Joint Conferences Keynote Lecture-1
|Erasing the Digital Divide: Putting your Best Idea on the $100 Laptop
Professor Barry Vercoe
Founding member of MIT Media Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Date: June 26, 2006
Time: 8:45 - 9:45 AM
Location: Lance Burton Hall
While science, technology, and new means of learning and expression
benefit a fifth of us on this planet, the distance from the other
four-fifths grows with each innovation. The $100 Laptop is aimed at
bridging this digital divide by putting a laptop in the hands of every
child of developing nations. This gigantic undertaking will serve its
intended community if we can marry a cutting-edge platform with
sophisticated software that together represent the best of what the IT
industry has engendered. The rules are new but simple: water-resistant,
sand-proof, intuitive, engaging, a reliable tool for 3rd-world discovery
and learning. The concomitant rules easily follow: no moving parts,
operable without available power, mesh-networked, Internet-enabled, fun.
The key to this will be in implementing your best ideas in an environment that has no bloat. Demonstrated examples on a prototype machine will include interactive audio and graphics applications that promote learning and discovery within a variety of world cultural frameworks. The challenge to everyone at this Conference is to get involved in this altruistic effort to help the children of the world by having your favorite idea running on perhaps a billion machines. A scheduled breakout session will follow.
Barry Vercoe is Professor of Music and Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT. He was born and educated in New Zealand in music and in mathematics, then completed a doctorate in Composition at the University of Michigan. In 1968 at Princeton University he did pioneering work in the field of Digital Audio Processing, then taught briefly at Yale before joining the MIT faculty in 1971. In 1973 he established the MIT computer facility for Experimental Music - an event now commemorated on a plaque in the Kendall Square subway station.
During the 70's and early 80's he pioneered the composition of works combining computers and live instruments. Then on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Paris in 1983 he developed a Synthetic Performer - a computer that could listen to other performers and play its own part in musical sync, even learning from rehearsals. In 1992 he won The Computer World/Smithsonian Award in Media Arts and Entertainment, and recently gained The 2004 SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award.
Professor Vercoe was a founding member of the MIT Media Laboratory in 1984, where he has pursued research in Audio Cognition and Machine Understanding. His several Music Synthesis languages are used around the world, and a variant of his Csound and NetSound languages has recently been adopted as the core of MPEG-4 audio - an international standard that enables efficient transmission of audio over the Internet. At the Media Lab he currently directs research in Machine Listening and Digital Audio Synthesis (Music, Mind and Machine).