Amy Mainzer is a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A planetary astronomer, her scientific interests include asteroids, comets, astronomical telescope and camera design, and science education. She served as deputy project scientist for NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, an Earth-orbiting telescope designed to survey the entire sky in heat-sensitive infrared wavelengths. Following successful completion of its prime mission, this telescope was renamed NEOWISE and given a new mission to characterize asteroids and comets; Mainzer is the principal investigator. She also is the principal investigator of the proposed Near-Earth Object Camera mission, which would carry out a comprehensive survey of asteroids and comets using a dedicated space telescope surveying the solar system from a vantage point beyond the Earth’s Moon. Prior to joining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003, she designed and built the fine guidance sensor for NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope as an engineer at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center. She currently serves as the curriculum consultant and on-camera host for the PBS Kids series “Ready Jet Go!” an animated and live-action children’s show aimed at teaching space and Earth science to kids as young as 3.
Andrew W. Moore
Andrew W. Moore
Andrew W. Moore, a distinguished computer scientist with expertise in machine learning and robotics, became dean of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science in August 2014. He had previously served as a professor of computer science and robotics before taking a leave of absence to become founding director of Google’s Pittsburgh engineering office in 2006. Moore’s research interests broadly encompass the field of big data – applying statistical methods and mathematical formulas to massive quantities of information, ranging from web searches to astronomy to medical records, to identify patterns and extract meaning from that information. His past research also has included improving the ability of robots and other automated systems to sense the world around them and respond appropriately.
Anousheh Ansari is co-founder, chairwoman, and chief executive officer of Prodea Systems, an innovative Internet of Things platform that connects people, data, and devices. As she launched her new company in 2006, she blasted off for an 11-day space expedition and captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer, the first astronaut of Iranian descent, and the first Muslim woman and fourth private explorer to visit space. This was the accomplishment of her childhood dream. As a successful serial entrepreneur and active proponent of world-changing technologies, she and her family provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award that ignited a new era in private space industries. Ansari has published her memoirs, titled “My Dream of Stars,” to use her life story to inspire young woman around the world. She is a board member of the X Prize Foundation and a Vision Circle member. She is a UNESCO Good Will Ambassador and serves on the board of The Peace First and Museum of Mathematics, as well as several other not-for-profit organizations focused on STEM education and youth empowerment. She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as ASHOKA, which supports social entrepreneurship around the world. Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University; a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University; and honorary doctorates from George Mason University, Utah Valley University, and the International Space University.
Anthony Foxx is the United States Secretary of Transportation, leading an agency of 55,000 employees overseeing air, maritime and surface transportation with the primary goal of ensuring the United States maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world. Foxx refocused the national dialogue by releasing Beyond Traffic, a report examining America’s infrastructure challenges over the next three decades. Beyond Traffic highlights the importance of giving local governments reliable, long-term funding to plan critical investments in transportation infrastructure. Foxx secured a five-year, bipartisan surface reauthorization bill from Congress in December 2015, and has leveraged the resources to connect communities to economic opportunity while encouraging land use planners, engineers, and decision-makers to revitalize and reconnect underserved communities. He was mayor of Charlotte, N.C., from 2009 to 2013, preceded by two terms on the Charlotte City Council. He was a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. He was a Root-Tilden Scholar at New York University’s School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College.
Antwi Akom is an urban technologist with an extensive background in collaborative, community-facing technology projects, people powered place-making, designing for the public good, and developing new models of urban innovation in the 21st century that make cities smarter, more equitable, just and sustainable. Akom is a professor at San Francisco State University (SFSU), where he directs the Civic Innovation lab — a joint research lab between the University of California, San Francisco, and SFSU. He is also an affiliate faculty member with UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) at San Francisco General Hospital, where he researches and deploys new health information communication technologies that improve health literacy, health care delivery and promote equitable health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Prior to joining UCSF/CVP in 2016, Akom co-founded and launched a series of technology startups in the San Francisco Bay area, including, Streetwyze, which has been recognized by the White House, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Knight News Challenge, and the Institute for Sustainable Economic Educational and Environmental Design (ISEEED.org), an award-winning community-based center for research, teaching and action.
Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots, X, currently oversees Alphabet’s moonshot factory for building magical, audaciously impactful ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality. Before joining Google / Alphabet, Astro was co-founding CEO of Cerebellum Capital, Inc., an investment management firm whose investments are continuously designed, executed and improved by a software system based on techniques from statistical machine learning. Teller also was co-founding CEO of BodyMedia, Inc., a leading developer of wearable, body-monitoring systems, and co-founder and CEO of SANDbOX AD, an advanced development technology incubator. He taught at Stanford University and was an engineer and researcher for Phoenix Laser Technologies, Stanford’s Center for Integrated Systems, and The Carnegie Group Incorporated. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in symbolic and heuristic computation from Stanford,, and a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a recipient of the Hertz Fellowship. Though his work as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, Teller holds many U.S. and international patents related to his work in hardware and software technology. He also is a successful novelist and screenwriter.
Atul Gawande MD, MPH, is a surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is professor in both the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He is Executive Director of Ariadne Labs , a joint center for health systems innovation, and also chairman of Lifebox , a nonprofit making surgery safer globally. He is the author of four best-selling books, including his most recent Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. In addition, he has been a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine since 1998.
Elisabeth Babcock (Beth) is president and CEO of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating new pathways to economic independence for low-income individuals and families. EMPath uses its unique action-tank business model to design, build and test new approaches for creating economic mobility and shares them with other organizations and governments. In 2009, EMPath’s applied research led to the development of its brain-science-based Mobility Mentoring® coaching platform. Over 50 organizations, state and government agencies have implemented the model and are working together to continuously improve their outcomes. Babcock is a member of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Partnership for Mobility from Poverty. She also is an adviser to the World Bank. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in nonprofit strategy from Harvard University and has taught the subject at Harvard, Brandeis University and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Bill Peduto, mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, has worked for 19 years on Pittsburgh City Council as a staffer and councilmember. Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history, strengthening the Ethics Code, creating the city’s first campaign finance limits, establishing lobbyist disclosure and registration, and ending no-bid contracts. He led the city to apply for Act 47 state protection as a strategic response to Pittsburgh’s financial challenges. Peduto has been directly involved in more than $2 billion in transformative redevelopment of the city’s East End. From co-creator and co-chair of the city’s Comprehensive Climate Action Plan to writing the legislation to protect Pittsburgh’s unique green hillsides, Peduto has championed Pittsburgh’s new reputation as a leader in green initiatives. As co-creator of iBurgh, the nation’s first mobile app for local government, he has led the discussion on e-democracy locally and nationally, and has worked with local companies to help them in creating a new industry.
Robert (Bob) Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He co-founded the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation, and Moon Express, Inc., a lunar resources company competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. He is president and CEO of Moon Express, Inc. Richards chairs the Space Commerce Committee of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and is a member of the International Institute of Space Law. As director of the Optech Space Division, he led the company’s technology into orbit in 2004 and to the surface of Mars in 2007 aboard the NASA Phoenix Lander, making the first discovery of falling Martian snow. Richards studied aerospace and industrial engineering at Ryerson University; physics and astronomy at the University of Toronto; and space science at Cornell University, where he became special assistant to Carl Sagan. Richards is an evangelist of the “NewSpace” movement and is the recipient of the K.E. Tsiolkovski Medal, the Space Frontier “Vision to Reality” Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Commendation, and Aviation & Space Technology Laurel. He holds a doctorate of space achievement (honoris causa) from the International Space University for “distinguished accomplishments in support of humanity’s exploration and use of space.”
Brooke Runnette, National Geographic Society’s executive vice president and chief exploration and impact officer, leads the society’s impact agenda to empower world-changing science, exploration, and education; captivate and inspire global citizens; and advance solutions to sustain our planet for generations to come. She is responsible for all grant-making across the global nonprofit in the areas of science, exploration, storytelling, and education as well as the society’s signature programs, including National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, the Okavango Wilderness Project, and the Out of Eden Walk, among others. She also has oversight of the society’s Committee for Research and Exploration and efforts to attract and cultivate explorers. Prior to assuming her current role, Runnette spent her career focused on using the power of media for education and social good. She was previously president of National Geographic Studios, where she was responsible for all television, film, and digital video production for the National Geographic Society. Before heading National Geographic Studios, Runnette was president of National Geographic Television, served as an executive producer and director of development for special projects at Discovery Channel, and had a long career in broadcast journalism. She was a producer for ABC News’ “Nightline” with Ted Koppel from 2002 to 2006 and previously produced for “Frontline,” CBS’s “60 Minutes II,” and for Peter Jennings at ABC News, among others. Her many honors include Emmy and Peabody awards. She graduated from Yale University with an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in special programs in the humanities.
