IBM Research | Haifa
Weekly Seminars

Tomorrow's technologies at your doorstep

The seminars at IBM Research - Haifa bring lecturers from academia and the research community to our lab. The topics focus on applied computer science issues, in general, and on issues related to work carried out at IBM Research. All seminars listed on this site are open to the public.

IBM Research - Haifa is located on the Haifa University campus, Mt. Carmel.
Lectures are given at one of the IBM Research - Haifa sites in Israel (usually in the Haifa site auditorium) and simultaneously broadcast to other lab sites around the country.

Upcoming Lectures

This program is currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions

Previous 2020 Lectures

Date: Tue, 25/02/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Practical applications of privacy-preserving encryption schemes,
Allon Adir, IBM Research - Haifa.

Abstract:  Allon will give a high level overview of privacy-preserving encryption schemes, including Homomorphic and Functional Encryption, and then present use-cases where these schemes can be used to perform useful tasks while preserving privacy, namely Biometric Authentication, and training and classifying with Neural-Networks.

Bio: Allon Adir holds an MSc in Computer Science from the Technion University, and is a researcher in the Data Security and Privacy group at IBM Research Haifa, where he is now working on analytics based on privacy-preserving encryption schemes.

Date: Tue, 11/02/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Drug Repurposing using High-Throughput Causal Inference,
Ehud Karavani, IBM Research - Haifa.

Abstract:  Finding new drugs becomes ever more difficult and R&D costs had skyrocketed in recent decades. One effort to narrow the search space and mitigate regulations is to examine already existing drugs for new purposes. To tackle this problem, we apply causal inference, which is a statistical paradigm for estimating causal effects from non-experimental data. We use the abundance of healthcare records data, together with high-throughput causal analysis, to screen hundreds of drugs for new indications. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of such discovery framework and present causallib - an open-source Python package we developed for estimating causal effects and validating causal models. If time permits, we'll touch on how causality can contribute to other AI tasks.

Bio: A computational biologist by training, Ehud joined the Machine Learning for Healthcare group at IBM Research Haifa 3 years ago, first as a student and later as a research scientist. He's been mainly working on policy and decision making in the healthcare domain by applying causal inference methods and estimating causal effects from medical records. Lately, he's been co-leading the effort of developing causallib, a Python package for causal analysis, and open-source it as part of IBM's Trusted AI initiative.

Date: Tue, 28/01/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Lambada - AAAI paper,
George Kour, IBM Research - Haifa.

Abstract:  What’s a data scientist to do if they lack sufficient data to train a machine learning model? One potential avenue is synthetic data generation, which researchers at IBM Research advocate in a newly published preprint paper"; this is how VentureBeat opened their blog post describing our recent work that will be published in AAAI-2020. In this talk, I will overview the contemporary advances in natural language processing that allow controlled generation of high-quality and coherent text. Specifically, I will present our approach, called LAMBADA ("language-model-based data augmentation"), which demonstrates how transformer-based pre-trained generative models can be employed to synthesize labeled textual samples for data augmentation.  

Bio: I am a member of the Machine Learning Technologies Group at the IBM research lab in Haifa. I hold a bachelor degree in computer engineering from the Technion Institute of Technology. I have completed my masters degree in computer engineering in the Tel-Aviv University, under the supervision of Prof. Dana Ron and Dr. Raed Saabne. My thesis focused on online handwriting recogntion in the Arabic language.
I am currently a Ph.D Student in the Sagol department of neurobiology in the Haifa University under the supervision of Dr. Genela Morris. In my research, I investigate dimensionality reduction processes and state representation mechanisms in the brain. I worked as a software developer and lead data science projects for more than 7 years. In the last several years, I participate in machine learning research efforts. I am interested in Learning mechanisms, both artificial and natural.

Date: Tue, 21/01/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Intelligent Agents Supporting People in Complex Tasks,
Prof. Sarit Kraus, Bar-Ilan University.

Abstract:  In this talk we will present intelligent computer agents that support people in their decision-making when performing complex tasks. In order to provide proficient support, the agents need to model the humans’ behavior and decision-making. People do not adhere to the optimal, monolithic strategies that can be derived analytically. Their behavior is affected by a multitude of social and psychological factors. In this talk, I will show how combining machine learning techniques for human modeling, human behavioral models, formal decision-making and game theory approaches enables agents to support people successfully.  Applications include intelligent agents that support, and even replace, people in argumentation, agents that support operators in managing multiple interactions with customers simultaneously and agents that support emergency department online patient-caregiver scheduling.

Bio: Sarit Kraus (Ph.D. Computer Science, Hebrew University, 1989) is a Professor of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University. Her research is focused on intelligent agents and multi-agent systems (including people and robots), In particular, she studies the development of intelligent agents that can interact proficiently with people and with robots. She has also contributed to the research on machine learning, agent optimization, autonomous vehicles, homeland security, adversarial patrolling, social networks and nonmonotonic reasoning.
For her work she received many prestigious awards. She was awarded the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, the ACM SIGART Agents Research award, the EMET prize and was twice the winner of the IFAAMAS influential paper award. She is an ACM, AAAI and ECCAI fellow and a recipient of the advanced ERC grant. She also received a special commendation from the city of Los Angeles, together with Prof. Tambe, Prof. Ordonez and their USC students, for the creation of the ARMOR security scheduling system. She has published over 400 papers in leading journals and major conferences and co-authored five books. She is a member of the board of directors of the International Foundation for Multi-agent Systems (IFAAMAS) and was IJCAI 2019 program chair. 

Date: Tue, 14/01/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Challenges in building A.I based medical applications,
Flora Gilboa-solomon, IBM Research

Abstract:  In this presentation, Flora will share some of her insights from building an AI-based application in the healthcare domain. She'll discuss medical imaging, client requirements, challenges with DNN-based solutions, and present several solutions for addressing these challenges.

Bio: Flora Gilboa-Solomon is the research manager of the Medical Imaging Analytics Group at IBM Research – Haifa, where she leads a team of computer vision and machine learning scientists. Flora has extensive experience in artificial intelligence methodologies, medical image analytics, and software engineering. She has nearly 20 years of experience on different research and development projects, in which she's worked with clients and diverse international teams.

Date: Tue, 07/01/2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Managing Consent - Sounds Simple But Is Not!,
Sima Nadler, IBM Research - Haifa.

Abstract:  In this presentation I will give some background about consent requirements in privacy laws, describe what makes addressing these requirements so complex, and present a solution created by the IBM Haifa Research Lab to address these challenges.

Bio: Sima Nadler is a Senior Program Manager in IBM’s Research Division. She has 25 years of experience serving clients in multiple industries and has worked with customers worldwide on providing unique and innovative solutions. Her current Research focus is in the area of privacy, governance impact on machine learning bias, and technologies for easy but safe data sharing. Sima also acts as the liaison between IBM Research and the Retail sales, services and development arms of IBM and its customers. Below are some examples of recent focus areas: Solutions for easing data sharing between organizations while ensuring proper data governance Impact of Governance and Regulations on Machine Learning Member of Israel’s Privacy Committee, providing guidance on privacy to the Ministry of Justice and the Knesset. Invented and lead the development of IBM’s Data Policy and Consent Management solution.  This technology is used internally by IBM for its privacy compliance, and is part of IBM’s Watson Health Life Sciences Platform offering as well as IBM’s Trusteer security offering for the banking industry. Lead the Retail standards body (ARTS) committee focused on privacy that defined best practices and recommended changes to standards to increase privacy compliance.  Invented and developed the Presence Insights product which enables Retailers to understand the contextual location of its shoppers inside its stores, thus enabling personalized mobile-based services.

  • 2019 Lectures

    Date: Tue, 10/12/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Can trust in secure hardware replace trust in administrators?,
    Danny Harnik, IBM Research - Haifa.

    Abstract:  The talk will describe a study on the possibility of having trusted execution environments take ownership of sensitive data instead of human administrators. The goal is to prevent security breaches that come from giving human's excessive privileges. In our work we used Intel SGX as the underlying trusted hardware and explored the potential benefits of such an approach along with the challenges and problems that accompany it. The talk will describe the approach, some relevant use cases and highlight the main insights learnt during our study. No prior knowledge is required.

    Bio: Danny Harnik is a Senior Technical Staff Member (STSM) in the cloud storage group at IBM Haifa Reseach Labs (since 2008). He holds a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science (2006), and his main fields of research are storage systems, compression and deduplication, security and cryptography. Danny's research mixes academia and industry, attempting to deploy theoretical and academic methods in practice. His works in the field of data reduction are deployed in the field in some of IBM's storage products

    Date: Tue, 26/11/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Learning to Detect and Retrieve Objects from Unlabeled Videos,
    Rami Ben-Ari, Video AI Technologies, IBM Research – Haifa

    Abstract:  Learning an object detector or retrieval requires a large data set with manual annotations. Such data sets are expensive and time consuming to create and therefore difficult to obtain on a large scale. In this work, we propose to exploit the natural correlation in narrations and the visual presence of objects in video, to learn an object detector and retrieval without any manual labeling involved. We pose the problem as weakly supervised learning with noisy labels, and propose a novel object detection paradigm under these constraints . We handle the background rejection by using contrastive samples and confront the high level of label noise with a new clustering score. Our evaluation is based on a set of 11 manually annotated objects in over 5000 frames., We show comparison to a weakly-supervised approach as baseline and provide a strongly labeled upper bound.

    Bio: Rami Ben-Ari is a research staff member and technical lead for computer vision and deep learning at Video-AI technologies in IBM- Research, Haifa Lab. He holds a BSc and MSc in Aerospace engineering from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Tel-Aviv University in computer vision. His research interests cover medical image analysis and more recently video understanding, including action recognition and self-supervised learning.

    Date: Tue, 18/11/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Fluid Flow Mass Transport For Generative Networks,
    Prof. Eldad Haber, UBS.
    Bio: Prof. Haber is a scientific an NSERC Industrial Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. Eldad is working in the field of computational inverse problems with applications to geosciences and medical imaging. Over the last 20 years, Eldad has written various commercial software packages that have been widely adopted by industry. Prof. Haber has written or co-authored over 150 peer reviewed publications on computational problems and is a U.S. Department of Energy Career Award recipient. After completing his Ph.D, he spent several years as a research scientist with Schlumberger and nine years at Emory University in Atlanta at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. In 2011, Eldad co-founded Computational Geosciences Inc.

    Date: Tue, 02/07/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Probabilistic Reasoning Meets Heuristic Search,
    Rina Dechter, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, UC Irvine.

    Graphical models, including constraint networks, Bayesian networks, Markov random fields and influence diagrams, have become a central paradigm for knowledge representation and reasoning in artificial intelligence, and provide powerful tools for solving problems in numerous application areas. Reasoning over probabilistic graphical models typically involves answering inference queries, such as computing the most likely configuration (maximum a posteriori or MAP) or evaluating the marginals or the normalizing constant of a distribution (the partition function). A task called marginal MAP generalizes these two by maximizing over a subset of variables while marginalizing over the rest, which is similar to sequential decision making for maximizing expected utility.
    Exact computation of such queries is known to be intractable in general, leading to the development of many approximate schemes, the major categories of which are variational methods, search algorithms, and Monte Carlo sampling. The key is to leverage ideas and techniques from the three inference - paradigms, and integrating them to provide hybrid solutions that inherit their respective strengths. In the past decade, my research group at UCI has developed state-of-the art algorithms based on such integration, winning a few solver competitions.
    In this talk I will review the main principles behind the AND/OR search for graphical models and show how it can be guided by heuristics based on variational inference (e.g., decomposition bounds such as weighted mini-bucket and cost-shifting schemes) for solving probabilistic and deterministic graphical models queries. The emerging solvers allow flexible trading off memory for time and time for accuracy and aim for anytime behavior that generates not only an approximation that improves with time, but also confidence bounds which become tighter with more time.

    Bio: Rina Dechter’s research centers on computational aspects of automated reasoning and knowledge representation including search, constraint processing, and probabilistic reasoning. She is a Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. She holds a Ph.D. from UCLA, an M.S. degree in applied mathematics from the Weizmann Institute, and a B.S. in mathematics and statistics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is an author of Constraint Processing published by Morgan Kaufmann (2003), and Reasoning with Probabilistic and Deterministic Graphical Models: Exact Algorithms by Morgan and Claypool publishers, 2013 (2019 2nd edition), has co-authored close to 200 research papers, and has served on the editorial boards of: Artificial Intelligence, the Constraint Journal, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR), and Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR). She is a Fellow of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence 1994, was a Radcliffe Fellow 2005–2006, received the 2007 Association of Constraint Programming (ACP) Research Excellence Award, and she is a 2013 ACM Fellow. She was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Artificial Intelligence 2011-2018 and she was elected as the conference chair of IJCAI-2022.  

    Date: Tue, 25/06/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Verifying the Correctness of Deep Neural Networks,
    Dr. Guy Katz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
    The seminar was broadcast to Givatayim from Haifa

    Deep neural networks have emerged as an effective means for tackling complex, real-world problems. However, a major obstacle in applying them to safety-critical systems is the great difficulty in providing formal guarantees about their behavior. We present an SMT-based technique for verifying properties of deep neural networks (or providing counter-examples). The technique can also be used to measure a network's robustness to "adversarial inputs" - slight perturbations to a network's input that cause it to err. Our approach is based on the simplex method, extended to handle piecewise-linear activation functions, which are a crucial ingredient in many modern neural networks. The verification procedure tackles neural networks as a whole, without making any simplifying assumptions. We evaluated our technique on a deep neural network implementation of the next-generation Airborne Collision Avoidance System for unmanned aircraft (ACAS Xu), proving various properties about them and in one case identifying incorrect behavior.
    [Based on joint work with Clark Barrett, David Dill, Kyle Julian and Mykel Kochenderfer]

    Bio: Guy Katz is a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. He received his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2015. His research interests lie at the intersection between Formal Methods and Software Engineering, and in particular in the application of formal methods to software systems with components generated via machine learning. 

    Date: Tue, 18/06/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Musical Illusions and Paradoxes,
    Yuval Nov, Haifa University.

    "צליל שפרד" הוא צליל פרדוקסלי - הוא נשמע עולה ועולה, אך למעשה נשאר במקום ולעולם לא מגיע "למעלה".  ההרצאה תסביר כיצד פועלת אשליה זו ואשליות מוזיקליות אחרות, דרך סקירת היסודות המתמטיים, הפיזיקליים, והפסיכו-אקוסטיים של צלילים.

    Bio: יובל נוב הוא בעל דוקטורט בחקר ביצועים מאוניברסיטת סטנפורד, מרצה בכיר בחוג לסטטיסטיקה באוניברסיטת חיפה, ומוזיקאי חובב.

    Date: Tue, 30/04/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    How our tech helps hurricane victims - Puerto Rico before, during, and after,
    Omer Arad, IBM Research - Haifa.

    Abstract:  Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century, made landfall on September 2017. It compounded destruction caused by hurricane Irma just weeks before. After this disaster, 85% or the people of Puerto Rico had to live off the grid - no electricity, no internet connection, no cellular services, no ATMs, and with a shortage on food and medicine for almost 9 months! Access to devastated areas was impossible. Police, firefighters and emergency responders were unable to talk to each other for days. Civilians weren’t able to communicate with their loved ones for months, but the most important thing was that they could not even call for help. Only one year later, on August 2018, Puerto Rico’s Governor revised the official death count from 64 to 2,975. As of today, tens of thousands are still living under blue tarps, designed as temporary roofs.
    In this talk, Omer will share his story on how he joined the winning team of IBM’s Call For Code competition (Project OWL) as part of a special Corporate Services deployment. Together, they worked on an offline communication infrastructure solution for areas affected by natural disasters. During the last few weeks the team deployed and tested their solution in some of the most heavily impacted areas of Puerto Rico.
    Project OWL (Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics) is a two-part hardware and software solution. The solution creates an offline communication infrastructure providing First Responders a simple and reliable interface to manage every facet of search, rescue, and restore.

    Bio: Omer Arad is a researcher and developer working on global projects related to the Internet of Things and Wearable Devices. Passionate about using technology to improve people's lives, Omer works at IBM Research on making hazardous workplaces safer.

    Date: Mon, 26/02/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The Speed Limit of Quantum Communication (and what if we break it...),
    Prof. Avi Pe'er, Physics Department and BINA center for nanotechnology, Bar Ilan University.


    Quantum communication allows two communicating parties (Alice and Bob) to share a secret at a distance - the encryption key. Relying on the basic principle of quantum mechanics - measurement affects the measured state, Alice and Bob can verify the security of the key, since any eavesdropper (Eve) will be revealed by the measurement traces she leaves behind. 

    I will discuss the current limits on the speed of quantum communication, which are primarily due to the limitations of the standard quantum measurement of optical states (single photons or very weak light). I will review the broad context of quantum measurement, and the standard homodyne methods that are limited by the electronic bandwidth of photo-detectors. I will then describe our recently demonstrated parallel optical homodyne measurement that allows to overcome this limit completely1. Using optical parametric amplification, we could measure quantum optical squeezing simultaneously across a bandwidth of 55THz.

    Finally, I will discuss our implementation of this new measurement method for broadband, parallel Quantum communication, where many quantum channels (up to 1000) can be multiplexed over a single broadband squeezer and using a single measurement device. 

    1 Yaakov Shaked, Yoad Michael, Rafi Vered, Leon Bello, Michael Rosenbluh and Avi Pe’er, “Lifting the Bandwidth limit of Optical Homodyne Measurement”, Nature Comm. 9, 609 (2018)

    Bio: TBD

    Date: Tue, 12/02/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Machine Learning in Cyber-Security – Problems, Challenges and Data Sets,
    Idan Amit, Palo Alto Networks.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: We present cyber-security problems of high importance. We show that in order to solve these cyber-security problems, one must cope with certain machine learning challenges. We provide novel data sets representing the problems in order to enable the academic community to investigate the problems and suggest methods to cope with the challenges.
    We also present a method to generate labels via pivoting, providing a solution to common problems of lack of labels in cyber-security. For details see

    Bio: Idan Amit is a graduate of the Weizmann institute and working in the area of algorithmics for many years. He have founded two startups and was in charge of the data science at LightCyber, a network intrusion company, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks on 2017. Idan is currently leading the Palo Alto Networks academy relations program.

    Date: Wed, 02/01/2019
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    PDE's MEET DNN's,
    Prof. Eldad Haber, UBS.

    Abstract:  Partial differential equations (PDEs) are indispensable for modeling many physical phenomena and also commonly used for solving image processing tasks. In the latter area, PDE-based approaches interpret image data as discretizations of multivariate functions and the output of image processing algorithms as solutions to certain PDEs. Posing image processing problems in the infinite dimensional setting provides powerful tools for their analysis and solution. Over the last three decades, the reinterpretation of classical image processing tasks through the PDE lens has been creating multiple celebrated approaches that benefit a vast area of tasks including image segmentation, denoising, registration, and reconstruction. 
    In this paper, we establish a new PDE-interpretation of deep convolution neural networks (CNN) that are commonly used for learning tasks involving speech, image, and video data. Our interpretation includes convolution residual neural networks (ResNet), which are among the most promising approaches for tasks such as image classification having improved the state-of-the-art performance in prestigious benchmark challenges. Despite their recent successes, deep ResNets still face some critical challenges associated with their design, immense computational costs and memory requirements, and lack of understanding of their reasoning. 
    Guided by well-established PDE theory, we derive three new ResNet architectures that fall two new classes: parabolic and hyperbolic CNNs. We demonstrate how PDE theory can provide new insights and algorithms for deep learning and demonstrate the competitiveness of three new CNN architectures using numerical experiments.

    Bio: Prof. Haber is a scientific an NSERC Industrial Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. Eldad is working in the field of computational inverse problems with applications to geosciences and medical imaging. Over the last 20 years, Eldad has written various commercial software packages that have been widely adopted by industry. Prof. Haber has written or co-authored over 150 peer reviewed publications on computational problems and is a U.S. Department of Energy Career Award recipient. After completing his Ph.D, he spent several years as a research scientist with Schlumberger and nine years at Emory University in Atlanta at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. In 2011, Eldad co-founded Computational Geosciences Inc.

  • 2018 Lectures

    Date: Tue, 14/08/2018
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    My favorite side-channels,
    Prof. Ari Tractenberg, Boston University.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract:  Suppose that every time you visited one of my talks, you found people sleeping. Without even knowing the title or abstract of this talk, you might thus infer that (i) you will likewise find sleeping attendees here and, (ii) inversely, by changing the author name you may keep people awake. Indeed, in this (complete hypothetical) scenario, the speaker name is a side-channel that reflects on (and, perhaps control) the somnolent state of the audience.
    In this talk, I will outline some of my favorite cyber side-channels from the last ten years of literature, including, of course, some of my own research.

    Bio: Ari Tractenberg a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Affiliate of Computer Science at Boston University, where he has been since September 2000. He received his PhD and MS in Computer Science (2000,1996) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his SB in 1994 from MIT. He has held visiting positions at Ben Gurion University and the Technion, and worked at TripAdvisor, MIT Lincoln Lab, HP Labs, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. His research interests include Cybersecurity (smartphones, offensive and defensive, side-channels), Networking (security, sensors, localization), Algorithms (data synchronization, file sharing), Error-correcting codes (rateless coding, feedback), and pretty much anything else that strikes his fancy.

    Date: Wed, 14/03/2018
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Quantum Computing,
    Scott Aaronson, CV: University of Texas at Austin.

    Abstract:  I'll offer a personal perspective on quantum computing, with no hype: just a a sober summary of the basics of quantum mechanics, for which problems quantum computers are and aren't expected to provide a speedup, and the current status of the worldwide effort to make quantum computing practical. I'll focus in particular on the current race to achieve "quantum supremacy," or a clear quantum speedup for some task (which might be a contrived one). I'll also say something about the ultimate physical limits of computation.

    Bio: TBD

    Date: Tue, 27/02/2018
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Capture the Flag (CTF),
    Danny Gardner, VP Security Research & Co-founder at Snyk .
    Yuval Ofir, VP Research & Development at Claroty.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract:  Capture the Flag (CTF) is a computer security competition. CTF contests are designed to give participants experience in conducting and reacting to the sort of attacks found in the real world. Participation in CTF contests typically require the skills in reverse-engineering, exploitation, protocol analysis, programming, and cryptanalysis. In this talk we will learn about the different types of CTF games, and go through interesting challenges my team had the opportunity to tackle on the path to wining both Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) and Google CTF games for the last two years.

    Bio: Danny Grander is a veteran security researcher and the cofounder of, where he works on open source security and leads Snyk’s security research. Previously, Danny was the CTO of Gita and a lead researcher and developer for a few startups. Danny’s CTF team, Pasten, won both the Chaos Computer Club and Google’s latest CTFs.

    Bio: Yuval is the Vice President of Engineering at Claroty. Prior to joining the company, he was a senior security researcher at KayHut. Yuval brings extensive security research experience from the IDF and Gita Technologies, where he played a key role in ongoing R&D and research activities providing security and intelligence gathering products to government and military customers worldwide. Yuval held several positions in the elite cyber unit of the IDF, and lead several projects that won the prestigious Israel Defense Award.

    Date: Tue, 02/01/2018
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Coding For Interactive Communication over Networks,
    Klim Efremenko, BGU.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract:  The modern era is an era of interactive communication between many parties, where many parties are actively sending messages based on the information they received. However, the errors may ruin the communication.  In this talk, I will describe how one can convert multi-party protocol into error resilient as well I will show the limits of such schemes. 

    Bio: Klim Efremenko received his Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University in 2012. He made a post-doc at the Institute for Advanced Studies University of Chicago and Berkeley. He joined  Ben-Gurion University this year. His main research interests are error correction codes and interactive communication.

  • 2017 Lectures

    Date: Tue, 21/11/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Crunching x86 Assembly for fun and profit,
    Gil Dabah, Security lead at Magic Leap.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract:  A technical walk through of a creative solution to an Assembly challenge published back in 2001 by The challenge was to write as small as possible (binary size wise) a program which prints codeguru in big in text mode (good old days of DOS).

    Bio: Gil is a Sr. Director, head of software security at Magic Leap. Today Gil leads all product security in the Florida based company. Gil was the CEO and founder of a small boutique software research company, NorthBit, acquired in 2016 by ML. Gil is a hardcore hands on technologist who is known for finding security bugs and also the author of the diStorm disassembled library. Doing software all his life building and breaking bits.

