Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. Mehmet Gunes

Epidemic Spreading in Social Networks

Maksim Kitsak
University of California San Diego

Spreading is a ubiquitous process, which describes many important activities in society. The knowledge of the spreading pathways through the network of social interactions is crucial for developing efficient methods to either hinder spreading in the case of diseases, or accelerate spreading in the case of information dissemination.

Many social networks are scale-free: the distribution of the number of connections per node in these networks follows a power-law. The presence of hubs (nodes with a very large number of connections) in these networks results in the absence of the epidemic threshold. As a result, social networks are prone to the spreading of infections at any epidemic rate. It is widely believed that hubs play crucial role in spreading processes. However, in our recent work we show that, in contrast to common belief, there are plausible circumstances where the best spreaders do not correspond to the most connected or the most central people. Instead, we find that the most efficient spreaders are those located within the core of the network as identified by the k-shell decomposition analysis, and that when multiple spreaders are considered simultaneously, the distance between them becomes the crucial parameter that determines the extent of the spreading.

The identification of the most efficient spreaders in a network is an important step towards optimizing the use of available resources and ensuring the more efficient spread of information. Our analysis should provide a route for an optimal design of efficient dissemination strategies. In my talk I will overview the ongoing research on spreading of epidemics in networked systems.


Dr. Maksim Kitsak is a postdoctoral fellow at the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, University of California San Diego. Dr. Kitsak completed his Ph.D.. in statistical physics at Boston University in 2009.

His main research interest is in understanding the structure of networks an its effect on dynamical processes taking place on these networks. Specifically, Maksim is interested in optimization of navigation and search algorithms in networks by making use of hidden metric spaces underlying these networks. The existence of metric spaces in many real networks naturally explains their self-similarity and highly clustered structure. Reconstruction of hidden metric spaces allows efficient navigation without topology updates.

Maksim also studies epidemic spreading in social and technological networks. Epidemics, email viruses and information dissemination in networks are all governed by similar spreading principles. The identification of influential spreaders in networks allows one to either hinder spreading in the case of diseases or accelerate spreading in the case of information dissemination.

Maksim's research is supported by the National Science Foundation. More information about his methods and findings can be found at http://www.caida.org/~mkitsak.

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. Mehmet Gunes

Computational Characterization of Biomolecular Networks in Physiology and Disease

Kakajan Komurov
University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Biological systems can be represented as networks of genes and proteins, which can be studied using computational tools. An important goal of systems biology is to study the organizational principles of biological networks supporting the functional state of cells in normal physiology and disease. Advances in high throughput technology have allowed large-scale experiments to be performed at a genome level, yielding a sea of biological data on various functional states of cells. However, despite the fast advance in experimental systems biology, development of proper computational tools for efficient interpretation of high throughput data to yield insight into the functional organization of biological networks has been lagging. We have developed a random walk - based approach for the analyses of high throughput high content genomic data within the context of a priori information on the functional relationships between human genes. This method, NetWalk, scores the relevance of each biomolecular interaction to the given experimental context by combined assessment of the local network topological structure and the data. Using this method, we have uncovered some of the central network processes contributing to acquire resistance of breast cancer cells to the cancer drug lapatinib. Currently, we are developing a stand-alone graphical user interface for network-based analyses of high throughput biological data.


Dr. Kakajan Komurov is a postdoctoral fellow at the department of Systems Biology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. He completed his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in 2008.

Dr. Komurov's research interests are centered on understanding dynamic organizational principles in intracellular molecular networks and their specific alterations that contribute to disease phenotypes. His specific approach involves integration of high throughput experimental technology with computational analysis for systems-level understanding of molecular processes in cancer and other diseases. Dr. Komurov's research includes development of novel computational methods for the analyses and interpretation of large-scale biological data and their integration with high throughput experimentation to characterize biomolecular networks driving resistance of cancer cells to targeted therapy. Dr. Komurov's research in computational and systems biology has been published in several high profile journals

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Host: Dr. Sergiu Dascalu

Automating Software Evolution through Model-Driven Engineering

Dr. Jeff Gray

Department of Computer Science, University of Alabama

Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) represents a design approach that enables description of the essential characteristics of a problem in a manner that is decoupled from the details of a specific solution space (e.g., dependence on specific middleware or programming language). Domain-Specific Modeling (DSM) is an MDE methodology that generates customized modeling languages and environments from metamodels that define a narrow domain of interest. From these models, other artifacts of software development (e.g., source code of configuration files) can be generated by model translators.

