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August 1, 2014Night pic of MIT dome.


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Building 46 Map

One of a Series: Picower Institute

GABA from reactive astrocytes impairs memory in model mouse of Alzheimer's disease

August 1, 2014, 4 PM

Dr. Changjoon Justin Lee
Korea Institute of Science and Technology

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), memory impairment is the most prominent feature that afflicts patients and their families. Although reactive astrocytes have been observed around amyloid plaques since the disease was first described, their role in memory impairment has been poorly understood. Here, we show that reactive astrocytes aberrantly and abundantly produce the inhibitory gliotransmitter GABA by monoamine oxidase-B (Maob) and abnormally release GABA through the bestrophin 1 channel. In the dentate gyrus of mouse models of AD, the released GABA reduces spike probability of granule cells by acting on presynaptic GABA receptors. Suppressing GABA production or release from reactive astrocytes fully restores the impaired spike probability, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory in the mice. In the postmortem brain of individuals with AD, astrocytic GABA and MAOB are significantly upregulated. We propose that selective inhibition of astrocytic GABA synthesis or release may serve as an effective therapeutic strategy for treating memory impairment in AD.

Rapid Robotics: Autonomous Systems with Open Source Software

August 4-8, 2014

Thanks to open source libraries and inexpensive robot platforms, creating advanced robot capabilities has never been more accessible. This course is a hands-on introduction to applied robotics software programming. You will learn to use the popular ROS robotics framework, open source autonomy libraries, and a small ground robot equipped with an RGB-depth sensor to demonstrate behaviors such as person-following, patrolling, exploration, and map-making. Lectures accompanying the laboratory exercises will cover the basics of robotics and autonomy algorithm theory. Participants will work in teams of two on robot systems.

Please note that laptops compatible with VirtualBox or VMWare visualization software are required for this course. Laptops should have 10GB of available hard drive space to install the Virtual Machine. A recent (2009+) laptop with a Core i3, i5, i7, or equivalent processor and 2+ GB of RAM should be sufficient.

This course is intended for novice robotics engineers, educators, experienced roboticists interested in learning open source robot software frameworks, or managers / program managers who would benefit from a hands-on understanding of autonomous systems.

No prior robotics experience is necessary. The course will focus on selecting, integrating, and tuning existing software packages with some software coding to tie components together and modify behavior. Some familiarity with a Linux/UNIX command line and an interest in programming robots in C++ or Python is recommended.

Advances In Imaging: Emerging Devices and Visual Mining

August 4-7, 2014

The course provides an overview of computational imaging techniques, including novel imaging platforms to sample light in radically new ways and emerging topics in image analysis and exploitation. New cameras that can sample the high dynamic range (HDR), light field, or wide spectrum are emerging. In addition, ultra-fast optics for femto-photography and diffraction-beating technologies for microscopy are bringing unprecedented resolution in time and space. In this course, we will survey the landscape of imaging hardware, optics, sensors, and computational techniques. Participants will learn about and see hands-on demonstrations of high-end imaging devices. We will explore new emerging solutions that are opening up new research and commercial opportunities in immediate as well as future applications. Key topics include light fields, high dynamic range imaging, signal processing, applied optics, Fourier optics, ultrafast and multi-spectral imaging, compressive sensing, computer graphics and computer vision, and social photo collections.

The course is suitable for decision makers and planners for next generation of imaging solutions, engineers and designers of imaging systems, and anyone interested in review of existing and emerging solutions in optics, sensors, and image analysis. Application areas include consumer photography (including mobile phones), industrial machine vision, and scientific and medical imaging.

Advanced Mechanical Design and Manufacturing Tools/Technology

August 4-8, 2014

This course features intensive coverage of advanced mechanical design/mechanism theory, modeling, design, manufacturing, and fabrication practices. Emphasis is placed on understanding principles and fundamentals and how they are applied to current, emerging and next generation applications, and prior art. Practical applications from various industries are discussed, for example:

  • Optics (X-rays and micro-scale)
  • Biomedical instruments
  • Consumer products
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Nanopositioners
  • Machine tools
  • Instruments
  • MEMS
  • Biomimetics
  • Robotics

Who Should Attend

Technical professionals (engineers, scientists, manufacturers, machine designers, product designers, instrumentation engineers, etc.) who either have little experience with advanced mechanical design or some expertise in disparate areas of mechanical design and wish to gain a more holistic understanding. This course is also designed to help marketing/purchasing personnel make decisions, provided that they would feel comfortable with the following basic topics after a brief review:

- Trigonometry (sine, cosine, etc.)
- Linear elastic stress-strain
- Free body diagrams
- Vector addition

Crisis Management and Business Continuity

August 4-8, 2014

Preparing for a crisis is not a luxury; it is a necessity. You know the odds are high that your company will suffer a disaster or crisis at some point. You cannot say you weren't ready; today's extreme public and government scrutiny demand that you should have been prepared.

MIT's "Crisis Management & Business Continuity" will help prepare you for the inevitable.

