GSC Academic Chair Hosts Another Nerd Nite

On March 3, 2014 by Grad Forum
Erin O'Malley with her decorated cake

Erin O’Malley with her decorated cake

On Thursday, February 20, Anna Prescott, the academic chair of the Graduate Student Council (GSC), hosted her second Nerd Nite event. This Nerd Nite featured five speakers and was attended by more than 30 people.

Erin O’Malley (Department of Physics and Astronomy), the current social co-chair of the GSC, started the event by discussing her favorite methodologies for filling and decorating cakes. With a blend of the right tools, the right components, and the right technique, O’Malley showed the audience how to make a regular cake look and taste fantastic. Indeed, audience members stood in line to taste O’Malley’s cake following her presentation.

Rebecca Shapiro (Department of Computer Science), also known as “bx,” was second to speak. Shapiro presented on hackers and how they think. By using the example of lock picking, Shapiro explained that to successfully hack, a hacker must do a step-by-step exploration. She mentioned that hacking is simply the exploration of a place that is beyond limits. When asked why people hack, Shapiro stated that there is more to it than just financial profit, and that sometimes people just do it for exploration.

Next up to present was Eva Infeld (Department of Mathematics). Infeld spoke about digital rights and why it is important to protect privacy. Infeld suggested different ways to help protect digital privacy, such as e-mail encryption and supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation to put pressure on legislators.

Ylenna Goryunova teaches graduate students how to correctly punch.

Ylenna Goryunova teaches graduate students how to correctly punch.

Yelena Goryunova (Department of Physics and Astronomy) presented next and shared with us her expertise in kickboxing. Goryunova demonstrated several types of kicks and punches and even had the audience participate in an exercise.

Finally, Everett Sullivan (Department of Mathematics) presented on “Shamir’s Secret Sharing,” an algorithm in cryptography. Using an example of codes required for military actions, Sullivan explained the concept of Shamir’s sharing scheme. In this scheme, different parts of codes are distributed equally among code holder officers, and the full code can then be reconstructed using only a subset of code holder officers without any bias.

All of the presenters did a great job describing something they are enthusiastic about. The Graduate Forum congratulates Prescott on continuing this successful tradition.

by Gilbert Rahme

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