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Date Speaker and Abstract
2013/09/13 Speaker: SOCS Professors
Affiliation: McGill University
Host: Paul Kry
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: Computer Science
Title: Research Overviews
Abstract:

The first colloquium of the year will feature short presentations from a number of faculty members in the school of computer science. This is your opportunity to get a quick overview of the research that is happening in the department. Professors will talk about their research programs and recently published work, but more importantly they will also speak about current projects and future opportunities for new students. Come hear about new research problems, and then discuss with students and faculty over snacks and drinks at the reception that follows.

Biography of Speaker:

The following professors will be presenting research overviews:

  • Brigitte Pientka
  • Derek Ruths
  • Doina Precup
  • Greg Dudek
  • Jerome Waldispuhl
  • Luc Devroy
  • Martin Robillard
  • Paul Kry


2013/09/27 Speaker: Ariel Shamir
Affiliation: Efi Arazi school of Computer Science, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya
Host: Paul Kry
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: Computer Graphics
Title: Smart tools for photos and 3D models manipulation
Abstract:

Powerful applications such as PhotoShop for images, AutoCad and Maya for 3D models, allow manipulating and fabricating digital objects in unimaginable ways. However, these tools are sophisticated and often very difficult to use. One of the challenges in graphics and design today is to create simpler tools that allow even novice users to use computers more naturally for photographs and 3D objects manipulations. In this talk I will present several such efforts including sketch2photo, sketch2-3D and the recent 3-sweep technology (all joint works with students and colleagues). The key factor in all these works is utilizing humans specifically for semantic, high-level tasks that are very simple for them, and are still extremely difficult for machines, while utilizing the machine for tasks that are tedious or hard for humans.

Biography of Speaker:

Ariel Shamir is an associate professor at the Efi Arazi school of Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya Israel. He received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in math and computer science Cum Laude from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a Ph.D. in computer science in 2000. He spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the computational visualization center at the University of Texas in Austin. In 2006 he held the position of visiting scientist at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs in Cambridge MA. He has also had affiliations with Disney Research, Lawrence Livermore national laboratory, and a number of high-tech companies in Israel (Primesense, Sensomatix, Paieon medical, and more). His research interests include geometric modeling, computer graphics, visualization, and machine learning.


2013/10/04 Speaker: Oleg Sokolsky
Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania
Host: Xue Liu
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Assuring the Safety of On-Demand Medical Cyber-Physical Systems
Abstract:

On-demand medical cyber-physical systems are assembled from individual medical devices to treat a patient in a specific clinical scenario. We discuss an approach to establish safety of such a system. We treat such a system as a virtual medial device (VMD) and propose a model-based framework to describe and assess VMDs. The framework includes a modeling language with formal semantics for modeling VMDs and their constituent devices, and a medical application platform (MAP) that provides the necessary deployment support for the VMD models.

Biography of Speaker:

Oleg Sokolsky is a Research Associate Professor with the Department of Computer and Information Science of University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the PRECISE Center (Penn Research in Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems), and Real-Time Systems group. He received M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from St. Petersburg Technical University and Stony Brook University, respectively. His main research interest is the application of formal methods to design and verification of distributed real-time systems. Other interests, all related to the main one, include on-line monitoring of distributed systems and formal foundations for it, hybrid systems, automated extraction of specifications from source code, and formal methods in software engineering in general and in embedded software in particular.


2013/10/25 Speaker: Adam Wierman
Affiliation: Caltech
Host: Xue Liu
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Algorithmic Challenges for Greening Data Centers
Abstract:

Everyone has heard the statistics about how much of an energy hog IT has become: The emissions of a server are nearly that of a car! The electricity usage of data centers is growing 12 times faster than that of the US as a whole! Given the significant energy consumption of data centers, improving their energy efficiency is an important social problem. However, energy efficiency is necessary but not sufficient for sustainability, which demands reduced usage of energy from fossil fuels. In this talk, I will describe some recent work highlighting the algorithmic challenges associated with "greening" data centers. We will focus on two applications:(i) dynamic resizing within a data center; and (ii) geographical load balancing across an Internet-scale system. In both contexts I will present our new algorithms, which provide significantly improved performance guarantees when compared with the "standard" approaches using Receding Horizon Control. Additionally, if time allows, I will briefly discuss the our recent progress toward the implementation and evaluation of these algorithms in HP data centers, and the use of these algorithms within demand response markets.

