"The Shape of Information""The Shape of Information"http://www.haverford.edu/calendar/details/253842KINSC Sharpless Auditorium2014-04-22T16:30:002014-04-22T18:00:00
April 22, 4:30PM–6:00PM
KINSC Sharpless Auditorium
Distinguished Visitor, Suresh Venkatasubramanian, University of Utah
What makes data mining so powerful, and so ubiquitous? How can the same techniques identify patients at risk for a rare genetic disorder, consumers most likely to like Beyonce's latest album, or even a new star from an sky survey ? The answer starts with an idea Descartes had nearly 500 years ago. He suggested expressing geometry in terms of numbers (coordinates). This turned out to be a powerful technique that led (among other things) to the development of the calculus. Data mining returns the favor. It starts with sets of numbers that describe a collection of objects. To find patterns in these objects, we create a geometry in which the numbers are coordinates. And just like that, objects become shapes, and the search for information becomes a quest for common structure in these shapes. In this search, we are not limited by the geometry of our world: we can dream up ever more intricate geometries that capture the shape of the information that we seek to find in our data. In this sense, data mining is the best kind of science fiction come to life: we craft a world out of our imagination, and let the laws of this world lead us to fascinating discoveries about the data that inhabits it. Suresh
Venkatasubramanian is an associate professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah and is currently a visiting scientist at Google, Inc. His interests include algorithms, computational geometry, data analysis, and the challenges of large data problems. He is a recipient of a Warnock Endowed Chair at the University of Utah, as well as the NSF CAREER award. He also writes the Geomblog, a blog on algorithms, computational geometry and data.
Tea at 4:15PM
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