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Events for the 1st week of April

  • CS Colloquium: Ian Miers (Cornell Tech) - Cryptography in context: Bitcoin, breaches, and security in the real world

    Mon, Apr 01, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Ian Miers, Cornell Tech

    Talk Title: Cryptography in context: Bitcoin, breaches, and security in the real world

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: This talk will cover the design, implementation, and deployment of new cryptography to solve security issues that arise in real-world applications. Providing security for practically-deployed systems requires a new approach to cryptography, one that begins with the context in which cryptographic protocols will be used and reasons backwards in order to obtain the necessary security properties. This talk will cover two examples of this approach. First, I will take a detailed look at confidentiality for payments and how to solve the privacy failures of blockchain protocols such as Bitcoin. I will detail the design, implementation, and commercial deployment of Zcash, the first system to offer confidentiality while preserving public verifiability for cryptocurrencies. Next, I will explore cryptography in the context of securing data against breaches, considering the reality that attackers will gain access to cryptographic key material --- thus rendering traditional encryption ineffective. I will show how to use new applications of puncturable encryption to address these vulnerabilities for messaging and device encryption.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium



    Biography: Ian Miers is a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell Tech working on computer security and applied cryptography. His research focuses on making systems secure by exploring cryptography in the context of real world problems. This includes Zerocoin and Zerocash, the first systems to provide strongly confidential payments on top of public blockchains and work improving secure messaging including attacks on Apple's iMessage protocol and new techniques for puncturable forward secure encryption. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Economist, and denounced in at least two editorials. He is one of the founders of Zcash, a privacy preserving cryptocurrency based on Zerocash.

    Host: Muhammad Naveed

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 115

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • ECE Seminar: Towards Embodied Visual Intelligence

    Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dinesh Jayaraman, Postdoctoral Scholar/University of California, Berkeley

    Talk Title: Towards Embodied Visual Intelligence

    Abstract: What would it mean for a machine to see the world? Computer vision has recently made great progress on problems such as finding categories of objects and scenes, and poses of people in images. However, studying such tasks in isolated disembodied contexts, divorced from the physical source of their images, is insufficient to build intelligent visual agents. My research focuses on remarrying vision to action, by asking: how might vision benefit from the ability to act in the world, and vice versa? Could embodied visual agents teach themselves through interaction and experimentation? Are there actions they might perform to improve their visual perception? How might they construct visual plans to achieve long-term action goals? In my talk, I will set up the context for these questions, and cover some strands of my work addressing them, proposing approaches for self-supervised learning through proprioception, visual prediction for decomposing complex control tasks, and active perception. Finally, I will discuss my long-term vision and directions that I hope to work on in the next several years.

    Biography: Dinesh Jayaraman is a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley. He received his PhD from UT Austin (2017) and B. Tech from IIT Madras (2011). His research interests are broadly in computer vision, robotics, and machine learning. In the last few years, he has worked on visual prediction, active perception, self-supervised visual learning, visuo-tactile robotic manipulation, semantic visual attributes, and zero-shot categorization. He has received an ACCV Best Application Paper Award (2016), a Samsung PhD Fellowship (2016), a UT Austin Graduate Dean's Fellowship (2016), and a Microelectronics and Computer Development Fellowship Award (2011). He has published in and reviewed for conferences and journals in computer vision, machine learning, and robotics, received a CVPR Outstanding Reviewer Award (2016), is as an Area Chair for NeurIPS (2018 & 2019).

    Host: Professor Rahul Jain, rahul.jain@usc.edu

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 248

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Mayumi Thrasher

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  • CS Colloquium: Xinyu Wang (UT Austin) - A unified program synthesis framework for automating end-user programming tasks

    Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Xinyu Wang, UT Austing

    Talk Title: A unified program synthesis framework for automating end-user programming tasks

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: Programming has started to become an essential skill for an increasing number of people, including novices without formal programming background. As a result, there is an increasing need for technology that can provide basic programming support to such non-expert computer end-users. Program synthesis, as a technique for automatically generating programs from high-level specifications, has been used to automate real-world programming tasks in a number of application domains (such as spreadsheet programming and data science) that non-expert users struggle with. However, developing specialized synthesizers for these domains is notoriously hard.

    In this talk, I will describe a unified program synthesis framework that can be applied broadly to automating tasks across different application domains. This framework is also efficient and achieves orders of magnitude improvement in terms of synthesis speed compared to existing techniques. In particular, I have used this framework to build synthesizers for three different application domains and achieved up to 450x speed-up compared to state-of-the-art synthesis techniques.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium.

    Biography: Xinyu Wang is a PhD candidate at UT Austin advised by Isil Dillig. He works at the intersection of programming languages, software engineering and formal methods. He is interested in developing foundational program synthesis techniques that are applicable to automating real-world programming tasks.