Carissa Christensen is an internationally known expert on the space industry and technology forecasting. She led the creation of widely used data tools now considered global metrics for the commercial space and satellite sectors. She is a frequent speaker and author on space and satellite trends, serves as a strategic adviser to government and commercial clients, and has been an expert witness who has testified before Congress on market dynamics. Christensen is a managing partner of The Tauri Group, an analytic consulting firm that she cofounded in 2001. She also is an active investor in technology-focused startups and advises several companies she has helped seed. She serves on the board of QxBranch, an early stage quantum-computing firm. Christensen holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where she specialized in science and technology policy. She also completed the General Course in Government at the London School of Economics and was a Douglass Scholar at Rutgers University. She is an associate fellow of The American Aeronautics and Astronautics Association.
Charles Orgbon III
Charles Orgbon III
After noticing his school’s littering problem in the 5th grade, Charles Orgbon III began leading school-based community beautification projects. He quickly realized that the environmental movement was not adequately supporting young environmental changemakers, so he created Greening Forward. Today, Greening Forward has distributed tens of thousands of dollars in funding to youth environmental projects that plant trees, build compost bins, install rain barrels, monitor streams, recycle tons of waste and advocate for a number of other environmental issues. Greening Forward also has planned International Young Environmentalists Youth Summits. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has dedicated a piece of the Power of Children permanent exhibit to commemorate Orgdon’s efforts and to inspire more young people to make a positive difference in the world. Recently, Orgdon returned from an Arctic Climate Science Expedition that will inform his undergraduate research at the University of Georgia. He aspires to graduate in May 2017 with a degree in environmental economics and management and pursue a career in corporate social responsibility.
Charles Catlett is founding director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), which brings scientists, artists, architects, technologists, and policymakers together to use computation, data analytics, and embedded systems to pursue insight into the dynamics, design, and resilient operation of cities. He leads the National Science Foundation-funded Array of Things, establishing a network of 500 Argonne-developed intelligent sensor units in Chicago. He is a senior computer scientist at Argonne, a senior fellow at the Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne, and a senior fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. In previous roles he was chief information officer for Argonne, director of the NSF “TeraGrid” nationally distributed supercomputing facility, designer and director of the I-WIRE regional optical network, and chief technology officer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He has worked in internet and supercomputing technologies since 1985. Recognized as one of 25 “Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology magazine and one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders in 2014 by Crain’s Chicago Business, Catlett is a computer engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Costa Samaras is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research spans energy, climate change, infrastructure and defense analysis, and he teaches courses on energy analysis and climate adaptation for infrastructure. He has published studies examining electric and autonomous vehicles, infrastructure adaptation and energy transitions, and was one of the lead authors of the American Society of Civil Engineers book “Adapting Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Practice to a Changing Climate.” Samaras directs the Center for Engineering and Resilience for Climate Adaptation, is an affiliated faculty member in both the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and the Energy Science, Technology and Policy program, and is an adjunct senior researcher at the RAND Corporation. He served on a National Academies Committee evaluating the Department of Energy’s research portfolio, and serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. He previously was a senior engineer at the RAND Corporation and an engineer for Parsons Brinckerhoff. Samaras received a joint Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon, a master’s degree in public policy from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University.
After first building her own do-it-yourself artificial pancreas, Dana Lewis founded the #OpenAPS open source movement to make artificial pancreas technology available (sooner) for more people with diabetes. She is also a vocal part of the growing #WeAreNotWaiting movement, collaborating with people across various patient communities to encourage solving healthcare problems in new and innovative ways. Dana is collaborating with researchers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other government agencies to develop and implement new review processes for the growing number of rapidly-innovating patient-driven research projects. She is also the Director, MDigitalLife for W2O Group, working at the intersection of all things health and digital, to help organizations understand, engage, and activate the online health ecosystem. Before joining W2O Group, she spent years in a digital leadership role supporting a nonprofit health system and other health organizations in connecting patients with health information and services online. Dana is also well known in the health care social media space, first and foremost from founding and leading the global #hcsm Twitter chat community
Dava Newman is deputy administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, responsible for articulating the agency’s vision and representing NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of federal and other appropriate government agencies, international organizations, and external organizations and communities. Prior to her tenure with NASA, Newman was the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her expertise is in multidisciplinary research that encompasses aerospace biomedical engineering. Newman’s research studies were carried out through space flight experiments, ground-based simulations and mathematical modeling. Her latest research efforts include advanced space suit design, dynamics and control of astronaut motion, mission analysis, and engineering systems design and policy analysis. She also had ongoing efforts in assistive technologies to augment human locomotion on Earth. Newman is the author of “Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design,” an introductory engineering textbook. She also has published more than 250 papers in journals and refereed conferences.
David O. Okonkwo, MD, PhD, is professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh and executive vice chair of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Okonkwo leads one of the premier clinical and research programs for traumatic brain injury in the United States and is the principal investigator of a nationally funded clinical core to study the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury. Okonkwo completed his undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, where he received the University Academic Achievement Award and was named a Howard Hughes Undergraduate Biomedical Research Scholar. He completed the MD/PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000. He joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 following completion of neurosurgical residency at the University of Virginia and a fellowship at Auckland Public Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand. He has published more than 130 papers and gives lectures around the world to advance neurosurgery with emerging innovations in traumatic brain injury.
David Rausch is chief of the Knoxville Police Department. He is from Louisville, Ky., and is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in justice administration. He served in the U.S. Army MP Corps. He is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course, the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police, the FBI National Executive Institute and the Secret Service Dignitary Protection Seminar. He currently serves on several community boards and foundations in Knoxville. He is the immediate past president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the 2nd vice chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Midsize Agencies Section.
Dawn Lippert is co-founder and director of Energy Excelerator, a program that funds innovative startups to create a 100 percent clean energy future, starting in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific. Energy Excelerator invests in energy, water, transportation, agriculture and cybersecurity companies (up to $1 million per company) and opens up a world-class network of investors and customers. The program is a nonprofit/for profit hybrid funded by $40 million from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and private investors. Lippert serves as the appointed chair of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Advisory Board, a statewide board formed by the DOE and the State of Hawaii and tasked with structuring and implementing the state’s energy transformation. She serves on the boards of Women in Renewable Energy, the Clean Energy Incubator Network, the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship and the YWCA of Oahu. She also is a 2015 Omidyar Fellow and the 2015 recipient of the DOE C3E Award for Leadership in Advocacy. Previously, Lippert was a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton’s alternative energy team in Washington, D.C. She also has worked on clean energy and environmental projects in India, Africa and Latin America. She holds two degrees from Yale University, a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree from the School of Forestry and Environmental Management.
Dawn Wright is chief scientist of Esri. She reports directly to the CEO with a mandate to strengthen the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while representing Esri to the national and international scientific community. Wright also maintains an affiliated faculty appointment in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, where she was a professor of geography and oceanography for 17 years. Her research expertise includes seafloor mapping and tectonics, ocean conservation, environmental informatics and ethics in information technology. Wright has served on advisory boards for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies, Conservation International, and COMPASS Science Communication Inc., in addition to many journal editorial boards. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America, as well as a fellow of Stanford University’s Leopold Leadership program. She holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in physical geography and marine geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in oceanography from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Wheaton College in Illinois.
