Keynote Speakers (in alphabetic order)

Tuesday Keynote Speaker
Brain-Inspired Computing beyond von Neumann

Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier
Heidelberg University

The brain is characterized by extreme power efficiency, fault tolerance, compactness and the ability to develop and to learn. It can make predictions from noisy and unexpected input data. Any artificial system implementing all or some of those features is likely to have a large impact on the way we process information.

With the increasingly detailed data from neuroscience and the availability of advanced VLSI process nodes the dream of building physical models of neural circuits on a meaningful scale of complexity is coming closer to realization. Such models deviate strongly from classical processor-memory based numerical machines as the two functions merge into a massively parallel network of almost identical cells.

The lecture will introduce current projects worldwide and the approach proposed by the EU Human Brain Project to establish a systematic path from biological data, simulations on supercomputers and systematic reduction of cell complexity to derived neuromorphic hardware implementations with a very high degree of configurability

Karlheinz Meier is a professor of experimental physics at Heidelberg University in Germany. He received his PhD in 1984 from Hamburg University. For more than 30 years he worked in experimental particle physics, contributing to several experiments at the CERN and DESY laboratories. He designed and implemented a large-scale data selection system for an LHC experiment at CERN: Since 2005 he has shifted his interest towards custom hardware implementations of neural circuits. He has initiated and led 2 major European initiatives in the field (FACETS and BrainScaleS) and is currently co-director of the Human Brain Project.

Wednesday Keynote Speaker - 1
Digital Humanities as a Service Science

Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Dr. Michael Simeone
Arizona State University

Digital Humanities have emerged as a valuable way to combine data-driven methods for discovery with the dense human data found in literature and other cultural objects. But when the same humanities considerations of linguistic, historical, contextual, and cultural analysis turn to complex problems in fields like education, sustainability, and urbanization, we can realize new possibilities in generating, analyzing, and delivering knowledge. In the context of the emergent field of service science, where distribution of knowledge and computing assets draws into focus, digital humanities can design new configurations of data, analysis, users, and desired impact. Digital humanities is not just a method under a larger umbrella of data science; it is a way of approaching data and computing assets that can benefit systems that we design to solve some of the most urgent challenges facing us worldwide.

Michael Simeone is the Director of the Nexus Lab for Digital Humanities at Arizona State University. He is also affiliated with the Image and Spatial Data Analysis Division at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. His research includes computational humanities, analysis of human-technology networks, and data-driven collaborations that bridge environmental sciences and humanities. Currently, he serves as a Domain Champion for Humanities for the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment. He received his PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Wednesday Keynote Speaker - 2
EGI: the Big Shifts toward the Open Science Commons

Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Mr. Yannick Legré, NL

Yannick is the director of since February 2014. Formerly he was a senior research engineer at the French National Scientific Research Centre - Grid and Cloud Institute (CNRS-IdGC). He holds a Master of Science in Information Technology (MScIT) and a degree in Law (LL.L). Over the last 15 years, Yannick has been involved in more than 30 projects in the areas of healthcare and biomedical research, as well as biodiversity and environmental research, such as the ENVRI &CReATIVE-B projects. Yannick has also been a co-founder and the president of the international HealthGrid association, and the director for International Relations of a French SME.

Thursday Keynote Speaker -1
Why developing research software is like a startup, and why this matters

Thursday, 19 March 2015
Mr. Neil Chue Hong
University of Edinburgh/ Software Sustainability Institute

When we think about the software used in research and science, we might think of the commercial packages with thousands of users, or the millions of lines of code that support experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider, or indeed the millions of scripts written every day by researchers across the world to undertake simple tasks. What is clear is that modern research relies on software: a recent survey of UK researchers conducted by the Software Sustainability Institute reported that 92% of researchers used software, and 69% could not conduct their work without it. Millions of dollars are invested each year in supporting a quasi-industry of software production, with the equivalent of the full-spectrum from large multinationals and tiny cottage industries, but little is known about whether this is efficient or indeed appropriate.

This talk will examine the similarities between the development of software in the research environment and the lifecycle of technology startup companies. It will also consider the driving factors behind adoption of software and the impact of software sustainability on the ability to conduct research.

Neil Chue Hong is the founding Director of the UK's Software Sustainability Institute. Graduating with an MPhys in Computational Physics from the University of Edinburgh, he began his career at Edinbugh Parallel Computing Centre, working on technology transfer to small businesses and large scale data access and integration projects. From 2007-2010, Neil was Director of OMII-UK at the University of Southampton, which provided and supported free, open-source scientific software to the UK e-Research community.

