Invited Technical Speakers
Professor of Computer Science, University British Columbia
Some Hows and Whys of Programming DNA Molecules
Friday, November 11th, Session 6 – 11:30am – 12:30pm
Abstract: Programs that execute within cells or that draw smiley faces at nano-scale resolution may sound like fantasies from the Magic School Bus book series. But researchers are already writing such programs, using DNA molecules as their medium.
How can we program DNA molecules? We can leverage molecular sequence, structure and folding pathways. Programs are sequences of A,C,G and T bases that comprise DNA molecules. DNA structure arises when complementary bases bind to form A-T and C-G pairs; thus sequences can be programmed to create intricate nano-scale shapes. Finally, folding pathways – successions of structural changes over time – support molecular movement, thereby providing ways to realize tiny DNA robots.
Why might we program molecules? Molecular programming offers the promise of understanding and changing our world at staggeringly small scales, with applications to disease diagnosis and therapeutics. It also prompts us to broaden our views of computation and its role in producing order and complexity in living systems.
In this talk I’ll illustrate these and other how’s and why’s of DNA programming, and I’ll describe research problems with a combinatorial and algorithmic flavour that arise in this exciting field.
Biography: Anne Condon is a Professor of Computer Science at U. British Columbia and will be Head of the department starting in July 2011. Anne’s research currently focuses on computational prediction of RNA and DNA structure and folding pathways, with applications to design of novel structures and to gene synthesis.
Anne received her B.Sc. degree (1982) from University College Cork, Ireland and her Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Washington, Seattle.
She was a faculty member at U. Wisconsin at Madison from 1987-1999. She has won an ACM Distinguished Dissertation Award, an NSF National Young Investigator Award, and the University College Cork Distinguished Alumna Award for her work. She won the 2010 Computing Research Association’s Habermann Award for outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and successes of underrepresented groups in the computing research community.
Anne likes bicycling, being active and working up a good appetite. The good appetite comes in handy as she also enjoys cooking, eating, and sleeping soundly. All of this is easy to do in beautiful Vancouver, where she lives with her husband, son and occasionally her daughter.
Staff Member and Senior Manager, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
Helping Doctors Find New Ways
Thursday, November 10th, Session 2 – 11:30am – 12:30pm
Abstract: Intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals are data-rich environments. Numerous monitors are attached to each patient. Each of these devices spews a stream of numbers, indicating the status of the patientâ€™s vital functions. What if, buried deep within these streams of data, one could detect important medical information about the patient? How would we find that information? Could we improve patient outcomes?
This talk will describe on-going work to analyze the streams of data spewing from such monitors to look for the early onset of various complications experienced by patients. I will focus on work done in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to detect the early onset of nosocomial infection. I will also discuss some more recent work with Columbia University to detect the early onset of delayed cerebral iscemia in patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. Along the way, I will give an overview of stream computing, the challenges of analyzing this type of data and my experiences in doing research in a healthcare setting.
Biography: Maria Ebling is a research staff member and senior manager at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center where she has worked since 1998. She manages a team building systems capable of supporting a Smarter Planet while not forgetting about the people who have to use them. Her research interests are in distributed systems supporting mobile and pervasive computing, privacy, and human-computer interaction.
Ebling was the Technical Program Co-Chair for the Seventh IEEE Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications in 2006, now known as HotMobile, and she now serves on the Steering Committee for this workshop. She serves as an Associate Editor for IEEE Pervasive Computing. She has also served as the Guest Editor for two special issues of IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine and for one issue of IEEE Wireless Communications.
Ebling received a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a senior member of both the ACM and IEEE.
Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University
Connecting the Disconnected: Improving Internet Access for the Other Four Billion
Friday, November 11th, Session 5 – 10:00-11:00 am
Information technology is an important enabler of societal and economic development, because of its integral role in education, commerce, and other societal activities. Unfortunately, for most of the world’s population, internet connectivity is either entirely unavailable, or is prohibitively expensive relative to household income. While cellular telephony is widespread across the world, more sophisticated data connectivity is much rarer and more expensive to achieve. This talk will explore opportunities for providing information access and internet connectivity at very low cost in very low-infrastructure regions of the world. I will touch both on the computing research aspects of this problem, as well as the broader societal issues and questions. How can computing research help solve the connectivity problem? And how might truly-ubiquitous internet access change the world?
Biography: Margaret Martonosi is currently Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where she has been on the faculty since 1994. She also holds an affiliated faculty appointment in Princeton EE. In 2011, she is serving as Acting Director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). She also holds an affiliated faculty appointment in Princeton EE. From 2005-2007, she served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Martonosi’s research interests are in computer architecture and the hardware-software interface, particularly focusing on power-efficient systems and mobile computing. Her group developed the Wattch power modeling tool, the first architecture level power modeling infrastructure for superscalar processors. In mobile computing and sensor networks, Martonosi led the Princeton ZebraNet project, including two real-world deployments of tracking collars on zebras in Kenya. Her current research studies power-performance tradeoffs in parallel systems ranging from chip multiprocessors to large-scale data centers.
Martonosi is a Fellow of IEEE and ACM. In 2010, she received Princeton University’s Graduate Mentoring Award. Martonosi completed her Ph.D. at Stanford University, and also holds a Master’s degree from Stanford and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, all in Electrical Engineering.
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
Engineering at the Interface of Biology
Thursday, November 10th, Session 1 – 10:00-11:00 am
Abstract: Life is intrinsically mechanical yet the sense of touch, hearing, pain and proprioception remain poorly understood. Nature uses systemic changes in the local mechanical properties, adhesion, and motion of cells to govern these senses as well as our development, bloodflow, and breathing. Yet most of cell biology is conducted in static conditions and with little quantification of the forces observed in basic life processes. What are the opportunities? How do you prepare to work across disciplines? and what are some of the unique challenges in working with biologists and physicians to create new methods, new metrologies and new metrics? Many exciting questions remain for biologists and engineers to answer together and I’ll describe a few exciting questions we are working on and promising directions for future interdisciplinary research.
