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Past Conferences

Conference Details - Speakers

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2015 MIT Europe Conference in Vienna

Minds, Machines, and Management
March 25-26, 2015
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Gernot Bachler
R&D and Business unit manager
B&R Industrial Automation for Motion Control and Robotics

Diploma and PHD in Telematik at the Technical University of Graz/ Austria. Started in the year 2000 as software R&D engineer in the Headquarters of B&R.
Since 2002 manager of R&D for CNC und Robotics. From 2010 Head of the B&R Business Unit MotionControl and Robotics responsible for R&D efforts in that fields and innovations at customer sites in the field of Robotics.
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John Clippinger
Visiting Scientist
Executive Director/CEO, ID3

John Henry Clippinger is Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab Human Dynamics Group where he is conducting research on trust frameworks for protecting and sharing personal information. With Professor Alex Pentland of MIT, he is founder and Executive Director of the newly formed ID3 (Institute for Institutional Innovation & Data Driven Design) which is developing an open governance platform to support an ecosystem for data-driven services, infrastructures, and enterprises. Previously, he was founder and Co-Director of The Law Lab (www.lawlab.org) at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a multi-disciplinary center founded to research the role of social, neurological, and economic mechanisms on the role of law in facilitating cooperation and entrepreneurial innovation. Dr. Clippinger was also a Senior Fellow at the Berkman Center where he co-founded and supported the development of an open source, interoperable identity framework called Project Higgins (www.eclipse.org/higgins) to give users control over their personal information.

He is the author of A Crowd of One: The Future of Individual Identity (Perseus, Public Affairs, 2007, and The Biology of Business, Natural Laws of Enterprise, (Josey Bass, 1998). Previously, he was Director of Intellectual Capital, Coopers & Lybrand and the founder and CEO of four software companies. He also holds software patents, and consults with companies, foundations, and government agencies on technology, policy and business strategy. He is Co-Chair of Open Identity Exchange Advisory Board and has lectured at Stanford, Brandeis, MIT, Yale, Boston University, Chinese Academy of Science, Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, UPenn, among others.

Dr. Clippinger is a graduate of Yale University and holds a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the eG8 Forum, and the Global Leadership Telco Council and the Risk Analysis Networks for the World Economic Forum, an Aspen Institute Research Fellow, frequent participant at The DoD sponsored Highlands Forum, The Aspen Institute, the CEO Leadership Institute of Yale School of Management, Creative Leadership Summit, Aspen Institute Italy, Telco 2.0, Fortune Brainstorm, Arab Thought Leadership Conference, Kauffman Summer Institute, Monaco Media Forum, Ashoka, and The Santa Fe Institute Business Network.
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Michael Friedl
Austrian Trade Commissioner for the US

Michael Friedl has been the Austrian Trade Commissioner for the US since September 2014. In this function he heads the office of ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA for the US, which is based in New York. Prior to this posting, he was Deputy Trade Commissioner in Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi. Later he headed the offices in Washington DC and Tehran before being in charge of HR and personnel development at the ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA head office in Vienna. Michael holds an MBA from the Vienna University of Economics and a Master degree in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins, SAIS in Washington DC. In his spare time Michael loves to cook, run and read books on architecture.

ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA is Austria's official trade promotion authority. Outside of Austria, it operates with more than 110 offices in over 70 countries. ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA provides a broad range of intelligence and business development services for Austrian companies and their international business partners. Its goal is to generate more international business opportunities by promoting the products and services of Austrian businesses around the world, by helping companies and organizations outside of Austria to build strong relationships with Austrian companies and by promoting Austria as a place to invest in. The offices of ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA in the U.S. (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Atlanta) support Austrian companies in doing business in the U.S. For U.S. partners, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA provides the local link to Austrian companies, products and services and Austria as an investment location in the heart of Europe. As official trade representations, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA offices provide a reliable source of information and help to reduce time, cost and risk of doing business with Austrian companies (see www.advantageaustria.org/us).
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Peter Gucher
General Manager
B&R Industrial Automations

In the early 1980 years pioneer work in the young field of Industrial Automation at a multinational company on assignments in various countries in Europe, Asia, US and South America. From a startup situation 1986 with B&R Industrial Automation till today in charge for the development of the worldwide sales organisations, customer projects engineering and worldwide B&R Academy. Foundation of 25 own subsidiaries on all continents. Sales growth from 5 to more than 500 million €.
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Caleb Harper
Research Scientist
Project Manager, City Science
MIT Media Lab

Caleb Harper is the founder of the CityFARM research group within the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. His current work at the lab is focused in the areas of building integrated and control environment agriculture, actuated sensing, control automation and data-driven resource and energy optimization in urban farming.

