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Less is More
September 12–14, 2018
Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research

September 12, 2018


Wednesday, September 12
8:30 AM

Field Trip: USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
The USDA’s 6600-acre BARC facility hosts world-class research in all facets of agriculture. We’ll tour the Electron and Confocal Microscopy Lab, with a variety of lenses and 3-D-rendering capabilities; the Human Nutrition or Food Quality Labs; and the Soil–Plant–Atmospheric Research Chambers. These last two assess all inputs and outputs to humans and crops and evaluate their influence on growth and development. After lunch—brought to you courtesy of agriculture—visits will cover robotic and sensing technologies applied to food safety, large animal health and production, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. You’ll definitely want dress for the weather and comfortable shoes, but you won’t need your Muck Boots.

7:30 AM

Breakfast at Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City

8:30 AM

Buses depart hotel

9:30 AM

Arrive at BARC
Lab tours, lunch, and more lab tours

3:45 PM

Buses depart from BARC

4:45 PM
Arrive back at hotel
6:00 PM
First-Timers Reception — Ballroom Foyer
6:30 PM
Welcome Reception — Ballroom Foyer
7:00 PM
Welcome Dinner — Plaza Ballroom

Thursday, September 13
7:30 AM

Buffet Breakfast — Plaza Ballroom

8:30 AM
Len Kleinrock, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board — Grand Ballroom, 2nd Floor
Conference Welcome
8:50 AM

TTI/Vanguard Announcements

9:00 AM

Pete Warden, Staff Research Engineer, Google
AI on IoT: The Future of Machine Learning is Tiny
The holy grail for almost any smart product is for it to be deployable anywhere, and require no maintenance like docking or battery replacement. The biggest barrier to achieving this is how much energy most electronic systems use. Machine learning can run on tiny, low-power chips, and this will solve a number of problems we have no solutions for right now.

9:50 AM

Amitabh Chandra, Professor of Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Cost-Effective Healthcare
New developments in medical science—notably precision medicines—offer great potential along with great cost, both financially and physically. It’s time to look at medical markets with an economist’s eye, and to apply data science to discern the most promising ways to focus our resources.

10:30 AM
Coffee Break — Ballroom Foyer
11:00 AM

Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Resilient
Click Here to Kill Everybody
That your computer can affect the security of Twitter and every other network service is a market failure. The industry is filled with market failures that, until now, have been largely ignorable. As computers continue to permeate our homes, cars, businesses, these market failures will no longer be tolerable. One solution—perhaps the only solution—will be regulation. In the worst case, it will be foisted on us by a government desperate to “do something” in the face of disaster.

11:50 AM

Tian Li, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Member, Energy Research Center, University of Maryland
Making Wood Stronger Than Steel or Clear Like Glass
Lignin, which gives wood its color, can be chemically removed and replaced by epoxy, which reinforces the wood's existing fibers and channels, making it even stronger. Building with this “transparent wood” could have huge energy implications when it comes to daytime lighting and thermal insulation—because its manufacture can utilize existing paper industry infrastructure, it is cheaper to make than glass.

12:35 PM
Members’ Working Lunch — Plaza Ballroom
1:50 PM

Dan Work, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Controlling Traffic with a Small Number of Autonomous Cars
Traffic waves emerge when vehicular density exceeds a critical threshold. Intelligent control of an autonomous vehicle is able to dampen stop-and-go waves. More generally, experiments suggest that even a small number of autonomous vehicles on the road—as small as 5%—can bring about a paradigm shift in traffic management.

2:35 PM

Doug Lenat, TTI/Vanguard Advisory Board  
A Few Thoughts on Less being More—and Vice Versa
Building a compact predictive model of things (e.g., genetic inheritance of traits) is typically more difficult than just relying on statistical inference from a massive amount of data, but having those models often proves cost-effective in the long run. There are many other quick examples like that—where less is more, and where more is less.

2:50 PM

Topical Breakout Groups

3:30 PM
Coffee Break — Ballroom Foyer
4:00 PM

Douglas Guilbeault, Doctoral Student, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Amplifying and Reducing Partisan Bias in Social Networks
Bipartisan social networks have long been accused of amplifying political bias and conflict, as a key driver in the emergence of online echo chambers, where people prefer to only exchange information with likeminded peers. However, a large-scale online experiment shows how bipartisan social networks can be designed in a way that unlocks collective intelligence and eliminates partisan bias in the interpretation of scientific data. The experiment also shows how subtle changes to social media environments, such as knowing the political affiliation of one’s network peers, can forestall collective intelligence and entrench political bias. This study provides insight into how social media environments can be designed to harness collective intelligence as a tool to increase people’s receptivity to vital messages they may be resistant to at baseline as a result of various political and psychological biases.

