Faculty from across the Americas meet in New York for the Faculty Summit

July 20, 2011

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Last week, we held our seventh annual Computer Science Faculty Summit. For the first time, the event took place at our New York City office; nearly 100 faculty members from universities in the U.S., Canada and Latin America attended. The two-day Summit focused on systems, artificial intelligence and mobile computing. Alfred Spector, VP of research and special initiatives, hosted the conference and led lively discussions on privacy, security and Google’s approach to research.

Google’s Internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, opened the Summit with a talk on the challenges involved in securing the “Internet of things”—that is, uniquely identifiable objects (“things”) and their virtual representations. With almost 2 billion international Internet users and 5 billion mobile devices out there in the world, Vint expounded upon the idea that Internet security is not just about technology, but also about policy and global institutions. He stressed that our new digital ecosystem is complex and large in scale, and includes both hardware and software. It also has multiple stakeholders, diverse business models and a range of legal frameworks. Vint argued that making and keeping the Internet secure over the next few years will require technical innovation and global collaboration.

After Vint kicked things off, faculty spent the two days attending presentations by Google software engineers and research scientists, including John Wilkes on the management of Google's large hardware infrastructure, Andrew Chatham on the self-driving car, Johan Schalkwyk on mobile speech technology and Andrew Moore on the research challenges in commerce services. Craig Nevill-Manning, the engineering founder of Google’s NYC office, gave an update on Google.org, particularly its recent work in crisis response. Other talks covered the engineering work behind products like Ad Exchange and Google Docs, and the range of engineering projects taking place across 35 Google offices in 20 countries. For a complete list of the topics and sessions, visit the Faculty Summit site. Also, a few of our attendees heeded Alfred’s call to recap their breakout sessions in verse—download a PDF of one of our favorite poems, about the future of mobile computing, penned by NYU professor Ken Perlin.

A highlight of this year’s Summit was Bill Schilit’s presentation of the Library Wall, a Chrome OS experiment featuring an eight-foot tall full-color virtual display of ebooks that can be browsed and examined individually via touch screen. Faculty members were invited to play around with the digital-age “bookshelf,” which is one of the newest additions to our NYC office.

We’ve already posted deeper dives on a few of the talks—including cluster management, mobile search and commerce. We also collected some interesting faculty reflections. For more information on all of our programs, visit our University Relations website. The Faculty Summit is meant to connect forerunners across the computer science community—in business, research and academia—and we hope all our attendees returned home feeling informed and inspired.