In addition to his role at MIT, Harper has been a consultant to international development agencies including the DDA, IDB, and USAID on high-density low-income urban housing projects and has worked professionally on international projects in the high tech space, including data centers, healthcare and fab facilities. He holds a Masters from MIT, and Bachelors from Washington University in St. Louis and Baylor University and is deeply committed to the future of urban food and housing research at MIT.

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Karl Hartleb
Deputy Director General
AdvantageAustria, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Vienna
Opening Remarks
Day 2, 9:00

Karl Hartleb is a law graduate, specialized in European and International competition law. He gained work experience in the private and public sector, inter alia as President of a US-subsidiary of a European industrial company and as counselor in the European Parliament. In the context of his activities for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Foreign Trade Department) Mr. Hartleb was appointed Assistant Trade Commissioner to the US (NYC), Deputy Trade Commissioner to Japan and Commercial Counselor of the Austrian Embassy in Tehran, Iran. He is currently Deputy Director General of the Austrian Foreign Trade Services AdvantageAustria, member of its executive board and head of the markets division, which is responsible for the strategic management of Austria’s Trade Commissions worldwide and the regional directorates in the Viennese headquarters. He is further in charge of sector programs, fairs, Austrian world expo participations and other events abroad.
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Sangbae Kim
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Sangbae Kim, is the director of the Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. His research focuses on the bio-inspired robotic platform design by extracting principles from complex biological systems. Kim’s achievements on bio-inspired robot development include the world‘s first directional adhesive inspired from gecko lizards, and a climbing robot, Stickybot, that utilizes the directional adhesives to climb smooth surfaces featured in TIME’s best inventions in 2006. The MIT Cheetah achieves stable outdoor running at an efficiency of animals, employing biomechanical principles from studies of best runners in nature. This achievement was covered by more than 200 articles. He is a recipient of King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Transactions on Robotics Paper Award (2008), DARPA YFA(2013), and NSF CAREER (2014) award.
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Heinz Kogler
Deputy-director for EU affairs/ Austrian Federal Economic Chamber WKO, Vienna;
National co-ordinator of Enterprise Europe Network in Austria
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Walter Koren
Director General
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

2002 – Director General, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – Advantage Austria
1997 - 2002 Trade Commissioner at the Austrian Trade Commission in Mexico Area of Jurisdiction: Mexico, Central America, Panama, Cuba
1994 - 1996 Managing Director, Office of the President, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
1992 - 1994 Special Assistant to Leopold Maderthaner, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
1988 - 1992 Deputy Trade Commissioner at the Austrian Trade Commission in Tokyo
1988 Interim Commercial Attaché at the Austrian Trade Commission in Seoul
1985 - 1988 Commercial Attaché at the Austrian Trade Commission in Tehran
1982 - 1985 Commercial Attaché at the Austrian Trade Commission in Guatemala, Area of Jurisdiction: Central America
1981 Joined the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) Advantage Austria, Austria’s official Foreign Trade Promotion Organisation
1977 - 1982 Studies of law at the Universities of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg Degree: Doctor of Law, Ph.D.
1974 - 1980 Studies of Commerce at the University of Graz and at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration
Degree: Masters in Economics, MSc.

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Karl F. Koster
Executive Director
MIT Office of Corporate Relations/Industrial Liaison Program
Opening Remarks
Day 2, 9:00

Karl F. Koster is the Executive Director of the MIT Office of Corporate Relations. The Office of Corporate Relations at MIT includes the Industrial Liaison Program, which celebrated 60 years of service to the Institute and its corporate partners in 2008.

In that capacity, he and his staff work with the senior administrative and faculty leadership of MIT in developing and implementing strategies for enhancing corporate involvement with the Institute. Mr. Koster has been involved with faculty leaders in identifying and designing a number of major international programs for MIT. Many of these programs focus on institutional development and are characterized by the establishment of strong, international, programmatic linkages between universities, industry, and governments.

