Computation and the Transformation of Practically Everything: Closing Remarks (Day 1)

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GUTTAG: So we're privileged today that our session will be closed by a few short remarks, right Eric, from the chancellor of MIT. And that's how I used to think of Eric Grimson. But after this morning's remarks by Patrick Winston, I will always think of Eric as the man who brought Patrick to tears.


GRIMSON: I'm standing between you and dinner. I will make it short. I will very briefly, because I get asked a lot what does the chancellor do, all things students. And you can ask me about that later. I want to thank all of you for joining us for this both informative and intriguing day, and for joining us again tomorrow, which I hope will be equally as invigorating. The title of this symposium I think wonderfully captures the spirit and excitement of what we've all experienced in our own intellectual pursuits, computation and the transformation of practically everything.

As the historical perspective have said today, it's remarkable to think about the pace at which computation has evolved as a field, and especially how broad its reach has become. I'll give you a quick example from my own experience as a computer vision researcher. I remember the challenges of processing a 256 by 256 pixel image. It took minutes to create. It took hours to process. I had two in my PhD thesis. And I could probably tell you the pixel value of every single pixel. I had them memorized.

And of course today, my cellphone processes an image 20,000 times that size in a tiny fraction of the time. A PhD thesis in my era and vision might have, as I said, two images in it. Today standard computer vision thesis will have millions of images processed as part of just doing the work. And equally importantly, the techniques that started 35 years ago are now routinely used in vehicle safety systems, medical imaging systems, national security applications, web-based considered products, and a whole range of other applications.

And as you've heard today, the same is true for so many other domains, physical sciences, life sciences, finance and commerce, entertainment, literally every aspect of what we do. So I trust that today has given you a taste of both the historical basis, which many of you experienced of this remarkable impact, a sense of the reach of computation, and especially a glimpse of the future.

Given the rich history of MIT faculty and students, and the evolution and revolution of computation, it's very fitting the symposium is part of our sesquicentennial celebration. And given that so many colleagues in the academy have passed through MIT as part of their career, or have collaborated with those of us here at MIT along their career, it's great that you're back here to help join us in celebrating MIT's contribution to this revolution.

I know that tomorrow will be as invigorating as today was. And I hope you enjoy it thoroughly. Again, thanks for helping us celebrate the incredible impact of computation at MIT and beyond. Thanks.