Spring 2011

Thursday, March 24 - Rush Hour Talk - "We See What We Think We See"
Jonathan Page
Rector Stafford Lecture Room - Stuart 1104
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Monday, April 25 -  26th Annual Science Symposium
Rector Atrium
4:30-6:00 p.m.
Light Refreshments
For more information or poster submission, email ernstj@dickinson.edu

Thursday, April 21 - Honors Thesis Presentation
Russell Toris will present "Evolving Robotic Desires: A New Approach to Bridging the Reality Gap"

Abstract: Since the emergence of the field of Evolutionary Robotics, new breakthroughs have been made to further its development and prove its effectiveness.  While from a purely engineering standpoint the modeling of biological evolutionary phenomena may not seem to be the most efficient means of implementation, it has proven to be able to provide solutions to interesting problems within the robotics world.  The approach of evolving controllers for autonomous robots has established benefits over a more traditional hand-coded approach.  Like most fields of research, Evolutionary Robotics contains its own set of problems.  One such problem involves the use of simulators to speed up the evolutionary processes.  When transferring the robotic controller from the simulation to the physical robot its performance tends to decrease on a given task; this issue is referred to as the reality gap problem.  In this research, a new approach to bridging the reality gap is presented and explored.  The idea is to evolve a robotic controller that generates desires based on its current state and uses reinforcement learning to select actions that achieve these desires.  By doing so, the goal is to have a robotic controller adapt to difference, uncertainties, and perturbations within the real world once transferred from simulation.

Tome 117
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Thursday, April 28 - Honors Thesis Presentation
Fabio Drucker will present "Symbolic Dynamics with Overlapping Partitions and Cocyclic Subshifts"

Abstract: For a discrete dynamical system we study the motion of a point x as a function f is repeatedly applied to it.  For some functions f , this motion exhibits very complicated and apparently random and chaotic patterns.  We want to represent these systems in a way that is useful for detecting when chaotic behavior is taking place, an in those cases quanitfy the amount of chaos involved.  Our measuring tool is called topological entropy.  One way of representing dynamical systems is through symbolic dynamics.  This in- volves finding a shift space that models the behavior of the dynamical system in a relevant way.  In particular, it is possible to construct a shift space from a a dynamical system in such a way that the entropy of the shift space from a dynamical system in such a way that the entropy of the shift space will be a lower bound for the entropy of the original system.  Our work will focus on those shift spaces.  We will focus on finding ways of calculating the topological entropy of specific kinds of shift spaces.  In particular, we will investigate the case where the symbolic dynamics comes from partitions that overlap one another.  We will also study a special set of shift spaces called cocyclic subshifts.  The latter are dynamical systems also represented by symbolic dynamics but that have additional restrictions regarding which paths in the graph correspond to itineraries of points.  We will also write a computer program to automatically apply the methods we develop to calculate the entropy of dynamical systems, simplifying the process of checking the quality of different methods and the tightness of the bounds they produce.

Tome 115
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Thursday, April 28 - Rush Hour Talk - "Nanoparticles with Interesting Optical Properties and a Purpose"
Professor Sarah K. St. Angelo
Rector Stafford Lecture Room - Stuart 1104
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Tuesday, May 3 - Honors Thesis Presentation
Danni Yu will present "Translating B Machines to JML Specifications"

Abstract: Motivated by the social network example, the research focuses on developing a compiler that translates B machines to JML specifications.  The presentation will give an overview of context and methods of the translation and present example results of running the social network machine.

Tome 115
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Wednesday, May 4 - Honors Thesis Presentation
Fabio Drucker will present "Expanding Krakatoa/Why"

Abstract: JML is a formal specification language for Java that allows us to make formal assertions about code behavior.  We work with the Krakatoa/Why platform, an open source program that seeks to statically prove that code complies with the JML specifications provided.  We seek to expand this platform to add support for previsouly unsupported features of Java and JML, mainly specification inheritance and the use of generics.  Support for specification inheritance has successfully been added.  Additionally, some minor extensions to the syntax accepted were implemented, bringing the syntax accepted by Krakatoa closer to JML.  Support for generics has been mostly implemented for generic classes, and work has begun and a promising approach has been identified to add support for classes that use generics.

Tome 115
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Refreshments provided

Thursday, May 5 - Honors Thesis Presentation
Thanh To will present "Mathematical Techniques for Assigning First Year Seminars"

Abstract: Every first-year student at Dickinson College is required to take a first-year seminar.  The summer before the students arrive they each select six seminars among all the seminars choices.  Each student is then assigned to a seminar from their list.  Currently, this process is performed manually, which is tedious and time consuming.  This research is concerned with utilizing mathematical techniques to assign first-year students to seminars.  Specifically, we develop a technique that not only achieves an assignment of students to seminars, but also seeks to balance the gender ratio and international student ratio of the students in the classes.  In addition, we use simulation to study how the number of seminars each student chooses affects our ability to make an assignment.

Tome 115
Noon-1:00 p.m.
Lunch provided

Wednesday, May 11 - Mathematics & Computer Science BBQ
KW Lawn (by the volleyball courts)
Rain Location: Tome 2nd Floor Library
Noon-2:00 p.m.
Math & CS Professors will BBQ your hamburger, hot dog or veggie burger to perfection!  Come out & join the fun!

Wednesday, May 11 - Computer Science Senior Symposium
More details TBD
Tome 115
2:30-5:00 p.m.
Refreshments provided