ACM Distinguished Speakers Program - Prof. Hanan Samet , 03rd Mar

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Chapter at IIT Mandi recently organised a Distinguished Speaker Program (DSP) on Monday, March 3, 2014. The speaker was Prof. Hanan Samet from Computer Science Department, University of Maryland, College Park.

Prof. Samet is a distinguished researcher in the fields of data structures, computer graphics, geographic information systems, computer vision, robotics, database management systems and programming languages. He received the B.S. degree in engineering from UCLA, and the M.S. Degree in operations research and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from Stanford University. At Stanford, he was a member of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab where he was one of the developers of the SAIL programming language compiler.

He is a member of the Computer Vision Laboratory and leads a number of research projects on the use of hierarchical data structures for geographic information systems, computer graphics, image processing, and search. His research group has developed various GIS-based application systems involving hierarchical spatial data structures, and integration of spatial and non-spatial data. He is the founding chair of the ACM SIG on Spatial Information.

Prof. Samet presented a lecture on the topic: "Duking it out at the Smartphone Mobile App Mapping API Corral: Apple, Google, and the Competition", which involved comparisons of several mapping applications in modern smartphones (those of small form-factor), their stand-out features, and their shortcomings. The talk significantly highlighted the concerns of user experience, quality of data presented, mapping semantics, and the varying expectations of people of different cultures on the functionality in maps. The major apps compared were iOS5 Maps, Google Maps for iOS6 and Android, Nokia Maps, Bing Maps and OpenStreet Maps.

The paper on which this talk was based won the Best Paper Award at 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Mobile Geographic Information Systems (MobiGIS 2012), Redondo Beach, CA in November 2012. The talk went on for over an hour, during which Prof. Samet had his audience of over 100 students and faculty mesmerised with his charisma.