2007-08 Distinguished Lecture Series

Each year the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering presents a Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings prominent researchers in the electrical, computer, and software engineering fields to campus. The 2007-08 Distinguished Lecture Series was held in conjunction with support from the Information Infrastructure Institute (iCUBE) and F. Wendell Miller Lecture Series.

Videos from the 2007-08 Distinguished Lecture Series are available to ISU students, faculty, and staff for educational purposes only. To obtain access to the videos, e-mail the department’s Communications Specialist or stop by 2215 Coover Hall.

October 11


Dan Gusfield, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of California, Davis

Abstract: The work discussed in this talk falls into the emerging area of Population Genomics. Gusfield will first intro­duce the area and then talk about specific problems and combinatorial algorithms involved in the infer­ence of recombination from population data.

A phylogenetic network (or Ancestral Recombination Graph) is a generalization of a tree, allowing struc­tural properties that are not tree-like.  With the growth of genomic and population data (coming for ex­ample from the HAPMAP project) much of which does not fit ideal tree models, and the increasing ap­preciation of the genomic role of such phenomena as recombination (crossing-over and gene-conversion), recurrent and back mutation, horizontal gene transfer, and mobile genetic elements, there is greater need to understand the algorithmics and combinatorics of phylogenetic networks.

In this talk, Gusfield will survey a range of our recent results on phylogenetic networks with recombination and show applications of these results to several issues in Population Genomics: Association Mapping; Finding Recombination Hotspots in genotype sequences; Imputing the values of missing haplotype data; Deter­mining the extent of recombination in the evolution of LPL sequences; Distinguishing the role of cross-over from gene-conversion in Arabidopsis; Characterizing some aspects of the haplotypes produced by the program PHASE; Studying the effect of using genotype data in place of haplotype data, imputing missing data, finding optimal recombination mosaics, etc.

Speaker biography: Gusfield’s primary interests involve the efficiency of algorithms, particularly for problems in combi­natorial optimization and graph theory.  These algorithms have been applied to study data security, sta­ble matching, network flow, matroid optimization, string/pattern matching problems, molecular se­quence analysis, and optimization problems in population-scale genomics.  Currently, he is focused on string and combinatorial problems that arise in computational biology and bioinformatics.  He served as chair of the computer science department at the University of California, Davis from July 2000 until August 2004, and is now the founding Editor-in-Chief of The IEEE/ACM Transactions of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

*Lecture co-hosted by Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics

November 5


Mostafa Ammar, Regents’ Professor, College of Computing, Georgia Tech University

Abstract: Disruption tolerant networks (DTNs) are a class of emerging mobile and wireless networks that experience frequent and long-duration partitions. These networks have a variety of applications in situations that include communication in natural disaster areas or other hostile environments, deep-space communication, vehicular communication, and non-interactive Internet access in remote areas. In this talk, Ammar will first overview the basic motivation and survey of some initial work in this emerging area. He then will provide an overview of our work which is concerned with the development of a “Message Ferrying” (MF) scheme, inspired by its real life analog, that implements a non-traditional“ store, carry and forward” routing paradigm using node mobility to overcome network partitioning. In the MF scheme, a set of mobile nodes called message ferries takes responsibility for carrying messages between disconnected nodes. Next. he will summarize our recent work on providing a formal understanding of the entire space of wireless and mobile networks. This effort provides a formalism for classifying such networks and a framework that unifies DTNs with more traditional MANETs.

Speaker biography: Mostafa Ammar received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and 1980, respectively, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in 1985. From 1980 to 1982 he worked at Bell-Northern Research, first as a member of technical staff and then as manager of data network planning. Dr. Ammar’s research interests are in the areas of computer network architectures and protocols, distributed computing systems, and performance evaluation. He is the coauthor of the textbook Fundamentals of Telecommunication Networks. He is also the co-guest editor of April 1997 issue of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications on Network Support for Multipoint Communication. He also was the technical program co-chair for the 1997 IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, 2002 Networked Group Communication Workshop, 2006 Co-Next Conference, and 2007 ACM SIGMETRICS Conference.

Dr. Ammar received the 1990 to 1991 Lilly Teaching Fellowship and the 1993 Outstanding Faculty Research Award from the College of Computing. He served as the editor-in-chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (1999-2003) and served on the editorial board of Computer Networks (1992-1999). He is a Fellow of IEEE and ACM.

November 29


Ajay K. Royyuru, Senior Manager, Computational Biology Center, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Abstract: The Computational Biology Center at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center pursues basic and exploratory research at the interface of information technology and biology. Among the many exciting and collaborative research projects underway, perhaps the most visible one is the research collaboration with National Geographic Society to map and understand human migratory history. This population genetics project is ambitious and unique in its scope, presenting a number of compelling computational and analytical challenges. This talk will provide an overview of our current research in computational biology and highlight results from the Genographic project and few other projects pertaining to large scale simulations of biological systems.

Speaker biography: Ajay Royyuru heads the Computational Biology Center at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, with research groups engaged in various projects including bioinformatics, structural biology, protein science and applications on Blue Gene, functional genomics, systems biology, and computational neuroscience. Ajay joined IBM Research in 1998, initiating research in structural biology. He obtained his PhD in molecular biology from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai (Bombay) and B.Sc. (Hons.) in human biology and M.Sc. in Biophysics from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Ajay did post-doctoral work in structural biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Prior to joining IBM he spent two years developing structural biology software at Accelrys. Currently, his work focuses on collaborative research at the interface of information technology and biology. Working with biologists and institutions around the world, he is engaged in research and development of computer and software systems that will advance personalized, information-based medicine. Ajay leads the IBM Research teams working with National Geographic Society on the Genographic Project, and with The Scripps Research Institute on Project Checkmate. Ajay has authored numerous research publications in structural and computational biology. He is a member of professional societies ISCB and IEEE.

Wayne Wolf




January 14


Wayne Wolf, Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Distinguished Chair in Embedded Computing Systems; and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Georgia Tech University

Abstract: Smart cameras perform real-time, embedded computer vision. Smart cameras are useful in a variety of applications: medicine, entertainment, security, and so on. For many applications, single smart cameras are not enough. Multiple cameras quickly lead us to distributed computing platforms as vehicles for smart cameras. This talk will describe some examples of distributed smart camera systems, the algorithms they use, and the architecture of the underlying platforms.

Speaker biography: Wayne Wolf is the Farmer Distinguished Chair in Embedded Computer Systems and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was with Princeton University from 1989 to 2007 and AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1984 to 1989. He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1980, 1981, and 1984, respectively. His research interests include embedded computing, VLSI systems, and multimedia information systems. He has served as editor-in-chief of ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems, IEEE Transactions on VLSI Systems, and Design Automation for Embedded Systems. He is the author of Computers as Components, FPGA-Based System Design, and Modern VLSI Design (for which he won the ASEE Frederick E. Terman Award in 2003). Wolf has been elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. He received the IEEE Circuits and Systems Education Award in 2006. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and ACM, an IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Member, and a member of the SPIE and ASEE.