CS grads support CSGS Space Initiative

CSGS is working on an initiative aimed at providing an exclusive space for CS grads (master, PhD and postdoc students) to meet up, socialize relax and maybe some a bit of reading too! There is shortage of space McGill-wide, but CSGS is trying to work with the department to secure this exclusive space and do everything possible to make that happen.

A majority of CS grads want this space to be used for both entertainment and academic use, which highlights the need for both. Below is a summary of stats of responses:

69% want the space to be utilized for both academic and entertainment purposes
25% want to be exclusively entertainment space (foosball, table tennis, dart board, comfy couches etc)
2% want it to a quite study space only.

56% of respondents were master student,
44% were PhD.

CSGS will continue to work with the department to secure this space, we hope that will happen soon, we’ll keep you posted!

Here is a scan of the responses:

signatures-combined

Seminar on Quantum annealing: from D-wave to optimization Hamiltonians

We were excited to host  Alessandro Ricottone, PhD Candidate at McGill Physics working on theoretical condensed matter, to deliver a seminar at SOCS.
IMG-20161124-WA0009

Talk abstract: Quantum annealers are a class of (non-universal) quantum computers devised to quickly find the minimum of a function by exploiting the quantum tunneling and entanglement. Recently D-wave started commercialize their quantum annealers. Describing the D-wave machine and showing how we can use it to find the solution to some famous mathematical optimization problems.

Thanks Alessandro!

Seminar : In silico molecular evolution and Boltzmann sampling: implications in origin of life and molecular design

Thanks to all CSGS grads for great support at our first seminar of this fall.

Seminar by Carlos Oliver

Seminar by Carlos Oliver

 

Speaker: Carlos G. Oliver
Title: In silico molecular evolution and Boltzmann sampling: implications in origin of life and molecular design.

Abstract: RNA is a class of molecules present in all living organisms that counts on two important properties: information storage and catalytic activity. This duality makes RNA an interesting molecule to study as potentially the first molecule to support life, as well as a key component of many cellular processes. One of the most important factors in determining RNA function is the shape, or structure that the molecule adopts. This shape is determined by a specific set of interactions encoded in the RNA sequence that give rise to a 2D and 3D shape.  To this end, RNA structure prediction algorithms have made substantial progress, and serve as a notable example of computer science being applied to answer fundamental biological questions. While the algorithmics of mapping a sequence to a structure are well established, there still remain many questions about how the composition and exploration of sequence space affects this mapping. In this work, we use structure prediction algorithms, combined with Boltzmann sampling, and evolutionary algorithms to study the energy landscapes of RNA populations under various sequence-space constraints. We show that restricting sequence space has a strong influence on the stability of structure-sequence pairs, the emergence of structural complexity, and the evolutionary dynamics of populations. All of these insights can be used to further our understanding of how sequence-structure space affects the diversity of molecules we observe today, as well as provides useful tools for controlling molecular function.

Approved Changes to Constitution

  • Amendment 1: Add the following point to the constitution. CSGS execs have to appoint one executive the task of supervision and guardianship of CSGS-owned equipments which must be listed on the CSGS webpage. This list shall be kept up-to-date and all the documents/receipts must be with the current CSGS accountant. (Suggested exec for the job – VP social, but a new exec for this job can also be hired).

 In particular, this exec has to take care of the maintenance of the espresso machine of the graduate lounge. The responsibilities include to check the performance of the machine 

weekly
, to make sure it is kept in order as recommended in the specifications of the machine and the instructions how to use the machine are in proper order, attached next to the machine. Once a year the exec would need to call the corresponding shop (Espresso Mali) and make an appointment  for technical checkup which would include also changing the water filter. The latter is supposed to cost 300$ starting second year (150$ for the filter and 150$ for the checkup). The first year is included in the warranty.The failure to do so will cause the expiration of the guarantee on the machine.
 
  •  Amendment 2: Change 5b  to “The Executive shall hold office from October 1st of each year until the following September 31st”
This is suggested to ensure that the new incoming students get the chance of getting involved in CSGS elections and the old execs to transfer their knowledge to the new ones.

Seminar 7 : Solving the Halting Problem (One Language at a Time)

IMG_0301

Date: April 7
Time: 1:00-2:00pm
Location: McConnell Room 320

Speaker: Rohan Jacob-Rao
Title: Solving the Halting Problem (One Language at a Time)

Abstract: In the CompLogic group, we study the design of programming languages that can enforce safety properties at compile time. In this talk, I will describe a small language in which program termination is enforced by the typechecker. Though it restricts the programs one can write, the technique can be extended to more expressive languages. I will show the steps involved in proving the termination property, from defining a formal semantics to writing a machine-checked proof.

