Pace professor Miguel Mosteiro wins Best Paper at ICALP 2018 conference

A paper written by Miguel Mosteiro, assistant professor of computer science and algorithms whiz at Pace University, was selected as best paper at ICALP 2018. Known internationally as one of the top theory conferences worldwide, the achievement is significant for Dr. Mosteiro and collaborator Dariusz Kowalski, a computer science expert from the University of Liverpool.

The paper, titled “Polynomial Counting in Anonymous Dynamic Networks with Applications to Anonymous Dynamic Algebraic Computations,” is just one of the results of a series of research that Miguel and collaborators, including Seidenberg students, have worked on over the past few years.

“It was during my research visit to the University of  Bordeaux in 2015 when my host, Alessia Milani, made me aware of the Counting problem in Anonymous Dynamic Networks,” explains Miguel, who is based at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ New York City campus. “At that point, the problem had already attracted a lot of attention because knowing the number of processors is fundamental for Distributed Computing, but the best upper bounds known on the running time were DOUBLY-exponential. Jointly with Alessia Milani, we improved the running time exponentially designing a novel protocol during that visit. Later on, my student Maitri Chakraborty showed experimentally that our protocol completes the computation in polynomial time, but not having a theoretical bound better than exponential we could not guarantee termination in practice. Anyway, this research was a first big step that resulted in three publications and university-wide researcher- and mentor- awards for my student and me.

Dr. Mosteiro, on the right, displays the award certificate. On the left is Paul Spirakis, Chair of the European Association of Theoretical Computer Science.

“The interest on solving Counting in polynomial time continued, and by last year we were three research groups heavily working on it independently. During my 2017 summer visit to the University of Liverpool and the University of Wroclaw, I worked intensively with my host Dariusz Kowalski in designing a new Counting protocol. Our plan was to transform Incremental Counting so that we could apply Markov Chain analysis to bound the running time. There is always a magical moment in these developments and ours was when I was giving a talk to Kowalski’s students. Explaining the challenges of Counting, and what was the core technical difficulty, the key idea for a new protocol became apparent. Seminal ideas are fundamental but one still needs to work a lot on the technical details to realize them in theorems, which we did last Fall.”

Dr. Mosteiro and Dr. Kowalski presented the paper at ICALP 2018, which took place in Prague over summer, where the importance of the problem it addresses and the strength of the contribution will be recognized with the award for best paper.

The Chair of the Computer Science Department, Dr. Christelle Scharff, congratulated Miguel on the achievement, noting that it was a great achievement, mentioning “how prestigious it is!”

Seidenberg School Dean, Dr. Jonathan Hill, also offered his compliments: “We are, indeed, in the presence of greatness! Congratulations, Miguel, on this accomplishment.”

“We are very grateful,” says Miguel about the award, and added: “as I am for the support of Seidenberg School, SRC, and Kenan Fund. Without that support, I would not have been able to visit my colleagues and focus on this research.”

Congratulations Dr. Mosteiro! If the feedback from our students is anything to go by, there is a lot to be proud of!

Pace team takes home the prize at VR Hackathon

Tisch Interactive Telecommunications Program
NYU’s Tisch building where the hackathon was held.

Over the weekend of July 10-12, a team of four Pace students competed against 19 other groups in the NYC Virtual Reality Hackathon, a hackathon that took place as part of the LoNyLa/TimeWave Festival. The Pace team won the Best Wow Factor VR category and brought home a $500 prize!

Pace students and alums Taranjyot Singh Multani (MS CS ’15), Dhruvil Gandhi (MS CS ’16), Avery Leider (PhD CS ’18) and Syed Adil Hasan (MBA Financial MGMT and IS ’16) joined up with Zeev Kirsh, a litigation staff attorney at Paul, Weiss, and Guilherme Pena Costa, a Brazilian programmer who works at McCann Advertising Agency, whom they had met at a Sony sponsored Mega-Meetup the night before the hackathon. The diverse team used their individual skills to dominate in their category during the hackathon – just the kind of interdisciplinary focus we love to see!

The theme of the hackathon focused on “Mythos and Moxie,” an idea derived from the way technology changes constantly and rapidly while storytelling fundamentals have remained the same. The teams were challenged to create a VR platform that transcends technology and opens up users to a more human experience of storytelling, exploring the possibilities of VR technology while doing so.

The team decided to create a kind of virtual island that would incorporate musical features, which users could alter according to their own liking using their movements. The island played four different kinds of music in each corner, and users navigated the island using the Oculus Rift. Depending on how they moved, the music would change in volume, intensity or balance. Users could move around the island to figure out which kind of music they most wanted to hear. The team had originally planned to make movement possible through Dhruvil’s Leap Motion, but faced a big challenge in getting the software and hardware to interact seamlessly. Eventually, they had to cut out the Leap Motion and focus just on using the Oculus Rift and game controllers for movement. Even so, their product was a great success with each of the five judges.


After all the groups showed off their projects, the Pace team received high praise from their category’s judge Chaki Ng, who is also General Manager for Viacom Labs. He stated that the team had successfully captured the essence of the hackathon with their project, and that their project was the most developed and complete out of the presentations that weekend. It turns out that music is a great way to provide an emotionally tangible experience for a user in a virtual environment. The team was delighted to hear this, especially considering the setbacks they had faced during their project. Nevertheless, their story and their content was strong enough to earn them their prize, and we hope they can continue to build on this project in the future to include all the cool features with Leap Motion that they originally wanted to use!

Sponsors for the event included: EEVOFake Love, SonyFreedom 360Leap MotionLittlstarOculusUnity 3D and VISR.