Big Understanding
Networks, Sensors, & Mobility
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December 6–7, 2016
San Francisco



Monday, December 5
6:00 PM
First-Timers Reception
6:30 PM
7:00 PM
Welcome Dinner

Tuesday, December 6
7:30 AM


8:30 AM
Len Kleinrock, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board
Conference Welcome
8:50 AM

Erik Andrejko, Vice President, Science, The Climate Corporation
Hyper-Local Weather Monitoring and Agronomic Modeling
The Climate Corporation aims to help all the world’s farmers increase the sustainability and productivity of their farming operations through digital agriculture. Digital agriculture is data science applied to the immense data sets available in the agricultural world to provide actionable insights toward the complex and varied decisions a farmer needs to make each growing season.

9:35 AM

Sander Otte, Associate Professor, Delft University of Technology
Building Things One Atom at a Time
Every day, society generates more than a billion gigabytes of new information. To store all this data, it is increasingly important that each single bit occupies as little space as possible. This talk will discuss the possibility to use the smallest bits that one can imagine: individual atoms. Using scanning tunneling microscopy, the Otte research group has succeeded in storing a kilobyte of information in over 8,000 atoms that were positioned one by one. The prospects for scaling up this technology will be discussed along with the limitations that need to be overcome before technological application can come within reach.

10:15 AM
Coffee Break
10:45 AM

Heidi Kujawa, President and Chief Executive Officer, ByFusion
Upcycling Plastic Waste into an Alternative Building Material
ByFusion is a 100% modular technology platform—self-contained and fully transportable, running on gas or electric—that converts waste plastic into a new building material called RePlast. RePlast, which is currently molded into the shape of common cinder blocks, was developed for a wide variety of applications from walling to roadway barriers to infrastructure projects, urban development, and community revitalization projects.

11:25 AM

Mike Cassidy, Vice President, Google
Google's Project Loon—Internet via High-Altitude Balloons
Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to extend Internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide. The technology has been tested in several countries. It will work with existing telcos instead of competing with them (imagine a cell tower 60,000 feet in the air), offering 5 Mb/s service for $5/month to the 4 billion people on Earth without access to the Internet. The Project will also create an internet in the sky, with balloons communicating with each other at a rate of 10 Gb/s using lasers that require pinpoint accuracy.

12:10 PM
Members’ Working Lunch
1:25 PM

Ted Nelson, Computer Scientist
A Few Thoughts about VR and AR

2:10 PM

Nolan Bushnell, Co-founder, ModalVR
Virtual Reality in Business and Gaming
The time is right for VR: Screens have high enough resolution and refresh rates, microprocessors are powerful enough to do 3-D, and the benefits to large corporations are great enough to overcome still-high costs for equipment and application development. ModalVR has created a complete wireless VR platform that can track multiple users with less than 10 milliseconds of latency across an area up to 900,000 square feet. Uses range from a training system for workers on oil rigs to a human game of Pong.

2:55 PM
Mark Skwarek, Artist and Lecturer of Integrated Digital Media, New York University Augmented Reality in Business and Gaming—an Overview
3:20 PM
Coffee Break
3:50 PM

Matt Kammerait, Vice President, Product Marketing, DAQRI
A Smart Helmet for the 21st Century Worker
The future of the workplace is not one of technology eliminating jobs; it is to empower workers, to enhance their senses, put knowledge literally at their fingertips, and extend what they’re capable of doing. Whether it’s with smart helmets for workers in the field or heads-up displays for drivers, the technology is now available to put unlimited informational resources right in front of your eyes.