Biography: Dr. Beth Pruitt did her BS at MIT and MS and PhD at Stanford. She worked on Piezoresistive Cantilevers For Characterizing Thin-Film Gold Electrical Contacts during her PhD. During her post-doc, she worked on nanostencils and polymer MEMS. She joined the Stanford Mechanical Engineering faculty in Fall 2003 and started the Stanford Microsystems Lab.
Her research includes the development of novel processes and micromachined sensors and actuators for measuring micro-mechanical behavior, the analysis, design, and control of integrated electro-mechanical systems., and biomedical applications of nanofabricated devices with the goal of developing integrated MEMS-biological test platforms, precise measurement and analysis systems, and reliable manufacture methods. She has received an NSF CAREER award, and DARPA YFA award and the Anita Borg Institute Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award. Current lab support is comprised of NSF, NIH, DARPA, CIRM and Stanford Bio-X grants. Prior to her Ph.D., she was an officer in the U.S. Navy, serving first at NAVSEA08, the engineering headquarters of the Navy nuclear program, then as a Systems Engineering instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, where she also taught offshore sailing. She still enjoys an occasional day on the water, biking, skiing and walking her dog.
Balancing between the Certainty and the Madness: Changing the World
Friday, November 11th, Session 7 – 3:45-4:45 pm
Abstract: The green energy revolution is upon us, and clean tech is finally beginning to penetrate our lives: solar roofs, CFLs, biodegradable packaging and more. But what if we could speed it up?
What if you were just crazy enough to run a mad experiment in real life to turn your greentech dream into a reality? I was. I organized a Climate Solutions Road Tour to travel 2,400 miles across India in a caravan of solar plug-in electric cars and biofuel trucks with a solar rock-band, a troupe of Bollywood dancers and a team of clean technology activists. We carried with us a number of eco-products and documented top tech innovations along the way. Our trip garnered much publicity across 400 Indian news media, a Tom Friedman NY Times article, and a visit with the President of India.
In planning and executing the trip, however, our team had to deal with extremely challenging technical and social risks. During this talk, we will walk through the real-life lesson in experimental design, including our young teamâ€™s assumptions, pre-testing, the data, and the conclusions of this experiment. Most importantly, Iâ€™ll share my experience in risk mitigation while launching a social movement using technology.
We all have to take on technological challenges when we donâ€™t know all the answers. The key is what if you could find a way to balance between the certainty and the madness?
Biography: Alexis Ringwald is a leading young entrepreneur in clean energy and education. She was Co-founder and Director of Business Development at Valence Energy, an energy efficiency software start-up company that was recently acquired by Serious Materials, a cutting-edge green buildings technology firm. She is also Co-founder of SmartPowerEd.org, an educational network training students on smart energy technologies. Recently, Fast Company magazine selected Alexis as one of the “Most Influential Women in Tech.”
Prior to Valence, Alexis was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar to India researching cleantech and climate change at The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) for her book “Momentum for Renewable Energy in India” (VDM 2008). Alexis also co-directed the Climate Solutions Road Tour traveling 2,400 miles across India in solar plug-in electric cars. Before moving to India, Alexis worked at the German Parliament with the Environment Committee and at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.
Alexis has a dual B.A. and M.E.M. (Master of Environmental Management) from Yale University in 2006. She has lectured at Stanford University, Yale University, TEDx, been featured in the NY Times, and been invited as a guest to the White House. You can follow her on Twitter at @alexisringwald.
Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK
CANCELLED: The Fate of Human Memory in the Digital Age
Thursday, November 10th, Session 3 – 3:45-4:45 pm
Abstract: The ability to capture and store more and more personal information about our everyday lives has led some visionaries to propose that one day digital technologies will provide us all with a â€śprosthetic memoryâ€ť. Any document we have ever looked at, Web site we have visited, email we have sent, or message we have posted will be recorded. In addition, new digital devices will also capture our activities in the physical world, including images, sounds, location data and perhaps even biosensor data. If this is true, how will we look back on our personal past in the future? And what will be the fate of these vast archives for future generations? In this talk, I will examine some of these issues, and propose new ways in which we might view these â€śmemory technologiesâ€ť. I will also show how a broader perspective on what these systems might do for us opens up an interesting new design space that helps us be more creative, reflective, and expressive with our personal archives.
Biography: Abigail Sellen is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge UK and co-manager of Socio-Digital Systems, an interdisciplinary group with a focus on the human perspective in computing. As a group, Socio-Digital Systems is interested in learning from everyday life to inform the design of systems which are both useful and compelling.
Abigailâ€™s first degree was in Psychology, followed by an M.A.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and a doctorate in Cognitive Science. Since then, her career has spanned a number of industrial research labs including Apple Computer, Xeroxâ€™s Cambridge Research Centre and Hewlett Packard, Bristol. She has published widely in Human-Computer Interaction, covering topics such as input devices, reading, paper use in offices, Web use, videoconferencing design, and mobile systems. Her books include â€śThe Myth of the Paperless Officeâ€ť, co-authored with Richard Harper, which won an IEEE award. She has filed more than 50 patents, is an Associate Editor for Communications of the ACM, and a Fellow of the British Computer Society. In August, 2009, she became a Special Professor of Interaction at the University of Nottingham, and in 2011, was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy. Outside of the office, she has three kids making sure life is never dull.