    Host: Chao Wang

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • Epstein Institute Seminar - ISE 651

    Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 03:30 PM - 04:50 PM

    Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Jian Liu, Associate Professor, University of Arizona

    Talk Title: Functional Data Analytics for Detecting Bursts in Water Distribution Systems

    Host: Dr. Qiang Huang

    More Information: April 2, 2019.pdf

    Location: Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center (GER) - 206

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Grace Owh

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  • Lecture Series with Dr. Andrew Gordon - Playing Story Creation Games With Logical Abduction

    Tue, Apr 02, 2019 @ 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Student Organizations

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Andrew S. Gordon, Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of Interactive Narrative Research at USC ICT

    Talk Title: Playing Story Creation Games With Logical Abduction

    Series: AAAI@USC Lecture Series

    Abstract: Story Creation Games, such as Rory's Story Cubes and the Tell Tale card game, require players to invent creative and coherent narratives from a set of unconnected elements assembled by random chance, e.g., the throw of a die or the draw of a card. Often producing comical and entertaining storylines, these games also demonstrate the remarkable human capacity for sense-making, where one's knowledge and experience is used to explain the co-occurrence of novel combinations of observations. In this talk, I describe our recent efforts to build a computer program that could successfully play story creation games. We view this task as an interpretation problem, where the aim is to identify a coherent narrative where each narrative element plays a structural role. Our approach is to solve this interpretation problem using logical abduction, searching for sets of narrative assumptions that logically entail each of the given narrative elements. The search proceeds by backchaining from narrative elements through a knowledge base of narrative and causal axioms expressed as first-order definite clauses, unifying assumptions wherever possible. After finding connected solutions that entail the given set of narrative elements, the structure of the proof graphs are then used to generate the natural language text representation of the interpretation. In this talk, I demonstrate this approach in generating eight creative narratives given the same set of three Tell Tale cards, depicting a train, a baseball player, and the symbol of a heart. These examples demonstrate that logical abduction is well-suited to this task, but also underscore the enormous knowledge bottleneck that must be overcome to play this game with arbitrary cards. I contrast our approach with recent efforts to generate narrative text using deep neural networks trained with narrative corpora, and discuss whether these approaches fundamentally change the nature of this knowledge bottleneck.

    RSVP: https://forms.gle/FXMS1nJ8W3oqveYv8


    Biography: Andrew S. Gordon is Research Associate Professor of Computer Science and Director of Interactive Narrative Research at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. His research advances technologies for automatically analyzing and generating narrative interpretations of experiences. A central aim of his research is the large-scale formalization of commonsense knowledge, and reasoning with these formalizations using logical abduction. He is the author of the 2004 book "Strategy Representation: An Analysis of Planning Knowledge," and the 2017 book "A Formal Theory of Commonsense Psychology: How People Think People Think" (with Jerry R. Hobbs). He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from Northwestern University.

    Host: AAAI@USC

    Location: Seeley G. Mudd Building (SGM) - 124

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: AAAI@USC

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  • Philadelphia, PA - Admitted Student Reception

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    These Admitted Student Programs, hosted by the Undergraduate Admission Office, provide admitted students and their families an opportunity to meet admission counselors, representatives from academic departments, alumni, and you will have the opportunity to meet other admitted students from your local area. Viterbi and University Admission counselors will be there to answer any questions you might have, tell you more about campus life and your specific academic program, and welcome you to the Trojan Family. The program will last approximately two hours.

    We love seeing our newly admitted students in person! if you live in or near a city we will be visiting, we encourage you to join us!

    Once admitted, students can find the RSVP link in their USC Applicant Portal.

    Audiences: Admitted Students & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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  • Spring 2019 ITP Open House

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 09:30 AM - 11:30 AM

    Information Technology Program (ITP)

    Workshops & Infosessions


    All current and prospective students are invited to attend. Learn about our classes, ask questions about our minor programs, and meet our faculty.

    We'll have snacks from Porto's Bakery to enjoy with coffee and tea, and advisers will be available to answer questions about course planning and how to declare minors! Stop by whenever you are able to. No RSVP required.