The interest and adoption of DSM over the past decade has surged. Strong support for basic research has been committed by the large European Union ModelWare project ($30M Euros). Metamodeling tools that support DSM continue to emerge from both commercial and open source projects (e.g., Microsoft's DSL Toolkit and the Eclipse Modeling Project), as well as numerous academic research projects (e.g., Vanderbilt's Generic Modeling Environment). Initial success stories from industry adoption of DSM have been reported, with perhaps the most noted being Saturn's multi-million dollar cost savings associated with timelier reconfiguration of an automotive assembly line driven by domain-specific models.

This presentation will provide a general introduction to MDE with a specific focus on the capability to evolve software artifacts through model transformation and program transformation. The benefits of MDE will be demonstrated through case studies taken from models supporting different domains (e.g., avionics mission computing).


Jeff Gray is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Alabama. He received the Ph.D.. in 2002 from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at Vanderbilt University, where he was a research assistant at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS).

Dr. Gray's research interests include model-driven engineering, aspect-oriented software development, clone analysis and refactoring, and generative programming. He has recently published on these topics in IEEE Software, Communications of the ACM and IEEE Computer. In the past, his research was supported by DARPA and an IBM Eclipse Innovation grant. He currently is supported by Google and six NSF grants, including a 2007 NSF CAREER award. In Fall 2008, he was named the Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.

Jeff is currently the chair of the Alabama IEEE Computer Society. He has served on over 160 organizing and programming committees and was a recent guest editor for four different journal special issues. He is a co-founder of the Domain-Specific Modeling series of workshops at OOPSLA. He was the 2009 Organizing Chair of AOSD and the 2009 Program Chair for the conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE). Here in Reno next week, he is chairing the workshops at the SPLASH conference.

More information about his research and publications can be found at http://www.cs.ua.edu/~gray.

Friday, October 08, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Host: Dr. Yaakov Varol

Computer Graphics and the dancing characters - Film, Broadcast, Video Games, Stage Productions

Tom Whitaker
Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC)

Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC) is the world's largest manufacturer of high performance optical instrumentation systems that test and measure the movement of objects, with offices throughout the U.S. as well as London, Tokyo and Beijing. In 2005 MAC was awarded four technical achievement Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Motion Analysis is a California corporation formed in May of 1982 with principal executive offices located in Santa Rosa, California.


Motion Analysis Corporation systems slash the costs and time of producing movies, while increasing their realism and drama. MAC systems are being used for multiple-person capture, as well as simultaneous face, hand and body motion capture.

The MAC "Virtual Director" technology allows a director to "look through the lens" of motion capture. The studio camera (or cameras) are tracked along with the performers to provide a live stream of animation viewed from the position of the camera. The director can rehearse, do set decoration and scene blocking from the point of view of the camera. When recording motions, the director can capture many separated camera moves over the same previously recorded performance.


MAC systems slash the costs and time of producing broadcast episodes and commercials, while increasing their realism and drama. MAC systems are being used for multiple-person capture, as well as simultaneous face, hand and body capture.

The MAC systems are also used in television for RealTime "Virtual Hosts" including virtual anchormen, sportscasters, and comedians. The system allows the simultaneous capture of face, body, and hands (integrating gloves) movement for streaming to television or Web broadcasts.

Video games

Many of the world's finest video games have been captured on MAC equipment, including those produced by Electronic Arts, WETA Digital, Neversoft and Midway Games. The demand for cinematics in video games can only be produced in real-time with Motion Analysis motion capture systems. Data is now produced three to five times faster than with "post-process mocap". The use of Calcium software for scaling actor data to character data by creating a re-usable mathematical equation has cut the need for hand-tweaking even the most complex files.

