Erdos and Ghamari Win Inaugural Hariri Science Day Awards

On March 23rd, Boston University held the BU Science Day 2011 Symposium, with participation from over 180 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Out of a total of 60 considered, two posters were selected for the inaugural Hariri BU Science Day Awards,  exemplifying the power from adopting a computational approach in science and engineering.

  • Dora Erdos won the Hariri Award for Innovative Computing Models, Algorithms, and Systems for her work entitled “The Filter-Placement Problem and its Application to Content De-Duplication”. Dora is a graduate student in the Computer Science Department working under the supervision of Professor Evimaria Terzi.
  • Roza Ghamari won The Hariri Award forTransformative Computational Science Research for her work entitled “DNA Computation Using Combinational Logic Design Methodologies”. Roza is a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department working under the supervision of Professor Douglas Densmore.

The titles and abstracts of (and links to) the winning posters are included below.

The Filter-Placement Problem and its Application to Content De-Duplication

Dora Erdos, Vatche Ishakian, Andrei Lapets, Azer Bestavros, and Evimaria Terzi
Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University

In many networks, (e.g., RSS feeds, blogs, sensor networks, ad-hoc networks)  nodes blindly relay information they receive to neighbors. This uncoordinated data dissemination often results in significant, yet unnecessary, communication and processing overheads and reduce the utility of the network. To alleviate the negative impacts of information multiplicity, we propose that a subset of nodes (selected at key positions in the network) carry out additional information de-duplication functionality.  We refer to such nodes as filters. We formally define the Filter Placement problem as a combinatorial optimization problem, and study its computational complexity for different types of graphs. We also present polynomial-time approximation algorithms for the problem. Our experimental results indicate that less than a handful of filters are enough to alleviate more than 95% of the redundant information.

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DNA Computation Using Combinational Logic Design Methodologies

Roza Ghamari1, Swapnil P. Bhatia1, Christopher A. Voigt2, Douglas M. Densmore1
Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University
2Dept of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California – San Francisco, CA

In the field of Synthetic Biology scientists study the methods to modify the structure of organisms to be able to have specific functions.  This can be achieved by making changes in the DNA structure of that organism, so that the protein generation patterns change based on different elements that are sensed by the bacteria. This relatively new field combines biological sciences with engineering, with the ultimate goal of being able to design and build engineered biological systems. The main goal of this project is to examine design processes that use the abstraction of logic gates to design genetic regulatory networks. These networks will process information for bio-remediation, bio-therapeutic, and bio-sensing applications. Indeed, to handle complex system designs in silicon we utilize software tools from computer aided design with high level description languages and simulate the behavior of design. Here, the goal is to tie this work with design flows that exist for electronics.

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