Dawn Zimmer, mayor of the City of Hoboken, became the first woman elected to this city role in 2009. She has led Hoboken through the difficult days of rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and is implementing an integrated and comprehensive flood resiliency plan to protect the city from rising seas and stronger storms. Zimmer led the effort to secure $230 million for flood resiliency through the post-Sandy Rebuild by Design competition. Additionally, she has created and is implementing a green infrastructure strategic plan to address flooding that includes solutions such as rain gardens, bioswales, and new “resiliency parks.” In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Sandia National Labs, Zimmer is building the foundation for a microgrid to improve energy resiliency. She is an outspoken advocate for changing federal and state regulations related to flood insurance, increasing reconstruction funding, and improving building standards in order to meet the unique challenges and characteristics of urban communities. Zimmer has served on President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and is currently a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
Dean Kamen, CEO of DEKA Research & Development Corporation, is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. As an inventor, he has been issued approximately 1,000 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. Kamen has received many awards for his efforts, including the National Medal of Technology and the Lemelson-MIT Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In addition to DEKA, one his proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. Founded in 1989, this year FIRST® will serve more than 1 million young people between the ages of 6 and 18 in more than 80 countries.
Deidre K. Mulligan
Deirdre K. Mulligan
Deirdre K. Mulligan is an associate professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, a faculty co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, and a principal investigator on the new Hewlett-funded Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Mulligan’s research explores legal and technical means of protecting values such as privacy, freedom of expression and fairness in emerging technical systems. Mulligan shares with a colleague the 2016 International Association of Privacy Professionals Leadership Award for their research contributions to the field of privacy protection. She chairs the board of directors of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a leading advocacy organization protecting global online civil liberties and human rights, and is a founding member of the standing committee for the AI 100 project, a 100-year effort to study and anticipate how the effects of artificial intelligence will ripple through every aspect of how people work, live and play. Previously, she was a clinical professor of law, founding director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, and director of Clinical Programs at the UC Berkeley School of Law.
Denis McDonough is President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, a position he assumed in February 2013. Previously, he served as the Deputy National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff of the National Security Staff, and as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. Prior to arriving at the White House, McDonough served as a senior advisor on foreign policy issues on the Presidential Transition Team and on President Obama’s 2008 campaign. He was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. McDonough has also worked in the Congress, including as Foreign Policy Advisor for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. McDonough graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and has a master’s degree from Georgetown University. A native of Stillwater, Minnesota, McDonough currently lives in Maryland with his wife Kari and three children.
Dr. Alexis Chidi
Alexis Chidi is a student in the Medical Scientist Training program of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. She recently earned a Ph.D. in clinical and translational science, examining health disparities and cost-effectiveness of treatments for chronic liver disease and liver cancer. She continues to collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the UPMC Liver Cancer Center and VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. Chidi also holds a master’s degree in health policy and has work experience in the global health and pharmaceutical industries. She has published nine papers, presented her work at multiple national meetings, and received awards from the Association for Academic Surgery and American Medical Association (AMA). She has served as a delegate to the AMA and as an active member of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Chidi aspires to practice as a surgeon while conducting research and influencing policy to improve the effectiveness and reach of health efforts for underserved populations.
Dr. France Córdova
France A. Córdova is an astrophysicist and the 14th director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). She leads the $7.5 billion independent federal agency which is the only government agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery; technological innovation; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Córdova has been a leader in science, engineering, and education for more than three decades. She has a distinguished career in both higher education and government. Her contributions in multi-spectrum research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation have made her an internationally recognized astrophysicist. She is president emerita of Purdue University, chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside, and former vice chancellor for research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also served as NASA’s chief scientist and is a recipient of the agency’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. Prior to joining NASA, Córdova was the astronomy department head at Pennsylvania State University and deputy group leader at Los Alamos National Lab. She received her BA from Stanford University and her PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology.
Ellen Stofan is NASA chief scientist, serving as principal adviser to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments. Prior to her appointment, Stofan was vice president of Proxemy Research and honorary professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University College London in England. Her research has focused on the geology of Venus, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Earth. Stofan is an associate member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn Radar Team and was a co-investigator on the Mars Express Mission’s MARSIS sounder. She also was principal investigator on the Titan Mare Explorer, a proposed mission to send a floating lander to a sea on Titan. Previously, she held a number of senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.. Stofan holds master’s and doctoral degrees in geological sciences from Brown University and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. Her many awards and honors include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Eric Dishman is the Director of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program at the National Institutes of Health. In this role, he leads efforts to build a research cohort of one million U.S. participants to advance precision medicine. Previously, Dishman was an Intel Fellow and Vice President of the Health and Life Sciences Group at Intel Corporation, where he was responsible for driving Intel’s cross-business strategy, research and development, and product and policy initiatives for health and life science solutions. He is widely recognized as a global leader in health care innovation with specific expertise in home and community-based technologies and services for chronic disease management and independent living. Trained as a social scientist, Dishman is known for pioneering innovation techniques that incorporate anthropology, ethnography, and other social science methods into the development of new technologies. He also brings his own experience as a cancer patient for 23 years—finally cured thanks to precision medicine—to drive a person-centric view of health care transformation.
Dr. Erika Wagner serves as business development manager for Blue Origin, a developer of vehicles and technologies to enable human space transportation. Prior to joining Blue Origin, Wagner worked with the X PRIZE Foundation as senior director of exploration prize development and was founding executive director of the X PRIZE Lab@MIT. Previously, she served at MIT as science director and executive director of the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program, a multi-university spacecraft development initiative to investigate the physiological effects of reduced gravity. From 2009 to 2012, Wagner was a member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Suborbital Applications Researchers Group, furthering the research and education potential of commercial suborbital launch vehicles. She currently serves on the boards of the Washington Aerospace Scholars and American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, as well as the National Academies Committee on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space. Wagner has an interdisciplinary academic background, having earned a bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, a master’s in Aeronautics & Astronautics from MIT, and a PhD in Bioastronautics from the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. She also is an alumna of the International Space University.
Etosha Cave is co-founder and chief science officer at Opus 12, a startup bringing electrification to the chemicals industry on Earth, and someday on Mars. Opus 12 has received various grants from the Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation for its work. For the past two years, Cave has been part of the first cohort of innovators at Cyclotron Road, a groundbreaking energy innovation program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cave received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, where she gained the foundational knowledge for this technology. In 2015, Cave was a TedX Stanford speaker and the winner of the 2015 Cool Companies Competition at the Fortune Brainstorm E Conference. Before attending Stanford, she worked in Antarctica at the McMurdo Research Station and hopes to return to the continent someday to stay the winter. Cave graduated from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2006 as a member of its first graduating class. She is a 2016 Echoing Green Fellow.
Fei-Fei Li is an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, the Stanford Vision Lab and the recently established Stanford Toyota Center for Human-Centric AI Research. She researches machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and cognitive and computational neuroscience. She has published more than 150 scientific articles in top-tier journals and conferences, including Nature, PNAS and the Journal of Neuroscience. Li holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Stanford, she was on the faculty at Princeton and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is the inventor of ImageNet and the ImageNet Challenge, a critical large-scale dataset and benchmarking effort that has contributed to the latest developments in deep learning and AI. In addition to her technical contributions, Li is a national leading voice for advocating diversity in STEM and AI. She is co-founder of Stanford’s renowned SAILORS outreach program for high school girls. Work by Li and her colleagues has been featured in a variety of popular press magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Fortune Magazine, Science, Wired Magazine, MIT Technology Review, the Financial Times and others.
Françoise Beaufays is a research scientist at Google, where she leads a team of engineers, researchers and linguists working on speech recognition and mobile keyboard input. Her area of scientific expertise covers neural networks, acoustic modeling, language modeling and other technologies related to natural language processing. Her scientific interests revolve around data science and machine intelligence and on bringing their magic to technology users around the world. Beaufays studied mechanical and electrical engineering in Brussels, Belgium. She holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. minor in Italian literature, both from Stanford University.
Freda C. Lewis-Hall
Freda C. Lewis-Hall
Freda C. Lewis-Hall, chief medical officer of Pfizer, leads efforts to ensure safe, effective and appropriate use of the company’s therapies and to improve health outcomes by engaging with all those involved in patient care, including patients themselves. She joined Pfizer in 2009 after senior leadership positions in medical affairs and R&D with Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia and Lilly. Before that, she was an associate professor at the Howard University College of Medicine and an adviser to the National Institute of Mental Health. A distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, she is well known for her work on the effects of mental illness on families and communities. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and her master’s degree from Howard. Lewis-Hall is on the board of governors for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, chairs the Cures Acceleration Network Review Board of the National Institutes of Health and serves on the boards of Harvard Medical School, Tenet Healthcare and Save the Children. A passionate advocate for public access to reliable, evidence-based medical information, she speaks frequently in venues like TEDMED, appears regularly as a medical expert on shows including “The Doctors” and “Dr. Phil,” and shares health and medical information at GetHealthyStayHealthy.com.