Biography of Speaker:

Adam Wierman is a Professor in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology, where he is a member of the Rigorous Systems Research Group (RSRG). His research interests center around resource allocation and scheduling decisions in computer systems and services. He received the ACM SIGMETRICS Rising Star award in 2011, and has been co-recipient of best paper awards at ACM SIGMETRICS, IEEE INFOCOM, IFIP Performance, the IEEE Green Computing Conference, the IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, and ACM GREENMETRICS. He was named a Seibel Scholar, received an Okawa Foundation grant, and received an NSF CAREER grant. Additionally, he has received multiple teaching awards, including the Associated Students of the California Institute f Technology (ASCIT) Teaching Award.


2013/11/01 Speaker: Nenad Medvidović
Affiliation: University of Southern California
Host: Martin Robillard
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: Software Engineering
Title: Architectural Decay in Software Systems: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies
Abstract:

Engineers frequently neglect to carefully consider the impact of their changes to a software system. As a result, the software system's architectural design eventually deviates from the original designers' intent and degrades through unplanned introduction of new and/or invalidation of existing design decisions. Architectural decay increases the cost of making new modifications and decreases a system's reliability, until engineers are no longer able to effectively evolve the system. At that point, the system's actual architecture may have to be recovered from the implementation artifacts, but this is a time-consuming and error-prone process, and leaves critical issues unresolved: the problems caused by architectural decay will likely be obfuscated by the system's many elements and their interrelationships, thus risking further decay. In this talk I will focus on pinpointing locations in a software system's architecture that reflect architectural decay. I will discuss the reasons why that decay occurs. Specifically, I will present an emerging catalog of commonly occurring symptoms of decay -- architectural "smells". I will illustrate the occurrence of smells identified in the process of recovering the architectures of several real-world systems. Finally, I will provide a comparative analysis of a number of automated techniques that aim to recover a system's architectural design from the system's implementation.

Biography of Speaker:

Nenad Medvidović is a Professor and Associate Chair for Ph.D. Affairs in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California. Between 2009 and 2013 Medvidović served as Director of the USC Center for Systems and Software Engineering (CSSE). He was the Program Co-Chair of the 2011 International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2011). Medvidović received his Ph.D. in 1999 from the Department of Information and Computer Science at UC Irvine. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER (2000) award, the Okawa Foundation Research Grant (2005), the IBM Real-Time Innovation Award (2007), and the USC Mellon Mentoring Award (2010). He is a co-author of the ICSE 1998 paper titled "Architecture-Based Runtime Software Evolution", which was recognized as that conference's Most Influential Paper. Medvidović's research interests are in the area of architecture-based software development. His work focuses on software architecture modeling and analysis; middleware facilities for architectural implementation; domain-specific architectures; architectural styles; and architecture-level support for software development in highly distributed, mobile, resource constrained, and embedded computing environments. He is a co-author of a textbook on software architectures. Medvidović is a member of ACM, ACM SIGSOFT, IEEE, and IEEE Computer Society.


2013/11/08 Speaker: Ramesh Sitaraman
Affiliation: University of Massachusetts, Amherst & Akamai Technologies
Host: Xue Liu
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: The Billion Dollar Question in Online Videos: How Video Performance Impacts Viewer Behavior?
Abstract:

Online video is the killer application of the Internet. It is predicted that more than 85% of the consumer traffic on the Internet will be video-related by 2016. Yet, the future economic viability of online video rests squarely on our ability to understand how viewers interact with video content. For instance: * If a video fails to start up quickly, would the viewer abandon? * If a video freezes in the middle, would the viewer watch fewer minutes? * If videos fail to load, is the viewer less likely to return to the same site? In this talk, we outline scientific answers to these and other such questions, establishing a causal link between video performance and viewer behavior. One of the largest such studies, our work analyzes the video viewing habits of over 6.7 million viewers who in aggregate watched almost 26 million videos. To go beyond correlation and to establish causality, we develop a novel technique based on Quasi-Experimental Designs (QEDs). While QEDs are well known in the medical and social sciences, our work represents its first use in network performance research and is of independent interest. This talk is of general interest and is accessible to a broad audience.

