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Arts & Sciences

Ongoing Events

New Voices 32
Wednesday, 4/16/2014 - Saturday, 4/19/2014 7:00 PM-9:30 PM
Little Theatre
Masque and the Department of Humanities & Arts presetns New Voices 32. For more details please visit:
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April 2014

Ilknur Icke, New York University, Evolutionary Computation in Data Science
Friday, 4/18/2014 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Fuller Laboratories, 320
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Levi L. Conant Lecture-John Huerta (Centre for Mathematical Analysis, Geometry, and Dynamical Systems, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon)-Symmetry in Mathematics and Physics
Friday, 4/18/2014 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Fuller Laboratories, Upper Perreault
ABSTRACT: Deep at the heart of any discipline lies the idea of symmetry. We will explore the fascinating tale of symmetry, from its codification into a powerful tool called group theory by mathematicians in the 19th century, to its rise to the center of fundamental physics in the 20th century, and its evolution and influence today. Group theory begins with intuitive, pictorial ideas of what it means to have symmetry. In the 1830s, the 20 year old genius Evariste Galois invented group theory and turned it into a powerful tool in pure mathematics, but one devoid of apparent practical use. Much later, after decades of mathematical development, Albert Einstein introduced symmetry to physics with his theory of relativity. Yet it was only in the latter half of the 20th century that we discovered the true importance of symmetry in physics: particle physicists discovered it at the heart of the laws of nature, essentially giving our most basic laws their form. It has continued to have a central place ever since, and today, new mathematical ideas about symmetry, with exotic names like quantum groups and higher categories, may be poised to revolutionize the physics of the 21st century.

John Huerta earned his PhD in 2011 in mathematics from the University of California, Riverside. Huerta is a mathematical physicist, currently a postdoctoral fellow at Centre for Mathematical Analysis, Geometry, and Dynamical Systems in Lisbon. In 2013 he shared the Levi L. Conant Prize with his advisor, John Baez, at University of California, Riverside, for the paper The Algebra of Grand Unified Theories. (Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 47:483-552, 2010.)
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Professor Jie Yang , Oakland University, Making Physical Inferences to Enhance Wireless Security
Tuesday, 4/22/2014 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Fuller Laboratories, 320
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Stochastic Analysis Common-Anja Richter (Baruch College, CUNY)-Discrete Term Structure Models
Wednesday, 4/23/2014 3:00 PM-4:00 PM
Stratton Hall, 203
ABSTRACT: In the classic approach to option pricing one models the dynamics of the underlying and then calibrates the model to today's option prices. However, option prices derived from the model are often inconsistent with the observed prices in the market. To overcome this problem we model the dynamics of both the underlying and liquidly traded options together using forward characteristic processes. We develop theory and applications of forward characteristic processes in discrete time. In particular we provide a no-arbitrage characterization of our model and a rich class of examples. Finally we show how to implement our model. This is joint work with Josef Teichmann (ETH Zurich).
For more information, e-mail

Learning Semantic Maps from Natural Language Descriptions
Friday, 4/25/2014 2:00 PM-3:00 PM
Higgins Laboratories, 102
Abstract: Whether they are providing personalized care, assisting people with
cognitive or physical impairments, or carrying out household chores,
robots have the potential to improve our quality of life in
revolutionary ways. In order to realize this potential, we must
develop robots that people can efficiently command and naturally
interact with. This interaction demands that robots be able to reason
over models of their environments as rich as those of their human
partners. However, today's robots understand their environment through
representations that are either limited to low-level metric properties
or that require domain experts to hard-code higher-level semantic

In this talk, I will describe an algorithm that I developed to enable
robots to efficiently learn shared cognitive models of their
surroundings from a user's natural language descriptions. The novelty
lies in inferring spatial and semantic knowledge from these
descriptions and fusing this information with the metric measurements
from the robot's sensor streams. The method maintains a joint
distribution over a hybrid metric, topological, and semantic
representation of the environment, which provides a common framework
in which to integrate these disparate sources of information. I will
demonstrate that the algorithm allows people to share meaningful,
human-centric properties of their environment simply by speaking to
the robot. I will conclude by describing ongoing efforts in
human-robot dialog and planning that build upon this semantic mapping
algorithm to enable a voice-commandable wheelchair and other robots to
follow free-form spoken instructions.

Bio: Matthew Walter is a research scientist in the Computer Science and
Artificial Intelligent Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. His research focuses on probabilistic approaches to
perception and natural language understanding that make it possible
for robots to work effectively alongside humans. Matthew received his
Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

For more information, e-mail

Harold J. Gay Lecture-Viorel Barbu (University of Iasi, Romania)-PDEs and variational based models for image restoring
Friday, 4/25/2014 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Kaven Hall, 116
ABSTRACT: One surveys here a few nonlinear diffusion models in image restoration and denoising with main emphasis on that described by nonlinear parabolic equations of gradient type. The well-posedness of the corresponding Cauchy problem as well as stability of the derived finite difference scheme is studied from perspectives of nonlinear semigroup theory. Most of denoising PDE procedures existing in literature, though apparently are efficient at experimental level, are however mathematically ill posed and our effort here is to put them on more rigorous mathematical basis.
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Consortium Concert
Saturday, 4/26/2014 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street, Worcester, MA
Requiem by Maurice Duruflé with full orchestra, organ, soloists and 300 voice chorus
Open to the Public. Tickets available through the box office at Mechanics Hall 508-752-0888.
For more information, e-mail

