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Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs Symposium Livestream

Computing Innovation Symposium BannerThis post features contributions from the upcoming Computing Research Symposium Intelligent Infrastructure for our Cities and Communities and Data, Algorithms, and Fairness panel members.

On October 23-24, 2017, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) will hold the Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs Symposium in order to address the current and future contribution of computing and its role in addressing societal needs.

The two days are organized around four main themes:

  • Intelligent Infrastructure for our Cities and Communities: Intelligent infrastructure is already transforming our nation’s cities and communities, but the technological revolution is just now beginning. This session will highlight some of the major advances taking place now, while at the same time emphasizing the substantial body of research, much of it crossing disciplinary boundaries, that still needs to be done.
  • Security and Privacy for Democracy: Computing research enables new technology to help society cope with information security and privacy risks. This session will explore how differential privacy enables new understanding of the population while protecting privacy.
  • AI and Amplifying Human Abilities: This session will examine the emerging role of AI in augmenting human abilities in new and powerful ways. Speakers will also ground their remarks in application areas ranging from health, transportation, universal access, data analysis, and education.
  • Data, Algorithms, and Fairness: Data-driven and algorithmic decision-making increasingly determines how businesses target advertisements to consumers. As data-driven decisions increasingly affect every corner of our lives, there is an urgent need to ensure they do not become instruments of discrimination, barriers to equality, and threats to social justice.

Planned major investments in infrastructure should buy us the best, most cost-effective solutions with an eye toward the future. This will mean incorporating substantial levels of intelligence in the infrastructure. This intelligence will be enabled by widespread deployment of sensing systems, reliable network access with sufficient bandwidth, improvements in cyberphysical security, and ongoing advances in machine learning and AI. There are significant implications for our citizens in terms of health and safety, quality of life, national security, and economic competitiveness.

Modern societies can be understood as the intersection of four interdependent systems: (1) the natural environment of geography, climate  and weather; (2) the built environment of cities, engineered systems, and physical infrastructure; (3) the social environment of human populations, communities and socio-economic activities; and (4) an information ecosystem  that overlays the other three domains and provides the means for understanding, interacting with, and managing the relationships between the natural, built, and human environments. General investments in intelligent infrastructure, such as the integration of embedded sensors in physical systems like roadways, water management, and electrical power distribution can support multiple important missions such as public safety, reduction in energy consumption, and improvements in public transportation.

One such program is the Smart Public Safety Initiative, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to identify city-led development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies to support first responders and emergency management, improve situational awareness during disasters and civic emergencies, and enhance city resilience. The program emerged from the NIST Global City Teams Challenge and includes 25 city teams and public-private partnerships dedicated to improving coordination among civic authorities, emergency management and first responders, and the general population.

The CCC Privacy and Fairness Task Force recently produced a white paper, featuring symposium panelist Solon Barocas as an author, on Big Data, Data Science, and Civil Rights, that offers a research agenda to determine if models exhibit objectionable bias, to build awareness of fairness into machine learning methods, and to improve the transparency of data-driven decision making. Check out some of the CCC’s other privacy-based white papers on the Privacy and Fairness Task Force page and for other notable work related to data, algorithms, and fairness consider the reference list below, curated by Solon Barocas:

For more information about the symposium please see the agenda and symposium website. The event will be livestreamed here starting at 8:30AM EDT on Monday, October 23rd. You can also join the twitter conversation using #CCCsymposium!