Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

On June 11, leading authorities on the World Wide Web will gather at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for an old-fashioned debate with a social media twist. The questions for discussion will be shaped and selected by the collective wisdom of Web users from around the world.

Tetherless World Research Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

After delivering a keynote address, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, will join a panel of experts from academia and industry for a public discussion about the Web’s future. The content of the debate will be collaboratively created by Web users, who can submit questions and promote them through a user-based ranking system, similar to the community-based news site Digg. The most popular questions will drive the discussion at the June 11 debate.

The public debate, which will be streamed live via an interactive Webcast, is part of a daylong event to celebrate the launch of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer – a new academic center devoted to the emerging field of Web Science.
A wide range of issues are up for discussion, from sustaining the usefulness of the current Web to creating a next-generation Semantic Web, as well as the role of politics, education, and sociological factors in the Web’s continued evolution. Following introductory remarks by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, participants in the panel will be:

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
  • Wendy Hall, vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and senior vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, former president of the British Computer Society and chief technology officer of Garlik.
  • Nova Spivack, high-tech entrepreneur and founder of Radar Networks.
  • Deborah McGuinness, Web language expert and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation.
  • James Hendler, one of the inventors of the Semantic Web and Rensselaer Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation (moderator).

Members of the public are invited to submit and vote on questions until the day of the debate. During the discussion, viewers will be able to interact with the panelists by submitting follow-up questions and comments in real time. For details about this innovative event and how you can participate in the discussion, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu/launch.

Since its inception, the Web has changed the ways people work, play, communicate, collaborate, and educate, according to James Hendler, Constellation Professor of the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer. There is, however, a growing realization among researchers across a number of disciplines that without new research aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web, opportunities for new and revolutionary capabilities may be missed or delayed.

“If we want to be able to model the Web, if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth, and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, personal control over information, and respect for social boundaries, then we must pursue a research agenda that targets the Web and its use as a primary focus of attention,” Hendler said.

The Tetherless World Constellation will address this emerging area of Web Science, focusing on the Web and its future use. Faculty in the constellation will explore the research and engineering principles that underlie the Web, will enhance the Web’s reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and will develop new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web. They will use powerful scientific and mathematical techniques from many disciplines to explore the modeling of the Web from network- and information-centric views.

“Our goals will include making the next generation Web natural to use while being responsive to the growing variety of policy and social needs, whether in the area of privacy, intellectual property, general compliance, or provenance,” Hendler said. For more information about the Tetherless World Constellation, go to: http://tw.rpi.edu.


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As part of NASA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Digital Learning Network will host a series of live webcasts with students across the country May 13-21. The series will highlight the contributions of each NASA center to a specific topic in NASA history. The webcasts also will focus on NASA’s present and future efforts in space exploration.

NASA's 50th anniversary celebration.NASA’s Digital Learning Network allows the next generation of explorers to connect with scientists, engineers and researchers without leaving the classroom. Through interactive videoconferencing, the network provides distance-learning events designed to educate through demonstrations and real time interactions with NASA experts.

The 50th anniversary series webcasts are (all times EDT):

Go Flight, May 13, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The year is 1958. Nothing would ever be the same. For the first time, the United States sent a man-made device into space. This new frontier of exploration required ingenuity and creativity. NASA’s Johnson Space Center and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will host a web cast to re-live the significant past events of these two centers while realizing that future milestones of NASA will be accomplished by the students inside today’s classroom.

Astronomy: Bringing the Past to Light, May 14, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are combining forces to bring the rich history and science of telescopes to light. This interactive learning event will peer back through time to “first light” for Galileo’s refractor, highlight the evolution of the telescope into today’s large mountaintop reflectors, and focus in on the present and future promise of NASA’s space-based great observatories. Witness the inspiring trek of innovation and discovery as NASA continues to explore for answers that power our future.

Advancements in Aeronautics, May 20, 11 a.m. to noon

Fly away with NASA’s Langley and Dryden Flight Research Centers to learn about their roles in the development of aeronautics during NASA’s 50 years. Combined, the two centers have been studying aviation for more than 90 years. Learn more about this fascinating area of science and how NASA’s advancements have benefited mankind.

