A  computer scientist, inventor and entrepreneur best known for his work in novel sensing solutions and ubiquitous computing will be the featured speaker at the School of Information’s 2013 John Seely Brown Symposium on Technology and Society.

Shwetak Patel has invented a series of sensor technology systems for home environments with the goal of saving energy and improving daily life through a broad range of applications. Much of his work to date has focused on the development of low-cost and easy-to-deploy devices that can detect and measure household energy consumption without an elaborate network of expensive instruments.

His JSB Symposium lecture is titled “Your Noise Is My Signal: Applications of Computing to Energy and Health.” He observes that much of the fundamental research in computer science has been driven by the needs of those attempting to utilize computing for various applications, such as energy and health. He will talk about a new generation of water and and electricity sensing systems capable of providing consumption data down to the individual appliance or device. He will also describe how microphones found on mobile phones can enable new health sensing applications. These projects follow the theme of finding usable signals in unusual places in order to enable scale. Dr. Patel’s remarks will underscore advances in energy and health through the convergence of sensing, machine learning, and human-computer interaction.

Shwetak Patel is an associate professor in the departments of Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, where he directs his research group, the Ubicomp Lab. His research interests are in the areas of human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, sensor-enabled embedded systems, and user interface software and technology. He is particularly interested in developing new sensing technologies with a particular emphasis on energy monitoring and health applications.

Dr. Patel was a founder of Zensi, Inc., a demand side energy monitoring solutions provider, which was acquired by Belkin, Inc in 2010. He received his PhD in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008 and BS in computer science in 2003. Dr. Patel received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2011 (popularly known as the “genius award”). He is a Sloan Fellow who received the TR-35 award in 2009, was named top innovator of the year by Seattle Business Magazine, was named Newsmaker of the year by Seattle Business Journal, and was a recipient of the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship in 2011. His past work was also honored by the New York Times as a top technology of the year in 2005.

Dr. Patel is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. He was selected as a Seattle Shaper in March 2012.

View this video of Dr. Patel discussing his work for the MacArthur Foundation.


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