Mixers Remixed: DIMACS Mixers Have a New Format

Mix with Us at Bell Labs on March 19

February 2020

UPDATE: The March 19 Mixer at Bell Labs has been postponed as a precaution against COVID-19. It will be rescheduled for a future date.

DIMACS Mixers have been around since the beginning of DIMACS. They started as a way to help people at the four initial DIMACS institutions—Rutgers, Princeton, Bell Labs, and Bellcore—meet each other and learn about the research being conducted at those institutions. Mixers evolved to become a mechanism for newcomers to DIMACS (particularly those based at NJ institutions) to present their research and meet others who were already involved with DIMACS. These later Mixers typically included four to six research talks in an afternoon, leaving little time for mixing or meeting.

ShannonLuminarySeries.jpgLast year, DIMACS reformatted its Mixers in an effort to promote more effective mixing. The remixed Mixers are anchored by a keynote talk that we expect to be of interest to a large fraction of the DIMACS community. Also included are short introductions to activities at DIMACS and the host institution. Some Mixers feature lightning talks to allow participants to introduce themselves and their research with a high-energy single-slide presentation. Each mixer concludes with a social reception where people can talk, discuss common interests sparked by the keynote or lightening talks, meet each other, and just mix. Mixers are held twice each year, once in the fall and once in the spring, at rotating locations of DIMACS partner institutions.

The Spring 2020 Mixer will take place at Bell Labs on March 19 in association with its Shannon Luminary Lecture Series featuring a presentation by Manuela Veloso, who will receive the Shannon Luminary Award. This will be the third in the new Mixer Series, which launched in Spring 2019 at NJIT. That event welcomed NJIT as a new DIMACS partner and featured presentations by Craig Gotsman (NJIT) and Jeannette Wing (Columbia). The second Mixer was hosted by Microsoft Research NYC and featured a presentation by Christos Papadimitriou (Columbia). We hope you can join us on March 19 at Bell Labs. Please register in advance if you plan to attend.

View all Mixers

ManuelaVeloso.jpgManuela Veloso, is the head of AI Research at JP Morgan and Herbert A. Simon University Professor at the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. An internationally renowned expert in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, Veloso is former head of the Carnegie Mellon Machine Learning Department, past president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and co-founder of the RoboCup Federation, where her robot soccer teams have been crowned world champions on numerous occasions.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Veloso’s work is her research into humanizing the AI systems and robots with which we will eventually interact on a daily basis. In an interview with The Verge in 2016, Veloso said that AI systems must learn to explain their decisions and actions, rather than present an opaque and inscrutable face to humanity. By revealing why and how they reach their conclusions, AI systems can be better understood, better trained and ultimately earn the trust of humans. Her lecture on “The Future of Human-AI Interaction” promises to be a fascinating exploration of this critical landscape.

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