Computer Science in Six-Tenths of a Second: What Happens After Hitting ENTER in a Google Search

Speaker: Lance Fortnow, School of Computer Science, College of Computing Georgia Institute of Technology
When: Thursday, April 19, 2018
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

 

Abstract

What is computer science? Ask Google or Alexa, and you’ll get an answer like “the study of the principles and use of computers.” That doesn’t really capture the breadth of the field.

But how can you get an answer in a fraction of a second? Now that’s computer science!

Lance Fortnow will explore

  • the ideas developed by computer scientists that transport your Google query to the cloud
  • how the cloud keeps track of the massive amount of information needed to answer the question
  • how algorithms and machine learning figure out what your question means and how best to respond

All these take place in that six-tenths of a second from the time you make the query until answers magically appear, while keeping your information secure and private all the time.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Lance Fortnow is professor and chair of the School of Computer Science in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on computational complexity and its applications to economic theory.

Fortnow received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989, under the supervision of the theoretical computer scientist Michael Sipser. Before joining Georgia Tech in 2012, Fortnow was a professor at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, a senior research scientist at the NEC Research Institute, and a one-year visitor at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI; National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science) and the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Since 2007, Fortnow has held an adjoint professorship at the Toyota Technological Institute, in Chicago.

Fortnow’s research spans computational complexity and its applications, most recently to microeconomic theory. His work on interactive proof systems and time-space lower bounds for satisfiability have led to his election as a 2007 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow. Fortnow was a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow from 1992 to 1998 and a Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands in 1996-97.

Among his many activities, Fortnow has served as the founding editor-in-chief of the ACM Transaction on Computation Theory, as chair of ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT), and as member of the Computing Research Association board of directors. He served as chair of the IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity from 2000 to 2006.

Fortnow originated and has coauthored the Computational Complexity weblog since 2002, the first major theoretical computer science blog. He has thousands of followers on Twitter.

Fortnow’s survey “The Status of the P versus NP Problem” is the most downloaded article of the journal Communications of the ACM. Fortnow has written the popular science book “The Golden Ticket: P, NP and the Search for the Impossible,” which is loosely based on that article.

Book signing follows the lecture. 

About Frontiers in Science Lectures 
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

In Conversation with Ernő Rubik


 
Speaker: Ernő Rubik, inventor of the Rubik’s Cube
When: Wednesday April 11, 2018
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

 

Abstract

In a rare public appearance, Ernő Rubik will give a public lecture, discussing a wide range of topics from design and architecture to the role of curiosity in the human condition, as well as four decades of the Rubik’s Cube.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Ernő Rubik is an architect and designer. He lives in Budapest, Hungary, where he invented Rubik’s Cube in 1974.

Rubik co-founded the Hungarian Academy of Engineering; the Palace of Wonders, a science center in Budapest; and the Aquincum Institute of Technology. He has served as juror for the European Inventor Awards and as Ambassador for Creativity and Innovation of the European Commission.

Among numerous national and international distinctions, Rubik is the recipient of Liberty Science Center’s Genius Prize; the USA Science & Engineering Festival Medal; and Hungary’s highest state distinction, the Order of St. Stephen.

This talk is sponsored by the College of Science, the School of Mathematics, and the Gathering 4 Gardner Foundation.

About Frontiers in Science Lectures 
Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences

Sex, Flies, and Video: Communicating Science to the Public in Words and Images

Speaker: James Gorman, Science Reporter, The New York Times Host, “Science Take”
When: Tuesday, March 27, 2018,
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
 

Abstract

Scientists and journalists have similar, but not identical, interests in getting information about their work to the public in an appealing, but accurate way. The New York Times’ James Gorman will draw on his experience as a science reporter and editor to talk about these common and competing interests and what works in translating technical information for a popular audience.