Proposed Changes to Constitution

CSGS is proposing the following changes to constitution. The voting period will be March 28th – April 4th.

  • Amendment 1: Add the following point to the constitution. CSGS execs have to appoint one executive the task of supervision and guardianship of CSGS-owned equipments which must be listed on the CSGS webpage. This list shall be kept up-to-date and all the documents/receipts must be with the current CSGS accountant. (Suggested exec for the job – VP social, but a new exec for this job can also be hired).
 In particular, this exec has to take care of the maintenance of the espresso machine of the graduate lounge. The responsibilities include to check the performance of the machine 

weekly, to make sure it is kept in order as recommended in the specifications of the machine and the instructions how to use the machine are in proper order, attached next to the machine. Once a year the exec would need to call the corresponding shop (Espresso Mali) and make an appointment  for technical checkup which would include also changing the water filter. The latter is supposed to cost 300$ starting second year (150$ for the filter and 150$ for the checkup). The first year is included in the warranty.The failure to do so will cause the expiration of the guarantee on the machine.
 
  •  Amendment 2: Change 5b  to “The Executive shall hold office from October 1st of each year until the following September 31st”
This is suggested to ensure that the new incoming students get the chance of getting involved in CSGS elections and the old execs to transfer their knowledge to the new ones.

Seminar 6 : The dual view of Markov Processes

Date: March 17, 2016
Time: 1:00-2:00pm
Location: McConnell Room 320

Speaker: Florence Clerc
Title: The dual view of Markov Processes

Abstract:
I will describe how to view a probabilistic transition system as a transformer of functions rather than as a transformer of probability distributions. A Markov process is normally viewed as a Markov kernel i.e. a map from S x Σ → [0,1] where S is a state space and Σ is a σ-algebra on S. These Markov kernels are morphisms in the Kleisli category of the Giry monad. In recent work by Chaput, Danos, Panangaden and Plotkin, Markov processes were reinterpreted as linear maps on the space of positive L1 functions on S. This is analogous to taking the predicate transformer view of Markov processes. A number of dualities and isomorphisms emerge in this picture. Most interestingly conditional expectation can be understood functorially.

Seminar 5 : Time, bounded rationality and representations in reinforcement learning

Date: February 18 (next Thursday)
Time: 1:00-2:00pm
Location: McConnell Room 320
 
Speaker: Pierre-Luc Bacon
Title: Time, bounded rationality and representations in reinforcement learning
 

Abstract:
In this talk, I will tell about some of the research that I’ve been conducting with Prof. Doina Precup over the last couple years.  The main topic will be the problem of “temporal representation learning” in reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning is an Artificial Intelligence approach to the problem of sequential decision making, in a world full of uncertainty and under limited computational capacity. As for “representation learning”,  it refers to the problem of autonomously finding and  expressing knowledge within a particular reasoning structure while also improving it over time through experience. I will develop  these ideas through the notion of “bounded rationality” and present some recent mathematical tools that we developed to tackle  this problem. In a sense, the title of this talk also reflects my experience through PhD: a journey to improve and refine my own subjective understanding of the world (and of myself) under limited capacity. Just as for our reinforcement learning agents, I had to  embrace the stochasticity of life while leveraging its regularities. I will try to share both sides of the story: how the research results came about, and how I became more of a researcher over time.

Seminar 4 : Code Fragment Summarization

The Computer Science Graduate Society is pleased to present a talk by Annie Ying on February 11, Thursday. To help us know how much food to order, please fill this Google form if you plan to attend: http://goo.gl/forms/HLEmeB3DZR.

—————–

Date: February 11

Time: 1:00-2:00pm

Location: McConnell Room 320

Speaker: Annie Ying

Title: Code Fragment Summarization

Abstract:
Code fragments are an important resource for understanding the Application Programming Interface (API) of software libraries. Many usage scenarios for code fragments require them to be distilled to their essence: for example, when serving as cues to longer documents, for reminding developers of a previously known idiom, or for displaying search results. This dissertation reports on research on shortening, or summarizing, code fragments and makes three main contributions: a set of lessons learned from a case study on a supervised machine learning approach to the generating code fragment summaries; an empirically grounded catalog of source code summarization practices; and the design, implementation and evaluation of a novel optimization-based summarization technique for code fragments.