    Date: Tue, 07/11/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Burning Man to Midburn - Culture transformation ,
    Eden Orion, Chairman of Board - Midburn.

    Abstract:  What is Burning Man, What is Midburn, How it emerged from a small friends meeting on the beach into to a global community with a very large scale events.
    The 10 principle and how we motivate participants to do almost everything  while volunteering. 
    The infrastructure and the technology behind. all accompanied with stunning pictures.

    Lecture and slides are in Hebrew

    Bio: Eden Orion is a web master at the University of Haifa, Computing Division. His public activities include: 
    - Chairman of Board - Midburn - Israeli Burning Man Regional community and events.
    - Joomla! - Open source Content Management System (CMS) - member in the Israeli leadership team
    - Amateur Astronomer and telescopes maker, Artist and Maker
    Eden lives in Koranit, a communal settlement in the Galilee. 

    Date: Tue, 17/10/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Music, Evolution, and Genetics,
    Dr. Yuval Nov, Department of Statistics, University of Haifa.

    Abstract:  Music is an evolutionary puzzle.  Although it exists in all documented human societies and seems to be innate, music has no obvious survival value. The talk will review the main theories proposed to solve this puzzle, starting from Darwin, and will briefly summarize the research on two closely related topics: how hereditary is musical ability, and musicality in animals.  The talk is non-technical, and does not require background in biology or music.

    Bio: Yuval Nov holds a PhD in Operations Research from Stanford University, and is a senior lecturer at the department of statistics in the University of Haifa.  He is also a hobbyist musician who participated in many concerts and recordings.

    Date: Tue, 19/09/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The Adventures of AntiVirus and the Leaky Sandbox,
    Itzik Kotler, CTO and Co-Founder of Safebreach.
    Amit Klein, VP Security Research at SafeBreach.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract:  Everyone loves cloud-AV. It incorporates up-to-date intelligence from multiple global sources ("wisdom of the clouds"), and (in theory) it has small footprint. There's simply no downside in moving to cloud-AV, right? Consider a high-security enterprise with strict egress filtering, that is - endpoints have no direct Internet connection, or the endpoints' connection to the Internet is restricted to hosts used by their legitimately installed software. Let's say there's malware running on one of the endpoints with all the privileges it needs. This is bad of course, but thankfully, the last line of defense is there - the malware can't really exfiltrate data to the Internet, due to the strict Internet connection policy enforcement.
    Now, let's also assume that this enterprise has cloud-enhanced anti-virus (AV) agents installed on its endpoints. You'd think that this can only improve the security of the enterprise. You'd argue that if malware is already running on the endpoint with full privileges, then an AV agent can't degrade the security of the endpoint. And you'd be completely wrong.
    In this presentation, we describe and demonstrate a novel technique for exfiltrating data from highly secure enterprises whose endpoints have no direct Internet connection, or whose endpoints' connection to the Internet is restricted to hosts used by their legitimately installed software. Assuming the endpoint has a cloud-enhanced antivirus product installed, we show that if the anti-virus product employs an Internet-connected sandbox in its cloud, it in fact facilitates such exfiltration. We release the tool we developed to implement the exfiltration technique, and we provide real-world results from several prominent AV products. We also provide data and insights on those AV in-the-cloud sandboxes. Finally, we address the issues of how to further enhance the attack, and how can cloud-based AV vendors mitigate it.

    Bio: Itzik Kotler is CTO and Co-Founder of SafeBreach. Itzik has more than a decade of experience researching and working in the computer security space. He is a recognized industry speaker, having spoken at DEFCON, Black Hat USA, Hack In The Box, RSA, CCC and H2HC. Prior to founding SafeBreach, Itzik served as CTO at Security-Art, an information security consulting firm, and before that he was SOC Team Leader at Radware.

    Bio: Amit Klein is a world renowned information security expert, with 26 years in information security and over 30 published technical papers on this topic. Amit is VP Security Research at SafeBreach, responsible for researching various infiltration, exfiltration and lateral movement attacks. Before SafeBreach, Amit was CTO for Trusteer (acquired by IBM) for 8.5 years. Prior to Trusteer, Amit was chief scientist for Cyota (acquired by RSA) for 2 years, and prior to that, director of Security and Research for Sanctum (acquired by Watchfire, now part of IBM security division) for 7 years. Amit has a B.Sc. from the Hebrew University in Mathematics and Physics (magna cum laude, Talpiot program), recognized by InfoWorld as a CTO of the year 2010 , and has presented at BlackHat USA, HITB, RSA, OWASP, CertConf, BlueHat, CyberTech, APWG and AusCERT.

    Date: Tue, 04/07/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Cyber and Ransomware,
    Asaf Nativ, SentinelOne.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: מהן תוכנות כופר
    ▪ הגורמים לעליתם בשנים האחרונות
    ▪ סקירה הסטורית קצרה וקמפיינים מפורסמים
    ▪ הכישלון של הגישה המקובלת של חברות האנטי וירוס בהתמודדות עם התופעה
    ▪ הפתרון שסנטינאל-און מפתחת והגישה המבוססת על לימוד מכונה לזיהוי
      התנהגותי של וירוסים
    ▪ מספר מקרים מפורסמים מהזמן האחרון בארץ ובעולם

    Bio: אסף, בוגר בית הספר אפי ארזי למדעי המחשב במרכז הבינתחומי הרצליה, בעל כ-15 שנה ניסיון בתחום סייבר, כיום ראש צוות בחברת האבטחה SentinelOne

    Date: Tue, 20/06/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Using document spanners in information extraction,
    Ronald Fagin, IBM Fellow, IBM Research - Almaden.

    Abstract: An intrinsic part of Information Extraction (IE) is the creation and manipulation of relations extracted from text. I will describe a foundational framework that we developed, where the central construct is what we call a "document spanner" (or just "spanner" for short). A spanner maps an input string into a relation over the spans (intervals specified by bounding indices) of the string. We study several ways of representing spanners. Spanners defined in a "primitive" representation extract relations directly from the input string; those defined in an algebra apply algebraic operations to the primitively represented spanners. This framework is driven by SystemT, an IBM commercial product for text analysis, where the primitive representation is that of regular expressions with capture variables, and the relational manipulation is by means of relational algebra. We study the expressive power of such representations, as well as related automata representations.
    I will then illustrate the framework in the context of extraction cleaning. Since the textual content varies widely in nature and structure (from machine logs to informal natural language), it is notoriously difficult to write IE programs that unambiguously extract the sought information. For example, during extraction, an IE program could annotate a substring as both an address and a person name. When this happens, the extracted information is said to be inconsistent, and some way of removing inconsistencies is crucial to compute the final output. We give a declarative approach to deal with the removal of inconsistencies, that makes use of the notion of "prioritized repairs" of databases. Our approach captures cleaning approaches of industrial-strength IE systems like GATE and IBM SystemT.
    This work, which is joint with Benny Kimelfeld, Fred Reiss, and Stijn Vansummeren, appeared in the PODS 2013 and PODS 2014 conferences. The talk will be self-contained.

    Bio: Ronald Fagin is an IBM Fellow at IBM Research – Almaden. Ron received his B.A. in mathematics from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). He has co-authored four papers that won Best Paper Awards and three papers that won Test-of-time Awards, all in major conferences. One of his papers won the 2014 Gödel Prize, the top prize for a paper in theoretical computer science. He was named Docteur Honoris Causa by the University of Paris. He won the IEEE Technical Achievement Award, IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award (the highest award of the IEEE Computer Society), and ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award (a lifetime achievement award in databases). He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Date: Tue, 13/06/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    WannaCry Ransomware: Anatomy of Attack,
    Dov Murik, IBM Research - Haifa.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: On May 12th 2017 a cybersecurity attack hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, encrypting important files on them and demanding ransom payment for their restoration. The talk will describe the stages of the attack, the tools and vulnerabilities used, ransom money collection tracking and a coincidence that helped stopped the randomware's spread in the first days.

    Bio: Dov Murik is a researcher in IBM Research - Haifa, working on various aspects of information and system security. Before that he was part of IBM Trusteer division and other cybersecurity-related companies and organizations. He received a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Linguistics from Tel-Aviv University.

    Date: Tue, 09/05/2017
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Quantum computing: An introduction and a status check,
    Dr. Yehuda Naveh, IBM Research - Haifa.

    Abstract:  I will review the science and technology behind quantum computing, and provide a status check of the subject at large, and at IBM in particular

    Bio: I received my B.Sc. in physics and math, M.Sc. in experimental physics, and Ph.D in theoretical physics, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After spending four years as a research scientist at Stony Brook University working on quantum transport and noise of superconductors and other structures, I joined IBM Research - Haifa and focused on several customer-oriented problems, commonly applying existing technology in places it did not reach before. At 2017, I am particularly amused to see my 2000 prediction(*) of the feasibility of 10-nm-scale transistors, take flesh and form in the billions at IBM's POWER9 chips, soon to be publicly available.

    (*) Naveh and Likahrev, "Modeling of 10-nm-scale ballistic MOSFET's", IEEE Electron Device Letters, 21, 242-244 (2000)

    Date: Mon, 27/02/2017
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Generalization and Safety in Reinforcement Learning and Control,
    Aviv Tamar, EECS department, UC Berkeley.

    Abstract: Reinforcement learning (RL) is an area of machine learning that covers learning decision making and control through trial and error. Motivated by recent impressive results of combining RL with deep neural networks, there is a renewed excitement in the field, and a promise for autonomous robot control, among other AI domains.
    This talk will focus on two challenges at the forefront of RL research: how to ensure the safety of the learned policy with respect to various sources of uncertainty, and how to learn policies that can generalize well to variations in the task and environment.
    Our approach to safety is inspired by ideas from mathematical finance, and the theory of risk-sensitive decision making. We show that by incorporating risk measures into the RL optimization objective, we can learn policies that guarantee safety against noise and modelling errors. We develop efficient algorithms for learning with such risk-sensitive objectives, and provide theoretical convergence guarantees and error bounds for our methods.
      To better cope with generalization in deep RL, we introduce the Value Iteration Network (VIN): a fully differentiable neural network with a 'planning module' embedded within. VINs are suitable for predicting outcomes that involve planning-based reasoning, such as policies for RL and control. Key to our approach is a novel differentiable approximation of the value iteration planning algorithm, which can be represented as a convolutional neural network. This network can be trained end-to-end to learn the parameters of a planning computation that is relevant for the task at hand. We show that by learning such a planning computation, VIN policies generalize better to variations in the task and environment.
    I will also discuss an extension of the VIN idea to continuous control, based on a model-predictive control (MPC) framework. The performance of this method will be demonstrated on learning object manipulation tasks using the PR2 robot.
    This work was recognized as best paper award in NIPS 2016.

    Bio: Aviv Tamar received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, in 2011 and 2015, respectively. Since 2015, he is a Post-Doc scholar at the EECS department of the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include reinforcement-learning and robotics.

    Date: Mon, 20/02/2017
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Resource Efficient Deep Learning,
    Daniel Soudry, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Department of Statistics, Columbia University.

    Abstract: Background: The recent success of deep neural networks (DNNs) relies on large computational resources (memory, energy, area and processing power). These resources pose a major bottleneck in our ability to train better models, and to use these models on low power devices (e.g., mobile phones). However, current generation DNNs seem tremendously wasteful, especially in comparison to the brain (which consumes only 12W). For example, typical DNNs use 32bit floating point operations, while the brain typically operates using binary spikes and with limited synaptic precision. Achieving such low precision in DNNs can significantly improve memory, speed and energy. However, until recently, 8 bits appeared to be the lowest possible limit.

      Results: We show that it is possible to significantly quantize (even down to 1 bit) the activations and weights of DNNs trained by a variant of the backpropagation algorithm, while preserving good performance on various benchmarks (e.g., MNIST, ImageNet). The suggested algorithm originated from first principles: we developed a closed form analytical approximation to the Bayes rule update of the posterior distribution of the binary DNN weights. At run-time, such a binarized DNN requires 32-fold less memory, is 7 times faster (using dedicated GPU kernels), and is at least 10-fold more energy efficient (using dedicated hardware). These attributes enable the use of trained DNNs in low power devices. Additional benefits are expected at train-time by further quantizing the gradients, potentially allowing larger and more sophisticated models to be trained.

    Bio: TBD

    Date: Mon, 09/01/2017
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Curiosity of Robots and Children,
    Goren Gordon, Head of the Curiosity Lab, Faculty of Engineering, Tel-Aviv University.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: What is curiosity? Can robots be curious? Using neuroscience research of curiosity-driven behavior of animals and robots, a new mathematical model of curiosity has emerged. This model is implemented in robots that learn by themselves about their own body, objects in their environment and people interacting with them. In this talk, I’ll present work I’ve been doing in the past several years studying curiosity and how curious robots learn to behave like curious children and how they can be used to assess and promote curiosity in children.

    Bio: Goren Gordon PhD, PhD MBA. Goren has six academic degrees, a BA, MSc and PhD in Quantum Physics, a BMSc, MBA and another PhD in Neurobiology. He did his postdoc in MIT Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group. Goren is the head of the Curiosity Lab in Tel-Aviv University. He studies mathematical models of curiosity, implementing them in curious robots and using them to assess and promote curiosity in children. Goren also developed Quantum Computer Games, has a teaching certificate from MIT and loves to dance and play role-playing and board games. Goren is also the proud father of Noga, Doron and Gaia.

  • 2016 Lectures

    Date: Tue, 20/12/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Is Modern Air Traffic (in)Secure? Esti Peshin - Director, Cyber Programs, Israeli Aerospace Industries,
    Esti Peshin, Director, Cyber Programs, at Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: The talk will focus on the insecurity of modern mission critical systems, including but not limited to civil aviation.

    Bio: Esti Peshin is Director, Cyber Programs, at Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. She serves also as the Director General (pro bono) of the Israeli Hi-Tech Caucus at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Prior to assuming these roles, Ms Peshin was the Managing Partner of ENP Solutions Ltd., a strategic management consulting firm; a Partner at Destino Ventures LLC, a private equity firm; and a Partner at Hope Ventures Ltd, a Distributor and Business Development house. Previously, Ms. Peshin was the CEO of Waterfall Security Solutions, a provider of a foolproof physical security gateway for homeland security and mission-critical installations. Before joining Waterfall, she held an Account Director position in the Lawful Interception division of Verint Systems, Inc. She served 11 years in the Israeli Defense Forces, in an elite technology unit, where she was Deputy Director.

    Date: Tue, 22/11/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Electronic Databases for Drugs and Clinical Topics - in Israel and in the English Reading World,
    Sima Livny, Manager and consulting pharmacist at The Center for Personal Medication Advise

    Abstract: Sima Livny as a pharmacist and representative of two of the most used databases (Micromedex and UpToDate) will talk about what are the requirements from clinical databases in order to meet the needs of physicians? The emphasize will be on the difference between the free databases vs. paid ones, the apps vs. computer based, and the integrated vs. not integrated drug and clinical topics info in the EMRs.

    Bio: Sima Livny is a pharmacist and product manager at Ziur Information Systems, promoting the usage of the Micromedex and UpToDate databases.

    In the last 6 years sima manages also her own “startup”, the Center for Personal Medication Advise where 2 clinical pharmacists consult private customers with polypharmacy. In the past, Sima was the pharmacy manager at Hillel Yaffe hospital and Rambam Medical center in Haifa. She has also spent some years in marketing, working as medical rep, product manager and marketing pharmacist in Lapidot and Teva.

    On 2016 Livny has published a book, based on her consulting experience, directed to those who consume or treated by supplements and medications. The name of the book is “Managing My Medications – in the Era of Information Overload”. The book is sold electronically as well as in all known books stores.

    Tue, 08/11/2016
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Welcome to Our World – eBay IL,
    Meital Shamia, eBay

    Abstract: TBD

    Bio: Meital Shamia is a Business Development Account Manager in eBay Israel.

    Tue, 01/11/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Privacy and security,
    Jonathan Klinger
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: בהרצאה נסקור את דיני הגנת הפרטיות ואבטחת המידע בצורה שונה מעט, והיא דרך הכיס שלכם. התפישה לפיה פרטיות היא מטבע עובר לסוחר, וכי אנשים מוכנים לשלם על המידע שלכם, היא תפישה חדשה יחסית. נבדוק מי לעזאזל קורא את תנאי השימוש ומה המחיר של לא לקרוא אותם, מה עושים עם המידע שלכם וכמה הוא שווה, ואיך צריך לפתח מערכות לשימוש במידע בצורה מושכלת.

    Bio: יהונתן קלינגר הוא עורך דין החוקר את תחום הפרטיות ועוסק בו.

    Tue, 25/10/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    HIPStR - Smashing ROP Gadgets via Cross-ISA Process Migration,
    Ashish Venkat, University of California, San Diego

    Abstract: Buffer overflow vulnerabilities form a major chunk of security loopholes that plague the internet today. These vulnerabilities have been systematically exploited by code reuse attacks such as Return-Oriented Programming (ROP) to perform arbitrary malicious computation without injecting malicious code. In this talk, Ashish Venkat, PhD candidate from UC San Diego will describe HIPStR, a security defense that has the potential to radically transform the attack landscape of state-of-the-art Return-Oriented Programming. Owing to its unique ability to perform seamless and instantaneous cross-ISA process migration, HIPStR significantly inhibits JIT-based ROP attacks by forcing the attacker to chain ROP gadgets across different ISAs. In addition, HIPStR employs several dynamic binary transformations that randomize the architectural program state in such a way that brute force attacks are rendered practically infeasible on current, or even distant future microprocessors. An extensive evaluation from Venkat's recent ASPLOS publication shows that this synergistic combination of cross-ISA migration and dynamic program state randomization can result in a significant attack surface reduction of as much as 99.7%, for several variants of ROP-style attacks.

    Bio: Ashish Venkat is a PhD Candidate in the Computer Science and Engineering department at UC San Diego, where he is a member of the High Performance Processor Architecture and Compilation lab, directed by Prof. Dean Tullsen.  His research interests are in computer architecture and compilers, especially in instruction set design, processor microarchitecture, binary translation, code generation, and their intersection with computer security and machine learning.  His work on Heterogeneous-ISA Chip Multiprocessors has been published at ISCA and ASPLOS.

    Mon, 26/09/2016
    15:00 AM - 16:00 PM

    40 Years of IBM Service -- Some Lessons,
    Micky Rodeh, VP, Infrastructure Technology, IBM Corporate Strategy

    Abstract: Micky joined IBM in 1976 as a researcher at the IBM Haifa Scientific Center, and will soon retire as VP in Corporate Strategy. He will share some of the insights he gained over the years, both about building scalable organizations and also about personal growth.

    Bio: Micky is VP, Infrastructure Technology, IBM Corporate Strategy. Before that he was VP, Growth Initiative Projects in IBM Corporate Development, VP, Technology Blending in IBM Systems and Technology Group, managed the IBM Research and Development Labs in Israel, was Director, IBM Corporate Strategy, a full professor with tenure at the Computer Science Department of the Technion, and a researcher in the IBM Research Labs in Haifa, Yorktown, and Almaden.

    Micky got his BSc from the Hebrew U. in Mathematics and Physics, did his MSc at the Weizmann Institute, and got his PhD in Computer Science from the Technion. He published papers that were cited more than 3000 times in data compression, graph algorithms, distributed algorithms, compiler technology, and more. He was granted 9 patents. Micky got an IBM Outstanding Innovation Award for his work in compilation theory. He is an emeritus member of the IBM Academy of Technology. Micky is lieutenant colonel (retired) in the Israeli Artillery.

    Tue, 06/09/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The dark side of technology: Future threats from emerging technology,
    Dr. Yair Sharan, director of FIRS2T (Foresight Insight Research Security Society and Technology) Group in Israel
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: הצד האפל של הטכנולוגיה - איומים עתידיים הנובעים מטכנולוגיות מפציעות והמענה האפשרי

    התקדמות ופריצות דרך בתחומים שונים במדע והטכנולוגיה והשילובים ביניהם, פותחים מצד אחד אפשרויות יישום מרתקות לתועלת האנושות, ומצד שני עשויים לשמש בידי גורמים שליליים בחברה ככלים למימוש יעדיהם תוך גרימת נזק ופגיעה באנשים ותשתיות.

    הסכנה מתעצמת לנוכח העובדה שגורמים אלה, ובראשם הפשע הבינלאומי והטרור, הופכים להיות משכילים יותר ובעלי נגישות גדלה למקורות ידע ויכולות טכנולוגיות מתקדמות.

    תחומים כמו ננוטכנולוגיה, ביוטכנולוגיה, חומרים ומדעי המחשב הם חלק ממקורות הידע המפציעים העשויים לקרוץ לגורמים אלה אם לא נשכיל למנוע זאת מהם מבעוד מועד. מצב זה מעורר דיון אתי עקרוני בשאלת האחריות המוטלת על חוקרים כאשר הם מפרסמים ידע חדש העלול להיות מנוצל לרעה. הדילמה בין חופש המדע והפרסום מחד והצרך בהגנה על החברה מאידך מעוררת דיון חברתי חשוב.

    בהרצאה נבחן איומים פוטנציאליים עתידיים שונים שמקורם בטכנולוגיות עתידיות ונחשף לתהליכי התפתחותם בשנים הקרובות . ניראה בנוסף כיצד טכנולוגיות עתידיות עשויות לסייע בגילוי מוקדם של טרור כחלק מהמענה האפשרי לאיום המתהווה.

    Dr. Yair Sharan is currently the director of FIRS2T (Foresight Insight Research Security Society and Technology) Group in Israel, active in the security and technology field. He was the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis and Forecasting (ICTAF) at Tel Aviv University. He is Co-director of the Israeli node of the Millennium Project. He earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mathematics and Physics in the University of Jerusalem. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the Weizmann institute of Science. Fields of interest are research and science foresight and policy, the impact of technology on national strategy and technology assessment. He coordinated and participated in several EU projects including FESTOS in the security program, PRACTIS in Science in Society program as well as Nano2life and SIAM. He is co-author and co-editor of several books. Current research includes Synthetic Biology, Detection of people with mal-intensions, Lone Actors' Terrorism and more. Author of "Lone Wolf Terrorism Prospects and Potential Strategies to Counter the Threat"
    together with Ted Gordon and Elisabeth Florescu.

    Mon, 18/04/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Applying theory to practice (and practice to theory),
    Ron Fagin, IBM Fellow, Almaden

    Abstract: The speaker will talk about applying theory to practice, with a focus on two IBM case studies. In the first case study, the practitioner initiated the interaction. This interaction led to the following problem. Assume that there is a set of "voters" and a set of "candidates", where each voter assigns a numerical score to each candidate. There is a scoring function (such as the mean or the median), and a consensus ranking is obtained by applying the scoring function to each candidate's scores. The problem is to find the top k candidates, while minimizing the number of database accesses. The speaker will present an algorithm that is optimal in an extremely strong sense: not just in the worst case or the average case, but in every case! Even though the algorithm is only 10 lines long (!), the paper containing the algorithm won the 2014 Gödel Prize, the top prize for a paper in theoretical computer science.

    The interaction in the second case study was initiated by theoreticians, who wanted to lay the foundations for "data exchange", in which data is converted from one format to another. Although this problem may sound mundane, the issues that arise are fascinating, and this work made data exchange a new subfield, with special sessions in every major database conference.

    This talk will be completely self-contained, and the speaker will derive morals from the case studies. The talk is aimed at both theoreticians and practitioners, to show them the mutual benefits of working together.

    Bio: Ron Fagin is an IBM Fellow at IBM Research – Almaden. He has won two IBM Corporate Awards, eight IBM Outstanding Innovation Awards, an IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, and two IBM key patent awards. Ron received his B.A. in mathematics from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). He has co-authored four papers that won Best Paper Awards and three papers that won Test-of-time Awards, all in major conferences. One of his papers won the 2014 Gödel Prize. He was named Docteur Honoris Causa by the University of Paris. He won the IEEE Technical Achievement Award, IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award, and ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award (a lifetime achievement award in databases). He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Tue, 12/04/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Estimating the Unseen - from Theory to Practice,
    Dr. Danny Harnik, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: Estimating the amount of distinct elements in a dataset by examining only a fraction of the data is an extremely hard problem, both theoretically and in practice.

    The talk explores a breakthrough theoretical result by Valiant and Valiant from 2011 that presents a provably accurate method for doing such estimations.

