CS Wednesday Talks take place in the ASH lobby or auditorium. A light lunch is served at noon. Talks begin at 12:00 and end by 1:00 p.m.
March 5, 2014
Russell and the Conflict Between Physics and Experience
Rebecca Keller (F13) and Jonathan Westphal
Abstract: Science seems to conflict with everyday experience. Science tells us about wavelengths, but we experience colors. Science tells us about the energy of molecules, but we experience heat. Bertrand Russell took the view that this conflict is to be resolved in favour of science against everyday experience, and that everyday experience contradicts itself. We will discuss this argument in various forms.
Naive realism leads to physics. Physics, if true, shows that naive realism is false. Therefore naive realism if true is false. Therefore it is false. - Bertrand Russell
Rebecca Keller (F13), is a CS student.
Jonathan Westphal is a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College, teaching philosophy in the School of Cognitive Sciences. He has interests in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology. His most recent work has been on the philosophy of time and on freewill, and the relation between the two, for example in his "Is There a Modal Fallacy in Van Inwagen's "First Formal Argument"?' Analysis 72 (2012). He is currently teaching a class on the philosophy of language and, together with other members of CS, a class on the philosophy of color.
February 26, 2014
Long Division with Roman Numerals? The Quest for Intuitive Notations and Data Visualizations
Tony McCaffrey, Ph.D., Innovation Accelerator, Inc.
Abstract: Only the top mathematicians of the culture could perform long division with Roman numerals. Change the notation to Arabic numerals and now we teach long division to elementary school children. Today, we use the calculus notation created by Leibniz rather than Newton's because it is more intuitive. But what makes a notation intuitive? Using results from embodied cognition on how we naturally project meaning into spatial relations and bodily actions, I am developing a new sub-field called ergosemantics (i.e., the ergnomics of semantic representations) that applies beyond human computer interaction to any notation or data visualization. In the age of Big Data, we especially need intuitive ways to make sense of data and ergosemantics has the potential for some breakthroughs.
Biography: Dr. Tony McCaffrey's dissertation at UMass Amherst articulated the first successful technique to counteract functional fixedness--the most famous obstacle to innovation. Other innovation techniques also flow from his Obscure Features Hypothesis for innovation. Tony's new company, Innovation Accelerator, recently received an NSF SBIR grant to further commercialize his software that finds all the solutions to a problem like yours in the patent database. Tony's latest product is Brainswarming, a much more effective group problem solving technique than brainstorming.
February 12, 2014
Looking Backwards, or, Using Modern Digital Technology to Animate the Past
Chris Perry, associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Michael Lesy, professor of literary journalism
Abstract: The 350,000 3D stereographs of the Keystone-Mast Collection are housed in an earthquake-proof vault, thirty feet underground at the University of California, Riverside. From this archive, Hampshire College Professor Michael Lesy has selected 300 images of people and places from the world as it existed more than 100 years ago. These will be the basis of LOOKING BACKWARD, a major book and traveling exhibition scheduled for 2016. After a brief introduction by Professor Lesy to the LOOKING BACKWARD project, Professor Perry will discuss the research and development effort Chris is coordinating which aims to bring the stereographs to life for the gallery exhibition. Perry's informal presentation will touch on computer vision topics like optical flow and stereo correspondence algorithms, digital retouching strategies, and the pleasures of getting in over one's head as long as you're doing it with old friends.
Chris Perry, associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at Hampshire College, holds an M.S. in Media Arts and Sciences from the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MFA in Art from UMASS Amherst. His B.A., in physics and astronomy, is from Amherst College. Prior to Hampshire, Chris worked at Pixar Animation Studios as a technical director on the films "A Bugs Life" and "Finding Nemo" and as a graphics software engineer on "Toy Story 2." Before that, Chris worked at Rhythm & Hues Studios. His primary interests are in computer graphics and visual storytelling--particularly the intersection of the two.
Michael Lesy, professor of literary journalism, received a B.A. in theoretical sociology at Columbia University, an M.A. in American social history at the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in American cultural history at Rutgers University. He has published 13 books of history, biography, and narrative nonfiction. Professor Lesy's most recent book, Repast: Dining Out at the Dawn of the New American Century, 1900-1910 (2013), written in collaboration with his wife, Lisa Stoffer, was inspired by the New York Public Library's Buttolph Menu Collection. Professor Lesy’s books have been made into operas, plays, dance performances, and films. In 2007, the United States Artists Foundation named Professor Lesy its first Simon Fellow. In 2013, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.
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