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College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

“Prediction: The Next Big Thing” the Theme for Macmillan Symposium April 28

Two University of Vermont College of Medicine faculty members will give short talks during UVM’s 2014 Macmillan Symposium, titled “Prediction – The Next Big Thing,” on April 28, 2014, which focuses on the “scientific landscape of prediction.”

Hosted by the Vermont Complex Systems Center and held at UVM’s Davis Center, the day-long event ponders the increasing scope and accuracy of prediction science in this current age of Big Data. Speakers offer “a broad scientific perspective on prediction with application to the interface between physical and socio-technical systems including climate, culture, finance, medicine, and politics.”

The symposium features two guest speakers – Cesar Hidalgo, Ph.D., an assistant professor in media arts and science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, and Neil Johnson, Ph.D., professor of physics at the University of Miami – as well as talks from UVM faculty members across a range of disciplines, including Peter Spector, M.D., and Benjamin Littenberg, M.D.

Spector’s talk, titled “Taming the Fibrillating Heart: Coercing Order out of Chaos,” begins at 1 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom. He is a professor of medicine and the director of cardiac electrophysiology at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Spector’s research focuses on atrial fibrillation, and with UVM Professor of Medicine and engineer Jason Bates, Ph.D., he has developed a three-dimensional computational model of a human heart called Visible EP.

Littenberg will discuss “Diagnosis and Prediction in Health Care” at 3 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom. He is the Henry and Carleen Tufo Chair in General Internal Medicine, a professor of nursing, and associate director of the UVM Center for Clinical and Translational Science. He is founder and chief medical officer of Patient Engagement Systems, a company that offers chronic disease decision-support tools for providers and patients.

The symposium’s two guest speakers are leading scholars who offer different perspectives on the science of prediction. As head of the Macro Connections Group at the MIT Media Lab, Hidalgo’s research centers in part on the construction of visualization methods to improve understanding of the world’s complexity. Johnson leads a new interdisciplinary research group at the University of Miami focused on collective behavior and emergent properties in a wide range of real-world complex systems. The symposium also includes a range of top researchers at UVM, including engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists. UVM undergraduate and graduate students working with the Complex Systems Center will host poster presentations from 2-3 p.m.

Read more about the Macmillan Symposium, sponsored by the Macmillan Trust.