    More Information: Spring 2019 ITP Open Houses.pdf

    Location: Waite Phillips Hall Of Education (WPH) - 205

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Tim Gotimer

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  • PhD Defense - Shahrzad Gholami

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Science

    University Calendar


    Ph.D. Defense - Shahrzad Gholami
    Wed, April 3, 2019
    10:30 AM - 12:00 Noon
    Location: EEB 132

    Title:
    Predicting and Planning against Real-world Adversaries: An End-to-end Pipeline to Combat Illegal Wildlife Poachers on a Global Scale

    PhD Candidate: Shahrzad Gholami
    Date, Time, and Location: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at 10:30 am in EEB 132
    Committee: Prof. Milind Tambe (chair), Prof. Aram Galstyan, and Prof. Emilio Ferrara, Prof. Richard John, Prof. Sze-Chuan Suen

    Abstract:

    Security is a global concern and a unifying theme in various security projects is strategic reasoning where the mathematical framework of machine learning and game theory can be integrated and applied. For example, in the environmental sustainability domain, the problem of protecting endangered wildlife from attacks (i.e., poachers' strikes) can be abstracted as a game between defender(s) and attacker(s). Applying previous research on security games to sustainability domains (denoted as Green Security Games) introduce several novel challenges that I address in my thesis to create computationally feasible and accurate algorithms in order to model complex adversarial behavior based on the real-world data and to generate optimal defender strategy. My thesis provides four main contributions to the emerging body of research in using machine learning and game theory framework for the fundamental challenges existing in the environmental sustainability domain, namely (i) novel spatio-temporal and uncertainty-aware machine learning models for complex adversarial behavior based on the imperfect real-world data, (ii) the first large-scale field test evaluation of the machine learning models in the adversarial settings concerning the environmental sustainability, (iii) a novel multi-expert online learning model for constrained patrol planning, and (iv) the first game theoretical model to generate optimal defender strategy against collusive adversaries. In regard to the first contribution, I developed bounded rationality models for adversaries based on the real-world data that account for the naturally occurring uncertainty in past attack evidence collected by defenders. To that end, I proposed two novel predictive behavioral models, which I improved progressively. The second major contribution of my thesis is a large-scale field test evaluation of the proposed adversarial behavior model beyond the laboratory. Particularly, my thesis is motivated by the challenges in wildlife poaching, where I directed the defenders (i.e., rangers) to the hotspots of adversaries that they would have missed. During these experiments across multiple vast national parks, several snares and snared animals were detected, and poachers were arrested, potentially more wildlife saved. The algorithm I proposed, that combines machine learning and game-theoretic patrol planning is planned to be deployed at 600 national parks around the world in the near future to combat poaching. The third contribution in my thesis introduces a novel multi-expert online learning model for constrained and randomized patrol planning, which benefits from several expert planners where insufficient or imperfect historical records of past attacks are available to learn adversarial behavior. The final contribution of my thesis is developing an optimal solution against collusive adversaries in security games assuming both rational and boundedly rational adversaries. I conducted human subject experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk involving 700 human subjects using a web-based game that simulates collusive security games.

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Lizsl De Leon

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  • CS Colloquium: Mukund Raghothaman (University of Pennsylvania) - Precise Program Reasoning using Probabilistic Methods

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Mukund Raghothaman, University of Pennsylvania

    Talk Title: Precise Program Reasoning using Probabilistic Methods

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: The enormous rise in the scale, scope, and complexity of software projects has created a thriving marketplace for program analysis and verification tools. Despite routine adoption by industry, developing such tools remains challenging, and their designers must carefully balance tradeoffs between false alarms, missed bugs, and scalability to large codebases. Furthermore, when tools fail to verify some program property, they only provide coarse estimates of alarm relevance, potential severity, and of the likelihood of being a real bug, thereby limiting their usefulness in software projects with large teams.

    I will present a framework that extends contemporary program reasoning systems with rich probabilistic models. These models emerge naturally from the program structure, and probabilistic inference refines the deductive process of the underlying system. In experiments with large programs, such probabilistic graphical representations of program structure enable an order-of-magnitude reduction in false alarm rates and invocations of expensive reasoning engines such as SMT solvers.

    To the analysis user, these techniques offer a lens by which to focus their attention on the most important alarms and a uniform method for the tool to interactively generalize from human feedback. To the analysis designer, they offer novel opportunities to leverage data-driven approaches in analysis design. And to researchers, they offer new challenges while performing inference in models of unprecedented size. I will conclude by describing how these ideas promise to underpin the next generation of intelligent programming systems, with applications in diverse areas such as program synthesis, differentiable programming, and fault localization in complex systems.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium.

    Biography: Mukund Raghothaman is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. His research spans the areas of programming languages, software verification, and program synthesis, with the ultimate goal to help programmers create better software with less effort. He previously obtained a Ph.D. in 2017, also from the University of Pennsylvania, where he developed programming abstractions for data stream processing systems.

