Wednesday, May 2, 12:00 noon in Frist Multipurpose Room B
Modeling the Past: An Archeological Dig in Polis, Cyprus
Joanna Smith, William Childs, Szymon Rusinkiewicz
Over 2000 years of civilization has been documented by the Princeton University excavations directed by William Childs at Polis Chrysochous, in northwest Cyprus. The modern village lies over the ancient city of Arsinoe (c. 270s BCE – 1400s CE) and the even older city-kingdom of Marion (founded by c. 800 BCE). In preparation for the exhibition, City of Gold: Tomb and Temple in Ancient Cyprus, to run in the Princeton University Art Museum from October 20, 2012 to January 20, 2013, two students used 3-D scanners in the summer of 2011 to document architectural and sculptural material. Those scans then populated of 3-D reconstructions created by students in a cross-listed Computer Science / Art & Archaeology / Hellenic Studies course taught by Szymon Rusinkiewicz and Joanna Smith. Their subjects were an Archaic sanctuary, a Classical temple, a large Hellenistic building, and a Late Antique Basilica found in the excavations. They conducted research into appropriate visual metaphors for conveying uncertainty and change in these 3-D visualizations. Their final projects will contribute to a short (5-minute) computer-animated movie for the exhibition focused on evolution of the buildings, spatial relationships and sightlines, building materials, and different reconstructions consistent with the excavations.
About the speakers:
William A. P. Childs is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University; he began the Princeton Cyprus Expedition in 1983 and is director of the project (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Szymon Rusinkiewicz is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University; he began working with the Princeton Cyprus Expedition in 2010; (email@example.com)
Joanna S. Smith is an Associate Professional Specialist in the Department of Art and Archaeology and a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University; she began working with the Princeton Cyprus Expedition in 1988 and is Assistant Director of the project (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Says Princeton Computer Science professor Brian Kernighan: “As calculators and computers have become steadily more powerful, they have buried us in an avalanche of numbers and graphs and charts, many of which claim to present the truth about important issues. But at the same time, our personal facility with numbers has diminished, often leaving us at the mercy of quantitative reasoning and presentation that is sometimes wrong and often not disinterested.”
For the past ten years, Dr. Kernighan has been teaching a course that satisfies “QR”, Princeton’s dreaded Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Increasingly, he has come to view a significant part of the QR component as basic numeric self-defense: assessing the numbers presented by other people, and producing sensible numbers of one’s own.
Imagine a computer that made direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena. Such a machine would likely operate exponentially faster than our present computers. Zahid Hasan is leading an international scientific collaboration that has observed an exciting and strange behavior in electrons’ spin within a new material that could be harnessed to transform computing and electronics. The team believes that the discovery is an advance in the fundamental physics of quantum systems and could lead to significant progress in electronics, computing and information science.
The team has been searching for a material whose atoms, when placed in certain configurations, would trigger electrons to produce exotic “quantum” effects. In the Feb. 13 issue of Science, the team reported that the quantum Hall effect, a phenomena in condensed-matter physics, can occur within a carefully constructed crystal made of an antimony alloy laced with bismuth. The behavior involves a strange form of rotation that could potentially transform computing and storage.
Imagine trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle without knowing the number of pieces or even what the final image might look like.
The archaeological site of Akrotiri on the small, volcanic island of
Thera (modern-day Santorini, Greece) has yielded an unparalleled trove of artifacts and information from the prehistoric Aegean. The ancient trading civilization was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, which buried the remains of a flourishing Late Bronze Age (c. 1630 B.C.) settlement in ash. Among the most significant finds are numerous wall paintings, ranging from every day scenes and coming-of-age rituals to abstract motifs. However, these paintings are recovered as thousands of plaster fragments, and reassembling them consumes a substantial portion of the effort expended at Akrotiri.
How did three distinguished women in research computing overcome political and societal obstacles? How have they dealt with the different work/life expectations that our society places on women? Do they see progress toward equaling the playing field?
On March 25, three prominent members of the faculty at the University joined moderator Betty Leydon, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO to discuss their use of Princeton’s high-performance computing facilities and a range of varied issues, from the challenges of performing research in a male-dominated field to the importance of mentorship.