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Events for the 5th week of September

  • Fall 2019 Joint CSC@USC/CommNetS-MHI Seminar Series

    Mon, Sep 30, 2019 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Eva Kanso, University of Southern California

    Talk Title: Sea Star Inspired Crawling and Bouncing

    Abstract: The oral surface of sea stars is lined with arrays of tube feet that enable them to achieve highly controlled locomotion on various terrains. The activity of the tube feet is orchestrated by a nerve net that is distributed throughout the body; there is no central brain. How such a decentralized nervous system produces a coordinated locomotion is yet to be understood. We developed mathematical models of the biomechanics of the tube feet and the sea star body. In the model, the feet are coupled mechanically through their structural connection to the sea star body. We formulated hierarchical control laws that capture salient features of the sea star nervous system. Namely, at the tube foot level, the power and recovery strokes follow a state-dependent feedback controller. At the system level, a directionality command is communicated through the ring and radial nerves to all tube feet. We studied the locomotion gaits afforded by this hierarchical control system. We found that these minimally-coupled tube feet coordinate to generate robust forward locomotion, reminiscent of the crawling motion of sea stars, on various terrains and under various heterogeneity in the tube feet parameters and initial conditions. Our model also predicted a transition from crawling to bouncing consistent with our experiments performed on Protoreaster nodosus. We conclude by commenting on the implications of these findings for understanding the Echinoderms decentralized nervous system and their potential application to autonomous robotic systems.

    Biography: Eva Kanso is a professor, and the Zohrab H. Kaprielian Fellow, in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). Prior to joining USC, Kanso held a two-year postdoctoral position in Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering as well as an M.A. degree in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. She got her Bachelor of Engineering from the American University of Beirut with distinction. At USC, Kanso studies the physics of how organisms interact with their environments. Kanso combines methods from fluid and solid mechanics with techniques from dynamical systems and control theory to analyze the interplay between the morphology of living systems and the environment to produce biological functions.



    Host: Urbashi Mitra, ubli@usc.edu

    More Info: http://csc.usc.edu/seminars/2019Fall/kanso.html

    More Information: 190930_Eva Kanso_CSC Seminar.pdf

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

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Brienne Moore

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  • Viterbi Impact Program (VIP) Speaker - Los Angeles Public Library, Exploration & Creativity Dept.

    Mon, Sep 30, 2019 @ 05:00 PM - 06:00 PM

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Diane Olivo-Posner, Principal Librarian/Associate Director, and Vivienne Byrd, Lead on Full STEAM Ahead & Citizen Science Initiative from the Los Angeles Public Library will be here sharing valuable insights, and to discuss the role Los Angeles Public Library plays in serving the Los Angeles community. They will also be sharing opportunities available through the DTLA Mini Maker Faire both as Makers or as volunteers.

    VIP Speaker Session -“ Vivienne Byrd and Diane Olivo-Posner
    Los Angeles Public Library
    Exploration & Creativity Dept.
    Date: Monday, September 30th, 2019
    Time: 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall (RTH) 211
    FREE FOOD

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 211

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Myra Fernandez

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  • WIE Dinner and Discover - Resume Workshop

    Mon, Sep 30, 2019 @ 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM

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

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Come and enjoy dinner and have your RESUME in order before the Viterbi Career and Internship Fair! Join Viterbi Women in Engineeering (WIE) and representatives from the Career Center for the first segment of our Dinner and Discover Workshop Series!

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

    Audiences: Undergraduate and graduate students.

    Posted By: Monica De Los Santos

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  • USC Graduate Engineering Info Session: Ankara

    Mon, Sep 30, 2019 @ 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Graduate Admission

    Workshops & Infosessions



    Candidates with a strong academic background and a Bachelor's degree (or those in the process of earning a Bachelor's degree) in engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, or physical science (such as physics, biology, or chemistry) are welcome to attend this session to learn more about applying to graduate engineering programs at the University of Southern California. Attendees will also receive an application fee waiver.