Mr. Koster graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in geology and economics in 1974, and received a M.S. from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1980. At the Sloan School he concentrated in international business management and the management of technological innovation. Prior to returning to MIT, Mr. Koster worked as a management consultant for seven years in Europe, Latin America, and the United States on projects for private and public sector organizations.
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Harald Mahrer
State Secretary
Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy
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Vikash Mansinghka
Research Scientist
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Vikash K. Mansinghka is currently a Research Scientist with MIT's Intelligence Initiative, where he leads the Probabilistic Computing Project, focused on building, analyzing and deploying a range of probabilistic computing systems. The project is supported by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (especially Google's "Rethinking AI" project), the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, and Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (where Mansinghka is a Visiting Fellow). Mansinghka is also involved in consulting and advisory relationships with industry, and co-founded a startup that was ultimately acquired by Salesforce.com in 2012. Mansinghka has served on DARPA's Information Science and Technology (ISAT) advisory board, and currently serve on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Machine Learning Research. Mansinghka received his Ph.D. in 2009 from MIT, advised by Professor Joshua Tenenbaum.

Mansinghka's research is based on an emerging marriage of the abstractions behind software and hardware with stochastic processes, random variables, and Bayesian inference. These randomized building blocks support the engineering of computing systems that stochastically explore alternative explanations for data, implicitly obeying the norms of Bayesian reasoning, rather than carry out deterministic, step-by-step calculations. So far, this approach has yielded new probabilistic programming technology and stochastic hardware designs, as well as practical machine learning systems that analyze high-dimensional tables and automatically produce statistically reliable predictions from raw, messy data.
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Wojciech Matusik
Esther and Harold E Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Wojciech Matusik is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, where he leads the Computational Fabrication Group. Before coming to MIT, he worked at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, Adobe Systems, and Disney Research Zurich. He studied computer graphics at MIT and received his PhD in 2003. He also received a BS in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997 and MS in EECS from MIT in 2001. His research interests are in direct digital manufacturing and computer graphics. In 2004, he was named one of the world's top 100 young innovators by MIT's Technology Review Magazine. In 2009, he received the Significant New Researcher Award from ACM Siggraph. In 2012, Matusik received the DARPA Young Faculty Award and he was named a Sloan Research Fellow.
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Tomaso Poggio
Eugene McDermott Professor in the Brain Sciences and Human Behavior
Investigator, McGovern Institute
Director, Center for Biological and Computational Learning (CBCL)
Director, MIT Intelligence Initiative
MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Tomaso A. Poggio, is the Eugene McDermott Professor at MIT and one of the most cited computational scientists. The citation for the 2009 Okawa prize mentions his “…outstanding contributions to the establishment of computational neuroscience, and pioneering research ranging from the biophysical and behavioral studies of the visual system to the computational analysis of vision and learning in humans and machines.” His recent work is on a theory of unsupervised learning of invariant representations for supervised learning. The theory is relevant for the science and the technology of machine learning, vision and speech.
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Nicholas Roy
Boeing Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

As computers become ubiquitous, the range of devices that must understand their physical context will increase substantially. Robots, computers and embedded devices need not only to be able to sense their environment, but should also integrate information from the environment into all decision making. Many of the open questions in robotics are instances of how to integrate spatial and temporal reasoning into computation systems: what are appropriate models of the world, how to automatically build such models, and how to generate reliable actions in the real world.

Nicholas Roy's research has focussed specifically on the problems that result from uncertainty in the world, such as sensor noise or unpredictable action outcome. Probabilistic, decision-theoretic models have proven to be ideally suited for state estimation in the face of uncertainty; Roy believes that such models can be equally useful for planning. For example, he has formulated algorithms for a class of planning models called Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs). The POMDP framework is a general model for planning with incomplete information, however, it suffers from substantial computational intractability. His contribution has been an approach for finding approximate policies for large (and currently unsolvable) POMDP models that are relevant to real world systems.

POMDP policies are computed over beliefs (probability distributions over states), and one major source of POMDP intractability is that the space of beliefs grows in dimensionality with the size of the state space. Roy's approach stems from the observation that only certain features of the belief space may be necessary for finding good policies. For instance, many problems exhibit a specific kind of sparse structure in the belief space; by taking advantage of this structure, it is possible to approximate very high-dimensional belief spaces with very low-dimensional representations. He has developed an algorithm that uses a dimensionality reduction technique, called Exponential Family Principal Components Analysis, to find a compact representation of the belief space. By planning only over this low-dimensional space of belief features, the vast majority of implausible beliefs are eliminated from consideration. This approximation allows for much more efficient planning, with relatively little loss in policy performance for many problems.