 ABOUT THE SPEAKER
James Gorman is a science writer at large for The New York Times and the host and writer of the regular video feature “ScienceTake.” He has been at the Times since 1993, as an editor on The New York Times Magazine, deputy science editor, editor of a personal technology section, outdoors columnist, science columnist, and editor of Science Times.

Over the course of his career at the Times and elsewhere, Gorman has written about everything from the invention of flea collars to the nature of consciousness. Most recently he has covered neuroscience and the lives of animals in and out of scientific research.

Before joining the Times, Gorman wrote books on penguins, dinosaurs, the Southern Ocean, and hypochondria. His most recent book is “How to Build a Dinosaur” (published in 2009), written with the paleontologist Jack Horner.

Gorman also writes humor, which he has contributed to The New Yorker, The Atlantic,The New York Times Magazine, and other publications.

Gorman has taught science writing at New York University, Fordham University, and online in Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program. In fall 2011, he was the McGraw Visiting Professor of Writing at Princeton University.

Gorman graduated from Princeton in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature.

Will Evolution and Information Theory Provide the Fundamentals Of Physics?

Speaker: Sylvester James Gates Jr., Ford Foundation Professor of Physics Brown University
When: February 26, 2018, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
266 Fourth St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
 

Abstract

Sylvester James Gates Jr. will describe an arc in his mathematical/theoretical physics research that has traversed concept spaces from equations to graphical imagery, to coding theory error-correction and points toward evidence of an evolution-like process possibly having acted on the mathematical laws that describe reality.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Sylvester James Gates Jr. was appointed Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in 2017. He also holds an appointment in the Department of Mathematics.

Gates first joined the Brown community in fall 2016, as an inaugural Provost Visiting Professor. Earlier, he was Distinguished University Professor, University Regents Professor, John H. Toll Professor of Physics, and Director of the Center for Particle and String Theory at the University of Maryland.

Gates received the 2011 National Medal of Science and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

He served on the Maryland State Board of Education and was a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). As a PCAST member, he was co-chair of the council’s working group on STEM preeminence for the nation. He co-authored a report to the President: ”Prepare and Inspire K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future.”

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talk for nonexpert audiences.

Gates’s lecture is made possible by a collaboration between the College of Computing, the College of Sciences, and the School of Physics.

Binary Neutron Star Merger GW170817: A Multi-Sensory Experience of the Universe

When: Tuesday, February 13, 2018,
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons, 266 4th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

 

 

 

Abstract

August 17, 2017, is a milestone date for astrophysics. For the first time, the LIGO and Virgo gravitational-wave observatories detected signals from the collision of two neutron stars. The powerful event shook space-time and produced a fireball of light and radiation from the formation of heavy elements.

Satellites and observatories all around the world observed the light produced by this event. For the first time, we have measured gravitational waves and light produced in the same astrophysical event.

What this discovery means for astrophysics is equivalent to the difference between looking at a black-and-white photo and watching a 3-D IMAX movie!

The combined information of gravitational waves and light is greater than the sum of its parts. The combination allows us to learn new things about physics, the universe, and what we are made of – and perhaps explain mysteries that continue to emerge. No one has ever been able to do this before!

The historic detection of a cataclysmic celestial collision using signals from multiple messengers signals the era of multi-messenger astrophysics. Discussing the milestone and its implications are School of Physics Professors Laura Cadonati, Nepomuk Otte, and Ignacio Taboada. School of Physics Chair and Professor Pablo Laguna will moderate the discussion. The panel discussion is part of the College of Sciences’ Frontiers in Science Lecture Series.

Laura Cadonati – Panelist Nepomuk Otte – Panelist Ignacio Taboada – Panelist Pablo Laguna – Moderator

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talk for nonexpert audiences.

Einstein’s Cosmos and the Quantum: Origin of Space, Time, and Large-Scale Structure of the Universe

Speaker: Abhay Vasant Ashtekar, Director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Pennsylvania State University
When: November 14, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
266 Fourth St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Abstract

For over two millennia, civilizations have pondered over the questions of cosmogenesis. But serious attempts to address them began only with Einstein’s discovery of general relativity a century ago. Advances over the past 25 years have led to the fascinating conclusion that the large-scale structure of the universe can be traced back to quantum nothingness.