This comprehensive course provides up-to-date assessments and knowledge on issues that affect you - terrorism, pandemic, cyber security, communications, news media - from the experts involved with these efforts. You will have the opportunity to interact with these lecturers and with peers from industry and government.

By the end of the course, you will have the tools, knowledge, and understanding to benchmark, assess, and improve your business continuity, disaster recovery, and crisis management program. This includes the Course Manual (print and/or e-files), templates, and current articles. You will gain valuable contacts, have plenty of networking opportunities, and acquire insights for immediate implementation.

This course is for the Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Emergency Management, and Crisis Management practitioner or responder as well as for the executive who oversees these disciplines. Other staff who would benefit from this course include corporate executives, directors, and staff from IT/MIS, Environment Health & Safety, Risk Management, Public Relations, Human Resources, and Security. This course is also suited for federal, state, and local government officials and Emergency Managers.

Both novices and experienced personnel will benefit greatly from this course. If you cannot go, tell your director/executive so he/she can attend to better understand your complex profession.

Design and Analysis of Experiments

August 4-8, 2014

Planning Experiments, Doing Experiments, and Analyzing Experimental Data

This one-week program is planned for persons interested in the design, conduct and analysis of experiments in the physical, chemical, biological, medical, social, psychological, economic, engineering or industrial sciences. The course will examine how to design experiments, carry them out, and analyze the data they yield.

Various designs are discussed and their respective differences, advantages, and disadvantages are noted. In particular, factorial and fractional factorial designs are discussed in greater detail. These are designs in which two or more factors are varied simultaneously; the experimenter wishes to study not only the effect of each factor, but also how the effect of one factor changes as the levels of other factors change. The latter is generally referred to as an interaction effect among factors.

The fractional factorial design has been chosen for extra-detailed study in view of its considerable record of success over the last thirty years. It has been found to allow cost reduction, increase efficiency of experimentation, and often reveal the essential nature of a process. In addition, it is readily understood by those who are conducting the experiments, as well as those to whom the results are reported.

The program will be elementary in terms of mathematics. The course includes a review of the modest probability and statistics background necessary for conducting and analyzing scientific experimentation. With this background, we first discuss the logic of hypothesis testing and, in particular, the statistical techniques generally referred to as Analysis of Variance. A variety of software packages are illustrated, including Excel, SPSS, JMP, and other more specialized packages.

Throughout the program we emphasize applications, using real examples from the areas mentioned above, including such relatively new areas as experimentation in the social and economic sciences.

We discuss Taguchi methods and compare and contrast them with more traditional techniques. These methods, originating in Japan, have engendered significant interest in the United States.

Applicants need only have interest in experimentation. No previous training in probability and statistics is required, but any experience in these areas will be useful.

All participants receive a copy of the text, Experimental Design: with applications in management, engineering and the sciences, Duxbury Press, 2002, co-authored by Paul D. Berger and Robert E. Maurer, in addition to extensive PowerPoint-style notes.

7 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA

Replicability analysis for "omics" research

August 5, 2014, 2:30-4 PM

Ruth Heller
Tel-Aviv University, Department of Statistics and Operations Research

Host: Manolis Kellis

Studies that examine each multiple features are combined for two purposes: (1) to increase the number of cases in order to increase the power to detect a feature; (2) to establish replicability, thereby addressing the basic dogma of science that a finding is more convincingly a true finding if it is replicated in at least one more study. Existing meta-analysis methods address only purpose (1). To address purpose (2), we propose formal statistical methods to declare that findings have been replicated across studies. The first method we suggest is an empirical Bayes method, in which we estimate the optimal rejection for discovering replicated associations. We show that this region can be very different from the rejection region of a typical meta-analysis, which is aimed at discovering associations. We also show that the difference between the optimal rejection region and a rejection region based on p-values may be large. This method is particularly suitable for large studies, where the unknown parameters can be estimated well from the data. The second method we suggest is a frequentist method, in which to quantify the strength of replication we compute for each feature the FDR r-value, i.e. the lowest FDR level at which we can say that the finding is among the replicated ones, or the FWER r-value, which is similarly defined. We show the theoretical guarantees for both FDR and FWER control on replicability claims for independent and dependent data within each study. We demonstrate the usefulness of our methods for establishing replicability of associations in "omics" research.

Funnel-based Motion Planning in Belief Space: Towards Enabling Dynamic Replanning in Belief Space

August 5, 2014, 12 PM

Ali Agha

Motion planning in belief space is a challenging problem due
to the computational intractability of its exact solution. This
problem becomes even more challenging in changing environments. In
this talk we discuss a dynamic replanning scheme in belief space to
handle changes in the environment as well as unforeseen large
deviations in the system's belief. The proposed method utilizes a
funnel-based framework as a substrate. In this framework, the original
problem of planning in belief space is broken into a set of smaller
independent local planning problems. We demonstrate the performance of
the proposed method on a physical robot subject to large disturbances
and environmental changes.