Colloquium Archive

How Real-world Work Differs from School

Timothy Doughty ('13)
Sonoma Technologies Inc.


A student-led Q&A session about the differences between working in the real world and school work from one person's perspective.

Bias and the Web

Ricardo Baeza-Yates (ACM Distinguished Speaker)
Director of Research
Institute for Experiential AI of Northeastern University


The Web is the most powerful communication medium and the largest public data repository that humankind has created. Its content ranges from great reference sources such as Wikipedia to ugly fake news. Indeed, social (digital) media is just an amplifying mirror of ourselves. Hence, the main challenge of search engines and other websites that rely on web data is to assess the quality of such data. However, as all people has their own biases, web content as well as our web interactions are tainted with many biases. Data bias includes redundancy and spam, while interaction bias includes activity and presentation bias. In addition, sometimes algorithms add bias, particularly in the context of search and recommendation systems. As bias generates bias, we stress the importance of debiasing data as well as using the context and other techniques such as explore & exploit, to break the filter bubble. The main goal of this talk is to make people aware of the different biases that affect all of us on the Web. Awareness is the first step to be able to fight and reduce the vicious cycle of bias.

Cybersecurity for Human Rights

Cooper Quintin
Electronic Frontier Foundation


Computer Science can be a high paying field but it doesn't have to be! In this talk Cooper Quintin, Senior Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, will examine the career of a public interest technologist. This talk will explore the ways one can use their computer science skills to make the world a better place. The talk will finish with career options available to hackers besides working for the military industrial complex or big tech. Cooper will also share stories from his time as a public interest technologist.

Closing the Digital Divide

Calvin Sandeen
Broadband Department Analyst
Sonoma County Economic Development Board


The Digital Divide is a gap in access to broadband that affects economic development throughout many industries, including education, public safety, healthcare, agriculture, government, and many more. Calvin Sandeen is a broadband analyst at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board exploring a new initiative that involves local government playing a major role to close the digital divide. He will discuss the status of broadband throughout California and provide an outlook on the future direction of the telecommunications industry.

System Resilience: Amplify Failures, Detect, or Both?

Ganesh Gopalakrishnan (ACM Distinguished Speaker)
University of Utah


As we cram billion of transistors into a chip, and build computers with thousands of such chips, the probability of system state bits transiently getting corrupted due to system noise and high energy particle strikes goes up. Such "soft errors" factors are exacerbated by manufacturing variability that is higher in smaller lithographies.

Many types of software-based error detectors have been proposed to detect these soft errors and trigger recomputation from state checkpoints.  Unfortunately, most of these detection schemes introduce unacceptable computational overheads and also have unacceptably high false positive rates.

In one line of work, we have ameliorated this situation by focusing on applications such as stencils.  In this domain, we guarantee near 100% detection based on rigorous floating-point error analysis based on affine arithmetic.  We also reduce overheads by covering multiple steps of the stencil application per detector deployment.

The main take-away message is that system resilience solutions developed with attention to higher accuracy and lower overheads may prove to be the inevitable safety net based on which designers attempt to reduce energy consumption in this period of ending Moore's law.