Spring 2011

To Infinity and Beyond

Dr. Bob Cook
Chair of the Computer Science Department
Georgia Southern University

Hosting Dept: Department of Mathematics and computer Science


Abstract:  The talk provides an inside look at a NASA Shuttle launch then reviews some of the technical challenges of establishing human habitats on the Moon and Mars. The importance of those missions to life on Earth is argued. Finally, some opportunities to be a pioneer in a modern world are presented.

Prof. Robert Cook has served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University as well as Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, and Mississippi. He is currently the Yamacraw Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Southern University. He has been employed at Microsoft in the position of Software Architect, worked as an ASEE Fellow at the Kennedy Space Center, has written over 500,000 lines of code, and has authored six e-books on computer science topics. He is also the LEGO outreach guru.



Thursday, January 20, 2011 4pm


Prospective memory performance and very mild dementia: A signature decline.

Dr. Jennifer Breneiser
Department of Psychology & Counseling
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Psychology & Counseling


Abstract:  Previous research has found one specific kind of prospective memory (PM) task, commonly called focal PM, to be sensitive to early stages of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) (Ducheck, Balota, & Cortese, 2006). The present study aimed to examine both focal and non-focal PM performance, as well as examining the influences of alleles of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. The present study found AD-related decline to be greater for focal PM performance, relative to non-focal PM performance. This suggests that spontaneous retrieval processes may be compromised in early AD. Additionally, focal PM performance was sensitive to the differences between early stages of AD, relative to normal aging. APOE status, however, was not associated with PM performance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011 4pm


Enthalpy-Entropy Compensation in Biological and Chemical Processes

Dr. Jonghoon Kang
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Thermodynamics is a field of physics that studies energy and its transformation. Since the beginning of the subject thermodynamics has contributed to diverse natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology as well as engineering. In this presentation I will introduce the basic principles of thermodynamics from the perspective of biology such as equilibrium constant, Gibbs free energy, enthalpy, and entropy. In the second part I will present my recent research on enthalpy-entropy compensation.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 4pm

Is there life on other planets?

Dr. Cecilia Barnbaum
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences


Abstract:  Certainly there is what we call "life" on Earth. But is that the only kind of life possible in this great universe? Will we recognize it when we see it? This evening we will discuss the nature of life, the prospects for finding it elsewhere in the Solar System, and on planets of other stars in the Milky Way. Are there aliens among us? A resounding "no."

Thursday, February 10, 2011 4pm


Pistils, Pollen, Ploidy and Plants: Ornamental Breeding at the UGA Tifton Campus

Dr. John M. Ruter
University of Georgia

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  New plants drive the ornamental nursery industry. The Tifton Campus of the University of Georgia is situated in south central Georgia, approximately 65 miles north of the Florida state line. According to the USDA hardiness zone map, Tifton is located in USDA 8a. The mean temperature of our coldest month is 10.0C, and the lowest temperature I have seen since coming to Tifton is -10.6C. The mean temperature of our warmest month is 27.2C and we regularly have 90 to 100 days per year with temperatures at or above 32.2C.

Prior to taking my current position there had never been a ornamental horticulture researcher in south Georgia. Many plant recommendations were based on observations from north Georgia, not the Coastal Plain. As differences in soil types, chilling hours, and numerous other environmental variables exist within the state, it became imperative that plant material needed to be developed and evaluated under south Georgia conditions. I will discuss some of my recent plant releases along with current breeding and selection efforts.

Thursday, February 17, 2011 4pm


Using Insect Systems to Study How Organisms Interact with Beneficial and Harmful Microbes

Dr. Nicole Gerardo
Department of Biology
Emory University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Microbial communities within animals greatly influence their hosts' ecology and evolution. These diverse microbial associates consist of commensals, pathogens and mutualists. In such systems, hosts would benefit substantially if they could selectively recognize and accept beneficial microbes while still being able to avoid or attenuate infection by microbial pathogens. Insect hosts provide an excellent opportunity to explore this dilemma, as, like humans, a single insect may often be associated with both mutualists and pathogens, but unlike humans, insect-microbe relationships have the advantage of being easily experimentally manipulated. In addition, many insect species have ancient associations with beneficial bacterial symbionts, which persist inside hosts for generations, allowing us to explore the evolutionary maintenance of microbial associations. I will overview several insect systems that our laboratory utilizes to explore ecological, physiological, behavioral and molecular responses of hosts to acquisition of diverse microbial associates.