These kinds of approximation models naturally grow out of real world problems, and Roy believes it is essential to work with deployed systems, performing real tasks, to gain insight into the best way to address interesting scientific problems. For example, Roys' experience with Minerva, the tour-guide robot in the Smithsonian Museum, led him to develop Coastal Navigation, a motion planning strategy that trades off the costs of motion and of positional uncertainty, to achieve goals with maximum likelihood. He has also been a lead developer of the Nursebot, a robot for assisting nurses and the elderly with daily activities. One of the most valuable lessons from this domain is the need for both state estimation and planning techniques that can cope with a wide variety of human behaviours.

Professor Roy intends to continue working on the issue of planning under uncertainty, motivated by mobile robots in a variety of environments, but also with regard to a wide range of applications. Unfortunately, existing algorithms are limited in a number of ways. The kinds of environmental models that robots can build reliably is very restricted: while robots can now build two-dimensional maps of connected spaces, the technologies used to build these maps do not scale well to large spaces, to higher dimensions, or to simpler representations for low-power devices. More flexible representations, and algorithms for reasoning about these representations in a wider variety of tasks, are essential for better integration of physical modelling and reasoning in many domains.

Roy is also very interested exploring robot autonomy, especially in human interaction. Most standard models of interaction are based on abstract game-theoretic principles; consequently, almost no deployed systems make use of these models. Additionally, while there are a wide variety of algorithms for detecting and modelling people, there are few if any principled ways for integrating people into general decision making.

In general, Professor Roy's research reflects the belief that decision-theoretic models give tremendous promise of principled spatial and temporal reasoning, integrated in a range of computational devices. However, there are many open questions, and consequently a great number of scientific challenges and opportunities.
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Richard Schenz
Vice President
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

Personal details
Born 25 January 1940 in Vienna, Austria Married, two children

1959 School-leaving diploma Technical High School in Vienna
1964 Graduation as "Diplom-Ingenieur" (MSc) from University of Technology (Physics Department), Vienna
1967 Graduation as "Doktor der Technischen Wissenschaften" (PhD technical Science)

Post graduate career
Two years research assistant at the Institute of Applied Physics at University of Technology, Vienna

Professional career
OMV AG, Vienna
1969 Operations Research department downstream business (refining & marketing)
1971 Responsible for Production planning and Expansion/Investment programmes at the OMV refinery in Schwechat
1979 Head of Integrated Production Planning and project leader of various major Investment Programmes in refineries and petrochemicals
1985 Appointment as Director of the Company
1988 Appointment as Member of the Executive Board with responsibility for the entire downstream business, including supply & trading, refining, marketing, petrochemicals, plastics, research development and engineering
1992 - 2001 Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board

Advisory and Non-Executive Roles
1992 - 2001 Chairman of the Association of the Austrian Petroleum Industry
1993 - 2000 Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ÖSAG
(The Austrian Highways and Expressways Corporation)
1996 - 2002 President of the Federation of Austrian Industries – Section Vienna
1996 - Member of the Federal Presidency of the Federation of Austrian Industries
1998 - 2003 Chairman of the Supervisory Board of JENBACHER AG
2000 - Vice-President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
2001 - President of ICC Austria (International Chamber of Commerce)
2001 - Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee of the Federation of Austrian

2001 - 2009 Government Representative for the Austrian Capital Market
2002 - Chairman of the Austrian Working Group for Corporate Governance
2003 - 2008 Member of the Advisory Board of the University of Mining in Leoben (Austria)
since 2003 Member of the Advisory Board of FERATEL Media Technology AG
2006 – 2007 Appointed as Member of the Advisory Board of BAWAG/PSK bank to supervise the restructuring and subsequent sale to Cerberus Capital Management LP after the REFCO-losses
2006 – 2011 Chairman of the SWIETELSKY-Baugesellschaft
since 2007 Member of the Advisory Board of BIOLUX GmbH (Biodiesel plant in China)
since 2007 Member of the Advisory Board of PEG MedAustron (Particle Accelerator for Medicine and Research)
2007 - 2012 Chairman of the Austrian Quality Control Board for Auditors (QKB)
since 2009 President of the Austrian-Arab Chamber of Commerce
2009 – 2012 Capital Markets Advisor to the Austrian Minister of Finance
since 2012 President of the Austrian-Kazakh Society