Propulsion: Past, Present and Future, May 20, 1:10 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA’s Stennis Space Center were built to examine Newton’s three fundamental laws of motion through testing large-scale engines used for propulsion, eventually taking man to the moon. In recent years, both centers were key in the development of the Space Shuttle Program, taking NASA from the conceptual stages to the final flight three years from now. As the shuttle is retired, Marshall and Stennis look to a new era of space exploration, taking man back to the moon and beyond to new frontiers.

Wind Tunnels and Their Use in Aerospace, May 21, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
You have just put your design idea for your new aircraft or rocket on paper but if you build it, will it fly? Learn how scientists and engineers at NASA have answered this question over the past 50 years without leaving the ground. Take a journey with the Digital Learning Network and see how NASA uses wind tunnel facilities for aviation and aerospace research.

To watch the live webcasts, visit: http://dln.nasa.gov/dln

For more information on research at NASA education, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education

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Daniel C. Petri, group president – International, has announced plans to retire after 37 years with Verizon Communications Inc., effective Aug. 1.

Since 2002, Petri has had overall responsibility for Verizon’s businesses outside the United States, including telephone operations in more than 20 countries on five continents. His mission over the last several years has been to optimize the operational and financial performance of these international telephone operations. At the same time, he has helped Verizon rationalize its portfolio of international affiliates as the company has shifted its global emphasis to providing advanced communications services to businesses and governments around the world.

“Dan has distinguished himself as an astute operational executive and negotiator in diverse and often difficult business environments,” said Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg. “He has provided leadership and business acumen to Verizon during a period of rapid transformation. We will miss his wisdom and his counsel, and we wish him the best.”

Dan Petri, Verizon Group President.Petri said, “I have had the privilege of watching our company evolve from a sleepy monopoly to a raging global competitor. It has been great to be part of the change that has taken place, to help set the stage for further transformation, and to share the experience with such wonderful people. I want to thank all my friends and colleagues for the experience and the fun.”

Petri will spend the next three months helping Verizon manage existing international investments, including the company’s 23 percent stake in Vodafone Italy. He will also continue to oversee the operation and eventual disposition of Verizon Airfone, which provides in-flight telecommunications services in the general aviation market.

Petri started his career with Verizon predecessor company New York Telephone in 1971 and served in a variety of positions in the domestic telephone business, becoming vice president and general manager for operations in midtown Manhattan in 1991. Since 1994 he has been a senior executive in Verizon’s International division.

A graduate of Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and Long Island University with a master’s degree in management science, he currently also serves as vice chairman of the Business Council for International Understanding, an organization formed in 1955 to strengthen ties between the U.S. Government and U.S. business interests overseas.

About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide.

Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit http://www.verizon.com.

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Microsoft Research has recognized five innovative, young faculty members from across the nation to join the ranks of Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows. This program now encompasses 20 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and thought leadership make them standouts in their fields. The selected professors are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging societal problems.

“We want to make it easier for early-career faculty to take risks in their research,” said Sailesh Chutani, senior director of Microsoft External Research. “We believe our New Faculty Fellows program provides young professors with the means to pursue research with the potential to make a profound impact.”

About 100 young faculty members from the United States and Canada were nominated for the 2008 awards. The five 2008 New Faculty Fellows are as follows:

Grauman’s work is in the area of inferring object properties such as shape or pose from electronic images, which has major implications for data mining and search.Kristen Grauman, University of Texas at Austin. Grauman’s research focuses on designing the algorithms and learning processes that will allow computers to understand and organize visual information. In particular, she is interested in tackling the major scalability issues that surround visual recognition and search. The goal is to make it possible to efficiently index large volumes of visual data (images or videos) based on their content – a functionality that has the potential to greatly benefit a variety of users, from consumers to scientists and engineers.

Hohenberger has done some groundbreaking work in the area of cryptography, including electronic transactions, and verifying the authenticity of incoming messages and encrypting outgoing ones in energy, data and time constrained applications.Susan Hohenberger, Johns Hopkins University. Hohenberger focuses on cryptography, the art of securely communicating. She is interested in designing secure solutions for pervasive settings, where devices everywhere are constantly talking to their environments, which may require the ability to quickly process a large number of incoming messages. Her research includes an emphasis on developing privacy-friendly technologies, such as anonymous communication and electronic cash.

