Plenary Talks

Monday June 12

Prof. Muriel Médard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: Guessing revisited

Abstract : The problem of characterizing the number of guesses required to guess a string in successive tries was originally studied by Massey. Recent results by Christiansen and Duffy on characterizing guesswork behavior with the large deviation principle permit treatment of interesting new problems in network security, where guessing is tightly linked to password cracking. We begin by showing refinements on guesswork characterization, as well as a  geometric interpretation of it. We then present recent guesswork results for wireless jamming and for distributed guessing attacks, with different levels of coordination.

Joint work with Ahmad Beirami, Robert Calderbank, Mark Christiansen, Ken Duffy, Flavio du Pin Calmon, Wasim Huleheil, and Salman Salamatian.

Biography: Muriel Médard is the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA. Her research interests are in the areas of network coding and reliable communications. She has served as an Editor of many IEEE publications, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE JOURNAL ON SELECTED AREAS IN COMMUNICATIONS. She served on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society, for which she was President in 2012. She has served as a TPC Chair or general Chair for several IEEE conferences. She was the recipient of the 2013 MIT Graduate Student Council EECS Mentor Award, the 2009 Communication Society and Information Theory Society Joint Paper Award, the 2009 William R. Bennett Prize in the Field of Communications Networking, the 2002 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Prize Paper Award, and several conference paper awards. She was also a co-recipient of the MIT 2004 Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award. In 2007, she was named a Gilbreth Lecturer by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Tuesday June 13

Prof. André Levchenko, Yale University

[This plenary talk presented as part of the Special Track on Biological Information Theory]

Title: Information transfer in living cells: from bits to decisions

Abstract: Biology is an information science par excellence. One of the key functions of biological systems is the storage of genetic information and its use in a way conditioned on the information from environmental inputs. In this talk I will review the recent exciting developments in evaluation of information processing by the dedicated signaling pathways and networks within living cells. I will also introduce the new directions in this research, focusing in particular on how the information about environmental changes generates complex cell population responses, and ultimately results in shaping of living tissues and other key biological functions. I will argue that the language of information theory can be a universal language allowing convergence of biological and engineering systems on the way to design of hybrid organisms of the future.

Biography: André Levchenko is the John C. Malone Professor of Biomedical Engineering, the Director of the Yale Systems Biology Institute, and the Director of the Cancer Systems Biology@Yale (CaSB@Yale), Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. He received BS and MS degrees from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and MS and PhD degrees from Columbia University. He is a recipient of the American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award and was elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.


Wednesday June 14

Prof. Alexandros Dimakis, University of Texas at Austin

Title: Coding and Femtocaching for Wireless Content Delivery

Abstract: Smartphone and tablet proliferation is generating an enormous increase in the demand for multimedia content. Modern wireless networks cannot support this demand and its large projected growth. We argue that caching of popular content can play a fundamental role in addressing this problem and how several novel mathematical and algorithmic problems arise.

We focus on the Femtocaching problem and the Coded Caching problem introduced by Maddah-Ali and Niesen and discuss how caching is very promising for giving gains that scale surprisingly well in the size of the wireless system. Unfortunately, we show that for these gains to appear, the cached files must be separated in a number of blocks that scales exponentially in the number of users and files. We show how this can problem can be resolved if we modify the Maddah-Ali and Niesen scheme to place and deliver coded packets in a less optimistic way.

These results use techniques from combinatorial optimization, graph theory and coding theory. Specifically, we present connections to the fundamental problem of index coding and discuss several open problems.

Biography: Alex Dimakis is an Associate Professor in the ECE department at The University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 from UC Berkeley and the Diploma degree from the National Technical University of Athens in 2003. During 2009 he was a CMI postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. He received an NSF Career award in 2011, a Google faculty research award in 2012 and the Eli Jury dissertation award in 2008. He is the co-recipient of several best paper awards including the joint Information Theory and Communications Society Best Paper Award in 2012.