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August 30, 2014Night pic of MIT dome.


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One of a Series: MIT Holidays

MIT Closed - Labor Day

September 1, 2014

Building 32 Map

Sum of Squares Proofs and the Quest towards Optimal Algorithms

September 3, 2014, 10-11:30 AM

Boaz Barak
Senior Researcher
Microsoft Research New England

Host: Vinod Vaikuntanathan

I will survey recent results and questions regarding the Sum-of-Squares (SOS) method for solving polynomial equations. This method, which is related to classical mathematical questions revolving around Hilbert's 17th problem, has been studied in several scientific disciplines, including real algebraic geometry, proof complexity, control theory, and mathematical programming, and has found applications in fields as diverse as quantum information theory, formal verification, game theory and many others.

We discuss some new perspectives on the SOS method, giving different interpretations and applications of it, and raising the question whether it could yield a generic *optimal* algorithm for broad domains of computational problems. We will also discuss the fascinating relation between the SOS method and Khot's Unique Games Conjecture, which is a tantalizing conjecture in computational complexity that has the potential to shed light on the complexity of a great many problems.

The talk will be accessible for a general mathematically-mature audience, and assume no background on the SOS method or the unique games conjecture. It is partially based on joint works with Jonathan Kelner and David Steurer. If your interest is piqued by the talk, I will also give a 11 week seminar series on this topic on Mondays 2pm-5pm starting September 29th.

Building 46 Map

Optogenetic approaches to studying reward and substance abuse disorders

September 4, 2014, 4 PM

Dr. Antonello Bonci
Scientific Director
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

The ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAC) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) are all part of the limbic system and play a fundamental role in motivation, reward- and drug-dependent behaviors. A few years ago, my laboratory has shown that drugs of abuse such as cocaine can produce long-term synaptic plasticity and that the duration of such plasticity is dependent upon the modality of drug or reward administration. By applying a multidisciplinary approach that includes electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavioral procedures, my laboratory has produced a series of studies aimed at defining the pathways that control and modulate reward and drug-dependent behaviors. During my presentation, I will present the latest data on the cellular mechanisms and pathways that underlie reward substance use disorders.

Dr. Antonello Bonci joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2010 as Scientific Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). He has been professor in residence in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and held the Howard J. Weinberg Endowed Chair in Addiction Research; as well as Associate Director for Extramural Affairs at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center. His laboratory was the first to demonstrate that drugs of abuse such as cocaine produce long-lasting modifications on the strength of the connections between neurons. This form of cellular memory is called long-term potentiation (LTP.) This finding cast a new light on the phenomenon of drug addiction, which could now be seen as a process of maladaptive learning and memory at the cellular level. In turn, this information helped explain why drug taking can often become such a long-lasting phenomenon, with relapse occurring even several years after the last encounter with a drug. Dr. Bonci’s most recent work has used a combination of electrophysiology, optogenetic and behavioral procedures to keep on studying the basic cellular mechanisms and circuits underlying reward and substance use disorders.

MIT general map location link

Wolk Gallery, School of Architecture + Planning

September 5 - December 19, 2014, 9 AM - 5 PM

Daily 9-4 September 5, 2014 through December 19, 2014

Driving Strategic Innovation: Achieving High Performance Throughout the Value Chain

September 7-12, 2014

* How do the most successful innovators generate more than their fair share of smart ideas? * How do they unleash the creative talent of their people? * How do they move ideas through their organizations and supply chains that are not only creative but fast to market?

The answers to these key questions form the core of Driving Strategic Innovation, a six-day program for business leaders and entrepreneurs who are determined to position their companies for future growth.

Program Benefits

Driving Strategic Innovation will change the way you, as a business leader, think about innovation and technology strategy, giving you a deeper, richer, more comprehensive roadmap for executing change. You will leave the program armed with the knowledge of how to influence corporate culture, alter the way your organization responds to the challenge of innovation, and strengthen relationships with partners along the value chain.

The program knits together marketing, product development, technology assessment, value-chain design, project execution, and talent management in an end-to-end roadmap for achieving breakthrough performance. It demonstrates how to build organizational relationships that facilitate knowledge transfer, both within the firm and across the value chain. Using a dynamic and integrative value-chain framework created at MIT, you will gain the capability to position your organization for future growth.

This intensive learning experience delivers long-term value, helping business leaders to:
* meet technology challenges, from R&D to manufacturing, project management to engineering * link technology decisions with business strategy * integrate product development, process developments and value-chain strategy * develop organization and supply-chain strategies to position the company for future growth * leverage learning and innovation collaboration with customers, lead users and suppliers, maximizing the value of research * understand how technologies and markets evolve and how they are linked * outperform the competition by generating breakthrough ideas * cope with shorter product life cycles, while delivering greater customer satisfaction * optimize sourcing and "make-buy" decisions * integrate supply-chain design with concurrent engineering * engage talent within the organization and across the value chain

The Learning Experience

Executives attending the program will participate in wide-ranging and challenging discussions, project groups, simulations, and live case studies that bring them into the very heart of some of the technology labs under discussion.

Who Should Attend

Driving Strategic Innovation is designed for senior executives and entrepreneurs who have significant input into the technology and innovation strategy of their organizations. Participants should play a key role within their organizations that gives them the ability and the perspective to look up and down the value chain to appraise strategic technology options wherever they arise.

