WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Technology from the 21st century has brought a piece of artwork from the first century back to life. Using a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine, Williamstown artist Lindsay Neathawk recently completed a replica of the "Spoils" panel of the Arch of Titus. The arch is located in Rome and was constructed around the year 82 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus, to commemorate Titus' victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70. The "Spoils" panel is on the south side of the arch and depicts Roman soldiers carrying items taken from the Jerusalem Temple, including the temple menorah, trumpets and sacred cups. On the north side of the arch is another panel depicting the arch itself, through which the soldiers would pass. Neathawk's replica was done in conjunction with Learning Sites, a business run by her Williamstown neighbor, Donald Sanders. Learning Sites is a company that digitally reconstructs the ancient world for interactive education and research; that company was approached by the Yeshiva University Museum in New York City for help with an exhibit on the Arch of Titus it was planning to open this September. Sanders said he was working with Yeshiva on tasks like colorizing images of the arch, and in the course of that work proposed a three-dimensional replica of the panel. Once the museum said yes, he knew right where to turn: Neathawk, who owns Neathawk Designs on North Hoosac Street. After working up estimates and crunching the numbers, she agreed. On Sunday, Neathawk held an open house to show off the completed panel — which stands 6 feet tall and weighs between 900 and 1,000 pounds — before movers came Monday to transport it to New York City. "I had every emotion I could have had," Neathawk said about the project, which consumed 10 to 12 hours a day since she started it at 10 a.m. July 10 and finished it on Aug. 17 — more than 600 hours overall. "I'm excited. I can't believe I did this." To create the replica, she converted scans of the panel into CAD files, which she then fed into the CNC machine. The CNC machine, however, is not three-dimensional. So Neathawk printed "slices" of the replica on 6-foot by 8-foot by two-inch-thick pieces of high-density urethane foam, which she glued together to create a three-dimensional piece. All together, she used 26 sheets of the foam.

But she was all smiles Sunday at the open house, as she mingled with guests to talk about the project. Sanders even brought a projector to give a glimpse of a part of the exhibit he is working on: not just colorizing the original sculpture but also re-creating the pieces missing from the relief, including legs and heads that have worn off with age. The program he uses beams the completed colored image onto the sculpture itself, creating a simulation of what the original could have looked like all those centuries ago. "I'm excited," Neathawk said, and Sanders concurred. "It's amazing," he said. Neither are sure what will happen to the replica after the Yeshiva exhibit closes in January, but they hope it will travel so more people can see it, maybe even back to the homeland. "The hope is to maybe make it back to Israel," said Neathawk, who said the menorah depicted in the relief has never been accounted for. "They're still searching for it. It's pretty cool." Finding ancient artifacts, and preserving history, are critical to the future, said Sanders, whose business is the merging of his two professions: architecture and archaeology. His website states as much: "Among our fundamental early concerns were the on-going destruction and loss of cultural patrimony taking place both in materials housed in collections and in those remaining at archaeological sites around the world." On Sunday, Sanders echoed those concerns as he surveyed the final version of the relief. "We're losing so much cultural heritage," he said, attributing the loss to wars, climate change and other reasons. "Stuff has got to be saved as quickly as we can."

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Stephen Freund, professor of computer science at Williams College, received the 2019 Most Influential Paper Award at this year's Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, the premier forum for researchers, developers, practitioners, and students to present research on computer programming languages.

This award recognizes research that has pushed forward the state-of-the-art, opened new research directions, and had a significant practical impact on the computing field as a whole over the past decade.

Freund and his co-author Cormac Flanagan (University of California, Santa Cruz) published the work leading to this award in 2009 in a paper titled "FastTrack: Efficient and Precise Dynamic Race Detection." The research in that paper developed a new technique for finding data race conditions, a particularly harmful type of computer bug.

"Race conditions occur when two threads running at the same time on a multi-core processor or multi-processor system manipulate a shared memory location without proper synchronization," Freund said. "The negative impacts of race conditions can range from data corruption to catastrophic system failure, and developing effective ways to detect when a race condition bug occurs has been an active area of research for several decades."

Freund's paper addresses the limitations of prior techniques to find race conditions, which have typically been too time-consuming to use or report too many false positives. False positives are problematic because they require programmers to invest time tracking down errors that do not actually exist. 

"Our work on FastTrack changed that," Freund said. "We developed an algorithm that was efficient enough to use even on very large systems while still never under-reporting or over-reporting problems."

FastTrack was quickly and widely adopted within the computer science research community and industry, and the insights behind FastTrack have led to further advances on a number of other program-checking and verification problems.

The college's senior project manager Wednesday morning characterized the project as "punch list work" on a multiphase rebuild of the parking lot that was completed last year. click for more

The drafty 1851 Tudor structure with floors so tilted dresser drawers would slide open has been replaced by Williams College with a sunny yellow, three-story, energy-efficient structure. click for more

During May and June at various sites in the Berkshires, close examination of the floral bloom reveals some welcome surprises regarding pollinating insects. click for more

The middle-high school's School Council on Tuesday discussed modifications to the handbook that would curtail student use of cell phones during school hours. click for more

In 2018, district voters OKed a proposal to expand the three-member committee that oversees the district. The enabling legislation to change the district's charter was approved in Boston at the end of the most recent session. click for more

The $32 million, 64-room hotel at the bottom of Spring and Latham streets replaces the 100-room original hotel at Field Park that closed on July 31. The older inn, purchased by Williams College in 2014, was considered outdated and energy inefficient for an institution that's committed itself to... click for more

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