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2007/08 Conference Cycle

Informatics engineers within world engineering

María Jesús Prieto Laffargue, President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO).

Thursday, 5 June at 12 noon.

Assembly Hall, Building I

The speaker will address three major topics.
She will first review the key forces characterizing society in the early 21st century, with the emphasis on engineering practice. She will then focus on the peculiarities of informatics. To conclude, she will look at the internationalization and multiculturality required by computing engineers and their participation in world organizations.

María Jesús Prieto Laffargue is president elect of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)  set up in 1968 under the UNESCO umbrella.

The WFEO is an international non-governmental organization grouping engineering organizations from over 90 countries, representing some 15 million engineers all over the world. Its main function is to cooperate with national and international professional institutions to develop and apply engineering in the benefit of the whole world.

María Jesús Prieto-Laffargue, who already held the office of vice president of this world organization, was elected president last November, and will hold responsibilities at the WFEO for the next six years: two as president elect together with the Executive President Mr. Barry J. Grear (Australia); another two as executive president and a further two as "Past President". She will formally assume the presidency in Kuwait in 2009.

One of the objectives set by María Jesús Prieto Laffargue as president of the WFEO is to integrate computing in the field of world engineering.

María Jesús Prieto was born in Salamanca. She received her engineering degree in telecommunications from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and took an Advanced Management Programme at the IESE Navarra  and an Advanced Finances specialization programme at the Universidad de Navarra.

In 1985 María Jesús Prieto set up Telefónica Sistemas and participated in the consolidation of the international presence of Telefónica in Central and South America. She has been the general director of Sistelcom and director general of the Spanish National Meteorology Office. She also chaired the Spanish Institute of Engineers and the Fundación CYC (now Fundación France Telecom).

Facultad de Informática Cooperation Conference

Jaime Cervera (Director of Development Cooperation at the UPM)

Date: Thursday, 10 April 2008, 11 am

Venue: H-1002

The Cooperation Conference will take stock of the development cooperation experiences carried out at the Facultad de Informática by the TEDECO group, as well as explaining the possibilities for students to complete their final-year project in the field of development cooperation.

Jesus of Nazareth: Myth, legend or history?

Salvador Antuñano Alea

Doctor of Philosophy from the Universidad de Barcelona, Doctor of Bioethics from the Ateneo Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Tenured Professor of Humanities at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria and Director of the Master's and Doctorate Programme at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria

Date: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 12 noon
Venue: H-1002

No historical figure has been as controversial as Jesus of Nazareth: whereas as Christians worship him as God, others have questioned his very existence as a man. This lecture will address these questions through a historical and literary analysis of ancient, pagan, Christian, gnostic and Jewish sources.

SP@CE: Security & Privacy in Cyberspace

Reind van de Riet (emeritus professor, Editor for Europe: Data & Knowledge Engineering)
Free University, Holland

Wednesady, 12 February 2008, 5 to 6 pm


In Cyberspace information about individuals will be/is distributed over many computer systems of many institutions, such as Civil Administration, Banks, Insurance companies, Hospitals. These institutions talk to each other about these individuals and Security and Privacy problems are becoming very important. In the seminar we will sketch a framework in which research in this area has been done by our group in Amsterdam, in cooperation with colleagues in Rand University in Johannesburg, South Africa and Ben Gurion University in Ber Sheba, Israel.

In this framework the individual will be represented as an ALTER-EGO, i.e. an agent, which as object is represented in a distributed fashion in these computer systems, but is also active and is able to make decisions about requests concerning disclosure of certain private information. The purpose for which this information is needed is taken into account. This purpose can be derived from Work Flow specifications, according to which tasks are performed by employees in these institutions. So also Work Flow specifications will be discussed, in particular the language/system COLOR-X, designed and implemented in our group. In this system one can specify static and dynamic behaviour of objects (like alter-egos and employees). The behavioural part of this system makes use of a Linguistic Tool:WordNet, which makes it possible to not only check the syntactic structure, but the semantic structure of the specifications as well.

The implementations are all done using Mokum, which is an object-oriented system, in which the objects resemble employees who communicate with each other, store things in data bases, make decisions about insurance claims, etc. Mokum is implemented in Prolog. Extensions in the form of a language FBML, for defining the behaviour of these agents, representing Alter-ego s, acting like Fire Balls, which are able to reason about privacy rules, will bediscussed where the Internet functions as communication medium, provided with a PKI (public key infrastructure).