The MAC system is popular because it is fast and versatile, allowing for capture of elaborate moves, including multiple players with props. Newly introduced technology has vastly simplified the task of marker occluding multiple-person capture, such as football and wrestling.

Stage productions

Motion Analysis Corporation has been used in recent dance performances involving the real-time capture of dancers onstage who are simultaneously driving an animation based on that movement.

The results are a powerful interaction of the dancer with the dance and a visual statement unlike any other live performance.


Mr. Whitaker has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC) for over twenty years. He was previously employed by General Electric Company for twenty years. His twelve assignments and relocations throughout the U.S. included sales, sales management, marketing, strategic planning, engineering, manufacturing, customer service and finance. He held positions from trainee to general management. He completed the highest level General Electric Executive Development programs. Mr. Whitaker holds a B.S.E.E. degree from the University of Nevada and an M.B.A. degree from the University of California. Mr. Whitaker served for ten years as Director and Chairman of the Board for Redwood Empire Bancorp, National Bank of the Redwoods and Allied Savings Bank. He currently serves as Director of Dry Creek Vineyards, Standard Structures, and is a member of the advisory board for the Department of Engineering Science at Sonoma State University.

Friday, October 01, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. George Bebis

Summer Research Experiences at NASA
University of Nevada, Reno

Marvin Smith, NASA Ames Intern

Whether building 3D maps of the lunar surface, or attending lectures on the search for Earth-like planets, my experience at the NASA Ames Research Center was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Between the people, the research center, and the Bay Area, I got a world-class education mixed in with fun and exciting weekends. My project dealt with building terrain reconstructions of the lunar surface. One issue with the reconstructions is handling the presence of outliers. My project consisted in building a series of filters which detects and removes outliers both before and after stereo correlation. Testing showed that the techniques used significantly reduced the amount of outliers when reconstructed. I took from my internship a list of skills and techniques which have made me a much more productive and proficient programmer. For students interested, there are dozens of programs at NASA for both the experienced researchers and the beginning freshmen.

Joshua Gleason, NASA Ames Intern

The internship at NASA Ames was not only an educational experience but a rewarding one as well. The environment was one full of many remarkable people and projects. Receiving this internship was a very fortunate opportunity that allowed me to continue to develop my abilities in computer vision and professional research practices. While at NASA my research consisted of work on a computer vision algorithm which automatically detects heavy digging equipment from aerial imagery. Many tours of Ames were also offered including a tour of the arc jet facility, where testing on reentry heat shields is done, and the super computer Pleiades, which is among the fastest computers in the world. During weekends there were also many interesting local attractions to visit, which further enriched my internship experience.

Steven Wood, JPL Intern

Mars rovers face numerous threats during daily movements: getting stuck, tipping over, or hitting something and damaging essential equipment. Because of the distance between Earth and Mars direct control of a rover is not possible; commands are sent to the rover once a day detailing movement and this setup precludes the ability for human guided real-time hazard avoidance. Hence on Mars the location of boulders, loose sand, steep-slopes, and drop-offs along a route becomes extremely significant. Correct path selection is then a critical element of the success or failure of a mission. This student's summer internship consisted of assisting the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Computer Vision Group in creating a path analysis application that will allow the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) teams to graphically generate a proposed rover route over surface terrain using high definition imagery. This imagery will be layered with hazard information such as rock maps and slope maps to determine the total cost of a route, where cost is a weighted value representing the cumulative effect of all obstacles along a path. The end goal of the project is to allow the MSL teams to rapidly and accurately select safe, efficient routes. The talk will focus on the student's experiences at JPL, both project-related and the overall environment.

Friday, September 17, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. George Bebis

Hollywood Media & Linux

Michael Collins
Linux Media Arts

In the closely related fields of film and broadcast television engineering and production, the industries supporting technical standards and systems technologies have evolved rapidly since computers and computer software were first being integrated into multi-media studios during the decade of the 1990's. Significant technical advances in these fields have evolved from the identification and development of open processes and standards and then developed by collaborating production artists, product developers, and media engineers from within the studio industry who utilize Linux as a technology development platform.