Investigations in quantum gravity are now addressing the issue of the origin of space and time itself, enabling us to peer past the Big Bang. This talk will provide an overview of this saga in terms that are accessible to undergraduates and the general public.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Abhay Vasant Ashtekar is a theoretical physicist. He is the Eberly Professor of Physics and the Director of the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Pennsylvania State University. As the creator of Ashtekar variables, he is one of the founders of loop quantum gravity and its subfield, loop quantum cosmology. He has written a number of descriptions of loop quantum gravity that are accessible to non-physicists.
In 1999, Ashtekar and his colleagues calculated the entropy for a black hole, matching a legendary 1974 prediction by Stephen Hawking. Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose has described Ashtekar’s approach to quantum gravity as “the most important of all the attempts at ‘quantizing’ general relativity.”
About the David Ritz Finkenstein Bold Ideas in Physics Lectures
Lectures in this series celebrate the memory of Georgia Tech physicist David Ritz Finkelstein, who took intellectual risks, avoided safe questions, and instead took on deep and challenging problems of real significance and potential.

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talk for nonexpert audiences.

Making the Invisible Visible: Violence, Compassion, and the Brain

Speaker: Jeremy G. Richman, The Avielle Foundation and Yale School of Medicine
When: October 26, 2017, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Room 152, Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
266 Fourth St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

 

Abstract

Brain science is the least explored of all our sciences. As a result, fear, trepidation, and stigma are associated with the invisible world of brain illnesses (referred to as “mental illnesses”). People are afraid to advocate for themselves and their loved ones to get help in times of need.
But the brain is just another organ, and as such, can be healthy or unhealthy. In this presentation, Jeremy Richman will discuss what is known about risk factors for engaging in violent behavior and protective factors for building connection and compassion. Richman seeks to better understand the neurobiological and environmental factors associated with violence and compassion. The insights from research can be used to teach citizens about how to identify thesigns and symptoms of someone troubled or in crisis; how to responsibly advocate for
those at risk of violence to themselves or others; and most importantly, how to foster kind, healthy, and compassionate individuals and communities.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Jeremy G. Richman is a cofounder and the CEO of the Avielle Foundation. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing
violence and building compassion through neuroscience research, community engagement, and education. Richman is also a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. Richman has extensive research experience, from neuroscience and neuropsychopharmacology, to cardiovascular biology, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, immunology, inflammation, and drug discovery. He is passionate about helping people live happier and healthier lives. Richman is also dedicated to reaching out and educating youth. Most importantly, he believes it is critical to empower youth to advocate for themselves and their peers when it comes to brain health and brain illnesses.

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talk for nonexpert audiences.

How Flamingos Stand on One Leg and Other Reasons to Study Comparative Neuromechanics

Speaker: Young-Hui Chang , Professor of Biological Sciences
Georgia Tech
When: October 19, 2017, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Clary Theater, Bill Moore Student Success Center, 225 North Ave. NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

Light refreshments will be served after the lecture.

Abstract

Visit a flamingo exhibit at any zoo and you are likely to hear a child ask, “Why do flamingos stand one one leg?”

This basic, child-like drive to understand the curiosities of the world is part of human nature, and it is fundamental to science. But asking “why” a flamingo stands on one leg is a difficult and esoteric pursuit. In contrast, trying to understand “how” a flamingo can stand on one leg is directly addressable through physiology, the study of life’s processes. Moreover, gaining knowledge about how a behavior works often leads to important insights on why it persists in nature.

Young-Hui Chang will discuss how neuromechanics is used to distinguish biomechanical and neural mechanisms to inform our understanding of limb control. For example, the recent discovery of a passive biomechanical mechanism in flamingo legs explains how standing on one leg may actually require less neuromuscular effort than standing on two legs.

