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Monday, October 25 • 8:00am - 8:05am

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Welcome to the 5th annual Ken Kennedy AI and Data Science Conference. I am Lydia Kavraki, the director of the Ken Kennedy Institute.

This year the conference presentations and sponsored booths have gone virtual due to COVID-19. We will have however an outdoor networking reception on Tuesday evening. The virtual format of the conference has given us the opportunity to invite broad participation: our speakers and attendees come from all over the country and all over the world. I would like to thank you for checking in with us for an exciting few days of talks, posters, and discussions on AI and Data Science.

AI is touching our lives in myriad ways. It is changing the way we work but also the way we learn, monitor our health, shop, and relax. It is accelerating biological discoveries. It is helping us understand our planet and the universe. Through automation, it is transforming several industries. The use of AI is also raising concerns of privacy and equity that we must confront sooner than later.

There is no doubt that AI and Data science research are key to solving impactful problems in the world. Meetings such as this foster innovation by encouraging new ideas, research, and conversation. Data scientists will be future leaders and large contributors from developing new medicines and treatments, to using energy sources effectively, to creating safe & smart cities, and to helping understand and mitigate our changing climate. We look forward to the conversations that will occur in the next few days and the partnerships that these conversations will spark.

Monday keynote speakers will discuss the future of NASA missions, how to teach AI to speak multiple languages, scalable deep learning, AI for good, and AI ethics. On Tuesday, we have an exciting line up of technical talks selected from submitted abstracts covering AI for good, algorithms & foundations, business impact, and healthcare. During the lunch break on Tuesday, there will be a workshop on ML for Energy Transition.

The conference offers opportunities to meet fellow attendees, speakers, and sponsors through chat messages and scheduling meetings directly within the virtual conference platform. In hopes of improving connections in these virtual times, the platform prioritizes networking matches based on each attendee’s interests and goals. There are also opportunities to engage during networking breaks in the breakout rooms.

We encourage you to view and connect with the presenters of the pre-recorded poster videos as well as the virtual booths of our conference sponsors: Bright Data – The Bright Initiative, DDN, Microsoft, PROS, SambaNova Systems, Two Sigma, and VAST Data.

On Tuesday afternoon from 4:30-6:30 PM there will be an outdoor networking reception at Holman Draft Hall in Houston. The outdoor networking reception venue is covered with open sides for continuous airflow, and it is included in the conference registration. Join us for a great time to network with industry professionals and our sponsors. A special thank you to DDN for being the Bar Sponsor.

Wednesday will be an in-person add-on day at the Rice University campus in Houston with a technical workshop titled Scalable and Sustainable AI: Overcoming the Wide Gap Between AI in Theory and AI in Production. If you are interested and have not registered yet, visit the conference website for more details.

Finally, there will be a virtual post-conference workshop on November 30 at 10:00 AM available to all attendees on Data4Good & Responsible AI-Automated Data Collection: How do you ensure data4good? by Bright Data – The Bright Initiative. The Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University is committed to supporting cutting-edge research, educating innovators, and connecting across industries by bringing together thought leaders from around the world with expertise in AI, data, and computing. We are thrilled to put this capability at the service of our regional and global AI and data science community.

We are grateful to all those who have contributed talks to this conference. We are grateful to our sponsors, partners, and attendees, who share our enthusiasm and who seek the opportunity to support and engage with the community. We want to recognize our sponsors who have allowed us to have complimentary registration for all attendees. Finally, we would like to say a special thank you to our Conference Committee for their many contributions to this year’s conference.

On behalf of the Conference Committee, our fellow constituents and sponsors, Rice University, and the amazing Ken Kennedy Institute team led by our executive director Dr. Angela Wilkins, I want to thank you for being here.

We hope you will thoroughly enjoy this year’s virtual conference, and we look forward to seeing many of you at the outdoor networking reception on Tuesday evening!

Lydia Kavraki
Director, Ken Kennedy Institute

avatar for Lydia Kavraki

Lydia Kavraki

Director, The Ken Kennedy Institute; Professor, Computer Science, Bioengineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Rice University
Lydia E. Kavraki is the Director of the Ken Kennedy Institute. She is the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science, professor of Bioengineering, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University.Kavraki received her B.A. in Computer Science from... Read More →

Monday October 25, 2021 8:00am - 8:05am CDT