George Whitesides is CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. He is responsible for guiding all aspects of building the company’s commercial spaceline, including the spaceflight program as well as small satellite launch capability. He also is responsible for manufacturing a fleet of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo space vehicles. Previously, Whitesides served as chief of staff for NASA, where he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers. Prior to NASA, Whitesides served as executive director of the National Space Society, a space policy and advocacy group founded by Apollo program leader Wernher von Braun and journalist Hugh Downs. He is on Caltech’s Space Innovation Council and the advisory board of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. He also is a fellow of the UK Royal Aeronautical Society. Whitesides previously chaired the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. He has served on the board of trustees of Princeton University and Virgin Unite USA, and was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Space Security. He has testified on American space policy before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Whitesides holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a master’s degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge in England. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Tunisia. He is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.
Grace Clark is a 16-year-old international baccalaureate junior at International High School in New Orleans, where she serves as a student ambassador. Clark is a member of The St. Mark’s 4th Baptist Church Youth Department and a student contributor for NOLA.com. She is an active student intern with Operation Spark, an organization that offers free technology training and coding courses to young people in New Orleans. Through Operation Spark, Clark worked with the New Orleans Police Department on a policing data event, and she taught New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison to write his first line of code. Through a generous donation from Prince, Clark and members of Operation Spark attended the 2014 Essence Festival to represent inner-city youth in coding and technology. In the summer of 2015, she taught coding to children at Arthur Ashe Elementary. During a White House visit in December 2015, Clark was presented a replica of the Grace Hopper clock, and in January 2016, she was named a White House Champion of Change in the field of technology. Clark wants to become an educator and teach English as a second language and computer programming in New Orleans.
Guruduth (Guru) Banavar, Ph.D., is vice president and chief science officer for cognitive computing at IBM. He is responsible for advancing the next generation of cognitive technologies and solutions with IBM’s global scientific ecosystem, including academia, government agencies and other partners. Most recently, he led the team responsible for creating new AI technologies and systems in the IBM Watson family, designed to augment human expertise in all industries. Previously, as chief technology officer for IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative, Banavar designed and implemented big data and analytics systems to make cities more livable and sustainable. He previously served as director of IBM Research in India, where he and his team received a presidential award for improving technology access with the Spoken Web project. He also has served on task forces such as New York Governor Cuomo’s commission to improve resilience to natural disasters. Banavar holds more than 25 patents and has published extensively, with his work featured in media outlets around the world.
Heather Hava is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences program with an emphasis in Bioastronautics at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received a 2012 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship for her research (“Improving Habitability, Mood & Diet through Bioregenerative Food Systems”) and a 2016 Lemelson-MIT “Eat-It” Student Prize for her technology that helps create better connections between humans and plants on Earth and in space. Hava’s research focuses on developing plant growth robotics and automation technologies such as SmartPOT and Ag.Q. (A.I. for agriculture) to improve astronauts’ nutritional and psychological health during long-duration space missions. Bioregenerative Life Support Systems (BLiSS) such as these will be the cornerstone technology for space habitats. Moreover, these inventions and research will increase self-sufficiency, food security, and the restorative benefits of nature for life on Earth as well as for interplanetary destinations. Prior to her graduate studies, Hava worked on the Orion Project with Lockheed Martin as a project/design engineer for four years. In addition to her graduate work, she is an entrepreneur who has two start-up technology companies, Stellar Synergetics and Autoponics, which commercialize her research and innovations for sustainable Earth applications and space exploration.
Issie Lapowsky is a senior writer for WIRED, where she has been covering the intersection of tech, politics and national affairs. Before that, she wrote for WIRED’s business team, reporting on tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as undiscovered startups leading their industries. Prior to WIRED, Lapowsky worked for Inc. magazine and the New York Daily News.
James Park is cofounder of Fitbit. He has served as a member of the Fitbit Board of Directors since March 2007, as chairman since May 2015, and as president and chief executive officer since September 2007. Previously, Park was director of product development at CNET Networks, Inc., an online media company. He also served as president and co-founder of WindUp Labs, Inc., an online photo sharing company acquired by CNET Networks in April 2005. He also was chief technology officer and co-founder of Epesi Technologies, Inc., a software company. Park attended Harvard College where he studied computer science.
As director of the Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division within the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD), Jason Crusan serves as NASA’s senior executive, advisor, and advocate on technology and innovation approaches leading to new flight and system capabilities for human exploration of space. He leads integration with the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and programs within other HEOMD divisions including International Space Station and Exploration Systems Development. Using an integrated approach that leverages public-private partnerships, industry, international partners, and academia, Crusan serves as the senior leader for AES across all NASA centers which involves: developing and maintaining critical human spaceflight capabilities; maturing new integrated systems, instruments, and ground systems; and delivering critical multi-million dollar flight hardware for NASA. He provides the executive management and leadership needed to develop effective technology development strategies, system acquisition strategies, contracting mechanisms, joint investment models and partnerships—in short, he develops the innovative approaches needed to maximize NASA’s access to new technologies and capabilities for human spaceflight. Currently, Crusan also serves as the Director of the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) formed to advance the utilization of open innovation methodologies within the U.S. government.
Jason Dunn founded Made In Space in 2010. With a core focus on space manufacturing, the company has since built, flown, and operated the first and second 3-D printers in space. Installed on the International Space Station (ISS), the first Made In Space Zero-Gravity 3-D printer began space manufacturing in November 2014. The company operates the second-generation 3-D printer on the ISS, called the Additive Manufacturing Facility, enabling groups across the planet to have hardware manufactured in space. Made In Space is working with NASA to develop the Archinaut Program to enable in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly of large space structures. As chief technology officer, Dunn oversees deployment of the founding vision into the technical path of the projects, as well as development of the technology roadmap for the company. Dunn holds two degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida, has studied at the Singularity University Graduate Summer Program, and is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of space exploration, advanced manufacturing and the theory of disruption.
Jeannette M. Wing
Jeannette M. Wing
Jeannette M. Wing is Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, overseeing the company’s basic research labs worldwide. She is Consulting Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. From 2007-2010 she was the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. She received all her degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her general research interests are trustworthy computing, specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, cyber-physical systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her current interests are in the foundations of security and privacy. She is Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Section on Information, Computing and Communications and on the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics. She was on the faculty at the University of Southern California, and has worked at Bell Laboratories and Xerox Palo Alto Research Laboratories. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Jed Sundwall leads the global open data practice at Amazon Web Services, which helps explore ways the AWS cloud can make data easier to discover, access and use. Before joining Amazon Web Services, he created Measured Voice, a software company that combined user interface design and data analysis to help governments manage social media operations. He also founded Open San Diego, a civic technology advocacy group that was instrumental in the creation of San Diego’s open data policy. He is a member of the Landsat Advisory Group and has a master’s degree in public & international affairs from the University of California in San Diego.
Jedidah Isler is an award-winning astrophysicist and a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, where she studies supermassive, hyperactive black holes called blazars. She has been recognized as a TED Fellow, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans in 2016 for her innovative research and efforts to inspire a new generation of STEM leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. She is the founder of #VanguardSTEM and host of the monthly web series “Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM.” She has been an invited participant in Astronomy Night at the White House and has been featured in various publications, including Wired, Diversity in Action, Ebony, NPR: CodeSwitch and The Crisis Magazine. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times. Isler works with schools, museums, libraries, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations across the country to advance the cause of truly inclusive STEM engagement, and has established herself as a champion of access and empowerment in STEM education from middle school and beyond.