    Host: Jyotirmoy Deshmukh

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 109

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • AME Department Laufer Lecture

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Bala Balachandran, University of Maryland

    Talk Title: Nonlinear Dynamics with Noise

    Abstract: Nonlinearity influenced dynamics occurs in a variety of mechanical and structural systems. For operations of many of these systems, noise is often viewed as being undesirable. However, the interplay between noise and nonlinearity in a system can result in significant response changes that can be beneficial to a systems performance. In this spirit, the work carried out to further our understanding on the constructive use of noise in a nonlinear system to realize noise-enhanced responses, noise-enabled stabilization, and noise-assisted response steering will be discussed. Efforts undertaken with partial control will be discussed. Representative physical systems that will be considered include coupled oscillator arrays at the micro-scale and macro-scale, flexible rotor systems, and pendulum systems. The findings of these studies are expected to be relevant to a variety of different nonlinear, mechanical and structural systems. Some thoughts on future directions in the realm of applied nonlinear dynamics will be presented to close the talk.

    Bala Balachandran received his B. Tech (Naval Architecture) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, M.S. (Aerospace Engineering) from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA and Ph.D. (Engineering Mechanics) from Virginia Tech. Currently, he is a Minta Martin Professor of Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he has been since 1993. His research interests include nonlinear phenomena, dynamics and vibrations, and control. The publications that he has authored/co-authored include over ninety journal publications, a Wiley textbook entitled Applied Nonlinear Dynamics: Analytical, Computational, and Experimental Methods (1995, 2006), a third edition of a textbook entitled Vibrations (2019) by Cambridge University Press, and a co-edited Springer book entitled Delay Differential Equations: Recent Advances and New Directions (2009). He holds four U.S. patents and one Japan patent, three related to fiber optic sensors and two related to atomic force microscopy. He is a Contributing Editor of the International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics and the Editor of the ASME Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics. He is a Fellow of ASME and AIAA.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2019
    Reception at 12:00 NOON
    Seminar Immediately Following
    The Franklin Suite, Third Floor of Tutor Campus Center

    Host: AME Department

    Location: Franklin Suite, 3rd floor, Tutor Campus Center

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Tessa Yao

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  • Viterbi Keynote Lecture

    Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Leonard Kleinrock, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science/University of California, Los Angeles

    Talk Title: On Some of My Simple Results

    Series: Viterbi Lecture

    Abstract: A number of interesting problems that I have addressed over the years which
    yielded surprisingly simple results will be presented. Many of these had intuitively
    pleasing interpretations or especially simple proofs and/or insights.

    Biography: Professor Leonard Kleinrock is Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at UCLA.
    He is considered a father of the Internet, having developed the mathematical theory of
    packet networks, the technology underpinning the Internet as an MIT graduate student
    in 1962. His UCLA Host computer became the first node of the Arpanet, predecessor
    of the Internet, in 1969 and it was from his lab that he directed the transmission of the
    first Internet message in October, 1969. Kleinrock received the 2007 National Medal
    of Science, the highest honor for achievement in science bestowed by the President of
    the United States.

    Leonard Kleinrock received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1963. He has served as Professor of
    Computer Science at UCLA since then, and was department Chairman from 1991-1995.
    He received a BEE degree from CCNY in 1957 (Evening Session) and an MS degree from
    MIT in 1959. He has received eight honorary degrees, has published over 250 papers,
    authored six books, and has supervised the research for 50 Ph.D. students.

    Professor Kleinrock is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American
    Academy of Arts and Sciences, is an IEEE fellow, an ACM fellow, an INFORMS fellow,
    an IEC fellow, an inaugural member of the Internet Hall of Fame, a Guggenheim fellow,
    and an Eminent member of Eta Kappa Nu. Among his many honors, he is the recipient
    of the National Medal of Science, the Ericsson Prize, the NAE Draper Prize, the Marconi
    Prize, the Dan David Prize, the Okawa Prize, the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award,
    the ORSA Lanchester Prize, the ACM SIGCOMM Award, the IEEE Leonard G. Abraham
    Prize Paper Award, the IEEE Harry M. Goode Award and the IEEE Alexander Graham
    Bell Medal.

    Host: Richard Leahy, leahy@sipi.usc.edu

    More Info: https://bluejeans.com/734846093

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Mayumi Thrasher

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  • Washington, DC - Admitted Student Reception

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    These Admitted Student Programs, hosted by the Undergraduate Admission Office, provide admitted students and their families an opportunity to meet admission counselors, representatives from academic departments, alumni, and you will have the opportunity to meet other admitted students from your local area. Viterbi and University Admission counselors will be there to answer any questions you might have, tell you more about campus life and your specific academic program, and welcome you to the Trojan Family. The program will last approximately two hours.

    We love seeing our newly admitted students in person! if you live in or near a city we will be visiting, we encourage you to join us!

    Once admitted, students can find the RSVP link in their USC Applicant Portal.