4:25 PM

Sanjay Jhawar, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, RealWear
The Head Mounted Tablet: Augmented Reality in Rugged Outdoor Scenarios
The work of field service engineers, inspection and maintenance workers, assembly mechanics, and electricians are typical of the many jobs that require technical field documentation, detailed work instructions, and completion of forms and reports. Newer needs include hands-on coaching by remote experts, and visualization of data feeds and analytics from the industrial Internet of Things. Support for these workers started with paper, moved to PDFs, expanded to include rugged handheld computers, and currently includes tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Yet none of these permit the hands-free use that promotes safety and ultimate productivity. Immersive Augmented Reality may be an eventual solution, but current platforms are early and fragmented, the investment in content transformation is massive, usability is not well solved, and devices are not suitable for tough environments. Enter the industrial head mounted tablet—a new category of wearable device that acts as the pragmatic bridge to industrial AR, solving many of the problems faced by the 100 million global skilled field workers in heavy industry.

4:50 PM

George Burger, Founder, Infinideck
An Omni-Directional Treadmill for VR
The Infinadeck is the world's first commercially available omnidirectional treadmill that is designed to work in virtual reality. Reality just got bigger.

5:05 PM
Augmented Reality Demos and Reception
6:15 PM
6:30 PM
Buses to The City Club of San Francisco (155 Sansome St)  
Reception & Dinner

wednesday, December 7
7:30 AM


8:30 AM

Danielle Wuchenich, Vice President and Co-founder, Liquid Instruments Reconfigurable hardware: the next wave of test and measurement devices
Test and measurement instruments are used by scientists and engineers to monitor, control, debug, test, and repair electronic hardware. Conventional instruments are typically bulky beige boxes designed to do one primary function. The emergence of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips creates an opportunity to alter that paradigm because of their ability to provide high-speed, deterministic, hardware-accelerated and massively-parallel digital signal processing that can be reconfigured via software in a matter of milliseconds. In this new paradigm, multiple instruments can be replaced by a single all-in- one device at a fraction of the cost.

9:10 AM

Dan V. Nicolau, Chair, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, McGill University
Biocomputation and Biosimulation with Molecular-Motors-Propelled Agents
Important and diverse mathematical problems—including cryptography, network routing, and protein folding—require the exploration a large number of candidate solutions. Because the time required for solving these problems grows exponentially with their size, electronic computers, which operate sequentially, cannot solve them in a reasonable timeframe. Unfortunately, the parallel-computation approaches proposed so far—e.g., DNA-, and quantum-computing—suffer from fundamental and practical drawbacks that prevent their successful implementation. Biological entities, from microorganisms to humans, routinely process information in parallel for essential tasks, such as foraging, searching for available space, competition, and cooperation. While several avenues for the use of biological agents for IT tasks exist, the most exciting use a very large number of agents exploring purposefully designed microfluidics networks. For instance, we reported the foundations of a parallel-computation system in which a given combinatorial problem is encoded into a graphical, modular network that is embedded in a nanofabricated planar device. Exploring the network in a parallel fashion using a large number of independent, agents, e.g., molecular motor-propelled agents, then solves the mathematical problem. Besides speed, this approach addresses issues related to power consumption and heat dissipation by using orders-of-magnitude less energy than conventional computers.

9:50 AM

Dustin Tyler, Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University
Naturalistic Sensation and Control in Mixed Reality
Right now, people with prostheses use their fake limbs only for tasks that don’t require precision, such as bracing and holding. The sensory feedback from a haptic system that included feedback would allow greater use of the prosthesis for the many tasks of daily life. Beyond that, it would restore one of the most basic forms of human contact. When asked how to improve their mechanical limbs, prosthetic wearers universally they say they want to hold a loved one’s hand and really feel it. Engineering such an interface is difficult because it has to allow precise patterns of stimulation to the person’s peripheral nerves, without damaging or otherwise altering the nerves. It also must function reliably for years within the harsh environment of the body. As with many technologies designed for the handicapped and disabled, once developed, such a haptic system can be used by everyone to feel virtual objects in VR environments.

