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Conference Details - Agenda

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2019 MIT Research and Development Conference

Human and Technology Collaboration
November 13-14, 2019

Day 1: Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Registration and Light Breakfast

8:30 - 8:45

Welcome Remarks & MIT Innovation Ecosystem

8:45 - 9:10

Human-Computer Collaboration
The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI) explores how people and computers can be connected so that – collectively – they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before. CCI brings together faculty from across MIT to conduct research on how new communications technologies are changing the way people work together. This first-of-its-kind research effort draws on the strengths of many diverse organizations across the Institute in a collaborative mission to understand collective intelligence at a deep level in order to create and take advantage of the new possibilities it can enable. Center Director Tom Malone will provide an overview of CCI’s insights and direction for the future.
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9:10 - 9:35

The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future
The remarkable progression of innovations that imbue machines with human and superhuman capabilities is generating significant uncertainty and deep anxiety about the future of work. Whether and how our current period of technological disruption differs from prior industrial epochs is a source of vigorous debate. But there is no question that we face an urgent sense of collective concern about how to harness these technological innovations for social benefit. To meet this challenge, the Institute launched the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future in spring 2018.
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9:35 - 10:00

Extended Intelligence
While Artificial Intelligence studies how intelligent decision making can be produced by machines, Extended Intelligence instead focuses on how people, augmented with smart technologies, may achieve optimal performance and well-being. These augmentations allow for cognitive enhancements via wearables to amplify and assist with things like memory, attention, decision-making, learning, and communication. Pattie Maes will present her work on these smart systems that can closely integrate with people to support their behavior and decision making.
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10:00 - 10:20

Networking Break

10:20 - 10:55

Panel – MIT’s Collective Intelligence Design Lab (CIDL) In Action
MIT’s Collective Intelligence Design Lab (CIDL) helps groups design innovative new kinds of collectively intelligent systems (superminds) to solve important problems. This panel will bring together leaders from the organizations affiliated with the CIDL to describe their experience with the process.
Moderated by Thomas Malone, Founding Director of the Center for Collective Intelligence, the panel includes representatives from Deloitte, Takeda, and MIT.

10:55 - 11:00

MIT Professional Education

11:00 - 11:05

MIT Sloan Executive Education

11:05 - 11:30

Vladimir Bulovic will provide an overview role of MIT.nano in supporting research, innovation, and corporate engagement in the area of Human and Technology Collaboration.

11:30 - 12:00

MIT Startup Exchange: Introduction with Lightning Talks

MIT Startup Exchange actively promotes collaboration and partnerships between MIT-connected startups and industry. Qualified startups are those founded and/or led by MIT faculty, staff, or alumni, or are based on MIT-licensed technology. Industry participants are principally members of MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program (ILP).

MIT Startup Exchange is a community of over 1,800 MIT-connected startups with roots across MIT departments, labs and centers; it hosts a robust schedule of startup workshops and showcases, and facilitates networking and introductions between startups and corporate executives.

STEX25 is a startup accelerator within MIT Startup Exchange, featuring 25 “industry ready” startups that have proven to be exceptional with early use cases, clients, demos, or partnerships, and are poised for significant growth. STEX25 startups receive promotion, travel, and advisory support, and are prioritized for meetings with ILP’s 260 member companies.

MIT Startup Exchange and ILP are integrated programs of MIT Corporate Relations.
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Lightning Talks Part I
- FGC Plasma: Better combustion for energy, aerospace, and national security
- Augmental Technologies: Teeth & tongue gestures for seamless hands-free interaction
- IndustrialML: Factory productivity through machine learning
- Realtime Robotics: Accelerated and continuous collision-free motion planning

Lightning Talks Part II
- blkSAIL: Marine autonomy as a service
- JETCOOL: Cooling for high power electronics
- Leela AI: Enabling robots to operate autonomously in unpredictable environments
- robonity: Applied planetary robotics & AI for smarter agriculture
Lunch with Startup Exhibit
Additional Exhibiting Startups:
- RightHand Robotics: Robots for piece-picking and packaging
- Top Flight Technologies: Heavy lift, long range hybrid-electric UAVs
- Nara Logics: AI for product recommendation and decision support
Track 1: Environmental Solutions Initiative

14:00 - 14:40

Committing to the environment and climate at MIT
The MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative was founded in 2014 and charged by MIT President L. Rafael Reif with leading the Institute’s “drive to increase fundamental knowledge and accelerate progress towards solutions around environment, climate, and human society.” Director Fernandez will describe the work of the ESI and highlight the ways in which industry plays a critical role in a productive, sustainable and humane future for people and the planet.

14:40 - 15:20

Simultaneous optimization of environmental and technical performance in materials and process design
Delayed optimization of environmental metrics in material design and industrial practice can lead to costly redesign and remediation needs. Higher-throughput environmental assessment tools and predictive strategies may help guide design for more economically and environmentally sustainable industrial process and practices. Plata will discuss specific examples from oil and gas development, nanomaterial synthesis, and recent efforts in improved polymers and plastics for environmental compatibility.

