We are excited to announce the attendance of the following distinguished speakers at the 14th annual Reflections | Projections Conference.

Our full speaker line-up, along with a complete set of abstracts and biographies will be posted as the conference approaches.

SpeakersAbstracts & Biographies
Keith Adams
Saturday, Oct. 4
4:00 PM
1404 Siebel
They make computers out of software, now

Systems problems are traditionally solved in either hardware or the operating system. Hardware is too expensive to experiment with, while OS-based solutions suffer from the chicken-and-egg problem of moving the world to your improved OS. The virtual machine monitor (VMM) presents a sweet spot between these two extremes. VMM-based solutions can solve a problem in software, once, and yet solve it for all popular operating systems and applications.

I'll be using a new, VMM-based tool called VProbes both to demonstrate the scope of what the VMM can intercept, and and as an example of a feature that would be difficult to implement in other layers. VProbes provides a globally coherent, safe, programmable, interactive window into a running machine, from its CPUs to memory to peripherals.

About Keith Adams

Keith Adams has worked on VMware's virtual machine monitor (VMM) since graduating from Brown University in 2000. At VMware, he's helped to bring support for virtual multiprocessors, hardware CPU and MMU virtualization, and dynamic instrumentation to the VMM. Keith has a blog, and likes road cycling and playing guitar. He is NOT an official spokesperson for VMware, or the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club.

Al Aho
Saturday, Oct. 4
2:45 PM
1320 DCL
Quantum Computer Compilers

Quantum information processing presents fascinating new areas of research to computer science as well as other areas of science. This talk will overview the state of the art in building quantum computers, algorithms, languages, and compilers. This talk will also describe some of the challenging problems compiler writers face in trying to create compilers for quantum computers.

About Al Aho

Alfred Aho is the Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. His research has focused on algorithms, programming languages, compilers, software engineering, and quantum computing. He created the first versions of the Unix utilities egrep and fgrep, and is the "A" in AWK. His books on algorithms, data structures, programming languages and compilers are widely used throughout the world for computer science research and education.

Dr. Aho has won the IEEE John von Neumann Medal and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, Bell Labs, and IEEE. He has been Vice President of the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs where Unix, C, and C++ were invented. He has chaired the Computer Science Department of Columbia University and the advisory committee for the Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation.

Jeff Bonwick
Saturday, Oct. 4
11:15 AM
1404 Siebel
ZFS: The Last Word in File Systems

ZFS is an open-source file system that brings all the cool features of high-end storage to your laptop. Snapshots, clones, compression, encryption, RAID, remote replication, and end-to-end data integrity are all integrated and trivial to use. This talk will explain how ZFS works and what it can do for you.

About Jeff Bonwick

Jeff Bonwick is a Sun Fellow and Vice President at Sun Microsystems.

Jeff is the chief architect of ZFS, a new kind of file system that provides simple, reliable, highly capable storage using cheap commodity hardware. ZFS has spawned a new ecosystem of open storage products that are bringing the economics of open source to the storage market.

Prior to ZFS Jeff invented the slab allocator, which has been adopted by most modern operating systems, is featured in many OS textbooks, and has become part of the curriculum at major universities worldwide. Jeff created observability tools including kstat and lockstat, and authored many core Solaris services, including mutexes and rwlocks, priority inheritance, task queues, and the LZJB compression algorithm.

Jeff holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Delaware and an MS in Statistics from Stanford. He has over 50 patents granted or filed.

Crispin Cowan
Saturday Oct. 4
1:30 PM
1404 SC
Stranger in a Strange Land: Reflections on a Linux Guy's First Year at Microsoft

Dr. Crispin Cowan, famous Linux security guy and vocal Microsoft critic, now works at Microsoft. What? Has Hell opened a ski resort? This talk will reflect on my first year at Microsoft as a Linux guy. Hell has not frozen over, and I'm having a great time. I will talk about how the Linux and Windows communities are more similar to each other than either community cares to admit, for good and bad, as well as highlighting the differences that I have found. I will also highlight the similarities and differences in the security problems faced by Windows and Linux.

About Crispin Cowan

Crispin Cowan has been in the computer business for 25 years, and security for 10 years. He was the CTO and founder of Immunix, Inc., acquired by Novell in 2005. Dr. Cowan is now a security program manager in the Microsoft Core Operating System Division, working on security features for Windows. Dr. Cowan developed several host security technologies under DARPA funding, including prominent technologies like the StackGuard compiler defense against buffer overflows, and the LSM (Linux Security Modules) interface in Linux 2.6. Dr. Cowan also co-invented the "time-to-patch" method of assessing when it is safe to apply a security patch. Prior to founding Immunix, he was a professor with the Oregon Graduate Institute. He is the program co-chair for the 2007 and 2008 Network and Distributed System Security conferences. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.

