I was very excited to be selected as a participant for The Knowledge Society Summit (TKS) held in Toronto on 12 May 2018. And I was prepared well for it.
I had written a few articles on the Slack platform of the Summit about my learnings from the two public lectures I had previously listened to. The first lecture was by Roger Melko from the Perimeter Institute on the limits of physical computing and how they can be overcome by quantum computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The second lecture, by George Stein from the University of Toronto, was about cosmic simulations. As the Universe is characterized by huge timescales and physical distances, simulations are a useful tool to model the universe. Cosmic simulations allow us to better understand what happened in the past and make predictions about the future. And AI can speed up these simulations without exceeding the physical limits to computing.
For more information, check out our article: Artificial Intelligence and Cosmic Simulations: Learnings from public lectures at the Perimeter Insititute and the University of Toronto at https://hotpoprobot.com/2018/05/04/science-communication-at-science-rendezvous-via-the-perimeter-insititute-and-the-university-of-toronto/
I was pleased that my contributions to the Slack channel of the TKS Summit were recognized by the organizers – I was announced as one of the participants who made a positive impact on discussions happening prior to the conference.
I attended all the presentations. As I am interested in space and robotics, my mind was constantly trying to link new information I was gaining with how I could apply them to space and robotics sector.
The presentation by Alan Smithson from MetaVRse was on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and what the world would look like in the future with these technologies. As I am interested in space and robotics, I immediately thought about some possible applications of VR and AR on training astronauts (especially so, as we are moving in the direction of private space exploration and demands for such simulations would be higher) and virtually simulating how planetary Rovers can navigate craters, gullies, and even caves.
The presentation by Maheen and Katya from Oculus was on using VR to be able to talk to other people in a virtual setting. An application for this technology could be in cosmic simulations. It would allow us to visually experience how gas and dust cloud came together to form galaxies, stars, and planets – and will be a useful addition to modeling our Universe mathematically.
The presentations by Alan Si from Facebook and Ozge Yeloglue were about machine learning algorithms. I got a better grasp about image processing using machine algorithm when Alan Si demonstrated the concept by bringing volunteers on the stage. I have already used machine learning in one of my space projects, Space-Rex, which predicts asteroid collisions using data from the NASA Near Earth Objects database. More details at https://hotpoprobot.com/2018/03/06/space-rex-predict-risk-index-of-asteroid-collision-using-a-i-and-display-the-data-musically-in-10-steps-and-40-hours/ Now I got some more ideas on how to improve it further and newer tools I can integrate it with.
The presentation by Manan Arya from NASA was very interesting and I was looking forward to it. It was about how Origami technique is used to fold radars for Cube Sats and Solar Sails. And this technique would be used in the Starshade project where a giant, flower-shaped starshade would be unfolded to create an artificial eclipse to see distant exoplanets. When humans start traveling farther into space, everything will have to be squeezed into a small volume and Origami would play a key role. It also reminded me of the International Space Development Conference (2016) in Puerto Rico where they introduced the Star Shot Breakthrough Initiative to propel nano spacecraft with big sails to the nearest star (Alpha Centauri) in around 20 years.
After all the professional presentations, I really enjoyed the presentations made by many of the TKS alumni including Ananya on brain-computer interfaces, Shalev on Machine Learning and Computer Vision and Sabaresh on Augmented Reality. It was amazing to experience how students have mastered these topics and were making new applications using them.
It gave me a good insight into the TKS Programme and the role it plays in encouraging young people to learn from experts and passionately pursue their interests.