Thursday, February 24, 2011 4pm

Impacts of predators on estuarine foundation species across environmental gradients

Dr. David Kimbro
Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory Florida State University

Hosting Dept: Biology

Thursday, March 3, 2011 4pm

Georgia’s Bioscience Industry: Potential for Growth

Charles Craig
Georgia Bio President

Hosting Dept: Biology

Thursday, March 10, 2011 4pm

Spring Break

Thursday, March 17, 2011 4pm

Scientific Workflow Integration for Services Computing

Dr. Cui Lin
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Department of Mathematics & Computer Science


Abstract:  As the demands of “data deluge” in today’s scientific research, scientific workflows have recently emerged as a new paradigm for scientists to integrate and orchestrate a wide range of analytical tools into complex scientific processes to accelerate scientific discoveries. A scientific workflow is a formal specification of a scientific process, which represents and automates the steps from dataset selection and integration, computation and analysis, to final data presentation and visualization. A scientific workflow management system (SWFMS) is a system that supports the specification, scheduling and execution of a scientific workflow in distributed and heterogeneous computing environments, such as high performance clusters, grid and cloud computing environments.
The talk provides an integrated solution to composing, scheduling, executing and developing scientific workflows and scientific workflow management systems: To provide a foundation for developing a scientific workflow management system, our proposed reference architecture of SWFMS will be introduced. Such an architecture has been widely accepted by scientific workflow community (cited by Wikipedia); To integrate heterogeneous services and applications into workflows, a task template model, a task run model, and their supporting language, TSL and TRDL, will be introduced to provide an appropriate abstraction of heterogeneous services and application at both design time and run time; To schedule workflows in Cloud computing environment, we proposed two workflow scheduling algorithms, the SHEFT algorithm and the SCPOR algorithm, to prioritize tasks in a workflow, map tasks onto suitable resources, and order the execution of tasks on the assigned resources, so that the workflow makespan can be minimized. Our extensive experiments showed that our proposed algorithms not only outperform other algorithms for data-intensive and compute-intensive workflows, but also allow the assigned resources elastically change on demand of the scalability of workflows. Finally, our developed VIEW scientific workflow management system and a VIEW based workflow application system, the FiberFlow system, validate our architectures, models, languages and algorithms.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 4pm

Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Applications Beyond a Hospital

Dr. Johannes Leisen
Georgia Institute of Technology

Hosting Dept: Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences


Abstract:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is best known for its clinical use, where it is a powerful method to noninvasively differentiate between different types of soft tissue. However the use of this method is by far not limited as a diagnostic tool. Applications range from pre-clinical medicine over psychology to chemical engineering and material science. Responsible for this broad applicability is the great variety of MRI contrast parameters, which can be related to relevant physical properties. A brief introduction into the physical principles of the MRI experiment and its contrast parameters will be given. MRI studies of fibrous substrates will be used as an example demonstrating how a carefully designed MRI experiment is able to measure the following properties: sample shapes, fluid-distribution, fluid/vapor-transport and fluid-substrate binding.

This seminar will be held in the Library Auditorium (First Floor; room 1160)

Thursday, March 31, 2011 4pm

Monte Carlo Method and Buffon’s Needle Problem

Dr. Jin Wang
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Mathematics and Computer Science


Abstract:  The Monte Carlo method is a flexible and powerful computational tool in modeling and solving real world problems. Buffon’s Needle problem is a classical geometric probability question and can be used to approximate π by throwing the needle many times. We discuss the general procedure of Monte Carlo method through Buffon’s Needle problem: input modeling, computer implementation, and output analysis. We propose some efficient methods in input modeling: estimating input covariance matrix, generating financial market variables, and correcting the paradox in simulating Buffon’s needle problem.

Thursday, April 7, 2011 4pm

Get the Most from Your Multi-core Computer -- A Fundamental Turn Toward Parallelism in Software Development and Computer Science Education

Dr. Zhiguang Xu
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Mathematics and Computer Science


Abstract:  Over the past two years, every major microcomputer manufacturer has introduced processor chips with multiple, dual and quad core processors for desktops and laptops, and over a hundred cores available in some Graphics Processing Units. The arrival of multi-core chips into the computing market has created a revolution in the software industry. To benefit from increases in hardware performance, software must be parallel. This talk will provide an introduction to parallel programming with a focus on the techniques that are most appropriate for multi-core architecture and the use of parallelism to improve program performance. It will also discusses how undergraduate computer science curriculum needs to be revised in face of parallelism (and related challenges like concurrency, data sharing, and load balancing), the next revolution in mainstream software development.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 4pm

Fat and thin: regulatory mechanisms of metabolic homeostasis in Drosophila

Dr. Erik Johnson
Department of Biology
Wake Forest University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  The precise mechanisms of how organisms maintain energetic homeostasis in light of dynamic food availability remains largely unknown. We have adopted an integrative approach in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify mechanisms of how metabolic stress is perceived, and how behavior and physiology is modulated during nutrient deprivation. The significance of these studies is that the regulatory molecules and the neuroendocrine circuitry appear to be paralleled in more complex organisms, including humans.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 4pm

Last week of classes