Mike Dabrowski
Saturday Oct. 4
10:00 AM
1320 DCL
Space Is the Place

While most of us are stuck asking "When will I finally get to go on a moon-hotel vacation?" or wondering "Just what it is that NASA does anyways?" a new approach to space travel is literally taking flight. Space 2.0, the commercialization of space, promises to finally make that hot zero-g dream of yours come true. This talk will discuss the current state of the space industry and survey some of the most interesting companies and projects in the Space 2.0 movement. As a do-it-yourself bonus, we'll also go throw an introduction to building a rocket and shapeship software development.

About Mike Dabrowski

Mike Dabrowski is head of software development at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). Prior to being a rocket scientist, Mike taught Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. He holds Computer Engineering MS and BS degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was the program manager of the University of Illinois Cubesat program and a founder of the Special Interest Group for Military Applications (SIGMil).

Scott Draves
Saturday, Oct. 4
2:45 PM
1404 Siebel
The Electric Sheep and their Dreams in High Fidelity

Electric Sheep is a cyborg mind composed of 60,000 computers and people connected by software and the internet. It's an open-source, distributed screen-saver that harnesses idle computers into a render farm with the purpose of animating and evolving artificial life-forms known as a "sheep". Dreams in High Fidelity is a painting that evolves. This limited edition fine art was made by Draves picking personal favorites from the screen-saver, and rerendering them in much higher quality. The presentation will include a demo of the artwork and an explanation of the technology.

About Scott Draves

Scott Draves a.k.a. Spot is a visual and software artist living in New York City and San Francisco. His most recent work is Dreams in High Fidelity a limited edition infinite animation. Draves is best known as the creator of the Electric Sheep, a continually evolving abstract animation with over 60,000 daily participants.

He created the original Flame algorithm in 1991, the Bomb visual-musical instrument in 1995, and the Electric Sheep in 1999. Draves' software artworks are released as open source and distributed via the internet.

Draves' award-winning work is permanently hosted on MoMA.org, and has appeared in Wired and Discover magazines, the Prix Ars Electronica, the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, and on the main dance-floor at the Sonar festival in Barcelona.

Sam King
Sunday, Oct. 5
11:15 AM
1320 DCL
Secure Browsing with the OP Browser

The modern web browser has evolved from a relatively simple client application designed to display static data into a complex networked operating system tasked with managing many facets of online experience. Support for dynamic content, multimedia data, and third-party plug-ins greatly enriches the browsing experience at the cost of increased complexity of the browser itself, resulting in a plague of security vulnerabilities that provide hackers with easy access to systems. To address the root of this problem, we designed and implemented the OP web browser. We have partitioned the browser into smaller subsystems, isolated each subsystem, and made all communication between subsystems simple and explicit. Finally, we have used formal methods to prove the correctness of the communications between subsystems and the ability to limit the effects of compromised subsystems.

About Sam King

Dr. Samuel T. King is an assistant professor in the Computer Science department at the University of Illinois. His research interests include security, experimental software systems, operating systems, and computer architecture. His current research focuses include defending against malicious hardware, designing and implementing secure web browsers, and applying machine learning to systems problems. Sam received his PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006.

Friday, Oct. 3
5:00 PM
1404 Siebel
Nerd Life

Sprinkled amongst both Generation X and Generation Y is a curious, new population. The Nerd. The Geek. A group which has spent the last two decades moving from the dark technological fringe to a mainstream demographic.

In this presentation, Rands will first explore the traits of the nerd. How is it that we're able to rampantly consume information? How many people do we really know? Why is it that we must solve puzzles? How is it that we're so good at context switching and so bad at relating to people? And is all this nerdery going to help or hinder my career? It's going to help.

In the second part of this presentation, Rands will explain the role of the nerd in high tech and discuss entry strategies into your favorite company. We're going to talk about simple ways to leverage your nerd tendencies to get you in the right door talking to the right people.

About Rands

Rands is a denizen of Northern California where he's learned the tricks of the trade and earned a living working at a variety of innovative companies including Apple, Netscape Communications, Symantec Corporation, Borland International, and a start-up that blew through a pile of cash before it faded into nothingness.