Kleinberg is developing algorithms and theory to address complex interactions in a networked environment. His work has implications for the fields of online learning, routing and information transmission in networks.Robert Kleinberg, Cornell University. Kleinberg studies the theory of algorithm design under informational limitations. This means that he looks at practical questions in computer science – such as how to design more robust adaptive systems for Web search, network routing, online auctions and product recommendations – and address these questions using mathematically rigorous techniques that build on ideas from learning theory, game theory and information theory.

Phil Levis is working on advanced operating systems for sensor networks, which has tremendous implications for environmental science and other fields.Philip Levis, Stanford University. Levis researches software and networking for tiny, low-power, wireless sensors. He focuses on making these networks of sensors easier to deploy and maintain by researching ultrasimple algorithms that use robust local rules to achieve desirable global behaviors. Software he develops is used by hundreds of research groups worldwide and runs on millions of nodes.

Russ Tedrake has taken a whole new view on the control of robots, incorporating the physics of natural motion into the design of his controls.Russell Tedrake, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tedrake focuses on computational and machine-learning approaches to control system design for robots that walk, run, swim and fly more like real animals. He believes that to succeed, both the mechanical design of the robots and the algorithms for controller design must exploit the natural, nonlinear dynamics of locomotion. In the next few years, he aims to build bipedal robots that can walk and jump across piles of rocks, and develop robotic birds with flapping wings that can gracefully land on a perch.

“I’m delighted and honored to be selected for the Microsoft fellowship, and to be included among the group of past and present winners whom I deeply admire,” said Robert Kleinberg, assistant professor in the department of computer science at Cornell University. “The most important resource that my research requires is interaction with gifted colleagues, and the fellowship funds give me a wide range of options, such as supporting graduate students and postdocs, and organizing symposia. I’m grateful to Microsoft Research for this extremely generous gift and for the hugely positive influence they’ve had on my growth as a researcher over the years.”

The Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship program was created in 2005 to honor first-, second- and third-year university professors who demonstrate exceptional talent for unique research and thought leadership in computer science and related fields. These awards provide funds to encourage creative freedom and collaboration opportunities among tomorrow’s most promising new professors.

The Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship program provides $1 million in funding each year. Each chosen fellow receives $200,000 to be used at his or her discretion. Additional resources include software, invitations to academic and professional conferences, and the opportunity to engage firsthand with leading researchers from Microsoft Research. As an unrestricted gift, the fellows have the freedom to plan their research agenda, hire grad students, build labs and purchase equipment.

According to the eligibility criteria, only one nominee per university may be entered into the program’s rigorous, multitier selection process, which culminated this year with 11 finalists being interviewed face to face by a distinguished panel of Microsoft Research executives and researchers, as well as faculty members from some of the nation’s leading universities. From the 11 finalists, five were chosen as the 2008 Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows.

“Microsoft is committed to the New Faculty Fellows program with its potential to create exciting opportunities for the computer science researchers, educators and leaders of tomorrow,” Chutani said. “For the pipeline of computer science and engineering students to increase, there also needs to be a pipeline of dynamic faculty like these to inspire and lead them.”

These awards are part of Microsoft Research’s broader efforts aimed at funding innovative academic research that will significantly extend the state of the art in computing and ensure a rich future for computing through recognition and support of the next generation of computer science leaders.

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences. Microsoft Research currently employs more than 800 people in six labs located in Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. Microsoft Research collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspire technological innovation, and broadly advance the field of computer science. More information can be found at http://www.research.microsoft.com.

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McAfee, Inc. today announced that Albert A. “Rocky” Pimentel is joining the company as chief operating officer and chief financial officer beginning May 15. He will be responsible for leading all worldwide finance, IT, facilities and manufacturing functions, reporting directly to Chief Executive Officer and President, Dave DeWalt.

