This article is published in the January 2018 issue.

Microsoft Research Podcast on How Programming Languages Quietly Run the World with CCC Exec Member Ben Zorn

Ben Zorn, CCC Exec Member and Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Do you worry that the Bluetooth-enabled smart fork you just got for Christmas is trying to steal your password? Do you wonder what software was used to implement your smart fork and when it was last updated? These are questions we’ve never had to ask until now.

Microsoft Research Podcast recently interviewed Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Executive Council member and CCC Intelligent Infrastructure (II) Task Force Co-Chair Ben Zorn, from Microsoft Research, on programming languages and how they are impacting the world.

In the Podcast, Zorn talked about the Internet of Things. When we embed computing into infrastructure, like what the CCC II Task Force is looking at, how does that change the world? How can we make the smart fork software better? The more we depend on these devices, the more important it is that their hardware and software are created with privacy and security in mind and following industry best practices to ensure that they benefit society for decades to come.

Zorn also described Project Premonition, which takes a new approach to tracking where diseases are in the world. One of his collaborators, Ethan Jackson, created a very specialized mosquito trap that uses machine learning to capture a mosquito and preserve it in such a way that it allows researchers to sequence the mosquito DNA. With the sequenced DNA, researchers can harness the power of computing in the Cloud to determine what the mosquito ate, if it has an infectious disease like Zika or Ebola, and potentially track the location of these diseases.

These are just some of the examples that Zorn describes in his Podcast interview on programming languages and their tremendous potential impact. If you want to learn more and hear the full descriptions, see the entire podcast interview here.