Biography of Speaker:

Prof. Ramesh K. Sitaraman is currently in the School of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research focuses on all aspects of Internet-scale distributed systems, including algorithms, architectures, performance, energy efficiency, user behavior, and economics. As a principal architect, he helped create the Akamai network and is an Akamai Fellow. He is best known for his pioneering role in creating the first large content delivery networks (CDNs) that currently deliver much of the world’s web content, streaming videos, and online applications. Prof. Sitaraman is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and a Lilly Fellowship. He has served on numerous program committees and editorial boards of major conferences and journals. He received a B. Tech. in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. and a Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton University.


2013/11/15 Speaker: Jeffrey Cardille
Affiliation: McGill School of Environment
Host: Greg Dudek
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Understanding Our Environment through Computational Landscape Ecology
Abstract:

In recent years, the opportunities and challenges to understanding our environment have changed radically, as millions of people use technologies like Google Earth, Google Maps, and GPS-equipped smart phones to both use and make maps. These new technologies, mostly nonexistent or confined to research labs only a few years ago, are the product of years of satellite launches and image processing, algorithm development, and user-interface research. This explosion of interest in mapping technology has carried over into the field of geography itself, where advances in the availability of spatial data and the capacity to store and process them have greatly expanded our ability to understand both human-built and natural environments. As an example, Google recently released Google Earth Engine, a project to catalog and serve all of the world’s freely available satellite data for scientific use. Earth Engine uses Google's servers for its calculations, which opens up possibilities that are many orders of magnitude beyond what had been possible very recently. With the dramatic increase in availability and accessibility of spatial data through advances in remote sensing and GIS, virtual globes, and computing power, how will we gather and analyze environmental data in 5, 10, or 20 years? In this presentation I will present and explain some of the ways that algorithms and approaches (and students!) ported from computer science and electrical engineering can make considerable contributions in my field in the near future.

Biography of Speaker:

Jeffrey Cardille is an Associate Professor in McGill School of Environment and Natural Resource Sciences. He received a PhD and MSc in Environmental Monitoring from the University of Wisconsin, an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a BS in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon. Prior to his arrival at McGill in 2012, he was an Associate Professor in Géographie at the Université de Montréal. His research interests include Landscape ecology, land use and climate change, ecosystem and regional-scale hydrologic modeling, analysis of regional spatial land use patterns, geographic information science, and satellite remote sensing.


2013/11/22 Speaker: Jean-Marc Robert
Affiliation: ÉTS Montréal
Host: David Avis
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: Alumni Lecture
Title: A secure distance-bounding protocol preserving the anonymity of the participants
Abstract:

Distance-bounding protocols are one of the best tools to thwart relay attacks against authentication protocols. In this talk, our objective is twofold. First, present distance-bounding protocols based on the public-key cryptography model that are secure against the typical attacks against such protocols. However, our main objective is to develop a distance-bounding protocol that protects the identity of the legitimate participants. A participant should be able to prove his location at a given time without having to reveal his identity.

Biography of Speaker:

Jean-Marc received his PhD from SOCS in 1991 and subsequently worked in both industry and academia. He is currently a Professor at the Department of Software and IT Engineering at École de technologie supérieure. His research activities focus on the security of information systems: from communication networks to enterprise networks, from embedded systems to distributed systems.


2014/01/31 Speaker: Cathy Laporte
Affiliation: École de Technologie Supérieure
Host: Kaleem Siddiqi
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: Medical Image Analysis
Title: Ultrasound image analysis for applications in speech science
Abstract:

Ultrasound (US) imaging is an effective and non invasive way of observing the tongue motions involved in normal and pathological speech, and the results of US studies are of interest to the study of the mechanisms underlying speech as well as the development of new strategies in speech therapy. (Semi-)automatically segmenting the tongue contour as it evolves in ultrasound video sequences is an image analysis task of particular interest since it allows the systematic study of tongue shape and motion. Challenges include maintaining high quality tongue tracking over time, as well as monitoring segmentation quality and developing meaningful ways to characterize tongue shape and motion. Our preliminary results touch upon each of these challenges and show how new adaptations of techniques previously rooted in the computer vision literature can be combined to provide useful tools to the speech scientist.

Biography of Speaker:

Catherine Laporte obtained her Ph.D. from McGill University in 2010 and is now a professor at the department of electrical engineering at École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS). She teaches courses in medical imaging, biomedical instrumentation and algorithms. Her research group focuses on the development of new methods for the analysis of ultrasound images to address problems such as 3-D reconstruction, motion and deformation tracking, segmentation and registration, with applications in orthopaedics and speech science.