Resulting from these many collaborations is an evolving body of technology that supports numerous processes and systems, particularly within the Hollywood studio community where almost all of the major Hollywood motion picture studios have integrated Linux into their systems architecture and production systems. Linux is used to animate, color correct, edit, composite, and model in 3D by multiple studios including ILM, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., Duart, Disney, Sony, Universal, and Rhythm and Hues, to name a handful.

However, the majority of the most promising technology advances, although Linux and often available as Open Source or Free Software are not fully finished, not fully integrated, and not in a centralized location where users always know to go where they can easily find them.

Based on experience and analysis, there remains a tremendous demand for professional caliber multi-media Linux software tools in Hollywood and also to support developing economies who have a tremendous need to educate, inform, and entertain rapidly growing populations. There are a multitude of areas in this growing field to consider including basic issues such as kernel development, device and hardware support, production tools, meta-wrappers, and GUI uniformity to more exotic development including 3D Development, Ultra large frame image processing, wireless HD, and standards development, to name only a few, before agreeing on a focus, and formalizing a plan and schedule. The benefit of formalizing open media development in an academic setting is that it creates the possibility of an ongoing laboratory directly associated with industry leaders in media, including Hollywood studios, major broadcasters, and visualization experts led by dedicated, responsible, and thoughtful leadership.


Mike Collins is the founder of Linux Media Arts, Linux Media Labs, the Manitoba Media Centre, and one of the two co-founders and designers of Cinelerra, a Linux Non-Linear Film Editing and Special Effects system. He received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in Political Science and a Minor if Film Studies and his M.A. From San Diego State University in Film, Television, and Media with a focus on Special Effects engineering and production technologies.

Mike's background in research includes the development of innovative special effects systems for sports television production and live theatrical production. He was awarded a US Patent in 1997 for a 3D Stage Background Scenery HDTV Projection Systems. He has conducted research in HDTV systems primarily in the employ and in partnership with such companies as Sony High Definition Center, Hughes, JVC, Sony Broadcast Electronics, Sierra Design, MTI, IVC, and Pinnacle Systems, and more while working in Hollywood.

Mike's basic interests since first developing on Linux and Media systems in the late 1990s is the development and proliferation of Linux based media production tools which support feature film production. Mike has worked on numerous projects including film editing systems, audio editing, compositing, digital restoration, large frame processing, 3D editing systems, and graphics systems.

Mike has lived in Reno since 1992 and has largely managed his consulting and engineering business from both offices in Nevada and in Hollywood. He is currently managing ongoing development of Cinelerra and a research project in partnership with Warner Bros, and with Gresham Storage of London.

Friday, September 03, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Host: Dr. Sergiu Dascalu

Grammar Inference Technology Applications in Software Engineering
Prof. Barrett Bryant
University of Alabama at Birmingham

There are many problems whose solutions take the form of patterns that may be expressed using grammars (e.g., speech recognition, text processing, genetic sequencing, programming language development, etc.). Construction of these grammars is usually carried out by computer scientists working with domain experts. Grammar inference (GI) is the process of learning a grammar from examples, either positive (i.e., the pattern should be recognized by the grammar) and/or negative (i.e., the pattern should not be recognized by the grammar). This talk will present the application of grammar inference to software engineering, including recovery of domain-specific language (DSL) specifications from example DSL programs and recovery of a meta model from instance models which have evolved independently of the original meta model. 


Barrett R. Bryant is Professor and Associate Chair of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research interests include theory and implementation of programming languages, formal specification of software systems, and component-based software engineering, and he has authored or co-authored over 120 published papers in these areas. He is a member of EAPLS, and a senior member of ACM and IEEE. Further details are available at http://www.cis.uab.edu/bryant.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Host: Dr. Eelke Folmer

Exertion Games
Florian (Floyd) Mueller
Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, USA

Can you jog with a friend who lives in London?

Is it possible to play a fair game of table tennis with 3 people?

How can you box with people on the other side of the world?

Florian "Floyd" Mueller has explored "Sports over a Distance" as part of his research on "Exertion Games", these are games that require physical effort from their players, marrying human-computer interaction, computer games and networking advances. The results are 3 unique exertion games that support novel sports experiences for distributed participants.