    Audiences: Admitted Students & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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  • CS Colloquium: Yixin Sun (Princeton University) - Providing secure Internet services with insecure infrastructure

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 09:30 AM - 10:30 AM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Yixin Sun, Princeton University

    Talk Title: Providing secure Internet services with insecure infrastructure

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: The insecurity of Internet services can lead to disastrous consequences -“ confidential communications can be monitored, financial information can be stolen, and our critical Internet infrastructure can be crippled. However, many prior works on Internet services only focus on the security of an individual network layer in isolation, whereas the adversaries do quite the opposite -“ they look for opportunities to exploit the interactions across heterogeneous components and layers to compromise the system security. This gap leaves the privacy and security of billions of users as well as our critical infrastructure at risk.
    I aim to bridge this gap to build privacy-preserving and secure Internet services. In this talk, I will focus on two Internet services, the Tor network and the Public Key Infrastructure. I have uncovered new vulnerabilities in these services by taking a cross-layer approach to exploit the interdependencies across different network layers. I have demonstrated attacks in the wild (ethically) to evaluate the real effects of vulnerabilities. Consequently, I have built practical defenses that have received real-world deployment by the Tor Project which serves millions of users, and Let's Encrypt which is the world's largest Certificate Authority that has issued hundreds of millions of digital certificates.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium.

    Biography: Yixin Sun is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Princeton University. Her research focuses on building privacy-preserving and secure networked systems. She received the Information Controls Fellowship from the Open Technology Fund, the SEAS Award for Excellence from Princeton, and the EECS rising star from MIT. Throughout her career, Yixin has collaborated with many industrial labs and non-profit organizations, such as the Tor Project, Let's Encrypt, Verisign Labs, NEC Labs and International Computer Science Institute (ICSI). Previously, Yixin received her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Virginia.


    Host: Muhammad Naveed

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 109

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • ECE Seminar: Rethinking the Hardware-Software Contract: Enabling Practical and General Cross-Layer Optimizations

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Nandita Vijaykumar, PhD Candidate/Carnegie Mellon University

    Talk Title: Rethinking the Hardware-Software Contract: Enabling Practical and General Cross-Layer Optimizations

    Abstract: Layered abstractions in the computing stack are critical to building complex systems, but the existing *interfaces* between layers restrict what can be done at each level. Enhancing cross-layer interfaces--specifically, the hardware-software interface--is crucial towards addressing two important and hard-to-solve challenges in computer systems today: First, significant effort and expertise are required to write high-performance code that harnesses the full potential of today's diverse and sophisticated hardware. Second, as a hardware or system designer, architecting faster and more efficient systems is challenging as the vast majority of the program's semantic content and programmer intent gets lost in translation with today's hardware-software interface. Moving towards the future, these challenges in programmability and efficiency will be even more intractable as we architect increasingly heterogeneous and sophisticated systems.

    In this talk, I will highlight my work [ISCA'15, MICRO'16, ISCA'18, ISCA'18] on how to design rich cross-layer abstractions that provide layered interfaces to directly communicate higher-level program semantics and intent from the application to the lower levels of the stack. In doing so, we can effectively bridge the so-called "semantic gap" between applications and computer systems, and enable a wide range of cross-layer optimizations in future systems with a single unifying interface. I will discuss how cross-layer approaches with these abstractions can significantly enhance (1) performance and efficiency by enabling the system to adapt to application characteristics and (2) programmability and portability by enabling application software to easily leverage diverse underlying hardware resources without specific knowledge of system details. For example, daunting aspects of programming GPUs can be made much simpler with a rich cross-layer programming abstraction. I will describe how such abstractions can be designed to be highly practical and low-overhead, requiring only small additions to existing abstractions.

    Biography: Nandita Vijaykumar is a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, advised by Prof. Onur Mutlu and Prof. Phillip Gibbons. She is also currently a visiting student at ETH Zurich. Her research focuses on the interaction between programming models, system software, and hardware architecture in an increasingly diverse compute landscape, with a focus on memory systems and modern accelerators like GPUs. She is excited about enabling cross-layer full-stack solutions to make future systems highly efficient and easy-to-program. She is the recipient of the Benjamin Garver Lamme/Westinghouse Fellowship at CMU. During her Ph.D., she has been fortunate to intern at Microsoft Research, Nvidia Research, and Intel Labs.

    Host: Professor Xuehai Qian, xuehai.qian@usc.edu

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Mayumi Thrasher

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  • AME Seminar

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Nima Fazeli, MIT

    Talk Title: Towards Robotic Manipulation, Understanding the World Through Contact

    Abstract: Why is robotic manipulation so hard? As humans, we are unrivaled in our ability to dexterously manipulate objects and exhibit complex skills seemingly effortlessly. Recent research in cognitive science suggests that this ability is driven by our internal representations of the physical world, built over a life-time of experience. Our predictive ability is complemented by our senses of sight and touch, intuitive state-estimation, and tactile dexterity. Given the complexity of human reasoning, skill, and hardware, it is not surprising that we have yet to replicate our abilities in robots. In order to bridge this gap, we must develop robotic systems that build their understanding and interpretation of the physical world through contact. Using experiments as tools, these Galilean Robots will distill their experiences into models of the physical world.

