Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Keynote Speakers

Michael Arbib
University of Southern California

How Neural Computing Can Still be Unconventional After All These Years

    Attempts to infer a technology from the computing style of the brain have often focused on general learning styles, such as Hebbian learning, supervised learning, and reinforcement learning. The present talk will place such studies in a broader context based on the diversity of structures in the mammalian brain -- not only does the cerebral cortex have many regions with their own distinctive 
characteristics, but their architecture differs drastically from that of basal ganglia, cerebellum, hippocampus, etc. We will discuss all this within a comparative, evolutionary context. The talk will make the case for a brain-inspired computing architecture which complements the bottom-up design of diverse styles of adaptive subsystems with a top-level design which melds a variety of such subsystems to best match the capability of the integrated system to the demands of a specific range of physical or informational environments.

    This talk will be a sequel to Arbib, M.A., 2003, Towards a neurally-inspired computer architecture, Natural computing, 2:1-46, but the exposition will be self-contained.

Lila Kari
University of Western Ontario

Nanocomputing by Self-Assembly

Biomolecular (DNA) computing is an emergent field of unconventional computing, lying at the crossroads of mathematics, computer science and molecular biology.  The main idea behind biomolecular computing is that data can be encoded in DNA strands, and techniques from molecular biology can be used to perform arithmetic and logic operations. The birth of this field was the 1994 breakthrough experiment of Len Adleman who solved a hard computational problem solely by manipulating DNA strands in test-tubes. This led to the possibility of envisaging a DNA computer that could be thousand to
a million times faster, trillions times smaller and thousand times more energy efficient than today's electronic computers.

I will present one of the most active directions of research in DNA computing, namely DNA nanocomputing by self-assembly. I will namely discuss the computational potential of self-assembly, the process by which  objects autonomously come together to form complex structures. I will bring forth evidence that self-assembly of DNA molecules can be used to perform computational tasks. Lastly, I will address the problem of self-assembly of arbitrarily large super-shapes, its solution and implications.

Roel Vertegaal
Queen's University

Xuuk Inc. / Human Media Lab, Queen's University
Kingston, Canada

Organic User Interfaces (Oui!): Designing Computers in Any Way Shape or Form

Over the past few years, there has been a quiet revolution in display manufacturing technology. One that is only comparable in scope to that of the invention of the first LCD, which led to DynaBook and the modern laptop. E-ink electrophoretic pixel technology, combined with advances in organic thin-film circuit substrates, have led to displays that are so thin and flexible they are beginning to resemble paper. Soon displays will completely mimic the high contrast, low power consumption and flexibility of printed media. As with the invention of the first LCD, this means we are 
on the brink of a new paradigm in computer user interface design: one in which computers can have any organic form or shape. One where any object, no matter how complex, dynamic or flexible its structure, may display information.  One where the deformation of shape is a main source of input. This new paradigm of Organic User Interface (Oui!) requires a new set of design guidelines, which I will discuss in this presentation. These guidelines were inspired by architecture, which went through a similar transformation decades ago.
In Oui! The Input Device Is The Output Device (TIDISTOD), Form dynamically follows Flow of activities of the human body, and Function equals Form. I will give an overview of technologies that led to Organic UI, such as Tangible UI and Digital Desks, after which I will discuss some of the first real Oui! interfaces, which include Gummi and PaperWindows. PaperWindows, which was developed at HML, is the first real paper computer. It uses computer vision to track sheets of real paper in real time. Page shape is modeled in 3D, textured with windows and projected back onto the paper, making for a wireless hi-res flexible color display. Interactions with PaperWindows take place through hand gestures and paper folding techniques.

Tal Mor
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Algorithmic Cooling: Putting a New Spin on the Identification of Molecules

In this talk I will present "Algorithmic Cooling of Spins", which is potentially the first near-future application of quantum computing devices. I will explain how straightforward quantum algorithms combined with novel entropy manipulations can result in a method to improve the identification of molecules.

[extended abstract] (pdf)