Reind Pieter van de Riet (1939) was since 1970 professor in Computer Scienceat the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam; he retired as of August 2000. He founded the Computer Science Department at the Vrije Universiteit, the Dutch Foundation for Research in Computer Science (SION) and the Research School.

His research areas are: Databases and Knowledge bases; the use of Linguistics; Security and Privacy problems; Computational Auditing. He was Conference Chairman of several conferences, to note : VLDB98. He still is Editor for Europe of Data and Knowledge Engineering (Elsevier). Since 1965 member of ACM. He is an active church organist and member of the KNOV.

He wrote 4 books, edited 6 books and published over 120 papers in journals and conference proceedings.

Financial channels and instruments promoting the transfer of research results

Juan Carlos Fernández (Director of Promotion, Studies and Corporate Services, CDTI)

Tuesday, 11 December, 4.30 pm

Seminar Room 1002 (Building I)

This talk will address the channels for transferring research results from universities and research centres to the private sector. Also, we will deal with the sources of public and private funding promoting this technology transfer, including the latest options recently implemented by organizations like the European Investment Fund and CDTI. Finally, this will be illustrated by means of specific examples and videos of public and private partnerships and businesses set up by higher education institutions.

Juan Carlos Fernández received his BEng in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, BA in Finance from the University of London and his MBA from the Instituto de Empresa de Madrid. He began his professional career in 1987 in the integrated circuits industry, working for AT&T Microelectrónica as head of the manufacturing costs control department.

In 1991 he joined the Centre for Industrial Technology Development (CDTI), an institution where he has held several national and international offices. He has led the Technology Transfer Department and the International Cooperation Department. He was the Spanish representative of the Innovation and SMEs Programme. part of the European Union R&D Framework Programme and led the Iberoeka initiative. Since 2001, he has been the Director of Promotion, Studies and Corporate Services, and, in this capacity, has set up the NEOTEC Technology Businesses Start-up Initiative and the NEOTEC Venture Capital Programme.

Juan Carlos Fernández lectures for the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid's business administration postgraduate programme.


Software development technologies: challenges for ground-breaking research

Juan José Moreno Navarro (IMDEA-Software, Facultad de Informática-UPM)

Wednesday, 14 November, 11 am
Assembly Hall
Madrid Science Week 2007

A didactic overview of some of the current software development technology research challenges, including the most representative industrial projects and products addressing these challenges.

Organized by IMDEA - Software (Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados en Tecnologías de Desarrollo Software).

Formal Cryptography Tests Using Game Sequences

Gilles Barthe (INRIA)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 4 pm
Seminar Room 1005

Building a test to check that a cryptographic system is secure is an inherently creative and complex field; however, there is no real reason why verification should be. In face of the increased complexity (and quantity) of generated tests and with the aim of improving verification, some cryptographers have suggested structuring tests as game sequences. A typical test starts with an initial game where a challenger faces an adversary and the probability of the adversary winning is related to the likelihood of the proposed system security property being violated. This initial game is gradually transformed, retaining (or increasing) the likelihood of the adversary winning, until a game is reached where this likelihood can be bounded. The main advantage of this method lies in the fact that as games are represented as probabilistic programs, some transformations match up with program optimizations that have been thoroughly researched in the compilers field, whereas program statement and correctness testing can be more easily mechanized in other cases. In this lecture we will briefly describe a framework, within the Coq proof assistant, for building and verifying game-based cryptographic tests.

How does the google infrastructure work?

Ana Ulin, Miguel García, Hugo G. Fierro, Pedro J. Moreno, Roger Trias i Sanz

Mondey, 12 November, 12:30 pm
Assembly Hall, Building I

Google Tech Talk link (for Google updates and to find out when Google will be visiting the School of Computing).

In this talk, Google engineers introduce different Google products and explain their development infrastructures. From the servers that navigate the network in search of information, through the computer centres with thousands of servers for developing fault-tolerant programmes capable of providing a service to millions of users, to the databases that store all the information.

The talk goes on to describe the Google engineering culture and job opportunities at the European engineering centres. The presentation ends with a question and answer session open to all students.


Integration of phonetic information in voice recognition with Markov chains

Dr. Guillaume Gravier

IRISA, Rennes, France

Date: Tuesday, 6 November 2007, 11 am
Venue: Seminar Room 1002

We present and discuss a method for combining the benefits of Markov chain-based speech recognition with the advantages of other methods based on phonetic rules. We show an algorithm based on the use of phonetic information to aid the best-path search using the Viterbi algorithm. In the second part of the talk, we show the results of automatic phonetic events detection.

