Colloquium Event

Maxwell’s Demon, Schrodinger’s Cat, and Broca’s Brain: Gate keepers to the Future of Computing


The computer revolution, known by the moniker Moore’s Law, is rolling past its fifty-year march. As one of the most significant advancements of human civilization, this revolution has been enabled by a confluence of breakthroughs in science and engineering.  Now this progress is at cross-roads facing slowing down of traditional scaling, advent of Artificial Intelligence as a general-purpose solution, and onset of Quantum Computing as an alternate computing paradigm.  For us to navigate forward intelligently, we may need to go back and question what computing is (or should be) and how we could use this understanding differently.

In this presentation, I will propose that the path forward is gated by the known principles of science, together with the constraints imposed by engineering and technology. The quest for and the handling of information might become the unifying theme for a new vision on what computing will evolve into as a discipline. I will also conclude with a few perspectives on getting past the gate keepers to traverse this journey that could evolve computing  to endless  possibilities from a few beginnings.

Speaker Name

Sadasivan (Sadas) Shankar

Speaker Institution

Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Speaker Information

Sadasivan (Sadas) Shankar is an Associate in Applied Physics in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and was the first Margaret and Will Hearst Visiting Lecturer in Harvard University and the first Distinguished Scientist in Residence at the Harvard Institute of Applied Computational Sciences. He has co-instructed classes related to materials and computing and is involved in research in materials, chemistry, and specialized AI methods for complex problems in physical and natural sciences, and new frameworks for studying computing.

Dr. Shankar has worked for two decades in the semiconductor industry. His team has enabled several critical technology decisions in the semiconductor industrial applications of chemistry, materials, processing, packaging, manufacturing, and design rules for over nine generations of Moore’s law including First advanced process control application in 300 mm wafer technology; introduction of flip-chip packaging, 100% Pb-elimination in microprocessors, design of new materials, new semiconductor processing methods, etc. He is a co-inventor in over twenty patent filings in new materials, device structures, and algorithms. Dr. Shankar managed his team members, distributed across multiple sites in the US and Russia and enabled collaborations with scientists and engineers in Europe, Russia, and Israel. The teams won several awards from the Executive Management.

Dr. Shankar, a co-author in several publications and presentations, was a Senior Fellow in UCLA-IPAM during a program on Machine Learning and Many-body Physics, invited speaker in The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation on application of Machine Learning for chemistry and materials, Carnegie Science Foundation, invited to White House event for Materials Genome, Visiting Lecturer in Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics in UC-SB, and the first Intel Distinguished Lecturer in Caltech and MIT. He has also given several colloquia and lectures in universities all over the world. His work was also featured in the journal Science and in TED.  


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