The Next Computer Revolution: The Coming of Semi-Smart Machines

Thursday, June 21, 2007 - 7:00pm
John Bottoms
Joint Meeting with IEEE/Computer Society

A GBC/ACM business meeting (starting at 6:30 pm) will precede the technical talk.

Computers are still stupid. What will it take to make them smarter? Have we given up on "intelligent machines" all together? Or, is there another option? This talk addresses one alternative to machines that think like humans: the "Semi-Smart" machine. What might such a machine look like? How would we design a Semi-Smart machine? Where would it be put to use? Could we use a computer that is smart as a dog? What could it do? Could a semi-smart machine help us get to Mars? Do we need Semi-Smart machines to go to Mars before we leave for Mars? This talk addresses the issues and problems that face developers of the next-generation of computers as intelligent machines. We will look at some of the obstacles to designing Semi-Smart machines and some approaches that could be of use in solving these problems.

Lecturer Biography: 

John Bottoms, a graduate of Purdue University, is a computer systems designer who works in data communications. His professional work has been in the design of large networks and telephone switches. In 1986 he designed the first SGML web browser using for searching large document databases. Bottoms is also an accomplished woodworker and an itinerate balloon sculptor, currently the most skilled balloon sculptor in West Concord. He has taught as an adjunct professor of computer science at Northeastern. In his spare time he designs and collects mechanical puzzles and is a member of the International Puzzle Party, the professional organization for puzzle designers.