    Our goal is to put this theory into practice for the important task of estimating the de-duplication ratio of a very large dataset. However, deploying this technique in a real world setting runs into significant obstacles.

    In the talk I will describe our novel solutions and techniques to enable the use of this new and exciting approach. Our work achieves a major improvement over the current state of the art practical solutions.

    The talk is for a general audience, no prior knowledge is assumed.

    Based on joint work with Dmitry Sotnikov and Ety Khaitzin that appeared in Usenix FAST 2016.

    Bio: Danny Harnik is a researcher in the Cloud Storage group at IBM Research - Haifa Lab (since 2008). He holds a PhD from The Weizmann Institute of Science (2006), and his main fields of research are storage systems, compression, security and cryptography.

    Thu, 10/03/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Data driven innovation in healthcare practice,
    Prof. Ran Balicer, Director, Clalit Research Institute
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: The information age holds great promise in disrupting and favorably transforming the healthcare domain, but the implementation of data-driven innovation in practice has been painfully slow.

    In this lecture, we will present some of the key challenges healthcare systems are now facing, review key global trends and present how data-driven care is translated to practice in Israel's largest healthcare organization.

    Bio: Prof. Ran Balicer, physician, manager and researcher, serves as Founding Director of the Clalit Research Institute, the WHO Collaborating Center on Non-Communicable Diseases Research, Prevention and Control. In Parallel, he serves as Director of Health Policy Planning for Clalit - Israel's largest healthcare organization. In these roles, he is responsible for strategic planning of novel organization-wide interventions for improving healthcare quality, reducing disparities and increasing effectiveness. These include the introduction of innovative data-driven tools into practice - predictive modeling, real-life effectiveness studies, decision support tools and proactive care models.

    Prof Balicer serves as Associate Professor at the Public Health Department, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. He serves as a Track Director in the Ben-Gurion University MPH program, mentoring doctoral students and has authored over 120 scientific papers. Prof. Balicer's research is focused the study of extensive clinical databases in care provision and policymaking, and health system re-design towards integrated care and quality management.

    In Israel, Prof. Balicer serves in several professional leadership roles - as Chair of the Israeli Society for Quality in Healthcare, as President of the local chapter of ISPOR (the International Society of Pharmaco-economics and Outcomes Research) and as an Advisor to Israeli Ministry of Health.

    Prof. Balicer serves in advisory roles for the WHO Regional Office for Europe, including the non-communicable diseases strategy 'Sentaor Group', and advisory groups on Healthy Aging and Coordinated/Integrated Healthcare Systems. He also serves as Chair of the Israeli Society for Quality in Healthcare, and as a Board Member of the International Foundation for Integrated Care.

    Thu, 19/01/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Music and science,
    Dr. Yuval Nov

    Abstract: The art of music touches upon several scientific fields, among them physics, mathematics, physiology, psychology, and evolution. How do musical instruments produce sound? What mathematical principle causes certain combinations of notes to sound pleasing to the ear, and others, jarring? What is absolute pitch, and is it always a blessing? What are the evolutionary origins of the human tendency to create and enjoy music? These are some of the questions discussed in the talk.

    Bio: Dr. Yuval Nov holds a PhD in Operations Research from Stanford University, and is a senior lecturer at the department of statistics in the University of Haifa. He is also a hobbyist musician who participated in many concerts and recordings.

    Tue, 12/01/2016
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The technological revolution in education,
    Dr. Ya'akov (Kobi) Gal, Department of Information Systems Engineering at BGU

    Abstract: Education is increasingly mediated by technology, and is used by a wide array of learners from different age groups, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. The proliferation of educational software provides new opportunities for using computational methods to support students in their learning process and teachers and researchers in their understanding of how students learn. This talk will identify several computational challenges within this context and present some initial solutions that synthesize approaches from artificial intelligence, HCI and Machine Learning. Specifically, I will present plan recognition algorithms for making sense of students' activities using open-ended and exploratory educational software; methods for visualizing these activities to teachers as well as other students; and tools for personalizing educational content to students by combining collaborative filtering with social choice.

    Bio: Dr. Ya'akov (Kobi) Gal is a faculty member of the Department of Information Systems Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and an associate of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.

    He investigates representations and algorithms for making decisions in heterogeneous groups comprising both people and computational agents. He has published over 40 papers in highly refereed venues on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the learning and cognitive sciences.

    He is a recipient of the Wolf foundation's 2013 Krill prize for young Israeli scientists, a Marie Curie International fellowship, and a three-time recipient of Harvard University's outstanding teacher award.

  • 2015 Lectures

    Tue, 29/12/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Recent Cyber Attacks from the attackers point of view,
    Boaz Dolev
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: Boaz will tell us about cyber attacks from a personal point of view as a researcher who investigated real life attacks as 2015, like the Iranian attacks ("Thamar reservoir") and the Israeli's attacks on JP-Morgan. He will also give us his bleak prediction on 2016.

    Bio: Ceo of ClearSky - cyber intelligence company, Cyber analyst and researcher. Boaz is the former Israeli e-Government CEO (1999-2009). Boaz was responsible for creating the methodology and the infrastructure of the government secured internet infrastructure. Boaz dealt with policy issues, implementation challenges and legislation issues. He also oversees advanced technology projects including cyber anomaly research. Boaz is working as a senior consultant in the financial sector. Boaz has been heavily involved in cyber security and cybercrime issues for more than twenty years. Boaz is the head of the "Cyber Security information committee" in the Israeli standard institute.

    Tue, 20/10/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Looking for answers to Physics' open questions at the Large Hadron Collider,
    Dr. Enrique Kajomovitz

    Abstract: The large hadron collider (LHC) and its four experiments at the european center for nuclear research (CERN) can provide insight to some of the most interesting open question in physics. The seminar will present to non field-experts some of the open questions and how the experiments are trying to answer them. In addition, some of the latest most intriguing results of these experiments will be discussed.

    Bio: Enrique have a Ph.D. in Physics from the Technion and today is at Duke university. He have been working in the ATLAS experiment at the LHC since 2006; participating the construction of the experiment as well as the design and development of the control system and the data analysis software used in the experiment. The main focus of his research is searching for new particles that are not predicted by the standard model of particle physics.

    Tue, 13/10/2015
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Bitcoin – the first decentralized digital currency,
    Daniel Brunstein, Intel

    Abstract: Bitcoin, the first decentralized digital currency, is changing the world. In this open session we will see why bitcoin has such a global acceptance rate, and browse through the many markets bitcoin is disrupting. A simple overview of the entire system, and the mechanics behind Bitcoin, Blockchain, and Mining, will be presented.

    Bio: Daniel has a Master's degree in Computer Science from the Technion, and is now working at Intel as a Design Automation Lead in the Microprocessor Design division. He has been involved in Bitcoin ecosystem for the past two years, and is a known advocate of the technology.

    Tue, 14/07/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Design and the IBM Brand,
    Tammy Dekel, IBM

    Abstract: From the famous 8 bar logo to its enduring essence, the power of the IBM brand is not to be overlooked. Using the IBM brand and what it stands for as a benchmark in your work will not only help you communicate your ideas more effectively, but will also help you make better decisions.

    In this talk I will explain how brands work today, and why you are part of the IBM brand experience. I will also show you how the IBM brand is expressed through design by going over some of the IBM brand guidelines, point you to some useful on-line materials that IBM offers (including icons, colors, photography, and presentation templates) and show you how to use them to your advantage.

    Bio: Tammy (Tamar) Dekel is a graphic designer for IBM in Israel where she has been working for the past 10 years in print, motion, user interface, identity, and information design. She was featured in the exhibition "Vision/Action: Designers of the Next Generation" at the Hebrew Union College in New York City and studied graphic design at the Wizo Academy of Design in Haifa.

    Wed, 01/07/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Computer Vision that is changing our lives: from Autonomous Driving to Wearable Devices,
    Amnon Shashua, Hebrew University, Mobileye, OrCam
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: With advancement of computing infrastructure and algorithms one can witness major progress, in leaps and bounds, of computer vision applications. I will talk about two areas of applications where computer vision has the potential of touching everyone's daily lives. The first is the rapid growth of driver assistance systems through star ratings and regulation that is becoming standard on every new car. These systems interpret the visual scene in order to avoid collisions and control the car accordingly. The field is expanding further into the domain of autonomous driving starting from 2016 and onwards. Computer Vision is the primary driving force behind this transformative change of having accident-free cars. The second area of application has to do with wearable devices. The field is in its infancy and I will describe the first market focused on helping the visually impaired cope with daily activities. The algorithmic infrastructure developed for the visually impaired will form the next generation of wearable devices which will constitute a transformative change to the way we document our daily routines.

    Bio: Prof. Amnon Shashua holds the Sachs chair in computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His field of expertise is computer vision and machine learning. For his academic achievements he received the MARR prize Honorable Mention in 2001, the Kaye innovation award in 2004, and the Landau award in exact sciences in 2005. He is the co-founder of Mobileye (NYSE:MBLY), an Israeli company developing systems-on-chip and computer vision algorithms for detecting pedestrians, vehicles, and traffic signs for driving assistance systems and is moving forward on the development of autonomous driving technology. Mobileye's IPO on the NYSE was the biggest Israeli IPO ever raising $1B at a market cap of $5.3B. Prof. Shashua is the cofounder of OrCam, an Israeli company which recently launched an assistive product for the visually impaired based on advanced computerized visual interpretation capabilities.

    Wed, 17/6/2015
    15:00 AM - 16:00 PM

    Managing by the Book: Ten Improbable Policies that Conquered the World,
    Kent Beck, Facebook

    Abstract: How did Facebook seize the social networking opportunity when others fumbled it? One of the many factors that had to go right was that engineering had to keep up with unprecedented, unpredictable, explosive growth. The secret sauce that helped the geeks keep up isn't so secret: everyone takes personal responsibility for the entire system. Instead of making up for a lack of responsibility, Facebook's engineering policies foster and exploit personal responsibility. The talk presents the thinking behind ten of these policies that contradict conventional wisdom.

    Bio: Kent Beck has been at Facebook for four years, during which he has worked on privacy, messaging infrastructure, and coaching for promising engineers. Before that he was a pioneer in patterns for software, Extreme Programming, Test-Driven Development, and the xUnit family of testing frameworks. His research includes syntax-tree-based development tools and the quantitative study of software design and software process. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife of thirty years and the youngest of his five children, raising goats and making cheese.

    Tue, 02/06/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    When Do WOM Codes Improve the Erasure Factor in Flash Memories?,
    Prof. Eitan Yaakobi, Computer Science Department, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

    Abstract: Flash memory is a write-once medium in which reprogramming cells requires first erasing the block that contains them. The lifetime of the flash is a function of the number of block erasures and can be as small as several thousands. To reduce the number of block erasures, pages, which are the smallest write unit, are rewritten out-of-place in the memory. This requires a cleaning operation of blocks, called garbage collection, to free space for additional page writes. However, when a block is erased, its valid pages need to be rewritten, thereby increasing both the number of page writes and the number of block erasures. A Write-once memory (WOM) code is a coding scheme, which enables to write multiple times to the block before an erasure. However, these codes come with significant rate loss. For example, the rate for writing twice (with the same rate) is at most 0.77.

    In this work, we study WOM codes and their tradeoff between rate loss and reduction in the number of block erasures, when pages are written uniformly at random. First, we introduce a new measure, called erasure factor, which reflects both the number of block erasures and the amount of data that can be written on each block. A key point in our analysis is that this tradeoff depends upon the specific implementation of WOM codes in the memory. We consider two systems that use WOM codes; a conventional scheme that was commonly used, and a new recent design that preserves the overall storage capacity. While the first system can improve the erasure factor only when the storage rate is at most 0.6442, we show that the second scheme always improves this figure of merit.

    Bio: Eitan Yaakobi is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. He received a PhD. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, under the supervision of Prof. Paul Siegel, Prof. Alexander Vardy, and Prof. Jack Wolf. Between 2011-2013, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, where he worked with Prof. Shuki Bruck. He received the Marconi Society Young Scholar Award in 2009 and was a recipient of the Intel Ph.D. fellowship in 2010-2011. His research interests include information and coding theory with applications to non-volatile memories, associative memories, data storage and retrieval, and voting theory.

    Tue, 21/05/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Cyber Deception: Employing Counter Intelligence to Combat Advanced Threats,
    Gadi Evron, Cymmetria CEO and founder
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: By concentrating on attackers instead of attacks, we can intercept them. Learning from the world of counter intelligence on the one hand, and that of honeypots on the other, a deception strategy is formed which shifts the asymmetry in cyber.

    Bio: Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a stealth cyber security startup, Chairman of the Board of the Israeli CERT and Founding Chairman of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Alliance. He is widely recognized for his work in internet security operations and global incident response, considered the first botnet expert. He was previously VP of Cybersecurity Strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. Prior to that Gadi was CISO for the Israeli government Internet operation, founder of the Israeli Government CERT and is a research fellow at the Yuval Ne`eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, at Tel Aviv University, working on cyber warfare projects. Gadi authored two books on information security, organizes global professional working groups, chairs worldwide conferences, and is a frequent lecturer.

    Wed, 29/04/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Banning autonomous killers unmanned vehicles - an objection,
    Prof. Asa Kasher, Tel Aviv University
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: המאמר יציע סף מעשי לאישור כטב"מ (או כלים אחרים בשימוש צבאי) הקוטלים מעצמם תוך שימוש ברעיון ממשפחת משחק החיקוי של טיורינג

    Bio: Laura Schwarz-Kipp Professor Emeritus of Professional Ethics and Philosophy of Practice, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University. Professor of Philosophy, Shalem College, Jerusalem. Member of European Academy of Science and Humanities.

    Held visiting positions in many universities, including UCLA, Oxford, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Calgary, Ghent and Torino.

    Wrote more than 300 papers and ethics documents as well as several books in various areas of philosophy, including: Military Ethics, a book that won the national prize for military literature. Among his other books:
    * A Small book on the Meaning of Life; Judaism and Idolatry.
    * Editor of Philosophia, Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, published by Springer.
    * Editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia Hebraica 2nd Edition (online).
    * Recently edited: 4 volumes of Ethics of War and Violence (Routledge), 4 volumes of Pragmatics (language use) (Routledge), and as co-editor: Models of God and other Kinds of Ultimate Reality (Springer).

    Wrote the first Code of Ethics of the IDF; an IDF document on the Military Ethics of Fighting Terror (written together with Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin now ret.); and an IDF document on Ethics of Disengagement (with Maj. Gen Eyal Ben Reuven now ret.), as well as codes of ethics for major divisions and units of the IDF. Has worked (with others) on the Code of Ethics of the Knesset, the parliament of Israel, in a committee appointed by the speaker of the Knesset, and (with others) on the Code of Ethics of the Ministers, in a committee appointed by the Prime Minister.

    Has served as chair or member of numerous governmental and other public bodies, some by appointments of the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense or Minister of Health. Among them: Committee of Minister Security; The National Council of Bioethics; Committee on the Dying Patient; and many others.

    He was a member of a three member team appointed by the Minister of Defense to set principles for negotiating release of abducted citizens, particularly ones in military uniform.

    Military Service: Major (res.) in the Department of Casualties.

    For his contributions to Philosophy, he won the Prize of Israel, the highest national prize, 2000.

    Married to Dr Naomi Kasher, father of Maj. Yehoraz (1966-1991), Shirith and Avshalom.

    Tue, 28/04/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Design Thinking – How design fosters innovation,
    Yael Alkalay, IBM

    Abstract: Great brands differentiate themselves through the design of their products. It's the design that guides the experience, and it's the experience that elicits emotion from the user. IBM Mobile Innovation Lab leverages IBM's portfolio of products and partnerships to envision exceptional solutions that provide value to people in new ways. Learn how to design world-class mobile apps which are valuable, enjoyable, and effortless. We will introduce the Mobile Innovation Lab, its mission and best practices for mobile app design.

    Bio: Yael Alkalay is an Innovation Strategy Lead at IBM Mobile Innovation Lab. The lab envisions exceptional innovative means of engagement in order to improve and enrich people's lives worldwide. Yael is part of the lab leadership team, responsible for driving a culture of design and innovation. She distills forward-thinking concepts in entrepreneurship specializing in product strategy, user experience design, and design thinking.  Yael is a Fulbright scholar, she was a visiting researcher at the MIT Media Lab and a visiting artist at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC. She holds a Master in Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and a B.DES cum laude in Design from The Bezalel Academy Of Arts & Design in Jerusalem. Over the last few years Yael has received a number of excellence awards, including the Fulbright alumni prize for outstanding Fulbrighters, UNESCO, AT&T, America-Israel Cultural Foundation, The Israel Community of Designers and more. Yael is passionate about art, technology, and innovation.

    Tue, 21/04/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    3 Problems in Image Processing and Universal Manifold Embedding,
    Dr. Rami Hagege, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ben Guriun University
    The seminar was broadcast to Haifa from Beer Sheva

    Abstract: The talk will be split into two sections first i will describe 3 problems in the current research at my group, the other half will be devoted to a technique named universal manifold embedding. The three problems that will be described are:
    1. Matching with Region Expansion with Erez Farhan
    2. Stabilization and Super Resolution with Almog Hagag and Joseph Francos
    3. 2D-3D Pose Estimation of Heterogeneous Objects with Jonathan Hexner

    Universal Manifold Embedding - is a novel mathematical approach to cope with nonlinearities. The set of all appearances of an isolated object within the space of images can be represented as a low dimensional nonlinear manifold. The specific appearance of an object is influenced by geometric variations, radiometric variations and clutter. The set of all objects therefore can be represented as multiple non intersecting low dimensional manifolds. Many problems in computer vision can be described using this terminology, and therefore it can be used to explain the core difficulty in various problems and the suggested solutions. In this talk I will illustrate several state of the art techniques to cope with this situation for the problems of object recognition and pose estimation. I will describe a new mathematical framework – universal manifold embedding - for approaching the problem of multiple low dimensional manifolds, which is fundamentally different from existing approaches. It will be illustrated how it can be practically implemented for the case of visual objects in the presence of geometric transformations. Finally, I will show several applications of the suggested approach to few fundamental problems in computer vision. The suggested solutions are based on accurate, fast and non-iterative solutions which are not based on any form of learning or extensive statistical considerations but rather on a geometric modeling of the problem.

    Bio: Rami R. Hagege received the B.Sc (Summa Cum Laude), M.Sc (Summa Cum Laude), and Ph.D degrees in electrical and computer engineering in 2002, 2004, and 2009, respectively, all from Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel. From 2009 to 2010, he was with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory of Information and Decision Systems. In 2010, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel, where he is now a Lecturer.

    Tue, 24/3/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The Future is made in Javascript,
    Yaron Biton, Founder and CTO of

    Abstract: Javascript is the language that was lucky enough to become the most important programming language today:
    * It is the one and only language natively spoken by web browsers
    * It is used for building mobile HTML5 applications (i.e. with PhoneGap)
    * It is used for building data-intensive scalable servers (with Node.js)
    * It is used to build Desktop applications (such as Popcorn Time or
    * It is used to program hardware (the rise of JS robotics,

    2015 will be one of the most important years for Javascript, as ES6 is getting to its final stages (Scheduled from June, that means fully compatible browsers by the end of 2015!) Angular.js is a library (by Google) that has changed the way people write Javascript at the browser side. During 2015 we will get Angular 2.0 (oops they did it again) and 2015 will also be the year of web components.

    Bio: Yaron Biton, Technologist and entrepreneur, a graduate of Mamram and a BA at Computer Science. Founder and CTO of aimed at addressing the most technical and architectural aspects of software engineering. Focused on the Javascript world.

    Tue, 24/02/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Plasmonic Nanoantennas for Logic Circuitry and for Wireless Information Transmission,
    Prof. Zeev Zalevsky, Bar-Ilan University

    Abstract: In my presentation we intend to introduce the Plantenna, the first ever plasmonic only nanoantenna. The Plantenna is architectured especially for efficient control of light on the nanometer scale, and has no equivalent in the microwave regime. The Plantenna has simple planar structure and ultracompact dimensions of only 400nm X 40nm X 20nm. The Plantenna achieves over 50% of light to plasmon conversion efficiency, with high polarization diversity and controllable radiation properties. In the presentation we will show the usage of the Plantenna for information processing and will demonstrate the realization of plasmonic logic circuitry e.g. based upon logic XOR gates. Next we will show its usage for novel application of plasmonic wireless link. The application is based on using a Plantenna based nanoplasmonic transceiver that transmits and receives plasmonic waves for distances of over 1000 wavelengths. We were able to transmit plasmonic for distance of 15µm, achieving 40dB higher signal power compared with using conventional plasmon channel waveguide. This may pave the way towards wireless transmission of nano - optical waves and overcome the huge limitation of plasmonic propagation caused by the high losses of metals at optical frequencies.

    Bio: Zeev Zalevsky received his B.Sc. and direct Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Tel-Aviv University in 1993 and 1996 respectively. Zeev is currently a full Professor in the faculty of engineering in Bar-Ilan University, Israel. His major fields of research are optical super resolution, biomedical optics, nano-photonics and electro-optical devices, RF photonics and beam shaping.

    Zeev has published around 600 journal and proceeding papers, 27 book chapters and 9 books. He also has about 40 issued patents, Zeev is currently the vice Dean of engineering, the head of the electro-optics track and a director of the nano photonics center at the institute of nanotechnology of Bar-Ilan University.

    Tue, 10/02/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Social Aspects in the Museum:From Lone-Wolves to Meerkats (Automatic Detection of social Behavior of Museum Visitor's Pairs),
    Tsvi Kuflik, University of Haifa

    Abstract: In many cases, visitors come to a museum in small groups. In these cases, the visitors' social context has an impact on their museum visit experience. Knowing the social context may allow a system to provide socially-aware services to the visitors. Evidence of the social context can be gained from observing/monitoring the visitors' social behavior. However, automatic identification of a social context requires on the one hand identifying typical social-behavior patterns, and on the other using relevant sensors that measure various signals and reason about them to detect the visitors' social behavior. The talk will present such typical social-behavior patterns of visitor pairs, identified by observations, and then, the instrumentation, detection process, reasoning, and analysis of measured signals that enables to detect the visitors' social behavior. Simple sensors' data, such as proximity to other visitors, proximity to museum points-of-interest, and visitor orientation were used to detect social synchronization, attention to the social companion, and interest in museum exhibits. The presented approach may allow future research to offer adaptive services to museum visitors based on their social context, to support their group visit experience better.

    Bio: Tsvi Kuflik heads the Information Systems Dept. at The University of Haifa. Over the past ten years, the focus of his work was on ubiquitous user modeling applied to cultural heritage. In the course of his work, a "Living Lab" has been developed at the University of Haifa – a museum visitors' guide system was developed for the Hecht museum. It is available for visitors on a daily basis and serves also as a test bed for experimenting with novel technologies in the museum. Currently, the system is being used for research on Social Signal Processing where signals transmitted by devices carried by the visitors are used for modeling group behavior, in order to reason about the state of the group visit. Another research direction focusses on the use of intelligent user interfaces in ubiquitous computing within the "living lab". Where issues like interaction with large, situated displays; interrupt management; navigation support; temporal and lifelong aspects of ubiquitous user modeling are studied. Tsvi got BSc. and MSc. In computer science and PhD. In information systems from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Over the years Tsvi collaborated with local and international researchers, supervised graduate students working with him on this research, organized the PATCH workshops series (Personal Access To Cultural Heritage) and published over 150 scientific papers, out of them 30 papers about this specific research. Tsvi is also a distinguished ACM scientist and a senior IEEE member.

    Tue, 20/01/2015
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Interactive Communication over channels with feedback and erasure channels: Capacity and Maximal noise resilience,
    Dr. Ran Gells, Computer Science, Princeton

    Abstract: We consider coding protocols for interactive communication performed over two simple types of noisy channels: binary error channels with noiseless feedback and binary erasure channels. In both cases, the noise model is adversarial, where we assume at most $\eps$-fraction of the bits can be corrupted.

    Our first result deals with the maximal rate obtainable by such coding schemes. Specifically, we give simple randomized, efficient protocols that achieve a rate of $1-\Theta(H(\eps))$ for both channel types. Such a rate is optimal for a feedback channel and is conjectured to be optimal for an erasure channel as well.