2014/02/14 Speaker: Bruce Reed
Affiliation: McGill University
Host: Paul Kry
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: How I Learned to do Mathematics
Abstract:

I was exceedingly fortunate to have Vašek Chvátal as a professor when I was an undergraduate at McGill and as my supervisor as a graduate student. His instruction as to how to carry out mathematical research has stood me in good stead, ever since. I will discuss what I learnt from him and how I applied it throughout my career.

Biography of Speaker:

Professor Reed received his degrees in Mathematics and in Computer Science at McGill University. Following postdoctoral fellowships and faculty positions in Europe, Canada and the USA, he joined the faculty of McGill University in 2001. He currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Graph Theory and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2009. Professor Bruce Reed has been awarded the 2013 CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize. The Prize recognizes exceptional achievement in the area of mathematical sciences and is considered one of Canada’s top honours in mathematics.


2014/02/28 Speaker: Lukasz Golab
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Host: Bettina Kemme
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Optimizing data placement for distributed computation
Abstract:

I will discuss the following problem: given a set of data items, a set of tasks that reference these data items, and a set of servers with finite storage and processing capacities, allocate the data items to the servers in a way that minimizes the amount of data that needs to be transferred among servers during task execution. This problem arises in many practical scenarios including cloud databases. I will show that this problem can be reduced to the well-studied graph partitioning problem, which is NP-hard, but for which efficient approximation algorithms exist. I will also discuss how to handle load balancing and data replication. This is joint work with Marios Hadjieleftheriou (AT&T), Howard Karloff (Yahoo!) and Barna Saha (AT&T).

Biography of Speaker:

Lukasz Golab is a faculty member in the Management Sciences department at the University of Waterloo. Previously he was a Senior Member of Research Staff at AT&T Labs. He obtained a BSc from the University of Toronto in 2001 and a PhD from the University of Waterloo in 2006. His research interests are in database systems, data mining and energy data management.


2014/03/14 Speaker: Aaron Fenster
Affiliation: Robarts Research Institute, The University of Western Ontario
Host: Kaleem Siddiqi
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Area: CREATE-MIA
Title: Use of 3D Ultrasound Imaging in image-guided interventions
Abstract:

The last two decades have witnessed unprecedented developments of new image-guided interventional imaging systems making use of 3D visualization. These new technologies provide the clinician with guidance and verification information about the interventional procedure. Although 2D ultrasound (US) has been used for image-guidance, this approach limits our ability to guide therapy, because multiple 2D images must be integrated mentally, resulting in an inefficient procedure, which often leads to variability. Investigators have addressed these limitations by developing 3D US techniques. In this paper we describe our developments of 3D US imaging instrumentation and techniques for use in image-guided interventions. In our approach the conventional US transducer is scanned mechanically, and the 2D US images are digitized and reconstructed in real-time into a 3D image, which can be viewed and manipulated interactively. Examples will be given for use in 3D US-guided prostate biopsy and brachytherapy as well as 3D US-guided focal liver ablation. Supported in part by grants from CIHR, ORF and OICR.

Biography of Speaker:

Dr. Fenster received his PhD degree in 1976 from the Department of Medical Biophysics of the University of Toronto. In 1987 he moved to London and became a Scientist and founding Director of the Imaging Research Laboratories (IRL) at the Robarts Research Institute and Professor at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) in Radiology. Under his leadership, the IRL has grown to a staff of 250 today. In addition, he is the founder and Associate Director of the interdisciplinary graduate Program at UWO in Biomedical Engineering. He is also the Chair of the basic Science Division of the Department of Medical Imaging and the Director for the Biomedical Imaging Research Centre at UWO. This Division combines the strengths in imaging research across London’s Institutions, which combined, makes the London medical imaging research community one of the largest in North America with over 350 staff and students and $100M in research equipment. In 2010 he became the Centre Director of the newly formed Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization – a federally funded Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research. Currently, he holds a Canada Research Chair-Tier 1 in Biomedical Engineering. He is the first recipient of the Premier’s (Ontario) Discovery Award for Innovation and Leadership (2007), the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research at the UWO (2008), and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists (COMP) Gold Medal Award (2010). In 2011 he was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Fenster’s research has resulted in 270 peer-reviewed publications, 39 patents and the formation of four companies. His patents have been licensed to 13 companies, which have commercialized them for world-wide distribution.