    In this talk, I will present some of my work spanning the spectrum of analytical to fully data driven methodologies for model building and inference through contact. I believe that Galilean Robots need to master tools from this spectrum for intelligent and dexterous manipulation. First, I will discuss a methodology for the inference of contact forces and system parameters of rigid bodies systems making and breaking contact. I will then touch on data augmented contact models for controls as a medium between analytical and data driven techniques. I will show how a robot can learn the physics of playing Jenga using a hierarchical learning methodology purely from data. I will conclude the talk by providing perspectives on building Galilean Robotic systems that embody intelligent manipulation.

    Nima Fazeli is a PhD student with the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, working with Prof. Alberto Rodriguez. His research focuses on enabling intelligent and dexterous robotic manipulation by developing novel tools combining analytical methods, machine learning, and cognition/AI. During his PhD, Nima has developed inference algorithms for robotic systems undergoing frictional contact, performed empirical evaluations of contact models, demonstrated data-augmented contact models for manipulation, and developed a robotic system capable of learning the physics of playing Jenga using a hierarchical learning methodology. Nima received his masters from the University of Maryland at College Park where he spent most of his time developing analytical and data-driven models of the human (and, on occasion, swine) arterial tree together with novel inference algorithms to diagnoses cardiovascular diseases. His research has been supported by the Rohsenow Fellowship and featured in outlets such as CBS, CNN, and the BBC. He looks forward to robots playing and learning alongside his grandchildren.

    Thursday, April 4, 2019
    11:00 AM
    The Laufer Library (RRB 208)
    Refreshments will be served at 10:45 AM.

    Host: AME Department

    Location: Robert Glen Rapp Engineering Research Building (RRB) - 208 (Laufer Library)

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Tessa Yao

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  • Individual Grammar Tutorials

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Student Affairs

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Viterbi graduate and undergraduate students are invited to sign up for individual grammar assistance from professors at the Engineering Writing Program. Sign up for one-on-one individual sessions here: http://bit.ly/grammaratUSC

    Questions? Email helenhch@usc.edu

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 106

    Audiences: Graduate and Undergraduate Students

    Posted By: Helen Choi

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  • CS Colloquium: Amy Babay (Johns Hopkins University) - Dependable Systems and Networks for a Complex World

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Science

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Amy Babay, Johns Hopkins University

    Talk Title: Dependable Systems and Networks for a Complex World

    Series: CS Colloquium

    Abstract: As our world grows more complex, the expectations we place on the networked systems running our society's infrastructure grow more demanding. In this talk, I will discuss two types of emerging demands and present infrastructure systems we have developed to meet those demands. The first part of the talk will focus on the demanding performance requirements brought by emerging highly interactive applications such as remote robotic manipulation, remote surgery, and collaborative virtual reality. These applications require communication that is both timely and highly reliable, but the Internet natively supports only communication that is either completely reliable with no timeliness guarantees (e.g. TCP) or timely with only best-effort reliability (e.g. UDP). We present an overlay transport service that can provide highly reliable communication while meeting the stringent timeliness requirements of these applications. The second part of the talk will address the demanding security and resilience needs of critical infrastructure services, in particular SCADA systems for the power grid, that are increasingly becoming exposed to malicious attacks. I will present our work building Spire, the first intrusion-tolerant SCADA system for the power grid that is resilient to both system-level compromises and sophisticated network-level attacks.

    This lecture satisfies requirements for CSCI 591: Research Colloquium.

    Biography: Amy Babay recently completed her PhD in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, where she was a member of the Distributed Systems and Networks Lab. Her research focuses on enabling new Internet services with demanding performance requirements and on building dependable critical infrastructure systems. Prior to starting her PhD, she gained experience with global overlay networks in the commercial world, working at LTN Global Communications. She is currently working to advance some of her research toward commercialization at Spread Concepts LLC.

    Host: Ramesh Govindan

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 132

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • Astronautical, Aerospace, and Mechanical Engineering Alumni & Industry Spotlight

    Thu, Apr 04, 2019 @ 07:00 PM - 08:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Career Connections

    Workshops & Infosessions


    The Viterbi Industry & Alumni Spotlight is a great opportunity for you to connect with USC alumni and industry professionals that have been in your shoes. They will share their experiences on how they got to where they are in their career and offer words of wisdom along the way. This is an undergraduate only event.

    Location: Seeley G. Mudd Building (SGM) - 101

    Audiences: Undergrad

    Posted By: RTH 218 Viterbi Career Connections

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  • Second International Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Blockchain 2019, FAB'19

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019

    Computer Science

    Receptions & Special Events


    FAB 2019 is a symposium in the emerging area of blockchain technology and its applications. It brings together blockchain researchers and practitioners from academia and industry to share results and exchange experiences. This one-day event is held at the beautiful campus of the University of Southern California.

