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Talk Archive

See Talk Archive for our history of talks.

Talks Guide

If you find yourself in the position of wanting to run a talk for us check Talks Guide

Planned Talks (Fall 2010)

We have (requested) booking MC4061 for a regular seminar series this term. The (flexible) time is 4:30pm on Tuesdays. Currently scheduled talks:

  • September 21
    • Dr. Prabhakar Ragde
  • October 4 (replaces October 5, needs a room booked)
    • Ian Seyler - Return to Infinity, creator of BareMetal OS
  • October 12
    • Dr. Chris Eliasmith
  • October 19
    • Dr. Shai Ben David

Out or planned invitations

Dr. Ian Goldberg has been given an invitation, and is currently unsure of if/when he will be able to speak.

Invitation will be sent to Dr. Steve Cook at UofT with high probability.

Current goals seem to have a target of 5 prof talks, 2-3 outside UW talks, and 4-3 member talks as the breakdown. One outsider has been secured (Mr. Seyler). Dr. Cook makes a second, and further ideas will be discussed on the mailing list.

Possible Speakers/Talks (not yet requested)

These are long term event ideas. For shorter term planning/selection/etc. see the progcom mailing list.

Local Open Forums

  • CSCF/MFCF/IST Open Forum
    • Dave Gawley [CSCF]
    • Dawn Keenan [IST]
    • Jim Pell [MFCF]
    • Stephen Mann [SCS]
    • Bruce Campbell [IST]
  • SCS Undergraduate Open Forum
    • Director or Associate Director of the School
    • Director or Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
    • Undergraduate Operations Coordinator
    • Members of Undergrad Committees
  • Newsgroup Forum
    • In 1994 we had a Newsgroup Forum. It was recorded and the recording is being digitized by AV. People involved include:
      • Prabhakar Ragde
      • Jeffery O. Shallit
      • Ian Goldberg (as CSC President, not Professor)
      • Dr. Jim Kalbfleisch
      • Dr. Sally Gunz
    • It might be interesting to bring them back together for historical comment and relevance of the lessons learned to modern attempts at net censorship, alternately a comment on the decline of Usenet. Something to this tune.

Local Speakers

These are professors that we either think are cool, think we are cool, or both, and we want to hear them talk, or who have given us talks in the past that were well received.

  • Jeffrey Shallit
    • Expertise: Automata, Formal Languages, Algorithmic Number Theory
    • Past work with us: Sat on the 1994 newsgroup panel.
  • Prabhakar Ragde
    • Expertise: Algorithms and Complexity, Programming Languages, Functional Awesomeness, Food, Being a Hipster
    • Past work with us: A very long list. He was a member once too!
    • Future work planned: Prabhakar has pledged to give a talk a term, so be sure to budget and get in touch with him about just what he's talking about.
  • Craig Kaplan
    • Expertise: Tiling theory, Graphics: Non Photorealistic rendering, Tesselations, Geometry
    • Past work with us: Gave a talk in W09 regarding rapid prototyping and mathematical art.
    • Future work planned: In his talk he mentioned wanting to do more for us and the PMC now that he's got tenure. Some ideas involve a hands-on workshop growing out of the ideas in his talk, a talk on abstract tiling theory, and ???.
  • Ondrej Lhotak
    • Expertise: Compilers and Optimizing them.
    • Past work with us: He was on an ACM team back when we did them we think.
  • Gord Cormack
    • Expertise: Spam filtering, Programming languages, Curriculum
    • Past work with us: Gave a talk on spam filtering.

More professors who have done past work that I don't have the time to fill in the details for:

  • Larry Smith
  • Ian Goldberg
  • Michael Terry

UNIX/Linux/Operating Systems

  • Bill Joy
    • Location:
    • Known for his work on BSD Unix, vi and csh
    • Contact:
  • Andrew Tanenbaum
    • Location: Vrije Universiteit
    • Author of MINIX and well known for his work in the area of operating systems
    • Craig Kaplan suggests we not invite AST. Apparenlty he gave a distinguished lecture a few years ago and it wasn't very good or interesting.
    • Contact:
  • Keith Packard
  • Hans Peter Anvin
    • Location:
    • Linux kernel hacker
    • Contact

Languages: Formal and Otherwise


  • Marvin Minsky
    • Location: MIT
    • Marvin Lee Minsky (born August 9, 1927) is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of MIT's AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.
    • Contact: minsky at
    • Sent a letter in April 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet
    • Sent a followup email in Sept 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet
  • John McCarthy
    • Location: Stanford
    • John McCarthy (born September 4, 1927, in Boston, Massachusetts), is an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who received the Turing Award in 1971 for his major contributions to the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He was responsible for the coining of the term "Artificial Intelligence" in his 1955 proposal for the 1956 Dartmouth Conference and is the inventor of the Lisp programming language.
    • Sent a letter in April 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet
    • Sent a followup email in Sept 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet
    • Contact:
  • Gerald Jay Sussman
    • Location: MIT
    • He received his S.B. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from MIT in 1968 and 1973 respectively. He has been involved in artificial intelligence research at MIT since 1964. His research has centered on understanding the problem-solving strategies used by scientists and engineers, with the goals of automating parts of the process and formalizing it to provide more effective methods of science and engineering education.
    • Visited in S10. j3parker headed up the effort.
  • Geoffrey E. Hinton
    • Location: UofT
    • Hinton graduated from Cambridge in 1970, with a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology, and from Edinburgh in 1978, with a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence. He has worked at Sussex, UCSD, Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon University and University College London. He was the founding director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London, and is currently a professor in the computer science department at the University of Toronto. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning. He is the director of the program on "Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception" which is funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
    • Currently working on Restricted Boltzman Machines which are just FUCKING AWESOME!!!
    • Visited in W10. ebering headed up the effort.


  • Scott McCloud
    • Location: ??
    • Cartoonist, Artist, and Digital Media expert. Has vast insight in the influence technology has on design, storytelling, etc. Can probably asked to make things for a more technical audience. Reccommended by Craig Kaplan.
    • Contact:

General Badassery

  • Niklaus Wirth
    • Location: ETH Zurich
    • Pioneer in the field, also developed Modula and Oberon, early terminals and workstations from circuits to userland
    • Sent a letter in April 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet


  • Douglas Hofstadter
    • Location: Indiana University
    • Douglas Richard Hofstadter (born February 15, 1945 in New York, New York) is an American academic whose research focuses on consciousness, thinking and creativity. He is best known for Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, first published in 1979, for which he was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. [1]
    • We have asked Hofstadter in Fall 2008, but he was busy
    • Sent a letter in April 2009 by Edgar Bering, no reply yet
    • Contact:
  • Cory Doctorow
    • Location:
    • Co-editor of Boing Boing
    • Contact:
  • Ron Rivest
    • Location:
    • Helped create the RSA scheme, also helped write the CLRS book
    • Contact:
  • Phillipe Khan
    • Location:
    • Founded Borland in the 1980s, helped develop several successful languages and products (also inveted camera phone)
    • Contact: