The Winnipeg chapter of Papers We Love

What was the last paper within the realm of computing you read and loved? What did it inspire you to build or tinker with? Come share the ideas in an awesome academic/research paper with fellow engineers, programmers, and paper-readers. Lead a session and show off code that you wrote that implements these ideas or just give us the lowdown about the paper. Otherwise, just come, listen, and discuss in a low ego, friendly environment.

Papers We Love has a Code of Conduct. Please contact one of the Meetup's organizers if anyone is not following it. Be good to each other and to the PWL community!

Chapter details

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Organizers: Mak Kolybabi

Chapter Meetups

Our Last Event via Meetup and a New Location

Map Date/Time: 2017-01-25 07:00pm Location: St. Boniface Library - Winnipeg

We're going to keep having events, but we're moving away from We will be deleting our account this week. To keep informed of future events, please choose one (or more) of the following methods:

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If you have any questions, or need assistance with subscribing to any of these methods, please contact us at [masked].

Our next meeting<…

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Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

Map Date/Time: 2016-11-22 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

Author: Satoshi Nakamoto


A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof …

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The Town With No Poverty

Map Date/Time: 2016-10-14 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: The Town With No Poverty

Author: Evelyn L. Forget


MINCOME, a Canadian Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) field experiment ran in the province of Manitoba between 1974 and 1979, and ended with no final report and no analysis of data from the saturation site. This essay uses a quasi-experimental design and routinely collected health administration data to revisit outcomes for the saturation site. We found a significant reduction in hospitalization, especially for admissions relate d to mental health and to accidents and injuries, relative to the matched comparison group. Physician contacts for mental health diagnoses fell relative to the comparison group. A greater proportion of high school students continued on to grade 12. We found no increase in fertility, no increase in family dissolution rates and no improvement in birth outcomes. Our results documen…

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The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work

Map Date/Time: 2016-09-28 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

On Computable Numbers

Map Date/Time: 2016-05-25 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem

Author: Alan M. Turing

Published: Journal of Math, Volume 58,[masked] (1936)


The "computable" numbers may be described briefly as the real numbers whose
expressions as a decimal are calculable by finite means. Although the subject of this paper is ostensibly the computable numbers, it is almost equally easy to define and investigate computable functions of an integral variable or a real or computable variable, computable predicates, and so forth. This will include a development of the theory of functions of a real variable expressed in terms of computable numbers. According to my definition, a number is computable if its decimal can be written down by a machine.

Presenter Bio:

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A Critical Evaluation of Website Fingerprinting Attacks

Map Date/Time: 2016-04-20 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: A Critical Evaluation of Website Fingerprinting Attacks

Author: Juarez et al.

Published: Proceedings of the 2014 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. ACM, 2014


Recent studies on Website Fingerprinting (WF) claim to have found highly effective attacks on Tor. However, these studies make assumptions about user settings, adversary capabilities, and the nature of the Web that do not necessarily hold in practical scenarios. The following study critically evaluates these assumptions by conducting the attack where the assumptions do not hold. We show that certain variables, for example, user’s browsing habits, differences in location and version of Tor Browser Bundle, that are usually omitted from the current WF model have a significant impact on the efficacy of the attack. We als…

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Molecular Computation of Solutions to Combinatorial Problems

Map Date/Time: 2016-03-23 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Molecular Computation of Solutions to Combinatorial Problems

Author: Leonard M. Adleman

Published: Science, New Series, Volume 226, Issue 5187 (Nov. 11, 1994),[masked]


The tools of molecular biology were used to solve an instance of the directed Hamiltonian path problem. A small graph was encoded in molecules of DNA, and the "operations" of the computation were performed with standard protocols and enzymes. This experiment demonstrates the feasibility of carrying out computations at the molecular level.

Presenter Bio:

Andrew Sinclair enjoys many aspects of Computer Science including algorithms, languages, and programming challenges. He prefers to use a good ol' text editor and regular expressions when they will suffice to solve a problem. While a…

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Petuum: A New Platform for Distributed Machine Learning on Big Data

Map Date/Time: 2016-02-12 06:30pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Petuum: A New Platform for Distributed Machine Learning on Big Data

Author: Xing et al.

Published: Big Data, IEEE Transactions on 1.2 (2015): 49-67.


How can one build a distributed framework that allows efficient deployment of a wide spectrum of modern advanced machine learning (ML) programs for industrial-scale problems using Big Models (100s of billions of parameters) on Big Data (terabytes or petabytes)? Contemporary parallelization strategies employ fine-grained operations and scheduling beyond the classic bulk-synchronous processing paradigm popularized by MapReduce, or even specialized operators relying on graphical representations of ML programs. The variety of approaches tends to pull systems and algorithms design in different directions, and it remains difficult to find a universal platform applicable to a wide range of different …

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Communication in the Presence of Noise

Map Date/Time: 2016-01-20 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Communication in the Presence of Noise


Published: 1948


A method is developed for representing any communication system geometrically. Messages and the corresponding signals are points in two “function spaces,” and the modulation process is a mapping of one space into the other. Using this representation, a number of results in communication theory are deduced concerning expansion and compression of bandwidth and the threshold effect. Formulas are found for the maximum rate of transmission of binary digits over a system when the signal is perturbed by various types of noise. Some of the properties of “ideal” systems which transmit at this maximum rate are discussed. The equivalent number of binary digits per second for certain information sources is calculated.

Presenter Bio:

Jay Smith is an Information Security Consultant with Online Business Systems’ Sec…

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Do Artifacts Have Politics?

Map Date/Time: 2015-11-25 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Do Artifacts Have Politics?

Summary: Yes.¹

Author: Langdon Winner

Published: Winter 1980


In controversies about technology and society, there is no idea more provocative than the notion that technical things have political qualities. At issue is the claim that the machines, structures, and systems of modern material culture can be accurately judged not only for their contributions of efficiency and productivity, not merely for their positive and negative environmental side effects, but also for the ways in which they can embody specific forms of power and authority. Since ideas of this kind have a persistent and troubling presence in discussions about the meaning of technology, they deserve explicit attention.

Presenter Bio:

Brittany Postnikoff is an undergraduate computer science student focusing on Human-Robot Interaction and security at the University of Manitoba…

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Secrecy, Authentication, and Public Key Systems

Map Date/Time: 2015-10-14 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Secrecy, Authentication, and Public Key Systems

Summary: Merkle's PhD Thesis

Field: Cryptography

Author: Ralph Charles Merkle

Published: June 1979


This thesis describes Ralph Merkle's work between 1974 and 1979 on a variety of cryptography-related topics. The presentation will include a subset of the thesis's findings, due to the thesis's large size and the presentation's limited time. This thesis introduce Merkle's Puzzles, a public-key cryptosystem allowing two users to establish an encrypted channel without any secrets shared beforehand. It also covers the trapdoor knapsack and signature schemes.

Presenter Bio:

Alex Weber is a Director Emeritus of SkullSpace, Director of BSides Winnipeg, and co-host of Papers We Love Winnipeg. His day job at Tenable Network Security involves working on the Nessus vulnerability scanner. Alex has a hobbyist intere…

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Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine

Map Date/Time: 2015-09-30 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine

Summary: The original Lisp paper

Field: Programming Language Theory

Author: John McCarthy

Published: April 1960


In this article, we first describe a formalism for defining functions recursively. We believe this formalism has advantages both as a programming language and as a vehicle for developing a theory of computation. Next, we describe S-expressions and S-functions, give some examples, and then describe the universal S-function apply which plays the theoretical role of a universal Turing machine and the practical role of an interpreter. Then we describe the representation of S-expressions in the memory of the IBM 704 by list structures similar to those used by Newell, Shaw and Simon, and the representation of S-functions by program. Then we mention the main features of the …

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The Bargaining Problem

Map Date/Time: 2015-05-21 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Title: The Bargaining Problem

Field: Economics, Game Theory

Author: John F. Nash, Jr.

Published: April 1950

A new treatment is presented of a classical economic problem, one which occurs in many forms, as bargaining, bilateral monopoly, etc. It may also be regarded as a nonzero-sum two-person game. In this treatment a few general assumptions are made concerning the behaviour of a single individual and of a group of two individuals in certain economic environments. From these, the solution (in the sense of this paper) of the classical problem may be obtained. In the terms of game theory, values are found for the game.

Presenter Bio:
Daniel Simeone is a doctoral candidate in history, specializing in 19th-century Quebec bankruptcy. In another life, he studied discrete mathematics, graph theory, and algorithms. He likes reading, biking, and cooking. He also enjoys programming, but do…

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[RESCHEDULED] Object Recognition from Local Scale-Invariant Features

Map Date/Time: 2015-04-30 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2


This meetup has been rescheduled from April 23 to April 30 due to an urgent matter that came up with the speaker.

An object recognition system has been developed that uses a new class of local image features. The features are invariant to image scaling, translation, and rotation, and partially invariant to illumination changes and affine or 3D projection. These features share similar properties with neurons in inferior temporal cortex that are used for object recognition in primate vision. Features are efficiently detected through a staged filtering approach that identifies stable points in scale space. Image keys are created that allow for local geometric deformations by representing blurred image gradients in multiple orientation planes and at multiple scales. The keys are used as input to a nearest-neighbour indexing method that identifies candidate object matches. Final verification of each match is achieved by fi…

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PaintBoard: Prototyping Interactive Character Behaviours by Painting Storyboards

Map Date/Time: 2015-03-26 07:00pm Location: SkullSpace - Winnipeg R3B 2J2

Daniel J. Rea will be presenting his Master's thesis, which he successfully defended in January 2015.

The creation of interactive worlds, such as those in video games, often include a set of computer controlled characters that must intelligently act and react in response to dynamic input from the user. These interactive behaviours usually require authors to programmatically define each behaviour, reaction, and interaction the character should take in response to user input across a range of scenarios, a process that can take significant time. While this method can successfully create robust characters, the large development overhead is not conducive to the exploration, prototyping, and testing of new character ideas.

We designed and developed PaintBoard, a system that enables users to…

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