In this issue: program now available; registration now open; conference count down; plenary speakers' abstracts.
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Conference Newsletter
Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century:
Thinking Machines in the Physical World

May 2016: Program Details Available and Registration Open!
With two months to go until the 21CW Conference Kick-Off, we are delighted to announce that full program details are available!

Once you've browsed the stellar line-up of panelists, papers, plenary speakers, and special sessions, and are ready to sign up, click here to register. The June 1st Early Bird Registration Deadline is only two weeks away, so don't miss out on the discount!

Information about the conference venue and accommodations  is also available on the 21CW website. The hotel conference rate deadline is June 13th, but rooms are booking quickly, so reserve your room soon to lock in the good deal.

As always, we invite you to visit the conference website, and add your name to our linkedin group. In addition, join our mailing list to receive our final few conference newsletters, with important information about events and logistics. 

We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne in two months!
May Conference Count-Down: 
Happening Now: Lecture Series at the Central University of Rajasthan on Norbert Wiener’s work and its applications in Industry, Biology, Art, Medicine, Computer Science, and Automation  
2 Weeks (June 1): Early Bird Registration Deadline. Register today!

1 Month (June 13): Conference Hotel Reservation Deadline. Reserve now!
2 months (July 12th & 13th): Doctoral Workshop & Conference Kick-Off
Spotlight on 21CW Plenary Speakers
Who will be
 talking about What
(and When it's happening):
"75 Years from the Wiener Filter"
Professor Brian D. O. Anderson (Australian National University), Wednesday, July 13th at 8:40 am

Extracting useful signals from noise-contaminated versions of those signals is a signal processing problem that goes back many decades. There were three distinct bursts of activity resulting in advances which reflected the probabilistic aspects of the problem: the first was due to Wiener and Kolmogorov in the 1940s, the second due to Kalman in the 1960s and the third associated with developments in Hidden Markov Models, in the last 25 years or so. At the same time, the original applications domains for Wiener filtering were broadened unimaginably, to include today such diverse areas as EEG processing, modelling of national economies, localization of GPS-denied drones, evaluation of the efficacy of regimes for restricting domestic water usage, estimating the shape of an underwater towed array, and so on. During the past several decades the potential benefits and countervailing disadvantages of using what is known as smoothing were gradually uncovered. This talk will survey this progress, and highlight common features of Wiener, Kalman and Hidden Markov Models, with and without smoothing.
"Machine Learning Methods in Computational Cancer Biology"
Professor Mathukumalli Vidyasagar (University of Texas at Dallas), Wednesday July 13th at 1:00 pm

Molecular data from cancer tumours is characterized by the fact that the number of measured features is in the tens of thousands, while the number of samples is a few hundred at best. This mismatch necessitates the development of new algorithms for sparse regression and sparse classification with an eye towards cancer applications. Another aspect of biological data, which has no analogue in engineering, is that biological data needs to be "normalized" for platform variations. In this talk, all of these problems are first stated formally as machine learning problem; then specific algorithms invented by our research group are presented. Then the results of applying these algorithms to data from endometrial, breast, and lung cancer are discussed. The talk will conclude with some open problems in transfer learning thrown by the advent of "next generation" sequencing in biology.
"Cybernetics, Algocracy, and Democracy: The Promises of Cyborg Governance"
Dr. James Hughes (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Trinity College), Thursday July 14th at 8:30 am

Continuing a Counter-Enlightenment complaint that has arisen repeatedly in the last two hundred years, some contemporary cyber-critics point to the emergence of “algocracy,” the spread of algorithms in every sphere of life that hide and institutionalize undemocratic decision-making. The critics suggest that participatory democratic resistance to algocracy is possible and desirable, and they are as wrong-headed as the misanthropic advocates for AI governance, free of human failings. The critics of and the advocates for AI technocracy are perpetuating a false dichotomy between cybernetics and human institutions, ignoring that every human institution has been partly, and inescapably, built on cybernetic principles. Participatory democracy, on the other hand, is, at most, a useful ritual with benefits for character development, but a practical impossibility given the number and complexity of decisions. Even attempts at participatory democracy devolve into endless meetings and hundred page ballots, as unhelpful for human flourishing as endless work. In the future, democratically accountable algocracy, or cyborg democracy, enabled by artificial intelligence and human-computer co-evolution, can optimally inform debate, aggregate popular desires without the biases of current institutions, and ensure the efficient workings of the gradually withering state. Publicly accountable algocracy can usher in equitably distributed post-capitalist abundance, free from the necessity of work for wages. Indeed, only the embrace of the possibilities of algocratic governance can secure our future against the threats of super-empowered individuals and groups, systemic fragility, and the emergence of catastrophic forms of self-willed cybernetic life.
"Cognitive Computing - the Dawn of the 3rd Era of Computing"
Dr. Juerg von Kaenel (IBM Research), Friday July 15th at 8:30 am

The first era of computing may be characterised as the era of the tabulating machines in the first half of the 19th century. These early computers were good at counting and sorting, and were essentially single purpose machines. The second era of generally programmable computers started in the middle of the 19th century. In these machines, the software and hardware became distinct objects of design. Through their software, the machines are instructed to sort and count and logically process that data in incredibly fast and complex ways. These computers are instructed in a logical manner based on our left brain thinking patterns. As an increasing amount of skilled programmers are needed to instruct these programmable computers, the question arose – “Why can’t computers learn themselves?” This gave rise to the third era of computing: cognitive computing. Computers which are based on our right brain's capabilities to recognise patterns, and learn from them. The first of these machines was the Watson computer who beat two human Jeopardy champions in 2011.
The former eras of computing lasted about 50+ years each. So, 5 years in, we are truly just at the dawn of the era of cognitive computing. In this talk I will outline the history and project a road ahead of implications of this new era to business, education and research as it opens up an incredibly new space in addition to the existing computing capabilities.
"Automation, Robotics, and the Promise of an Easier Life"
Professor Judy Wajcman (London School of Economics), Friday July 15th at 9:40 am

Technologies are not neutral tools that emerge independently of the society that invents them. Rather, their design and use reflect as much as shape society. So what does the contemporary fascination with humanoid robots and automation more generally tell us about how our culture envisages the relationship between humans and machines?

This lecture will examine the ways in which robotics embody the desire to save valuable time by enabling us to complete tasks ever faster and more efficiently. They are supposed to make our lives easier. Yet we hear constant laments that we are pressed for time, and that the pace of everyday life is accelerating. How do we explain this conundrum? And why is it that machines designed for today's service economy often resemble gender stereotypes? Perhaps we need a female Doctor Who to provoke a feminist reimagining of robotics, one that challenges the future on offer from the evangelists of Silicon Valley.

This is one of a series of Conference newsletters. 
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