Colloquium Archive

Forth, A Minimalistic Development Environment Of Long-Ago Offers Lessons For Today

Henry Neugass, Embedded Systems Consultant (Emeritus), Palo Alto, CA


The Forth language/system, which was perfectly adapted to the very constrained environments of the 1970s - 80s, is an example of an elegant and generally transparent implementation. And Forth's inherent extensibility gave users unprecedented control of procedural abstraction. For productivity and basic joy-of-coding, you should evaluate each project --and each job offer-- accordingly. Today, we're accustomed to essentially infinite --and cheap-- computing resources. Are the values of elegance and transparency still relevant? Abstraction is a fundamental of computing, but there's an often-hidden overhead cost due to increasing abstraction.

Scientific Workflows On The Cloud: Challenges And Solutions

Ewa Deelman, USC Information Sciences Institute, Marina Del Rey, CA


This talk will focus on the issues related to complex applications, such as workflows, executing on cloud infrastructures. It will provide examples of workflow applications and their cloud computational needs. The talk will discuss challenges faced by scientific workflow management systems when running on the cloud. It will also discuss issues of resource provisioning on the cloud and describe some of the available tools.

Patent Trolls, Patent Reform, And The Real Patent Problem

Adi Kamdar, Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA


Over the last few years, patents have been a hot topic: tech giants are engaged in endless lawsuits, trolls run amok, and reform is in the air. Every branch of government, as well as businesses big and small, seems to have a dog in this fight. What's really going on? By focusing on trolls and lawsuits, are we losing sight of the bigger question of the patentability of software? And is the reform we're seeing really the reform we ultimately want?

Power-Based Malicious Code Detection On Smartphones

Bryan Dixon, CSU Chico, CA


In recent years there has been a growing number of viruses, rootkits, and malware designed to gain access to system resources and information stored on smartphones. Most current approaches for detecting this malicious code have detrimental impacts on the user in terms of reduced functionality, slower network speeds, or loss of battery life. This talk will present a number of approaches that offer successful detection for potential malicious code by focusing on anomalous power use as a method for detecting the presence of malicious code. This work also introduces ways to fine-tune the process by establishing a normal profile of power usage for each user, which increases the rate of malware detection.

Games, Puzzles, And Computation

Bob Hearn, H3 Labs, Palo Alto, CA


One can frame a game or a puzzle as a decision problem: from this configuration, does the puzzle have a solution? Can Black win the game? The computational complexity of the decision problem can then be investigated. Reviewing the properties of the complexity classes (NP-complete, PSPACE-complete, etc.), it’s possible to briefly survey several hardness results, including sliding-block puzzles, sliding-coin puzzles, TipOver, Rush Hour, Sokoban, hinged polygon dissections, plank puzzles, the Dyson telescope game, Amazons, and Konane. These results are all applications of a larger framework of computation in terms of generalized games (as opposed to Turing machines), called Constraint Logic. In this framework, cellular automata are zero-player games, puzzles are one-player games, and ordinary games are two-player games. Surprisingly, some team games turn out to be undecidable, even though they are played with finite physical resources.