In this talk, Floyd will present the design and the evaluation of these games that led to a new understanding of how to design interactive technology for an active human body.


Originally from Germany, Florian "Floyd" Mueller is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, coming from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Prior to that, Floyd was a principal scientist at the Commonwealth and Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, leading a research team of 12 staff on the future of "Connecting People", working with Australia's General Motors plant and one of the biggest hospitals in the country. Floyd's research past also includes Media Lab Europe (Ireland), Distance Lab (UK), MIT Media Lab (USA), FXPalo Alto Laboratories (USA) and Xerox Parc (USA). Floyd is also a Microsoft Research Asia Fellow and has worked at the Microsoft Beijing lab with the research teams developing Xbox's Kinect.

Floyd's work has resulted in over 60 publications, and was presented at the top conferences in the field of interaction design and computer games, including several best paper nominations. Some of the publications became the most cited papers in the field according to Google Scholar. Floyd's Exertion Games work has been short-listed for the European Innovation Games Award (next to Nintendo's WiiFit), received honorary mentions from the Nokia Ubimedia Award, was commissioned by Wired's Nextfest, exhibited worldwide and attracted substantial international research funding. The exertion games were played by over 20,000 players across 3 continents and were featured on the BBC, ABC, Discovery Science Channel and Wired magazine.

More information is available at: http://exertioninterfaces.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Host: Dr. Murat Yuksel

Revisiting Survivable Routing in Multi-hop Wireless Networks

Srikanth Krishnamurthy, Ph.D.
University of California, Riverside

Multi-hop wireless networks have been deployed in military settings and have recently been used to construct public/municipal wireless meshes. In spite of a large body of work on such networks, a number of unresolved issues remain. In this talk, I articulate the challenges in routing in multi-hop wireless settings and our recent work towards addressing some of them. In particular, the work I describe relates to increased reliability and security.

Recently it has been shown that accounting for wireless link quality is critical for establishing high performance end-to-end paths. Many routing metrics have been proposed towards accounting for link quality. All of these metrics are commutative in nature; in particular when computing a route, they account for the number of links on a route and the quality of those links. However, they do not factor in the relative positions of the links along a route; the positions of lossy links on an end-to-end path can impact performance. We show that due to currently employed retransmission policies at the link and transport layers, a packet drop in the proximity of the destination can significantly hurt performance. Thus, we propose a new routing metric that we call ETOP towards finding paths that provide increased reliability as a packet progresses closer to its destination. Although ETOP is a non-commutative metric, we show that it is amenable to a greedy implementation. We implement the metric on our indoor wireless network and show that the end-to-end performance improves by as much as 65 % as compared to a popular previously proposed metric. We examine the implications of multiple transmission rates and congestion on the choice of the routing metric and refine ETOP to account for these factors.

Link quality based routing is vulnerable to a variety of malicious attacks. In particular, adversaries can attempt to disseminate fake link quality metric values to attract routes. This would not only result in sub-optimal routes but adversaries can then launch additional attacks where they can drop all the packets (or a fraction thereof) that are routed through them. We describe the different ways in which colluding attackers can launch such attacks and propose simple countermeasures towards thwarting them. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our schemes on our indoor wireless testbed.


Srikanth V. Krishnamurthy received his Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California at San Diego in 1997. From 1998 to 2000, he was a Research Staff Scientist at the Information Sciences Laboratory, HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, CA. Currently, he is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests are primarily in wireless networks, network security and Internet technologies. Dr. Krishnamurthy is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award from ANI in 2003. He has also co-edited the book "Ad Hoc Networks: Technologies and Protocols" published by Springer-Verlag in 2005. He has served as the editor-in-chief for ACM MC2R and a senior member of the IEEE.

