Dirk Stroobandt at ARC2015: Brain waves save power outage at ARC

The 11th International Symposium on Applied Reconfigurable Computing in Bochum, Germany, was confronted with a rather unusual organisational problem when shortly after lunch on the first day (Wednesday, April 15, 2015) there was a major power outage at the entire campus of the Ruhr-Univerity of Bochum, Germany, where the conference was held. So that means: no more slides to show during technical sessions, a problem in the current way conferences are running. As the problem was still not solved the day afterwards, the conference even had to move to a hotel in the center of Bochum, a reconfiguration of the schedule (which was no problem for a conference on Reconfigurable Computing) and a lot of improvisation from the organisers.

"However, the effect of the power outage was great for the conference", Prof. Dirk Stroobandt - who attended the conference - said. It happened near the end of a regular session where the poor Ph.D. student presenting his work wanted to start the conclusions only to say: "oh, I think the power went out". But the next session luckily was a poster session and also the session after that (on an announcement of the cooperation betwen Cadence and the university) did not really need slides. But the day ended wit a keynote speech from Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli on the future of Cyber-Physical Systems. Everyone who knows this famous professor form Berkeley knows that he really does not need slides as he can entertain an audience anyway. So, even though he prepard slides - of course - he improvised on giving his story on Cyber-Physcial Systems for over an hour in a very lively way just using his voice and a lot of hand gestures. And for those interested in what he had to say: he projects that we will see over 1000 of very small cyber-physical nodes per person on average, no later than 2020. This means that we will have 7 trillion, that is smart devices in the world, all connected in the Internet-of-Things. Clearly, the world will look differently, with cyber-physcial walls that you can talk to and start a phone conversation with someone else at another part of the world, a world were we may even be talking to each other through brain waves. Although this may be a bit later than 2020. The conclusion was that it is a great time to be an electrical engineer, not only to make all these 7 trillion devices, but also because electrical engineers like no other brand of engineers truly understand how to deal with the main principles that will needed to make this all work: massive low-level concurrency, hierarchical thinking, constant reconfiguration to make sure the system does not break when accidents occur, etc. And the second conclusion... who needs power at a conference when Alberto is there?