Late at night, Rands is the author of the technology, management, and nerd weblog where he wonders why managers are so bad at the one thing they should do well, whether nerd traits are a hindrance to a healthy career, and wonders about the best damned gel pen on the Planet Earth. Rands wrote and published a book called "Managing Humans". He's been spotted at various conferences around the world, but mostly he'd like to be holed up in his Cave with an occasional early morning escape to the sweet, sweet surf in Santa Cruz.

David Roundy
Sunday, Oct. 5
11:15 AM
1404 Siebel
Haskell, static typing, type witnesses and darcs

Roundy will introduce the strongly, statically typed language Haskell, and discuss some of the advantages of static typing, particularly in combination with type inference. He will introduce the concept of "type witnesses", a programming trick to enable the compiler to enforce correctness constraints far beyond what is gained from ordinary static typing. Along the way, Roundy will explain how darcs differs from its "competitors", and provide a brief introduction to the patch formalism it uses.

About David Roundy

David is an assistant professor in the Physics Department at Oregon State University, working in the field of Computational Condensed Matter Theory. He created darcs in 2002 after becoming interested in the problem of how to describe and manipulate changes. Around the same time, David learned the Haskell language, and hasn't been the same since. While not working on darcs or physics, David enjoys reading, knitting, crocheting and playing harmonica, but not all at the same time.

Brian Runk
Sunday, Oct. 5
10:00 AM
1404 Siebel
Introducing the Q Programming Language

Q is a high-performance vector programming language developed by KX systems and is the language used to program the Kdb+ database. The Kdb+ database is designed to work with massive amounts of intraday data in memory and immutable historical data on disk. Its main use case has been to process real time tick feeds and provide fast analysis against years of historical tick data.

This talk will introduce the Q programming language and discuss some of the features that are making it increasingly popular at Morgan Stanley. I'll also talk about some of the challenges of introducing a new language into an enterprise environment.

About Brian Runk

Brian Runk has been a software developer at Morgan Stanley in New York City since 1999, where he presently works on the KDB+ infrastrucure team. Prior to working with KDB+, he worked on Java infrastructure and applications. Brian holds a bachelors degree in computer science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, and investment management services to clients worldwide.

Don Schmidt
Saturday, Oct. 4
6:30 PM
1404 Siebel
Engineering the Illusion of Life

Since the invention of the transparent animation "cel" in the early 1900's, animation has been a technology driven art form. In the 1990's, the transition from handdrawn 2D to computer generated 3D films brought with it a raft of complicated technical challenges. Travel with us down the production pipeline and explore some of the engineering problems encountered producing feature-length films at DreamWorks Animation. We'll discuss the data structures, algorithms, numerical methods, testing, configuration management and systems design required to create the "illusion of life".

About Don Schmidt

Don Schmidt is a Software Engineer at DreamWorks Animation, where he's responsible for supporting and extending the studio's proprietary animation production pipeline. Before DreamWorks, Don studied computer science at the Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as chair of local chapters of both SIGGRAPH and ACM.

Luke Shepard
Saturday, Oct. 4
10:00 AM
1404 Siebel
A language for the social web: why and how Facebook developed the Facebook Markup Language (FBML)

The Facebook development Platform launched its first API over two years ago, in August 2006. Since its launch it has grown to support over 400,000 external developers developing thousands of social applications and has become the most popular social platform on the web.

This is the story of the technical evolution of Platform, from data assessors to a simple REST API to the full-fledged development platform that it is today. We will discuss the interesting challenges we faced in regards to user privacy, the development of the Facebook Mark-up Language (FBML) as well as the inherent performance issues involved in safeguarding the privacy of over +100 million users and how developers can assist us solving them. We'll also talk about the future of Platform and FBML with Facebook Connect and the rest of the open web.

About Luke Shepard

Luke Shepard spends his days coding, ripsticking, and building software to connect the world. He has engineered a number of teams at Facebook, including front end performance, advertising, and platform. Prior to Facebook, he chased bugs in the supply chain at Amazon.com. Luke earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. He is originally from Chicago.

Richard Sproat
Saturday, Oct. 4
11:15 AM
1320 DCL
Computational Linguistics: What is it and what (if any) are its unifying themes?

In a well-known cartoon, Randall Munroe characterizes computational linguistics as a field "so ill-defined that" practitioners "can subscribe to any of dozens of contradictory models and still be taken seriously." As with any humor, there is a serious point here. Indeed, it is often quite hard to see what the substantive claims of computational linguistics are, and how one's model could be falsified (other than by presenting another model that has a lower error rate).

