social meaning. The immediate upshot of the WSIS has been creation of a global multistakeholder Internet Governance Forum, which is due to hold its first meeting in Athens in March 2006. The terms of reference and composition of the IGF are still being worked out. My talk will consider the politics surrounding the prospects of the IGF, and its short- and long-term implications for Internet governance worldwide.
2006/02/10 Speaker: Bryan Cantrill
Affiliation: Sun Microsystems
Title: Seeing the Unseeable with DTrace
Abstract: Software has a strange duality: it is both information and machine -- it is running abstraction. This duality -- von Neumann's gift -- endows software with many wonderful properties, but it also leaves it with a serious shortcoming: software cannot be seen. That is, running software doesn't reflect light or emit heat or attract mass or have any other physical property that we might use to see it. In lieu of being able to actually see software, we have historically understood its behavior by modifying it, either manually (with conditional debugging statements) or automatically (through the use of debuggers). While both of these approaches allow software to be understood during its development, they are of little value where they are most needed: on running, production systems. This talk presents DTrace, an open source facility for the dynamic instrumentation of production systems. Since its introduction two years ago, DTrace has been widely used since to find problems in production environments -- many of which were serious, glaring, and long-standing. For the uninitiated, this talk will begin with a whirlwind (and demo-intensive) introduction to DTrace. We will then turn to work that we have done more recently to allow DTrace to both instrument the system in a semantically meaningful way, and to comprehensively instrument across heterogeneous environments like Java, PHP, Ruby and so on. Finally, we will turn our focus to the many open problems in this domain -- some of which are long-standing ones that DTrace now makes possible to attack, others of which are wholly new problems that DTrace now makes possible to consider.
2006/03/10 Speaker: Prakash Panangaden
Affiliation: McGill University
Title: Topology and Computability
Abstract: Topology is the study of continuous functions - an abstraction of the notion of continuity that one learns about in calculus. Computability is, of course, the study of what can be effectively calculated. Turing gave the definitive analysis of this concept, for sequential computation, in the 1930s. Since then several researchers have sought a more abstract definition of computability. Dana Scott, in 1969, invented domain theory as a way of understanding computability in arbitrary data types and introduced topological ways of thinking about computability. I will discuss these ideas, as well as refinements due to Smyth, Plotkin, Escardo and others, which seek to link topological concepts with computational ones so that one can understand effective computability as a kind of continuity. Despite the daunting terminology appearing in this abstract, I will try and make this talk self-contained and accessible to an undergraduate in computer science. Biography of Speaker:

2006/03/31 Speaker: Kelly Lyons
Affiliation: IBM Toronto
Title: Innovation and the CAS Model for Collaboration
Abstract: Base technology continues to become faster, smaller, cheaper, more pervasive, and more important in every field of study. These trends are providing significant opportunities for innovations that bring value to business and society. The Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) is a model for collaboration that brings IBM and academic researchers together to innovate. In this talk, I will present trends in technology and demonstrate the importance of these trends for innovation. I will explain the CAS model for collaboration and describe some of the projects currently underway in CAS. Biography of Speaker:

Kelly Lyons is the Head of the IBM Toronto Lab Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS). CAS works with university professors and graduate students on applied research projects that are related to the software products developed at the IBM Toronto Lab. She originally joined the IBM Toronto Lab in 1985 after receiving a BSc in Computing Science from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario. After two years in compiler development at IBM, she went on an educational leave of absence to complete her masters and PhD (also at Queen's University). In the last two years of her PhD, Kelly was an IBM CAS Fellowship Student. Since completing her PhD, Kelly has held a variety of management and technical roles in the IBM Toronto Lab prior to taking on her current role as the Head of CAS. She is also a member of IBM Canada's Canadian Technical Excellence Council and an Adjunct Professor at York University and Dalhousie University. She has written several papers, has served on program committees for CASCON and the International Workshop on Multimedia Database Management Systems, has co-chaired many workshops, and has refereed numerous papers for journals and conferences. She is on the advisory board of CITO, a division of OCE, Inc, is a member of Queen's School of Computer Science Innovation Council, and serves on the Industrial Advisory Boards for the University of Calgary Department of Computer Science and the University of Toronto Department of Computer Science. She is very interested in promoting Women in Technology initiatives and has given several presentations to young people and teachers on this topic.