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Conference Details - Agenda

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2017 MIT Europe Conference in Vienna

Mind the Gap – Technological Leaps vs. Strategic Steps
March 29-30, 2017

8:00 - 9:00


9:00 - 9:30

Welcome and Introduction

9:30 - 10:15

Can We Be Everywhere, All the Time, with Small Autonomous Satellites?
What if you could view and connect with any place on Earth at any time you wanted without any restrictions? The small satellite revolution is making rapid global access a reality. It all started with the idea that you could put at tiny “stowaway” CubeSat in a spring-loaded box on a rocket, keeping it safely contained on an otherwise unaffordable ride to space. The resulting paradigm shift in the satellite industry has slashed the cost of access to space over the past decade, enabled rapid innovation and miniaturization of space technology, and upended an industry once legendary for its reliance on heritage, risk-aversion, and glacial pace of technology development. Constellations of hundreds of small satellites are soaring above us, replenished regularly with even more advanced units. We are quickly working to teach them to communicate with each other, self-organize, and efficiently manage their limited onboard resources. Trailblazing efforts to automate spacecraft operations and data recovery, network with crosslinks between spacecraft, move decision-making processes from humans on the ground to intelligent onboard algorithms, and reduce the cost of ground stations are catapulting us toward real-time global access. What if you could monitor your crop growth and harvest times, optimize product transportation, analyze and adapt in real time to customer demands and response to incentives, gather and make decisions on embedded sensor data over a wide region, keep tabs on the competition, and securely exchange financial and logistical information? Imagine the commercial and personal benefits, as well as risks, of having the power to inexpensively be everywhere, all the time.
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10:15 - 11:00

Innovation & Failure. The Basis for Building the Future

11:00 - 11:30

Networking Break

11:30 - 12:15

Additive Manufacturing Across Scales
Advances in automation, computation, and global connectivity are enabling us to scale-up new products more quickly, and to more rapidly commercialize new materials and processes. In the coming years, continued population growth and resource pressures will drive compound interest in additive manufacturing for local and customized production, and printed electronics for ubiquitous sensing. These dynamics present tremendous opportunities for innovation which span from academia to the marketplace and demand new modes of learning that combine digital media with hands-on experience. Motivated by this vision I will describe initiatives from my group at MIT, including: a high-speed flexographic printing process for ultrathin electronic materials; a high-speed desktop 3D printer that can produce a handheld object in 5-10 minutes; a toolkit for modular microfluidic devices; quantitative models for the assessmenrt and deployment of additive manufacturing; and the first massive open online course (MOOC) on manufacturing processes (2.008x).
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12:15 - 1:00

What If Your Smart Phone Didn’t Need The Cloud?
What if you could bring the functionality of a neural network running on a high power GPU to your cell phone or embedded devices, and you could still operate even if you didn’t have a Wi-Fi connection? What if vehicles, appliances, civil-engineering structures, manufacturing equipment, and even livestock would have sensors that report information directly to networked servers aiding with maintenance and task coordination? And, what if with powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms on board, networked devices could make important decisions locally, entrusting only their conclusions, rather than raw personal data, to the Internet? MIT researchers have created a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks that is 10 times more efficient than a mobile GPU, so it can enable mobile devices to run powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing. The new chip, dubbed “Eyeriss,” is a potentially game-changing advance that stands to usher in the age of the “Internet of Things” and a revolution to truly autonomous battery-powered robots.
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1:00 - 2:30


2:30 - 3:15

Engineering Reverse Innovations: Using Emerging Markets Constraints to Drive the Creation of High-Performance, Low-Cost, Global Technologies
This presentation will cover principles of engineering reverse innovations, which entails leveraging the constraints of emerging markets to design high-performance, low-cost solutions that can impact poor and rich countries alike. For decades, multinational corporations have tried to sell their wealthy market technologies in poor countries. This has often resulted in failure, by either engaging only a small, wealthy subset of a poor market, or by removing so many features of a technology to reduce its cost that the resulting product loses its core functionality or desirability. To successfully engage emerging markets, companies must read their unique socioeconomic and technical landscape to design new products that offer the same core functionality as their wealthy market counterparts, but at a fraction of the price. If done successfully, this process will lead to product families that provide affordable solutions in poor countries and disruptive technologies in wealthy markets. This talk will review a number of examples of how this process was successfully executed by corporations, and how engineering reverse innovations led to disruptive insights in Prof. Winter’s research on drip irrigation and water purification.
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3:15 - 4:00

Digital Twins: Do you have ghosts in your portfolio?
Envision a future where every product has a digital equivalent. This is already a reality for some products and systems, such as jet aircraft, wind turbines, and commercial ships. This digital replica, or Digital Twin, radically changes how products are designed, maintained and operated. Rather than using traditional documents and drawings, a product emerges as a result of weaving the digital thread of models, data and knowledge. Once operational, any upgrades or maintenance activities are conducted first in the digital twin, tested and validated, and then implemented in the product. And with the availability of big data and the science of visual analytics, real-time analysis of behavior can be used to make operational decisions regarding the product. Under this new paradigm, the digital twin possesses all of the encoded knowledge concerning the product from its inception to current use—and this inverts the relative value of model and product. A competitor can re-engineer a product to some degree, but possessing a digital twin allows it to be replicated exactly. The most valuable IP, then, becomes the digital twin rather than the products themselves. This brings into question whether the digital model exists independently of the physical product, as a “ghost in the machine”, or that model and product co-exist, essentially as conjoined twins. Many benefits arise from this coupling, including efficiencies and effectiveness. The promise of the digital twin means that competitive advantage will go to those who eliminate the ghosts in the portfolio, by treating assets as the inseparable coupling of the product with its digital twin.
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4:00 - 4:30

Networking Break

4:30 - 5:15

SCARLETRED®VISION -Enabling Objective Skin Drug Research and Augmented Dermatology

5:15 - 6:00

Wire Less Sensors
When did it become normal for unprecedented quantities of data about you to automatically become the property of others? Why have we returned to a "server" model of information exchange for so many of our data services, reminiscent in ways of the early days of mainframe computing, where "someone else" is responsible for data security and service availability? Much of the current thinking for making systems “smart” about their operation and energy consumption recapitulates old ideas with new technological varnish. Most approaches involve a decentralized network of sensors, and an old dilemma is becoming increasingly apparent. While networking provides remote access to information and control inputs, gathering useful information may require the installation of an expensive and intrusive array of sensors. And delivering actionable information economically to the right eyes while preventing revelations to the wrong eyes has become an endemic problem. The laboratory of Professor Steven Leeb is considering approaches for developing nonintrusive sensors that are relatively easy to install. He will explore approaches for deploying and coordinating the operation of new sensors to secure data, minimize the need for communication bandwidth, and ensure the presentation of actionable information for enhancing system operation. The approaches are provocative and suggest alternative approaches for commercial products and services.
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6:00 - 6:30

Move to Reception and Dinner via Charter Bus

6:30 - 9:00

Networking Reception and Dinner at Palais Niederösterreich
(Herrengasse 13, A-1010 Vienna, Austria)