15:20 - 15:40

Networking Break

15:40 - 16:20

Storage requirements for electrifying and decarbonizing transportation and electricity
In this talk, I will quantify the energy storage requirements of various electrification and decarbonization scenarios. Through solving data-informed optimization models, key technological innovation opportunities will be revealed, spanning hardware, software, and business models.

16:20 - 16:40

Water security in a heating world: self-assembled materials for heavy metal remediation
An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between global warming and the release of heavy metals into drinking and crop water supplies, and water security remains a pressing sustainability challenge in developing nations. We present a pathway to obtain ultra-stable nanofibers assembled from small molecules in water which rival the mechanical properties of nature's stiffest materials. We then decorate the surface of these nanofibers with efficient heavy metal chelators and demonstrate orders of magnitude improvement over macroscopic alternatives in use today, offering a way to miniaturize water treatment while overcoming several complications of existing strategies.
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16:40 - 17:00

The Time of Steady Climate Change
A goal of the Paris Agreement is to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. If this were achieved, global warming would slow to a rate significantly lower than 21st century warming rates, but little is known about how this would occur over time and across geographies. This work investigates this geographic variability and provides the first framework for estimating the end of rapid, anthropogenic warming.
Track 2: Design in the Digital Era

14:00 - 14:40

Self-Assembly: for materials, manufacturing and construction

14:40 - 15:20

The Latest Academic Arms Race - Making + Entrepreneurship - Is Going to Matter To You
Several decades back, the hands-on capstone course was a step change for technology education. It started at schools like MIT and spread worldwide. We now expect students have some experience in "thinking + doing," in fact, it is often necessary for university accreditation.

We are in the midst of an impending step change, and again, schools like MIT are in competition to lead this change. It has led to an "arms race" in higher education that will shape the future people that work with/for you. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent by universities in a competition to create innovation ecosystems that produce technology innovators that have making + innovation skill sets.

You're going to want to know about these people, who is best at educating/creating them, and how to gain a competitive advantage in hiring them. In this talk, I'm going to help you figure that out.
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15:20 - 15:40

Networking Break

15:40 - 16:20

Staircase to Utopia: Advances in Technology Roadmapping
This presentation will present a new state of the art framework for technology roadmapping based on a similar approach implemented at Airbus from 2016-2018 and demonstrated using the example of stratospheric solar-powered electric aircraft. The framework includes four steps beginning with a quantitative assessment of the current state of technology and competitive analysis and concludes with a risk-optimized R&D portfolio with specific Figure-of-Merit (FOM) based targets. The presentation will summarize the 17 technologies for which roadmaps are being developed in Fall 2019 as part of MIT’s new graduate class 16.887/EM.427 on Technology Roadmapping and Development.
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16:20 - 17:00

Rapid Building Design and Delivery
Construction Tech is one of the fastest growing areas of venture capital funding in the US. With over three billion in investments over the past year it is clear that Construction Tech will soon impact the ways we deliver building of all sizes. Moving forward we need new, rich ideas in software development to solve many of the building industries toughest problems. The talk will present a framework for home delivery directly from computers. Larry will show how builders will design and construct buildings from digital files using systems similar to 3D Printing.
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Track 3: Toward the Singularity: The Next Generation of Human-Machine Collaboration
Advances in technology are revolutionizing the ways we sense what is happening in our own minds and bodies, and by extension how humans and machines interact, individually and in groups. Researchers across MIT are at the forefront of this revolution. In this session we’ll show you a few of the latest developments.

14:00 - 14:40

Extended Computing: Artificial Intelligence as a natural extension of Human Cognition
We are currently at an inflection point as artificially intelligent (AI) systems gain capabilities to handle complex tasks in various domains. In this talk, I discuss how machine intelligence could be a direct and complementary extension of human intelligence. I investigate how computing, artificially intelligent systems, and the internet could be directly coupled with the human experience to augment and extend human cognition and abilities. The talk presents recent work on the AlterEgo system, a peripheral neural interface that enables people to silently and internally converse with machines — without voice and discernible movements, and discusses how the human-computer interface can for the first time become endogenous to the human user, changing our relationship with computing and thereby enabling people in different ways. Through the lens of extended computing, I discuss our work investigating AI systems functioning as complements to human cognitive abilities in pursuits as diverse as gene sequencing to human self-expression.
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14:40 - 15:20

Reimagining diagnostics in medical care
Medical technologies are evolving at a very rapid pace. Portable communications devices and other handheld electronics are influencing our expectations of future medical tools. The advanced medical technologies of our future will not necessarily be large expensive systems. They are just as likely to be small and disposable. This talk will review how microsystems and microdevices are already impacting health care as commercial products or in clinical development. Adoption of new technologies depends greatly on compatibility with existing clinical practice. Microsystems that are rapidly adopted fulfill significant medical needs and fit seamlessly with existing procedures. My group has been focusing on studying individual medical procedures and trying to make them do things never before thought possible or dramatically reduce morbidity associated with that procedure. Several examples will be described including noninvasive ways of determining hydration status, measuring local hypoxia in tumors, measuring tumor response to targeted therapy, and longitudinal measurements of biomarkers.
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15:20 - 15:40

