August 5, 2019

‘What IF We Could Immerse Ourselves in Future Tech?’

Anna Ridler Anna Ridler, a multimedia artist and researcher, is an artist from London who will participate in the Purdue 2050 conference. She uses collections of information or data — particularly self-generated data sets — artificial intelligence, machine learning and other new technologies to create new and unusual artistic narratives in a variety of mediums. Conference participants will experience her giant video mosaic of tulips that have been programmed to bloom or wither based on fluctuations in bitcoin values. (Photo provided)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — How can we create digital, healthy and sustainable communities of tomorrow?

“What IF We Could Immerse Ourselves in Future Tech?” is part of the Purdue 2050: Conference on the Future, which will address this challenge and conferees will experience the technology of tomorrow as a part of the university's Ideas Festival, the centerpiece of its Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign. The campaign is a series of events that connect world-renowned speakers and Purdue expertise in a conversation on the most critical problems facing the world. This conference addresses three of the Ideas Festival’s themes: a sustainable economy and planet; health and longevity; and artificial intelligence.

Purdue’s Discovery Park is organizing this Sept. 26-27 conference, which will highlight some of the futuristic technology expected at Purdue in 2030-50 and include the latest interactive learning and data analytics tools. The conference will go beyond speakers and panels to offer immersive experiences and exhibitions. Registration is required. The deadline is Sept. 18. The cost is $40 for Purdue students, $100 for Purdue faculty and staff, and $200 for others.

The conference goers will examine the ways in which digital technologies are changing everyday life exponentially, challenging business and government systems, privacy and civility. Speakers and panelists also will cover topics that probe the future of health care, art and innovation, agriculture, factories and manufacturing. A leading expert will introduce quantum technologies to the general public as taught in 2050. 

Exhibits will invite participants to experience artificial intelligence-generated art as well as the concept of color in a nano-photonics kaleidoscope. Falls will be simulated safely with training devices that can increase balance. Music will be visualized and convey emotion. Participants’ brain signals will be translated into an art form. In the conference room-of-the-future in Honors Hall, facial expressions of participants will be analyzed. This will provide real-time feedback to the speakers and audience, showing how many are laughing, sleeping, confused, neutral or excited during a presentation.

Some unique technologies at Purdue will be highlighted. These include semi-transparent flexible loudspeakers, wearable sweat sensors and smart technology to characterize soil fertility.

The two-day conference also will include a theatrical telepresence performance and student design competitions. Tours offered will include the Birck Nanotechnology Center and AI-generated artwork.

Purdue student teams also can compete in STAMINA4 IT/Analytics case competition. This competition, run by the Krannert School of Management's Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning and Krannert Communication Center, is an intensive, experiential learning opportunity for students to showcase their critical thinking and analytical abilities, communicate their ideas and demonstrate mental tenacity. Participants will have only four hours to analyze a case and create a presentation to share their recommendations. A $10,000 prize pool awaits the teams. Winning teams also will participate in a case competition between Purdue and Indiana University students later in the fall to win additional prizes.

In another student competition, students in The Data Mine learning community will be involved in a life science data hackathon where they will develop an algorithm and a code for predictive modeling.

A list of speakers and panelists is available online.

"This conference, of course, will be of interest to students, faculty and future thinkers worldwide. We hope some of our alumni will join us, pairing this conference with the football game against the University of Minnesota that weekend," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director, Integrative Data Science Initiative at Purdue.

Besides Discovery Park, sponsors include several areas at Purdue including the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Honors College, Krannert School of Management, the College of Liberal Arts, Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering and The Data Mine. Purdue’s Department of Art and Design is working with Honors Hall to set up the technology. 

Writer: Jeanne Norberg 

Media contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu  

Sources: Pankaj Sharma, managing director, Purdue Integrative Data Science Initiative, 765-496-7452, sharma@purdue.edu 

Ali Shakouri, Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center; Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 765 496-6105, shakouri@purdue.edu 

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