Friday, April 09, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Drs. Kostas Bekris and Yaakov Varol

Going Virtual: Medicine, Movies, Broadcast and Training
Tom D. Whitaker
Motion Analysis Corporation

Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC) is the world's largest manufacturer of high performance optical instrumentation systems that test and measure the movement of objects, with offices throughout the U.S. as well as London, Tokyo and Beijing. MAC systems are used in advanced computer graphic production applications for animation in full feature movies, video games and broadcast. These systems evaluate motion in a wide variety of applications: Animation Production, Movement Analysis, and Industrial. In 2005 MAC was awarded four technical achievement Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. MAC systems are also used in sports, medicine and industrial applications. The company works closely with renowned specialists and third-party software developers to create value-added application software targeted at very specific vertical markets. Motion Analysis Corporation then licenses, maintains, and markets the software with its hardware systems. Motion Analysis is a California corporation formed in May of 1982 with principal executive offices located in Santa Rosa, California.


Mr. Whitaker has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Motion Analysis Corporation (MAC) for over twenty years. He was previously employed by General Electric Company for twenty years. His twelve assignments and relocations throughout the U.S. included sales, sales management, marketing, strategic planning, engineering, manufacturing, customer service and finance. He held positions from trainee to general management. He completed the highest level General Electric Executive Development programs. Mr. Whitaker holds a B.S.E.E. degree from the University of Nevada and an M.B.A. degree from the University of California. Mr. Whitaker served for ten years as Director and Chairman of the Board for Redwood Empire Bancorp, National Bank of the Redwoods and Allied Savings Bank. He currently serves as Director of Dry Creek Vineyards, Standard Structures, and is a member of the advisory board for the Department of Engineering Science at Sonoma State University.

Friday, March 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM
Sponsored and organized by the CSE, EBME, IEEE
University of Nevada, Reno CSE Host: Dr. George Bebis

3D Surface Reconstruction and Intelligent Robotics

Dr. Ara Nefian
NASA Ames Research Center, Carnegie Mellon University

Generating accurate three dimensional planetary models is becoming increasingly more important as NASA plans for precursor robotics missions to the moon and Mars. The first part of this talk discusses a stereo correspondence system for orbital images and focuses on a novel approach for the sub-pixel refinement of the disparity maps. The method uses a Bayesian formulation that generalizes the Lucas-Kanade method for optimal matching between stereo pair images. The method is demonstrated on a set of high resolution scanned
images from the Apollo era missions. The second part of this talk dives into current developments of computer vision techniques used in robotic missions around the Earth and Mars (Mars Science Lab).


Dr. Ara Nefian is a Senior Scientist with Carnegie Mellon University and NASA Ames Research Center. His general interest are in the area of 3D computer vision, machine learning and robotics. Currently he is involved in 3D Lunar mapping from Apollo era images and the vision system of the future Mars rover. In the past he was with Intel Research Labs in Santa Clara, CA involved in several research projects including face and gesture recognition, audio-visual speech processing, web image clustering and bioinformatics.

In 2005 Dr. Nefian was part of the computer vision group within the Stanford racing team (Stanley) that won the DARPA Autonomous Navigation Grand Challenge. He co-authored more than 40 research papers and holds ten US and international patents. Ara Nefian holds a BS from Politehnica University Bucharest (1993) and a MSEE and Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology (1999).

Thursday, March 04, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Innovate and have fun too!
Dr. Stuart Brown
The National Institute for Play

Stuart Brown MD discovered the essential contributions of play to human development by finding its absence in murderers and felony drunken drivers. Dr. Brown's clinical observations affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle. His evaluations of highly creative individuals, culminating in 6,000 play histories, revealed the centrality of playfulness to their success and well-being.

Dr. Brown's exploration of animal play in the wild, and scholarship investigating the evolution and neuroscience of play behavior has credibly confirmed the clinical observations made early in his career. He founded the National Institute for Play to bring the science of play with its many promises into general cultural consciousness and action. Dr. Stuart Brown has recently authored the book, PLAY, How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, and has produced many hours of PBS, BBC and National Geographic TV programs, beginning with The Hero's Journey, the World of Joseph Campbell.

