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On September 23, 2019 IEEE organized a one-day symposium around the current state of Artificial Intelligence and what is to come in the next ten years. We were joined by speakers from the academic world, the tech industry, and data science field who shared their thoughts on where the world is headed in terms of AI, advances in AI, and how AI will affect our daily life. The symposium concluded with an industry panel hosted by Cisco.

Read event summary by Tekla S. Perry, IEEE Spectrum


Meena Arunachalam

Principal Engineer, End-to-End AI SW Architect at Intel Corp
Meena Arunachalam created one AI & Analytics optimized stack for CPUS and accelerators running data center workloads. In the past, she has been responsible for pre-Silicon software enabling for ML/DL workloads and system-level performance and power simulations for Intel products. She also worked on micro-architecture bottleneck analyses, cache/ memory hierarchy improvements and perf and power workload projections, energy efficiency tuning at scale and HPC optimizations for Xeon, Xeon Phi and FPGA products.

Chirantan "CJ" Desai

Chief Product Officer, ServiceNow
CJ Desai joined ServiceNow in 2016 as Chief Product Officer. Previously, he served as President of the Emerging Technologies Division at EMC from 2013 to 2016 where he was responsible for product strategy and engineering for several emerging businesses. Prior to EMC, CJ held various leadership roles at Symantec and began his career at Oracle. CJ has a Master's degree in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and serves on the board at Zebra Technologies.

Christopher Manning

Professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford AI Lab
Christopher Manning is a professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford AI Lab. He is a leader in applying deep neural networks to Natural Language Processing, including work on tree recursive models, sentiment analysis, neural machine translation and parsing, and the GloVe word vectors. He founded the Stanford NLP group (@stanfordnlp), developed Stanford Dependencies and Universal Dependencies, and manages development of the Stanford CoreNLP software. Manning is an ACM, AAAI, and ACL Fellow, and a Past President of ACL.

John Markoff

New York Times Journalist
John Markoff is a fellow at the Stanford Human Centered Artificial Institute. He is also a research affiliate at the Center for Advance Study in the Behavioral Sciences participating in projects focusing on the future of work and artificial intelligence.In 2013 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting as part of a New York Times project on labor and automation. He is currently researching a biography of Stewart Brand, the creator of the Whole Earth Catalog.

Erik Melander

Co-Founder and CEO, Astellent
Erik Melander is co-founder and CEO of Astellent, a consulting company that improves how software is designed, developed, and delivered to help organizations achieve more. Astellent collaborates with ambitious people who use cloud services and machine intelligence to make things that matter. Previously, Erik has held a wide range of leadership positions across a broad array of computer technology disciplines, including systems architecture, data science, and software development.

Alexander Schwing

Assistant Professor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Alex Schwing received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from Technical University of Munich in 2006 and 2008 respectively, and obtained a PhD in Computer Science from ETH Zurich in 2014. Afterwards he joined University of Toronto as a postdoctoral fellow until 2016. His research interests are in computer vision and machine learning, where he has co-authored numerous papers on topics in scene understanding, inference and learning algorithms, deep learning, image and language processing and generative modeling.

Wenting Sun

Principal data scientist at Ericsson, cutting edge AI/ML applications
Wenting Sun Wenting is the principal data scientist in Ericsson. She leads a team to develop cutting edge AI/ML applications in telecommunication domain. She also drives the activities of Ericsson’s active contribution in AI/ML open source platform Acumos (under Linux Foundation).

Joseph Wei

Venture Partner, SkyChee Ventures
Joseph Wei advises and consults with VC/CVCs and startups on strategy, partnerships, go to market. He has developed a successful eco-system for Heuristic Capital/Lab360 in accelerating hardware startups. The eco-system includes investors, lawyers, CPAs, largest cloud and technology partners, electrical and industrial design firms, and, outsourced manufacturers, to help support and accelerate the growth of the startups.

Panel Speakers

Zongjie Diao

Director of Product Management and Strategy, Cisco
Zongjie has expertise in new product / technology incubation, product strategy, Business Strategy & Operation, Machine Learning infrastructure, and Data Center technologies. She leads a Product Management team at Cisco to drive the new Machine Learning product from strategy to productization, GTM, and monetization.

Ben Irving

Director of Infrastructure Architecture, Cisco
Ben has a wide range of IT infrastructure experience along with leading infrastructure teams with a focus on innovation and excellence in engineering. He has a deep understanding of the Cisco product portfolio from the 3850 switch, 4500, Nexus 7k and 9k to the ASR1000. Specialties include IaaS, WAN strategy, Enterprise Compute and Storage, DC networking, Unified Communications, and SDN.

Darrin Johnson

Global Director of Technical Marketing, NVIDIA
Passionate technologist in software and hardware engineering including system software, scientific, AI and cloud computing. Proven track record of building and driving high performance global teams, delivering innovative technology/products/solutions, and demonstrated mastery of numerous technologies including kernel, networking, filesystems, storage, security, cloud computing, etc. Experienced in product marketing, technical marketing and product management driven to show AI and Deep Learning as an enabler for innovation.

Trevor Mottl

Managing Director, Lazard
Trevor is a technologically minded leader bridging the gap between legacy business processes and technology-enabled disruption tools. He has deep domain expertise in artificial intelligence and NLP applied to finance, cryptoasset networks, and 20 years of experience in asset management, portfolio theory, risk management, capital markets, and options theory. His experience includes Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and global hedge funds. Currently Managing Director at Lazard based in Palo Alto. Sc. B. in Biochemistry (Honors) from Brown University.

Paul Sinai

CEO & CTO, ForePaas
Paul is the founder and CEO of ForePaaS, the first multi-cloud and automated platform as a service to scale fast and secure data analytics applications.


Meena Arunachalam

AI Infrastructure
Speaker: Meena Arunachalam
Principal Engineer, End-to-End AI SW Architect, Intel Corp
Christopher Manning

Riding the AI Wave: Dodging the dangers, seizing the opportunities
Speaker: Christopher Manning
Professor of computer science and linguistics,
Stanford University and Director of the Stanford AI Lab
John Markoff

Second Thoughts about Autonomy
Speaker: John Markoff
New York Times Journalist
Alexander Schwing

Learning to Anticipate
Speaker: Alexander Schwing
Assistant Professor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Joseph Wei

The State of AI Investment
Speaker: Joseph Wei
Venture Partner, Skychee Ventures
panelist discussion

Operationalizing AI & ML:
Today's challenges and what is to come
Panel Moderator: Zongjie Diao
Director of Product Management and Strategy, Cisco
  • Darrin Johnson, Global Director of Technical Marketing. Nvidia
  • Trevor Mottl, Managing Director, Lazard
  • Paul Sinai, CEO & CTO, Fore Paas
  • Ben Irving, Director of Infrastructure Architecture, Cisco