4:40 PM

Lotfi Belkhir, Associate Professor and Chair of Eco-Entrepreneurship, McMaster University
The Impact of ICT on the Global Carbon Footprint
The cyber realm has been thought of as potentially beneficial in the battle against climate change. But the relative contribution of information and computer technologies to the total global footprint is expected to grow from about 1% in 2007 to 3.5% by 2020 and to reach 14% by 2040, essentially shattering the hope that ICT will help reduce the global carbon footprint by substituting virtual for physical activities in such industries as petroleum, mining and transportation. Worst of all is the disproportionate contribution of smartphones relative to the overall ICT footprint.

5:20 PM

End of First Conference Day

5:30 PM
6:30 PM
Reception — Ballroom Foyer (Open bar when last session ends)
Dinner — Plaza Ballroom

Friday, September 14
7:30 AM

Buffet Breakfast — Plaza Ballroom

8:30 AM

Gen. Michael V. Hayden (Ret.), Principal, Chertoff Group, and Distinguished Visiting Professor, George Mason University School of Public Policy
The Assault on Intelligence
American Intelligence is at risk even as it is needed more than ever. Our democracy’s core structures, processes, and attitudes are under great stress. Meanwhile, the world order is frighteningly brittle. North Korea is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon that could reach all of the United States; Russians have mastered a new form of information warfare that undercuts democracy; the role of China in the global community remains unclear. There will always be value to experience and expertise, devotion to facts, humility in the face of complexity, and a respect for ideas, but in this moment they seem more important, and more endangered, than they’ve ever been. The American Intelligence community—the ultimate truth teller—has a responsibility in a post-truth world beyond merely warning of external dangers.

9:20 AM

Armando Solar-Lezama, Associate Professor, MIT
Computer-Aided Programming

10:05 AM

Michael McAlpine, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota
3-D Printing to Bridge the Biological–Electronic Gap
A customized, low-cost 3D printer can be used to print electronics on a human hand, usable by soldiers on the battlefield to print temporary sensors on their bodies to detect chemical or biological agents, and by clinicians to develop new medical treatments for wound healing and direct printing of grafts for skin disorders.

10:50 AM
Coffee Break — Ballroom Foyer
11:20 AM

Maggie R. Jones, Economist, Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications, U.S. Census
Upward Mobility, Race, and Economic Opportunity
A healthy society relies on equality of access to economic opportunity. Data on racial differences in economic opportunity, studying 20 million children and their parents, show that black children have much lower rates of upward mobility and higher rates of downward mobility than white children, leading to black-white income disparities that persist across generations. The black-white gap in upward mobility is driven entirely by differences in men’s, not women’s, outcomes. Reducing the black-white income gap will require efforts whose impacts cross neighborhood and class lines and increase upward mobility specifically for black men.

12:05 PM

Canan Dagdeviren, Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
Harvesting the Body’s Energy via Piezoelectric Systems Inside the Body
Novel materials are making possible new mechanics and device designs for emerging classes of wearable health monitoring systems and implantable, minimally invasive medical devices. These include a variety of electrodes, sensors, and energy harvesting components, with promising applications in bio-integrated electronics, such as self-powered cardiac pacemakers, wearable blood pressure sensors, modulus sensor patches, and brain injectrodes. The devices can be twisted, folded, stretched/flexed and wrapped onto curvilinear surfaces or implanted without damage or significant alteration in operation. The fabrication strategies and design concepts can be applied to various biological substrates and geometries of interest, and thus have the potential to broadly bridge the gap that exists between rigid, boxy electronics and soft, curvy biology.

12:50 PM
Members’ Working Lunch — Plaza Ballroom
2:05 PM

Chris Eliasmith and Peter Suma, Co-founders, Applied Brain Research
Tools For Extending Moore’s Law With Neuromorphic Computing

2:50 PM

Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Senior Staff Technologist, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
Life in the Panopticon: Fixing the Facebook Privacy Problem  
Even for people who have never “opted in” to Facebook or any of the other big social networks, Facebook still has a detailed profile that can be used to target them—though they have never consented to having Facebook collect their data, Facebook can and does use it to draw very detailed inferences about their lives, their habits, and their relationships.

Stephen Wicker, Professor, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University
Life in the Panopticon: What Amazon Knows, Just from Our Kindles
The Panopticon metaphor applies not only to social networks—and cellphone networks—but to surveillance technologies that may be built into ebooks. We choose the words “may be” with great care; a study of Amazon’s patents indicates the potential for extensive surveillance.
3:50 PM

TTI/Vanguard Announcements

4:00 PM
Meeting Closes

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