Coast to Coast Seminar Series - Spring 2012

Coast to Coast Seminar Series

The Spring portion of the 2012 Coast to Coast Seminar Series will focus on complex networks in science and technology, for example, data communication networks, transportation networks, biological and gene regulation networks, and social networks. Complex networks appear in analysis of the Internet, social group dynamics, and animal flocking phenomena.

A common thread is the massive amount of data emanating from large-scale, complex networks and the use of computational resources for their analysis. Modeling of complex systems requires interdisciplinary knowledge, sophisticated mathematics (modelling and optimization), computational techniques, and a profound understanding of the issues and context of related problems.


Date: February 07, 2012
Ljiljana Trajkovic, School of Engineering Science
Live from:
Simon Fraser University 

Spectral Analysis and Dynamical Behavior of Complex Networks
Discovering properties of the Internet topology is important for evaluating performance of various network protocols and applications. The discovery of power-laws and the application of spectral analysis to the Internet topology data indicate a complex behavior of the underlying network infrastructure that carries a variety of the Internet applications. In this talk, we present analysis of datasets collected from the Route Views and RIPE projects. The analysis of collected data shows certain historical trends in the development of the Internet topology. While values of various power-laws exponents have not substantially changed over the recent years, spectral analysis of matrices associated with Internet graphs reveals notable changes in the clustering of Autonomous Systems and their connectivity.


Date: February 21, 2012
Speaker: Arnold Mitnitski, Dept of Medicine; Dept of Community Health and Epidemiology; Dept of Mathematics and Statistics
Live from:
Dalhousie University 

Aging in Individuals and Populations/Mathematical Modeling
Aging and its complexity, and regularities- the Gompertz law of mortality. Chronological vs. biological aging. Aging as a process of deficits accumulation. The frailty index as a proxy-measure of individual and population aging. The concept of equality of health deficits. Phenomenological invariants of aging: aging rates; sex-related differences; limit in the deficits accumulation; compensation laws of mortality and deficits accumulation. Stochastic dynamics of age trajectories. Irreversibility of chronological aging and local reversibility of biological aging. What is the law that governs changes in health during aging? Aging, health and wealth, how they are related world wide.


Date: March 06, 2012 
Bojan Mohar, Canada Research Chair in Graph Theory; Dept of Mathematics
Live from: Simon Fraser University 

Five-Colour Theorem and Beyond
In 1994, Carsten Thomassen published a beautiful simple proof confirming that every planar graph is 5-list-colourable. Another beautiful proof on a similar topic was given a few years later by Mike Albertson who proved that every precolouring of a set of vertices in a planar graph that are far apart from each other can be extended to a 5-colouring of the whole graph. After presenting these enlightening contributions, the speaker will discuss possible common generalizations of these results and report on some recent progress.


Date: March 20, 2012 
Chris Eliasmith, Dept of Philosophy; Dept of Systems Design Engineering; Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience; Director, Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience
Live from: University of Waterloo 

How to Build a Brain: From Single Cells to Cognitive Systems
How do billions of single neurons result in the complex behaviors we observe in animals and in ourselves? In this talk, I discuss my lab's approach to answering this question.  In short, we build large-scale simulations at the level of single cells, which exhibit a wide range of flexible, dynamic, and cognitive behaviors. I discuss why the principles we employ are reasonable, and describe the benefits, successes, and challenges of this research.


Date: April 03, 2012 
David Hill, Ausgrid Chair of Electrical Engineering
Live from: University of Sydney, Australia

Planning and Control of Massive Networks
The modernization of infrastructure networks requires coordinated planning and control. Considering traffic networks and electricity grids raises similar issues on how to achieve substantial new capabilities of effectiveness and efficiency. For instance, power grids need to integrate renewable energy sources and electric vehicles. It is clear that all this can only be achieved by greater reliance on systematic planning in the presence of uncertainty and sensing, communications, computing and control on an unprecedented scale, these days captured in the term ‘smart grids’. This talk will outline current research on planning future grids and control of smart grids. In particular, the possible roles of network science will be emphasized and the challenges arising.



(note Daylight Savings Time switch in March)


These talks are broadcast to participating WestGrid sites through the use of Access Grid videoconferencing technologies.

For more info, please visit the IRMACS Coast to Coast website.