Jeffrey Carney is director of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) and associate professor in the LSU School of Architecture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and master’s degrees in architecture and city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Carney’s work in Louisiana centers on leading trans-disciplinary coastal and delta design and research efforts. He led a multi-year HUD-sponsored project called the Louisiana Resiliency Assistance Program; administers workshops for the Louisiana Community Resilience Institute and associated Mayors’ Workshops; and was a team leader for “The Giving Delta,” an award-winning submission for the international Changing Course Design Competition that reimagined ways of living and working on Louisiana’s dynamic delta coast. Carney is currently leading the design and development of the science- and engineering-informed exhibition space called “Shifting Foundations” within the LSU Center for River Studies. For this project, commissioned by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, CSS faculty, research fellows and students are producing a range of visualization tools to animate a 9,000 square-foot exhibition space. The project communicates to stakeholders Louisiana’s coastal and delta history, current challenges and dramatic efforts to proactively develop a more resilient coast.
Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, has worked to bring about a robust U.S. commercial space exploration program. His goal has been to make space just another place to do business. NanoRacks is a leader in the commercial use of the International Space Station and other privately owned space platforms. As the first company to own and market its own hardware on the space station, NanoRacks has deployed 140 satellites from the space station for companies and universities, as well as for NASA and the European Union. Researchers and students from a dozen countries use the NanoRacks’ research hardware on a commercial basis. Earlier, as CEO of MirCorp, which leased the Russian space station Mir, he oversaw the first ever (and still only) commercially funded manned mission of over 70 days to the Mir space station. Today, Manber is focused on developing private, commercial space stations that are the next step after the International Space Station. He has served as an adviser to numerous companies and governments. The author of multiple books, his second, “Selling Peace,” chronicles his time working with the Russian space program. In 2012, he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medal.
Jessi Hempel is head of editorial for Backchannel. A former senior writer at WIRED, she has written recently about Facebook’s Internet.org, and profiled Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as well as U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Before joining WIRED, she was a senior writer for Fortune, where she penned cover stories on Yahoo! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and IBM, and co-chaired Fortune’s Aspen tech conference. Earlier in her career, Hempel wrote about design and technology for BusinessWeek.
John P. Holdren
John P. Holdren
John P. Holdren is assistant to the president for science and technology, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). He previously was the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, professor in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center. At the University of California, Berkeley, he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation. He holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees, as chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, and as co-chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy. His awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995, he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures.
Joseph Okpaku is vice president of government relations at Lyft. Since joining Lyft in 2013, he has worked on countless legislative and regulatory matters at the federal, state, and municipal levels, including overseeing more than 150 state bills relating to ridesharing that were introduced in 2015. Prior to joining Lyft’s government relations team, Okpaku served as chief of staff for Councilmember Ash Kalra in San Jose, Calif. During his tenure with Councilmember Kalra, he advised on policy matters, including the development and implementation of an innovative land use ordinance limiting the growth of payday lending and an ordinance banning smoking in outdoor dining areas. He also advised on political strategy, oversaw media communications, and coordinated the response to all constituent concerns. A native New Yorker, Okpaku also worked for the Division of Enforcement of the New York Stock Exchange’s Regulation Department for six years and spent four years working as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau.
Justin Hall has more than 15 years of experience in software and website development, working with and leading teams in a wide array of projects for Fortune 500 companies, startups, nonprofits and small businesses. A native Kentuckian from Elkhorn City, Hall began working in technology shortly after graduating from Pikeville College (now UPike) in 1997. In 2001, he started JD Media in Lexington, Ky., and recently has worked with several top agencies and tech companies in Lexington, Cincinnati and San Francisco. A believer in agile development, source control, open source, quality assurance and high touch, Hall is excited about the opportunities surrounding Bit Source, a startup he leads. As Bit Source president, he has served the startup by providing direction in the following areas: innovative training, technology standards and solutions, business development, leadership and continuing improvements.
Kafui Dzirasa is the first African-American to complete a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Duke University. His research interests focus on using neural technology to understand how changes in the brain produce neurological and mental illness. In 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dzirasa, who also holds a medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine, is an assistant professor and psychiatry house staff member at Duke. He is a product of the nationally renowned Meyerhoff Scholarship program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he was conference champion in the long jump, an Academic All-American and student body president. He has served on the board of directors of the Student National Medical Association, an organization dedicated to the eradication of health care disparities. Through his service, Dzirasa has participated in numerous programs geared toward exposing youth to science and technology and providing health education for underserved communities. He was recognized as one of Ebony magazine’s 30 Young Leaders of the Future and holds the International Mental Health Research Organization Rising Star Award. His laboratory was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2011.
Kevin M. Esvelt
Kevin M. Esvelt
Kevin M. Esvelt is an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, where he leads the Sculpting Evolution Group in exploring evolutionary and ecological engineering. Esvelt received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 2010 for his invention of Phage-Assisted Continuous Evolution (PACE), which he used to create a synthetic microbial ecosystem to rapidly evolve useful biomolecules. He subsequently helped pioneer the development of CRISPR, a powerful new method of genome engineering. Esvelt identified the potential for “gene drive” systems based on CRISPR to alter wild populations of organisms. Recognizing the implications of an advance that could enable individual scientists to alter the shared environment, he and his colleagues revealed their findings and called for open discussion and safeguards before demonstrating gene drive in the laboratory. His Sculpting Evolution Group is developing safer “daisy drives” that can only spread locally, and recently began working with island communities on a possible way to prevent Lyme disease in the environment.
Laur Hesse Fisher
Laur Hesse Fisher
Laur Hesse Fisher is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Collective Intelligence, where she manages Climate CoLab, a project that explores how new digital technologies can help harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people to help address large societal problems, starting with climate change. The project involves a quickly growing community of more than 75,000 people around the world who use Climate CoLab’s online platform. The platform allows anyone with an Internet connection to work with world-renowned experts and knowledgeable others to develop detailed proposals for how to address climate change. Fisher has worked for various municipalities, startups, and nonprofit organizations in a wide range of fields related to climate change, including carbon management and reporting, municipal recycling, renewable energy, community engagement, green buildings and education. She is an American citizen, and also has worked in Canada, Sweden and New Zealand. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a self-designed degree, titled “Engaging Sustainability as an Innovative Process.”
Lucianne Walkowicz is an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, where she studies stellar magnetic activity, how stars influence a planet’s suitability as a host for alien life and how to use advanced computing to discover unusual events in large astronomical data sets. Walkowicz is founding director of the new LSSTC Data Science Fellowship program, an initiative to provide astronomy graduate students with training in advanced computing, and coordinates the community of science collaborations for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. She also is an artist and works in a variety of media, from oil paint to sound. Walkowicz holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Washington. She was the Kepler Fellow for the Study of Planet-Bearing Stars at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Henry Norris Russell Fellow at Princeton University before joining the Astronomy Department at The Adler Planetarium. She is a 2013 TED Senior Fellow, a 2011 National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow and has been internationally recognized for her advocacy for conservation of dark night skies.
Margaret Anderson is the executive director of FasterCures, a Washington DC-based center of the Milken Institute. FasterCures focuses on saving lives by speeding up and improving the medical research system, spurring cross-sector collaboration, cultivating a culture of innovation and engaging patients as partners. She is a founding board member and past-president of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA and a member of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network Review Board, the National Health Council board, the Food and Drug Administration’s Science Board, Science Looking Forward Committee and the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development and Translation. Prior to joining FasterCures in 2004, Anderson was the deputy director and a team leader in the Center on AIDS & Community Health at the Academy for Educational Development, program director at the Society for Women’s Health Research. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University.
In September 2014, President Obama named Megan Smith the United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she serves as an Assistant to the President. As U.S. CTO, Smith focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance the future of our nation.
Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. She most recently served as a Vice President at Google, first leading New Business Development — where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations, and technology licensing across Google’s global engineering and product teams for nine years — and later serving as a VP in the leadership team at Google[x] — where she co-created the company’s “SolveForX” innovation community project as well as its “WomenTechmakers” tech-diversity initiative and worked on a range of other projects. During her tenure she led the company’s acquisitions of major platforms such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Picasa, and also served as GM of Google.org during its engineering transition, adding Google Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits, and Earth Outreach/Engine, and increased employee engagement.
Megan previously served as CEO of PlanetOut, a leading LGBT online community in the early days of the web, where the team broke through many barriers and partnered closely with AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, and other major web players. Megan was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on multimedia products at Apple Japan.
Over the years, Megan has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program, and solar cookstoves. She was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2000 miles across the Australian outback.
