Faculty


Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launch, global robotics startup competition, cofounder of Robot Garden hackerspace, mentor at hardware accelerators and startup advisor. As well as being an active angel investor in robotics startups, Andra is a Director at Robohub.org, the global site for news and views on robotics. Andra graduated as an ABC film, television and radio technician in 1986 and obtained a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia, in 1998, where she taught interaction design from 2009 to 2010. She obtained her MA in Human-Robot Culture at the University of Sydney, Australia in 2011, building on a background as a robot geek, STEM educator and film-maker and was selected as an HRI Pioneer in 2010. Andra has keynoted at major conferences including the WebSummit in 2014 and 2015, Pioneers Festival 2014, JavaOne 2014, Solid 2014 and Collision 2015. See JavaOne 2014 Community Keynote highlights: https://www.oracle.com/openworld/live/on-demand/index.html#javaone 52-Insights: "The Future is Here: How Robotics Will Change Our Lives". See for example this interview.
Steve Omohundro is a scientist developing the next generation of artificial intelligence. He has degrees in physics and mathematics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in physics from Berkeley. He designed the first data parallel language StarLisp, was an award winning professor, co-founded the Center for Complex Systems Research, wrote the 3D graphics for Mathematica, developed fast neural data structures like balltrees, designed the fastest and safest object-oriented language Sather, invented manifold learning, co-created the first neural focus of attention systems, co-designed the best lip reading system, invented model merging for fast one-shot learning, co-designed the best stochastic grammar learning system, co-created the first Bayesian image search engine PicHunter, invented self-improving AI, discovered the Basic AI Drives, and proposed many of the basic AI safety mechanisms including AI smart contracts. He is an advisor to AIBrain, DFINITY, and other AI and blockchain organizations.
Arun Rao is the co-founder and CEO of Starbutter AI, an AI-driven chatbot company for the financial services industry. He has co-written "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011) with Piero Scaruffi. Previously, Arun was a trader and portfolio manager at PIMCO, focusing on MBS/ABS, high yield bonds, and equities related to housing/building products, industrials, financials, and software. Arun also worked at two other investment firms and has written for the Economist. His interests are in AI, deep learning, natural language processing, chatbots, relational agents, social robots, investing, animal rights and veganism, and decentralized education.
Piero Scaruffi is a cultural historian who has lectured in three continents and published several books on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science, such as "Thinking about Thought" (2014) and "Intelligence is not Artificial" (2013). He pioneered Internet and Artificial Intelligence applications in the early 1980s, and the use of the World-Wide Web for cultural activities in the mid 1990s. His "A History of Silicon Valley" (2011) has been translated into Chinese and republished several times. He has also written extensively about music, art, cinema and literature. He founded the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) series in 2008 (that now spread to 16 universities worldwide) and the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival in 2014. He has taught Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence at UC Berkeley until 2016, and conducted research on A.I. at Harvard in the 1980s and Stanford in the 1990s.
Joel Slayton, an independent artist, curator, educator and strategic advisor, is Professor Emeritus, Founder and former Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media at San Jose State University (the second oldest academic media arts center in the USA); was Professor of Digital Media Art at San Jose State University; has been for eight years the Executive Director of ZERO1 - The Art and Technology Network - in San Jose, California, between 2008 and 2016; is the founder of the ZERO1 Biennial; has curated several big events including the Life Art Science Tech (LAST) festival; is a Senior Fellow of the Silicon Valley American Leadership Forum; and serves on the Board of Governors at LEONARDO/International Society for Art, Science, and Technology (ISAST). His artworks have been exhibited internationally.
