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Dr. John Gilbert
Smart Matter: Frontiers in Computation
Wednesday, November 15, 2000
Building 3 Auditorium - 3:00 PM

(Refreshments at 3:00 PM)

Goddard's Office of the Assistant Director for Information Sciences continues the Fall 2000 GSFC Information Sciences and Technology (IS&T) Colloquium Series with Dr. John R. Gilbert, whose topic, "Smart Matter", is a research theme at Xerox PARC. The aim of the research is to exploit trends of miniaturization and integration of both computer hardware and micromechanical devices to build new kinds of machines and systems. The idea is to trade computation (which is getting cheaper very fast) for physical or mechanical complexity. The resulting systems typically integrate sensing, computation, and (sometimes) actuation in a fine-grained way. Some of the projects the Lab is working on in this space are MEMS and microlasers; an "active surface" air-jet paper mover; distributed collaborative sensing; and a modular robot. Dr. Gilbert will talk about a few of these, with a focus on a particularly exciting set of challenges that this research poses for information technology and computer science.

Dr. Gilbert is a Principal Scientist and Manager of the Computation and Matter Area in the Systems and Practices Laboratory at Xerox PARC. The Area's charter is to connect computer science and information technology with smart matter and systemic MEMS. Its research includes projects in distributed data analysis and collaborating sensors, meso-scale MEMS for active surfaces, and modular robotics. Dr. Gilbert received his PhD in Computer Science at Stanford in 1981. From 1981 to 1988 he was Assistant and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Cornell, where he was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator. In 1988 he joined Xerox PARC, where he has performed and directed research in parallel computing, computational geometry, languages and compilers for high-performance computing, and mathematical algorithms and software. Dr. Gilbert is a member of the Council of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and a past chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Numerical Mathematics. Dr. Gilbert developed the sparse matrix solvers used in the commercial Matlab engineering environment; he is also the author of about 50 technical papers and a number of patents.

IS&T Colloquium Committee Host: John Schnase