Wide-audience Scientific Seminars of
17th of June
Management for the Future Internet
by Rui Valadas
In competitive markets,
network operators must apply sensible resource management
procedures to provide the QoS contracted with users at minimum
cost. This requires measuring and characterizing the traffic,
evaluating the network performance and optimizing the traffic
control mechanisms and the dimensioning of the network capacity.
Since the characteristics of Internet traffic are becoming more
and more complex, traffic measurements (and what can be learned
from them) will play a critical in successfully enabling the
In this talk we will give an overview of the main issues pertaining
to the resource management of the future Internet, namely the
traffic control mechanisms, the performance evaluation
techniques, the traffic modeling and statistical characterization
methods and the capacity dimensioning procedures. Moreover, we
will present a traffic measurement system with a peer-to-peer
architecture that has been introduced recently to allow a more
extensive use of measurements in the resource management process.
3rd of June
CSI: are Mendel's data "too
good to be true?"
Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)
is almost unanimously recognized as the founder of modern genetics.
However, long ago, a shadow of doubt was cast on his integrity by
another eminent scientist, the statistician and geneticist, Sir Ronald
Fisher (1890?1962), who questioned the honesty of the data that
form the core of Mendel's work. This issue, nowadays called "the
Mendel-Fisher controversy", can be traced back to 1911, when Fisher
first presented his doubts about Mendel's results, though he only
published a paper with his analysis of Mendel's data in 1936.
A large number of papers have been published about this controversy
culminating with the publication in 2008 of a book (Franklin et al.,
"Ending the Mendel-Fisher controversy") aiming at ending the issue,
definitely rehabilitating Mendel's image. However, quoting from
Franklin et al., "the issue of the `too good to be true' aspect
of Mendel's data found by Fisher still stands".
We have submitted Mendel's data and Fisher's statistical analysis to
extensive computations and simulations attempting to discover an hidden
explanation or hint that could help finding an answer to the questions:
is Fisher right or wrong, and if Fisher is right is there any
reasonable explanation for the "too good to be true", other than
deliberate fraud? In this talk some results of this investigation and
the conclusions obtained will be presented.
20th of May
Multivariate estimation of
socioeconomic regional clusters
by João Oliveira
This talk begins by
discussing the potential of statistical cluster analysis for analyzing
regional policies and for supporting regional
development initiatives. Two cases involving the European Union
Regional Policy illustrate this discussion. The rest of the talk
summarizes the methodological issues related to the multivariate
estimation of socioeconomic regional clusters, namely, the need for
data reduction, and the choice of variables and clustering algorithm. A
case study involving European socioeconomic indicators from the
Eurostat Database Regio is used to compare the variability of the
results caused either by the variable or the clustering method
6th of May
Organizational Design and
Engineering: How to survive organizational engineering as an engineer
by António Rito
An organization is
manifested by the set of interactions among its members. Today, most of
these interactions are mediated by computer-based artifacts. Current
state-of-art in organizational design identifies an entangling between
people and technology which precludes the separate study of people and
technology: computer-based artifacts shape organizations, they
embody an organizational design and engender an organization through
their use. The question we intend to address in this seminar is:
Should the organization become the object of engineering activities?
We propose design and implementation of computer-based artifacts as the
focus of engineering activities, but considering the organizational
aspects associated with their design and development. During the
presentation, organizational qualities of computer-based artifacts,
such as incompleteness, will be discussed and the development process
of computer-based artifacts will be revised as a knowledge creation
process where the distinction between designers and users is blurred.
The design and implementation of business processes will be used to
illustrate the proposal.
25th of March
Technical Analyses: how to
predict Stock Market future prices based in past prices
by Rui Neves
Technical analyses says
that it is possible to predict the future price of stocks and
commodities based only on the price history of the active. In contrast,
the Efficient Market Hipothesys (EMH) states that markets are efficient
and that all the information is immediately and rationally discounted
in the market. The decrease in the last year of stock market prices has
shown that EMH must be wrong.
In this talk we will show that stock prices have a tendency to trend in
one direction up or down, and to repeat certain patterns. These
patterns have curious names, like "head and shoulders", "double top",
"descending triangle" and "diamond top", among others. Pattern
recognition can be used in this way to predict future prices. Moving
averages and oscillators are other techniques used in this area. Also
genetic algorithms can be used to find the best parameters.