Friday, February 19 2010 at 11:00 AM

Host: Dr. Mircea Nicolescu

Research Funding Opportunities at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Lesley Blancas and Dr. Jalal Mapar
Department of Homeland Security

Dr. Lesley Blancas is a Science Advisor and the Director for the Americas for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate - International Cooperative Programs Office (ICPO). Dr. Blancas shares responsibility for overseeing and managing the annual academic grant competition for international research in homeland security mission areas. Prior to joining DHS in February of 2009, Dr. Blancas, an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for S&T Diplomacy Fellow (2009-2010), served as a foreign affairs officer for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Organizations, Office of UN Political Affairs where she was charged with achieving U.S. objectives on UN political issues and managing the process of providing guidance on UN Security Council resolutions. Dr. Blancas began her experience with the U.S. Government as an AAAS S&T Diplomacy Fellow (2006-08) for the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science (OES) for the Office of S&T Cooperation. She negotiated the bilateral U.S. - Uruguay Agreement, and received meritorious awards for her contribution to International S&T cooperation. Dr. Blancas maintains an active research program as an Associate in Research for the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California-Riverside. Her research explores the evolution of neutral and non-neutral genes in natural admixed or hybrid populations of crop and wild plant relatives. She has served as a subject matter expert in the area of biosafety and maize genetic diversity in Mexico for Pugwash, German Marshall Fund, and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation for North America. Dr. Blancas also lectured for the California State University in Los Angeles.

Mr. Mapar is a Program Manager at the DHS Science and Technology Directorate. He manages a portfolio of S&T programs that provide capabilities for the nation's emergency preparedness and response community. His portfolio primarily focuses on technologies for First Responders: location and health monitoring and Integrated Modeling, Mapping, and Simulation, Training and Exercise, and Incident Management Enterprise systems. Since joining he has led the development of an advanced breaching tool (selected by Popular Science as one of the 2008 Innovations of the Year), an innovative concealable escape hood, and started S&T's 3-D Location Tracking and the Physiological Monitoring systems. Prior to joining DHS in 2005, Mr. Mapar was a VP/Division Manager in the RDT&E Group at SAIC in McLean, VA. Mr. Mapar holds a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has over 30 journal/conference publications in advanced technology topics.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. Kostas Bekris

Bridging the Gaps between Planning, Control, and Perception in Human-Centered Robotics
Roland Philippsen
Stanford Robotics and AI Lab

Human-centered robotics is an interdisciplinary research field including mechatronics, AI, cognitive sciences, and human-robot interaction -- to name just a few of the aspects required to develop applications in human environments and in close interaction with untrained persons. This talk explores the frequently neglected questions of how to actually ensure that lower-level control and higher-level reasoning are operating on data that is coherent across their differing information needs, and that information from perception processes as well as from the executing behaviors can be stored and retrieved in meaningful manners. We propose a representational system centered around a live world database that helps to bridge this gap. This research is still in an early stage and it is hoped that the talk will inspire fruitful discussions around the questions we are trying to address and the kinds of approaches that are promising. Our efforts so far have centered around integrating whole-body operational space control with a symbolic reasoning system, adapting to changes in the environment while a plan is being executed, and allowing sensorimotor exploration to become part of the world model. The two most pressing questions are now to integrate 3D perception on the one hand and concept learning on the other.


Roland Philippsen is a Research Associate at the Stanford Robotics and AI Lab. He received his Ph.D.. from EPFL, Switzerland, in 2005, for work on mobile robot path planning and obstacle avoidance. His expertise lies in interweaving reasoning, planning, and control. He has successfully contributed to real-world robotics projects such as the tour-guide robots at the Swiss Expo.02, the EPFL student robot contest 2001-2004, robotic actors for a theater play in 2005, the European Cognitive Robot Companion in 2006, and the PR2 of Willow Garage, Inc. Roland is currently focusing on integrating whole-body task-oriented control and planning for human-centered robotics, as well as pushing for robust open source software in this area. He believes autonomous robots can improve the lives of all humanity, provided we openly share knowledge and implementations.

