Software Engineering Speakers at Cogswell College


Capturing and Transforming Surface Reflectance: Imaging the Antikythera Mechanism

Speaker: Tom Malzbender, Research Staff Member, HP Laboratories

Developing and Programming a Brain-Inspired Neuromorphic Chip

Speaker: Dr. Arnon Amir, Research Staff Member, IBM Research

Comparing Humans to Automation in Rating Photographic Aesthetics

Speaker: Dr. Ramakrishna Kakarala


“User Exploration of Search Space using Tradeoffs”

Zachi Baharav, David Gladstein
Human-Computer Interaction conference (HCI-17th), Los Angeles, CA, August 2-7, 2015 [ PDF ]

“Hygame: Teaching Haskell Using Games”

Zachi Baharav, David Gladstein
Trends in Functional Programming (TFP2015), Inria, Sophia Antipolis, France, June 3-5, 2015 [ PDF ]

“3D Barcodes: Theoretical Aspects and Practical Implementation”

David Gladstein, Ram Kakarala, and Zachi Baharav
IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging, San Francisco, CA. February 8-12, 2015 [ PDF ] [ Slides ]


Capturing and Transforming Surface Reflectance: Imaging the Antikythera Mechanism

Speaker: Tom Malzbender, Research Staff Member, HP Labratories - Palo Alto

Using advanced reflectance imaging methods developed at HP Labs, we have conducted an in depth examination of the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanism. Furthering our understanding of this computer from a different era.

In 1900, a party of sponge divers chanced on the wreck of a Roman merchant vessel between Crete and mainland Greece. It was found to contain numerous ancient Greek treasures, among them a mysterious lump of clay that split open to reveal 'mathematical gears' as it dried out. This object is now known as the Antikythera Mechanism, one of the most enlightening artifacts in terms of revealing the advanced nature of ancient Greek science and technology.

Tom MalzbenderIn 2005 we traveled to the National Archeological Museum in Athens to apply our reflectance imaging methods to the mechanism for the purpose of revealing ancient writing on the device. These methods capture surface appearance and transform reflectance properties to allow subtle surface shape to be seen that is otherwise difficult to perceive. We were successful, and along with the results of Microfocus CT imaging, epigraphers were able to decipher 3000 characters compared with the original 800 known. This led to an understanding that the device was a mechanical, astronomical computer, built around 150 B.C.E. and capable of predicting solar and lunar eclipses. This talk will overview the reflectance imaging methods as well as what they reveal about the Antikythera Mechanism.

About the Speaker: Tom Malzbender

Tom Malzbender is a researcher who recently completed a 31 year career at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, working at the interface of computer graphics, vision, imaging and signal processing. At HPL he and developed the methods of Fourier Volume Rendering, Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) and Reflectance Transformation, as well as directing the Visual Computing Department. Tom also developed the capacitive sensing technology that allowed HP to penetrate the consumer graphics tablet market. His PTM/RTI methods are used by most major museums in North America and Europe and in the fields of criminal forensics, paleontology and archaeology. He has co-chaired or served on the program comittee of over 30 conferences in computer graphics and vision. Tom now serves on the board of Cultural Heritage Imaging. More information can be found at tommalzbender (

Developing and Programming a Brain-Inspired Neuromorphic Chip

Speaker: Dr. Arnon Amir, Research Staff Member, IBM Research - Almaden

Drawing on lessons from neuroscience, we have developed the TrueNorth chip - an event-driven, core-based architecture for neurosynaptic computation. The chip consists of one million integrate-and-fire neurons and 256 million synapses, grouped into 4096 inter-connected neurosynaptic cores. This fully programmable neuromorphic chip consumes only 65mW of power and delivers high performance of 46 Giga-Synaptic OPS/Watt.

Arnon AmirTo program this non Von-Neumann substrate we develop the Corelet Programming paradigm - a hierarchical composition language and its development environment. The new chip and programming language enable the development and deployment of a broad range of cognitive applications. The talk will provide an overview of the project and several examples of applications.

About the Speaker: Arnon Amir

Arnon Amir is a research staff member in the Brain-Inspired Computing group at IBM Research - Almaden, where he develops the corelet programming paradigm. He received his BSc in electrical and computer engineering from the Ben Gurion University, Israel, in 1989, and his MSc and DSc in computer science from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, in 1992 and 1997, respectively. Since joining IBM Almaden in 1997 Dr. Amir has co-authored more than 70 technical papers and 20 issued patents in a number of projects including cognitive computing, eye-gaze tracking, speech and video retrieval, and the EMMY-awarded Linear Tape File System (LTFS).

Comparing Humans to Automation in Rating Photographic Aesthetics

Ramakrishna KakaralaSpeaker: Dr. Ramakrishna Kakarala

The aesthetic appeal of a photograph lies in whatever aspects it has that many people would agree is pleasing and beautiful. There is now enough data to build statistical models of photographic aesthetics, which in turn has led to algorithms that are capable of rating aesthetic appeal in a way that can correlate well with human ratings.

However, the field of automated photographic rating is just beginning. In this talk, I will review the status of automated rating systems, and propose methodologies for carefully comparing human ratings to those provided by computers.

About the Speaker:Ramakrishna Kakarala

Ramakrishna Kakarala has worked in both academia and industry, most recently as an Associate Professor at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Prior to joining NTU, he spent 8 years at Agilent Laboratories in Palo Alto, and at Avago Technologies in San Jose. He received the Ph.D. in Mathematics at UC Irvine, after completing a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan. Two of his students have recently won awards: the BAE Systems award at EI 2012, and the Best Student Paper award at ICIP 2013. He enjoys photography, though he is yet to learn to do it well.