2014/03/21 Speaker: Emma Brunskill
Affiliation: Carnegie Mellon University
Host: Joelle Pineau
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Sequential Transfer in Multi-armed Bandit with Finite Set of Models
Abstract:

Learning from prior tasks and transferring that experience to improve future performance is critical for building lifelong learning agents. Although results in supervised and reinforcement learning show that transfer may significantly improve the learning performance, most of the literature on transfer is focused on batch learning tasks. In this paper we study the problem of sequential transfer in online learning, notably in the multi-armed bandit framework, where the objective is to minimize the total regret over a sequence of tasks by transferring knowledge from prior tasks. We introduce a novel bandit algorithm based on a method-of-moments approach for estimating the possible tasks and derive regret bounds for it.

Biography of Speaker:

Emma Brunskill is an assistant professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also affiliated with the machine learning department at CMU. She works on interactive machine learning, focusing on applications that involve artificial agents interacting with people, such as intelligent tutoring systems. For her research Emma was selected as a Microsoft Faculty Fellow.


2014/03/28 Speaker: Tiberiu Popa
Affiliation: Concordia University
Host: Paul Kry
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Kinectricks: Space-time Capture of Dynamic Objects using Hybrid Cameras
Abstract:

The acquisition of moving and deforming objects has lately received a lot of interest in computer graphics and vision due to its many applications in virtual and augmented reality, animation and special effects, 3D video and tele-presence. This is a challenging problem. Some objects such as skin or cloth exhibit very complex dynamic behaviour and fine geometric details difficult to capture. Another critical aspect in acquiring dynamic objects is maintaining temporal coherence between frames. Also due to occlusions the captured objects will often have missing geometry that needs to be reconstructed. In this talk I will present some of my work in space-time capture with several applications in modeling, deformation, novel view synthesis, telepresence and teleconferencing. At the core of most of our hardware setups there are one or more Kinect devices. This makes our setup inexpensive, but also raises a new set of challenges related to the low quality of the Kinect data.

Biography of Speaker:

Professor Tiberiu Popa joined the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Concordia University in August 2013. He was previously a Senior Researcher at ETH Zurich in the computer graphics lab and he completed my PhD at University of British Columbia. He has been doing research in Computer Graphics for over ten years and has supervised and mentored several Bachelor, Masters and PhD students. His research portfolio is diverse and includes geometric modeling, animation, 2D to 3D reconstruction, among other topics. One important focus of his research is spatio-temporal geometry acquisition (or 4D geometry acquisition) with vast applications in many disciplines ranging from games, engineering, e-commerce to medical.


2014/04/04 Speaker: Hanumant Singh
Affiliation: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Host: Gregory Dudek
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Bipolar Robotics: From the Arctic to the Antarctic with a stop at a few places in between
Abstract:

In this talk we look at the role of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and their use for a variety of applications in challenging environments in the Arctic and the Antarctic. In particular we look at the constraints underwater mapping places on robotics in dynamic, ice covered waters. This talk also examines the role of AUVs for Fisheries and segues into some of the underwater imaging issues associated with optical imaging of the seafloor in the context of segmentation, classification and machine learning.

Biography of Speaker:

Hanumant Singh completed his Ph.D. in the MIT WHOI Joint Program in 1995 and has since been on the staff at WHOI. His research interests are in the area of underwater imaging and robotics and his work has taken him on more than 50 research expeditions in all of the world's oceans covering a variety of topics including Marine Archaeology, Marine Geology, Marine Chemistry, Coral Reef Ecology and Fisheries, and Glaciology and the Study of Sea Ice.


2014/04/11 Speaker: Greg Wilson
Affiliation: Mozilla Foundation
Host: Martin Robillard
Place: MC12
Start Time: 14:30
Title: Two Solitudes
Abstract:

I have spent much of the last fifteen years trying to build bridges between the two solitudes of computing: academic researchers on the one side, and working developers on the other. These efforts have largely failed, but have done so in interesting ways. This talk will explore why the wide gulf between research and practice persists, and outline a new plan for trying to narrow it based on scurvy, smoking, and statistics.

Biography of Speaker:

Greg Wilson is the creator of Software Carpentry, a crash course in computing skills for scientists and engineers. He has worked for 25 years in high-performance computing, data visualization, computer security, and academia, and is the author or editor of several books on computing (including the 2008 Jolt Award winner "Beautiful Code") and two for children. Greg received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh in 1993, and presently runs the Software Carpentry project for the Mozilla Foundation.