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Lessons in convergence
On the left, Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of computer science at Rice University. On the right, Victoria Stodden, an associate professor in information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They will speak at UD during the 2017-18 school year.

Lessons in convergence

Photo illustration by Joy Smoker

Two rising stars in computer science and convergence research will speak on UD’s campus this school year

The University of Delaware Department of Computer & Information Sciences (CIS) is pleased to announce its CIS Distinguished Speaker Lectures.

This academic year, the theme is rising stars in a scientific world of convergence. According to the National Science Foundation, “convergence can be characterized as the deep integration of knowledge, techniques, and expertise from multiple fields to form new and expanded frameworks for addressing scientific and societal challenges and opportunities.” The NSF has defined this as a priority area.

The CIS department selected two speakers who excel at combining multiple fields in their research, says Michela Taufer, a J.P Morgan Chase Scholar and professor in computer and information sciences. The talks will take place in Gore Recital Hall.

Folding genomes

On October 17, Erez Lieberman Aiden, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, will give a talk titled “Parallel Processing of the Genomes, by the Genomes and for the Genomes.”

He plans to discuss how the human genome folds in three dimensions, a configuration that enables the cell to access and process massive quantities of information in parallel. Aiden has developed a method to probe how genomes fold.

In 2014, his laboratory reported the first comprehensive map of loops across the human genome, mapping their anchors with single-base-pair resolution. In 2015, his lab showed that these loops form by extrusion, and that it is possible to add and remove loops and domains in a predictable fashion using targeted mutations as short as a single base pair.

In 2012, he received the President's Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the highest government honor for young scientists, from former President Barack Obama. In 2014, Fast Company called him "America's brightest young academic." In 2015, his laboratory was recognized on the floor of the US House of Representatives for its discoveries about the structure of DNA.

“Erez is combining biology, mathematics, and computer science to advance discovery in evolutionary sciences,” says Taufer. Guests at this lecture will have the opportunity to hear about Aiden’s new accelerated hardware and transformative computational algorithms to enable folding patterns to assemble genome sequences more easily and faster than ever for applications such as determining the genome sequence of the mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

A changing computing landscape

On April 6, 2018, Victoria Stodden, an associate professor in information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will give a talk titled “The Science of Computational Reproducibility.”

She studies the rapid evolution of computing, with changing technologies for cloud computing, network capability, and high-performance computing systems.  

Stodden created the “Reproducible Research Standard,” a suite of open licensing recommendations for the dissemination of computational results, and won the Kaltura Prize for Access to Knowledge Writing.

“Victoria Stodden is redefining standards of openness for data and code sharing within the legal and policy dimensions in the growing big data driven community,” says Taufer. Guests at Stodden’s lecture will hear about her new visionary research agenda for the science of reproducibility to respond to increasing rate of production, collection, and analysis of data, and the speed at which computational infrastructure, says Taufer.


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