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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Gene Brice Colloquium Series presents

Abbas El Gamal

Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
Director, Information Systems Laboratory
Stanford University



The Communication Cost of Distributed Computing

Large information processing systems, such as the Internet, sensor and ad hoc networks, sever farms, networked agents, financial markets, and living organisms, comprise distributed information sources, such as people, computers, sensors, multi-media devices, and storage devices, connected by a communication network. In most applications, the goal of communication is not to exchange the data but to make a decision, compute a function, coordinate an action, or perform a task based on the information generated by the sources.

How much communication is needed to perform such a task over a network? This question has been studied under different models and assumptions in computer science, control, and information theory. Dr. El Gamal will give examples of the work in these areas and describe a new information theoretic formulation of the distributed consensus problem. The results obtained under this model shed some light on the fundamental tradeoff between communication cost and accuracy of computing, and on the communication penalty of distributed versus centralized protocols.

The second part of his talk is based on joint work with Han-I Su and Paul Cuff.

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Lecture 4:00 p.m. - McMurtry Auditorium, Duncan Hall
Reception 5:00pm - Martel Hall



Abbas El Gamal received his B.Sc Honors degree from Cairo University in 1972, the M.S. in Statistics and the PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1977 and 1978, respectively. From 1978 to 1980 he was an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at USC. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1981, where is currently a Professor of Electrical Engineering and the Director of the Information Systems Laboratory. His research interests and contributions are in the areas of network information theory, digital imaging, and integrated circuit design. He has contributed over 180 papers and 30 patents in these areas. He is a fellow of the IEEE and the winner of the 2004 Infocom paper award. He has cofounded and served on the board of directors and advisory boards of several Silicon Valley companies.

Host: Behnaam Aazhang