Megan has served on the boards of MIT, MIT Media Lab, MIT Technology Review, and Vital Voices; as a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; and as an advisor to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the Malala Fund, which she co-founded. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she completed her master’s thesis work at the MIT Media Lab.
Michael Boninger, MD
Dr. Michael Boninger is a professor and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) endowed vice chair for research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine. He has joint appointments in the departments of Bioengineering, Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine. He is senior medical director for post-acute care for the Health Services Division of UPMC. He also is a physician researcher for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Boninger earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his medical degree from The Ohio State University. His research focuses on enabling increased function and participation for individuals with disabilities through development and application of assistive, rehabilitative and regenerative technologies. Boninger also has extensive experience and publications related to training researchers. His students have won more than 50 national awards. Boninger holds four United States patents and has received numerous honors, including being inducted into the National Academy of Medicine) of the National Academy of Science.
Michael F. Doyle
Michael F. Doyle
Mike Doyle is the U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, including the City of Pittsburgh and nearby communities in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. Doyle serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over energy and environmental policies. He has worked to protect the environment, create clean energy jobs in the United States, and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports. His top priorities in this field have been increasing federal research on alternative and renewable fuels, cleaner use of fossil fuels and new power generation technologies. He also has been a leader of legislative efforts to promote greener, more energy-efficient appliances, automobiles and buildings. Doyle helped draft legislation to substantially reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and remains committed to enacting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the transition to a sustainable economy. Throughout his service in Congress, Doyle also has worked to enact legislation to promote the clean-up and redevelopment of vacant, often polluted industrial brownfield sites. He has worked to help expand southwestern Pennsylvania’s energy innovation sector, and led the effort to transform a vacant Pittsburgh trade school into a LEED-certified center for developing clean energy technology and training workers for clean energy jobs.
Mike Walker is a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. His research interests include machine reasoning about software in situ and the automation of application security lifecycles. Prior to joining DARPA, Walker worked in industry as a security software developer, Red Team analyst, enterprise security architect and research lab leader. As part of the Computer Science Corporation “Strikeforce” Red Team, Walker helped develop the HEAT Vulnerability Scanner and performed Red Team engagements. Serving as a principal at the Intrepidus Group, Walker worked on Red Teams that tested America’s financial and energy infrastructure for security weaknesses. On the DARPA SAFER Red Team, he discovered flaws in prototype communications technologies. He has participated in various roles in numerous applied computer security competitions. He contributed challenges to DEF CON Capture the Flag (CTF) and competed on and led CTF teams at the highest levels of international competition. Walker was formerly a mentor of the Computer Security Competition Club at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
Mike Gold is vice president of Washington Operations and Business Development for Space Systems/Loral (SSL), A commercial satellite manufacturer and a global leader in space systems and robotics. At SSL, Gold is responsible for interactions with Congress and executive branch agencies as well as business development for emerging space technologies. In 2008, Gold was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to serve on the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), and was appointed to serve as chair of the organization in 2012. The COMSTAC is a federal advisory committee comprised of leading commercial space industry executives that provides advice to the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Additionally, Gold was appointed by the National Research Council to serve on the Space Technology Industry-Government-University roundtable, which supports NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Gold is an attorney who writes about the intersection between the commercial space industry and export controls, and has testified before the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives as a subject matter expert in commercial space policy, law and innovation.
Dr. Monica Bharel is commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and is responsible for spearheading the state’s response to the opioid crisis, as well as leading implementation of health care cost containment legislation, Chapter 224, reducing health disparities, finding public health solutions for health care reform, finding innovative solutions using data and evidence-based practices, and other health care quality improvement initiatives. Recognized for her dedication to health care for underserved and vulnerable populations, she previously served as chief medical officer for Boston Health Care for the Homeless, the largest nonprofit health care organization for homeless individuals in the country. Bharel has served on the faculty at Harvard University Medical School, Boston University Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. She was previously at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, and has practiced general internal medicine for 20 years in neighborhood health centers, city hospitals, the Veterans Administration, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations. She received her master’s degree in public health through the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy. She received her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed her residency and chief residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center.
Monica R. McLemore
Monica R. McLemore
At the University of California, San Francisco, Monica McLemore is an assistant professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department, an affiliated scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, and a member of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. She was recently named Associate Director for Community Engaged Research for the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative in California. She maintains clinical practice as a public health and staff nurse at San Francisco General Hospital in the Women’s Options Center. McLemore’s research focusses on understanding women’s health and wellness across the lifespan. She is an elected member of the governing council for Population Reproductive and Sexual Health section of the American Public Health Association. Her work embraces complex and intersectional problems associated with sexual and reproductive health, including health disparities, stigma, incarceration, unintended pregnancy, and difficulty accessing services. Women of color are affected in greater proportion by these social determinants of health, and she sees her role as an advocate, connector, and innovator of programs that directly target these determinants in the domains of nursing and community health.
Nancy E. Davidson, MD
Nancy E. Davidson, MD
Dr. Nancy E. Davidson is director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and an internationally recognized physician-scientist in cancer biology and treatment, especially in the field of breast cancer. She also serves as the Hillman Professor of Oncology, and associate vice chancellor for cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh. A graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Medical School, she previously was the breast cancer research professor of oncology and founding director of the breast cancer program at Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the scientific advisory boards for many foundations and cancer centers. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, she is a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and current president of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Patrick Gallagher has served as the University of Pittsburgh’s 18th chancellor since August 2014, working to advance the university’s legacy of academic excellence, collaboration and research innovation. Prior to his installation at Pitt, Gallagher spent more than two decades in public service. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed him to direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While in this role, Gallagher also acted as deputy secretary of commerce. Gallagher is one of 12 inaugural members appointed by the president to serve on the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He also is active on a number of community boards, including the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Internet2 and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Gallagher holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in physics and philosophy from Benedictine College in Kansas.
Peidong Yang is a chemistry professor and the S. K. and Angela Chan Distinguished Chair Professor in Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior faculty scientist at Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Yang is known particularly for his work on semiconductor nanowires and their photonic and energy applications including artificial photosynthesis. He is director for California Research Alliance by BASF and one of the co-directors for the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute at Berkeley. Yang received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology in China and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the faculty at Berkeley. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the E. O. Lawrence Award, the ACS Nanoscience Award, the MRS Medal, the Baekeland Medal, an Alfred P. Sloan research fellowship, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, the MRS Young Investigator Award, the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics, the ACS Pure Chemistry Award and the Alan T. Waterman Award.
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.
His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.
With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.
After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.
He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.
President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.
He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. After being re-elected in 2012, President Obama is currently serving his second and final term, which will end in January 2017.
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Rafael Yuste is a professor of biological sciences and neuroscience at Columbia University. Yuste is interested in understanding the function and pathology of the cerebral cortex, using calcium imaging and optogenetics to “break the code” and decipher the communication between groups of neurons. Yuste has obtained many awards for his work, including those from the New York City Mayor, the Society for Neuroscience and the National Institutes of Health. He is a member of Spain’s Royal Academies of Science and Medicine. Yuste also led the researchers who proposed the Brain Activity Map, precursor to the BRAIN initiative, and is currently involved in helping to launch a global BRAIN project and a Neuroethical Guidelines Commission. He was born in Madrid, where he obtained his medical degree at the Universidad Autónoma. He then joined Sydney Brenner’s laboratory in Cambridge, UK. He engaged in Ph.D. study with Larry Katz in Torsten Wiesel’s laboratory at Rockefeller University and was a postdoctoral student of David Tank at Bell Labs. In 2005, he became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Circuits. In 2014, he served as director of the Neurotechnology Center at Columbia.
Raffi Krikorian is director of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, which is focused on building massive scale data and software platforms to change computing, transportation and the world with self-driving technology. Until August 2014, he was Twitter’s vice president of engineering in charge of the Platform, the core infrastructure of Twitter. He managed 400 people who worked on, among other things, the business logic, scalable services, APIs, storage, core libraries and the internal development model of all of Twitter. Krikorian attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work involved creating a new kind of network for everyday devices called “Internet-0,” an analogue to the Internet of Things.