1992 Awarded title of ”Kommerzialrat1” of the Republic of Austria
1996 Awarded title of ”Senator h.c.” of the University of Technology Vienna
1999 Award of the ‘Grand Silver Decoration of Honour with Star for Services to the Republic of Austria’
2002 Award of the ‘Golden Commander’s Cross of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the province of Lower Austria’

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Michael Schrage
Research Fellow, MIT Center for Digital Business
Visting Fellow, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship
Visiting Fellow, Imperial College Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
MIT Center for Digital Business

Michael Schrage is one of the world’s most innovative thought leaders on innovation. He has redefined how we think about innovation by focusing on customer acceptance of new products and services as an integral part of the innovation process. He also has pioneered techniques for using rapid prototyping, simulations and modeling to improve return on innovation investment. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate and Shared Minds -- The New Technologies of Collaboration.

A research fellow at the MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, Schrage is a columnist for Fortune, CIO Magazine and MIT’s Technology Review, and is widely published in the business press. He is a regular contributor to The Conference Board Review. He is a senior advisor to MIT’s Security Studies Program and consults to the U.S. government on national security systems innovation. Schrage is a powerful speaker with a very direct and engaging style. His work redefines not just how innovation is done but what innovation means. Innovation is not what innovators do; it’s not about good new ideas. Innovation is about good new ideas that customers will pay a premium to adopt and use! Innovation & marketing. The most innovative organizations fuse "marketing" and "innovation" into an integrated strategy for growth. This redefines how you innovate and how you market your innovations. The key is to understand how your inventions will affect customer relationships and develop strategies that help customers embrace your innovations. Michael Schrage knows how to make such integrative strategies work.

Perhaps no one knows more about how to maximize return on investment from innovation processes than Michael Schrage. The key, as he describes in his groundbreaking book, Serious Play -- How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate, is rapid experimentation and prototyping, speedy simulation and digital design. New prototyping methods have radically reduced the cost of testing products, services and business models, effectively creating a new financial resource -- iterative capital, a resource that allows you to play seriously with more and more versions of various ideas in less and less time. Schrage helps businesses master these techniques and spend their iterative capital wisely. Manage the links between innovation, the supply chain and the customer cost-effectively.

Schrage’s critically acclaimed first book, Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration, is the first book to explore the tools and dynamics of successful collaboration as the behavioral key to successful innovation.
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Devavrat Shah
Jamieson Associate Professor
MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Devavrat Shah completed his PhD at Stanford University in October 2004. His thesis focused on the development of novel design and analytic methods for network algorithms.

Before coming to LIDS in the fall of 2005, he spent a year at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, California. During this year of study, he was introduced to message-passing algorithms and graphical statistical inference. At LIDS, his research areas include statistical inference, network algorithms, and stochastics.
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Robert Trappl
Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence

General: Robert Trappl is head of the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI) in Vienna, with, at present, 22 employed researchers. In addition, he is the leader of OFAI’s Group “Applied Cognitive Science and Social Robotics“ where currently five research projects are undertaken. He was full professor of Medical Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence and head of this Department at the University of Vienna, for thirty years, and is now professor emeritus at the Center for Brain Research, Medical University of Vienna.

He is Ingenieur (BEng) for electrical engineering, he holds a PhD in psychology (minor: astronomy), a diploma in sociology (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna), and recently, in 2012, graduated as MBA in General Management.

Research Interests: His main research interest has always been the human mind since it can be analysed by three distinct methods the results of which eventually have to converge: 1. by introspection, 2. by analysing the behaviour of a person, e.g. through psychological experiments, and 3. by studying the human brain. And then progress in technology made method 4 possible: Modelling the human mind and the human brain. For this reason, he has extended his research methods from cybernetics and systems theory to artificial intelligence, but not restricted to the so-called rational processes but encompassing also emotional ones, and not restricted to theory but with an emphasis of real-world applications.

Besides this main research interest which led also to his becoming partner in the Neurorobotics Sub-Project of the EC-sponsored Human Brain Project, he has been attempting to answer questions related to the application of artificial intelligence methods e.g. how to develop rational and emotional personality agents for interactive media, how to develop robots that may aid persons with special needs, how to aid persons who want to prevent the outbreak of a war or to end one with artificial intelligence methods applied to conflict databases, or how to develop ethical systems for social robots.