The Software Sustainability Institute is a national facility for cultivating world-class research through software. Neil's current research is in software ecosystems, breaking down barriers to maintaining research software, cloud computing for science, and the role of software as a research object. He is editor of the Journal of Open Research Software, the Chair of the Software Carpentry Foundation and co-author of Best Practices for Scientific Computing and the Open Science Peer Review Oath.

Thursday Keynote Speaker - 2
Data management challenges in todays Healthcare and Life Sciences Ecosystem

Thursday, 19 March 2015
Jose L. Alvarez – Principal Engineer, WW Director Healthcare and Life Sciences
Seagate Cloud and Systems Solutions

Levering the advances in genomics sequencing, high definition non-invasive imaging techniques, biometric and other wearable devices, researchers and Clinicians today can get a more complete, scientific based, data set insight into the patient’s body. These new data sets allow clinicians to provide a more straightforward and successful treatment pathway typically labeled as personalized medicine. Compared to traditional screening techniques the data sets delivered from these instruments and modalities are massive. In this keynote presentation we will compare and contrast how traditional Healthcare and Life Sciences datasets are managed, emerging rules based or orchestrated data management architectures and we will discuss how these Big Data sets coupled with predictive analytics techniques can yield very successful treatment outcomes. We will also discuss how modern software defined, converged storage architectures coupled with a high throughput file systems and an integrated predictive analytics engine can be deployed to solve most of these data management problems.

Jose L. Alvarez has over 20 years of experience in the Life Sciences, R&D, High Performance Computing and IT Infrastructure disciplines. Before joining Seagate in 2013, Mr. Alvarez led DDN’s Healthcare and Life Science HPC pracDce as WW Director. Prior to DDN, Mr. Alvarez led Dell’s Healthcare and Life Sciences research computing practice as a Business Development Manager. Before his tenure at Dell, he held senior level leadership positions in engineering and network architecture at Catholic Health Initiatives. He also has been a guest scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratories, where he collaborated with Exxon/Mobil conducting research in Molecular Imaging and Modeling.

In his current role, Jose is responsible for the development and successful integration of Seagate HPC business strategy within the Healthcare and Life Sciences research communities. Additionally, he is involved with the development of innovative solutions that address data intensive research computing challenges as they apply to Life Sciences.

Mr. Alvarez holds degrees in Chemistry and Computer Sciences.

Friday Closing Keynote Speaker
Costa Rica towards 2050: rethinking world development through evidence-based, data driven decision-making

Friday, 20 March 2015
Dr. Santiago Núñez Corrales
Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Costa Rica

Low- and mid- income countries, in particular those that approach the upper limit towards becoming developed, require decision making based on evidence in order to cope with the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of economic, social and political challenges. In Costa Rica, a mid-income country attempting to become part of the OECD, data-driven decision making has been identified as one of the key technology enablers for redefining the notions of development in terms of psychological, environmental, financial a social grounds. A recent national foresight exercise, Pathways to 2021, has identified supercomputing, open data, open science, sensor networks and overall digital technologies as enablers for a balanced standard of living where global pressures are transformed into local opportunities. The latter exercise is framed into a longer-term initiative with 2050 as the development horizon targeting index values for societal development similar to those of Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

In this sense, the role of large-scale global infrastructure for solving common challenges is explored in depth with respect to three core problems: (1) a reconceptualization of development economics and the notion of first world is required for a better future, (2) the use of environmental concerns as restrictions in government planning exercises translated to far-horizon resource usage optimization problems and (3) the necessity of quantifying information gain as a mechanism to reduce risk-adverse attitudes towards investment in Science, Technology and Education where more intelligent States are mandatory, understanding intelligence as maximization of future freedom of action.

Santiago Núñez is Director of Research and Technology Development at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT) in Costa Rica where he oversees the national R+D strategy, divided in three main programs: national integration of the STI community and infrastructure, macroeconomic interventions through STI and prospective for a knowledge-based society and economy. He was recently the strategic director for developing the National Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation 2015-2021. Núñez is also the national liaison officer and representative of Costa Rica in the Committee on Science and Technology Policy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCDE).

He is member of the Steering Committee of the Advanced Research and Technology Collaborative for the Americas (ARTCA), a joint effort between the Organization ofAmerican States (OAS) and the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science (i-Chass) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Santiago Núñez is also a founding member and State representative of the Foundation for Renewable Energy (FUPER). He is also invited researcher at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory (LANOTEC) at the National Center for Advanced Technology Studies (CeNAT).

His experience includes being co-founder and invited research scientist in the e-Science Research Program at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC), international affiliate at National University in San Diego, California and international affiliate for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). His research has mainly focused in supercomputing, interdisciplinary research, computational volcanology and computational nanotechnology.