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Jukka Suomela
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Jukka Suomela

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Conferences next summer, from the perspective of the theory of distributed & parallel computing:

SPAA: 27–29 June 2016 · Monterey, California
http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~spaa/

ICALP: 11–15 July 2016 · Rome
http://www.easyconferences.eu/icalp2016/

SIROCCO: 19–21 July 2016 · Helsinki
http://sirocco2016.hiit.fi/

PODC: 25–28 July 2016 · Chicago
http://www.podc.org/

#parallelcomputing   #distributedcomputing   #tcs  
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Jukka Suomela

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of serving as a co-examiner in Jochen Seidel's PhD defence at ETH Zurich.

Jochen's thesis (supervised by +roger wattenhofer) studies a question related to the foundations of distributed computing that many people have been ignoring so far: what can be computed in anonymous networks (i.e., networks without unique node identifiers) with the help of randomness.

At first, this may seem like a somewhat strange setting: if we have a source of randomness, the nodes can generate random identifiers that are unique w.h.p., and then we are back to usual non-anonymous networks.

The key insight is that this does not hold if we want Las Vegas algorithms. A randomised distributed algorithm in anonymous networks cannot verify that, e.g., random identifiers are indeed globally unique. Before Jochen's work, we did not really understand what can be computed with randomised Las Vegas algorithms in anonymous networks.

To me the main result is the following characterisation: in anonymous networks, randomised Las Vegas algorithms are precisely as powerful as deterministic algorithms that have access to a distance-2 colouring. Las Vegas algorithms can find a distance-2 colouring; conversely, with a distance-2 colouring we can derandomise any Las Vegas algorithm. This is a surprising, deep, and highly nontrivial result that will hopefully soon find its way to e.g. textbooks and lecture courses related to the theory of distributed algorithms.

Congratulations to Dr. Seidel!

#distributedcomputing   #phdthesis  
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Jukka Suomela

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Distributed Algorithms @ Aalto University — course registration now open!

#aaltouniversity   #distributedcomputing   #distributedalgorithms  
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The Story of Kullervo paved the way for The Lord of the Rings and features Tolkien's 'darkest and most tragic character'
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"In Finland, everyone stands in line. Even the President."
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DISC 2015 accepted papers
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Jukka Suomela

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International geometric puzzles.

"There is a lighthouse on the Finnish side of the current border … it was built on the Swedish part of the island.

As a result, the border was adjusted in 1985 so that the lighthouse is now located on Finnish territory. The adjustment was carried out such that no net transfer of territory occurred, and the ownership of the coastline was unchanged so as not to interfere with each country's fishing rights.

This resulted in an unusual shape for the international border which satisfied both Finnish and Swedish interests."
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It will be interesting to see where Google Scholar ends up within the Alphabet reorg. Will it simply be part of the search business? Or will it be spun off as a separate entity? 
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The Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki reports that the philosopher and logician Jaakko Hintikka (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaakko_Hintikka) passed away yesterday, on 12 August 2015.

(The text is currently only in Finnish.)
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Jukka Suomela

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This was a very interesting read. I used to know a little bit about machine learning, but I haven't been really following the area that much recently. Nielsen's book gave a nice, concise update of what has happened in machine learning during the past 10 years or so — and in particular very well explained what is all the fuss about deep neural networks.

Remember to read the appendix, too!
 
The final chapter of my book on neural nets and deep learning.  The chapter develops code implementing some deep convolutional networks, and uses those networks to obtain near human performance on the MNIST digit classification problem. The chapter also takes a look at the big picture, surveying some of the recent exciting progress using deep learning to attack problems in image and speech recognition, as well other areas.  I also discuss questions such as the role of deep learning in artificial intelligence.

http://neuralnetworksanddeeplearning.com/chap6.html
In the last chapter we learned that deep neural networks are often much harder to train than shallow neural networks. That's unfortunate, since we have good reason to believe that if we could train deep nets they'd be much more powerful than shallow nets. But while the news from the last chapter ...
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We have open positions for both PhD students and postdoctoral researchers who are interested in the theory of distributed computing!

— postdocs: application deadline 31 July 2015, more information at http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/careers/jobs/view/539/

— PhD students: application deadline 6 August 2015, more information at http://www.hict.fi/admission
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Three recent papers coauthored by members of our group, to appear in DISC 2015:

— Christoph Lenzen, Joel Rybicki: “Efficient Counting with Optimal Resilience” · http://users.ics.aalto.fi/rybicki/publications/efficient-counting-2015.html

— Laurent Feuilloley, Juho Hirvonen, Jukka Suomela: “Locally Optimal Load Balancing” · http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.04511

— Jérémie Chalopin, Shantanu Das, Pawel Gawrychowski, Adrian Kosowski, Arnaud Labourel, Przemysław Uznański: “Lock-in Problem for Parallel Rotor-router Walks” · http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.3200

The "efficient counting" paper is an improvement over the paper that Joel presented yesterday at PODC 2015. In the PODC paper, we achieved a resilience that was only near-optimal (f almost linear in n). In the DISC paper, Christoph and Joel show how to achieve optimal resilience (f < n/3).

#DISC2015   #distributedcomputing   #distributedalgorithms  
Accepted Papers. Ahmed Hassan, Roberto Palmieri and Binoy Ravindran. “Transactional Interference-less Balanced Tree.” Andrea Cerone, Alexey Gotsman and Hongseok Yang. “Transaction Chopping for Parallel Snapshot Isolation.” Aras Atalar, Paul Renaud-Goud and Philippas Tsigas.
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