Friday, February 05, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. George Bebis

JPL Robotics Technology for Space Exploration Missions
Richard Volpe
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, is NASA's lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system. Several decades of technology development has seen the maturation of key capabilities for deployment of robotic systems to space. Scientific investigation of Mars has been of primary importance, with recent operation of the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Lander, and construction of the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory rover. Technology development for steep terrain access, and sample acquisition and caching, is also being prepared for the next decade. But Mars is not the only focus of ongoing efforts -- prototypes are under development for mobile habitats on the Moon, as well as aerial exploration of Titan and Venus. This presentation provides an overview of the technology development and mission infusion pathways for these challenging scenarios, and some recent results from our Mars exploration experience.


Richard Volpe is Manager of the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The section is a team of over 80 robotics engineers doing research and spaceflight implementation of robotic systems for Roving, Digging, Ballooning, Drilling, and other modes of in-situ planetary exploration. Additionally, Richard is a member of JPL's Science and Technology Management Committee, and has been a member of the 2007 Phoenix Mission Robotic Arm Team. From 2001 through 2004, Richard served as the manager of Mars Regional Mobility and Subsurface Access in JPL's Space Exploration Technology Program Office. In addition to guiding technology development for future robotic exploration of Mars and the Moon, he has been actively involved in 2003 & 2011 rover mission development, and 2007 lander mission operations. This has included managing internal JPL rover technology development, as well as external university research funded by the Mars Technology Program. Richard received his Ph.D.. in Applied Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1990.

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Host: Dr. Mehmet Gunes

Toward Secure Network Coding in Wireless Networks: Threats and Challenges

Cristina Nita-Rotaru
Department of Computer Science at Purdue University

In recent years, network coding has emerged as a new communication paradigm that can significantly improve the efficiency of network protocols by requiring intermediate nodes to mix packets before forwarding them. Several real-world systems have been proposed to leverage network coding in wireless networks. Although the theoretical foundations of network coding are well understood, a real-world system needs to solve a plethora of practical aspects before network coding can meet its promised potential. These practical design choices expose network coding systems to a wide range of attacks.

In this talk we identify two general frameworks (inter-flow and intra-flow) that encompass several network coding-based systems proposed in wireless mesh networks. Our systematic analysis of the components of these frameworks reveals vulnerabilities to a wide range of attacks, which may severely degrade system performance. We then focus on addressing the most severe and generic attack against network coding systems, known as packet pollution attack. We show that existing cryptographic mechanisms that were proposed to solve the problem have a prohibitive cost that makes them impractical in wireless mesh networks. We propose the first practical defense mechanisms to pollution attacks in network coding for wireless mesh networks. The experimental results show that the proposed mechanisms can effectively filter out polluted packets and quickly identify and isolate attacker nodes while incurring small computation and bandwidth overhead.


Cristina Nita-Rotaru is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University where she established the Dependable and Secure Distributed Systems Laboratory (DS2). She is a member of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) and is associated with the Center for Wireless Systems and Applications (CWSA) at Purdue University. Her research interests lie in designing distributed systems, network protocols and applications that are robust to failure, misconfiguration, and malicious attacks. Cristina Nita-Rotaru is a recipient of the NSF Career Award in 2006. She has served on the Technical Program Committee of numerous conferences in security, networking, and distributed systems.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Host: Dr. Murat Yuksel

Complex Networks
Dr. Robert Bonneau
Air Force Office of Scientific Research

The talk will overview Complex Networks Program goals that address issues in quantifying and managing the performance of heterogeneous dynamic networks. Information topological methods along with the models and dynamics will be presented. The talk also covers estimation and inference theory in networks to reduce point to point overhead of protocols by only retransmitting information that cannot be estimated from geometric information properties. The theory and design of network protocols, policy, and management is outlined along with examples and Air Force networking challenges.


Dr. Bonneau is a Program Manager of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and has established programs in Networking and Communications in the Mathematics, Information, and Biological Sciences Division. Previously, Dr. Bonneau was a Senior Research Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate in networking, communications, sensing, and computing, and a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in communications. He has held academic positions in communications and sensing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University. Dr Bonneau has a Ph.D.. in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and a Masters and Bachelors in electrical engineering from Cornell University. Dr. Bonneau is a Senior Member of IEEE and has over 75 journal and conference papers, 1 book co-authorship, contributed to 2 book chapters, and holds 3 patents.