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November 21, 2014Night pic of MIT dome.

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Data on the adoption of various alternative fuels vehicles

November 21, 2014, 5-6:30 PM

Tim Echols
Georgia's elected Public Service Commissioner

Will discuss and share data on the adoption of various alternative fuels vehicles, and the impact of utility PEV rates and EPA mandates on people's energy habits and adoption rates.

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Making It in New York City

November 21, 2014, 5-7 PM

Glenn Adamson
Director, Museum of Arts and Design
New York City

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The Road Ahead
The Future of Transportation and Mobility

November 21, 2014, 9 AM

Organized by the MIT SENSEable City Lab

Self-driving vehicles. Drivers on demand. Data-driven infrastructure. Vehicles that respond to passengers and to the environment… A sea change is happening in transportation, and mobility of the (near) future will be radically different than today — greener, more comfortable and more efficient. Innovations are rolling out of laboratories, businesses and city halls on four, two, (or zero) wheels at an accelerating pace, exploring the future of urban mobility.

The spotlight is focused on transportation technology and design — the machines that move people — yet there are a host of unanswered questions as transitions are made. This year, California began issuing drivers licenses to self-driving cars, but insurance companies still can't find who is at fault when something goes wrong. Cities are debating whether ride sharing systems should be banned from their streets, while taxi companies organize strikes around the world to protest citizen-driver services like Lyft and Uber. Policy and innovation must go hand in hand for innovations to take hold.

The Road Ahead is not just about emerging technologies — it will be a forum on all dimensions of future urban mobility, bringing leading theorists, dreamers, and practitioners into conversation and debate — from designers to financiers, from policy makers to provocateurs. Two days of conversation and presentation will seek to showcase innovations, address challenges, and holistically explore the future of moving from A to B. Sessions will focus on key topics in mobility: self-driving, sharing, policy, legality and risk and society at large among others.

Building 32 Map

A simplified setting for discrete logarithms in small characteristic finite fields

November 21, 2014, 10:30 AM - 12 PM

Antoine Joux
Cryptology Chair - Fondation Partenariale de l'UPMC

Host: Costis Daskalakis, Ankur Moitra, Dana Moshkovitz and Vinod Vaikuntanathan

Abstract:
The hardness of computing discrete logarithms in finite field has
served as a foundation for many public key cryptosystems. In the last
two years, tremendous progress have been made in the case of small
characteristic finite fields.

In this talk, we present a simplified description of the algorithmic
framework that has been developed to solve this problem faster. This
framework is an index calculus approach that relies on two main
ingredients, the definition of the extension field and the generation
of multiplicative relations in this field. Given a base field GF(q),
we construct its extension field GF(q^k) in the following way: we
find two polynomials of low degree h0 and h1 with coefficients
in GF(q) such that x^q h1(x)-h0(x) has an irreducible factor of
degree k over GF(q).

To generate relations, we start from the well-known identity:
X^q-X=Prod_(c in GF(q)) X-c.

Combining substitution of X by a fraction in the identity with the field
definition, we easily obtain many multiplicative relations. This is enough
to obtain the logarithms of a factor base of small degree elements in
polynomial time.

Once this is done, we use a descent procedure to recursively express
any element of the finite field GF(q) into elements represented
by polynomials of lower degree. This procedure is quite complex but
ultimately leads to a quasi-polynomial time algorithm for the discrete
logarithm problem in small characteristic finite fields.

Building 32 Map

Hierarchical Goal Networks: Formalisms and Algorithms for Planning and Acting

November 21, 2014, 3-4 PM

Vikas Shivashankar
Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland

Host: Leslie Kaelbling
Host Affiliation: MIT CSAIL

Autonomous computerized agents (both physical and virtual) are becoming increasingly important in a variety of applications where the world is open, dynamic, and unstructured. Some examples include service robots, flexible manufacturing systems, web service agents, and virtual agents in games. Such agents require planning and acting capabilities that are not well supported by current formalisms and algorithms for AI planning. To address this problem, I propose a new planning formalism, and planning and acting algorithms based on this formalism.

The talk will include the following topics:

- Hierarchical Goal Network (HGN) Planning, a planning formalism that combines aspects (and therefore harnesses advantages) of both classical planning and hierarchical task network (HTN) planning.

- Two HGN planning algorithms, GDP and GoDeL, that combine hierarchical decomposition with classical planning heuristics. They outperform state-of-the-art HTN planners such as SHOP and SHOP2, and do so without requiring as much domain engineering.

- Integration of GDP and GoDeL with robotic motion planning and object manipulation algorithms. This is ongoing work and includes, for example, ways to translate task plans into motion plans, and ways to dynamically repair plans in the face of execution failures and exogenous events.

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Platform Strategy: Building and Thriving in a Vibrant Ecosystem

November 24-25, 2014


In 2013, fourteen of the top 30 global brands by market capitalization were platform-oriented companies ? companies that created and now dominate arenas in which buyers, sellers, and a variety of third parties are connected in real time. In today?s networked age, the cloud, social media, and mobile devices are fueling this platform competition, and more and more companies want in. However, many companies do not succeed in becoming platform leaders because their technology and/or business strategies fall short.

While many platform strategies are well known (e.g. Apple?s iTunes), there are other less-heralded platforms that are exploring new ways to create and capture value. These include: dynamic pricing, usage fees, highly targeted product and service offerings, inbound marketing, and network effects.

Key questions the faculty explores include:

  • Is a customer segment with the highest ?willingness to pay? the most valuable segment?
  • When is tying a customer to a platform (sometimes called ?lock in?) counter-productive?
  • Which pricing formats seem to boost revenues but actually slow platform adoption?
  • How can companies get in front of the common evolution patterns of platforms?
  • When should leaders be wary of ?platform envy??

Through case studies and Q&A, experienced managers will emerge with insights for refreshing their company?s strategic approach and participating profitably in the multi-sided marketplaces of the future.

MIT general map location link

Observational cosmology in the Milky Way's backyard

November 25, 2014, 4-5 PM

Beth Willman
Haverford

Abstract:
The ultra-faint dwarf galaxies discovered around the Milky Way and M31 include objects with less than one millionth of the Milky Way's own luminosity. The detailed properties of these puny satellites, as well as the remnants thereof, are being used to test dark matter+galaxy formation models. To fully exploit the Milky Way's halo to test such models requires a stellar halo map that is as complete and unbiased as possible. I will discuss how wide-field surveys (such as UKIDSS, DES, and LSST) will contribute to mapping the Milky Way out to its virial radius. I will focus on efforts to learn about ultra-faint dwarf galaxies and their relationship with dark matter halos, and early results from a program to map the Milky Way to its outermost regions using M giant stars.

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