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lecture, EAS
03/30/2001 08:00:00

Impact of Caltech's Computer Science OptionCelebrated with 25th Anniversary Symposium

PASADENA, Calif.- Computer technology pioneers and today's leading innovators in the field will gather at Caltech on April 9 and 10 for a symposium in honor of the 25th anniversary of the California Institute of Technology computer science option. The event is free and open to the public. Presentations by Caltech alumni, former and current faculty, and distinguished colleagues will take place in Beckman Institute auditorium and in the Jorgensen Laboratory of Information Science.

The computer science option at Caltech has had an indelible impact on the computing world and continues with a strong research program in the fundamentals of computing, including investigations into such future possibilities as quantum computing and DNA computing. Scores of major developments in computer science have had their start in the labs and in the minds of faculty and students on the Caltech campus. The computer science option at Caltech has played a major role in the development of semiconductor (VLSI) chip design, internet-related technologies, massively parallel supercomputers, neural networks, and computer graphics, such as advanced animation techniques used widely in the film industry.

The symposium will recognize those who blazed new trails in computing when the option started in 1976, those who forever changed the way computing has been incorporated into our culture in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as those who are developing futuristic technologies today.

On April 9, the program begins with a discussion of chips and VLSI, and the speakers include the father of VLSI — and continuing technology innovator — Carver Mead, the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, at Caltech and the founder of Foveon, a digital camera manufacturing company. He will be followed by Ivan Sutherland, a vice president and fellow at Sun Microsystems and one of the founders of the Caltech computer science option.

Additional topics to be addressed during the symposium are graphics, architecture, distributed systems, and learning systems. The graphics portion of the event will include Pixar Animation Studios president and recent Oscar recipient Ed Catmull. Also speaking is Jim Kajiya, assistant director, Microsoft Research, who was honored with an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Technical Achievement Award in 1996. Current Caltech faculty member Erik Winfree, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship last year, will speak about future technologies under the topic "Beyond Silicon." A full list of speakers may be found on the symposium website at

The symposium also includes a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and computer science, moderated by the chairman of the Caltech board of trustees, Ben Rosen, chairman emeritus of Compaq. Panelists include William Davidow of Mohr, Davidow Ventures; Lounette Dyer, Silk Road Technology; Bill Gross, idealab!; Carver Mead, Foveon; and Phil Neches, founder, Teradata. This panel discussion will take place at 3 p.m. April 9.

For questions regarding the symposuim, contact Marionne Epalle, (626) 395-8093, or e-mail her at

The symposium schedule follows.

Monday, April 9, Beckman Institute auditorium 7:30 a.m. - Continental breakfast 8 a.m. - Greetings and introduction, Professor Richard Murray, chair, Division of Engineering and Applied Science

Chips/VLSI 8:30 a.m. - Carver Mead, Caltech, Foveon 9 a.m. - Ivan Sutherland, Sun Microsystems 9:30 a.m. - William Dally, Stanford University 10 a.m. - Break 10:30 a.m. - Alain Martin, Caltech

Graphics 11 a.m. - Ed Catmull, Pixar 11:30 a.m. - Jim Kajiya, Microsoft Noon - Lunch in Beckman Institute courtyard 1:30 P.M. - Peter Schröder, Caltech

Learning Systems 2 p.m. - Yaser Abu-Mostafa, Caltech 2:30 p.m. - Break

3 –5 p.m. - Panel on Entrepreneurship and Computer Science. Moderator, Ben Rosen, Chairman Emeritus of Compaq and current chair of the Caltech board of trustees. Panelists: William Davidow of Mohr, Davidow Ventures; Lounette Dyer, chair of Silk Route Technology; Carver Mead, chair of Foveon; Phil Neches, consultant and founder of Teradata; and Bill Gross, chair of idealab!.

Tuesday, April 10, Beckman Institute auditorium 7:45 a.m. - Continental breakfast

Architecture and Distributed Systems 8:30 a.m. - Chuck Seitz, Myricom 9 a.m. - Mani Chandy, Caltech 9:30 a.m. - Rajiv Gupta, Hewlett-Packard 10 a.m. - Break 10:30 a.m. - Thomas Sterling, JPL/CACR

Beyond Silicon 11 a.m. - Erik Winfree, Caltech 11:30 - André Dehon, Caltech Noon - Leonard Schulman, Caltech 12:30 p.m. - Lunch, poster session, open house at Jorgensen Laboratory of Information Science ### Contact: Jill Perry, media relations director (626) 395-3226

Visit the Caltech media relations website:

Written by Jill Perry