    Next we consider the maximal noise that interactive protocols can withstand when communication is done over the above two channels (assuming some positive rate) In the case of a feedback channel we show a tight upper and lower bound: when the "order of speaking" is fixed (say, alternating), the bound on the noise is $1/6$ in the binary case and $1/4$ if parties are allowed to send symbols from a larger alphabet. If, on the other hand, the "order of speaking" is not predetermined, the maximal noise any protocol can withstand is $1/3$, regardless of the alphabet size of the channel. For erasure channels with large alphabet, we provide a protocol that matches the optimal tolerable erasure rate of $1/2$ of previous protocols (Franklin et al., CRYPTO '13) but operates in a much simpler and more efficient way. Translating this protocol to the case of a binary erasure channels yields a protocol that withstands at most $1/3$ fraction of erasures. Our protocols are simple, deterministic and computationally efficient.

    Based on joint works with Klim Efremenko and Bernhard Haeupler.

    Bio: Ran Gelles is a post-doc at the Department of Computer Science, Princeton University, hosted by Prof. Mark Braverman.
    He did a PhD in computer science at UCLA under the supervision of Prof. Rafail Ostrovsky and Prof. Amit Sahai, completed in 2014.
    He received B.Sc. in Computer Engineering in 2003, and M.Sc in Computer Science in 2009, both from Technion, Israel.
    His M.Sc. research dealt with the security of theoretical and realistic Quantum Key Distribution Schemes, and was performed under the supervision of Professor Tal Mor.

  • 2014 Lectures

    Tue, 7/10/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Arrow of time,
    Prof. Meir Hemmo, Department Of Philosophy, Haifa University

    Abstract: הניסיון שלנו מאופיין על ידי "חיצי זמן" שונים: חץ האנטרופיה למשל נקבע על ידי החוק השני של התרמודינמיקה לפיו האנטרופיה של מערכות סגורות לא יכולה לקטון במהלך הזמן. לכן העתיד מאופיין על ידי אנטרופיה גבוהה ואילו העבר על ידי אנטרופיה נמוכה. "חץ זמן" נוסף הוא החץ הפסיכולוגי: בניסיון הפסיכולוגי שלנו יש הבחנה ברורה בין אירועים שהתרחשו בעבר לבין אירועים שיתרחשו בעתיד -- אנחנו זוכרים את העבר אבל לא את העתיד. וישנם "חיצים" נוספים. שאלה מעניינת היא כיצד "חיצי הזמן" השונים קשורים זה לזה: האם יש חץ זמן יסודי? אם כן מדוע חוקי הפיזיקה היסודיים (בדרך כלל) אינם תלויים בכיוון הזמן? האם ניתן להסביר את כל "חיצי הזמן" הללו על ידי אחד מהם, החץ התרמודינמי למשל? אם לא, מדוע "חיצי הזמן" מקבילים זה לזה? פיזיקאים רבים עסקו בשאלות אלה. בהרצאה אסקור מספר תשובות מהפיזיקה המודרנית לשאלות הללו ואתמקד בניסיון מפורסם של סטיבן הוקינג שקושר בין חישוב לבין "חץ הזמן" התרמודינמי והפסיכולוגי. אסביר מדוע הניסיון הזה נכשל, ואציע כיוונים חדשים למחקר.

    Bio: פרופסור מן המניין בחוג לפילוסופיה, אוניברסיטת חיפה.
    תואר ראשון בפילוסופיה מאוניברסיטת תל אביב
    תואר שני בפילוסופיה של הפיזיקה מאוניברסיטת תל אביב
    דוקטורט בפילוסופיה של הפיזיקה (יסודות תורת הקוונטים) מאוניברסיטת קיימברידג', אנגליה, 1996. 

    פרסם עשרות מאמרי מחקר בפילוסופיה של הפיזיקה, מכניקת הקוונטים והמכניקה הסטטיסטית. ספרו The Road to Maxwell's Demon (שנכתב ביחד עם ד"ר אורלי שנקר מהאוניברסיטה העברית) יצא לאחרונה בהוצאת אוניברסיטת קיימברידג', אנגליה, 2012.

    Tue, 30/09/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Techniques for Efficient Secure Computation Based on Yao's Protocol,
    Prof. Yehuda Lindell, Computer Science, Bar Ilan University

    Abstract: In the setting of secure two-party computation, two parties wish to securely compute a function of their joint private inputs. The theoretical foundations of this problem were laid down in the 1980s, and it has been heavily studied due to its generality and many applications. However, until recently, secure computation was considered a theoretical problem of purely theoretical interest. This has changed, and progress on the question of efficient secure computation has been extraordinarily fast in the past five years. In this talk, we survey some of this recent progress and describe the main techniques used for obtaining fast two-party computation, based on Yao's garbled circuit protocol. We will present the main algorithmic/protocol improvements, as well as implementation issues that have turned out to be a big factor in obtaining concrete efficiency. In addition, we will relate to the settings of semi-honest, covert and malicious adversaries, and will describe the challenges that arise for each along with the solutions and major open questions.

    Bio: Yehuda Lindell is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Bar Ilan University. Yehuda received his PhD from the Weizmann institute in 2002, and was a Raviv Postdoctoral fellow in the Cryptographic Research Group at the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center in New York from 2002-2004. Yehuda's research focuses on the theory and practice of secure multiparty computation, and he is heavily involved in the research goal to make multiparty computation practical. Yehuda is also involved in a startup company, called Dyadic Security, that applies multiparty computation to the problem of mitigating server breaches.

    Wed, 10/09/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Guided Missiles against Cancer,
    Ilan Beer, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: סרטן הוא אחד האתגרים הקשים ביותר הניצבים בפני הקהילה הרפואית. אילן מסיים 25 שנה ביבמ ועובר לפתח תרופות בחברת AIT (Applied Immune Technologies).
    הרצאה זו היא הרצאת הפרידה שלו ובה יתאר את הרקע הביולוגי ואת תהליך הפיתוח של תרופה לסרטן.
    השיטה, שפותחה על ידי פרופ' יורם רייטר מהפקולטה לביולוגיה בטכניון, מבוססת על נוגדנים המזהים מולקולות שמוצגות בעיקר על ידי תאים סרטניים, נצמדים אליהן וממיתים את התאים המציגים.

    Bio: TBD

    Tue, 09/09/2014
    15:00 AM - 16:00 PM

    Education Transformation Technologies,
    Sara Basson, IBM Research

    Abstract: The transformation to digital media for learning changes the education experience - from the way learning materials are prepared and disseminated, to understanding how students learn, where students learn, and the ability to glean analytics and deeper insights about student performance. IBM Research has launched a number of new initiatives around educational transformation - deploying personalized learning pathways, cognitive computing (the Watson computer) to enhance learning, and developing analytics to enhance career pathways. We are eager to envision and shape the classroom or learning spaces of the future. This presentation will outline some of the activities underway at IBM Research to address this growing industry.

    Bio: Sara Basson works on the Education Transformation initiative at TJ Watson Research Center. Her particular focus is developing technologies and solutions to improve career pathways. In previous roles, she has driven strategy and business opportunities for speech transcription technology and for accessibility solutions. Sara has more than 50 articles published on topics in speech technology and accessibility in technical journals, as well as a number of pending and issued patents. She was granted the title of Master Inventor in IBM Research in 2011. Sara holds an MBA in Management/Marketing from Stern School of Business, New York University, and a Ph.D. in Speech, Hearing, and Language Sciences from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate degree from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in recognition of her extensive activities using speech technologies to enhance accessibility in the educational arena.

    Tue, 19/08/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Practical Big Data and Big Financial Crime,
    Amir Orad, former CEO of Actimize

    Abstract: Talk about what's happening in the world of money laundering, threats and how to catch bad guys.
    How Israeli technology is leading this space.
    How to catch the next Madoff and why Kerviel ( was not caught before losing $7B etc.

    Bio: Orad is the departing CEO of NICE Actimize the financial crime and analytics software market leader monitoring billions of transactions at the world's top banks. Orad led the company's business functions since it was a $30M business, first as EVP and later as President and CEO. Under his leadership the business grew over six fold with Wall Street reported revenue nearing a $200M run rate.
    Prior to Actimize, Orad was cofounder of Cyota (now famous due to Naftali Bennett being one of the founders) a cyber security and payment authentication cloud company protecting over 100 million on-line users, acquired by RSA Security for $145M. Following the acquisition, he was VP Marketing at RSA. Orad is also a founding board member at BillGuard the venture backed personal finance analytics mobile app' company.
    Orad started his career as a techie in areas such as data mining, security, robotics and communication and is the author of several innovative patents . As an industry pioneer, he is a thought leader in the application of big data and analytics in the FinTech and Cyber Security domains and often quoted in publications such as Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Washington Post, CNBC, BBC etc. He lives in New York and earned his MBA at Columbia University and B.Sc in Computer Science and Management at Tel Aviv University.

    Tue, 12/08/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education as a Second Profession for Scientists and Engineers: The Case of the Technion's Proactive Approach and Contribution to STEM-Oriented Thinking in Israel,
    Prof. Orit Hazzan, Department of Education in Science and Technology, Technion

    Abstract: The talk presents the perspective according to which STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education research and practice should be integrated in multiple contexts, including schooling, higher education and the hi-tech industry, providing learners and practitioners with a stimulating environment for intellectual and creative activities. The talk illustrates the implementation of this approach by the Technion's Department of Education in Science and Technology and its contribution to the Israeli educational system not only by preparing prospective high school STEM teachers, but also by encouraging Technion graduates to take leadership roles in the educational system and contribute to Israel's higher education, the hi-tech industry, the IDF, and the third sector. In particular, the department recognizes the importance of teaching skills and learning processes in these sectors and believes all Technion students should acquire the skills and ability to communicate effectively. To these ends, the department launched the Views program in October 2011 with the objective of  offering Technion graduates a unique opportunity to obtain a second BSc degree in Science and Technology Education that fulfills the requirements for a teaching certificate in their subject area. Study scholarships are available for four semesters and Technion graduates who join the program are not required to commit themselves to teaching in the education system. The message delivered by these conditions is that pedagogical skills are important also in the hi-tech industry. As of now (July 2014), 250 Technion graduates have enrolled in the program. Additional information and data about the proactive approach presented above and the Views program in particular will be presented in the talk.
    Additional information is presented here:

    Bio: Professor Orit Hazzan is heading the Technion's Department of Education in Science and Technology since 2011. She has four Technion academic degrees. Three degrees of the Department of Education in Technology and Science (B.Sc in 1989, M.Sc. in 1991, Ph.D. in 1995) and an MBA from the Faculty of Industrial Engineering (2000). Hazzan joined the Department of Education in Technology and Science in October 2000. Her research focuses on computer science and software engineering education. Within this framework, she researches cognitive and social processes on the individual, the team and the organization levels, in high schools and software organizations. She has published about 100 papers in professional refereed journals and conference proceedings and three books: Human Aspects of Software Engineering with the late Jim Tomayko in 2004, Agile Software Engineering with Yael Dubinsky in 2008, and Guide to Teaching Computer Science: An Activity-Based Approach with Tami Lapidot and Noa Ragonis in 2011. In 2006–2008 she served as the Technion's Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies; In 2007-2010 she chaired the High School Computer Science Curriculum Committee assigned by the Israeli Ministry of Education. Additional details can be found in her personal homepage.

    Tue, 10/07/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator,
    Dror Pearl, IBM GTU

    Abstract: IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator - Dror Pearl will provide insights and program details for the first IBM Accelerator in the world. Israel as the 2nd largest ecosystem in the world for startups is capturing a lot of attention and investments from corporate companies. Global Technology Unit (GTU) of IBM, decided to open the first accelerator program and to work with large and important partners to make it happen. You are invited to listen to interesting program for the Israeli startups, and how IBM decided to work with those type of partners.

    Bio: Dror Pearl is the Leader of the Global Technology Unit (GTU). The GTU is directly responsible for growing IBM's revenue with Israeli partners worldwide, and also to develop the next generation of partners for IBM. He was previously in a Strategy and Sales Transformation Leader role in IBM Europe. Responsible for defining strategic direction for IBM market coverage, sales optimization and increasing value in front of clients. Dror joined IBM in 1996 as a sales person for AS/400 servers and held a variety of sales and business development positions in software development in country level and at European level. In 2002 he was sent by IBM to an assignment in the European HQ located in France, where he led and managed relationships with key software partners. Dror has more than 20 years of vast experience in Sales and Business Strategy Development. He holds deep knowledge in sales & business operations, as he was IBM Israel COO for over 7 years. Pearl has a Masters degree in Business Management and has extensive background in IT, Electronics and Computer Science.

    Tue, 24/6/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Utilizing Transfer Learning for Collaborative Recommender Systems,
    Prof. Lior Rokach, Dept. of Information System Eng., Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev

    Abstract: The collaborative filtering (CF) approach plays a central role within many recommender systems. The lack of ratings data can pose a major challenge to collaborative filtering algorithms. One approach to address this sparsity problem is to utilize data from other domains. In this talk I will present a transfer learning algorithm that extracts knowledge from multiple dense domains (e.g., movies and music) in order to boost the model's generation in a sparse target domain (e.g., games). The proposed algorithm learns the relatedness between the different source domains and the target domain, without requiring common users or items. Experiments with several datasets show that, using multiple sources and the relatedness between domains improves the predictive performance of the recommender system. In addition, I will present a distributed version of our algorithm that can scale well and efficiently process extremely large rating data on commodity hardware.

    Bio: Prof. Lior Rokach is the founder of the Machine Learning Research Laboratory at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. The lab promotes innovative adaptations of machine learning and data mining methods to create the next generation of Intelligent Systems. An active entrepreneur with several patents and technology licenses to his credit, Prof. Rokach has worked with several multinational companies and governmental agencies. He has made core contributions to the field of machine learning by developing novel ensemble learning algorithms. He has been involved in the creation and development of various novel recommender systems which are deployed in real large scale e-commerce web-sites serving millions of users. He has made a significant contribution to the field of cyber security by developing machine learning algorithms that are capable of identifying malwares, preventing data leakage, detecting anomalies and protecting user data and privacy. Prof. Rokach is the author of six books in the field of machine learning.

    Thu, 19/6/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Devastation and Renewal: The Metabolism of an Industrial City,
    Prof. Joel A. Tarr, Carnegie Mellon University

    Abstract: History can play a vital role in environmental studies by providing perspectives on current developments, by supplying insights into long-term trends, and by helping us understand key turning points. This talk will focus on the environmental history of Pittsburgh exploring developments in water, air, and land. The Pittsburgh environment and that of its region have been shaped both positively and negatively by industry and by decisions about infrastructure. Today the city is attempting to cope with this heritage in all three environmental media with varying degrees of success.

    Bio: Joel A. Tarr is the Richard S. Caliguiri University Professor of History and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He has been a member of the Carnegie Mellon University faculty since 1967. He received his B.S. and M.A. degrees from Rutgers University (1956, 1957) and his Ph.D. in American History at Northwestern University (1963). He is the recipient of Carnegie Mellon University's 1992 Robert Doherty Prize for "substantial and sustained contributions to excellence in education" and the 2008 Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the Society of the History of Technology for contributions to the field. His main interests are the history of the urban environment and the development and impacts of the urban infrastructure. He has published extensively in these areas and has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.. His current research is focusing on the history and impacts of conventional natural gas development in southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Wed, 18/6/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Quantum computing - is the future here?,
    Prof. Tal Mor, Computer Science, Technion

    Abstract: לפני כשלושים שנה הציעו פיינמן ודויטש את המחשב הקוונטי. כעשור לאחר מכן הראה פיטר שור את עוצמתו המדהימה, למשל, היכולת לפרק לגורמים מספרים גדולים בזמן קצר, יכולת שמשמעותיה הטכנולוגיות לעולם ההצפנה האינטרנט והבנקאות הינן מחרידות ביותר.

    בשנתיים האחרונות גם פרס וולף וגם פרס נובל ניתנו לקידום טכנולוגיות לבניית רכיבי חישוב קוונטיים, והסטרט-אפ (היחידי) שקיים מכר רכיבים ללוקהיד מרטין לנאסא ולגוגל. האם העתיד כבר כאן? או האם נצטרך לחכות לו עוד כמה וכמה עשורים? תלוי כמובן את מי שואלים. בהרצאה זו אנסה לתת תמונת מצב עדכנית.

    Bio: Tal Mor received his PhD from the Technion (Physics), and he is now a Professor at CS Technion. He did MSc in Yakir Aharonov group, PhD supervised by Asher Peres and Eli Biham, and had postdoc positions in Montreal and UCLA. Tal wrote many papers with Bennett, Brassard, Shor and many others (and he has the only hard copy of the Q.teleportation paper signed by ALL authors!)

    Tal invented several protocols and several attacks on quantum key distribution inculding the photon number splitting attack. He also invented "algorithmic cooling" of spins, as a method for potentially obtaining scalable quantum computers and for improving signal to noise ratios in MRI. Tal was also involved in suggesting
    quantum nonlocality, quantum computing, and teleportation, WITHOUT entanglement.

    Tue, 17/6/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Reversing the Supermarket: a Distributed Approach for Cloud Elasticity,
    Amir Nahir, IBM research - Haifa

    Abstract: A fundamental capability of cloud computing is elasticity, i.e., the ability to dynamically change the amount of allocated resources. This is typically done by adjusting the number of VMs running a service based on the current demand for that service. For large services, centralized management is impractical and distributed methods are employed. In such settings, no single component has full information on demand and service quality, thus elasticity becomes a real challenge.

    We address this challenge by proposing a novel elasticity scheme that enables fully distributed management of large cloud services. Our scheme is based on two main components, namely, a task assignment policy and a VM management policy. The task assignment policy strives to "pack" VMs while maintaining SLA requirements. The VM management policy is based on local activation of new VMs and self-deactivation of VMs that are idle for some duration of time. Through simulations and an implementation, we establish that our scheme quickly adapts to changes in job arrival rates and minimizes the number of active VMs so as to reduce the operational costs of the service, while adhering to strict SLA requirements.

    This work is part of my Ph.D thesis and was done under the supervision of Prof. Ariel Orda and Prof. Danny Raz.
    The talk is open for all, and assumes no prior knowledge.

    Bio: Amir Nahir received his BSc degree in computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in 2005, and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree there.
    He has been a research staff member at the IBM Research Labs in Haifa since 2006, and has spent most of his time leading the development and deployment of Threadmill – a post-silicon functional validation exerciser.

    Wed, 21/5/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Technological Superiority,
    Brig. Gen. Daniel Bren, C4I Technology Division commander, Lotem , IDF

    Abstract: צה"ל בתקופה האחרונה נדרש להתמודד עם אתגרים מבצעיים ואיומים דינאמיים אשר מתעצמים במהירות לצד אתגרים תקציביים. התקשוב כמאגבר מבצעי מהווה כפלטפורמה להעצמת האיום במימד הסייבר.

    תא"ל דני ברן ישוחח על התעצמות התקשוב בצה"ל כהיערכות להתמודדות עם אותם האיומים. בנוסף, יוסיף על צה"ל כמנוע הצמיחה לתעשייה בישראל.

    Bio: תא"ל דני ברן נולד בישראל בשנת 1969 והחל תכנית עתודה צה"לית בשנת 1987. בשנת 1994 חזר לשירות סדיר ביחידת לוטם (אז לוט"ם - היחידה לתקשוב וטכנולוגיות המידע). תא"ל ברן מילא שרשרת תפקידים בעולם הגנת מערכות המידע והסייבר. בשנת 2013 הועלה לדרגת תת אלוף ומונה למפקד יחידת לוטם - יחידת הפיתוח וההפעלה של אגף התקשוב.

    תואר B.Sc EE מאוניברסיטת תל אביב.
    תואר M.Sc EE מהטכניון בחיפה.

    Tue, 20/5/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Einstein's way to the general relativity theory,
    Prof. Hanoch Gutfreund, ELSC The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    Abstract: ב-1905 זעזע איינשטיין את יסודות הפיסיקה הקלאסית בשורה של מאמרים פורצי דרך, וביניהם תורת היחסות הפרטית, אשר הציעה תפישה חדשה של מרחב וזמן. עשר שנים מאוחר יותר, בנובמבר 1915, אחרי מאמץ של שמונה שנים, שהיה רצוף בכוונים ופירושים מוטעים ואפילו בשגיאות פשוטות, השלים איינשטיין את יצירת המופת שלו – תורת היחסות הכללית. בהרצאה נתאר את התהליך הזה, נעמוד על המשמעות של התורה החדשה ונסקור את ההשלכות המדעיות והטכנולוגיות שלה.

    Bio: פרופ' חנוך גוטפרוינד, פרופסור אמריטוס לפיסיקה עיונית באוניברסיטה העברית. הפעילות האקדמית שלו התמקדה במחקר עיוני בפיסיקה של מצב מוצק, בפיסיקה סטטיסטית ובחישוביות עיצבית (ממשק בין פיסיקה וחקר המוח). מילא בעבר תפקידים אקדמיים ומנהליים שונים באוניברסיטה – ראש המכון לפיזיקה, ראש המכון ללימודים מתקדמים, רקטור ונשיא. שימש בתפקידים אוניברסיטאיים וציבוריים שונים, בארץ ובחו"ל, הקשורים בחינוך ובמדיניות מדע. בשנים האחרונות הוא משמש כמנהל האקדמי של ארכיון אלברט איינשטיין באוניברסיטה העברית ואחראי על כל הפעולות, בארץ ובעולם, מטעם האוניברסיטה, הקשורות למורשתו של אלברט איינשטיין.

    Thu, 15/5/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Mining Event Data Streams,
    Prof. Mark Last, Department of Information Systems Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

    Abstract: Data stream mining algorithms are aimed at extracting knowledge from volatile streaming data. These algorithms face four principal challenges of big data mining: volume, variety, velocity, and veracity. In this talk, we focus on mining event data streams, which represent a sequence of events related to specific objects in the course of their lifetime. Such data streams can be observed in a variety of real-world applications ranging from medical survival analysis to product warranty management. However, at each point in time some of the monitored entities may be "censored", or more specifically, "right-censored", since they have not experienced the event of interest yet and we do not know when the event will occur in the future. In this research, we modify standard classification algorithms so that they can seamlessly handle a continuous stream of both censored and non-censored data. The objective is to provide reasonably accurate predictions after observing a relatively small portion of the data stream and to improve the classification performance with additional information obtained from the incoming data. The proposed methodology is evaluated on real-world streams from two different domains of event data analysis.

    Bio: Mark Last is a Professor at the Department of Information Systems Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel and the Head of the Data Mining and Software Quality Engineering Group. Prof. Last obtained his Ph.D. degree from Tel Aviv University, Israel in 2000. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers and 10 books on data mining, text mining, and software engineering. Prof. Last currently serves as an Associate Editor of two leading journals: IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics and Pattern Analysis and Applications. His main research interests are focused on data mining, cross-lingual text mining, and security informatics.

    Tue, 13/5/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Wall Street Mathematics - What is it all about,
    Dr. Shai Pilpel

    Abstract: Investing a.k.a. gambling used mathematics since its inception. Pascal and others laid the basis for probability theory to calculate (and increase) their chances of winning various card and dice games.
    Modern investment theories use mathematical models to explain the behavior of stock prices and to device portfolio strategies. The creation and proliferation of derivative financial products in the 1980s added to the demand for mathematical formulae to model the price relationships between stocks and their options.
    Currently many faculties offer advanced degrees in Financial Engineering, a field which applies various analytical tools to the study of finance and financial products.
    The focus of this lecture is on algorithmic trading – the usage of mathematical tools and methods to create profits.

    Bio: דוקטורט בסטטיסטיקה מאוניברסיטת קליפורניה, ברקלי
    MBA מאוניברסיטת קולומביה
    שרות צבאי - עד 1984
    1984-1987 מעבדות י.ב.מ. בחיפה וביורקטאון
    1987 ואילך - שוק ההון. קרנות גידור העוסקות במסחר אלגוריתמי סטטיסטי ובשווקי המשכנתאות ונגזרותיהן.

    Tue, 29/4/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Authorship Attribution: What's Easy, What's Hard,
    Prof. Moshe Kopel, Bar Ilan University

    Abstract: We consider variants of authorship attribution problems, ranging from the reasonably easy to the unreasonably difficult, pointing out the conditions under which each is solvable. We begin with vanilla attribution problems in which an anonymous document needs to be attributed to one of a small closed set of candidate authors for each of whom we have copious training data. More difficult cases include ones in which the candidate set might be extremely large (possibly in the tens of thousands or more) or in which the true author might not be in the candidate set at all or for which we have very little training data. Finally (if time permits), we consider multi-author documents which we need to decompose into distinct authorial threads without being provided with any training data at all.