Raj Chetty is a professor of economics at Stanford University. Chetty’s research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been widely cited by media outlets and in Congressional testimony. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity: How can we give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding? Chetty is a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, which is given by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under age 40. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2003 at the age of 23. A professor at University of California, Berkeley until 2009, Chetty returned to Harvard as one of the youngest tenured professors in the University’s history. Chetty has been with the Department of Economics at Stanford University since 2015.
Rayid Ghani is director of the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, and senior fellow at the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Ghani’s work focuses on developing data science-driven solutions to policy and social problems in health, public safety, criminal justice, urban infrastructure, education and economic development, in collaboration with governments and nonprofits. Ghani teaches data science and machine learning to graduate students as well as executives in governments and nonprofits and also runs the Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship that brings graduate students from computer science, math/statistics, and social science and policy to work on problems with social impact. Before joining the University of Chicago, Ghani was chief scientist of the Obama 2012 Election Campaign, in which he focused on data, analytics and technology to target and influence voters, donors and volunteers. Previously, Ghani was a research scientist and led the Machine Learning Group at Accenture Labs. Ghani did his graduate work in machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University and is actively involved in organizing data science related conferences and workshops. In his free time, Ghani works with nonprofits to help them with their data, analytics, digital efforts and strategy.
Red Whittaker, the Fredkin Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, is referred to as the “Father of Field Robotics” for pioneering contributions to fielded, mobile, autonomous robots. He is known worldwide for developing robots that work in unpredictable environments like planetary surfaces, mines and damaged nuclear reactors. Whittaker led the Tartan Race Team that won a $2 million DARPA driverless challenge and spawned the intelligent car industry. He founded the National Robotics Engineering Center. Whittaker is the founder and chairman of Astrobotic Technology, which is delivering 10 lunar payloads and rovers from seven nations to the moon. Science Digest named him one of the top 100 U.S innovators for his work in robotics, and Fortune named him a “Hero of U.S. Manufacturing.” Whittaker is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His recognitions and honors include the Teare, Perlis, Engelberger, Metcalf and Heinz History Awards, and the Newell Medal for Research Excellence, the Ramos Medal for Systems Excellence, the Columbia Medal for aerospace achievement, and the Feigenbaum Prize for his contributions to machine intelligence.
Riccardo Sabatini applies his expertise in numerical modeling to projects ranging from material science to computational genomics and food market predictions. In the past he has served as director of FoodCAST (a European Union research project on food commodity markets forecasting), a founding member of Aiida and Quantum ESPRESSO (the largest open source suite for quantum modeling of materials), and co-director and faculty member at the Master in Complex Actions. He’s an angel investor and board member for several startups in the field of artificial intelligence. Sabatini recently joined the research team of Human Longevity, Inc., working on machine learning applied to genomics and health. He is a speaker at international events and conferences, including TED Global 2016, an author in top-ranking scientific journals, a consultant for Fortune500 companies, an inventor in several patents in IT, and an adviser and supporter of the Human Code Foundation, a nonprofit charity supporting artists and researchers around the globe to disseminate the scientific knowledge around genomics and health.
Robbie Schingler is co-founder and chief strategy officer of Planet. Prior to Planet, Schingler spent nine years at NASA, where he helped build the Small Spacecraft Office at NASA Ames and was capture manager for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). He later served as NASA’s open government representative to the White House and served as chief of staff for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA. He received a MBA from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in space studies from the International Space University, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Santa Clara University. Schingler was a 2005 Presidential Management Fellow.
Robert Capps is head of editorial at WIRED, where he oversees editorial for all platforms, including the magazine, WIRED.com and live events. In his 11-year career at WIRED he has garnered 12 National Magazine Award nominations, spearheaded the programing for multiple live events (including the WIRED Business Conference, the WIRED Data | Life health conference, and the WIRED x Design creativity retreat), managed large multimedia projects for the web, edited award-winning magazine features and run every part of the print publication. His 2009 article “Why Things Fail” won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and his article “The Good Enough Revolution” was discussed in publications ranging from the Economist to The New Yorker, and was noted by The New York Times as one of the big ideas of the year.
Robin Chase is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar; Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service in France (now merged with Drivy); and GoLoco, an online ride-sharing community. She is co-founder and a current board member of Veniam, a vehicle communications company building the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things. Her recent book is “Peers Inc: How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism.” Chase serves or has served on the boards of the World Resources Institute; Tucows; the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; the National Advisory Council for Innovation & Entrepreneurship for the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Transportation; the OECD’s International Transport Forum Advisory Board; the Massachusetts Governor’s Transportation Transition Working Group; and Boston Mayor’s Wireless Task Force. She advises the French National Digital Agency. Chase has been named among Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Fast Company’s Fast 50 Innovators and BusinessWeek’s Top 10 Designers. She graduated from Wellesley College and MIT’s Sloan School of Management, was a Harvard University Loeb Fellow, and received an honorary doctorate of design from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Robin R. Murphy
Robin R. Murphy, the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, directs the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue and TEES Center for Emergency Informatics. She received a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science in 1980, 1989 and 1992, respectively, from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has more than 150 publications on artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction and robotics, including disaster robotics, which won the 2014 PROSE honorable mention award for engineering and science. An IEEE Fellow, a TED speaker and founder of Roboticists Without Borders, she has deployed ground, air and marine robots at 26 disasters in five countries, including the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster, Hurricane Katrina and Fukushima Daiichi. Her numerous awards include the ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions and the U.S. Air Force Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. She has been declared an Agent of Change (TIME), an Alpha Geek (WIRED), one of the Most Influential Women in Technology (Fast Company), and one of the Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for 2015 (Government Technology Magazine). Murphy has performed extensive government service, including service on the Defense Science Board.
Rod Roddenberry, Jr
Rod Roddenberry, Jr
Roman Mars is the host and creator of “99% Invisible,” a short radio show about design and architecture. Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in 2013. He was a TED main stage speaker in 2015, and his talk is currently the most popular Ted Talk about design with more than 3.5 million views. His crowdfunding campaigns have raised over $1.16 million, making him the highest-funded journalist in Kickstarter history. He also is a co-founder of Radiotopia, a collective of groundbreaking story-driven podcasts.
Ryan Calo is an assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Law. He is a faculty co-director of the Tech Policy Lab, a unique, interdisciplinary research unit that spans the School of Law, the Information School, and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Professor Calo holds courtesy appointments at the University of Washington Information School and the Oregon State University School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering. He is an affiliate scholar at the Stanford University Law School Center for Internet and Society (CIS), the Yale University Law School Information Society Project (ISP) and New America. His research on law and emerging technology appears in leading law reviews (California Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review) and technical publications (Nature, Science, Artificial Intelligence) and is frequently referenced by the mainstream media (NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal). Professor Calo has testified before the United States Senate and the German Parliament and has organized events on behalf of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House. Business Insider named him one of the most influential people in robotics.
Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor M.D.
Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor M.D.
Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor began working with NASA as a flight surgeon in 2006 and became an astronaut. She spent more than nine months in Russia supporting medical operations for International Space Station crewmembers and served as deputy crew surgeon. Board certified in both internal and aerospace medicine, Auñón-Chancellor currently handles medical issues for both the Commercial Crew and International Space Station Operations branches. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She spent two months in Antarctica searching for meteorites as part of the ANSMET expedition, living on the ice 200 nautical miles from the South Pole. Auñón-Chancellor operated the Deep Worker submersible as part of the NEEMO 16 mission. She subsequently served as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 20 undersea exploration mission. She is certified as an International Space Station CAPCOM and served as the lead CAPCOM for the SpaceX-4 and SpaceX-8 cargo resupply missions. She is a member of American College of Physicians and the American College of Preventive Medicine.
Stefano Ermon is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he is affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Woods Institute for the Environment. He completed his Ph.D. in computer science at Cornell in 2015. His research interests include techniques for scalable and accurate inference in graphical models, statistical modeling of data, large-scale combinatorial optimization, and robust decision-making under uncertainty. Ermon is motivated by a range of applications, in particular ones in the emerging field of computational sustainability.
Stephen F. Smith
Stephen F. Smith
Stephen F. Smith is a research professor of robotics and director of the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses broadly on the theory and practice of next-generation technologies for automated planning, scheduling and coordination. He pioneered the development and use of constraint-based search and optimization models, and has successfully fielded AI-based planning and scheduling systems in a range of application domains.
