Luminaries & Keynotes

Keynote Speaker: From the Earth to the sky: How bio fuels and other renewable energy sources may impact global climate change and alter the course of history

Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Location: Grand Coronado I-III
Dr. Stan Martin
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Abstract: Since the so-called "Neolithic Revolution", when agriculture became a core activity for humanity, humans have wrestled with energy related issues. For the first several millennia, energy was derived primarily from renewable biomass in the form of campfires and cooking fires built from reeds, brush, and woods. Agriculture, transportation, and construction activities were all limited to human and animal power, and this status quo remained relatively unchanged for millennia. The industrial revolution changed all of that as fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) came to dominate the energy landscape. The density of energy found in these sources enabled unprecedented advances in prosperity, as humans learned to utilize these sources with ever increasing efficiency in automobiles, tractors, aircraft, and rockets. These advances, which occurred rapidly over the past two centuries, have been ones of unprecedented change that have fundamentally altered our way of life. Within the past two decades, the pace of innovation has increased again due to the coalescence of advances in automation, computerization, and information technology together with an ever increasing understanding of genetics. These advances have conspired to set in motion a series of events which some are calling a "new epoch". The future of humanity in this new epoch will be largely determined by the choices we as nations, corporations, and individuals make. How we use energy is one determinant factor in this equation. Used correctly and wisely, our energy resources have the potential to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, eliminate global hunger, and launch humanity into the stars as a multi-planet species. However, if used unwisely the same tools can be used to exacerbate problems such as inequality, environmental degradation, and pollution resulting in a planet that will be mostly uninhabitable by the end of this century. Here we explore both the promise and the peril of the new energy economy and reflect on how our civilization can "steer the ship" in a meaningful way to ensure a prosperous and hopeful future for humanity.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Stan Martin leads the data management group for the Bio Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. ORNL’s diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace. Stan earned his PhD in Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University where he used neutron scattering, X-ray crystallography, and molecular dynamic simulation techniques to elucidate the mechanisms involved in viral capsid dynamics. Plant virus capsids have been extensively studied as candidate vessels for the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents in cancer research.

Stan has extensive experience in the areas of data analytics, data management, remote sensing, and plant sciences. Stan has also spent a number of years in the genomics space, earning an M.S. in bioinformatics from North Carolina State University. Stan's current research interests include topics related to artificial intelligence in plant sciences, such as the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), machine learning, and hyperspectral imaging technology to gather data and make inferences about plant health, and the environmental and management factors that affect plant growth patterns.

Luminary Speaker: The Sciences of Global Megaflooding, Paleoflood Hydrology, and Modern Flood Risks

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Time: 8:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Location: Grand Coronado I-III
Dr. Victor Baker
University of Arizona

Abstract: After centuries of geological controversy, it is now well-established that the last major deglaciation of planet Earth, about 16,000 years ago, involved huge outbursts of water from the wasting continental ice sheets, and that this water constituted floods of immense magnitude and relatively short duration. These “megafloods” had short-term peak flows comparable to the more prolonged flows of ocean currents. Recent discoveries have documented more than 40 examples of megaflooding and related immense floods that occurred over vast regions of Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Antarctica, Iceland, and even on the planet Mars. It is becoming increasingly clear that immense outburst floods likely induced very rapid, short-term effects on the planetary environments on both Earth and Mars, greatly altering climates, drainage evolution, and the planetary patterns of water and sediment movement to lakes, seas, and oceans. The Earth megafloods may well have inspired the flood myths that are a part of human cultural heritages around the world.

The study of very ancient megaflooding has led to techniques for studying the kinds of extreme flooding that are increasingly posing hazards to life and property in today’s world. The most extreme of these modern floods pose particular risk to nuclear power plants, river dams, and other major infrastructure. The science of “paleoflood hydrology” was initiated by the speaker to provide exact information on the largest flood events that nature can generate. This science is increasingly being used worldwide to estimate the potential flood risks posed by climatic change.

Speaker Bio: Victor R. Baker is Regents’ Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, Geosciences, and Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona. He has a B.S. (Geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967 and a Ph.D. (Geology) from the University of Colorado in 1971. From 1996-2004 he was Department Head of Hydrology and Water Resources (now Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences), University of Arizona.

Baker has authored or co-authored more than 1000 scientific contributions, including 18 books, 436 research articles and chapters, more than 525 abstracts and short research reports. His research has concerned paleoflood hydrology (a field of study that he defined in the 1970s and 1980s); flood geomorphology; channels, valleys, and geomorphic features on Mars and Venus; catastrophic Pleistocene megaflooding in the northwestern U.S. and central Asia; history/philosophy of Earth and planetary sciences; and the interface of environmental science with public policy. Professor Baker has been President of the Geological Society of America (1998), and among his other honors are Foreign Membership in the Polish Academy of Sciences (1994); Honorary Fellowship in the European Union of Geosciences (1999); the David Linton Award of the British Society for Geomorphology (1995); the Distinguished Scientist Award (2002) and Distinguished Career Award (2010), both from The Geological Society of America Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division; the Inaugural International Lectureship of the Geological Society of America (2012-2013), a Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellowship (1979-1880); an Indo-American Fellowship (1987-1988); and professional society Fellowships respectively in the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Geological Society of America, and the British Society for Geomorphology. His work on megafloods has been featured in multiple television documentaries for PBS, BBC, and the National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channels, including the 2005 NOVA production “Mystery of the Megaflood” and the 2017 NOVA production “Volatile Earth” episode “Killer Floods.”

Keynote Speaker: Advancements in asset health monitoring using AI

Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Location: Grand Coronado I-III
Dinakar Deshmukh
GE Aviation Digital

Abstract: This talk will focus on application of AI and machine learning technologies in health monitoring of jet engines. Specifically, how AI technologies are pushing the envelope and changing the ways we traditionally thought about PHM. This talk will highlight how Physics based understanding and data driven techniques must come together to drive differentiated outcomes for airline customers. The talk will also present examples on how to combine both structured and unstructured data for predictive maintenance. The presentation will conclude with a section on GE aviation’s lessons learnt in this area for the past 7 years.

Speaker Bio: Dinakar Deshmukh is the VP – Data Sciences and Analytics, GE Aviation Digital. He leads a global data science and analytics team which delivers advanced data science and analytics based outcomes for GE Aviation’s internal and airline customers, focusing on fleet management and airline operations solutions. Dinakar is passionate about bringing contemporary AI technologies (NLP, Deep learning, Time series, etc.) to drive differentiated outcomes for both internal and external customers. Dinakar is an aviation enthusiast and has been with GE Aviation for the last 20 years and worked in multiple areas of GE Aviation.


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