    The symposium features an exciting program of four peer-reviewed papers from premier institutions around the world, keynotes from academia and industry, and a timely panel on the future of blockchain. See https://scfab.github.io/2019/schedule.html for the detailed program.

    The registration site for FAB 2019 is now open, visit https://scfab.github.io/2019/registration.html to register.

    Please note that in order to attend, you must be registered.

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) -

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Assistant to CS chair

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  • Women in Engineering Student-Faculty Networking Lunch

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering Student Affairs

    Student Activity


    The Women in Engineering Student-Faculty Networking Lunch provides an opportunity for female engineering students to learn more about Viterbi faculty including their background, research, passion for engineering, and more!

    Location: Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (MCB) - 101

    Audiences: Invited Guests

    Posted By: Monica De Los Santos

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  • W.V.T. RUSCH ENGINEERING HONORS COLLOQUIUM

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM

    USC Viterbi School of Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Scott Huennekens, (Retired) President & CEO, Verb Surgical Inc.

    Talk Title: Technical Medicine: The Future of Surgical Robotics

    Host: EHP and Dr. Prata

    Location: Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center (SAL) - 101

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Amanda McCraven

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  • Viterbi Career and Internship Boot Camp

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 01:00 PM - 04:15 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Career Connections

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Viterbi Career Connections would like to invite you to attend our Career & Internship Boot Camp on Friday, April 5th, from 1:00 pm- 4:15 pm.

    The purpose of this one-day boot camp is to provide you with resources to understand the career development process and provide you with practical tools for your job search. During Boot Camp, you will:

    - Create a Career Action Plan tailored to your specific needs
    - Identify resources to help you land your next position
    - Learn how to keep yourself motivated throughout the job search process

    Click Here to Register for New Grad Boot Camp: https://usc.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_doPRpazFQ3abn01

    Any questions? Call 213.740.9677 or e-mail vcareers@usc.edu.

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 526

    Audiences: All Viterbi Students

    Posted By: RTH 218 Viterbi Career Connections

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  • Mahsa Shoaran Seminar - Friday, April 5th @ 2PM in EEB 248

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Mahsa Shoaran, Cornell University

    Talk Title: Ultra-Low-Power Neural Interfaces: from Monitoring to Diagnosis and Therapy

    Abstract: Implantable and wearable medical devices are increasingly being developed as alternative therapies for intractable diseases. In particular, undertreated neurological disorders such as epilepsy, migraine, and Alzheimer's disease are of major public health concern around the world, driving the need to explore such new approaches. Despite significant advances in neural interface systems, the small number of recording channels in existing technology remains a barrier to their therapeutic potential. This is mainly due to the fact that simultaneous recording from a large number of electrodes imposes stringent energy and area constraints on the integrated circuits that interface with these electrodes. In this talk, I will first discuss an efficient compressive sensing framework for multichannel cortical implants. Next, I will present the design of our sub-microwatt per channel closed-loop seizure control device and both its in-vivo and offline performance. I will then discuss our latest work on the integration of machine learning algorithms for on-chip classification of neural data. Finally, I will give examples of how these results may be used towards designing new devices, to enhance the lives of millions of people suffering from disabling neurological conditions in future.

    Biography: Mahsa Shoaran is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to joining Cornell, she was a postdoctoral fellow in Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She received her PhD from EPFL in 2015 and her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Sharif University of Technology. Her research interests broadly include circuit, system, and algorithm design for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Mahsa is a recipient of the 2019 Google Faculty Research Award, the Early and Advanced Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships, and the NSF Award for Young Professionals Contributing to Smart and Connected Health. She was named a Rising Star in EECS by MIT in 2015.

    Host: ECE-Electrophysics

    Location: Hughes Aircraft Electrical Engineering Center (EEB) - 248

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Marilyn Poplawski

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  • 2019 Eberhardt Rechtin Lecture

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Juan Perez, Chief Information & Chief Engineering Officer, UPS

    Talk Title: IE + IT, A Match Made for Innovation

    Host: Daniel J. Epstein Dept. of Industrial & Systems Engineering

    More Information: Rechtin Lecture_Juan Perez bio.pdf

    Location: Radisson Midcity Hotel (RMH) - Center Ballroom

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Grace Owh

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  • Astronautical Engineering Seminar

    Fri, Apr 05, 2019 @ 03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

    Astronautical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Stephanie A. Coronel, Sandia National Laboratories

