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New members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Two new scholars recently joined the Dartmouth faculty: Meredith Kelly, assistant professor of earth sciences, and Lorenzo Torresani, assistant professor of computer science. Below, an overview of their scholarly interests and achievements, and of the courses they teach.

Meredith Kelly
Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

M Kelly

Meredith Kelly (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Kelly works to understand how climate change happens, studying the past extents of ice sheets and mountain glaciers for the clues they hold to climate events both ancient (10,000 to 100,000 years ago) and more recent.

"I have ongoing projects in eastern Greenland, the Peruvian Andes, and in various locations in North America," she reports. "These projects provide information about high- and low-latitude climate systems and insights into the stability of the modern (Greenland and Antarctic) ice sheets in a warming world."

She has been working locally as well: "In March, with a colleague from the University of Cincinnati, I obtained some 10-meter-long cores of sediments from the bottom of Hanover's Occom Pond. The lowermost sediments were probably deposited right after the area was deglaciated by the Laurentide Ice Sheet." Those cores, Kelly notes, will supply data for the senior thesis of earth sciences major Andrew J. Smith '10.

"I look forward to participating in the department's off-campus field program, the Stretch," says Kelly, "and also to developing hands-on laboratories, field trips, and projects associated with my classes." She taught "Introduction to Earth Sciences" this spring. "We took a couple of field trips during lab periods, looking at local geology, which I hope gave students a different perspective on where they live," she says. A new course on climate and paleoclimate is on the horizon for winter term 2010.

Kelly enjoyed skiing and snowshoeing during her first Hanover winter: "It's probably obvious from my research, but I love cold weather, snow, and ice."

Kelly comes to Dartmouth from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She holds a Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of Bern, Switzerland; an M.S. in Quaternary studies from the University of Maine; and a B.S. in geological sciences and environmental studies from Tufts University. Her work has been published in journals including The Journal of Quaternary Science, Boreas, and Quaternary Science Reviews.

Lorenzo Torresani
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Lorenzo Torresani

Lorenzo Torresani (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Torresani designs methods of computer vision and machine learning that allow computers to create visual models of real objects, using data extracted from images. "The learned models can then be used," he explains, "for synthesizing new data, or for recognition-such as identifying a person from the static image of a face."

Recently, he has also been investigating ways to enable computers to conduct content-based image retrieval from large-scale collections of digital photos.

Another current research project applies machine learning to modeling human locomotion styles from motion capture data. "The learned model can be used in a variety of applications, including computer animation, and filling in missing entries of recorded motion capture data," Torresani says.

He taught a new course, "Machine Learning and Statistical Data Analysis," this spring. "The study of concrete examples is the best way to grasp new ideas," he says. "I use real-world problems to introduce general solutions, both to make concepts less abstract, as well as to expose students to the challenges of real applications." "I must say that I have been impressed with the creative applications of machine learning that the students chose as topics for their term projects," he reports.

A native of the Italian Alps, Torresani says, "I used to do lots of skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and am enjoying resuming these activities in the mountains surrounding Hanover."

Torresani comes to Dartmouth from Microsoft Research, Cambridge (UK). He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in computer science from Stanford, and a Laurea (the Italian B.S.), also in computer science, from the University of Milan. His work is widely published in journals and conference proceedings, including IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, the "IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition," and the "International Conference on Machine Learning."

By KELLY SEAMAN


Last Updated: 1/14/10