Skeist Concert
Sunday, 4/27/2014 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
Higgins House
Medwin Honors String Quartet Briana Huie, Olivia Shraibati, Laura Merrill, Shawn Wile joined by the first recipient of the Skeist Scholarship, Alex Dich('14). Reception to follow.
For more information, e-mail

Math Bio Seminar-Mike Neubert (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)-Bioeconomics of Marine Reserves
Tuesday, 4/29/2014 4:00 PM-5:00 PM
Stratton Hall, 203
ABSTRACT: Spatially explicit fisheries management is a hot topic. Of particular interest is the role that closed areas (a.k.a. marine protected areas or marine reserves), should play in the regulation of fishing. Theoretical work in this area has shown that the establishment of marine reserves for conservation purposes does not necessarily require a reduction in economic productivity. It is fair to say that the implementation and design of actual marine reserve networks has been motivated and guided in large part by bioeconomic theory.

As is appropriate, the mathematical models that are currently used to understand the economic and biological costs and benefits of marine reserves make a number of simplifying assumptions. These include assumptions about the goal of management, the impacts of harvest on habitat, the number of harvesters, the nature of regulatory constraints, etc. In my talk, I will present the results of my analysis of a simple, spatially-explicit, bioeconomic model for a harvested renewable resource. Even this model can have complicated dynamics. Then, depending on time and audience interests, I will discuss the consequences of relaxing various of these assumptions.

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Forrest Gander A Poetry Reading
Tuesday, 4/29/2014 7:00 PM-9:30 PM
Salisbury Laboratories, SL 115 Kinnicutt
"With an 'unflinchingly curious mind,' celebrated poet Forrest Gander has become known for the richness of his language and his undaunted lyric passion. A translator, essayist, and the editor of two anthologies of Mexican poetry, Gander is the author of more than a dozen books, including collaborations with notable artists and photographers.

In 2008, Gander was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, one of 50 artists to be recognized for artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields. Gander is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting Foundations; and he has received two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry.

With poet C.D. Wright, Gander lives in Rhode Island, where he is professor of English and Comparative Literature at Brown University. He teaches courses on phenomenology and poetics, Asian-American literature, and translation."

You can learn more about Forrest Gander at his website:

For more information, e-mail

Jazz Choir Jazz Combo Festival
Wednesday, 4/30/2014 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Alden Memorial
Jazz Combo Festival hosted by the WPI Jazz Group and Richard Falco, Director.
Sponsored by: Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education, WPI Jazz Group & HUA Dept.
For more information, e-mail

Drug Discovery Accelerated by Computational Methods
Wednesday, 4/30/2014 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, GP1002 Seminar Room
William Jorgensen, Ph.D.
Sterling Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Director, Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering
Yale University

Host: Dr. George Kaminski
For more information, e-mail

May 2014

Colloquium-Rohini Kumar (Wayne State University)-Title TBA
Friday, 5/2/2014 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Stratton Hall, 203
For more information, e-mail

Recitals from Weeks Performance Practicum
Sunday, 5/4/2014 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Alden Memorial, Spaulding - Free and open to all.
Please join us for the Perofrmance Practicum recitals.
For more information, e-mail

To fold, hold or degrade-how molecular chaperones maintain the quality control of protein kinases
Monday, 5/5/2014 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, GP1002 Seminar Room
Dr. Atin Mandal
Assistant Professor
Division of Molecular Medicine
Bose Institute
Kolkata India

Hosted by Professor Jose Arguello
For more information, e-mail

Ultrasensitive Infrared Vibrational Nanospectroscopy via Molecular Expansion Force Detection
Thursday, 5/8/2014 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, GP1002 Seminar Room
Mikhail Belkin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Host: Dr. Christopher Lambert
For more information, e-mail

A Showcase of Teaching Innovations in Writing-Intensive Courses Acorss the Curriculum
Thursday, 5/8/2014 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Campus Center, Mid-Century room
Three members of HUARTS will join engineers and biologists from across campus to share the ways they are using writing to promote learning in their courses. Stop by, peruse our colleagues posters and course materials, and join us for some informal conversation.
For more information, e-mail

June 2014

Saturday, 6/14/2014 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
- Free
In the midst of the prestigious NASA Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge, WPI will transform its campus into a family-friendly festival of hands-on technology and exhibits.
For more information, e-mail or call 508-831-5000.

November 2014

Michael S. Harper Poetry Reading
Sunday, 11/16/2014 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
Salisbury Laboratories, SL 104
Michael S. Harper is University Professor Emeritus of Literary Arts at Brown University, was the first state poet laureate of Rhode Island (from 1988-1993), and has published ten books of poetry. You can learn more about him at:

For more information, e-mail

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