Networking Break

15:40 - 16:20

Taking a City's Pulse With Moveable Sensors
The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is opening a new approach to the study of the built environment. Digital technologies are radically changing the way we understand, design, and ultimately live cities. This is having an impact at different scales – from the single building to the scale of the metropolis. On the occasion of the MIT R&D conference, Umberto Fugiglando will address these issues from a critical point of view through projects by the Senseable City Laboratory, a research initiative at MIT. In particular, he will show research advances and use cases of sparse and crowdsourced sensing technologies for addressing issues in air quality measurements, infrastructure monitoring and wastewater sampling.
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16:20 - 17:00

Responsive Environments: Sensing to augment and mediate human experience
At MIT's Media Lab, Professor Joe Paradiso's Responsive Environments group explores how sensor networks augment and mediate human experience, interaction, and perception, while developing new sensing modalities and enabling technologies that create new forms of interactive experience and expression. This work is highlighted in diverse application areas, which have included automotive systems, smart highways, medical instrumentation, RFID, wearable computing, and interactive media. In this talk, we will provide an overview of that work and thoughts on future directions.
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Track 4: Robots-Humans and Interactions

14:00 - 14:40

Navigation and Mapping for Robot Teams in Uncertain Environments
Our work addresses the planning, control, and mapping issues for autonomous robot teams that operate in challenging, partially observable, dynamic environments with limited field-of-view sensors. In such scenarios, individual robots need to be able to plan/execute safe paths on short timescales to avoid imminent collisions. Performance can be improved by planning beyond the robots’ immediate sensing horizon using high-level semantic descriptions of the environment. For mapping on longer timescales, the agents must also be able to align and fuse imperfect and partial observations to construct a consistent and unified representation of the environment. Furthermore, these tasks must be done autonomously onboard, which typically adds significant complexity to the system. This talk will highlight three recently developed solutions to these challenges that have been implemented to (1) robustly plan paths and demonstrate high-speed agile flight of a quadrotor in unknown, cluttered environments; and (2) plan beyond the line-of-sight by utilizing the learned context within the local vicinity, with applications in last-mile delivery. We further present a multi-way data association algorithm to correctly synchronize partial and noisy representations and fuse maps acquired by (single or multiple) robots, showcased on a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) application.
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14:40 - 15:20

Certifiable Perception for Robots and Autonomous Vehicles
Spatial perception has witnessed an unprecedented progress in the last decade. Robots are now able to detect objects, localize them, and create large-scale maps of an unknown environment, which are crucial capabilities for navigation and manipulation. Despite these advances, both researchers and practitioners are well aware of the brittleness of current perception systems, and a large gap still separates robot and human perception. While many applications can afford occasional failures (e.g., AR/VR, domestic robotics) or can structure the environment to simplify perception (e.g., industrial robotics), safety-critical applications of robotics in the wild, ranging from self-driving vehicles to search & rescue, demand a new generation of algorithms. This talk discusses two efforts targeted at bridging this gap. The first focuses on robustness: I present recent advances in the design of certifiably robust spatial perception algorithms that are robust to extreme amounts of outliers and afford performance guarantees. These algorithms are “hard to break” and are able to work in regimes where all related techniques fail. The second effort targets metric-semantic understanding. While humans are able to quickly grasp both geometric and semantic aspects of a scene, high-level scene understanding remains a challenge for robotics. I present recent work on real-time metric-semantic understanding, which combines robust estimation with deep learning. I discuss these efforts and their applications to a variety of perception problems, including mesh registration, image-based object localization, and robot Simultaneous Localization and Mapping.
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15:20 - 15:40

Networking Break

15:40 - 16:20

Enhancing Human Capability with Intelligent Machine Teammates
Every team has top performers -- people who excel at working in a team to find the right solutions in complex, difficult situations. These top performers include nurses who run hospital floors, emergency response teams, air traffic controllers, and factory line supervisors. While they may outperform the most sophisticated optimization and scheduling algorithms, they cannot often tell us how they do it. Similarly, even when a machine can do the job better than most of us, it can’t explain how. In this talk I share recent work investigating effective ways to blend the unique decision-making strengths of humans and machines. I discuss the development of computational models that enable machines to efficiently infer the mental state of human teammates and thereby collaborate with people in richer, more flexible ways. Our studies demonstrate statistically significant improvements in people’s performance on military, healthcare and manufacturing tasks, when aided by intelligent machine teammates.
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16:20 - 17:00

Continually Evolving Machines: Learning by Experimenting
An open question in artificial intelligence is how to endow agents with common sense knowledge that humans naturally seem to possess. A prominent theory in child development posits that human infants gradually acquire such knowledge through the process of experimentation. According to this theory, even the seemingly frivolous play of infants is a mechanism for them to conduct experiments to learn about their environment. Inspired by this view of biological sensorimotor learning, I will present my work on building artificial agents that use the paradigm of experimentation to explore and condense their experience into models that enable them to solve new problems. I will discuss the effectiveness of my approach and open issues using case studies of a robot learning to push objects, manipulate ropes, finding its way in office environments and an agent learning to play video games merely based on the incentive of conducting experiments.
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Networking Reception

* All schedule and speakers are subject to change without notice.