I spent today at the University of California at Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Departments Annual Research Symposium. It was a blast, in many ways the academic equivalent of the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference I went to two weeks ago. Instead of the O'Reilly fare of Robots and Quantum Dots and Programmable Matter and Emergent Democracy Worldwide, they had Smart Dust, Electric Clothes (Transistors made from woven textiles), Circuits printed on Plastic and Technology Research for Developing Regions. While some of the subjects were similar to ETech, the crowd and format were very different. While anyone who stumbled across the website in the last month could register and attend for free, the crowd consisted almost entirely of invited academics and members of the research divisions of large corporations, plus a few Europeans and a very large crowd from Finland. Instead of young hackers giving talks then joining the audience, there were graduate students who gave presentations or demos but then went back to their labs/cubes. The conference appeared to be primarily Berkeley CS and EE showing their stuff to current and potential sponsors and collaborators. Nothing wrong with that, and I was delighted with the chance to attend and see the profs and grad students present their research results.
I was very impressed with the breadth of the research being done, and with the number of labs that are scattered around town, working on things as different as extremely low power self organizing sensors connected by wireless networks to very interesting design methodologies for real-time fault tolerant software. I suspect that the people who tied up Sprint's application to put up 3 cell antennas on a building in Berkeley for 2 years have no idea of all the wacky and creative things that the UC wireless researchers are up to with radio in Berkeley.
I probably won't get a chance to write up my notes, but if I don't and you are interested, I highly recommend the three (1, 2, 3) talks mentioned above, all of which are archived on the Berkeley CSEE web site.
Cross posted at The Berkeley Blog.Posted by tim at February 28, 2004 12:34 AM | TrackBack