10:30 AM
Coffee Break
11:00 AM

Mark Tibbitt, Nanoly
Eliminating the Need for Refrigerated Transportation
Most vaccines are proteins. At higher temperatures, proteins tend to degrade because their structures lose integrity. So if you can keep the protein clamped together, you can avoid that problem. A polymer, (a large-molecule chemical structure) comprised of repeating monomer units (smaller molecules), in nanocomposite form can entrap the protein and thus protect it from thermal degradation. The result will be a vaccine transportation-and- delivery system that is safe, portable, convenient, and reliable. Each year, as many as 2 million children die for want of childhood vaccines that currently cannot be safely transported to the developing world.

11:35 AM

Dan Elitzer, Blockchain and Digital Identity Lead, IDEO Colab
Designing Blockchain and the Internet of Things
Over the past couple years, the blockchain (the shared digital ledger technology first introduced with Bitcoin) has become one of the hottest technology areas in financial services, and recently has begun to be applied to industries as diverse as international trade, energy, food, and entertainment. In 2015, IDEO, a global design company, launched a collaborative lab with students, designers, and corporate partners to take a human-centered approach to prototyping with blockchains. In this session, IDEO's Blockchain Lead will describe what the firm has learned from its prototypes, workshops, and joint explorations with its corporate partners about the intersection of human needs and blockchains.

12:10 PM
Rohan Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer, RoadZen
Redefining Roadside Assistance
Most people in the developing world have no access to roadside assistance services such as those provided by the AAA in the United States. In India, for example, it’s common to wait four or more hours when your car breaks down on the road. At the front end, RoadZen is an app anyone can use to call for assistance. At the back end, it aggregates repair services similar to the way Airbnb aggregates people with spare rooms and Uber people willing to pick up passengers. By charging only when the app is used, and not having an annual fee, RoadZen could disrupt even the existing services in the developed world, and is well positioned to enter related markets, such as predictive maintenance and insurance.
12:45 PM
Members’ Working Lunch
2:00 PM

Qing Cao, Research Staff Member, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Extending Moore's Law with Carbon Nanotube Transistors
For four decades now, conventional scaling of Si CMOS devices has provided ever-improved transistor performance, density, power, and cost. However, Si devices are approaching their physical limits. Carbon nanotubes are a promising candidate to replace Si in high-performance logic transistors at the 5 nm node and beyond. Compared to Si, nanotubes have atomically smooth intrinsic ultrathin bodies (~ 1 nm in diameter), which enables superior electrostatic control to minimize off-state leakage current—even at ultra-small device dimensions. In addition, due to quantum confinement, nanotubes have a carrier saturation velocity several times higher than silicon and III-V semiconductors, which enables faster switching at ballistic limits. Recently, researchers have built high- performance nanotube transistors with extremely scaled device dimensions, and are getting ready to face the various manufacturability challenges that need to be overcome to make nanotube transistors a practical device technology. Recent progresses in nanotube purification, nanotube assembly, and device engineering suggest these obstacles are surmountable.

2:35 PM

David Chaum, Principal, PrivaTegrity
Online Anonymity: Solving the Traffic Analysis Problem
cMix is the first practical system that can prevent traffic analysis of chat messages at scale. It creates a complete anonymity set every second for all messages sent during the previous second. It uniquely requires no public-key operations during the sending of a chat message—neither by the smart phone sending the message, the roughly ten nodes that process each message in sequence, nor the receiving smart phone. A typical number of public-key operations are performed by each node, but only in a precomputation. This means a savings in hardware of more than an order of magnitude, since computation need not be conducted while all other nodes are waiting. It also allows slower and less reliable cryptographic hardware to be used. cMix is a suite of cryptographic protocols that can replace today’s dominant chat systems. It can provide payload secrecy, sender–recipient unlinkability, sender anonymity, and sender authentication for recipients—all secure unless all cMix nodes are compromised. For each batch, the adversary may know all senders and all recipients of traffic in the underlying packet-switched network, yet the adversary cannot link any sender to recipient.

3:15 PM

Bob Lucky, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board
Conference Reflections

4:00 PM
Meeting Closes

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