Tech/science talks for the first LAST festival

Saturday June 7, 1pm-6pm, San Jose

Program of the LAST symposium

Click here for all the videos
Watch Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google on Artificial Intelligence
Watch Daniel Kaufman, Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, on DARPA's high-tech projects (NOT AVAILABLE - waiting for clearance)
Watch Jennifer Dionne, founding director of the Stanford Nanotech Lab, on Nanotechnology
Watch Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames, on Space Exploration and Life in the Universe
Watch Alvy Ray Smith, Co-founder of Pixar, on Graphics/Animation
Piero Scaruffi is a cognitive scientist who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, the latest one being "The Nature of Consciousness" (2006). He pioneered Internet applications in the early 1980s and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural purposes in the mid 1990s. His poetry has been awarded several national prizes in Italy and the USA. His latest book of poems and meditations is "Synthesis" (2009). As a music historian, he has published ten books, the latest ones being "A History of Rock and Dance Music" (2009) and "A History of Jazz Music" (2007). His latest book of history is "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011). The first volume of his free ebook "A Visual History of the Visual Arts" appeared in 2012. His latest book is "Demystifying Machine Intelligence" (2013). He has also written extensively about cinema and literature. Silicon Valley did not happen in a vacuum. There is a long history from Athens to Silicon Valley of very unlikely places that become centers of creativity. Many of them were very poor in money, technology, brains, science and infrastructure before creativity exploded. Silicon Valley is a perfect example: nobody in 1914 was predicting that the Bay Area would become a hub of creativity. Historians would never find a rational explanation if they didn't include artistic creativity when discussing technology and science. Creativity has its own life, and it may surprise many where it really comes from. It is not only neuroscience that helps explain it: one also needs to look at child development and comparative zoology. There's a fascinating story to be told from Athens to Silicon Valley and it is NOT only about tech geeks.
Peter Norvig is a Director of Research at Google Inc. Previously he was head of Google's core search algorithms group, and of NASA Ames's Computational Sciences Division, making him NASA's senior computer scientist. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001. He has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1986 and the distinguished alumni award in 2006. He was co-teacher of an Artifical Intelligence class that signed up 160,000 students, helping to kick off the current round of massive open online classes. He has over fifty publications in Computer Science, concentrating on Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Software Engineering, including the books Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (the leading textbook in the field), Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp, Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog, and Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX. He is also the author of the Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation and the world's longest palindromic sentence. He is a AAAI Fellow, ACM Fellow, and American Academy of Arts & Sciences Member. Abstract
Daniel Kaufman is the Director of the Information Innovation Office. In this position he is responsible for identifying and creating promising new information technologies and developing DARPA programs to exploit these advances for the benefit of the DoD. Mr. Kaufman staffs the Office and works with I2O program managers to develop concepts and plans for new programs and to transition I2O research and development products to end users. Before being named Director of I2O, Mr. Dan Kaufman served as the DARPA Defense Science Office (DSO) Program Manager for the RealWorld Program, a computer system designed to allow soldiers to rapidly create their own mission rehearsal scenarios in geo-specific terrain over a scalable and fully distributed network. Before joining DARPA/DSO, Mr. Kaufman worked for Auratio Consulting, where he handled a wide variety of deals with a number of investment bankers, venture capitalists and private companies. Prior to his consulting efforts, Mr. Kaufman worked for Kalisto Entertainment on general business operations and producing/designing the products Dark Earth, Nightmare Creatures and Ultim@te Race. Before Kalisto, Mr. Kaufman was Co-Chief Operaing Officer at Dreamworks Interactive, a joint venture between Microsoft and Dreamworks SKG. Earlier in his career Mr. Kaufman was an attorney with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison (Palo Alto, CA), conducting transactions in the high technology industry ranging from semiconductor chips to biotechnology to software companies. Mr. Kaufman co-authored an 800-page textbook entitled: Corporate Partnering: Structuring and Negotiating Domestic and International Strategic Alliances. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and U.C. Berkeley. DARPA was created to prevent technological surprise. The surprise was due to the fact that our awareness was driven by our expectations. We saw what we expected to see - not necessarily what was really there. But how do you change what is possible without recognizing what is around us? Where do you invest? DARPA has had a major impact in military and civilian technological advances for over 55 years. The agency has demonstrated a unique ability to transform the world around us by changing our view of what is possible. This talk explores the current perception of cyber and information today, offers a glimpse into what it reality is and what six impossible things we can believe before breakfast.
Jennifer Dionne is an assistant professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research investigates metamaterials - engineered materials with optical and electrical properties not found in nature - for applications ranging from high-efficiency solar energy conversion to bioimaging. Jen received her Ph. D. in Applied Physics in 2009 at the California Institute of Technology and B.S. degrees in Physics and Systems & Electrical Engineering from Washington University in 2003. Prior to joining Stanford, she served as a postdoctoral research fellow in Chemistry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her work has been recognized with a NSF CAREER Award, AFOSR Young Investigator Award, Hellman Faculty Scholar Award, and MRS Gold Award. In 2011, she was named one of Technology Review's TR35 - 35 international innovators under 35 tackling important problems in transformative ways. Abstract
Chris McKay is a Planetary Scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames. His current research focuses on the evolution of the solar system and the origin of life. He is also actively involved in planning for future Mars missions including human exploration. Chris been involved in research in Mars-like environments on Earth, traveling to the Antarctic dry valleys, Siberia, the Canadian Arctic, and the Atacama desert to study life in these Mars-like environments. His was a co-I on the Titan Huygen's probe in 2005, the Mars Phoenix lander mission in 2008, and the Mars Science Lander mission for 2011. He is the deputy program scientist for Constellation - the NASA program for future human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Abstract
Alvy Ray Smith is the cofounder of Pixar and a pioneer of computer graphics. He was present at Xerox PARC for the invention of the personal computer, then at the New York Institute of Technology where the vision of the first digital movie was conceived, then Lucasfilm, where he was its first director of computer graphics. HIs second startup company was sold to Microsoft, where he was the first Graphics Fellow. He has received two technical Academy Awards, and holds four patents. He created and directed the Genesis Demo in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The made a short piece with artist Ed Emshwiller, Sunstone, part of MOMA's collection. He hired Pixar's star animator, John Lasseter, and directed him at Lucasfilm in The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. He was responsible at Lucasfilm/Pixar for the Academy-Award winning Disney animation production system CAPS. As a regent of the National Library of Medicine, he helped initiate the Visible Human Project. He helped argue the progressive scan format into the national HDTV standard. He has a PhD from Stanford in computer science and an honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has published widely in theoretical computer science and computer graphics, and is currently writing a book about the pixel and modern media. Smith is a fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Abstract