Georgio Gandellini, who graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business in New York, has over 30 years of experience as an educator, researcher, manager and consultant to government agencies, multinational corporations and high-tech startups in more than 20 countries in Europe, East Asia, and the USA. He was also an advisor to government agencies in Russia and the former Soviet Union countries (1996-97). He cofounded Nestplan (1995), which developed proprietary A.I. systems, business games and management software, and Omniware (2003) in Silicon Valley, a pioneering startup in A.I. and e-commerce. His academic career includes the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California (1988-92), Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain (1992-93), the Gordon Institute in Boston (1982-83), the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York (1982-83), the Institut de Formation Internationale in France (1993-2001), and the European School of Economics in Florence and Rome (2014-present). He taught at several European training institutions for entrepreneurs, for which he also developed distance-learning programs, including programs on strategic and international management for the European Union (the Tacis Program, 1996). From 1986 until 2003 he was also the Academic Dean of the first European distance-learning Master Degree program in International Marketing and Sales for entrepreneurs and managers, accredited by the University of Wales. He led innovation projects and management education programs for multinational corporations in consumer and B2B industries, such as ISO (Geneva 2017), Apple (2005), IBM (2005), AT&T (1991-92), FIAT (1986-90), SEAT Spain (1989-90), Lamborghini of North America (1987-88), St Gobain (1985), Olivetti (1984-88), Pirelli (1985-89), and many smaller firms. He authored or co-authored several books, including, “Hyperbusiness” (1994), “The New Strategic Marketing” (2005), and “Strategy for Action” (2012). His books pioneered the idea of applying A.I. to strategic management and e-commerce. He is currently business advisor to the Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence Research Center in the field of strategic innovation studies and development of technology ecosystems.
Javier Ideam studied in Spain and England before moving to Silicon Valley. He opened Ideami Studios to provide creative and innovation consulting to the booming dotcom world of Silicon Valley. He cofounded several Silicon Valley startups, including Ewidi (2005), a pioneering social-networking website, Flaii (2007), a pioneering multimedia user interface, Posterini (2011), a cloud-based platform for online real-time digital production of custom posters, Spirit (2013), an educational platform for entrepreneurs, Pictoshirt (2017), an interactive clothing-production platform that combines gamification, augmented reality and design, T4I (2018), a cloud-based platform that accelerates innovation processes and provides metrics to measure and track performance, for which he also developed a proprietary methodology called Torch. He has lectured about innovation and creativity in four continents, especially to high-tech startup founders. Notably, in 2014 he was invited to speak about "strategic thinking for complex organizations" at the Berlin Economic Forum in Germany. As a multidisciplinary expert, Javier has received numerous awards across a variety of areas. He acts as a scientific advisor to the Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in the fields of strategic thinking, innovation processes optimization, augmented reality interfaces and technology park development. See also his article "The keys of Deep Learning in 100 lines of code".
Neeraj Sonalkar is Research Associate at Stanford's Center for Design Research and the executive director of the Innovation Ecosystems project. The question that motivates his research is: how do engineering design team co-create new product possibilities? His research is focused on investigating how team behavior influences the generation and propagation of ideas into products. The Human Innovation Engineering group at the Center for Design Research conducts empirical and field research oriented towards acceleration of radical innovation by teams, organizations and regional ecosystems. We study and model how humans innovate both at the interpersonal interaction level and at the broader level of an organization or a regional innovation ecosystem such as the Silicon Valley. This research furthers our understanding of innovation as the outcome of an integrated system spanning individual mindset, interpersonal interaction dynamics, and the underlying physical, institutional, financial and knowledge infrastructure.
Melissa Merencillo is an X-Reality (XR = AR/VR/MR) enthusiast and technophile focusing on social presence, behavioral communication and interaction design in digital reality systems. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from California State University East Bay (2012) and a Master of Arts in Multimedia in Interaction Design also from California State University East Bay (2017). Her work on the collaborative thesis, Project: This Way!, explored the concepts of copresence in VR and was shown at the VR Mixer of the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, and at the symposium, If You Weren't: Playing with Realities in ARG, AR, and VR held at Stanford University in Palo Alto. She is a member of various AR/VR MeetUps and attends industry conferences on AR/VR technology throughout the Bay Area. She is currently the Instructional Support Technician II and Video Lab Coordinator of the Department of Communication at California State University East Bay supporting courses in digital video and media production.
Jinxia Niu is a Chinese journalist and writer, co-author of "Human 2.0", a book on the technologies of the future. In 2017 she collaborated with Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab. She has researched how Silicon Valley has used technology for mission-impossible projects. See her videos about the History of Silicon Valley in Chinese.
Vincenzo Macri manages SVAIRI's European operations. He spent three decades learning and exploring new technologies. He pioneered Artificial Intelligence applications on personal computing platforms in the 1980s as a member of the Olivetti Artificial Intelligence Center, one of the largest A.I. labs in Europe. After a stint at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, working on Natural Language Processing and Planning, he joined the European Space Agency to develop expert systems for satellite payload and real-time satellite control. He spent a decade at the University of Pisa in Italy as Director of Information Systems before managing large intercontinental projects in Switzerland and South Africa for 5 years.
Our friends at Noisebridge have a splendid Bibliography on machine learning and recommended classes.

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