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Programming Bits and Atoms

Google Tech TalksOctober 24, 2008ABSTRACTComputer science serves to isolate programs (and programmers) from knowledge of the underlying mechanisms used to manipulate information, however it will not be possible to maintain this fiction in the approaching limit in which the number of information-bearing degrees of freedom in a computer becomes comparable to the number of physical ones. I will explore the implications of aligning these physical and computational descriptions for improving the performance, scalability, and ultimately the relevance of information technologies for some of the grandest global challenges. Examples will be drawn from work on conformal computing, interdevice internetworking, and digital fabrication. Speaker: Neil GershenfeldProf. Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. His unique laboratory is breaking down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New York's Museum of Modern Art and rural Indian villages, the White House and the World Economic Forum, inner-city community centers and automobile safety systems, Las Vegas shows and Sami herds. He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books including Fab, When Things Start To Think, The Nature of Mathematical Modeling, and The Physics of Information Technology, and has been featured in media such as The New York Times, The Economist, and the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and has been selected as a CNN/Time/Fortune Principal Voice and by Prospect/FP as one of the top 100 public intellectuals. Dr. Gershenfeld has a BA in Physics with High Honors and an honorary Doctor of Science from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. from Cornell University, was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and a member of the research staff at Bell Labs.
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