In recent years, Smith has turned his attention to the growing problems of congestion and mobility faced by cities. His work on smart traffic signals, which combines concepts from artificial intelligence and traffic theory, has led to development of the Surtrac (Scalable Urban Traffic Control) adaptive traffic signal control system. Surtrac has demonstrated significant improvements in traffic flow efficiency and air quality in actual operation in the field, and currently controls a network of 50 intersections in the East End of Pittsburgh. Smith’s current work focuses on integrating adaptive signal control with emerging connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle technology, and on developing the broader transportation infrastructure that will enable mobility in smart cities of the future. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and currently serves on the AAAI Executive Council.
Steven Keating has developed novel platforms for 3D printing buildings, biological wearables, and designed growth of the next generation of products through his doctoral work at MIT. Curiosity drove his research and also saved his life through the accidental discovery of a large astrocytoma brain tumor found in a voluntary academic scan. With his tumor successfully removed through awake brain surgery in 2014, Keating is an advocate for open patient data and curiosity. From gears to genomes, he is interested in exploring new design possibilities, open health data networks, and asking if we can have a “share” button for health. His work has been covered by outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Boston Globe. Keating is on the Board of Directors for the Open Humans Foundation, has participated as a member of the Precision Medicine Task Force, and he was recently named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Healthcare.
Subra Suresh is the ninth president of Carnegie Mellon University. Previously, he served as director of the National Science Foundation, a $7 billion independent federal agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science and engineering research and related education. A distinguished engineer and scientist, Suresh is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Suresh previously served as dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research into the properties of engineered and biological materials, and their connections to human diseases, has resulted in more than 300 research articles, 25 patent applications and three books. At Carnegie Mellon, Suresh has led the establishment of several major programs and initiatives, including the Simon Initiative to enhance the impact of technology-enhanced learning, BrainHub to further CMU’s interdisciplinary strengths to advance brain research, the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and the Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships program.
Suchi Saria is an assistant professor of computer science, health policy and statistics at Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests are in statistical machine learning and precision health care. She is focused on designing novel data-driven computing tools for optimizing care delivery. Her work is being used to drive electronic surveillance for reducing adverse events in the inpatient setting and to individualize disease management in complex, chronic diseases. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her work has received recognition in the form of two cover articles in Science Translational Medicine, and paper awards from the Association for Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence and the American Medical Informatics Association. She also has received an Annual Scientific Award by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, a Rambus Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Computing Innovation Fellowship, and competitive awards from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Google Research. In 2015, she was selected by the IEEE Intelligent Systems to the AI’s 10 to Watch list. In 2016, she was selected as a DARPA Young Faculty awardee and named to Popular Science’s Brilliant 10.
Tanya Berger-Wolf, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), heads the Computational Population Biology Lab. Berger-Wolf is a computational ecologist whose research is at the unique intersection of computer science, wildlife biology and social sciences. She creates computational solutions to help answer biological questions of why social animals (including humans) do what they do, including social network analysis for understanding how leaders emerge and affect group decisions. Berger-Wolf is co-founder of the conservation software nonprofit Wildbook, which recently enabled the first-of-its-kind complete species census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra, using 100,000 photographs taken by ordinary citizens in Kenya. Berger-Wolf holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring, including the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Association for Women in Science Chicago Innovator Award and the UIC Mentor of the Year Award.
Tim Hughes is senior vice president and general counsel for Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or Space X. He leads legal, regulatory, and global policy efforts. He joined the company in 2005 as its first in‐house counsel. He has helped take the company from true startup to one of the world’s most recognizable and innovative technology firms. His responsibilities span the company’s broad corporate, contracting, export control, insurance, litigation, and launch licensing portfolios, as well as Space X’s domestic and international policy agenda. Prior to joining Space X, Hughes served as majority counsel to the Committee on Science and Technology in the United States House of Representatives. He was the principal attorney responsible for drafting and shepherding the passage of groundbreaking commercial human spaceflight legislation, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (P.L. 108‐492), which helped to establish the legal and regulatory framework for commercial human spaceflight in the United States. A graduate of William and Mary Law School and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Hughes previously was a senior associate with Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, as well as in the Office of the Chief Counsel for the United States Secret Service.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Tim Kentley-Klay is a hands-on, creative entrepreneur who founded entertainment studios XYZ, Crayon, and Wheelbarrow to get the ideas out of his head and into the world. As an animator, director, troublemaker, and thinker, Kentley-Klay’s hard-wired curiosity drives him with courageous teams to pioneer creative projects that live at the vanguard of invention. Presently based at Stanford University, he is a co-founder leading Zoox, a Silicon Valley-based robotics startup developing an advanced mobility experience that will improve connection between people and the environment we share.
Tim O’Reilly has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on, and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot com bust, but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his “Gov 2.0 Summit,” he framed a conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the Federal, State, and local level, and around the world. He has now turned his attention to implications of the on-demand economy, AI,robotics, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the economy. He is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, and a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). He is also on the boards of Maker Media (which was spun out from O’Reilly Media in 2012), Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox.
Tom Wolf is governor of Pennsylvania. Since taking office, he has focused on providing jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works. He has expanded protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression, or identity for state employees and, for the first time, employees of contractors doing business with the commonwealth. He also expanded Medicaid in Pennsylvania to simplify the process and ensure that Pennsylvanians have greater access to health insurance. More than 600,000 Pennsylvanians who were not previously covered now have health care coverage. His administration also has joined the fight against heroin, setting up a statewide standing order for naloxone, making it possible for all Pennsylvanians to access this life-saving drug. He successfully sold a family business, saw it go to the brink of bankruptcy, repurchased it and turned it around again. Wolf attended Dartmouth College and holds graduate degrees from the University of London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wanda L. Diaz Merced
Wanda L. Diaz Merced
Wanda Diaz-Merced of Gurabo, Puerto Rico, holds a multidisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. She has researched the use of sound as a perceptual tool, while analyzing diversity of astrophysics data sets. As a blind physicist, Diaz-Merced conducted research on using multimodal perception and behavioral psychology to investigate how attention mechanisms and coping strategies influence the analysis of ambiguous astrophysics data. Her current emphasis is on attention modulation, the prevention of cognitive overload and automaticity when analyzing space physics data. Her techniques brought forth evidence of events that otherwise had been ignored. Diaz-Merced is co-chair of the National Society of Black Physicists Multimodal Accessible project, the American Astronomical Society Working Group on Disability and Accessibility, and coordinates the global project Astrosense, which educates traditional and disabled learners to do research in astronomy. She holds a post-doctoral position at the Office of Astronomy for Development in South Africa.
Yann LeCun is director of AI Research at Facebook and the Silver Professor at New York University, where he is affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, the Center for Neural Science, and the Center for Data Science, for which he served as founding director. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris). After a postdoc at the University of Toronto, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories. He led the Image Processing Research Department at AT&T Labs-Research, and joined NYU after a short tenure at the NEC Research Institute. LeCun holds the 2015-2016 annual visiting professor chair of computer science at Collège de France. His research interests include machine learning and artificial intelligence, with applications to computer vision, natural language understanding, robotics and computational neuroscience. He is best known for his work in deep learning and the invention of the convolutional network method, which is widely used for image, video and speech recognition. He holds the IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award and the IEEE Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence Distinguished Researcher Award.
Cellist and composer Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to record layer upon layer of cello, creating intricate, haunting and compelling music. Keating is known for both her use of technology, which she uses to sample her cello onstage, and for her DIY approach, releasing her music online without the help of a record label. Her self-released albums have reached #1 on the iTunes classical chart several times, she has over 1 million followers on Twitter and her grassroots approach and artists’ advocacy has garnered her much public attention and press. She serves as a governor for the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy, was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and serves on the boards of the Magik Magik Orchestra and CASH Music, a nonprofit organization that builds open source digital tools for musicians and labels. She is a trustee of the World Economic Forum’s Future of the Internet Initiative. In 2014, her husband, Jeffrey Rusch, was diagnosed with stage IV non-smoker’s lung cancer. While she halted her music career to care for him and their four-year old son, their struggles with health care and insurance became the new subject of her blog. Rusch died in 2015 and Keating continues to advocate on his behalf for patients, data portability and the simplification of medical insurance.