    Topics covered:

    Master's & Ph.D. Programs in engineering and computer science
    How to Apply
    Scholarships and Funding
    Student Life at USC and in Los Angeles
    Application Tips

    There will also be suffucient time for questions during the information session.
    Register Here

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: USC Viterbi Graduate Programs

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  • ISE 651 - Epstein Seminar

    Tue, Oct 01, 2019 @ 03:30 PM - 04:50 PM

    Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Lei Zuo, Professor and Director, Virginia Tech

    Talk Title: Energy Harvesting: From Self-Powered Sensing and Control to Blue Energy and Advanced Manufacturing

    Host: Prof. Yong Chen

    More Information: October 1, 2019.pdf

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

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Grace Owh

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  • PhD Defense - Anil Ramakrishna

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Computer Science

    University Calendar


    PhD Candidate: Anil Ramakrishna

    Committee:
    Shri Narayanan (chair)
    Aiichiro Nakano
    Morteza Dehghani

    Location: RTH 320
    Time: October 2nd, 12 pm.

    Title: Computational Models for Multidimensional Annotations of Affect

    Abstract: Affect is an integral aspect of human psychology, it acts as a regulator for all our interactions with external stimuli. Affect includes several related concepts such as sentiment, emotion as well as as higher order constructs such as mood and humor. By its nature, it is highly subjective, with different stimuli leading to different responses in people due to varying personal and cultural artifacts. For example, a specific image or audio clip may evoke different emotions in people depending on their personality. Computational modeling of affective dimensions is an important problem in Artificial Intelligence (AI). It covers a variety of tasks such as sentiment analysis, emotion recognition and opinion mining, which often involve supervised training of models using a large number of labeled data instances. However, training labels are difficult to obtain due to the inherent subjectivity of these constructs. Typical approaches to obtain the training labels include collecting opinions from expert or naive annotators, followed by a suitable aggregation.
    In this dissertation, we will present our contributions towards building computational models for noisy annotations of affect, specifically in the aggregation of multidimensional annotations. We propose latent variable models to capture annotator behaviors using additive Gaussian noise and matrix factorization, leading to more accurate estimates of the underlying ground truth. We then apply the joint matrix factorization model to the task of sentence level estimation of psycholinguistic normatives. Finally, we highlight our ongoing efforts in estimating agreement on multidimensional annotations.

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 320

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Lizsl De Leon

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  • Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet of Things and Ming Hsieh Institute Seminar

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Sanjay Shakkottai, The University of Texas at Austin

    Talk Title: Hyper-parameter Tuning for ML Models: A Monte-Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) Approach

    Series: Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet of Things

    Abstract: We study the application of online learning techniques in the context of hyper-parameter tuning, which is of growing importance in general machine learning. Modern neural networks have several tunable parameters, where training for even one such parameter configuration can take several hours to days. We first cast hyper-parameter tuning as optimizing a multi-fidelity black-box function (which is noise-less) and propose a multi-fidelity tree search algorithm for the same. We then present extensions of our model and algorithm, so that they can function even in the presence of noise. We show that our tree-search based algorithms can outperform state of the art hyper-parameter tuning algorithms on several benchmark data-sets.

    Biography: Sanjay Shakkottai received his Ph.D. from the ECE Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2002. He is with The University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor No. 3, and a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2004, and was elected as an IEEE Fellow in 2014. His research interests lie at the intersection of algorithms for resource allocation, statistical learning and networks, with applications to wireless communication networks and online platforms.

    Host: Paul Bogdan

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

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Talyia White

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  • AME Seminar

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

    Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Mimi Koehl, University of California, Berkeley