Part of the problem is that a large amount of what counts as computational linguistics is essentially natural language engineering, where the point is simply to find something that works. And part of the problem is a widespread view that has computational linguistics as little more than applied machine learning. Nonetheless, there are models and problems that serve as unifying themes in the field. Among these are the widespread use of finite-state methods, recent work on grammar induction and the growing field of computational modeling of evolutionary language change. Each of these is interesting not only as a computational problem, but also because of the light it may shed on human language.

About Richard Sproat

Richard Sproat is Professor of Linguistics and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a fulltime faculty member of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He is also a Visiting Scientist at Google Labs. Prior to coming to UIUC in 2003, Sproat worked for 18 years at AT&T Bell Labs (and its offshoots Lucent Bell Labs and AT&T Labs) on computational linguistics and speech technology. He has authored a number of books, including Morphology and Computation (1992, MIT Press), the 1997 volume (as editor) Multilingual Text-to-Speech Synthesis: The Bell Labs Approach (Springer), A Computational Theory of Writing Systems (2000, Cambridge University Press), and (with Brian Roark) Computational Approaches to Morphology and Syntax (2007, Oxford). His newest book Language, Technology and Society (forthcoming, Oxford), traces the history of language technology, starting with the first such technology, writing, up through modern computer speech and language systems, explains how these systems work, and discusses their social and cultural impact.

Dave Thomas
Saturday, Oct. 4
7:45 PM
1404 Siebel
Keep Your Shoes On

We are all being terrorized on a daily basis. We make bad decisions in the face of poorly defined but vigorously promulgated fears. And, as developers, we end up creating worse code as a result.

Let's stop being reactive. And let's stop being afraid. And let's create some wonderful, liberated, code.

About Dave Thomas

Straight from the man himself: Dave Thomas is a programmer. He also writes and publishes books.

William Townsend
Saturday, Oct. 4
4:00 PM
1320 DCL
Latest Developments in Robotic Hardware

Robots have been around for about half a century. Until about a decade ago, robotic arms were strictly confined to caged robotic work cells to protect the safety of people who might otherwise be harmed by high robotic joint torques/forces. The past decade has seen a couple of trends where a cage for safety is no longer practical. The first trend is robotic mobility. It's not practical to build a fixed cage around a mobile robot, considering, for example, Vecna's BEAR robot, designed to rescue wounded soldiers from an active battlefield, or the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.

The second trend is a growing reliance on robots that are necessarily in direct contact with people, such as medical patients during robotically-assisted surgery or rehabilitation. For example, Barrett's robotic WAM arm reduces the invasiveness of knee-implant surgery to improve outcome and shorten hospital recovery time. But robot surgery requires direct physical contact between robot and patient, again challenging the role of a cage. The talk will cover these examples and others that show the recent trends away from traditional fixed robotic work cells in cages. It will also show innovative ways to improve safety as these trends continue.

About William Townsend

Bill Townsend founded Barrett Technology in 1988, credited as maker of the world's "most advanced robotic arm" in the special Millennium Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. Barrett's WAM arm and BarrettHand products operate in 15 countries around the globe today; and the WAM is the only arm approved by the FDA for force-controlled (haptic) surgery, having performed 100s of successful knee-implant surgeries across the US.

Bill holds engineering PhD and MS degrees from MIT and a BS from Northeastern. He has been awarded 8 US patents and won several professional awards including The Robotic Industries Association's Joseph Engelberger Award in 2003 for pioneering the first haptic robot in the 1980s and best-paper-of-the-year award from UK-journal, Industrial Robot, in 2005.

Larry Wall
Friday, Oct. 3
7:45 PM
1404 Siebel
Studies in the Ballistic Arts

It has been said that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades--as long as you count nukes as a kind of hand grenade. But what exactly are you aiming at, and how close is close enough? This talk will be about the past, present, and future of Perl, with a few pointers on how to launch your project, how to steer it while you still can, and when to let it fly off on its own trajectory.

About Larry Wall

Though trained primarily as a linguist, Larry Wall has been working with computers for the last 35 years or so. He is most famous for writing the "patch" program and inventing the Perl programming language, but he prefers to think of himself as a cultural hacker whose vocation in life is to bring a bit of joy into the dreary existence of programmers. Larry is currently employed by Netlogic Microsystems in Mountain View, California.