EE Student Information

The Department of Electrical Engineering supports Black Lives Matter. Read more.

• • • • •

EE Student Information, Spring Quarter through Academic Year 2020-2021: FAQs and Updated EE Course List.

Updates will be posted on this page, as well as emailed to the EE student mail list.

Please see Stanford University Health Alerts for course and travel updates.

As always, use your best judgement and consider your own and others' well-being at all times.

Information Systems Lab (ISL) Colloquium

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: Spy vs. Spy: Anonymous Messaging

Topic: 
Spy vs. Spy: Anonymous Messaging
Abstract / Description: 

Anonymous messaging platforms, such Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak, have emerged as important social media for sharing one's thoughts without the fear of being judged by friends, family, or the public. Further, such anonymous platforms are crucial in nations with authoritarian governments, where the right to free expression and sometimes the personal safety of the message author depends on anonymity. Current platforms offer only superficial anonymity – their centralized implementation makes them naturally vulnerable to authoritarian adversaries and/or economic incentives.

In this talk, we study the problem of designing a distributed messaging protocol that spreads the message fast while keeping the identity of the source hidden from an adversary. We present an anonymous messaging protocol, which we call adaptive diffusion, and show that it spreads fast and achieves nearly perfect obfuscation of the source for a wide range of adversaries. System issues in the implementation of the protocol are discussed.

 

Date and Time: 
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: On Landau's eigenvalue theorem and information cut-sets

Topic: 
On Landau's eigenvalue theorem and information cut-sets
Abstract / Description: 

How much information can be carried by electromagnetic radiation?

We present a variation of a theorem of Landau concerning the phase transition of the eigenvalues of a time-frequency limiting operator, and describe its application in a limiting regime where the original theorem cannot be directly applied. Using this result, we compute the number of degrees of freedom of square-integrable fields in terms of Kolmogorov's N-width and determine, up to order, the total amount of information that can be transported in time and space by electromagnetic waves, extending previous single-frequency treatments to signals of non-zero frequency bandwidth.

In closing, we also discuss how our mathematical results are related to the holographic principle of quantum gravity that has been formulated in the context of black hole thermodynamics.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: Exploiting convex structure in aircraft design

Topic: 
Exploiting convex structure in aircraft design
Abstract / Description: 

Modern aircraft represent some of the most complex, performance-driven engineering systems ever conceived and built. Surprisingly, many high-level relationships and constraints on aircraft performance can be encoded via the feasible set of a geometric program. This observation gives us a reliable and efficient way to solve conceptual design problems. Using optimal dual variables, we can also quantify performance sensitivities, better understand tradeoffs, and guide higher fidelity analysis and optimization. We will discuss modeling techniques that have been successful in transforming aircraft design problems to GPs, ongoing research in GP modeling, fitting of GP-compatible models from data, and possible implications for design of large multidisciplinary systems.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: If it spreads it can't hide: detecting epidemics from weak signatures

Topic: 
If it spreads it can't hide: detecting epidemics from weak signatures
Abstract / Description: 

Last week, Sanjay Shakkottai (UT Austin) talked about how external agents affect spreading properties of an epidemic -- a prediction or "forward" problem. This talk is about "inverse" problems -- what explains what we are seeing? In particular, is it an epidemic?

Specifically, we ask: can we (early) detect the spread of a new disease, or of a new kind of malware, one whose properties have not been studied, and characteristics not yet identified? We consider the problem of detecting an infection process in a network when the indication that any particular node is infected is extremely noisy -- statistically indistinguishable from everyday behavior.

Such a scenario occurs, for instance, when the only signature of a worm infecting a neighboring network node is a (rarely occurring) temporally-localized increased processor and network load (when the worm is actively spreading from one node to its neighbor). However, many other benign activities have a similar signature; further these benign activities occur frequently (as opposed to the rare occurrence of a worm infection). While it is impossible to distinguish between an infection incidence and a benign activity merely from observing a single node, we show that the spread itself can be used as a global signature of epidemic spread, and thus we can reliably distinguish between these two hypotheses (epidemic / benign activity). In addition, we explore how graph topology impacts our ability to do early detection.

