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Horst Simon to Present “Supercomputers and Superintelligence” at PASC17 in Lugano

Horst Simon, Berkeley Lab Deputy Director

Today PASC17 announced that Horst Simon will present a public lecture entitled “Supercomputers and Superintelligence” at the conference. PASC17 takes place June 26-28 in Lugano Switzerland.

In recent years the idea of emerging superintelligence has been discussed widely by popular media, and many experts voiced grave warnings about its possible consequences. This talk will use an analysis of progress in supercomputer performance to examine the gap between current technology and reaching the capabilities of the human brain. In spite of good progress in high performance computing and techniques such as machine learning, this gap is still very large. The presentation will then explore two related topics through a discussion of recent examples: what can we learn from the brain and apply to HPC, e.g., through recent efforts in neuromorphic computing? And how much progress have we made in modeling brain function? The talk will be concluded with a perspective on the true dangers of superintelligence, and on our ability to ever build self-aware or sentient computers.

Horst Simon is an internationally recognized expert in the development of parallel computational methods for the solution of scientific problems of scale. His research interests are in the development of sparse matrix algorithms, algorithms for large-scale eigenvalue problems, and domain decomposition algorithms. His recursive spectral bisection algorithm is a breakthrough in parallel algorithms. Honored twice with the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize, most recently in 2009 for the development of innovative techniques that produce new levels of performance on a real application (in collaboration with IBM researchers) and in 1988 in recognition of superior effort in parallel processing research (with others from Cray and Boeing).

Horst Simon is Deputy Laboratory Director and Chief Research Officer (CRO) of Berkeley Labs. The Deputy Director is responsible for the overall integration of the scientific goals and objectives, consistent with the Laboratory’s mission. Simon has been with Berkeley Lab since 1996, having served previously as Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences, and Director of NERSC. His career includes positions at Stony Brook University, Boeing, NASA, and SGI. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley, and a Diplom (M.A.) from TU Berlin, Germany. Simon is a SIAM Fellow and member of SIAM, ACM, and IEEE Computer Society.

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