Sponsored by DIMACS and the School of Communication and Information.
Fusion Fest celebrates Paul Kantor's distinguished career at Rutgers and his 75th year. His work over the years has wandered from theoretical physics, through decision-making, and information retrieval, to collaborative searching, and issues in homeland security. It is hard to find a unifying theme, but there are a number of recurring motifs. One is "working backwards" - if it is hard to calculate a solution from the given data, look for reasonable possible solutions, and see if you can calculate from them to the given data. Another is "fusion." One sense of fusion in Paul's work is "combination of information," and he has applied that to detection of anything from intercontinental missiles to scientific documents; from nuclear contraband to illegal fishing. Another sense of fusion, which has characterized his work in 23 years at Rutgers, is the fusion of mathematical sciences and social sciences. Initially he concentrated on leading students at the School of Communication and Information to better understand how mathematics can support discovery of the unexpected, and quantify your uncertainty about what you have found. More recently he has become very much involved in using the techniques of social science (excluding Critical Analysis, Deconstruction, and certain other imports from the Humanities) to help develop mathematical models that accurately represent the goals, constraints, and value schemes of the people whom the model is intended to help.