This lecture is part of the Advanced Research Seminars programme
Free choice credit transfer.

Blue Brain Project Presentation

Henry Markram

Wednesday, 3 October, 12.30 pm
Seminar Room 1002

The Blue Brain project, similar in scope to the Genome Project, is the first exhaustive attempt to reverse engineer the mammalian brain through detailed simulations to understand its working and dysfunctions. This way we could explore solutions to mental health problems and currently untreatable neurological diseases.

In July 2005, at the proposal of Henry Markram, L'École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and IBM announced the initiative to use the Blue Gene supercomputer to set up a detailed functional model of the brain.

The project is now being launched on a worldwide scale, and Spain is one of the first members, thereby opening up an immense field of investigation to Spanish researchers.

Developing a master dissertation

Alfredo Guerra Hernández

Friday, 28 September 2007, 1 pm
Seminar Room 1005

The talk will address the following topics:

  1. Dissertation project
  2. Research problem. Hypothesis
  3. Research method
  4. Writing the disseration

Alfredo Guerra Hernández is an expert in postgraduate education in Cuba and Latin America. He currently holds the following offices:


Research Directions in Service-Oriented Computing

Prof. Michael P. Papazoglou

Department of Computer Science / INFOLAB (University of Tilburg, The Netherlands )

Friday, 28 September 2007, 12 pm
Seminar Room 1002

The subject of Service Oriented Computing is vast and enormously complex, spanning many concepts and technologies that find their origins in diverse disciplines that are woven together in an intricate manner. In addition, there is a need to merge technology with an understanding of business processes and organizational structures, a combination of recognizing an enterprise's pain points and the potential solutions that can be applied to correct them. The material in research spans an immense and diverse spectrum of literature, in origin and in character. As a result research activities are very fragmented. This necessitates that a broader vision and perspective be established - one that permeates and transforms the fundamental requirements of complex applications that require the use of the Service-Oriented Computing paradigm.
This talk provides a Service-Oriented Computing Roadmap and places on-going research activities and projects in the broader context of this roadmap. This research roadmap launches four pivotal, inherently related, research themes to Service- Oriented Computing: service foundations, service composition, service management and monitoring and service-oriented engineering.

Short bio:
Michael P. Papazoglou holds the chair of Computer Science and is director of the INFOLAB at the Univ. of Tilburg in the Netherlands. He is also a honorary professor at the University of Trento in Italy. He is/was affiliated with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, the Australian National University, the University of Koblenz, Germany, Fern Universitaet Hagen, Germany, and the National German Research Centre for Computer Science (GMD) in St. Augustin.
Papazoglou serves on several international committees and on the editorial board of nine international scientific journals and is co-editor in charge of the MIT book series on Information Systems. He has chaired numerous well-known international scientific conferences in Computer Science. These include the International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE), International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL), International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS), International Conference on Entity/Relationship Modelling and others. He is the founder of the International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS) and more recently of the International Conference on Service Oriented Computing (ICSOC). Papazoglou has authored or edited 15 books and well over 150 scientific journal articles and refereed conference papers. His research was/is funded by the European Commission, the Australian Research Council, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and Departments of Science and Technology in Europe and Australia. He is a golden core member and a distinguished visitor of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Science section. His latest two books published by J. Willey and Prentice Hall are about E-Business integrations and Web services, respectively.

On the Design of Generic Static Analyzers for Modern Imperative Languages

Roberto Bagnara

Associate Professor
Computer Science Group
Department of Mathematics
University of Parma, Italy

Thursday, 27 September 2007, 12.30 pm
Lecture Theatre 3102


The design and implementation of precise static analyzers for significant fragments of modern imperative languages like C, C++, Java and Python is a challenging problem. Here we consider a core imperative language that has several features found in mainstream languages such as those including recursive functions, run-time system and user-defined exceptions, and a realistic data and memory model. For this language we provide a concrete semantics characterizing both finite and infinite computations and a generic abstract semantics that we prove sound with respect to the concrete one. We say the abstract semantics is generic since it is designed to be completely parametric on the analysis domains: in particular, it provides support for relational domains (i.e. abstract domains that can capture the relationships between different data objects). We also sketch how the proposed methodology can be extended to accommodate a larger language that includes pointers, compound data objects and non-structured control flow mechanisms. The approach, which is based on structured, big-step operational semantics and on abstract interpretation, is modular in that the overall static analyzer is naturally partitioned into components with clearly identified responsibilities and interfaces, something that greatly simplifies both the proof of correctness and the implementation.