Artificial Intelligence Meets Basic Research: The SETI Institute and NASA’s Frontier Development Lab
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have emerged as essential tools for the deployment of applied technologies such as self-driving cars, security, robotics and even consumer electronics. The fundamental physical and biological sciences, however, have not fully embraced AI/ML to leverage these tools for what they can offer in advanced data analytics, modeling and forecasting and anomaly detection. In partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Headquarters and private industry, the SETI Institute is host to a graduate-level summer research accelerator with the goal to change that paradigm and demonstrate the efficacy of AI/ML applied to basic research. Now in its fourth year, the Frontier Development Lab (FDL) has demonstrated breakthrough results in NASA research priorities ranging from planetary defense and space resources, to exoplanets, astrobiology and heliophysics. In 2019, new programs are anticipated addressing space medicine and cellular biology. FDL is also demonstrating the power of public/private partnership where companies such as Google, Intel, IBM, Lockheed and NVIDIA, are active partners, providing human, technological and financial resources. SETI Institute CEO, Bill Diamond will describe the FDL program, including key results and discuss opportunities for expanded research domains.
Bill Diamond is a Silicon Valley veteran and current President and CEO of the SETI Institute, a position he has held since June, 2015. The SETI Institute is a non-profit astrophysics and astrobiology research and education organization focused on the origin and nature of life in the universe and the evolution of intelligence. Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Diamond held various executive management positions in applied technologies, most recently at the optical networking company, Oclaro, Inc.
Mr. Diamond has over 20 years’ experience in photonics and optical communications networks, and more than a decade in X-ray imaging and semiconductor processing technologies. His corporate background covers the spectrum from venture-backed start-ups to Fortune 100 multinationals, with responsibilities ranging from R&D, engineering and operations, to sales, marketing, product management and CEO positions. Executive leadership roles include CEO positions at WaveSplitter Technologies, DenseLight Semiconductor (Singapore) and Xradia, Inc., now part of Zeiss. His photonics background also includes six years with AT&T Bell Laboratory’s Optoelectronics business unit and five years as President of US operations for the Swiss technology company, Comet A.G.
Mr. Diamond holds a B.A. in physics from Holy Cross College and a Master’s in Business Administration from Georgetown University. He is a past member of the Advisory Board for the McDonough School of Business Administration at Georgetown and is a current member of the Optical Society of America, the International Astronomical Congress and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Science and Innovation Council, BASIC.