Business leaders who will take away the greatest value from Driving Strategic Innovation:

* CTOs, R&D directors, other senior executives, and entrepreneurs who are responsible for technology, R&D, and supply-chain strategy, especially where coordinated technology development issues are essential * CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and senior executives in charge of innovation or new business development * Teams charged with planning and implementing innovation or value chain strategy

The MIT Sloan/IMD Edge

MIT Sloan is the world leader in management thinking for technology-driven innovation and operating excellence, with a legacy of helping corporations develop the tools and capabilities to successfully adopt these ideas.

IMD is recognized worldwide for its dynamic "Real World. Real Learning" approach to executive education. Working with the top companies in a diverse range of industries, IMD's experienced, highly qualified, and multinational faculty prepares managers and executives for the challenges of international business, providing breakthrough learning experiences.

Working together, MIT and IMD have an unparalleled ability to meet the needs of global corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Feedback from Participants

"This program provides the challenges, answers, professional tools and values needed to drive breakthrough innovations in technology and operations management, and it delivers on a world-class level." - Heinz Brasic Managing Partner, Level Five Consulting Austria

"Very exciting chance to think 'out of the box' and gain new perspectives." - Francesco Fanciulli Senior Vice President, Pirelli Pneumatici SPA Italy

"This was one of the best educational experiences I've ever had. The faculty created an exciting environment for understanding innovation." - Jose Francisco Mendez Chief Information Officer, Sodexho Pass Venezuela

Building 32 Map

Lower bounds for bounded depth arithmetic circuits

September 9, 2014, 4:15-5:15 PM

Shubhangi Saraf
Assistant Professor, Dept.of Mathematics and Dept. of Computer Science
Rutgers University

Host: Dana Moshkovitz and Costis Daskalakis

In the last few years there have been several exciting results on depth reduction of arithmetic circuits and strong lower bounds for bounded depth arithmetic circuits. These lower bounds come very close to showing VP not equal to VNP (the algebraic analog of the P vs NP conjecture). I will survey these results, and highlight some of the main challenges and open directions in this area.

Building 32 Map

Deriving Insights from Data: Opportunities for Societal Impact

September 16, 2014, 2-3 PM

Manish Gupta
Xerox Research Center, India

Host: Saman Amarasinghe
Host Affiliation: MIT-CSAIL

We are entering an era that will usher dramatic changes in most industries via exploitation of data. With the availability of abundant computing power, proliferation of data from sensors and increasing digitization of data that used to be in non-electronic form, there are opportunities to enable transformations in the way the world is run. We present examples of problems that can be tackled in Healthcare, Education, Banking and Transportation domains, each with a potential to positively impact the lives of millions of people. We further describe unique challenges like scale, heterogeneity and poor infrastructure in growth markets like India, which often require new approaches. Diving deeper into the healthcare industry, we present preliminary work that shows the applicability of remote sensing and data analytics to measure body vitals such as respiration and heart rate, and also to diagnose diseases such as breast cancer and atrial fibrillation (a form of cardiac arrhythmia). As more of the patients’ medical history gets captured in electronic health record systems, there is a further promise of applying real-time predictive analytics to assist doctors in practicing evidence-based medicine. We present work that significantly improves upon the state of the art for a variety of problems, including prediction of serious complications such as acute hypotensive episodes for patients in an ICU, and predicting the probability of a patient requiring ICU admission. Finally, we present some observations on the common aspects of these solutions across various industry verticals, characterizing these as technology support to enable highly personalized services at massive scale and describe some outstanding challenges .

Dr. Manish Gupta is Vice President at Xerox Corporation and Director of Xerox Research Centre in India. Previously, Manish has served as Managing Director, Technology Division at Goldman Sachs India, and has held various leadership positions with IBM, including that of Director, IBM Research - India and Chief Technologist, IBM India/South Asia. From 2001 to 2006, he served as a Senior Manager at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he led the team developing system software for the Blue Gene/L supercomputer. IBM was awarded a National Medal of Technology and Innovation for Blue Gene by US President Barack Obama in 2009. Manish holds a B.Tech. degree in Computer Science from IIT Delhi and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He has co-authored over 75 papers, with more than 5,500 citations in Google Scholar (with an h-index of 41) in the areas of high-performance computing, compilers, and virtual machine optimizations, and has been granted more than 15 US patents. While at IBM, Manish received an Outstanding Innovation Award, two Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards and the Lou Gerstner Team Award for Client Excellence. Manish is an ACM Fellow.

Building 32 Map

New advances on the log rank conjecture

September 16, 2014, 4:15-5:15 PM

Shachar Lovett
Assistant Professor
CSE Department
UC San Diego

Host: Dana Moshkovitz

The log rank conjecture is one of the fundamental open problems in communication complexity. It speculates that the simplest lower bound for deterministic protocols, the log-rank lower bound, is in fact tight up to polynomial factors. That is, for a boolean function f(x,y), if its associated matrix M_{x,y}=f(x,y) has rank r (over the reals), then there exists a deterministic protocol computing f which uses only poly-log(r) bits of communication. This problem also has several other equivalent formulations: the relation between chromatic number and rank of graphs, and the relation between rank and non-negative rank for boolean matrices.

A simple argument shows that there is always a deterministic protocol which uses r bits of communication, and until recently the best known bounds improved on this only by a constant factor. Recently, two new approaches allowed for improved bounds. The first (joint with Eli Ben-Sasson and Noga Ron-Zewi) related it to a central conjecture in additive number theory, and showed that if it holds then there are protocols which use O(r / log(r)) bits. The second approach is analytical and gives an (unconditional) improved upper bound of O(\sqrt{r} \log(r)) bits of communication.

In the talk I will give the necessary background on the problem, explain the two approaches, sketch the proofs, and discuss intriguing connections to other central problems in complexity theory, such as matrix rigidity and two-source extractors.