DIMACS Workshop on Information-Theoretic Network Security

At DIMACS, I got a notice about a workshop here that is coming up in November with a deadline ofr November 5 to register: the DIMACS Workshop on Information-Theoretic Network Security organized by Yingbin Liang and Prakash Narayan. Should be worth checking out — they have a nice slate of talks.

If you do come though, don’t stay at the Holiday Inn — go for The Heldrich or a Hyatt or something that is anywhere near walking distance to restaurants or something. I think I almost got run over going to Walgreens yesterday in this land of strip malls…

Postdoc / Visiting Scholar positions at Harvard’s Center for Research on Computation and Society

The Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) solicits applications for its Postdoctoral Fellows and Visiting Scholars Programs for the 2013-2014 academic year. Postdoctoral Fellows are given an annual salary of approximately $60,000 for one year (with the possibility of renewal) to engage in a program of original research, and are provided with additional funds for travel and research support. Visiting Scholars often come with their own support, but CRCS can occasionally offer supplemental funding.

We seek researchers who wish to interact with both computer scientists and colleagues from other disciplines, and have a demonstrated interest in connecting their research agenda with societal issues.  We are particularly interested in candidates with interests in Economics and Computer Science, Health Care Informatics, Privacy & Security, and/or Technology & Accessibility, and those who may be interested in engaging in one of our ongoing/upcoming projects:

  • Intelligent, Adaptive Systems for Health Care Informatics
  • Language-Based Security
  • Personalized Accessibility
  • Privacy and Security in Targeted Advertising
  • Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data
  • Trustworthy Crowdsourcing

Harvard University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. We are particularly interested in attracting women and underrepresented groups to participate in CRCS.  For further information about the Center and its activities, see http://crcs.seas.harvard.edu/.

Application Procedure

A cover letter, CV, research statement, copies of up to three research papers, and up to three letters of reference should be sent to:

Postdoctoral Fellows and Visiting Scholars Programs
Center for Research on Computation and Society

References for postdoctoral fellows should send their letters directly, and Visiting Scholar applicants may provide a list of references rather than having letters sent. The application deadline for full consideration is December 16, 2012.

Postdoc opportunity at Princeton/ASU on smart grid

There is a joint postdoc opportunity between Princeton and Arizona State University (working with H Vincent Poor and Lalitha Sankar). They are looking for a postdoc with a strong background in information theory and/or statistical signal processing. The postdoctoral position provides two distinct and unique opportunities:

(i) to work on mathematical models for the large data sets generated in the smart grid along with communication and compression algorithms for secure and privacy-guaranteed distributed processing of data. This opportunity will include working closely with NAE members in power systems at ASU as well as information systems researchers.

(ii) opportunity to work with researchers at Princeton University for the other half of the postdoctoral tenure.

If interested, please contact Lalitha Sankar with a CV (lalithasankar@asu.edu) for more details.

The Data Map : a map of information flows

One of the things Latanya Sweeney mentioned during her talk at the iDash workshop is a new project called theDataMap, which is trying to visualize how personal information about individuals flows through institutions. One of the starting points is an older map which shows how a putative hospital patient Alice’s personal information is accessed and used by a number of entities of whom she is likely unaware, including pharma companies, her employer, and medical researchers.

This is analogous to a map Lee Tien sent me, also from a report a few years ago, on how private medical information flows look in California.

It’s worth looking at and thinking a bit about how we balance privacy and utility/profit at the moment, and whether generally erring on the side of sharing is the best way to go.

ICML reviewing absurdity

I’m a reviewer for ICML 2013, which has a novel submission format this year. Papers for the first cycle were due October 1. They received more than they thought (by a significant factor), but I was only assigned papers to review today, more than 2 weeks later. We have been given 2 weeks to submit reviews — given my stack, that’s 2 weeks notice to review ~60 pages of material.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I think that the review quality is not going to be that high this time. Perhaps this is a Mechanical Turk approach to the problem — get a bunch of cheap noisy labels and then hope that you can get a good label by majority vote?

Update: We’ve been given another week, hooray.


An initiative to prevent irreproducible science.

A video about Graham’s number.

I don’t tweet, but all of this debate seems ridiculous to me. I think the real issue is who follows twitter? I know Sergio is on Twitter, but is anyone else?

Food : An Atlas is a book project on kickstarter by people who do “guerrilla cartography.” It is about food, broadly construed. $25 gets you a copy of the book, and it looks awesome, especially if you like maps. And who doesn’t like maps?

I remember reading about the demise of the American Chestnut tree, but apparently it may make a comeback!