THE INSTITUTEThis year’s IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit (IEEE VIC Summit) not only addresses crucial technologies but also highlights the need for more female technologists. The annual event, to be held on 17 May at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, convenes technology innovators, visionaries, and disruptors to share insights on emerging technologies and discuss their potential impact on humanity.
The summit culminates with the IEEE Honors Ceremony gala, which is live-streamed. The event recognizes outstanding innovators for their achievements in electrical, electronics, communications, environmental, and safety technologies; computer science and engineering; engineering education; and the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences.
Keynote speaker Telle Whitney is expected to discuss how, by working together, women and men can create and define the future. Whitney is a computer scientist and former CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. An expert on diversity, she is likely to explain her efforts in creating a global movement for female technologists. IEEE plans to give her an honorary membership at the awards ceremony.
Panel discussions will cover smart networks and social innovations, security risks posed by the Internet of Things, and ethics in artificial intelligence, organizers say.
Senior Member Fawzi Behmann, Member Irene Hu, and Fellow Avideh Zakhor are the panelists on the IoT–Smart Networks and Social Innovations panel. The three are expected to discuss how wireless sensor networks and the IoT can connect homes and smart devices, making life easier and more efficient. Behmann is president of Telnet Management Consulting of Round Rock, Texas. Hu is a hardware electronics engineer at Biobot Analytics, in Somerville, Mass. Zakhor is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.
Senior Member Kevin Curran says he will discuss the future security risks posed by the IoT. He’s a cybersecurity professor at Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. He’s also executive co-director of the school’s Legal Innovation Center and leader of its Ambient Intelligence and Virtual Worlds research group.
On the Ethics in AI panel are Ayanna Howard and Mehdi Miremadi. Look for them to address how autonomous systems can be imbued with ethical values. Howard is a professor and chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, and Miremadi is a partner with McKinsey and Co., based in Chicago.
In the evening, IEEE rolls out the red carpet for the awards ceremony, where the achievements of Life Fellow Kurt Petersen will be honored with the IEEE Medal of Honor—IEEE’s highest award—for contributions that led to the global growth of microelectromechanical systems.
Other pioneers being honored include IEEE Fellow Ursula Keller, recipient of the annual IEEE Edison Medal. She made several groundbreaking innovations to compact ultrafast lasers. IEEE Member Kamil Ugurbil is set to receive the IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology. He pioneered the development—and led the advancement—of ultrahigh-field MRI technology for biomedical and brain research.
The recipient of the IEEE President’s Award, selected by the Board of Directors, is Katherine G. Johnson, whose mathematical calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. human spaceflights. Her life story, along with that of two other female employees at the space agency, was the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated 2016 film Hidden Figures.
The event includes many firsts. IEEE Fellow Teresa Huai-Ying Meng is the first woman to receive the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal. Her innovations greatly accelerated the development of Wi-Fi as we know it.
The initial winner of the new IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award, established to recognize up-and-coming technology leaders and highlight their work, is Member Mario Milicevic.
“The IEEE VIC Summit is an inspirational event where attendees interface with some of the greatest minds contributing to technological advancements that bring significant benefits to humanity,” Milicevic said in a news release. “This holds true for all technology stakeholders attending, but even more so for young professionals and students, who can leverage excellent networking opportunities by participating in the newly introduced Mentor/Mentee Program at this year’s summit.”
The mentoring program is designed to help students and young professionals expand their professional networks while at the conference, gain personalized career insights, and receive guidance from senior professionals. Attendees can sign up to be either a mentor or mentee for the conference while registering.