Thursday Extra

Thursday Extra: Configuration-dependent faults and feature locality

On October 13, Brady Garvin from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln will present a talk in the Thursday Extra series:

Developers are increasingly building large software in the form of highly configurable systems, systems with features that can be toggled on and off. The major risk for highly configurable systems is that some bugs, called configuration-dependent faults, only cause failures when certain features are combined, being invisible otherwise. My talk will first discuss the techniques we currently have to combat configuration-dependent faults and show that they all exploit a common idea, which we term feature locality. I will then present some newly discovered forms of feature locality and explain how they are helping us better prevent, find, mitigate, and repair configuration-dependent faults.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Garvin's talk, "Configuration-dependent faults and feature locality," will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: A robust system for discovering text baselines in scene text images

On Thursday, October 6, Zach Butler '13 and Dugan Knoll '12, will present a talk in the "Thursday Extra" series on their summer research:

Scientists have been working in the field of text recognition, the science of automatically reading text, for over 200 years. While the problem of reading whole documents (commonly called OCR, or optical character recognition) is more or less solved, the problem of reading text from arbitrary real-world scenes (Scene Text Recognition, or STR) still presents researchers with many challenges. Yet humans have been able to read such text ever since we created language. Many have created a robust recognition programs, but some still suffer from not knowing where the text baseline is—that is, where the non-descending characters of a line of text end. In this talk, we will discuss what makes reading scene text so difficult, how we made a baseline detection algorithm to improve the results of scene text recognition systems, and how we used the scientific method to make our system as robust as possible in ten weeks.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, "A robust system for discovering text baselines in scene text images," will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: Graduate school in Computer Science

On Thursday, September 22, Professors Janet Davis and Jerod Weinman will host a panel discussion as part of the Thursday Extra series to discuss what graduate school in computer science is like, why you might consider it, what opportunities there are for graduate education, employment after graduate school, applying (for computer science or related fields in particular), and other related issues attendees may be interested in.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The panel, "Graduate School in Computer Science: What? Why? How? When? Who?" will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Thursday Extra: HCI4Peace

On Thursday, September 1, Assistant Professor Juan Pablo Hourcade of the University of Iowa will speak:

Peace is an important value for the human-computer interaction research community, yet it has not resulted in the development of a research sub-community or even a research agenda. In this presentation I seek to address this void by first motivating the need for computing research on promoting peace and preventing war. I will then review evidence on the factors that affect the likelihood that armed conflict will occur, as well as the aspects involved when individuals make moral decisions on whether or not to support a war. Based on this review,I propose a research agenda, citing research examples from the human-computer interaction literature and discussing new ideas.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “HCI for Peace,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Text recognition on historical maps"

On Thursday, April 7, Ravi Chande 2011 and Dylan Gumm 2011 will give a talk in the “Thursday Extras” series:

Maps -- particularly old ones -- have proven a significant challenge to traditional optical character recognition systems. Intersections of text with other cartographic symbols, irregular word orientations, and unusual fonts all serve as sources of error. Previous attempts to improve OCR on maps have used pre-processing steps on the input image or various post-processing techniques on the strings output by OCR. Here, we present a system that attempts to combine an OCR system with the known geography of the map to improve text recognition.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, “Text recognition on historical maps,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Thursday Extra: "Programming robots"

On Thursday, February 24, Henry Walker will discuss present some of his preliminary work on integrating the programming of robots with the curriculum of CSC 161 (“Imperative problem solving and data structures”):

Introductory computer science courses around the country have utilized robots for a number of years. In recent years, for some courses, robot control has taken advantage of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs); some other courses provide students with a programming environment designed for beginners. Although these experiences have often been motivating and interesting for students, the use of robots remains a challenge within courses that focus upon imperative problem solving (e.g., with the C programming language), such as Grinnell's CSC 161.

Drawing upon this background, Mr. Walker has devoted part of his current sabbatical leave to explore the use of simple robots, with the long-term goal of possibly using robots in CSC 161. This talk presents a status report on this work. Discussion will include hardware options and capabilities, programming options, available documentation, examples of working programs, challenges, and next steps.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). Mr. Walker's talk, “Programming robots: a status report,” will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Students interested in the topics of this talk are encouraged to contact Mr. Walker about the possibility of working in the field for Summer 2011 and [maybe] beyond.

Thursday Extra: "Managing the MathLAN"

On Thursday, November 4, in Noyce 3821, Jeff Leep 2011 will describe the deployment of a configuration management system, cfengine, that automatically checks for problems in MathLAN computers and then either fixes the problem or alerts the system administrator.

Refreshments will be served at 4:15 p.m. in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817). The talk, Managing the MathLAN, will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Noyce 3821. Everyone is welcome to attend!

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