A self-driving car might be closer to your driveway than you think—Shaun Stewart ’02 rides in one regularly. As a director at Waymo, the self-driving tech company that graduated in December from Alphabet’s X, he takes the bus from his home to Google’s main campus in Mountain View, California, one of three test cities.
“Then all my Mountain View transportation—from bus station to work, coffee, lunch, and meetings—is through one of our self-driving vehicles,” he said. “If you live in Mountain View, you see our self-driving cars daily.”
Stewart, along with some 20 other industry and academic insiders, will share how self-driving cars, DNA testing, intelligent machines, and other rising technologies affect our lives at CSV17: Impact through Innovation, March 7, at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. The conference, Cornell’s premier annual event on the West Coast, is hosted by Cornell Silicon Valley.
“Simply put, it’s all about you,” said Nancy Abrams Dreier ’86, P ’12, P ’15, director of West Coast Engagement and Cornell Silicon Valley. “Our presenters will share how their innovations will impact you in the near future.”
The day will begin with a keynote conversation with Jeff Hawkins ’79, founder of Palm Computing and Handspring, and Subutai Ahmad ’86, P ’14, vice president of research at Numenta, a company co-founded with Hawkins. The two will discuss Numenta’s mission to reverse engineer the brain with an eye toward using such a process to create truly intelligent machines. Sanford I. Weill ’55 P ’81, GP ’13, chairman emeritus of Citigroup, CEO of Casa Rosa Ventures, and noted philanthropist, will close the conference with a keynote about his life in business and philanthropy. Provost Michael Kotlikoff will spotlight Cornell’s academic priorities. Mark Campbell, director of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will lead a panel discussion on advancements in autonomous vehicles, and Stewart will talk about keys to building and leading teams.
“I want anyone who has, wants to, or will manage teams to come away with some insight into new ways of approaching this challenge,” he said.
Attendees will also hear from Cornell alumni and faculty members about innovations in technology, design, and research in exciting areas: genetic ancestry testing, for example.
“There is an enormous amount of new and exciting information that’s being revealed by applications of genomic technology that’s all about you,” said Charles “Chip” Aquadro, the Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and director of the Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics. He will lead the panel “Genetics—it’s personal!”
“For many people, genomics has seemed like a science,” said Aquadro. “We hope to emphasize how personally meaningful it can be.”
Aquadro teaches a Personal Genomics and Medicine course that’s become popular with students outside the biology major. He sees the CSV17 panel as another opportunity for a wide audience to learn about genetics.
The whole conference, said Dreier, aims to bring specific science and technology to a broad audience.
“CSV really is for everyone,” said Dreier. “If you’re an alum, the conference is designed to enrich your experience, whether you’re engaged in technology or entrepreneurship, or would like an opportunity to connect with other alumni, faculty, staff, and parents. This is an inside look at the kind of work being done by your peers, your professors, and maybe you.”
CSV17: Impact through Innovation also gives businesses in the Bay Area and beyond direct access to Cornell faculty and programs. For start-up companies, it opens a door to resources such as venture capital, finance, and legal professionals.
This signature West Coast event regularly draws participants from outside the region. The new location at the SFJAZZ Center in downtown San Francisco is close to BART and MUNI stations.
“CSV isn’t just for those in the Bay Area,” said Dreier. “Every year, dozens of alumni and friends travel from across the country, and even from around the world, to attend.”