    We'll consider real-world cases ranging from demographic profiling for commercial purposes, identifying an individual author from within a huge database (mostly for security purposes) and even Biblical criticism.

    Bio: Moshe Koppel is a member of the department of Computer Science at Bar-Ilan University. He received his PhD in mathematics from Courant Institute and did post-doctoral work in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Koppel's main areas of research in computer science include applied machine learning and social choice theory. His work on authorship attribution is used widely in commercial, legal and security applications.

    Tue, 8/4/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Pearls of Wisdom miniaturized sensor networks,
    Oded Shoham, Pearls of Wisdom

    Abstract: Pearls of Wisdom has been working on the development of sensing systems for unattended ground using miniaturized elements. We enable various monitoring applications using the deployment of many low cost miniature wireless sensors. The operation of sensors of various modalities working in harmony, together with the ability to integrate the measurements and turn them into information provides an opportunity for new applications and improved performance. The development of such systems is based on three pillars of excellence: a wireless network foundation which is flexible enough to support the needs of different applications; ultra-low-power design of sensors; and a distributed data analysis system.

    Bio: Oded Shoham, has been intensely involved in RF, sensors and security activities over the past 30 years.
    An expert System & Electronics Engineer, a summa cum laude graduate, Shoham is the former head of the Technological Research, Development and Implementation Center of the Israel Defense Forces' Intelligence Corps.
    After the service at the Israel Defense Forces, Shoham joined a private firm specializing in network security solutions, as its General Manager.
    From September 2001 - September 2008 was the CEO of I-Sec Technologies B.V. a Dutch company leading products in the Homeland Security market – mainly in the Aviation Security solutions.
    Since October 2008 Shoham is the CEO of Pearls of Wisdom a Wireless Sensor Network company.

    Tue, 18/3/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    No Robot is an Island, No Team an Archipelago: Reusable Teamwork for Multi-Robot Teams,
    Dr. Gal Kaminka, Bar Ilan University

    Abstract: For many years, multi-robot researchers have focused on specific application-inspired basic tasks (e.g., coverage, moving in formation, foraging, patrolling) as a way of studying cooperation between robots. But users want to see increasingly complex missions being tackled, which challenge this methodology: first, some missions cannot be easily decomposed into the familiar basic tasks, making previous knowledge non-reusable; second, the target operating environments challenge the typically sterile settings assumed in many previous works (such challenges include adversaries, multiple concurrent goals, human operators and users, and more).

    In this talk, I will argue that the reusable components in complex missions are often found not in the tasks, but in the interactions between robots, i.e., that while taskwork varies significantly, teamwork is largely generic. And while many multi-robot researchers have begun exploring generic task-allocation methods, I will report on my group's work over the last decade, identifying and developing other general mechanisms for teamwork, and integrating them at the architecture level to facilitate development of robust teams at reduced programming effort. I will sample some of our results in developing robots for missions ranging from robust formation maintenance, through patrolling, to soccer and urban search-and-rescue.

    Bio: Gal A. Kaminka is a full professor at the computer science department and the brain sciences research center, at Bar Ilan University (Israel), where he chairs the Bar Ilan University. Robotics Consortium, and his MAVERICK research group. His research expertise includes multi-agent and multi-robot systems, teamwork and coordination, behavior and plan recognition, and modeling social behavior. He received his PhD from the University of Southern California (2000), spent time as a post-doctorate fellow at Carnegie Mellon University (until 2002), and a year as a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2012). Prof. Kaminka was awarded an IBM faculty award and top places at international robotics competitions.

    He is the author or co-author of over 150 publications and 7 patents. He is the 2013 recipient of the Israeli national Landau Prize in exact sciences.

    Tue, 11/3/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Priceless: the value of information in a networked economy,
    Dr. Daphne Raban, Head of the Department of Information & Knowledge management, Haifa University

    Abstract: "All you can eat", free information has become the norm on the Web. Our hunger for free information together with technological affordances is the fuel which eventually brings about market failure. What are the merits and implications of these phenomena? Who in his/her right mind would be willing to pay for information? My talk will cover some of the basic principles in information economics and discuss the unusual mix of the social and economic worlds. While economics is mostly concerned with the suppliers' side, the second part of the talk will be about the consumers' side of the information economy. I will describe my research in a new area which I call behavioral information economics.

    Bio: Daphne R. Raban researches the information society and the information economy. Specifically, she studies the subjective value of information, information markets and business models, behavioral economics of information, information/knowledge sharing, the interplay between social and economic incentives, and games and simulations. Daphne is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Information & Knowledge Management at the University of Haifa and a member of LINKS, the Israeli Center of Research Excellence on Learning in a Networked Society. She has published in refereed journals including JCMC, JASIST, EJIS, ICS, CHB, Internet Research, Simulation & Gaming and more.

    Tue, 18/2/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The Features of Translationese: Computational Approaches to Translation Studies,
    Professor Shuly Wintner, Head of Computer Science, University of Haifa

    Abstract: Translation is a text production mode that imposes cognitive (and cultural) constraints on the text producer. The product of this process, known as *translationese*, reflects these constraints; translated texts are therefore ontologically different from texts written originally in the same language. Many of the special properties of translationese are believed to be universal, in that they are manifest in any translated text regardless of the source and target languages.

    In this work we test several Translation Studies hypotheses using a computational methodology that is based on supervised machine learning. Casting the problem in the paradigm of authorship attribution, we define dozens of classifiers that implement various linguistically-informed features that reflect translation universals. While the practical task of distinguishing original from translated texts is easy, we focus not on improving the accuracy of classification, but rather on designing linguistically meaningful features and assessing their contribution to the task. We demonstrate that some feature sets are indeed good indicators of translationese, thereby corroborating some hypotheses, whereas others perform much worse (sometimes at chance level), indicating that some `universal' assumptions have to be reconsidered.

    While our results are limited to the case of translationese, this methodology can be adopted for studying other kinds of texts produced under different cognitive constraints, such as texts produced by non-native speakers, by people with learning disabilities or medical problems, or by children acquiring a language.

    Bio: Shuly Wintner is an associate professor of computer science at the University of Haifa, Israel. His research spans various areas of computational linguistics and natural language processing, including formal grammars, morphology, syntax, language resources, machine translation, and child language acquisition. He was the editor-in-chief of Springer's Research on Language and Computation, a program co-chair of EACL-2006, and is now the general chair of EACL-2014. He was among the founders, and twice (6 years) the chair, of ACL SIG Semitic. Currently, he serves as the Head of the Department of Computer Science in Haifa.

    Wed, 12/2/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Technology changing the way people are entertained and informed - A twenty year perspective,
    Dr. Abe Peled, Principal at CyberCloud Ventures

    Abstract: Over the last forty years I have been deeply immersed in the evolution of technology, first twenty with IBM Research on core technologies, and the last twenty with NDS Group mainly on their application to the evolution of digital television. Until the early 1980's technology evolution was driven primarily by the needs of business and government, with the arrival of the PC the balance started to shift and today's technology evolution is driven primarily by the consumer market.

    In this talk we will focus on the predictable evolution of the core technologies, both hardware and software, and contrast them with the unpredictable evolution of their application to changing the way people live their daily life, communicate, socialize and relax. We will use examples from the evolution of digital television, like the predictable vast increase of content choices, and the unpredictable explosion of user generated content and its popularity. We will look at the unintended consequences of the massive penetration of technology into our daily lives, in areas like privacy, security, and the indelible trace we leave behind. We will conclude with lessons to be learned that may apply to the next phase of technology evolution generally referred to as the "internet of things".

    Bio: Dr Abe Peled is a Principal at CyberCloud Ventures. He also is a Senior Adviser to the Permira Private Equity TMT Group and on the Board of Inmarsat Plc.

    In 1995 Dr Abe Peled was appointed CEO of NDS Group Ltd, a company focused on conditional access for digital pay-TV, at that time a fully owned subsidiary of News Corp. In November 1999 NDS Group plc. went public on NASDAQ valued at $1B. In 2004 Dr Peled was appointed Chairman and CEO of NDS Group plc. In February 2009 NDS was taken private by News Corp. and Permira Funds at a $3.6B valuation. During his tenure NDS Group expanded twenty five fold reaching close to $1B in revenue and became the leading provider of content protection and software solutions to pay-TV providers worldwide. In March of 2012 Cisco announced the acquisition of NDS Group Ltd. for $5B. The transaction closed on August 1st 2012 and Abe served as Senior Vice President of Strategy at Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group till January 2014.

    Prior to joining NDS, from 1974 to 1993 Abe worked at IBM's Research Division in the United States, initially as a research scientist and later in research management. From 1985 to 1993, he held the position of Vice President for Systems and Software, a role in which he had management responsibility for all worldwide research and advanced development activities in these areas. While at IBM he helped bring to market, relational database and RISC technologies. He also lead the search for new ways for IBM Research to have an impact in the marketplace including an internal start-up,

    Abe served as Senior Vice President for Business Development at Elron in Israel from 1993 to 1995. While in this role, he set up and launched Israel's first Internet Service Provider (ISP) as well as several e-commerce sites.

    Abe completed both a BSc (1967) and an MSc (1971) in Electrical Engineering at the Technion Institute in Israel. He undertook graduate work at Princeton University in the United States and achieved his PhD in digital signal processing in 1974. Dr. Peled is the co-author of the first undergraduate text book on Digital Signal Processing, published by John Wiley in 1976, and has served on the National Academy of Sciences Computer Science and Telecommunications Board from 1988 to 1993. In March 2013 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Digital TV Europe.

    Tue, 11/2/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Do Customers Speak Their Minds? Using Forums and Search for Predicting Sales,
    Tomer Geva, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Niv Efron, Yair Shimshoni

    Abstract: A wide body of research uses data from social media websites to predict offline economic outcomes such as sales. However, in practice, such data are costly to collect and process. Additionally, sales forecasts based on social media data may be hampered by people's tendency to restrict the topics they publicly discuss. Recently, a new source of predictive information—search engine logs—has become available. Interestingly, the relationship between these two important data sources has not been studied. Specifically, do they contain complementary information? Or does the information conveyed by one source render the information conveyed by the other source redundant? This study uses Google's comprehensive index of internet discussion forums, in addition to Google search trend data. Predictive models based on search trend data are shown to outperform and complement forum-data-based models. Furthermore, the two sources display substantially different patterns of predictive capacity over time.

    Bio: Tomer Geva is a faculty member at the Recanati Business School, Tel Aviv University. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at Stern School of Business, New York University, and a post-doctoral research scientist at Google.

    Tomer's research focuses on understanding the utility and informativeness of large scale data, for the purpose of deriving business decisions. Tomer's work involves usage of data-science methods for predictive modeling as well as econometric analysis.

    Tomer's research was published in various journals and conference proceedings including Information Systems Research (ISR), Decision Support Systems (DSS), and ICIS.

    Tomer holds a PhD from Tel-Aviv University, An MBA (cum laude) from Tel-Aviv university, and a BSc (cum laude) in Industrial Engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

    Tue, 28/1/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    On Group Testing,
    Prof. Ely Porat, Bar Ilan University

    Abstract: Group testing is a long studied problem in combinatorics: A small set of r ill people must be identified out of the whole population of n people, by using only queries (tests) of the form "Does set X contain an ill member?". I will discuss the current state of the art, and show several surprising applications for group testing techniques.

    Bio: Prof. Porat completed his PhD in 2001, at the age of 21. Then, while doing his military service, he was an assistant professor at Bar-Ilan University. Since 2012 he is a full professor at Bar-Ilan University, and is the youngest full professor in Israel to date. His research focuses on pattern matching, streaming algorithms, data structures and coding theory. His most recent research interests are group testing, compressed sensing and game theory. Ely's work is multidisciplinary, combining techniques from multiple domains.

    Mon, 13/1/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    The Immune System, and How it Can Teach Us Cyber Security,
    Jacob Rimer, Weizmann Institute

    Abstract: The immune system has several roles: protection against parasitism by viruses, bacteria and foreign or aberrant cells; repair of organ and tissue damage; and maintenance of integrity. Hence, beside ongoing routine tasks, it needs to be prepared for unforeseen – even unforeseeable – troubles. However, effective immunity has to be economical; investment in immunity must be balanced with other fitness traits. An organism needs to eat, grow, reproduce and so on. Our immune system is flexible, robust, affordable and highly distributed. Moreover, it has the ability to learn from its own experience and adapt to new challenges.

    Since we became to depend on cyber in so many aspects of our lives, we need to maintain network integrity and protect it from "cyber parasites". Evidently, our current cyber security tools are not enough to face the mounting challenges of the modern cyber era. Which lessons can we learn from the immune system to enhance our protections?

    Bio: Jacob Rimer received his M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from the Weizmann Institute, as the first "Open University" graduate that was accepted to the graduate school. After a career in the Hi-tech industry, he is about to finalize his PhD studies in immunology at the Weizmann Institute. His research focuses on decision making in the immune system, in particular during CD4+ T cell differentiation. He is also specialized in Cyber security, Big data, Machine learning, and more.

    Mon, 6/1/2014
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    New Interfaces to Storage-Class Memory,
    Prof. Mike Swift, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Abstract: Storage-class memory (SCM) technologies such as phase-change memory, spin-transfer torque MRAM, and memristers promise the performance and flexibility of DRAM with the persistance of flash and disk. In this talk, I will discuss two interfaces to persistent data stored in SCM.

    First, I will talk about Mnemosyne, which is a system that exposes storage-class memory directly to applications in the form of persistent regions. With only minor hardware changes, Mnemosyne supports consistent in-place updates to persistent data structures and performance up to 10x faster than current storage systems.

    Second, I will talk about how to build file systems for storage-class memory. While standard storage device rely on the operating system kernel for protected shared access, SCM can use virtual-memory hardware to protect access from user-mode programs. This enables application-specific customization of file system policies and interfaces I will describe the design of the Aerie file system for SCM, which provides flexible high-performance access to files.

    Bio: Mike Swift is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research focuses on the hardware/operating system boundary, including devices drivers, new processor/memory technologies, and transactional memory. He grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts and received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1992. After college, he worked at Microsoft in the Windows group, where he implemented authentication and access control functionality in Windows Cairo, Windows NT, and Windows 2000. He received a Ph.D. on operating system reliability from the University of Washington in 2005.

  • 2013 Lectures

    Tue, 24/12/2013
    15:00 PM - 16:00 PM

    Science Art Synergy - the CAD/CAM way,
    Prof. Gershon Elber, CS, Technion, Israel

    Abstract: The computer aided geometric design (cagd) is a mature field, as is evident from the diminished evolution that this field underwent, in recent years. Yet this cagd field has tremendous potential to improve and influence other areas as well, pushing cagd research toward new frontiers. In this talk, I will explore the area of (plastic) art.

    The art work of M.C. Escher needs no introduction. We have all learned to appreciate the impossibilities that this master of illusion's artwork presents to the layman's eye. Nevertheless, it may come as a surprise for some, but many of the so-called 'impossible' drawings of M. C. Escher and many others can be realized as actual physical, tangible, three-dimensional objects.

    In this talk, I will discuss and explore some intriguing three-dimensional artifacts designed and manufactured with the aid of (augmented) computer aided geometric design tools. These artifacts were influenced by M. C. Escher but also other artists such as V. Vasarely, Y. Agam, and S. Del-Prete, and span different design and manufacturing technologies, from layered manufacturing through robotic assembly to laser etching.

    Bio: Gershon Elber is a professor in the Computer Science Department, Technion, Israel. His research interests span computer aided geometric designs and computer graphics.

    Prof. Elber received a BSc in computer engineering and an MSc in computer science from the Technion, Israel in 1986 and 1987, respectively, and a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah, USA, in 1992. He is a member of the ACM.

    Prof. Elber has served on the editorial board of the Computer Aided Design, Computer Graphics Forum, The Visual Computer, Graphical Models, and the International Journal of Computational Geometry & Applications and has served in many conference program committees including Solid Modeling, Shape Modeling, Geometric Modeling and Processing, Pacific Graphics, Computer Graphics International, and Siggraph. Prof. Elber was one of the paper chairs of Solid Modeling 2003 and Solid Modeling 2004, and one of the conference chairs of Solid and Physical Modeling 2010. He has published over 150 papers in international conferences and journals and is one of the authors of a book titled "Geometric Modeling with Splines - An Introduction".

    Elber can be reached at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Haifa 32000, ISRAEL.

    Email:, Fax: 972-4-829-5538.

    Mon, 16/12/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Medical nanorobots that obey Asimov's laws,
    Dr. Ido Bacelet, Nano Technology Center, Bar Ilan University

    Abstract: The field of robotics has recently entered into the nanometer and molecular scales. The technical challenges associated with the design and fabrication of molecular robots are being gradually tackled; however, it is not clear whether and how the general paradigms and concepts of robotics can be translated into this scale as well. We develop strategies to encode in molecules the three laws of robotics, devised and introduced by Isaac Asimov during the early 20th century, creating nanorobots that are aware of the damage they cause and can outsmart tumor resistance. This study demonstrates that abstract paradigms can be implemented in molecules, and highlights the importance of thinking about robots in a new way that is independent of the robot's size, the materials of which it is built, and the physical mechanisms that drive its actions and intelligence.

    Bio: Dr. Ido Bachelet is a member of the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Nano Center at Bar-Ilan University. He earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology and drug design at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did his first post-doctoral research in mechanical engineering at M.I.T., and a second post-doctoral research in synthetic biology at the Wyss Institute for Bio-inspired Engineering at Harvard University, where his research started the field of medical nanorobotics. Dr. Bachelet leads the multidisciplinary lab of biological design at BIU, developing and studying diverse technologies including medical nanorobotics, unconventional computing, programmable objects, and human-machine interfaces. He started several companies in the U.S. and Israel in the fields of infectious diseases and computer vision, and his research is supported by grants from the European Research Council, Israeli Chief Scientist and other U.S. and European foundations. He is also a pianist, and composes music where living cells and molecules take active parts. His CD of music for piano and microscope is coming soon.

    Tue, 10/12/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Treating the Brain as a Network - a Far Reaching Research,
    Lavi Shpigelman, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: I will present work that we did in our neuroscience-oriented Far Reaching Research (FRR). We carried out two projects within this framework, both in collaboration with Prof. Talma Hendler and her team at the MRI center at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The first project (carried out with Tal El Hay at IBM) was aimed at predicting fMRI (an expensive, slow but location-accurate signal) from EEG (a cheaper, noisy and fast changing signal) for use in neurofeedback treatment.. The second project that I'll describe is development of a procedure for finding brain-networks whose synchrony dynamics are correlated to subjects' emotions as they watch a movie. This network-signal may lead to new targets for use in neurofeedback.

    Bio: Lavi Shpigelman is a research staff member in the Machine Learning for Healthcare and Life Sciences group at IBM Research - Haifa. He holds a PhD in computational neuroscience from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he developed and applied machine learning algorithms for closed-loop invasive brain-computer interfaces. At IBM, Lavi worked on a large variety of projects involving anomaly detection, clustering, and prediction in financial records, computerized systems data and healthcare records. In the last two years Lavi worked on the neuroscience FRR.

    Tue, 26/11/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Programming with Millions of Examples,
    Prof. Eran Yahav, Computer Science, Technion

    Abstract: In a world where programming is largely based on using APIs, semantic code search emerges as a way to effectively learn how such APIs should be used. Towards this end, we present a formal framework for static specification mining that is able to handle code snippets and incomplete programs. Our framework analyzes code snippets and extracts partial temporal specifications. Technically, partial temporal specifications are represented as symbolic automata – automata where transitions may be labeled by variables, and a variable can be substituted by a letter, a word, or a regular language. With the help of symbolic automata, the use of the API is extracted from each snippet of code, and the many separate examples are consolidated to create a full(er) usage scenario database that can be queried. We have implemented our approach in a tool called PRIME and applied it to analyze and consolidate thousands of snippets per tested API.

    This talk is based on work with Alon Mishne, Sharon Shoham, Eran Yahav, and Hongseok Yang.

    Bio: Eran Yahav is a faculty member of the Computer Science department at the Technion, Israel. Prior to his position at Technion, he was a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, New York (2004-2010). He received his Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University (2005) and his B.Sc. (cum laude) from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (1996). His research interests include static and dynamic program analysis, program synthesis, and program verification. Eran is a recipient of the prestigious Alon Fellowship for Outstanding Young Researchers, and the Andre Deloro Career Advancement Chair in Engineering.

    Tue, 19/11/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Smartphone (In-)Security,
    Prof. Ari Trachtenberg

    Abstract: This talk will cover some of the prominent attack surfaces at all abstraction layers of modern smartphones, such as those based on bypassing application signatures, USB takeover, GPS updates, commandeering the GSM subsystem, and filtering data from SSD memory. The talk will be interspersed with work from our lab and mitigation techniques.

    Bio: Ari Trachtenberg is a Professor of ECE at Boston University and a Visiting Professor of EE at the Technion (with its Computer Engineering Center). He received his PhD and MS in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, and his SB from MIT in Math/CS. His research interests include cyber security (smartphones, offensive and defensive), networking (security, sensors, localization); algorithms (data synchronization, file edits, file sharing), and error-correcting codes (rate less coding, feedback).

    Tue, 12/11/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Service Science Management Engineering and Design - SSMED,
    Alan Hartman, IBM research - Haifa

    Abstract: Just as Computer Science grew out of various engineering disciplines, Service Science has grown in the past ten years out of engineering, management, marketing, and other fields to become a legitimate academic discipline in its own right. It was initially promoted by the IBM Corporation as a way to educate its potential employees as it moved from a manufacturing company selling hardware and software, to become a company whose major source of income and profits are derived from services.

    Service organizations throughout the world are looking for ways to eliminate the inefficiencies that have crept into their business structures, not only to reduce operational costs, but to better attract and keep customers. The new generation of customers, accustomed to increasingly innovative service experiences, insists on satisfying and faster interaction with the service providers. Driven by high customer expectations and competitive pressures from market leaders, service organizations are being forced to reassess their delivery and customer management strategies.

    SSMED is the application of scientific, management, and engineering disciplines to the tasks (services) that one organization beneficially performs for and with another. Services also have social, economic, design, and psychological dimensions among others. SSMED has the goal of making productivity, quality, performance, compliance, growth, and learning improvements more predictable in work-sharing and risk-sharing (co-production) relationships.

    This talk will give an overview of the main topics of research and the challenges in the study of services. It is heavily influenced by the advent of new service delivery mechanisms in the information economy, and the author's first hand experience of the service design, management and delivery systems developed by IBM to drive its phenomenal growth as a service provider.

    Bio: Alan Hartman is currently a senior researcher at the IBM Israel Haifa Research Laboratory in the department of Privacy and Security.

    After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Alan joined the IBM Haifa Research Lab in 1983. Since then, his research has focused on storage technologies, mathematical optimization, hardware and software verification, and model based software, systems, services engineering, and privacy and security. He spent 2.5 years at the IBM India research lab in Bangalore serving as the Services Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) focal point for the IBM India Research Laboratory. He has also held positions at the IBM Israel Laboratory as the manager of the algorithms and optimization team, creating advanced tools for the solution of industrial problems and communications network design. He has also managed the model-driven engineering technologies group focused on creating tools and methodologies for model based software and systems engineering. He has held visiting positions in the Mathematics Department at the University of Toronto and at Telstra Research Labs. He has also coordinated and managed several European Commission research projects (AGEDIS, MODELWARE, MODELPLEX, COCKPIT).

    Alan has a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Newcastle in Australia, an M.Sc. in mathematics from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and a B.Sc. in mathematics from Monash University in Australia. He has published over 70 research papers and holds several patents.

    Tue, 15/10/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    An Unsupervised Framework for Information Extraction,
    Prof. Ronen Feldman, Hebrew University

    Abstract: In the talk I will  describe a framework for relation learning and building of domain-specific relation extraction systems. I will demonstrate several applications of the framework in the domains of mining public medical forums and financial news and blogs. The case studies demonstrate the ability of the system to achieve high accuracy of relation identification and extraction with minimal human supervision. I will also describe and demonstrate the performance of VC's modifier learning mechanism and coreference resolution.

