Fall 2016 Department Seminars

Wednesdays, 12:00-1:05 PM in Natural Sciences Annex 101

(unless otherwise noted)

Anyone needing special arrangements to accommodate a disability should call 831-459-4986 two weeks prior to the date of the seminar they wish to attend.

Courtesy reminder - turn off cell phones and please observe considerate eating habits during seminars.

    September 28, 2016

  • N. Ivalu Cacho

    "Towards an integrated view of evolutionary ecology of edaphic specialization"

    Host: Kathleen Kay

  • October 5, 2016

  • John Banks

    "Population models for the protection of ecosystem services"

    Host: Ingrid Parker

  • October 12, 2016

  • Mike Boots

    "Infectious disease in conservation and as drivers of diversity through coevolution"

    Host: Marm Kilpatrick

  • October 19, 2016

  • Manfred Warmuth

    "The blessing and the curse of the multiplicative updates - connections between evolution and the multiplicative updates of online learning"

    Abstract: Multiplicative updates multiply the parameters by nonnegative factors. These updates are motivated by a Maximum Entropy Principle and they are prevalent in evolutionary processes where the parameters are for example concentrations of species and the factors are survival rates. The simplest such update is Bayes rule and we give an in vitro selection algorithm for RNA strands that implements this rule in the test tube where each RNA strand represents a different model. In one liter of the RNA soup there are approximately 10^20 different strands and therefore this is a rather high-dimensional implementation of Bayes rule.

    We investigate multiplicative updates for the purpose of learning online while processing a stream of examples. The "blessing" of these updates is that they learn very fast in the short term because the good parameters grow exponentially. However their "curse" is that they learn too fast and wipe out parameters too quickly. This can have a negative effect in the long term. We describe a number of methods developed in the realm of online learning that ameliorate the curse of the multiplicative updates. The methods make the algorithm robust against data that changes over time and prevent the currently good parameters from taking over. We also discuss how the curse is circumvented by nature. Surprisingly, some of nature's methods parallel the ones developed in Machine Learning, but nature also has some additional tricks. This will be a high level talk. No background in online learning will be required. 

    Host: Barry Sinervo

  • October 26, 2016

  • David Vasseur

    "Integrating variability into community ecological models yields new insight into patterns and processes"

    Host: Kristy Kroeker

  • November 2, 2016

  • Danielle Edwards

    "Visual signals, adaptive evolution & the speciation continuum"

    Host: Suzanne Alonzo

  • November 9, 2016

  • Jennifer Sunday

    "A macroecological lens on climate change responses"

    Host: Kristy Kroeker

  • November 16, 2016

  • Bruce MacFadden

    "Fossil Horses: Icons of Evolution & Exhibits"

    Host: Beth Shapiro

  • November 23, 2016

  • No seminar (day before Thanksgiving)

  • November 30, 2016

  • Louis Bernatchez

    "On the maintenance of adaptive potential in the face of environmental change: Considerations from population genomics in fishes"

    Host: Giacomo Bernardi

  • December 7, 2016

  • No seminar (last day of finals week)