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Upcoming conference
More about us

The Challenge of Complexity
September 27-28, 2004 in
Los Angeles, California

special Event
Skirball Museum
Monday, September 27, 2004


overview speakers agenda

Topics include:
• New architectures
• Computational models
• Distributed intelligent systems
• Complexity and software
• Robust networks and systems
• Self-sustaining/self-configuring systems
• Multi-agent systems
• Sociocultural complexity

conference overview
Computing systems are inherently complex and growing more so. We are now close to hitting the complexity “wall,” a wall that threatens to hamper growth. Our hardware and software systems have become so complex and so hard to maintain, that it’s nearly impossible to think about or envision them as a whole. Complexity rears its ugly head both for systems put together from a few extremely complex components and for those developed and deployed with very large numbers of simple units. The resulting systems are increasingly brittle and respond to change in highly unpredictable ways. These systems are also labor intensive and are costly to maintain.

In complex systems, we understand the individual components, but often cannot predict or control the overall system. The future will require more performance and flexibility, thereby increasing complexity. How will this play out when we aren’t coping well with the complexity we’ve already created?

New principles, tools and techniques are needed. How can we redesign computer architectures, software, and systems to create more robust systems? Systems of the future must be able to automatically and autonomously adapt, maintain, repair and heal themselves. Increasingly, we’re using models and metaphors borrowed from biology to find new solutions. Will we be able to predict system behavior, and will we be able to get synchronized behavior from non-synchronized events? Will we be in a position to deal with emergent behavior?

The study of complexity must involve mathematicians, social engineers, technologists, computer scientists, economists, and biologists. As we build new devices that each contain a computing environment, how can complexity be controlled? How can we satisfactorily integrate new systems into our everyday lives?

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Dr. Eric Bonabeau, Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Icosystem Corp.
Dr. Steve Burbeck, Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM Software Group
Dr. David Clark, Senior Research Scientist, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
Dr. Paul Cohen, Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dr. Richard Doyle, Manager, Information Technology Program Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Janet Efstathiou, University Lecturer, Engineering Science, Oxford University
Mr. Alan Ganek, Vice President, Autonomic Computing, IBM
Dr. Danny Hillis, Co-Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Applied Minds, Inc.
Dr. Bernardo Huberman, Senior HP Fellow and Director, Information Dynamics Lab at HP Laboratories
Dr. Gail Kaiser, Director, Programming Systems Lab, Columbia University
Dr. Richard Murray, Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, CalTech
Dr. Charles Simonyi, President and CEO, Intentional Software Corp.
Dr. Joseph Tainter, Project Leader, Cultural Heritage Research Project, Rocky Mountain Research Station

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event description
Dinner at the Skirball Museum, hosted by Dr. Uri Herscher, President and CEO, Skirball Cultural Center. The evening includes a private tour of the new Einstein exhibit, the most comprehensive presentation ever mounted on the life and theories of Albert Einstein. Einstein at the Skirball is made possible in collaboration with The California Institute of Technology, The J. Paul Getty Trust, and University of Southern California.

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