    Bio: Ronen Feldman is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at the Business School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received his B.Sc. in Math, Physics and Computer Science from the Hebrew University and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University in NY. He was an Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern Business School. He is the founder of ClearForest Corporation, a Boston based company specializing in development of text mining tools and applications. He has given more than 30 tutorials on text mining and information extraction and authored numerous papers on these topics. He is the author of the book "The Text Mining Handbook" published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.

    Sun, 06/10/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    DEAWAY Inc - startup presentation,
    Guy Edelist, CEO of DEAWAY Inc.

    * Challenges of unmanned ground vehicles, why UGV are not common?
    * Combination of software and Automotive design
    * North pole challenge - mission, time, speed, payload
    * Obstacle detection in white/ gray scale environment

    Bio: Co founder of 1st shopping mall in Israel, now Wallashops
    Co founder Secucell LTD, Security hardware via GSM, now part of Crow group.

    Sun, 15/9/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Elastic and Fault-Tolerant Stream Processing in the Cloud,
    Peter Pietzuch, Department of Computing, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

    Abstract: As users of "big data" applications want fresh processing results, we witness a new breed of stream processing systems that are designed to scale to large numbers of cloud-hosted machines. Such systems face new challenges: (i) to benefit from the "pay-as-you-go" model of cloud computing, they must scale out on demand; (ii) with deployments on hundreds of virtual machines (VMs), failures are common -- systems must therefore be fault-tolerant with fast recovery times. An open question is how to achieve these two goals when stream queries include stateful operators whose state may depend on the complete history of the stream.

    In this talk, I describe an integrated approach for dynamic scale out and recovery of stateful stream processing operators. The idea is to expose internal operator state explicitly to the stream processing system through a set of state management primitives. Externalised operator state is checkpointed periodically and backed up by the system. In addition, the system identifies operator bottlenecks and automatically scales them out by allocating new VMs. We evaluate this approach as part of the SEEP experimental stream processing system on the Amazon~EC2 cloud platform and show that it can scale automatically, while recovering quickly from failures.

    Bio: Peter Pietzuch is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at Imperial College London, leading the Large-scale Distributed Systems (LSDS) group in the Department of Computing. His research focuses on the design and engineering of scalable, reliable and secure large-scale software systems, with a particular interest in data management issues. He has published over fifty research papers in international venues, including USENIX ATC, NSDI, SIGMOD, VLDB, ICDE, ICDCS, ACM/USENIX Middleware and DEBS. He has co-authored a book on Distributed Event-based Systems published by Springer. Before joining Imperial College, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from the University of Cambridge.

    Tue, 10/9/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Tera-Herz Imaging,
    Dr. Danny Elad; Dr. Evgeny Shumaker; Dan Corcos, IBM research Haifa

    Abstract: The Analog and Mixed Signal group in HRL has been active for several years in the field of silicon based photonic devices for Terahertz and the millimeter waves. The team is currently developing new groundbreaking imaging technology towards the implementation of full pixel arrays to serve for uncooled THz cameras. Due to the very low scattering of THz waves through dry materials, such cameras will serve a broad range of applications, including passenger screening for terminal security and for medical imaging of human tissues.

    The THz region of the electro-magnetic spectrum is considered the last technological frontier to be crossed. Due to the lack of established sources and detectors, the frequencies between 100 GHz to 10 THz are called the "Terahertz gap". All bodies emit broadband radiation power, including at Terahertz frequencies, according to their temperature and to what they are made of. A passive imager is a kind of camera that is capable of detecting these weak signals. We aim to bridge this gap by converging from two complementary directions: by pushing IBM SiGe technology to its boundaries, we develop high frequency electronic components to amplify and detect the signals; we also tackle the detection of waves that are beyond the capabilities of modern silicon technology by converting their power into temperature variations, which are then detected by thermal micro-sensors.

    Establishing a technological leadership in the field of passive (and perhaps active) Terahertz imaging will create new market opportunities for IBM's technology. The challenges involved and the level of innovation required for succeeding in our goals make this activity a natural candidate for promoting collaborations with the academic world. Eight conference proceedings and papers were published in the course of the FRR sponsorship, in addition to the filing of eleven patent applications.

    A new cutting-edge imaging laboratory was set up in the first months of 2013 in HRL with the purpose of testing and calibrating the new pixels and focal plane arrays under development. The very encouraging preliminary results achieved so far lead to making contact and initial negotiations with system oriented companies for further development and commercialization of our technologies.

    Bio: Dr. Danny Elad has many years of experience in the design of millimeter wave circuits and systems and he manages the A&MS group in HRL.

    Dr. Evgeny Shumaker is a researcher in the A&MS group and he holds a lecturer position at the Technion EE department. He is a recipient of numerous prestigious scholarships and awards; he has been published over 30 times and has co-authored one book chapter.

    Dan Corcos is a researcher in the A&MS group. He received his BSc and MSc degrees in Electrical Engineering from Politecnico of Milano, Italy, and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology respectively.

    Tue, 3/9/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Bio-Molecular Computing Devices,
    Prof. Ehud Keinan, Technion

    Abstract: Bio-Molecular computing is defined as a programmable cascade of chemical events. We have developed various DNA-based finite automata that compute autonomously with all of their hardware, software, input and output being soluble biomolecules mixed in solution. Various aspects and applications of this concept will be discussed. For example, we have demonstrated image encryption by DNA molecules immobilized on chips, which offer significant advantages, including vast parallelism, immense information density, high chemical stability and energy efficiency. A more recent development involves the design and construction of a molecular transducer, which can perform consecutive computations, encode the computation outcome in the form of genetic information and produce a biological phenotypic output. A stronger computing machine, which can recognize context sensitive grammar, is currently underway. This type of computing machine can process information, encode computation output and use the process-produced data in the next stages of computation.

    Bio: Prof. Ehud Keinan: Benno Gitter & Ilana Ben-Ami Professor of Chemistry and Former Dean, the Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. Born and educated in Israel; received his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science with Prof. Y. Mazur (1977); did his postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin with Prof. B. M. Trost (1977-1980).

    His research interests include biocatalysis with antibodies and with synthetic enzymes, organic synthesis, molecularcomputing devices, synthetic receptors, molecular containers, molecular machines, peroxide-based explosives, drug discovery related to cancer, arrhythmia and asthma. He has published over 150 scientific papers, 25 patents, 3 books. His list of awards includes the Nash Career Development Chair, the New England Award for Academic Excellence, the Shannon Award, the CapCure Award, the Herschel-Rich Award, the Technion Prize for security technologies, the Henri Taub Prize for scientific excellence, and the Schulich Prize for the Promotion of Extraordinary Academic Activities. Since 2010 he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    Keinan is the President of the Israel Chemical Society (second term), Editor-in-Chief of the Israel Journal of Chemistry (published by Wiley-VCH), and President of the International Forum of Bio-Inspired Engineering (IFBIE, Boston, USA). He was the founder of two startup companies based on his technologies. He was the founder and first Head of the Institute of Catalysis Science and Technology (ICST) in the Technion. Keinan is a member of the Executive Board of EuCheMS and Chairman of the Advisory Council of High School Chemistry Education, Ministry of Education.

    Mon, 19/8/2013
    15:00 PM - 16:00 PM

    Privacy, Ethics, and Accountability,
    Prof. Lenore D Zuck, UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago)

    Abstract: ABET accreditation for Computer Science degrees requires a course in computer ethics, to the horror of numerous students who view the field as a technology-only discipline. In the past few years I've taught several ethics classes, each covering different topics---from Heidegger on standing reserves to RIAA on music sharing.

    Although my professional publications are in formal methods, my interest in computer ethics was piqued while working at NSF where I became involved with the problems surrounding the social aspects of computing for data sharing and transfer. I had to decide about companies sharing malware data with scientists and the risks to privacy in medical informatics projects. This led to much musing on what are the ethical principles that should guide computer scientists, how can data be collected and shared ethically, and what mechanism should we, as computer scientists, be developing to enable and facilitate the ethical management of data in a cyberspace of growing insecurity.

    In this talk I'll give some of the "philosophical" reasons arguing for incorporating ethical thinking when developing technology in general (e.g., drones), and in computer science in particular, critique the existing codes of ethics (e.g., ACM, IEEE, ICCP) and suggest some challenges that should be overcome to reach the idealistic goal of ethical data sharing.

    Disclaimer: I have background in neither philosophy nor ethics. Just like many of my students (albeit with fewer complaints!), I had to wrestle with the dilemmas in practice and in the abstract, drawing upon the wisdom of philosophers, colleagues, experts, and more along the way.

    Bio: Lenore Zuck teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She returned there after having spent several years as a program director at the National Science Foundation, where she was a member of the Trustworthy Computing program, the Software and Hardware Foundation program, and the Cyber Physical Systems program. Her background is in formal methods. Her recent work includes methodologies for automatic verification of infinite-state systems, translation validation of optimizing compilers, optimizations, and applications of formal methods to security languages, access control, and policies. Lenore has moved to UIC from NYU. Before that, she was on the Computer Science faculty at Yale University. Lenore holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

    Thu, 8/8/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    A tour in the Alan Turing exhibition,
    Dr. Eran London

    Abstract: אלן טיורינג - תמונות בתערוכה
    כחלק מארועי שנת ה-100 להולדתו של אלן טיורינג, אבי מדעי המחשב ושובר האניגמה נפתחה בסוף חודש פברואר במוזיאון המדע ע"ש בלומפילד בירושלים, התערוכה "קאפצ'ה". הקושי המרכזי שעמד בפני צוות הפיתוח של התערוכה היה כיצד להדגים לקהל (מגיל צעיר) במה עוסקים מדעי המחשב ומדעני המחשב, או במלים אחרות – "מדעי המחשב זה לא פיתוח אפליקציות". בהקשר זה מתעוררות שאלות לגבי יכולתו של המחשב לפתור בעיות, לגבי יכולתו להתחזות לאדם ("מבחן טיורינג"), ובכלל, מתעוררת השאלה מהו מחשב. בהרצאה נשאל איך מעבירים רעיונות מרכזיים במדעי המחשב לילדים בני 8-80? ננסה לענות ולהדגים באמצעות סיור וירטואלי בתערוכה.

    Dr. Eran London, קבל את הדוקטורט מהאוניברסיטה העברית, ירושלים. הוא חבר סגל בחוג למדעי המחשב במכללה האקדמית הדסה, ירושלים. בשנתיים האחרונות היה חבר בצוות הפיתוח של תערוכת "קאפצ'ה" במוזיאון המדע ע"ש בלומפילד, ירושלים.

    Tue, 25/6/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    A Day Made of Glass – A vision for an enabled future: challenges and opportunities, Zachi Baharav, Ph.D., Researcher, Corning West Technology Center, Corning Incorporated

    Abstract: Corning's 'A Day Made of Glass' video has been viewed more than 20 million times on The vision depicted in the videos resonated with many viewers as it describes a not-too-far-away future that is very optimistic in nature and promises to make our lives easier.

    In this talk we will describe how the vision proposed in the video keeps on evolving, and the various technological efforts Corning and others are leading to make it a reality. We will cover various aspects of this issue ranging from the front end user interface, enabling technologies and the whole ecosystem needed to make it a reality.

    Zachi Baharav graduated from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in 1998 with a doctorate in electrical engineering. He spent the next nine years working at HP/Agilent on a variety of projects including digital cameras and microwave imaging. He then moved to Synaptics where he led the exploratory research group and was introduced to the world of touch sensing. After a short stint teaching high school math, Zachi joined Corning's West Technology Center located in Palo Alto, California where his role includes management, research, and business development. Zachi is the author of more than 30 U.S. patents, is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and serves as a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society.

    Tue, 18/6/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Continuing to go against the grain,
    Prof. Yale Patt, UTexas

    Abstract: Computer architecture continues to thrive, and as Moore's Law predicts 50 billion transistors on a chip and I don't even want to guess how many cores one can make out of that many transistors, ungrounded imaginations run wild. I think it is worth re-examining some of the bold statements that have become truisms due to continued repetition: Dark Silicon represents the end of the Moore's Law bonus, ILP is dead, and the IBM Cell Processor was a bad idea. I had considered the title for my talk "Managing Big Data in the Cloud," except I do not know anything about Big Data or the Cloud.

    Yale Patt is a teacher at The University of Texas at Austin. He got the required degrees from reputable universities and more than enough awards for his research and teaching. More data is available at

    Mon, 17/6/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Industrial Strength Software Measurement,
    David M. Weiss, Lanh and Oanh Nguyen Professor of Software Engineering Iowa State University

    Abstract: In an industrial environment where software development is a necessary part of product development, measuring the state of software development and the attributes of the software becomes a crucial issue. For a company to survive and to make progress against its competition, it must have answers to questions such as "What is my customers' perception of the quality of the software in my products?", "How long will it take me to complete a new product or a new release of an existing one?" "What are the major bottlenecks in software production?" "How effective is a new technique or tool when introduced into the software development process?" The fate of the company, and of individuals within the company, may depend on accurate answers to these questions, so one must not only know how to obtain and analyze data to answer them, but also estimate how good one's answers are.

    In a large scale industrial software development environment, software measurement must be meaningful, automatable, nonintrusive, and feasible. Sources of data are diffuse, nonuniform, and nonstandard. The data itself are difficult to collect and interpret, and hard to compare across projects and organizations. Nonetheless, other industries perform such measurements as a matter of course, and software development organizations should as well. In this talk I will discuss the challenges of deciding what questions to ask, how to answer them, and what the impact of answering them is. I will illustrate with examples drawn from real projects, focusing on change data and how to use it to answer some of the questions posed in the preceding.

    David M. Weiss is the Lanh and Oahn Nguyen professor of software engineering at Iowa State University. Previously, he was the Director of the Software Technology Research Department at Avaya Laboratories, where he worked on improving the effectiveness of software development, particularly the effectiveness of Avaya's software development processes. To focus on the latter, he formed and led the Avaya Resource Center for Software Technology. Before joining Avaya Labs, he was the head of the Software Production Research Department at Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories, and Director of the Reuse and Measurement Department of the Software Productivity Consortium (SPC). Before SPC Dr. Weiss spent a year at the Office of Technology Assessment, where he was co-author of a technology assessment of the Strategic Defense Initiative. During the 1985-1986 academic year he was a visiting scholar at The Wang Institute, and for many years was a researcher at the Computer Science and Systems Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), in Washington, D.C. He has also worked as a programmer and as a mathematician. Dr. Weiss is a senior member of the IEEE.
    Dr. Weiss's principal research interests are in the area of software engineering, particularly in software development processes and methodologies, software design, and software measurement. His best known work is the goal-questionmetric approach to software measurement, his work on the modular structure of software systems, and his work in software product-line engineering as a coinventor of the Synthesis process, and its successor the FAST process. He is coauthor and co-editor of two books: Software Product Line Engineering and Software Fundamentals: Collected Papers of David L. Parnas. Papers on which he has been co-author have three times won retrospective awards, twice from the IEEE and once from the ACM.
    Dr. Weiss received the B.S. degree in Mathematics in 1964 from Union College, and the M.S. in Computer Science in 1974 and the Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1981 from the University of Maryland.

    Tue, 11/6/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Privacy by Design - Legal Aspects,
    Prof. Michael Birnhack, TAU Law

    Abstract: Privacy by Design (PbD) has become a buzzword among policy-makers in the privacy circles, in recent years. The EU considers including PbD in a new legislation, as an obligation imposed on engineers. Thus, lawyers need to communicate their understanding of privacy to engineers and business people – admittedly a complex task – as privacy in itself is a rather vague, unsettled, sometimes elusive concept, and there is no legal consensus as to what it means. Another difficulty is the discourse gaps between lawyers and engineers: different attitudes, technological and social approaches, and different interests. Big Data presents a clear illustration of the different approaches, to the extent of direct conflict.

    In this talk I will present the notion of PbD, an overview of privacy law in the EU and U.S., locate the privacy-technology discourse within a broader framework, and point to some possible avenues for the future.

    Bio: Michael Birnhack is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Tel-Aviv University. He studies, writes and lectures about privacy and new technologies (and some other information issues, such as copyright law). He served as the chair of the legal committee of the Public Council for the Protection of Privacy; a sub-contractor for the EU Commission in its assessment of the Israeli data protection regime; a member of the Schofman Committee at the Ministry of Justice. His book in Hebrew, Private Space, won the 2010 prize of the Association of Political Scientists. He is currently engaged in research about PbD, and another research on data leakage from social networks.

    Tue, 4/6/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    On Elephants, Earthquakes and Brain Research,
    Prof. Nathan Intrator, Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University

    Abstract: Advanced signal processing methods have been developed for applications ranging from brain analysis, earthquake detection and underwater exploration. All were inspired by infrasound and ultrasound animals. The talk with describe some of this exciting research with emphasis on brain exploration in humans and neural computation of sonar animals.

    Prof. Intrator received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University under the supervision of Leon N Cooper (1973 Nobel Laureate). He is a Professor of Computer Science with joint appointment at the school of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University and an adjunct Prof. at Brown University. Prof. Intrator is an international scholar in neural computation, machine learning and pattern recognition and has authored/co-authored over 120 refereed scientific publications. His research interests include model estimation, validation, selection, interpretation and discrimination for high dimensional data problems. He has been applying his research to problems in acoustics such as speech, sonar, biomedical signals such as cardiac sounds and EEG. He currently develops machine learning and signal processing methods for advanced brain imaging and Brain/Computer Interface, particularly for EEG and fMRI. He also studies hemodynamic response and cardiac acoustics with applications to real-time monitoring of cardiac mechanical functionality. Prof. Intrator's research has been supported by ARO, ONR, DARPA, BSF, ISF, GIF and other smaller granting agencies. His applied research led to several patents and the founding of three companies in the area of biomedical signal analysis and sonar imagery.

    Tue, 21/5/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Enviromatics - Mathematical Programming Methods for Multi-dimensional Environmental Data,
    Barak Fishbain, Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering Division, Faculty of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology Haifa, Israel

    Abstract: As digital environments become increasingly complex, and the tools for managing information become increasingly advanced, it is essential to assist users in selecting their short term and long term attentional focus. To this end, many problems studied in the field of machine learning, try to emulate cognitive capabilities of a human. However, this anthropocentric and somewhat limited paradigm may no longer be the only source for inspiration. The variety and availability of sensors have made the accessible data much greater in quantity than the data that can be gathered and interpreted by a human being. In this talk novel mathematical programming approaches for multi-dimensional data analysis are presented. These methods are highly robust and most efficient which allows for the analysis of significantly large data sets. The described method has been utilized in many fields: environmental monitoring, illicit nuclear material detection, fatal accident analysis as well as image segmentation and video tracking. In this talk I will present the theoretical foundations of the method and will focus on two and a half applications: Analysis of air quality control, radiation source identification, and fatal traffic accidents analysis.

    Barak Fishbain is an Assistant Professor at the Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering Division, Faculty of Civil & Environmental Engineering in the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology Haifa, Israel. Prior to his arrival to the Technion Dr. Fishbain served as an associate director at the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC), Viterbi School of engineering, University of Southern California (USC) and did his post-doctoral studies at the department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) in University of California at Berkeley.

    Prof. Fishbain's research focuses on Enviromatics, a new research field which aims at devising mathematical programming methods for machine understanding of trends and behaviors of built and natural environments. This includes Environmental Distributed Sensing (i.e., distributed air and water quality monitoring), Safety and Traffic Data Realization and Structural Sensory Networks.

    Mon, 20/5/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Creating Competitive Advantage with a Positioning Idea,
    Yochi Slonim, Managing Partner,

    Abstract: An inspiring presentation about the power of a positioning idea and how you can use it to differentiate yourself, your venture, research or product.

    Over the last decade, the key problem for companies as well as individuals has changed in a dramatic way. It's no longer what they know about their "customers" that drives success. It is what their customers know about them that makes all the difference. In a single Google search, a prospective customer, or for that matter, anyone considering your idea or product will find 10 other things that look almost the same as what you are presenting. What can you do to give yourself a competitive advantage?

    If they can't see why you are different in a way that matters to them, customers will not buy your product. If they can't understand your differentiation, investors will not invest in your venture. And if your difference doesn't pop out right away as a powerful idea, decision makers will not gamble on your initiative. Without a powerful positioning idea, you are facing an ongoing, uphill battle.

    This talk will make you completely rethink what the word "positioning" really means and how to come up with a positioning idea that will give you a unique competitive advantage.

    Yochi Slonim, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and managing partner of, the startup fast forward program ( Since 2007, over 20 startup companies at all stages have used the program in diverse areas such as enterprise software, SaaS, mobile marketing, internet, telecom and chip development.

    From 2000-2006, Mr. Slonim was founder and CEO of Identify Software, pioneering black box flight recorders for software applications. The company grew to $50m in sales and was acquired by BMC for $150m.

    Mr. Slonim has been recognized by Forbes as a great leader with unique ideas and a different thinking. From 1996-2000, he was Executive Vice President of products and marketing at Tecnomatix, a public NASDAQ company, which grew to sales of $100m and was later acquired by UGS for $220m. From 1989 – 1996, Mr. Slonim was a co-founder, CTO and VP R&D of Mercury Interactive, which became public in 1993, grew to over $1B in sales and was acquired by HP for $4.5B.

    He holds a B.Sc. and in mathematics and computer science from the Hebrew university in Jerusalem.

    Mon, 13/5/2013
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

    Singularity in action: From Singularity University to the disruptive nanomedical Vecoy Technology,
    Erez Livne

    Abstract: העולם נע מהר מאד. יש יגידו אפילו מהר מדי.
    אינטרנט וסלולר, גנטיקה ורובוטיקה, רשתות חברתיות ומהפכת המידע. במאה ה-21, מהפיכות הם היום יום שלנו ונראה שהעולם משתנה לנגד עינינו.
    מה עושים עם כל העושר המסחרר הזה ומהי סינגולריות?
    ארז ליבנה יספר על נסיונו כישראלי בתוכנית "אוניברסיטת הסינגולריות" במשך 3 חודשים בבסיס של נאס"א בקליפורניה בה מדענים ויזמים מרחבי העולם דנו באתגרים הגדולים שעומדים בפני המין האנושי בעשורים הקרובים ועל איך על איך ניתן לשנות את העולם לטובה. ועל החברה שייסד לטיפול באיידס ומחלות ויראליות נוספות על סמך נאנוטכנולוגיה יחודית פרי פיתוחו.

    Erez Livne, בוגר "אוניברסיטת הסינגולריות" ומייסד חברת "Vecoy Nanomedicines".

    Tue, 7/5/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    SAT solving 101: Theory and Practice,
    Gadi Aleksandrowicz, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: "Theory is where you know everything but nothing works.
    Practice is where everything works but nobody knows why.
    The lab is where theory and practice are combined: nothing works and nobody knows why".

    SAT is the most famous NP-complete problem, and as such we know it very well in theory but have no idea how to solve it. In practice, however, SAT is solved everyday, although nobody is really sure why. In this lecture I will present the basic theory of SAT solving - what is SAT, why it is so important, what basic solution methods are used and how everyone can benefit from having a SAT solver at hand. No previous knowledge is assumed.

    Gadi Aleksandrowicz is a member of HRL's SAT team. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Technion under the supervision of Prof. Gill Barequet. He has won many teaching awards including the Technion's Continuously Excellent TA Award, and is the author of the Hebrew Mathematical blog "Not precise" (

    Tue, 23/4/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Israel National Cyber project,
    Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, Tel Aviv Univeristy

    Abstract: בנובמבר 2010 ביקש ראש הממשלה, בנימין נתניהו, מראש המולמו"פ (מועצה לאומית למחקר ופיתוח), פרופ' יצחק בן ישראל, לרכז צוות מומחים לגיבוש אסטרטגיה לאומית לתחום הסייבר בישראל.
    במאי 2011 הגיש הצוות את המלצותיו שבעקבות אישורם בממשלה הוקם, בין השאר, מטה הסייבר הלאומי.
    בהרצאה יספר פרופ' בן ישראל על התהליך ותוצאותיו.

