Distinguished Lecture Series

Meet world-renowned researchers at lectures hosted by Computing Science. These are open to students, researchers and those working in industry and education to share the latest leading-edge research. Admission is free of charge. Contact is Fred Popowich (popowich@sfu.ca).

2016 Distinguished Lecture Series speakers

  • October 27, 2016; Dr. Mostafa Ammar, School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA (**please note room change)
  • February 18, 2016: Dr. Dieter Fox, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington
  • January 20, 2016: Surajit Chaudhuri, Deputy Managing Director of MSR Redmond Lab, Microsoft Research (*please note time/room change)

Time and Location (unless otherwise noted)

2:30-3:30 p.m.
IRMACS Theatre Room, Applied Sciences Building, Room 10900
SFU Burnaby campus, 8888 University Drive

2016 Distinguished Lecture Speakers

THURSDAY, October 27, 2016
2:30-3:30 p.m.
**TASC 1 Building, Room T9204

School of Computer Science
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Title: The Cirrus Cloud Project: Opportunistic Mobile Cloud Computing


Mobile devices are increasingly being relied on for tasks that go beyond simple connectivity and demand more complex processing.   In cases where such processing exceeds a device's capability, remote cloud resources can be used to off-load the "heavy lifting" needed by mobile computation tasks. The Cirrus Cloud project focuses on the design and analysis of techniques that enable the provision of cloud computation services to mobile devices. The project is distinguished by 1) its consideration of specific challenges of the wireless and mobile environment and 2) its focus on leveraging the computational capability of a variety of entities present in a mobile device's environment in an opportunistic manner.  In this talk I will first give an overview of the Cirrus Cloud project and its aims. I will then describe some of our work within the project that addresses the following questions: Can one bridge the gap between mobile computation requirements and traditional public cloud computing services? How can one configure clusters of mobile devices into a meaningful edge compute resource? Does it make sense to make edge computing resources mobile and what might be the challenges of such a deployment?


Mostafa Ammar is a Regents' Professor with the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has been with Georgia Tech since 1985. Dr. Ammar received the S.B. and S.M. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and 1980, respectively and the Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1985. Dr. Ammar's research interests are in network architectures, protocols and services. He has contributions in the areas of multicast communication and services, multimedia streaming, content distribution networks, network simulation, disruption-tolerant networks, and most recently, in mobile cloud computing and network virtualization. He has published extensively in these areas. To date, 35 PhD students have completed their degrees under his supervision; many have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and industry. Dr. Ammar has served the networking research community in multiple roles. Most notably, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (ToN) from 1999 to 2003, and he was the co-TPC Chair for the IEEE ICNP 1997, ACM CoNEXT 2006 and ACM SIGMETRICS 2007 conferences. He currently serves on the steering committee of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing. His awards include the IBM Faculty Partnership Award (1996), Best Paper Award at the 7th WWW conference (1998), the GT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award (2006), the Outstanding Service Award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Communications (2010), the ACM Mobihoc Best Paper Award (2012), and the GT College of Computing Faculty Mentor Award (2015). Dr. Ammar was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2002 and Fellow of the ACM in 2003.

THURSDAY, February 18, 2016

Department of Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Title: RGB-D Perception in Robotics


RGB-D cameras provide per pixel color and depth information at high frame rate and resolution. Gaming and entertainment applications such as the Microsoft Kinect system resulted in the mass production of RGB-D cameras at extremely low cost. The combination of color and depth information provided by such cameras drastically improves the capabilities of robots to perceive the world in 3D. In this talk, I will provide an overview of depth camera research done in the Robotics and State Estimation Lab over the last years. This work includes 3D modeling of indoor environments and people, modeling and manipulation of objects, and real-time tracking of articulated objects.


Dieter Fox is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he heads the UW Robotics and State Estimation Lab. From 2009 to 2011, he was also Director of the Intel Research Labs Seattle. He currently serves as the academic PI of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Pervasive Computing hosted at UW.  Dieter obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany.  Before joining the faculty of UW, he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the CMU Robot Learning Lab.  Fox's research is in robotics and artificial intelligence, with a focus on state estimation and perception applied to various problems in robotics and activity recognition. He has published over 150 technical papers and is co-author of the text book "Probabilistic Robotics". Dieter is an IEEE Fellow, a Fellow of the AAAI, and he received several best paper awards at major robotics, AI, and computer vision conferences. He was an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, program co-chair of the 2008 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, and program chair of the 2013 Robotics: Science and Systems conference.

WEDNESDAY, January 20, 2016
10:00-11:30 a.m.
TASC 1 Building, Room T9204

Distinguished Scientist/ Deputy Managing Director
Microsoft Research Redmond
Title: Enterprises in the Age of Big Data: Information at Your Fingertips?


In the age of Big Data, consumers truly have come a lot closer to the dream of “information at your Fingertips”.  However, the progress towards this vision in the world of enterprises has not been as revolutionary.  We will illustrate this contrast by reviewing the state of enterprise search over structured data. The talk will further outline other enterprise data management research challenges relevant for Big Data and the Cloud. Although some of these problems are not altogether new, their importance is amplified by Big Data and Cloud Computing.


Surajit Chaudhuri is a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research and leads the Data Management, Exploration and Mining group. As a Deputy Managing Director of MSR Redmond Lab, he also has oversight of Distributed Systems, Networking, Security, Programming languages and Software Engineering groups. He serves on the Senior Leadership Team of the Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprises division. His current areas of interest are enterprise data analytics, data discovery, self-manageability and cloud database services. Working with his colleagues in Microsoft Research, he helped incorporate the Index Tuning Wizard (and subsequently Database Engine Tuning Advisor) and data cleaning technology into Microsoft SQL Server. Surajit is an ACM Fellow, a recipient of the ACM SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovations Award, ACM SIGMOD Contributions Award, a VLDB 10 year Best Paper Award, and an IEEE Data Engineering Influential Paper Award. Surajit received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1992.