    Talk Title: Ignition Dynamics of Reactive Gaseous Mixtures

    Abstract: The study of ignition dynamics is important for a wide range of safety,environmental, and transportation applications. This talkpresentsexperimental and numerical investigations of the processes leading to ignition of reactive gaseous mixturesin the presence of ignition sources-”specifically, hot surfaces and compressive devices. Anovel experimental techniqueis presented whichgeneratesrepeatable high-temperature particles that can be injected intoa reactive environment. An interferometer that makes useof large-angle dual birefringent prisms performshigh-speed temperature imaging of the particle injection and subsequent ignition and flamepropagation of the reactive gas. The interferometer is a combination ofa differential and Mach-Zehnder interferometer and is highly stable in aninfinite fringe configuration. Numerical workanalyzesthechemical kinetics of a reactive gaseous mixture adjacent to a hot surface.A simplified expression of the thermal boundary layer growth is presentedbased on a variation of the Rayleigh problem; the use of a simplifiedexpression rather than three-dimensional calculations allows us to use adetailed chemical kinetic mechanism to simulate the chemistry while stillsaving on computational cost. Lastly, a novel experimentfor compression ignition testing of reactive gasis described. The experiment makesuse of a water column rather than a solid piston to compress a pocket ofreactive gas. The compression process leads to the formation of a multi-phase mixture consisting of reactive gas, water droplets, and water vapordue to the development of Richtmyer-Meshkovand Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities. Hydrocarbon-air and hydrogen-oxygenreactive mixtures are used in these investigations to simulate potentialexplosion hazards in the aviation and nuclear sectors.

    Biography: Stephanie Coronel is a postdoctoral appointee at Sandia NationalLaboratories working in the Energetic Materials Dynamic & Reactive Science Department. Her research broadly focuses on abnormal thermal response of energetic materials as well as diagnostic development. Prior tojoining Sandia, she was a postdoctoral scholar at GALCIT (Caltech). She received her Ph.D. in Aeronautics from Caltech in 2016, where she workedfor Professor Joseph E. Shepherd on experimental combustion in the Explosion Dynamics Laboratory. She received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2009 and an M.S. inAeronautics from Caltech in 2010. Her Ph.D. research focused on experimental and numerical ignition in thermal boundarylayers.

    Host: Dan Erwin

    More Information: StephanieCoronel-Seminar-2019-04-05.pdf

    Location: Vivian Hall of Engineering (VHE) - 217

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Dan Erwin

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  • Boston, MA - HS Junior Program

    Sat, Apr 06, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    Join the Viterbi Admission Team - along with the USC Admission & Financial Aid staff - at the Discover USC Program. This program is perfect for high school juniors who want to get to know USC and the Viterbi School of Engineering a little better.

    Discover USC is a 2-hour info session that will cover: the USC Application Process, Financial Aid, Life on Campus, Plus, an Engineering Session!

    RSVP links will be provided by USC Admission as they become available here.

    Audiences: Prospective Juniors & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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  • Dallas, TX - HS Junior Program

    Sat, Apr 06, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    Join the Viterbi Admission Team - along with the USC Admission & Financial Aid staff - at the Discover USC Program. This program is perfect for high school juniors who want to get to know USC and the Viterbi School of Engineering a little better.

    Discover USC is a 2-hour info session that will cover: the USC Application Process, Financial Aid, Life on Campus, Plus, an Engineering Session!

    RSVP links will be provided by USC Admission as they become available here.

    Audiences: Prospective Juniors & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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  • Boston, MA - Admitted Student Reception

    Sat, Apr 06, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    These Admitted Student Programs, hosted by the Undergraduate Admission Office, provide admitted students and their families an opportunity to meet admission counselors, representatives from academic departments, alumni, and you will have the opportunity to meet other admitted students from your local area. Viterbi and University Admission counselors will be there to answer any questions you might have, tell you more about campus life and your specific academic program, and welcome you to the Trojan Family. The program will last approximately two hours.

    We love seeing our newly admitted students in person! if you live in or near a city we will be visiting, we encourage you to join us!

    Once admitted, students can find the RSVP link in their USC Applicant Portal.

    Audiences: Admitted Students & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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  • Dallas, TX - Admitted Student Reception

    Sat, Apr 06, 2019

    Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Admission

    University Calendar


    These Admitted Student Programs, hosted by the Undergraduate Admission Office, provide admitted students and their families an opportunity to meet admission counselors, representatives from academic departments, alumni, and you will have the opportunity to meet other admitted students from your local area. Viterbi and University Admission counselors will be there to answer any questions you might have, tell you more about campus life and your specific academic program, and welcome you to the Trojan Family. The program will last approximately two hours.

    We love seeing our newly admitted students in person! if you live in or near a city we will be visiting, we encourage you to join us!

    Once admitted, students can find the RSVP link in their USC Applicant Portal.

    Audiences: Admitted Students & Family Members

    Posted By: Viterbi Admission

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