    יצחק בן ישראל נולד ב-1949 בישראל (תל-אביב).
    בוגר הגימנסיה העברית "הרצליה" (1967).
    למד באוניברסיטת ת"א מתמטיקה, פיסיקה ופילוסופיה (בעל תואר דוקטור לפילוסופיה, 1988).
    עם סיום הלימודים בתיכון התגייס לצה"ל (כעתודאי) ושרת ברציפות בצה"ל עד לפרישתו (יוני 2002).
    במהלך שירותו בחיל האוויר מילא יצחק בן ישראל תפקידים במערך המבצעים, המודיעין והפיתוח. בין היתר היה ראש ענף חקר-ביצועים בחיל האוויר, ראש מחלקת מחקר במודיעין חיל האוויר וראש המו"פ (מחקר ופיתוח) בצה"ל ובמשרד הביטחון (1990-1997). בינואר 1998 הועלה לדרגת אלוף כראש מפא"ת (מחקר ופיתוח אמצעי לוחמה ותשתית טכנולוגית) במשרד הביטחון. במהלך שירותו קיבל פעמיים את פרס ביטחון ישראל, והיה אחראי בין היתר על פיתוח כ"א טכנולוגי בצה"ל ("תלפיות") והיה מיוזמי תוכנית "עתידים".
    עם פרישתו מצה"ל הצטרף יצחק בן ישראל כפרופסור לסגל אוניברסיטת ת"א.
    בשנת 2003 ייסד את חברת Ray-Top (Technology Opportunities) המספקת יעוץ טכנולוגי ואסטרטגי לתעשייה בארץ ובחו"ל.
    באוניברסיטת ת"א עמד יצחק בן ישראל בראש מכון קוריאל ללימודים בינלאומיים (2002-2004), בראש התוכנית ללימודי ביטחון בביה"ס לממשל (2004-2007) והיה עמית מחקר במכון יפה ללימודים אסטרטגיים (2002-2004). בשנת 2002 ייסד ועמד בראש סדנת ת"א למדע טכנולוגיה וביטחון ע"ש יובל נאמן.
    ביוני 2007 נבחר פרופסור בן ישראל כחבר כנסת ברשימת "קדימה" וכיהן בכנסת ה-17 עד פבר' 2009. במסגרת זו היה חבר בוועדת החוץ והביטחון (כולל וועדת המשנה לשירותים חשאיים), וועדת הכספים, וועדת המדע והטכנולוגיה ועמד בראש וועדת המשנה של ועחו"ב למוכנות העורף.
    יצחק בן ישראל היה חבר בדירקטוריון התעשייה האווירית (2000-2002), דירקטוריון החברה לישראל (2004-2007), וועדת המו"פ של דירקטוריון "טבע" (2003-2007), חבר המועצה המייעצת של מוסד נאמן למחקר מתקדם במדע וטכנולוגיה בטכניון (2000-2010) ויו"ר מועצת המנהלים של חממת הטכניון (2007).
    בשנת 2011 התמנה ע"י ראש הממשלה להוביל צוות לקביעת מדיניות הסייבר הלאומית של מדינת ישראל. במסגרת זו הקים את מטה הסייבר הלאומי במשרד ראש הממשלה.
    יצחק בן ישראל כתב מספר רב של מאמרים בנושאי צבא וביטחון. ספרו דיאלוגים על מדע ומודיעין (הוצאת "מערכות", 1989) זכה בפרס יצחק-שדה לספרות צבאית. ספרו הפילוסופיה של המודיעין יצא בספריית האוניברסיטה המשודרת (1999) ותורגם לצרפתית (2004). ספר בעריכתו המסכם את שנת הפעילות הראשונה בסדנת ת"א למדע, טכנולוגיה וביטחון, יצא בהוצאת משרד-הביטחון (מהאדם בקרב ועד לחלל החיצון, 2007). ספרו תפיסת הביטחון של ישראל (2013) יצא בספריית האוניברסיטה המשודרת, הוצאת מודן.
    יצחק בן ישראל נשוי לענבל (לבית מרכוס) ואב לשלושה בנים: יובל (1981), רועי (1984) ואלון (1988).

    תפקידים נוכחיים:
    - יו"ר סוכנות החלל הישראלית - סל"ה (משנת 2005).
    - יו"ר המועצה הלאומית למחקר ופיתוח – מולמו"פ (משנת 2010).
    - חבר במועצה המייעצת לסוכנות החלל הישראלית (משנת 2002).
    - פרופסור מן המניין באוניברסיטת ת"א, בתוכנית ללימודי ביטחון ובמכון כהן להיסטוריה ופילוסופיה של המדעים והרעיונות (משנת 2002).
    - תפקידים באוניברסיטת ת"א: סגן ראש בית הספר לממשל (מ-2005); ראש סדנת יובל נאמן למדע טכנולוגיה וביטחון (מ-2002); ראש התוכנית ללימודי ביטחון (2004-2007, ומשנת 2009); יו"ר ההנהלה המצומצמת של המרכז הבינתחומי לניתוח ותחזית טכנולוגית באוניברסיטת ת"א (משנת 2011) וחבר הוועדה המדעית של המרכז הבינתחומי לניתוח ותחזית טכנולוגית (משנת 2003).
    - ראש הפורום האסטרטגי של המועצה הציונית (משנת 2009).
    - חבר בדירקטוריון מכון פישר למחקר אסטרטגי אוויר וחלל (משנת 2000).
    - חבר המועצה האקדמית של אפקה - המכללה האקדמית להנדסה בתל-אביב (משנת 2003).
    - חבר בחבר הנאמנים של המרכז האוניברסיטאי אריאל (משנת 2010).
    - מנכ"ל Ray-Top (מספקת ייעוץ לתעשיות הביטחוניות בארץ ובעולם).

    תפקידים וחברויות בארגונים בחו"ל:
    - חבר באקדמיה הבינלאומית למדעי החלל – International Academy of Astronautics (משנת 2012).
    - חבר במועצה הלאומית למחקר, חדשנות ויזמות של סינגפור – Singapore Research, Innovation and.
    - Enterprise Council (מיוני 2012).
    - חבר בדירקטוריון (A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology & Research בסינגפור.

    - 1972 פרס ביטחון ישראל - על פיתוח מערכת הפצצה בפאנטום.
    - 1976 פרס חיל-האוויר - על פיתוח מערכת שליטה ובקרה ממוחשבת.
    - 1984 פרס ראש אמ"ן לחשיבה יוצרת.
    - 1990 פרס יצחק שדה לספרות צבאית - על הספר דיאלוגים על מדע ומודיעין.
    ‏- 2001 פרס ביטחון ישראל (פעם שנייה) - על פרויקט המהווה ביטוי לתפיסה חדשנית של שדה הקרב העתידי.
    - 2002 Singapore Defence Technology Distinguished Award על תרומתו ליחסים הביטחוניים בין שתי המדינות.
    - 2008 איש המופת של אירגון "ליונס" ישראל – על תרומתו לביטחון מדינת ישראל.

    Wed, 17/4/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    SpaceIL - the Israeli spacecraft to the moon,
    Yariv Bash

    Abstract: SpaceIL's goal is to make Israel the 3rd country to successfully land on the moon (after the USA's Apollo and an unmanned Soviet mission).
    SpaceIL is aimed at inspiring the young generation in Israel and abroad by creating interest in space and science.
    SpaceIL is registered as an Israeli non-profit, and is committed to donating all prize money to promote education and science.

    Yariv Bash is the CEO and Co-Founder of SpaceIL - the Israeli team competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize - a privately funded, unmanned race to the moon, competing for $30 million prize established by Google.
    Yariv is an Electronics and computer engineer. In his spare time, Yariv organizes and participates in technological creativity events in Israel and around the world.

    Tue, 9/4/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    On the perception of risk and return,
    Yoav Ganzach, Tel Aviv University

    Abstract: I examine the relationship between judgments of risk and judgments of expected return of financial assets. I suggest that for unfamiliar objects, both risk and return judgments are derived from global preference, whereas for familiar assets, these judgments are derived from the ecological (i.e., objective) values of the objects' risk and expected return. In addition, I examine the role of causal schemas and the role of risk attitudes in mediating the relationships between judgments of risk and return of familiar and unfamiliar objects. The data are derived from experiments in which highly trained financial analysts provide evaluations of stocks and other financial assets. Conceptual and practical questions concerning the nature, the meaning, and the assessment of risk and expected return are discussed.

    Yoav Ganzach is the Lilly and Alejandro Saltiel Professor of Corporate Leadership and Social Responsibility at Tel Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. at Columbia University and taught at the Hebrew University and the City University of NY. His research lies in the areas of behavioral decision making, organizational behavior and personality and individual differences, and he authored numerous publications in these areas.

    Tue, 2/4/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Big Data Driven Methods for Cyber Security,
    Amir Averbuch, School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University

    Abstract: Sophisticated malware such as viruses, worms, backdoor, Trojans, spyware, appear in a stealthy way in the data inside the organization. The basic approach to protect and secure critical infrastructure and networking data against cyber attacks of the last 45 years called "walls and gates" (barriers between trusted and untrusted components, with policy-mediated pass-through) have failed. There is no reason to think that they will be more successful in the future. Rule based methodologies that govern firewalls and IDS/IPS are irrelevant today to detect sophisticated malwares that pretend to be regular streaming and penetrate every commercial barrier on the market that are based on signatures of intrusions that detect yesterday attacks but fail to detect zero day attacks.

    We will show that cyber security is a problem that can be treated via Big Data Analytics. We will show that the data dictates the generation of algorithms to detect malicious malware. We will show that in data avalanche there are opportunities for malware detection. We will show that unification of several mathematical methodologies can produce algorithms for malware detection in big data.

    We describe a methodology that automatically identifies anomalies. The core technology is based upon manifold learning that identifies the geometry of big data. The main technology core is based upon training the system to extract heterogeneous features to detect patterns that deviate from normality by behavioral analysis of heterogeneous complex dynamic networking data. The system uses efficient computation that is based on multiscale computation, dictionary learning and kernel approximation, patch processing, adaptive subsampling and clustering and profile updating. Promising preliminary results increase the potential of the proposed system to fill the gap that current state-of-the-art IDS/IPS and firewalls are unable to fill.

    Joint work with A. Bermanis, G. David, M. Shalov, E. Shabat, G. Shabat, G. Wolf.

    Amir Averbuch is a professor of computer science, School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University. Research interests: Applied and computational harmonic analysis, big data processing and analysis, wavelets, signal/image processing and scientific computing.

    Wed, 20/3/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Patent Challenges in the Biopharmaceutical Industry,
    Dr. Nadav Ben Haim

    Abstract: We will discuss the complex and evolving interface between biopharmaceutical industry and the global patent system. The biopharmaceutical industry is a relatively new industry that has revolutionized the world of medicine in the last 30 years. However the development of this industry created new challenges and questions that need to be addressed in part by legislation and court decisions. We will review these challenges and their influence at the industry level as well as at the company and project levels.

    Nadav is a patent attorney in the field of biologics. Nadav currently works with Symango ltd., a company which he founded to provide IP consulting and management services to biomedical companies and entrepreneurs. Previously Nadav worked as a patent analyst at TEVA Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, where he was responsible for IP management of innovative and biosimilar global drug development projects. Nadav conducted his postdoctoral research at the Nanomedicine research group at the University Hospital in Basel and obtained a PhD in molecular biology from the Swiss Cancer Research Institute at Lausanne.

    Tue, 12/3/2013
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

    Global Warming: Why? How Much? and Who Cares?,
    Dr. Eitan Israeli, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: ההתחממות הגלובלית היא אחד האתגרים הגדולים ביותר של האנושות במאה ה- 21.
    בהרצאה אעמוד על שאלות כגון מה הגורמים לה, מה היא צופנת לילדים ולנכדים שלנו, ואיפה עדיין יש אי וודאות ו/או ניתן להשפיע. אדבר גם על מדוע איננו רואים את מלוא הסכנה, ומהו תפקידם של המדענים במענה לאתגר.
    יש לציין כי ההרצאה לא תייצג את עמדת הארגון ואיננה קשורה לעבודתו של איתן ביבמ.

    איתן ישראלי: ד"ר לחקר ביצועים, בעברו ראש מחלקת ניתוח מערכות באג"ת בדרגת אל"ם וכיום מנהל קבוצת אופטימיזציה במעבדות המחקר של יבמ חיפה

    Tue, 5/3/2013
    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

    Recent Progress in Maximization of Submodular Functions,
    Prof. Seffi Naor, Computer Science Department, Technion

    Abstract: The study of combinatorial problems with submodular objective functions has attracted much attention recently, and is motivated by the principle of economy of scale, prevalent in real world applications. In particular, submodular functions are commonly used as utility functions in Economics and algorithmic game theory. From a theoretical perspective, submodular functions and submodular maximization play a major role in combinatorial optimization, where several well known examples of submodular functions in this setting include cuts in graphs and hypergraphs, rank functions of matroids and covering functions. Several new results along this line of research will be discussed, in particular a new result on maximizing an unconstrained non-monotone submodular function.

    Seffi Naor received his B.Sc in computer science (cum laude) from the Technion, and his M.Sc.(cum laude) and Ph.D, both in computer science, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently a professor of computer science at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, where he has been on the faculty since 1991. Prior to that he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Southern California and at Stanford University. During 1998-2000 Seffi Naor was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, and during 2005-2007 he was a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research. Seffi Naor is a frequent visiting scientist at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and Microsoft Research. His research interests are mainly in the design and analysis of efficient algorithms, in particular approximation algorithms for NP-Hard algorithms and on-line algorithms, algorithmic game theory, and complexity theory. Seffi Naor has published over 100 papers in top professional journals and conferences. He is currently on the editorial board of Algorithmica and the Journal of Discrete Algorithms.

    Tue, 26/02/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Seeing the Invisible; Predicting the unexpected,
    Prof. Michal Irani, The Weizmann Institute of Science

    Abstract: In this talk I will show how complex visual inference tasks can be performed with no prior examples, by exploiting redundancy within and across different parts of the visual data. Comparing and integrating local pieces of visual information gives rise to complex notions of visual similarity and to a general "Inference by Composition" approach. This allows to infer about the likelihood of new visual data that was never seen before, make inferences about complex static and dynamic visual information without any prior examples or prior training. I will demonstrate the power of this approach to several example problems (as time permits):

    1. Detecting complex objects and actions
    2. Prediction of missing visual information
    3. Inferring the "likelihood" of "never-before-seen" visual data
    4. Detecting the "irregular" and "unexpected"
    5. Super-resolution (from a single image)
    6. Segmentation of complex visual data
    7. Generating visual summaries (images and video)

    Tue, 19/02/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    3d Printing and Digital Materials,
    Dr. Ofer Shochet, Executive Vice President, Products, Stratasys

    Abstract: Today we witness the enormous impact of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies on "how we fabricate" and "what we fabricate", the latter of which has been fundamentally affected by the freedom of form variation enabled by many AM techniques. Now we are witness to the removal of another major constraint as we add the freedom of material variation. This becomes possible in multi-material AM systems, where each element can have different physical properties. In inkjet-based 3D printing systems liquid droplets of different materials are simultaneously deposited and solidified. The deposition sequence and resulting spatial distribution of the droplets are controlled by dedicated software. In effect, we turn digital voxels into physical blocks and we call the resulting structure Digital Material (DM). Naturally, a pair of materials with different physical properties can yield numerous DMs, each having a unique set of properties, inherited from its parent materials.

    Ofer Shochet has led the Stratasys/Objet Products division since 2009 and responsible for Systems R&D, material development and R&D product management. Prior to Objet, Ofer spent two years as the founder in parallel of several companies in multiple high-tech fields. One of those (Navajo Systems) was recently acquired by This followed six years at Verint Systems, where he served as Senior Vice-President and built the corporate technology group. Prior to that Ofer was founder and Executive VP of Vigil Technologies. Ofer was also VP and R&D manager at Silicon Graphics where he focused on 3D medical imaging, Computer Graphics and High-Performance Computing. Ofer holds a PhD and MSc (Magna cum Laude) in Physics from Tel Aviv University.

    Wed, 06/02/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Free services - the challenge of the legal protection of privacy in the information economy,
    Yoram HaCohen, Israel Law, Information and Technology Authority, Ministry of Justice

    Abstract: "If the service is free, YOU are the product!" – are we aware of the potential democratic and social implications of this economic model?

    In this lecture, Yoram Hacohen, Israel's retiring data protection commissioner (former head of the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority, ILITA) will brief the history of international and national legal regime of personal data protection, and will describe the current challenges of protecting privacy in the era of big data and information-based economy.

    We will start by describing the evolution of the international regime of privacy protection, and will try to understand what privacy is, what does it serve and is it still needed? We will look at the new models of free services such as Google and Facebook, and question potential or existing market failures in this model. If time permits, we may talk about the technological, legal and social mechanism to fence the challenge.

    Yoram Hacohen was appointed in 2006 to establish and lead Israel's new data protection authority, the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority (ILITA). ILITA is the israeli regulator for e-privacy and e-signature.
    As head of ILITA, Yoram represents ILITA in the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) and at the Media.
    Yoram represents Israel at international fora including the international conference of data protection commissioners, the ICCP committee of the OECD, IAPP and the European commission.
    In the past, Yoram was a data security and electronic publishing entrepreneur. He established Israel's first PKI certification authority for digital signatures, and its first electronically published legal database.
    Yoram is one of the founders of the Haifa center for law and technology, and teaches course in Israeli universities about "electronic evidence and computer crimes".
    Yoram is married and a proud father of 3 kids and admires music, cars, movies and science - real and fiction.

    Mon 28/01/2013
    03:00 PM - 04:00 PM

    The Euclidean k-Supplier Problem,
    Baruch M Schieber, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

    Abstract: In the k-supplier problem, we are given a set of clients C and set of facilities F located in a metric, along with a bound k<= |F|. The goal is to open a subset of k facilities so as to minimize the maximum distance of a client to an open facility. We consider the k-supplier problem in Euclidean metrics and present for it a 1+sqrt{3} ~ 2.73 approximation algorithm. This is an improvement over the 3-approximation algorithm of Hochbaum and Shmoys which also holds for general metrics (where it is known to be tight). By a result of Feder and Greene, it is NP-hard to approximate the Euclidean k-supplier problem to better than a factor of sqrt{7} ~ 2.65, even in 2-dimension. Our algorithm is very simple and is based on a relation to the edge cover problem. We also present a nearly linear time algorithm for Euclidean k-supplier in constant dimensions that achieves an approximation ratio ~2.965. The previously known nearly linear time approximation algorithm in this setting given by Feder and Greene yields a 3-approximation.

    This is joint work with Viswanath Nagarajan and Hadas Shachnai

    Mon 28/01/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Science education in Israeli schools - an amendable gap,
    Dr Joseph Shapira, electromagnetic and communication expert, formerly the head of the national committee for radio sciences

    Abstract: רק שישה אחוזים מתלמידי ישראל לומדים פיזיקה ברמה של חמש יחידות בגרות; וגם אלו שלומדים - משננים נוסחאות במקום להבין.

    מה שיבמ, וחברות הי-טק דומות צריכות הוא בוגרים בעלי כישורי איסוף מידע, סינונו ובחינתו, חשיבה חוקרת סדורה, ראית תמונה רחבה והקשרים, יצירתיות, תקשורת-עמיתים, כישורי הצגת רעיון ומידע.

    ההרצאה תסביר כיצד ניתן להגיע לכך על ידי תוכניות חקר בפיזיקה.

    Wed, 16/01/2013
    11:00 PM - 12:00 PM

    Quantitative Formal Verification,
    Dr. Udi Boker

    Abstract: Traditional formal verification is Boolean, handling Boolean properties of the verified systems and providing a Boolean answer for whether a system satisfies, or not, a given specification. In recent years, there is growing need and interest in verifying quantitative properties of systems, as well as reasoning about the quality level of the satisfaction.

    We investigate the extension of formal verification into a quantitative paradigm. To this end, we introduce extensions of temporal logics, which play a key role in Boolean specifications, and analyze the decidability and complexity of the induced verification problems.

    For addressing quantitative satisfaction, we introduce temporal logics in which the satisfaction value of a formula is a number between 0 and 1, describing the quality of the satisfaction. These logics generalize standard temporal logics by augmenting them with an arbitrary set of functions over the interval [0,1]. For example, a formula may specify the minimum between the satisfaction values of sub-formulas, their product, and their weighted average. For handling quantitative properties, we extend temporal logics with atomic assertions on accumulated values, allowing to specify requirements related to the accumulated sum or average of numeric properties along a computation.

    In the talk, I will present our current results, the relation to other formalisms, such as probabilistic, fuzzy, timed, and concurrent systems, and the road ahead of us.

    Based on a joint work with Shaull Almagor, Krishnendu Chatterjee, Thomas A. Henzinger, and Orna Kupferman.

    Udi Boker: is a postdoc fellow at IST Austria, working in the group of Thomas A. Henzinger. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Tel Aviv University, under the supervision of Nachum Dershowitz, and continued to a postdoc in the Hebrew University, working in the group of Orna Kupferman.

    In the industry, he was an R&D director in Mercury Interactive (later acquired by HP), initiating and leading the development of a new approach to load-testing over the Web.

    Udi's research concerns formal methods, automata theory, computational models, computability, and logic.

    Tue, 15/01/2013
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Tractable solutions to some challenging optimization problems,
    Prof Aharon Ben-Tal, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion

    Abstract: The need to solve real-life optimization problems poses frequently a severe challenge, as the underlying mathematical programs threaten to be intractable. The intractability can be attributed to any of the following properties: large dimensionality of the design dimension; lack of convexity; parameters affected by uncertainty. In problems of designing optimal mechanical structures (truss topology design, shape design, free material optimization), the mathematical programs typically have hundreds of thousands of variables, a fact which rules out the use of advanced modern solution methods, such as Interior Point. The same situation occurs in Medical Imaging (reconstruction of clinically acceptable images from Positron Emission Tomographs). Some Signal Processing and Estimation problems may result in nonconvex formulations. In the wide area of optimization under uncertainty, some classical approaches, such as chance (probabilistic) constraints, give rise to nonconvex NP-hard problems. Nonconvexity also occurs in some Robust Control problems.

    In all the above applications we explain how the difficulties were resolved. In some cases this was achieved by mathematical analysis, which converted the problems (or its dual) to a tractable convex program. In other cases novel approximation schemes for probability inequalities were used. In the case of huge-scale convex programs, novel algorithms were employed. In the Robust Control example, a reparameterization scheme is developed under which the problem is converted to a tractable deterministic convex program.

    Aharon Ben-Tal: is a Professor of Operations Research and Head of the MINERVA Optimization Center at the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and holder of the Dresner Chair. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University in 1973. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, University of Copenhagen, Delft University of Technology and MIT. Currently he is a Visiting Distinguished Scientist at CWI Amsterdam. His interests are in Continuous Optimization, particularly nonsmooth and large-scale problems, conic and robust optimization, as well as convex and nonsmooth analysis. Recently the focus of his research is on optimization problems affected by uncertainty. In the last 15 years, he has devoted much effort to engineering applications of optimization methodology and computational schemes. Some of the algorithms developed in the MINERVA Optimization Center are in use by Industry ( Medical Imaging, Aerospace). He has published more than 110 papers in professional journals and co-authored three books: Optimality in Nonlinear Programming: A Feasible Direction Approach (Wiley-Interscience, 1981) Lectures on Modern Convex Optimization: Analysis, Algorithms and Engineering Applications (SIAM-MPS series on optimization, 2001) and Robust Optimization (Princeton University press,2009). Prof. Ben-Tal was Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion (1989-1992). He served as a council member of the Mathematical Programming Society (1994-1997). He was Area Editor (Continuous Optimization) of Math. of Operations Research (1993-1999), member of the Editorial Board of SIAM J. Optimization, J. Convex Analysis, OR Letters, Mathematical Programming, Management Science and Math. Modeling and Numerical Analysis, European J. of Operations Research and Computational Management Science.

    In 2007 Professor Ben-Tal was awarded the EURO Gold Medal - the highest distinction of Operations Research within Europe.
    In 2009 he was named Fellow of INFORMS.

    Mon, 14/01/2013
    02:00 PM - 03:00 PM

    Taming Non-classical Logics,
    Anna Zamansky, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Computer Languages, Technical University of Vienna

    Abstract: In recent decades a vast variety of non-classical logics have been introduced, driven by various CS applications. Temporal logics, separation logics, fuzzy logics and paraconsistent logics are just a few prominent examples, used in verification of software and hardware, medical expert systems, data and knowledge bases, etc. A useful logic should ideally have two components: a simple and intuitive semantics, which can provide real insights into the logic, and a corresponding analytic proof system which is the key to effective proof search strategies for automated deduction methods. Obtaining these components for a given logic is a challenging process, which is usually tailored to the particular logic at hand. However, due to the increasing number of new application-driven logics, there is a need for a systematic approach to obtaining these components, which could be used for developing tools for automatic support for the design and investigation of logical systems.

