The scientific legacy of hubble space telescope

When : Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 16:30
Speaker : Robert Williams
Affiliation : Space Telescope Science Institute/Baltimore, USA
Where : Aula Magna 'A. Lepschy'

Abstract :

BIO:Dr. Robert Williams is the Distinguished Research Scholar of the Space Telescope Science
Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, MD, having served as Director of the Institute from 1993-98. The
Institute, together with Goddard Space Flight Center, operates the Hubble Space Telescope for
NASA. Before assuming his present position Williams spent 8 years in Chile as Director of the
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the national observatory of the U.S. in the southern
hemisphere. Previous to that time he was Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson for 18 years. Dr. Williams' research specialties are nebulae, novae, and emission-line spectroscopy and analysis. He is a strong advocate for science education and outreach, and he lectures widely around the world on the many recent discoveries about the universe from Hubble Telescope and NASA space probes.
Williams received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1962,
and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin in 1965. He was a Senior Fulbright
Professor at University College London from 1971-72, and received the Alexander von Humboldt
Award from the German government in 1991. In 1998 he was awarded the Beatrice Tinsley Prize
of the American Astronomical Society for his leadership of the Hubble Deep Field project, which
revealed the early universe with Hubble Telescope. For this project he was awarded the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal in 1999.
Dr. Williams is currently President of the International Astronomical Union, headquartered in
Paris, which is the sole world-wide organization serving all professional astronomers and
promoting international astronomy.

Title: Social networks - models, methods and analysis

When : Monday, September 10, 2012 - 16:30
Speaker : Prabhakar Raghavan
Affiliation : Google, Mountain View, CA
Where : Aula Magna 'A. Lepschy'

Abstract :

Abstract: Online social networks have revolutionized human communication
and interaction. This raises significant scientific, societal and business
challenges. From an academic standpoint, it represents a unique opportunity
to understand human behavior at large scale. A critical element of this
needs to be the research at the interface of computer science and the
social sciences. In this talk we provide a number of examples of this
emerging genre of research.

Bio: Prabhakar Raghavan is Vice President of Strategic Technologies at Google.
Raghavan's research interests include text and web mining, and algorithm
design. He is a consulting professor of computer science at Stanford. He
has co-authored two textbooks, on randomized algorithms and on information
retrieval. Raghavan received his PhD from the University of California,
Berkeley and is a member of the NationalAcademy of Engineering and a fellow
of the ACM and of the IEEE; he has also been awarded a *Laurea ad honorem* by
the University of Bologna. Prior to joining Google, he had held positions
as the Head of Yahoo! Labs, the chief technology officer at Verity and at
IBM Research.

Gene regulatory networks in cancer: a probabilistic approach

When : Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 16:30
Speaker : Mathukumalli Vidyasagar
Affiliation : University of Texas at Dallas
Where : Aula Magna 'A. Lepschy'

Dalla nanotecnologia alla nanoscienza

When : Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 16:30
Speaker : Fabio Beltram
Affiliation : Normale di Pisa
Where : Aula Magna 'A. Lepschy'

From Italy to China on driverless cars: paving the road to autonomous driving

When : Monday, April 16, 2012 - 16:30
Speaker : Alberto Broggi
Affiliation : Università di Parma
Where : Aula Magna 'Antonio Lepschy'

Abstract :

Abstract: The presentation will describe the latest challenge in
autonomous driving: a 13,000 km test from Parma, Italy, to
Shanghai, China, during summer 2010. Four electric and
driverless vehicles marked the history in autonomous driving and
vehicular robotics after successfully reaching Shanghai after 3
months of automatic operation, from Europe to Asia.
The talk will describe the vehicles technical details, the
travel experience of this 13,000 km unique trip in history, and
the results obtained by the analysis of the whole data set
acquired during the trip.
The presentation will also feature some considerations on future
trends in vehicular robotics and driverless vehicles.

Bio: Dr. Alberto Broggi is a professor of Computer Engineering at the
University of Parma in Italy, and CEO of the VisLab spinoff
As a pioneer of machine vision applied to driverless cars and
unmanned vehicles, he is the principal investigator of many
projects involving autonomous vehicles, like the ARGO prototype
vehicle, the TerraMax entry at the DARPA Grand Challenge and
Urban Challenge, and BRAiVE. Under his leadership VisLab
organized the first intercontinental driverless trip in history,
named VIAC - VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge.
He acted as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Trans on Intelligent
Transportation Systems from 2004 to 2008. For the term 2010-2011
he served the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems
Society as President, and in 2012 as Past-President.

Toxic numbers? The splendors and miseries of bibliometric indicators

When : Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 15:30
Speaker : Giuseppe De Nicolao
Affiliation : Università di Pavia
Where : Aula Magna 'A. Lepschy'

Abstract :

Abstract Bibliometric indicators like the impact factor, the h-index and citation counts are a source of controversy among academics and research managers. Bibliometric experts spend increasing efforts to extend, refine and normalize indices that would hopefully free academia from the plague of subjectivity and favoritism. Will these numbers maintain the promise of delivering objective assessments of individual and institutional research performance, fostering productivity and optimal resource allocation? To find an answer, some real stories will be told and discussed: the scientist who achieved a Nobel-worthy h-index, the Egyptian University that surpassed Harvard and Stanford in the 2010 Times Higher Education University Ranking, the fate of bibliometrics in the British and Australian research assessment exercises, the Chinese 'publication bubble', to arrive at the infamous 'top ten in impact factor manipulation'.

Bio Giuseppe De Nicolao, began his career at the 'Mario Negri' Institute of Pharmacological Researches and held a position at the Italian National Research Council (CNR) before joining the University of Pavia, where he is full professor at the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering. His main scientific interests range from model predictive control and model identification to their applications to physiological systems and industrial processes, including research on model-based drug development, the artificial pancreas, and advanced process control for semiconductor manufacturing. On these subjects he authored or coauthored more than 100 journal papers and is coinventor of patents. He served in the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and Automatica and is currently an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology. He has been the recipient of research grants funded by Pharmacia, GlaxoSmithKline, Magneti Marelli, STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies. He is cofounder and editor of the blog Roars (Return on Academic ReSearch), whose aim is to promote the discussion and analysis of trends and topics in higher education and academic research policy.