Chang will also discuss how a comparative approach helped identify a common limb compensation strategy many animals use to control and stabilize locomotion. The basic knowledge gained from comparative neuromechanics research can ultimately be used to better the human condition through development of improved training practices to enhance performance of limb prosthesis users, railroad workers, and even athletes.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Young-Hui Chang is a professor in the School Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech. His research interests lie broadly in studying how humans and other animals use their limbs to control movement. In addition to flamingos, he has had the fortune to work with a variety of animals, including gibbons, vampire bats, elephants, penguins, and horses. Chang also strives to answer societal problems associated with movement control in people with debilitating conditions.

In 2009, he received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for his research related to locomotor compensation in persons with lower-limb amputation.

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

Parking is available in the Visitors Lot on the south side of North Avenue, across Tech Tower.

Scientific Computing for Movies and Beyond

Speaker: Joseph M. Teran, Professor of Applied Mathematics
University of California, Los Angeles
When: Sep. 18, 2017, 6:00 pm
Where: Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture.

 Abstract

Simulations of virtual materials in movie special effects, as well as virtual surgery, require some applications of scientific computing for solid and fluid mechanics problems. Both movie special effects and virtual surgery demand physically realistic dynamics for things like water, smoke, fire, and soft tissues. For these, new algorithms are required. Joseph M. Teran will discuss the simulation techniques required and will share some recent results, such as:

  • simulated surgical repair of biomechanical soft tissues
  • extreme deformation of elastic objects with contact
  • high-resolution incompressible flow
  • clothing and hair dynamics

He will discuss the algorithm used to simulate the dynamics in the Disney animated film “Frozen.”

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Nicholas Hud has devoted much of his research to elucidating the fundamental principles of RNA and DNA assembly. His lab examines how the physical properties of nucleic acids govern biological functions in contemporary life and how these same properties provide clues to the origin and early evolution of life.

ABOUT FRONTIERS IN SCIENCE LECTURES

Joseph M. Teran is a professor of applied mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focus is numerical methods for partial differential equations arising in classical physics, including

  • computational solids and fluids
  • multi-material interactions
  • fracture dynamics
  • computational biomechanics

Exciting applications of his work arise in virtual surgery and movie special effects for Walt Disney Animation.

Teran received a 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation and a 2010 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. In 2008, Discover Magazine named Teran one of the 50 “Best Brains in Science.” 

About Frontiers in Science Lectures

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

Darwin’s Warm Little Pond: Searching for the Chemical Origins of Life

Speaker: Nicholas Hud, Director, Center for Chemical Evolution, Regents Professor, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology
When: Apr. 20, 2017, 7:30 pm
Where: Clary Theater, Bill Moore Student Success Center, 225 North Ave. NW, Atlanta, GA 30332

 

Abstract

Charles Darwin once speculated that biological molecules might spontaneously form in a “warm little pond.” Then he concluded that it was “mere rubbish” to think about the origin of life during his time.

Now, 150 years later, tremendous advances In biology and chemistry have made it possible to explore—using model reactions and genomic data—the chemical origins and early evolution of life.

This combination of bottom-up (chemical) and top-down (biological) approaches to uncovering the origins of life is helping to write the “missing first chapter” of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Nicholas Hud has devoted much of his research to elucidating the fundamental principles of RNA and DNA assembly. His lab examines how the physical properties of nucleic acids govern biological functions in contemporary life and how these same properties provide clues to the origin and early evolution of life.

ABOUT FRONTIERS IN SCIENCE LECTURES

Lectures in this series are intended to inform, engage, and inspire students, faculty, staff, and the public on developments, breakthroughs, and topics of general interest in the sciences and mathematics. Lecturers tailor their talks for nonexpert audiences.

Light refreshments will be served.

Parking is available in the Visitors Lot on the south side of North Avenue, across Tech Tower.