    In this talk we show that this goal can be achieved at least for some useful families of non-classical logics. We provide a uniform and modular method for a systematic generation of effective semantics and analytic proof systems for a very large family of paraconsistent logics used for reasoning with inconsistent information, thus making a substantial step towards the development of efficient paraconsistent theorem provers. The method, implemented by the Prolog system PARAlyzer, has been extended to infinitely many other logics formulated in terms of axiomatic systems of a certain natural form.

    Wed, 09/01/2013
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    What does concept computing promise and can it disrupt the universe of event-driven applications?,
    Dr. Opher Etzion, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: The search for new paradigm came from a pragmatic problem in the event processing space – current technology is too complex! Concept computing is a new paradigm, neither having a stable name and an entry in Wikipedia, attempting to address an old program – how to construct and maintain computing applications by non programmers.

    The talk will include an introductory part and a main part. The introductory part is aimed both at understanding the motivation for this search and understanding the notion of concept computing. It contains by a short survey about the state of the practice of event processing and the major challenges as well as some historical perspective on attempts to have non programmer's models, and understand what has worked and what did not. The main part describes the EFAL (Events For All) project using some examples. It surveys the knowledge model that consists of descriptive and declarative parts, and relates back to the state-of-the-art in event processing and outline the planned roadmap and points of disruption.

    Ymir Vigfusson is an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University. He received a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Iceland (2005) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University (2009), where he researched ways to exploit group similarity and improve scalability in distributed systems. His dissertation was nominated for the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award by Cornell. Before his appointment at Reykjavik University, Ymir was a post-doctoral scientist at IBM Research - Haifa (2009-2011). Ymir's research projects include creating and optimizing systems and algorithms for distributed settings, and getting multicast and content distribution to work in a variety of environments. His work has been partially supported by a Fulbright Scholarship, a Yahoo! Research grant and a Grant-of-Excellence from the Icelandic Research Center. In his spare time, Ymir plays the piano, dances ballroom and flies small airplanes.

  • 2012 Lectures

    Mon, 31/12/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Exploring Human Evolution and Deciphering the Human Genome Using Complete Individual Genome Sequences,
    Ilan Gronau, postdoctoral research associate at the Siepel computational genomics lab, Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University

    Abstract: High throughput DNA sequencing has transformed the landscape of genomic data by providing an affordable means to sequence the genomes of numerous species and multiple individuals per species. There has been a particularly dramatic increase in the last five years in the availability of individual human genomes and the genomes of closely related primate species. These data provide a rich source of information about human evolution and the forces that helped shape the human genome. This talk will focus on two specific problems I explored during my postdoctoral research using these new data sets.

    The first problem I will be presenting is recovery of ancient human demography and the evolutionary relationships between different human population groups. We recently developed a new demography inference method, called G-PhoCS (Generalized Phylogenetic Coalescent Sampler), which makes use of a small number of complete individual human genomes. Applying this method to the complete genomes of six human individuals from major human population groups, we were able to recover very ancient trends in human demography dating back as far back as 130 thousand years ago. The second problem I will describe is that of inferring recent evolutionary pressures acting on regulatory elements in the human genome. Much of the DNA in the human genome is devoted to the regulation of gene expression, but regulatory DNA elements are typically short, dispersed and often not conserved across long evolutionary timescales. This has made it very difficult for researchers to study evolutionary pressures shaping regulatory DNA in the human genome. We recently developed a new inference scheme, called INSIGHT (Inference of Natural Selection from Interspersed Genomically coHerent elemenTs), that addresses these challenges by making use of individual human genomes and the genomes of closely related primates. This method was used to perform the first comprehensive study of natural selection acting on transcription factor binding sites, which are the most well characterized regulatory elements in the human genome. Our study sheds light on the selective forces that shaped these elements, and has possible implications to the study of human disease.

    This talk will highlight the methodological and algorithmic challenges in these problems, and will not require any prior biological knowledge.

    Ilan Gronau is a computational biologist developing computational methods that use signatures of evolution to reconstruct the history of species and populations, and shed light on the way genomic function evolves. Ilan has a Masters degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the Weizmann Institute, and a PhD in Computer Science from the Technion. He spent the last three years as a postdoc in Adam Siepel's computational genomics lab in Cornell. His work makes use of statistical models for population genetics and evolution of DNA sequences, sophisticated algorithmic techniques, and cutting-edge genomic data sets.

    Tue 04/12/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    How Alan Turing Cracked the Enigma Code,
    Prof. Ymir Vigfusson, Reykjavik University

    Abstract: Code breakers played an enormously crucial role in World War II. Alan Turing, the father of computer science, was at the center of allied code breaking operations and his breakthroughs made intelligence gathering not only possible but practical. This general audience talk, celebrating Alan Turing's Centenary, explains the notorious German Enigma code and how it was systematically cracked by the Allies.

    Ymir Vigfusson is an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science at Reykjavik University. He received a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Iceland (2005) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cornell University (2009), where he researched ways to exploit group similarity and improve scalability in distributed systems. His dissertation was nominated for the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award by Cornell. Before his appointment at Reykjavik University, Ymir was a post-doctoral scientist at IBM Research - Haifa (2009-2011). Ymir's research projects include creating and optimizing systems and algorithms for distributed settings, and getting multicast and content distribution to work in a variety of environments. His work has been partially supported by a Fulbright Scholarship, a Yahoo! Research grant and a Grant-of-Excellence from the Icelandic Research Center. In his spare time, Ymir plays the piano, dances ballroom and flies small airplanes.

    Mon 03/12/2012
    15:00 PM - 16:00 PM

    Can we exploit the basal ganglia machine learning tricks to cure human brain disorders?,
    Prof. Hagai Bergman, The Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School and the Edmond and Lily Safra Center (ELSC) for Brain Research

    Abstract: Continuous high-frequency Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an established and effective therapy for the management of the clinical symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease (Weaver et al., 2012;Bronstein et al., 2011;Weaver et al., 2009). However, since in present DBS systems stimulation parameters are only intermittently adjusted, DBS methods are poorly suited to cope with the fast neuronal and clinical dynamics of Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders.

    Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of midbrain dopaminergic neurons and the consequent depletion of dopamine in the striatum – the input stage of the basal ganglia. The dopamine depletion in the striatum is leading to a cascade of changes in the neural activity of the basal ganglia that are expressed as the clinical symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Our working hypothesis holds that the basal ganglia use actor/critic architecture enabling multi-objective optimization of the trade-off between gain and cost of behavior (Parush et al., 2011). The dopamine neurons (and other modulators of the basal ganglia) encode the mismatch between prediction and reality (critic), whereas the main axis of the basal ganglia networks (Goldberg and Bergman, 2011) provide the connection between the neural encoding of the current state of the subject and the motor apparatus (actor).

    We tested the effects of closed-loop stimulation in the MPTP primate model of Parkinson's disease (Rosin et al., 2011). Closed-loop stimulation has a significantly greater effect on akinesia and on cortical and basal ganglia discharge than standard open-loop DBS and matched control stimulation paradigms. Thus, the Parkinsonian basal ganglia can be observed and controlled. Closed-loop DBS paradigms have therefore a potential not only for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, but perhaps of other neurological/psychiatric disorders in which a clear pathological pattern of brain activity is recognized.

    Reference List:
    • Bronstein JM, et al. (2011) Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson disease: an expert consensus and review of key issues. Arch Neurol 68:165.
    • Goldberg JA, Bergman H (2011) Computational physiology of the neural networks of the primate globus pallidus: function and dysfunction. Neuroscience 198:171-192.
    • Parush N, Tishby N, Bergman H (2011) Dopaminergic Balance between Reward Maximization and Policy Complexity. Front Syst Neurosci 5:22.
    • Rosin B, Slovik M, Mitelman R, Rivlin-Etzion M, Haber SN, Israel Z, Vaadia E, Bergman H (2011) Closed-loop deep brain stimulation is superior in ameliorating parkinsonism. Neuron 72:370-384.
    • Weaver FM, et al. (2009) Bilateral deep brain stimulation vs best medical therapy for patients with advanced Parkinson disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 301:63-73.
    • Weaver FM, et al. (2012) Randomized trial of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson disease: Thirty-six-month outcomes. Neurology 79:55-65.

    Tue 13/11/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Lossy Compression for BigData: First Steps,
    Professor Tsachy Weissman, Information Systems Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

    Abstract: Two key challenges in fitting BigData problems into a lossy compression framework are (i) the selection of an appropriate distortion measure, and (ii) characterizing the performance of distributed systems. Inspired by real systems, like web search, which return a list of likely data entries indexed by likelihood, we study the "logarithmic loss" distortion function in a multiterminal setting, thus addressing both challenges. In particular, we characterize the rate-distortion region for two (generally open) multiterminal source coding problems when distortion is measured under logarithmic loss. In addition to the main results, I'll discuss some implication to machine learning and estimation.

    Based on joint work with Tom Courtade.

    Tue 30/10/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Gödel, Escher, Bach: Gavish Ben-Almavet, a Hebrew translation of Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Gololden Braid ,
    Tal Cohen & Yarden Nir-Buchbinder, Google

    Abstract: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid was originally published in 1979, and almost immediately won great critical acclaim, a Pulizer for nonfiction writing, and cult status in some communities as diverse as musicians and computer programmers. The book deals with a myriad of topics and presents a fascinating challenge to readers; but its linguistic playfulness presents an even greater challenge to translators. It was considered to be "untranslatable" for a long time, yet by now it was translated to over a dozen languages. In this talk, we discuss the book in general: what is it really about, and how well did the book and the theory it presents withstand the test of time. We then discuss our own translation of the book to Hebrew, an undertaking that lasted for nearly 16 years, was recently published by Dvir (a Kinneret-Zmora-Bitan label), and have reached a best-seller status in Israel.

    Tue 09/10/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Predicting Future Events from Large-scale Digital Histories,
    Kira Radinsky, Technion

    Abstract: It has been a long time quest of artificial intelligence to develop systems that can emulate human reasoning. Fundamental capabilities of such intelligent behavior are the abilities to understand causality and to predict. Those are essential for many artificial intelligence tasks that rely on human common-sense reasoning, such as decision making, planning, question-answering, inferring user intentions and responses.

    Much of the causal knowledge that helps humans understand the world is recorded in texts that express people's beliefs and intuitions. The World Wide Web encapsulates much of our human knowledge through news archives and encyclopedias. This knowledge can serve as the basis for performing true human-like prediction - with the ability to learn, understand language, and possess intuitions and general world knowledge.

    In this talk I will present a learning system, which given an event, represented in natural language, predicts a possible future event it can cause. During its training, we constructed a semantically-structured causality graph of 300 million fact nodes connected by more than one billion edges, based on 150 year old news archive crawled from the web. We devised a machine learning algorithm that infers causality based on this graph. Using common-sense ontologies , it generalizes the events it observes, and thus able to reason about completely new events. We empirically evaluate our system on the 2010 news, and compare our predictions to human predictions. The results indicate that our system predicts similarly to the way humans do.

    Kira Radinsky is the founder and CTO of the data-mining startup SalesPredict. Prior to that, she has been a researcher in Microsoft Research, Israel. She is finishing her PhD at the Technion, focusing on mining the web to predict future events. She has won several prestigious prizes (including Google Anita Borg prize, Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenge Award and Facebook data-mining award), filed over 10 patents, and served as a reviewer and PC member for many major AI and IR conferences, including WWW, KDD, ICAPS, SIGIR and AAAI. She has more than 10 years of a varied industry experience: developing large-scale computer security infrastructures, open source developing, co-founding and serving as the CTO of a CMS startup, developing semantic recommendation systems in Webshakes, and conducting research in Microsoft Research.

    Thu 13/09/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Using Spatial Health Intelligence in Health Planning; The Case Study of Logan Beaudesert, Australia,
    Dr. Ori Gudes, Queensland, Australia

    Abstract: Geographical information systems offer an innovative approach to improving the decision making processes of health planners and policy makers. A health decision support system based on Esri ArcGIS server named EpidorosTM (formerly known as the Health Decision Support System [HDSS]) has been developed in Logan-Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia, an area with relatively high incidence of chronic disease. Health planners use EpidorosTM tools such as spatio-temporal analysis, hot spots analysis, catchment analysis and proximity analysis as evidence to support their health planning processes. When used in conjunction with diverse health-related data sets, these tools highlight the nature of relationships between socio-environmental factors and health outcomes so that decision-makers can proactively mitigate risks and devise holistic and sustainable solutions whilst optimising their resources. EpidorosTM has resulted in a significant increase in spatial intelligence as applied to health care planning and resource allocation in the prevention of chronic disease.

    Dr. Ori Gudes is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) expert and an urban planner with research focused on health and GIS, from Queensland - Australia. He has completed his PhD (2012) at Queensland University of Technology in the Urban Development School. The main project that he has been working on is the Health Decision Support System (HDSS). The primary challenge this project addressed was to create a simple, engaging, and usable interface that helped group of health planners in the Logan area, to make informed decisions based on evidence. The interface links users to an extensive GIS database which draws on a range of sources, including Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data, local data about land usage and resources or facilities and health data. Recently, the project has won the Queensland Spatial Excellence Award under the research and innovation category.

    For more information about the project, see:

    Tue 04/09/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Environmental Monitoring using Existing Measurements from Wireless Communication Networks,
    Prof. Hagit Messer-Yaron, president of the Open University

    Abstract: Accurate measurements of precipitation is a topic of great importance - both for basic research, to better understand the global climate and its dynamics (climate change); and for applications as weather forecast, flood warning etc. While traditionally precipitation monitoring is done by costly special purpose equipment as gauges, radar and satellites, lately [1] it has been suggested to use existing measurements from wireless communication networks for environmental monitoring.

    In this talk I present recent results in detection, estimation and classification of precipitation as rain, snow, sleet and fog, using this approach. These results are based on the availability of spatially and temporally diverse measurements and employ multidimensional signal processing techniques adopted from sensor networks, detection and parameter estimation, classification, robust estimation, distributed detection and more. I will also point out on existing challenges and opportunities in this research area, mainly in the fields of source separation and vector sensors, as well as in sampling theory and application.

    [1] Messer, H; Zinevich, A; Alpert, P Environmental monitoring by wireless communication networks, SCIENCE, 312 (5774): 713-713 MAY 5 2006.

    Tue 14/08/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    From NAND to Tetris in 12 Steps,
    Prof. Shimon Schocken, School of Computer Science, IDC Herzliya

    Abstract: I'll present a course that synthesizes many abstractions, algorithms, and data structures learned in CS courses, and makes them concrete by building a complete computer system from the ground up. As the semester progresses, we guide the students through a modular series of projects that gradually construct and unit-test a simple hardware platform and a modern software hierarchy, yielding a surprisingly powerful computer system. The hardware projects are done in a simple hardware description language and a hardware simulator supplied by us. The software projects (assembler, VM, and a compiler for a simple object-based language) can be done in any language, using the APIs and test programs supplied by us. We also build a mini-OS. The result is a GameBoy-like computer, simulated on the student's PC. We start the course (and this talk) by demonstrating some video games running on this computer, e.g., Tetris and Pong.

    Building a working computer from NAND gates alone is a thrilling intellectual exercise. It demonstrates the supreme power of recursive ascent, and teaches the students that building computer systems is -- more than anything else -- a triumph of human ingenuity. We are able to squeeze all this into a single course since we deal with neither efficiency nor advanced features, leaving these subjects to other courses in the program. The resulting approach is completely self-contained, requiring only programming as a pre-requisite. All the course materials -- software, lectures, and projects are available freely on the web in open source. The course and the approach are described in this book, available in full text on the web. Joint work with Noam Nisan.

    Wed 27/06/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Algorithmic Mechanism Design,
    Dr. Amir Ronen, IBM Research - Haifa

    Abstract: Algorithmic game theory is an emerging field of research that experienced explosive growth during the last decade. In this talk, I will first give a brief overview of this field. I will then focus on two papers by Noam Nisan and myself: Algorithmic Mechanism Design, which received the Godel award this year, and Computationally Feasible VCG Mechanisms, which received the IJCAI-JAIR best paper prize last year.
    The talk will be self contained.

    Tue 26/06/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Multi-tasking in the Digital Information Age: Tasks, Information, and Interaction Contexts,
    Prof. Gloria Mark, University of California, Irvine

    Abstract: Multi-tasking is a way of life for information workers. In this talk I will present a set of empirical results from fieldwork observations and experiments which detail the extent to which information workers multitask with digital data and will discuss how multi-tasking impacts various aspects of collaboration and communication in the workplace. Multi-tasking changes with collocation, gender, and interruptions. I will report how people compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this comes at a cost of experiencing higher stress. I will also report on a recent study where we cut off email of people in an organization for one week to understand how email affects multitiasking. We found that without email in the workplace, people multitasked less and experienced lower stress. These results challenge the traditional way that most IT is designed to organize information, i.e. in terms of distinct tasks. Instead, I will discuss how IT should support information organization in a way consistent with how most people were found to organize their work, which is in terms of working spheres, thematically connected units of work. I will also discuss how the results present opportunities for new social and technical solutions to support multi-tasking in the workplace.

    Gloria Mark is a Professor in the Department of Informatics, University of California, Irvine. Her principle research areas are in human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of collaborative systems. Her current projects include studying multi-tasking of information workers, IT use for resilience and adaptation in disrupted environments, and mobile platforms for telemedicine. She received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University. Prior to joining UCI in 2000, she worked at the GMD in Bonn, Germany (now Fraunhofer Institute). In 2006 she received a Fulbright scholarship where she worked at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. She has been the technical program chair for the ACM CSCW'12, ACM CSCW'06 and ACM GROUP'05 conferences, and is on the editorial board of ACM TOCHI, Human-Computer Interaction and Computer Supported Cooperative Work: The Journal of Collaborative Computing. She is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications and her work has also appeared in the popular press such as The New York Times, the BBC, Time, and The Wall Street Journal.

    Wed 20/06/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Prof. Ophir Frieder, Department of Computer Science, Georgetown University

    Abstract: Humane Computing is the design, development, and implementation of computing systems that directly focus on improving the human condition or experience. In that light, three efforts are presented, namely, spelling correction in adverse environments, spam detection algorithms for peer-to-peer file sharing systems, and novel techniques for urinary tract infection treatment.

    The first effort addresses spelling correction in adverse environments. Two environments are discussed: foreign name search and medical term search. In support of the Yizkor Books project of the Archives Section of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, novel foreign name search approaches that favorably compare against the state of the art are developed. By segmenting names, fusing individual results, and filtering via a threshold, our approach statistically significantly improves on traditional Soundex and n-gram based search techniques used in the search of such texts. Thus, previously unsuccessful searches are now supported. Using a similar approach, within the medical domain, automated term corrections are made to reduce transcription errors.

    In the second effort, spam characteristics in peer-to-peer file sharing systems are determined. Using these characteristics, an approach that does not rely on external information or user feedback is developed. Cost reduction techniques are employed resulting in a statistically significant reduction of spam. Thus, the user search experience is improved.

    Finally, a novel "self start", patient-specific approach for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections is presented. Using conventional data mining techniques, an approach that improves patient care, reduces bacterial mutation, and lowers treatment cost is presented. Thus, an approach that provides better, in terms of patient comfort, quicker, in terms of outbreak duration, and more economical care for female patients who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections is described.

    Ophir Frieder is the Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S. Chair in Computer Science and Information Processing and is Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University. His research interests focus on scalable information retrieval systems spanning search and retrieval and communications issues. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, and IEEE.

    Mon 26/03/2012
    10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

    Problems with Visual Analytics: Challenges and Applications,
    Prof. Daniel A. Keim, University of Konstanz, Germany

    Abstract: Never before in history has data been generated and collected at such high volumes as it is today. As the volumes of data available to business people, scientists, and the public increase, their effective use becomes more challenging. Keeping up to date with the flood of data, using standard tools for data analysis and exploration, is fraught with difficulty. The field of visual analytics seeks to provide people with better and more effective ways to understand and analyze large datasets, while also enabling them to act upon their findings immediately. Visual analytics integrates the analytic capabilities of the computer and the abilities of the human analyst, allowing novel discoveries and empowering individuals to take control of the analytical process. Visual analytics enables unexpected and hidden insights, which may lead to beneficial and profitable innovation. The talk presents the challenges of visual analytics and exemplifies them with application examples, illustrating the exiting potential of current visual analysis techniques.

    Daniel A. Keim is full professor and head of the Information Visualization and Data Analysis Research Group in the Computer Science Department of the University of Konstanz, Germany. He has been actively involved in data analysis and information visualization research for about 20 years and developed a number of novel visual analysis techniques for very large data sets. He has been program co-chair of the IEEE InfoVis and IEEE VAST symposia as well as the SIGKDD conference, and he is member of the IEEE InfoVis and VAST steering committees. He is an associate editor of Palgrave's Information Visualization Journal (since 2001) and the Knowledge and Information System Journal (since 2006), and has been an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (1999 – 2004) and the IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering (2002 – 2007). He is coordinator of the German Strategic Research Initiative (SPP) on Scalable Visual Analytics and the scientific coordinator of the EU Coordination Action on Visual Analytics.

    Dr. Keim got his Ph.D. and habilitation degrees in computer science from the University of Munich. Before joining the University of Konstanz, Dr. Keim was associate professor at the University of Halle, Germany and Technology Consultant at AT&T Shannon Research Labs, NJ, USA.

    Wed 14/03/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    A computer that understands jokes: the next IBM project?,
    Prof. Ron Aharoni, Department of Mathematics, Technion

    Abstract: תפקידו של ההומור בחיינו הרבה יותר חשוב משנדמה לנו. חלק גדול מן המגע החברתי שלנו נעשה על דרך ההומור, וכל חיינו אנחנו מחפשים סיבות לצחוק. אדוארד דה בונו טוען אפילו שההומור הוא התפקיד הכי חשוב של המוח האנושי.
    מצד שני, קשה מאוד להגדיר מהו הומור. במיוחד – מה זו בדיחה? אלפי שנים מנסים להבין זאת, וההצלחה אינה מרובה. בימינו יש להגדרה קולעת מבחן פשוט: האם אפשר לתכנת בעזרתה מחשב שיבין בדיחות?

    ההגדרה המקובלת ביותר לבדיחה אומרת שהמנגנון בה הוא חילוף מישורי חשיבה. מדרך חשיבה אחת עוברים לדרך חשיבה אחרת. ההגדרה הזאת בעייתית משתי בחינות – היא כוללת יותר מדי (למשל בתגליות מדעיות יש שינוי דרך חשיבה, והן לא מצחיקות) ופחות מדי (איזה חילוף מישור חשיבה יש בהחלקה על קליפת בננה?)
    בהרצאה אציע הגדרה אחרת, עם מנגנון מעט שונה. אספר בה על החלק של ההומור מתוך ספר שלי שיצא לאחרונה, "האדם מנתק משמעות", על מנגנון משותף להומור ולשירה.
    מי שרוצה לחשוב על הדברים לפני ההרצאה, מוזמן לנסות למצוא את מנגנון ההומור בבדיחה הבאה:
    אירי ממהר לפגישה. שעה שלמה הוא מנסה למצוא מקום חניה, ולבסוף ברוב ייאושו הוא פונה לאלוהים: "אלוהים, אם תעזור לי רק הפעם, אלך לכנסייה כל יום ראשון ואומר את תפילת "ברך את מריה" במשך שנה שלמה". הוא אינו מסיים את דבריו, והנה מופיע לפניו מקום חנייה. "עזוב", הוא אומר לאלוהים, "כבר מצאתי".

    Wed 22/02/2012
    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Network Science - A Network of Sciences,
    Prof. Ariel Orda, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technion

    Abstract: Network Science is a newly emerging discipline with applications in a variety of domains, such as Communication Networks, Power Grid Networks, Transportation Networks, Social Networks and Biological Networks. Focusing on communication networks, we shall discuss what network science should be and what it should consist of. The talk will also feature some historical anecdotes, tracing back to ancient times.