11st of March
Why factoring is important
by Paulo Mateus
We will overview relevant
modern approaches in factorization. We start by showing why factoring
is important in security. Then, we give an overview of Shor's quantum
algorithm assuming no expertize from the audience. Finally, we will
show how to reduce factorization to the problem of numerical
7th of January
Hacking life: how to
build a new life form in your computer
by Arlindo Oliveira
Synthetic biology is a new
field of research that combines computer models of biological systems
with DNA synthesis and genetic engineering techniques in order to
design and build new biological functions, systems and organisms. While
still in its infancy, this area of research is expected to develop
rapidly, so that very soon researchers, companies and hackers will be
able to design, build and release in the wild new organisms. In this
talk, I will address some questions and challenges posed by this
technology, and, in particular, the role that will be played by
research areas such as Systems Biology, Bioinformatics and Information
Systems in the design of artificial life forms.
10th of December
In recent years, scientists unraveling
the mysteries of human intelligence are drawn into searching for better
understandings of how the human brain works. In that pursuit, new
findings and new theories point out the importance of emotions and
affect in human decision making. As such, when creating computational
models of intelligence, one of the core goals of the area of Artificial
Intelligence, emotions and affect have started to play an important
role. Further, as computers interact with humans in an ever more
natural and human inspired way, such interactions ought to take the
affective elements into account.
The laughs and tears of affective computers
by Ana Paiva
One of the very many ways by which recent advances in affective
neuroscience has influenced the technology stands in a new area of
computing named "Affective Computing". The term "Affective Computing"
originated by Rosalind Picard more than a decade ago, refers to the
"computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberatively influences
emotions". But how can emotions influence computing? How can
computers understand the subtle aspects of emotions in human users?
This talk will discuss some of the questions that drive the area of
affective computing, such as "how can computers understand the emotions
of the users?", "how can computers make decisions that are fast and
inspired in affective human decision making?" or "how can computers
[P] R. W. Picard, “Affective Computing”, MIT Press (1997).
19th of November
Turbulence has since long been found to
be the dominant reason for the observed limited confinement in fusion
devices. The effect of turbulence in plasmas is the increase of matter
and energy transport. In the operating conditions of the tokamaks, the
combined effect of electric and magnetic fields fluctuations is the
cause of large losses.
Control of edge turbulence in tokamak plasmas
One of the success stories of magnetic fusion research over the past
decade is the discover of techniques to reduce turbulence and the
simultaneously development of what is called the flow shear
stabilization model to explain how those techniques work. Experimental
tools have been developed to control the plasma flow and their
importance on the global confinement has been demonstrated in a wide
range of plasma conditions.
[SFNGV] C. Silva, H. Figueiredo, I. Nedzelskiy, B. Gonçalves and
C.A.F. Varandas, “Control of the edge turbulent transport by emissive
electrode biasing on the tokamak ISTTOK”, Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion
48 (2006) 727.
Despite the dramatic
evolution of Information Technologies (IT) in the last 35 years, the
current challenges regarding IT management are interestingly similar:
how to "align" IT and business. In 1973, Nolan had already mentioned
maturity levels as a path towards business/IT alignment. But we are now
in 2008 still trying to achieve the same goal...
The fundamental issue is to find out the *root cause* for this problem,
which IMHO is based on the exagerated technical background found on
most IT degrees. For that reason, I do believe that the problem is
about to be solved in the next few years as new IT students graduate
with less -- or even no -- technical background.
To demonstrate my point of view I will present the great contribution
of Prince Henry, the Navigator (to whom I dedicate my latest book) to
IT management. Just remember that Henry -- so-called "the Navigator" --
did not know how to navigate. Why then should IT managers know a lot
[N] R. L. Nolan, Managing the computer resource: a stage
hypothesism, Commun. ACM 16, 7 (Jul. 1973), 399-405.
22nd of October
Since the last part of the 19th century regression has been the
everyday bread of a vast population of users of statistics working in a
large variety of fields. The least squares method has been the butter
that prepares the ingestion and facilitates the study of the model.
Robust regression: an added value for a fundamental model
by João Branco
Here it is shown that the bread and butter of statistics may not be as
deliciously tasteful as its voracious consumption appears to suggest.
The recipe may fail and the taste may turn bitter, which means that the
process may lead to misleading results.
To prevent inconveniences robust regression is proposed. This is a more
satisfying method that protects all the users of the weaknesses of
The central objective of the seminar is the study of robust regression.
Its advantages, limitations, popularity and main methods to induce
robustness in regression will be the main topics to be discussed.
[RY] P. J. Rousseeuw and V. J. Yohai. Robust regression by means of S-estimators.
Robust and Nonlinear Time Series Analysis. New York Springer, (1984)
256 - 272.
[SY] M. Salibian-Barrera and V. J. Yohai. A Fast Algorithm for S-Regression
Estimates. Journal of Computational & Graphical Statistics,
(2006) 15, 2, 414-427.
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