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December 2018

Large girth approximate Steiner triple systems

December 14, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Lutz Warnke (Georgia Institute of Technology)

E18-304

Abstract: In 1973 Erdos asked whether there are n-vertex partial Steiner triple systems with arbitrary high girth and quadratically many triples. (Here girth is defined as the smallest integer g \ge 4 for which some g-element vertex-set contains at least g-2 triples.) We answer this question, by showing existence of approximate Steiner triple systems with arbitrary high girth. More concretely, for any fixed \ell \ge 4 we show that a natural constrained random process typically produces a partial Steiner triple…

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SES PhD Admissions Info Session

December 12, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Ali Jadbabaie (MIT)

E18-411

Learn about admission to the Social and Engineering Systems Doctoral Program. Info session is hosted by a member of the IDSS faculty and an SES student, who introduce the program and answer your questions. See the flier or our website for more information.

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Naomi E. Leonard

December 10, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Naomi E. Leonard (Princeton University)

32-155

Title Talk: Symmetry, Bifurcation, and Multi-Agent Decision-Making Speaker: Naomi E. Leonard Affiliation: Princeton University Abstract: Prof. Leonard will present nonlinear dynamics for distributed decision-making that derive from principles of symmetry and bifurcation. Inspired by studies of animal groups, including house-hunting honeybees and schooling fish, the nonlinear dynamics describe a group of interacting agents that can manage flexibility as well as stability in response to a changing environment. Bio: Prof. Naomi Ehrich Leonard is Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and…

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Reducibility and Computational Lower Bounds for Some High-dimensional Statistics Problems

December 7, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Guy Bresler (MIT)

E18-304

Abstract: The prototypical high-dimensional statistics problem entails finding a structured signal in noise. Many of these problems exhibit an intriguing phenomenon: the amount of data needed by all known computationally efficient algorithms far exceeds what is needed for inefficient algorithms that search over all possible structures. A line of work initiated by Berthet and Rigollet in 2013 has aimed to explain these gaps by reducing from conjecturally hard problems in computer science. However, the delicate nature of average-case reductions has…

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SES PhD Admissions Webinar

December 6, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Ali Jadbabaie (MIT)

online

Learn about admission to the Social and Engineering Systems Doctoral Program. Webinars are led by a member of the IDSS faculty, who introduces the program and answers your questions. Please register in advance. SES Webinar Flier.

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The Opportunity Atlas: Mapping the Childhood Roots of Social Mobility

December 3, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Raj Chetty (Harvard University)

32-155

Abstract: We construct a publicly available atlas of children’s outcomes in adulthood by Census tract using anonymized longitudinal data covering nearly the entire U.S. population. For each tract, we estimate children’s earnings distributions, incarceration rates, and other outcomes in adulthood by parental income, race, and gender. These estimates allow us to trace the roots of outcomes such as poverty and incarceration back to the neighborhoods in which children grew up. We find that children’s outcomes vary sharply across nearby areas: for children of parents at…

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November 2018

Bias Reduction and Asymptotic Efficiency in Estimation of Smooth Functionals of High-Dimensional Covariance

November 30, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Vladimir Koltchinskii (Georgia Institute of Technology)

E18-304

Abstract: We discuss a recent approach to bias reduction in a problem of estimation of smooth functionals of high-dimensional parameters of statistical models. In particular, this approach has been developed in the case of estimation of functionals of covariance operator Σ : Rd → Rd of the form f(Σ), B based on n i.i.d. observations X1, . . . , Xn sampled from the normal distribution with mean zero and covariance Σ, f : R → R being a sufficiently…

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IDSS Science Speed Dating Event

November 29, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

E18-304

Join IDSS faculty, postdocs, and graduate students for the first IDSS Science Speed Dating Event on Thursday, November 29. The purpose of this event is to help the participants to expand their network, find new research partners, and strengthen the IDSS community. The event includes lunch. To register for the IDSS Science Speed Dating Event, please sign up here. Please contact Doro Unger-Lee at dor@mit.edu with any questions you may have about this event.

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Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall

November 27, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Margaret Roberts (UC San Diego)

32-141

Abstract: As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be ineffective because they are easily thwarted and evaded by savvy Internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese Internet and leaks from China's Propaganda Department, this book sheds light on how and when censorship influences the Chinese…

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SES PhD Admissions Webinar

November 27, 2018 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Ali Jadbabaie (MIT)

online

Learn about admission to the Social and Engineering Systems Doctoral Program. Webinars are led by a member of the IDSS faculty, who introduces the program and answers your questions. Please register in advance. SES Webinar Flier.

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