    Talk Title: Navigating in a Turbulent Environment

    Abstract: When organisms locomote and interact in nature, they must navigate through complex habitats that vary on many spatial scales, and they are buffeted by turbulent wind or water currents and waves that also vary on a range of spatial and temporal scales. We have been using the microscopic larvae of bottom dwelling marine animals to study how the interaction between the swimming or crawling by an organism and the turbulent water flow around them determines how they move through the environment. Many bottom dwelling marine animals produce microscopic larvae that are dispersed to new sites by ambient water currents, and then must land and stay put on surfaces in suitable habitats. Field and laboratory measurements enabled us to quantify the fine scale, rapidly changing patterns of water velocity vectors and of chemical cue concentrations near coral reefs and along fouling communities (organisms growing on docks and ships). We also measured the swimming behavior of larvae of reef dwelling and fouling community animals, and their responses to chemical and mechanical cues. We used these data to design agent based models of larval behavior. By putting model larvae into our real world flow and chemical data, which varied on spatial and temporal scales experienced by microscopic larvae, we could explore how different responses by larvae affected their transport and their recruitment into reefs or fouling communities. The most effective strategy for recruitment depends on habitat.

    Biography: Mimi Koehl, a Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, earned her Ph.D. in Zoology at Duke University. She studies the physics of how organisms interact with their environments, focusing on how microscopic creatures swim and capture food in turbulent water flow, how organisms glide in turbulent wind, how wave battered marine organisms avoid being washed away, and how olfactory antennae catch odors from water or air moving around them.

    Professor Koehl is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Her awards include a MacArthur genius grant, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the John Martin Award (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, for research that created a paradigm shift in an area of aquatic sciences), the Borelli Award (American Society of Biomechanics, for outstanding career accomplishment), the Rachel Carson Award (American Geophysical Union, for cutting-edge ocean science), and the Muybridge Award (International Society of Biomechanics highest honor).



    Host: AME Department

    More Info: https://ame.usc.edu/seminars/

    Location: John Stauffer Science Lecture Hall (SLH) - 102

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Tessa Yao

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  • Astani Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

    Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Kostas Papakonstantinou, Penn State University

    Talk Title: Computational decision-making under uncertainty in engineering systems: Linking UQ to the action space

    Abstract: At the core of every engineering problem lies a decision-making quest, either directly or indirectly. Sophisticated UQ methods are essentially providing decision support through efficient quantification of selected metrics and quantities of interest, and sensitivity analysis. Nonetheless, despite significant progress in UQ methods and techniques, the actual decision-making process is still largely dependent on the static and rather limited traditional cost-benefit analysis framework, and dedicated rigorous computational methodologies for engineering decisions under uncertainty are practically elusive. In this talk, an approach for a seamless integration of stochastic models and data with computational decision-making, able to directly and autonomously offer optimal actions to decision-makers/agents is analyzed. As shown, challenging sequential decision-making problems in nonstationary dynamic environments can be efficiently formulated along the premises of optimal stochastic control, through Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs), and mixed approaches thereof. In systems with relatively low dimensional state and action spaces, MDPs and POMDPs can be satisfactorily solved to global optimality through appropriate dynamic programming algorithms. However, optimal planning for large systems with multiple components is computationally hard and severely suffers from the curse of dimensionality. New developments on Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) methods and their capacity of addressing this problem are discussed, with emphasis on our developed DRL formulations and novel algorithmic schemes, specifically tailored to the needs of large engineering systems, able to solve otherwise intractable problems with immense state and action spaces. DRL relations to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are also explained and techniques are demystified down to their fundamental mathematical attributes, underlying computational aspects and connections to engineering. The talk concludes with numerous ongoing efforts along these lines, from centralized/decentralized infrastructure management, to emergency response of cooperating agents, to autonomous robotic navigation and wildfire prevention.



    Biography: Dr. Kostas Papakonstantinou is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Penn State. He obtained a five year Diploma in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Structural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining Penn State, he was an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University. Dr. Papakonstantinou work focuses on probabilistic analysis and stochastic mechanics, decision-making under uncertainty, machine learning, optimization-inverse methods, and their integration with computational structural mechanics and engineering applications. His research has been funded by various programs and his work has received several awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2018.

