We’re pleased to give details on our three Keynote Speakers

“Modern Radio Interferometric Imaging Challenges: From MeerKAT Towards the SKA”
Prof. Oleg Smirnov, Rhodes University
Summary: I will give an overview of the interferometric imaging problem, from basic principles and the classic CLEAN algorithm, to modern treatments of deconvolution and direction-dependent effects (DDEs) in imaging algorithms. I will show how the high sensitivities and large data rates of new telescopes such as MeerKAT turn this into a formidable computational challenge, and what this landscape looks like as we approach the SKA.
Prof. Oleg Smirnov joined Rhodes in April 2012 to take up the new SKA Research Chair in RATT. Prior to joining Rhodes, he spent over 12 years as a researcher and software developer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON). His research interests span many areas including the development of new radio interferometric techniques and calibration methods, development of the MeqTrees system for simulation and calibration of radio interferometers, as well as ionospheric modeling and flagging tools. He was also involved in the early days of the LOFAR telescope, and with the last days of the AIPS++ project (which was later revived as the CASA system).

“Designing Computer Systems for Software 2.0”
Prof. Kunle Olukotun, Stanford University
Summary: Employing Machine Learning to generate models from data is replacing traditional software development in many applications. This fundamental shift in how we develop software is known as Software 2.0. However, the continued success of Software 2.0 relies on the availability of powerful, efficient and flexible computer systems. This talk will introduce a design paradigm that exploits the characteristics of Software 2.0 to create computer systems that are optimized for both programmability and performance. The key to the design paradigm is a full-stack approach that integrates algorithms, domain-specific languages, advanced compilation technology and new hardware architectures.
Kunle Olukotun is the Cadence Design Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University. Olukotun is well known as a pioneer in multicore processor design and the leader of the Stanford Hydra chip multipocessor (CMP) research project. Olukotun founded Afara Websystems to develop high-throughput, low-power multicore processors for server systems. The Afara multicore processor, called Niagara, was acquired by Sun Microsystems. Niagara derived processors now power all Oracle SPARC-based servers. Olukotun currently directs the Stanford Pervasive Parallelism Lab (PPL), which seeks to proliferate the use of heterogeneous parallelism in all application areas using Domain Specific Languages (DSLs). Olukotun is a member of the Data Analytics for What’s Next (DAWN) Lab which is developing infrastructure for usable machine learning. Olukotun is an ACM Fellow and IEEE Fellow for contributions to multiprocessors on a chip and multi-threaded processor design and is the recipient of of the 2018 IEEE Harry H. Goode Memorial Award. Olukotun received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from The University of Michigan.

“Connectivity Challenges and Emerging Solutions”
Dr. Larry Alder, VP of Product Definition, OneWeb
Summary: It has been well established that connectivity is vital to development and has elevated to a basic need for humans on par with electricity. Connectivity is vital to emerging economies as well — with every 10% increase in Internet penetration there is a resultant 1.5% growth in GDP. While there has been great progress with the advent of mobile devices and in particular the smart phone, connectivity remains a challenge. Many emerging economies have limited or expensive data access. In fact, at times folks have smart phones in these market but don’t enable data plans or must keep data consumption very modest. In 2016, Internet usage rates were about twice as high in developed countries as in developing countries and more than twice as high in developing countries than in least developed countries. In this talk, we will discuss some of the challenges and emerging technical solutions from terrestrial to space for closing this connectivity gap. We will detail the technical, signal processing and RF challenges for connecting rural areas with satellite systems.
Dr. Larry Alder currently is the VP of Product Definition at OneWeb, developing low-latency satellite-based broadband globally. He is also Co-Chair of NTIA’s Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee and has been a member of the committee since 2011. Alder was previously at Google as Director of Access Strategy from 2005-2016 where was responsible for a number of product, policy, and strategic investment activities promoting Internet access. Alder led Google’s Project Link to bring a shared fiber infrastructure network to multiple countries in Africa. He also was leader in Google’s project to bring Wi-Fi to the India rail stations. Alder served on the board of O3b Networks, a global satellite service provider. Prior to joining Google, Alder spent 10 years at ArrayComm, where he served as vice president of technology development. He has a Ph.D. in Engineering from Stanford University in the specialty of Control Theory and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from UCLA.