Title: Are Sensor Networks a first step towards the Diamond Age?

Abstract: In Neal Stephenson's award winning novel, The Diamond age, he describes programmable nanotechnology that can collaborate and form things. Today we have chirping, self-organising, adaptive and intelligent tiny computers are beginning to enter both the market and people’s homes, performing various monitoring and control duties. From Google’s self-drive cars to the walls of modern office blocks, these simple devices are talking to each other in highly intelligent ways, mimicking the collective behaviour of insect colonies to overcome individual failures or changes in the local environment. After a decade as an academic pursuit, there is now a strong belief that these could enable whole new programmable architectures, where processing power is pushed out to these small devices in the field. But are we getting ahead of ourselves? Whilst the technology advances, underlying research into their behaviours, security, reliability and resistance to failure mustn’t be left behind. In this talk Julie McCann will introduce some of her work in this field and discuss the possibility of a technological trajectory towards the aforementioned Diamond Age.

About the speaker: Professor Julie McCann heads the Adaptive Embedded Systems Engineering group and is Co-Director of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on the Urban Internet of Things. She is Co-Principle Investigator for both the NEC Smart Water Lab and the EPSRC Science of Sensor Systems Programme.  She has been a Fellow of the British Computer Society since 2012 and is a member of the ACM and IEEE. McCann is regularly invited to talk on sensing, IoT and self-adaptive computing to a broad range of audiences.


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