Jon Kleinberg gave a talk on "Bursts, Cascades, and other Temporal Phenomena in Information Networks" in the MIT Dertouzos Lecturer Series last week. This is the second talk in a row by Cornell faculty: Dan Huttenlocher spoke on "The Computer Science of Computer Vision" in April.

"The Dertouzos Lecturer Series has been a tradition since 1976, featuring some of the most influential thinkers in computer science, including Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Donald Knuth, John McCarthy, and Mitchell Kapor", according to http://www.csail.mit.edu/index.php .

Excerpt from Dan's abstract:

It has been forty years since the first attempts to build computers that see.

In limited domains such as industrial inspection and optical character recognition, computers now not only see, they often do so more reliably than humans. Computer vision techniques have also found considerable use in areas such as digital video and computer graphics. Despite these successes, research in computer vision has focused more on formal models than on computational questions. As a result, many computer vision techniques are not efficient enough to compete with ad hoc approaches in practice.

Excerpt from Jon's abstract:

The working metaphor for the Web in its early days was that of a 'universal encyclopedia,' a repository containing vast amounts of human knowledge. More recently, our view has shifted to incorporate more dynamic forms of information and a more explicit 'time axis' -- the Web as a current-awareness medium, supporting on-line news, chat, discussion, commentary, and emerging media such as weblogs.