The convergence of data science with circuits and systems is producing innovative solutions to familiar problems, reshaping industries, and impacting the world in surprising ways. Low-power devices enable encryption at the edge and a secure and private Internet of Things. Smart meters and segmentation algorithms create an agile electric grid that accommodates intermittent renewables and dynamic demand-response systems. Big data analytics can root out human trafficking on the web, or analyze the decisions of judges to support smarter bail decisions. Solar panels, batteries, and LEDs can cost-effectively replace kerosene lanterns in the developing world.
We can learn a lot about disruptive and innovative engineering by studying examples like these. Patterns emerge that can guide research and encourage innovation at universities and corporations. Universities are particularly good at innovation and entrepreneurship. But that’s not enough. If one wants to change the world, reshape an entire industry, or move the needle of a large corporation, then scale is everything. Large-scale impact requires an accurate understanding of opportunities, challenges, and practical realities. We’ll show how universities and industry can utilize each other’s strengths to achieve large-scale impact.
Dr. Steve Eglash is executive director of the Stanford University Data Science Initiative, Artificial Intelligence Lab, and Secure Internet of Things Project. Previously, Steve was founding executive director of Stanford’s Energy & Environment Affiliates Program, CEO of a solar energy company, a venture capitalist, and a business executive. Steve began his career as a research scientist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Steve received a PhD and MS from Stanford University, and a BS from the University of California at Berkeley, all in Electrical Engineering. Steve is a member of the Board of Directors of the Materials Research Society, a Fellow of the SPIE, and a member of the IEEE and OSA. Steve is vice chair of the Santa Clara University College of Arts & Sciences Leadership Board and a member of the City of Palo Alto Utilities Advisory Commission. Steve has been involved in a variety of humanitarian projects such as the Tech Museum Awards for Technology Benefiting Humanity and the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University.