“Rocky brings proven business transformation skills across finance, mergers and acquisitions, as well as overall business leadership,” said DeWalt. “His experience in the security industry at Zone Labs, combined with his extensive international company background at high-growth companies like LSI Logic and Conner Peripherals, gives him the ability to contribute broadly to our business operations and help drive stockholder value in the coming years.”

Pimentel is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of change management experience with small, medium and large companies, having most recently served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Glu Mobile. Before Glu Mobile, Pimentel served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Zone Labs, where he oversaw the company’s successful negotiation and merger with Check Point Software. Prior to that, Pimentel was a partner with Redpoint Ventures. Pimentel also held the positions of senior vice president and chief financial officer of WebTV Networks, which was acquired by Microsoft in 1997, senior vice president and chief financial officer of LSI Logic Corporation and member of the founding team of Conner Peripherals, Inc., which was acquired by Seagate in 1996.

“McAfee’s track record of innovation and outstanding talent was a major factor behind my decision to join the company,” said Pimentel. “The security industry is a dynamic, high-growth industry and with the strength of its management team and its product and technology leadership McAfee is positioned perfectly to compete and win globally for years to come.”

Pimentel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in commerce from Santa Clara University and is a graduate of the executive MBA program at Stanford.

About McAfee, Inc.

McAfee, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. It delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that secure systems and networks around the world, allowing users to browse and shop the Web securely. With its unmatched security expertise and commitment to innovation, McAfee empowers home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to comply with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities and continuously monitor and improve their security. http://www.mcafee.com.

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Computer Sciences Corporation announced that President George W. Bush has appointed CSC’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael W. Laphen to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).

The NSTAC membership currently includes senior executives of major communications carriers, network service providers and information technology, software, finance, and aerospace companies. The NSTAC provides industry-based advice and expertise to the President on issues related to national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications and information systems.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee,” said Laphen. “CSC has been a dedicated contributor in the NSTAC since its inception in 1982. I will continue that tradition, supported by the extensive knowledge and experience of CSC’s world-class experts. The growing dependence of national and international critical functions and services on cyber systems, the increase in global terrorism and other major shifts, all make the work of the NSTAC even more urgent today.”

About CSC

Computer Sciences Corporation is a leading information technology (IT) services company. CSC’s mission is to be a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions and services.

With approximately 91,000 employees, CSC provides innovative solutions for customers around the world by applying leading technologies and CSC’s own advanced capabilities. These include systems design and integration; IT and business process outsourcing; applications software development; Web and application hosting; and management consulting. CSC reported revenue of $16.1 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 28, 2007. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.csc.com.

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Los Angeles Times Book Prize LogoThe Los Angeles Times tonight honored 2007’s most accomplished authors at its 28th annual Book Prizes ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall, held on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Gay Talese served as master of ceremonies for the event that drew many of the biggest names in the book world and honored Maxine Hong Kingston with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. In addition, a first-time Special Commendation was presented to Doug Dutton of Dutton’s Brentwood Books, which is closing its doors at the end of April after 24 years of service to the literary community in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The best books of 2007 and their writers were recognized in nine distinct categories:

Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (Alfred A. Knopf)

Current Interest
Elizabeth D. Samet, Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Andrew O’Hagan, Be Near Me (Harcourt)

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
Dinaw Mengestu, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead Books)

Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Doubleday)

Karin Fossum {Translated by Charlotte Barslund} The Indian Bride (Harcourt)

Stanley Plumly, Old Heart: Poems (W.W. Norton)

Science and Technology
Douglas Hofstadter, I Am A Strange Loop (Basic Books)

Young Adult Fiction
Philip Reeve, A Darkling Plain (The Hungry City Chronicles), (Eos Books/HarperCollins)

Each winner, including Kingston, receives a $1,000 cash award. A complete list of the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes finalists and past winners can be found at http://latimesbookprizes.com.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2.2 million and 3.2 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive weekly audience of 4.8 million. The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates – including The Envelope, Metromix, Times Community Newspapers, Hoy, and California Community News – reach approximately 5.5 million or 42% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 126 years and is part of Tribune Company, one of the country’s leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting.

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