I managed to make it to EPFL, Lausanne, a few months ago. EPFL has a great collection of researchers in communication/information theory, and it is always a pleasure to visit:
- I discussed with Jean-Pierre Hubaux and Nevena Vratonjic about privacy and security in online advertising. They have a paper that studies the following question. ISPs can (a) cooperate with ad networks with direct traffic as usual, or (b) modify the traffic on the fly such that can divert part of the online advertising revenue for themselves. If this diversion becomes material, ad networks can secure the connection so ISPs can not divert the traffic. The paper studies the game theory between ISPs and ad networks and figures out the various equilibria.
- I discussed the problem of identifying the same people/nodes/personas in two social networks, this is a popular problem to data mining community with no principled approach I know. Mathias (Matt) Grossglauser and Pedram Pedarsani take an interesting approach to this problem. Say there is an underlying network is an instance of G(n,p), the standard random graph. Consider G1 and G2, driving from the this instance by sampling each edge with prob s. Then, given only G1 and G2, can one retrieve the mapping of identical nodes? This is a coding theoretic way to approach the problem. The authors show that under certain conditions dependent on n,p and s, one can retrieve the entire mapping!
Lausanne has Art. One of my favorite ``museums'' in the world is collection de l'Art Brut at Lausanne, but I didnt get a chance to visit. Matt and I had a magic moment at Fondation de l'Hermitage when we stumbled onto a room full of crates marked Van Gogh, Bonnard, Vallotton etc. (obviously crates destined to deliver the masterpieces!). Finally, since the last time I was at Lausanne, the campus has a new building, the incredible, innovative Rolex Learning Center: a great fluid, undulating space that naturally finds sectional uses without explicit interior walls.