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More about us

The Future of Systems
September 7-8, 2000 in San Jose, CA

special members' field trip
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
September 6, 2000



overview speakers agenda

Topics include:
• New computing engines
• Evolutionary engineering models & evolvable systems
• Technostructure & infostructure
• Economics of ideas
• Living and thinking artifacts
• Complex adaptive systems
• Distributed intelligence
• Organized chaos
• Lessons for eBusiness
• Making electronics more like biology

conference overview
The next five years will see all businesses impacted by fundamental changes in technology, logistics and operations brought about by networks of "things" and people on-line. There will be a concatenation of inherently chaotic systems with huge uncontrolled and unpredictable peaks in demand. We will be forced to abandon centralized control and adopt autonomous work practices. The engineering of such systems demands new skills and levels of understanding that are currently unavailable through any conventional mathematical or engineering models. To date, we have only one option and direction to explore – Artificial Life (AL).

Just a decade ago AL was viewed with suspicion and skepticism. Today it is used to model the behavior of customers in department stores, drivers on freeways, terrorist insurgent groups, and the performance of networks. AL is now complemented by artificial intelligence systems in the design process of our raw technologies – chips and software – to realize more powerful computing and networking engines.

In this conference, we address the why, how and where of the advancement of ever smarter materials and things, and the creation of more powerful engines for computation. We also examine distributed intelligence and the networking of people and machines spanning the purchase of corn flakes through to the diagnosis of ailments and disease.

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Douglas Adams, Author, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy & Co-founder, h2g2
Brian Arthur, Citibank Professor, Santa Fe Institute
Peter Cochrane, Chief Technologist, BT Labs
Deborah Estrin, Professor, Computer Science Department, UCLA
Vinod Khosla, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Dan Ling, Vice President of Research, Microsoft, Redmond
Eric Schmidt, Chairman & CEO, Novell, Inc.
Richard Pawson, Research Fellow, Computer Sciences Corporation
David Tennenhouse, Vice President of Research, Intel Corporation

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Field Trip description
The legendary Xerox PARC has produced innovations which have lead the world into the Information Age. PARC is often credited with the invention of personal computing, but that is inaccurate - what PARC really invented was interpersonal computing. PARC scientists recognized that there was a far more powerful role for computers to play than that of standalone boxes to support individuals working alone. Their vision transformed computers into devices that link their users to each other and to global information resources. This central insight - that value gets created by enhancing people's ability to interact - still drives the work done at PARC. Their deep understanding of the collaborative nature of work is leading to new kinds of tools that represent the next advance beyond distributed computing. These "social computing" technologies enhance communication, facilitate relationships and support communities - continuing PARC's legacy of transforming the way people work together.

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