Courses Offered


Culture and Consumption/Postrel

Mobile Device Application Development/Spachos        




The study of nonlinear systems has quietly and steadily revolutionized the realm of science over recent years. Nonlinear systems support emerging structures that have unique features and peculiar ways of interacting. Examples of such structures abound in nature and include: vortices (like tornadoes or eddies in water tanks), solitons (bits of information used in optical fiber communications, matter/plasma waves, water waves, and even tsunamis!), spirals (biological aggregates and chemical reactions), etc. This course is intended as an introduction to Nonlinear Waves and their applications. It is designed for senior undergraduates and graduate students in Applied Mathematics, Physics, Computational Science, Engineering, etc. Most of the concepts and examples will be supplemented with Matlab-based codes and visualizations. The course will include a unique hands-on computer component where students will actively learn to develop and use codes to study nonlinear wave dynamics. Applications to water waves, optical fiber transmission and matter waves will be covered.


Ricardo Carretero: San Diego State University

Prof. Carretero obtained his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Computation from Queen Mary University of London. Subsequently he was awarded postdoctoral research fellowships from University College London and the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Canada. Since 2002, Prof. Carretero has been a faculty member in Applied Mathematics at San Diego State University (SDSU) and Full Professor since 2009. He co-established the Nonlinear Dynamical Systems (NLDS) Group at SDSU and a new graduate program in Dynamical Systems and Chaos. He is a firm advocate for the dissemination of science contributing for the past decade to the San Diego Science Festival as well as helping with the design of a couple of museum exhibits on chaos and fractals. Prof. Carretero has obtained several grants from the National Science Foundation and has published more than 100 articles and a couple of books at the intersection between Applied Mathematics, Physics and Computation. His research includes the study of spatio-temporal systems using dynamical systems ideas and techniques. In particular, he focuses on coherent structures (e.g., solitary waves, vortices, vortex lines, vortex rings) in nonlinear media, their formation, existence, stability and complex mutual interactions. He has devoted a considerable effort in the past few years to the study of nonlinear structures in Bose-Einstein condensates (the coldest matter in the Universe that behaves as a quantum superfluid) and nonlinear optics.



This course will explore a question that has inspired social criticism and challenged marketers since at least the 18th century: Why do people buy things they “don’t need”? Economists take consumer preferences as given, while moralists condemn unnecessary purchases as self-indulgent or worse. Between these extremes is the territory we will explore, drawing on classic and contemporary social science along with personal and journalistic accounts of consumer experiences. What are the subjective sources of economic value? Beyond function, what purposes does consumption serve? How does the nature of consumption change with social conditions? What are the personal and social consequences? This course blends theory and application. It should appeal to students who want to delve into the meaning of life in a consumer society as well as those interested in practical marketing applications.



Virginia Postrel: Author and Columnist/Ted Talk 2004

Virginia Postrel is an award-winning author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture and commerce. Writing in Vanity Fair, Sam Tanenhaus described her as "a master D.J. who sequences the latest riffs from the hard sciences, the social sciences, business, and technology, to name only a few sources." She is the author most recently of The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, published by Simon & Schuster, and is doing research toward a future book on textiles and technology, from prehistory to the future. Her previous books are The Substance of Style (2003) and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg View. A popular speaker for business, design, and university groups, she has taught seminars on "Glamour: Theory and Practice" in the Branding MPS program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has been a columnist for The Wall Street JournalThe AtlanticThe New York Times, and Forbes. From July 1989 to January 2000, she was the editor of Reason magazine. Postrel graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University, with a degree in English literature, specializing in the Renaissance, and a heavy concentration of economics coursework.

TED Talk:


Every day more computer-based devices are connected to the internet. Most of these devices have at least one sensing unit, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems. This is the idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT), a development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. At the same time, the sensor node market continues to grow rapidly, as the cost to build custom nodes decreases due to technology scaling. Moreover, the use of embedded sensors in smartphones, phablets, tablets and mobile devices has enabled a number of popular applications. This course provides an introduction to developing mobile applications for the Android platform. The emphasis will be on the fundamentals of mobile application programming. This is primarily a project-based course in which the goal is to produce a working app by the end of program.  You will develop an app from scratch, assuming a basic knowledge of Java, and learn how to set up Android Studio, work with various Activities and create simple user interfaces to make your apps run smoothly. This course serves as a foundation for further academic or industry work in Smart Cities and Internet of Things.

Note: Android smartphone devices will be available, upon request, for every registered student in the course to be used during the course time.



Petros Spachos: University of Guelph

Petros Spachos is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph, Canada. He received his undergraduate degree in electronic and computer engineering from the Technical University of Crete and the M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Toronto where he was also a Post-Doctoral Researcher. He is involved in research relating to protocol design, real world experimentation, and performance analysis. His research interests include wireless networking and network protocols with a focus on wireless sensor and cognitive networks, Smart Cities and Internet of Things. He has received a number of research grants from academic and federal sources as well as from industrial partners. He has several publications in scientific journals and participation in international conferences and research symposia. He has received a number of IEEE Best paper, Best demo and Best poster awards. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.