Colloquia Series

The NCSA Colloquia series was launched in fall 2014 to bring leaders in big data, big computing, and big research to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to enlighten and spark innovation among researchers and students of all disciplines. These events are free and the entire campus community is welcome to attend. Video is available after each talk.

September 29, 11:00 am

Save the Date! The next NCSA Colloquium this month will be "Research and Education using STEM based approaches for modeling, analysis and simulation of biological, bio-inspired and engineering systems" presented by Dr. Padhu Seshaiyer on Friday, September 29 at 11:00 a.m. in the NCSA auditorium. Please join us for a brief reception at 10:30 a.m. in the atrium followed by the colloquium.

Abstract: In the last decade, there have been dramatic advances in our understanding to model, analyze and simulate fundamental mechanisms underlying biological, bio-inspired and engineering systems. Some examples of multidisciplinary applications that arise in such areas include understanding why aneurysms rupture, how zika spreads, modeling micro-air vehicles, studying social dynamics to creating practical solutions to stop poaching of elephants in Africa. Coupled with this research agenda is also a greater need to engage the next generation STEM workforce in such real-world problem solving. In this talk, participants will learn about STEM based research and educational frameworks that not only helps to enhance pedagogical practices of educators but also provides opportunities for students at all levels to engage in multidisciplinary problem solving.

Bio: Dr. Padhu Seshaiyer is currently serving as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation. He is a tenured Professor of Mathematical Sciences at George Mason University and serves as the Director of the STEM Accelerator Program in the College of Science as well as the Director of COMPLETE (Center for Outreach in Mathematics Professional Learning and Educational Technology) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. His research interests are in the broad areas of computational mathematics, scientific computing, computational biomechanics and STEM education. During the last decade, Dr. Seshaiyer initiated and directed a variety of educational programs including graduate and undergraduate research, K-12 outreach, teacher professional development, and enrichment programs to foster the interest of students and teachers in STEM at all levels.

His research includes the development of new analytical techniques and efficient computational algorithms to obtain numerical solutions to differential equations describing multi-physics interactions. His research in Computational biomechanics includes developing, extending and applying mathematics for the purposes of better understanding the physiology and pathophysiology of the human vascular system. Integrated with the research plan is an education plan where the primary goal is to teach students and teachers at all levels to apply well-developed research concepts, to fundamental applications arising in STEM disciplines.

The event is organized by the Department of Computer Science at Illinois and NCSA.

October 6, 11:00 am

Save the Date! The first October NCSA Colloquium will be "New Opportunities for Understanding and Improving Cities" presented by Dr. Charlie Catlett on Friday, October 6 at 11:00 a.m. in the NCSA auditorium. Please join us for a brief reception at 10:30 a.m. in the atrium followed by the colloquium.

Abstract: Urbanization is one of the great challenges and opportunities of this century, inextricably tied to global challenges ranging from climate change to sustainable use of energy and natural resources, and from personal health and safety to accelerating innovation and education. There is a growing science community—spanning nearly every discipline—pursuing research related to these challenges. The availability of urban data has increased over the past few years, in particular through open data initiatives, creating new opportunities for collaboration between academia and local government in areas ranging from scalable data infrastructure to tools for data analytics, along with challenges such as replicability of solutions between cities, integrating and validating data for scientific investigation, and protecting privacy. For many urban questions, however, new data sources will be required with greater spatial and/or temporal resolution, driving innovation in the use of sensors in mobile devices as well as embedding intelligent sensing infrastructure in the built environment. Collectively these data sources also hold promise to begin to integrate computational models associated with individual urban sectors such as transportation, building energy use, or climate. Catlett will discuss the work that Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago are doing in partnership with the City of Chicago and other cities through the Urban Center for Computation and Data, focusing in particular on new opportunities related to embedded systems and experience to date with the Array of Things project in Chicago and partner cities.

Bio: Charlie Catlett is a Senior Computer Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, a Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, and founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data. He has worked in Internet and supercomputing technologies since 1985. He currently leads the NSF-funded Array of Things project, establishing a network of 500 Argonne-developed intelligent sensor units in Chicago. Recognized as one of 25 "Doers, Dreamers & Drivers" of 2016 by Government Technology magazine and in 2014 as one of Chicago's "Tech 50" technology leaders by Crain’s Chicago Business, Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

October 27, 11:00 am

Save the Date! The last NCSA Colloquium of October will be "Of Pagans, Pirates, and Perverts: An Arbitrary History of the Computed" presented by Dr. Nishant Shah on Friday, October 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the NCSA auditorium. Please join us for a brief reception at 10:30 a.m. in the atrium followed by the colloquium.

Abstract: The presence of the computer as a device ties us into a fetishistic historicization that centres around the materiality of computing. The various trajectories that emerge from this history making follow the tropes of machine-in-the-making, man-making-machine, and machine-triumphs-all narratives that often invoke socio-cultural and humanistic contexts but focus on the emergence, assembly, and production of the computer. Invisible, even in the divergent geographies and approaches, through all these stories of the computer, of computation, and of computing, are the voices of the computed. The genesis myth of computing as a disruptive emergence belies the affective histories of effective technologies for control and domination that form the legacy of contemporary computation. In this talk, drawing from post-colonial literature around penile pagans, archives of pirated preservation, and the first order of perverted logic that informs theories of cybernetics, I present a different history of computation—a history of the computed. Through these cases, I propose a fruitful way in which Humanities and Arts need to engage with the material, coded, and technological black box of computing.

Bio: Nishant Shah is the co-founder and board member of the Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore, India, and is a professor at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media at Leuphana University in Germany, where he teaches in fields such as Digital Humanities, Computer-Human Interaction and Information and Communication Technologies for Development. Also, Dr. Shah is Dean of Research at ArtEZ (Arnhem, Enschede in Zwolle, Netherlands). Currently, Professor Shah conducts work on the cutting edge of technology, identity and social and political movements. He is focused on the question of how we can remain human in a technological environment.


Past Speakers

  1. watch the video presentation

    Midwest Big Data Hub: Accelerating the Big Data Innovation Ecosystem

    Melissa Cragin, Midwest Big Data Hub

    presented March 10, 2017

  2. watch the video presentation

    Relocating Innovation: Places and Material Practices of Future Making

    Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University

    presented March 3, 2017

  3. watch the video presentation

    The Work of the Humanities in a STEM-STEM World

    Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    presented February 10, 2017

  4. watch the video presentation

    What We Have Learned about using Software Engineering Practices in Scientific Software

    Jeffrey Carver, University of Alabama

    presented December 9, 2016

  5. watch the video presentation

    Big Data Visual Analysis

    Chris Johnson, University of Utah

    presented November 4, 2016

  6. watch the video presentation

    The Role of Emerging Technology in Reducing Windstorm Impacts

    Forrest Masters, University of Florida

    presented October 28, 2016

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