Selected Publications: He has published more than 180 articles, he is co-author, editor or co-editor of 35 books, among others "Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence", "Creating Personalities for Synthetic Actors", and "Multi-Agent Systems and Applications", these three Springer, Heidelberg/New York, "Emotions in Humans and Artifacts", MIT Press, 2003, "Agent Culture. Human-Agent Interaction in a Multicultural World", Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004, "Programming for Peace: Computer-Aided Methods for International Conflict Resolution and Prevention", Springer, Dordrecht, NL, 2006, "Cybernetics and Systems 2010", ASCS, Vienna, and "Your Virtual Butler: The Making-of", Springer Heidelberg/Berlin, 2013.

He is Editor-in-Chief of "Applied Artificial Intelligence: An International Journal" and "Cybernetics and Systems: An International Journal", both published by Taylor & Francis, USA. He is author of the 2 hour video series "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence" (in German, Spektrum Videothek, Heidelberg). He has been on the editorial board of numerous scientific journals and has been a member of program committees of many national and international conferences.

Invitations, Awards: He has been giving lectures in many countries, both in scientific conferences and as invited speaker before company celebrations. He has been working as a consultant for national and international companies and organizations (EC, OECD, UNIDO, WHO). He received numerous awards and he has been appointed Honorary Member or Fellow of, among others, the American Society for Cybernetics, die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kybernetik, the International Federation for Systems Research, and the United Kingdom Systems Society. He was elected Full Member of the European Academy for Sciences and Arts. In 2012 he was elected President of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences, in 2014 re-elected.

Other activities: In his spare time, beginning in the Seventies, he has been taking courses and workshops first in pantomine, then in improvisation, contact improvisation and contemporary dance. Among his teachers were Willi Dorner, Andrew Harwood, Nina Martin, Steve Paxton, Saburo Teshigawara, and Mark Tompkins. He is an active performer also on stage, e.g. in performances in the Studio 1 of the Tanzquartier or in Hall G of the Museumsquartier or in the Werkraum of the Münchner Kammerspiele, or recently, in 2012, he danced in an adaptation of E.A. Poe's "The Fall of the House Usher" in the Palais Kabelwerk in Vienna.

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George Westerman
Research Scientist
MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy
MIT Sloan School of Management

George Westerman is an award winning researcher, author and speaker. A leading voice at the intersection of technology and leadership, his research focuses on the digital transformation of companies and industries. He serves as a Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy and faculty director of the course Essential IT for Non-IT Executives.

George’s books have received wide acclaim. His most recent, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation, shows CEOs and other senior executives how to drove digital transformation in their organizations. He also contributes regularly to media outlets such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Sloan Management Review, and Harvard Business Review.

George spent more than 13 years in product development and IT leadership roles before earning a doctorate from Harvard Business School in 2002. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Technology Business Management Council, co-chairs the MIT CIO Leadership Awards, and advises senior executive teams around the world.
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Randall Wright
Senior Industrial Liaison Officer
MIT Office of Corporate Relations/Industrial Liaison Program

Randall S. Wright is a Senior Liaison Officer with MIT's Industrial Liaison Program. He manages the interface between the managements of companies, headquartered in the United States and Europe, and the senior administration and faculty of MIT.

As a Senior Liaison Officer for MIT, he leads teams of researchers and faculty members in providing on-going emerging technology intelligence and strategic advice for the world's leading technology companies. He is a sought-after speaker, delivering keynote speeches focused on emerging technology opportunities and challenges, and counter-intuitive insights in executive panels and discussions. Randall draws on extensive experience advising executives on a range of emerging technology areas including green buildings, water efficiency, energy storage, biofuels, advanced materials, and photovoltaics. He provides navigation and recommendations on the emerging technologies and adoption landscapes critical to future business growth, as well as creation, development, and execution of programs of research between industry and MIT.

Prior to becoming a Senior Liaison Officer for MIT, Randall was a Marketing Manager for Pfizer, Inc., a major U.S. pharmaceuticals company. He was also a Strategic Planning Analyst for Pennzoil Company--a Fortune 500 oil and natural resources company.

Randall is an invited lecturer at Northeastern University's Executive M.B.A. Program where he lectures on innovation and corporate strategy.
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