Thursday, October 18, 2007

Grace Hopper Welcome Session and Keynote

The wireless is down, so I'll be writing down my thoughts using "vi" for now, and attempt to jam this into my blog editor later on! Hopefully this will cut & paste in fine later. Please let me know if any of the links are broken - there's no way to check right now!

Telle Whitney, co-founder of the Grace Hopper conference, gave a fantastic overview of the sponsors, the purpose of them, and why we're all here. She let us know that this year's conferencer is SOLD OUT! Cool!

Stu Feldman, President, ACM, told us about an investigation of lack of women in computing that ACM is doing. They have a wiki where they want suggestions.

Jeanette Wing, National Science Foundation, talked about her grand vision for computing - that everyone will be using computational thinking by the middle of the 21st century. Much of her talk focused around thinking out of the box when considering the question: What is computable?

Donna Dubinsky, all things Numenta (founder, CEO, Board Chair), Palm, Computer History Museum, etc - wow! "Thinking about Thinking" covered the background of Numenta - a company founded to build a new computing platform based on the human brain. What a complicated problem - brains are so flexible, and computers are not!

She used the example of vision & pattern recognition and how it can be very useful in other areas like car safety (cars are now very safe, they need to protect now against bad/unsafe human behaviours) and pharmecutical (what drugs realy work for whom). For example, our eyes take in lots of data & passes it on to our brain, and we can always recognize things like... a cat, regardless of how odd the cat is (odd color, mising tail, missing foot, etc). Numenta's goal is to teach computers how to do that. Fascinating!

Valerie Fenwick

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