Spring 2014

February 11, 2014

Intermittent Supply and the Marginal Value of Storage

Speaker: Eilyan Bitar (Cornell University)

Pressing environmental issues and concerns over energy security are driving worldwide interest in renewable energy resources. Unlike conventional generation, however, power from wind and solar resources is inherently variable in its supply....

March 4, 2014

Network Localization and Navigation

Speaker: Moe Win (MIT)

The availability of positional information is of extreme importance in numerous commercial, health-care, public safety, and military applications. The coming years will see the emergence of location-aware networks with sub-meter localization...

March 11, 2014

On High-performance Motion in Stochastic Environments

Speaker: Sertac Karaman (MIT)

Consider a robotic vehicle that is traveling in a cluttered environment or attempting to fulfill tasks that require visiting several locations. What is the maximum speed that this vehicle can achieve and maintain for a long time? How does...

March 18, 2014

Conic Geometric Programming

Speaker: Venkat Chandrasekaran (Caltech)

We describe conic geometric programs (CGPs), which are convex optimization problems obtained by blending elements of geometric programs (GPs) and conic optimization problems such as semidefinite programs (SDPs).  A CGP consists of a linear...

April 1, 2014

Differential Privacy in Estimation and Control

Speaker: George Pappas ()

Emerging systems such as smart grids or intelligent transportation systems often require end-user applications to continuously send information to external data aggregators performing monitoring or control tasks. This can result in an...

April 8, 2014

Optimal Rate Communication by Regression

Speaker: Andrew Barron (Yale University)

We discuss our recently developed sparse superposition codes for the Gaussian noise channel. With a fast adaptive successive decoder it achieves nearly exponentially small error probability at any fixed rate R less than the Shannon capacity...

April 15, 2014

Finding communities in networks: message-passing, phase transitions, and new spectral methods

Speaker: Christopher Moore (Santa Fe Institute)

Detecting communities is an important problem in the study of networks.  Recently, we developed scalable Belief Propagation algorithms that update probability distributions of node labels until they reach a fixed point.  In addition to being...

April 29, 2014

Structural Information

Speaker: Wojciech Szpankowski (Purdue)

F. Brooks argued in his 2003 JACM paper on the challenges of computer sciences that there is "no theory that gives us a metric for the information embodied in structure".  C. Shannon himself noticed this fifty years earlier in his 1953 paper...

May 6, 2014

Distributed Randomized Control for Ancillary Service to the Power Grid

Speaker: Sean Meyn (University of Florida)

Based on joint research with Ana Busic, Prabir Barooah, Jordan Erhan, and Yue Chen.   Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power have a high degree of unpredictability and time-variation, which makes balancing demand and supply...

May 13, 2014

Distributed Stochastic Optimization via Correlated Scheduling

Speaker: Michael J. Neely (University of Southern California)

This talk considers two distributed optimization problems.  In the first problem, multiple users make repeated decisions based on their own observed events.  The events and decisions at each time step determine the values of a utility...