    Host: Dr. Roger Ghanem

    More Information: Abstract-Bio-K. Papakonstantinou.pdf

    Location: Ray R. Irani Hall (RRI) - 101

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Evangeline Reyes

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  • Computer Science & Data Science Progressive Degree Information Session

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM

    Computer Science

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Viterbi Graduate Admissions and the Computer Science Department will be presenting information about the progressive degree program (accelerated BS+MS) on Wednesday, October 2nd at 5pm in RTH-211. If you are a first year, sophomore, or junior interested in applying for the progressive degree program please join us! Advisors will be available to answer your questions after the presentations.

    PDP Fall 2019 Application Deadlines:
    Early Application Deadline: Friday September 27, 2019
    Final Application Deadline: Wednesday December 18, 2019

    http://viterbiundergrad.usc.edu/future/pdp/

    Location: Ronald Tutor Hall of Engineering (RTH) - 211

    Audiences: Undergrad

    Posted By: Ryan Rozan

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  • USC Graduate Engineering Info Session: Izmir

    Wed, Oct 02, 2019 @ 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Graduate Admission

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Candidates with a strong academic background and a Bachelor's degree (or those in the process of earning a Bachelor's degree) in engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, or physical science (such as physics, biology, or chemistry) are welcome to attend this session to learn more about applying to graduate engineering programs at the University of Southern California. Attendees will also receive an application fee waiver.

    Topics covered:

    Master's & Ph.D. Programs in engineering and computer science
    How to Apply
    Scholarships and Funding
    Student Life at USC and in Los Angeles
    Application Tips

    There will also be sufficient time for questions during the information session.
    Register Here

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: USC Viterbi Graduate Programs

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  • NL Seminar-NLP in Computational Journalism: notes from the field at the New York Times

    Thu, Oct 03, 2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Information Sciences Institute

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Alex Spangher, USC/ISI

    Talk Title: NLP in Computational Journalism: notes from the field at the New York Times

    Series: Natural Language Seminar

    Abstract: Computational journalism is an emerging field seeking to enhance traditional journalistic processes -- story finding, production, distribution, funding, evaluation and security using computational techniques. Such advances comes at a critical time: journalists' ability to play a watchdog role in society is severely endangered by industry contraction and budget shortfalls.

    Many exciting developments in computational journalism require research in NLP. In this talk, I'll discuss some prior work at the New York Times, including generative localized news articles, human-in-the-loop chat-bots, personalization, and coverage-pattern modeling. I'll also discuss long-term challenges we identified in a broad survey article done at Stanford University this summer, as well as my current research directions here at USC.



    Biography: Alex Spangher was a data scientist at the New York Times, where he worked with journalists and newsroom stakeholders on data science to improve journalism coverage and revenue. He interned at Microsoft Research and spent a year as a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University before transferring to the University of Southern California to work with Emilio Ferrara and Nanyun Peng. He has an M.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Data Science from Columbia University, and received his B.S. from Columbia as well, in neuroscience and computer science. He enjoys playing classical piano and double bass.

    Host: Emily Sheng

    More Info: https://nlg.isi.edu/nl-seminar

    Webcast: https://bluejeans.com/684525530

    Location: Information Science Institute (ISI) - CR #689

    WebCast Link: https://bluejeans.com/684525530

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Peter Zamar

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  • Repeating EventGrammar Tutoring

    Fri, Oct 04, 2019 @ 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

    Viterbi School of Engineering Student Affairs

    Workshops & Infosessions


    Need help refining your grammar for academic or professional writing? The Engineering Writing Program is providing free individual grammar help to all Viterbi graduate and undergraduate students! Bring your writing and sign up for help from a Writing Professor here: bit.ly/grammaratUSC!

    Questions? Email Prof. Choi at helenhch@usc.edu.