Based on joint with work Chris Milling, Eli Meirom, Sanjay Shakkottai, Shie Mannor and Ariel Orda.


 

 

The Information Systems Laboratory Colloquium (ISLC) is typically held in Packard 101 every Thursday at 4:15 pm during the academic year. Refreshments are usually served after the talk.

The Colloquium is organized by graduate students Chris Fougner, Hyeji Kim, Neal Master and Dor Shaviv. To suggest speakers, please contact any of the students.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: Spectral Embedding of k-Cliques, Graph Partitioning and k-Means

Topic: 
Spectral Embedding of k-Cliques, Graph Partitioning and k-Means
Abstract / Description: 

We introduce and study a new notion of graph partitioning, intimately connected to k-means clustering. Informally, our graph partitioning objective asks for the optimal spectral simplification of a graph as a disjoint union of k normalized cliques. It is a variant of graph decomposition into expanders (where expansion is not measured w.r.t. the induced graph). Optimizing this new objective is equivalent to clustering the effective resistance embedding of the original graph. Our approximation algorithm for the new objective is closely related to spectral clustering: it optimizes the k-means objective on a certain smoothed version of the resistive distance embedding. We also show that spectral clustering applied directly to the original graph gives guarantees for our new objective function.

In order to illustrate the power of our new notion, we show that approximation algorithms for our new objective can be used in a black box fashion to approximately recover a partition of a graph into k pieces given a guarantee that a good partition exists with sufficiently large gap in internal and external conductance.

Joint work with Pranjal Awasthi, Ravishankar Krishnaswamy, and Ali Kemal Sinop

Date and Time: 
Thursday, January 22, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: Understanding Visual Computations in the Primate Retina

Topic: 
Understanding Visual Computations in the Primate Retina
Abstract / Description: 

Vision begins with neural computation in the retina, which sends a highly processed version of the visual world along multiple parallel pathways to the brain. Our research is focused on understanding visual computations in the primate retina and on using this information for the design of artificial retinas to treat blindness. I will describe the state of our understanding of visual computations in the retinal circuitry, with an emphasis on open problems for future exploration, and on achieving a synthetic understanding appropriate for diverse applications.

Date and Time: 
Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 101

Information Systems Lab Colloquium: Rethinking Video Transport

Topic: 
Rethinking Video Transport: Network Utility Maximization with Temporal Variations and Storage
Abstract / Description: 

User perceived video quality depends on a variety of only partially understood factors, e.g., the application domain, content, compression, transport mechanism, and most importantly psycho-visual systems determining the ultimate Quality of Experience (QoE) of users. This talk centers on two key observations in addressing the problem of joint rate adaptation for video streams sharing a congested resource. First, we note that a user viewing a given video will experience temporal variations in the dependence of perceived video quality to the compression rate. Intuitively this is due to the possibly changing nature of the content, e.g., from an action to a slower scene. Thus, in allocating rates to users sharing a congested resource, in particular a wireless system where additional temporal variability in users' capacity may be high, content dependent tradeoffs can be realized to deliver a better overall average perceived video quality. Second, we note that such adaptation of users' rates, may result in temporal variations in video quality which combined with perceptual hysteresis effects will degrade users' QoE. We develop an asymptotically optimal online algorithm, requiring minimal statistical information, for optimizing users' QoE by realizing tradeoffs across mean, variance and fairness. Simulations show that our approach achieves significant gains in viewers' QoE.

The theoretical novelty of this work lies in tackling a new class of temporally varying network utility maximization problem which can leverage storage. The practical aim is to achieve fair allocations of perceived video quality across a user population with time varying sensitivities and capacity, while integrating the deleterious impact that variations in perceived quality has on their QoE.

This is joint work with V. Joseph and Z. Lu and colleagues funded as part of the CISCO/INTEL Video Aware Wireless Networking research program.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 5:15pm to 6:15pm
Venue: 
Packard 202

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Information Systems Lab (ISL) Colloquium