    Location: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) - 106

    Audiences: Graduate and Undergraduate Students

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    Posted By: Helen Choi

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  • Ming Hsieh Institute Seminar Series on Integrated Systems

    Fri, Oct 04, 2019 @ 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Dr. Gabriele Manganaro, Director of Technology at Analog Devices

    Talk Title: Mixed-Signal Technologies for Ultra-Wide Band Signal Processing Systems

    Host: Profs. Hossein Hashemi, Mike Chen, Dina El-Damak, and Mahta Moghaddam

    More Information: MHI Seminar Series IS - Gabriele Manganaro.pdf

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

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Jenny Lin

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  • W.V.T. RUSCH ENGINEERING HONORS COLLOQUIUM

    Fri, Oct 04, 2019 @ 01:00 PM - 01:50 PM

    USC Viterbi School of Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Ash Morgan, Principal Group Engineering Manager at Microsoft

    Talk Title: Profession and Careers: Plunge Straight into Life

    Host: EHP

    Audiences: By Invite Only

    Posted By: Amanda McCraven

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  • Franco Nori - Munushian Seminar Series, Friday, October 4th at 2pm in EEB 132

    Fri, Oct 04, 2019 @ 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM

    Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars


    Speaker: Franco Nori, Riken, Saitama, Japan, University of Michigan

    Talk Title: Parity-Time-symmetric optics, extraordinary momentum and spin in evanescent waves, optical analog of topological insulators, and the quantum spin Hall effect of light

    Abstract: This talk provides a brief overview to some aspects of parity-time-symmetric optics, extraordinary momentum and spin in evanescent waves, optical analog of topological insulators, and the quantum spin Hall effect of light.
    1. Parity-Time-Symmetric Optics
    Optical systems combining balanced loss and gain provide a unique platform to implement classical analogues of quantum systems described by non-Hermitian parity-time (PT)-symmetric Hamiltonians. Such systems can be used to create synthetic materials with properties that cannot be attained in materials having only loss or only gain. We report PT-symmetry breaking in coupled optical resonators. We observed non-reciprocity in the PT-symmetry-breaking phase due to strong field localization, which significantly enhances nonlinearity. In the linear regime, light transmission is reciprocal regardless of whether the symmetry is broken or unbroken. We show that in one direction there is a complete absence of resonance peaks whereas in the other direction the transmission is resonantly enhanced, which is associated with the use of resonant structures. Our results could lead to a new generation of synthetic optical systems enabling onchip manipulation and control of light propagation.
    2. The quantum spin Hall effect of light: photonic analog of 3D topological insulators Maxwell's equations, formulated 150 years ago, ultimately describe properties of light, from classical electromagnetism to quantum and relativistic aspects. The latter ones result in remarkable geometric and topological phenomena related to the spin-1 massless nature of photons. By analyzing fundamental spin properties of Maxwell waves, we show that freespace light exhibits an intrinsic quantum spin Hall effect -”surface modes with strong spin-momentum locking. These modes are evanescent waves that form, for example, surface plasmon-polaritons at vacuum-metal interfaces. Our findings illuminate the unusual transverse spin in evanescent waves and explain recent experiments that have demonstrated the transverse spin-direction locking in the excitation of surface optical modes. This deepens our understanding of Maxwell's theory, reveals analogies with topological insulators for electrons, and offers applications for robust spin-directional optical interfaces.

    Biography: Dr. Nori received a PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois, and then did postdoctoral research work at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, now KITP, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Afterwards, he became Assistant, Associate, full Professor and Research Scientist at the Physics Department of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
    He is a RIKEN Chief Scientist, leading the "Theoretical Quantum Physics Laboratory" at RIKEN (the Japanese National Laboratory).
    His research group has done pioneering interdisciplinary studies at the interface between nanoscience, quantum
    information, superconducting quantum circuitry for quantum computing, photonics, quantum optics, atomic physics, nano-mechanics, mesoscopics, computational physics, and condensed matter physics.
    During the past decade, his research group has produced 40 highly-cited papers (i.e., top 1% most cited publications
    among all papers in all areas of Physics) according to the Web of Science. He has more than 100 publications in Physical Review Letters, over 50 in Science and Nature journals, and also numerous in other top journals. According to the Web of Science: > 34K citations and h-index 89 (Google Scholar: > 48K citations and h-index 102).

    Host: ECE-Electrophysics

    More Info: https://minghsiehee.usc.edu/about/lectures/munushian/

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

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Posted By: Marilyn Poplawski

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