Key Speakers at the Embedded Systems Conference Explore the Future of Connected Devices

Director of MIT Media Lab's 'Things That Think' Research Consortium Delivers Keynote, Microsoft Vice President Presents Special Guest Lecture

Aug 16, 2000

CMP Media today announced that the evolution of smart, connected devices will be the focus of the keynote speech and guest lecture at next month's Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) in San Jose, Calif.

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, head of the Physics and Media Group at the MIT Media Lab and "Things That Think" research consortium will deliver the keynote address at the conference. Bill Veghte, vice president of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp., will deliver the special guest lecture.

Running from September 24-28, 2000 at the San Jose Convention Center, the eleventh annual ESC is the country's top educational event for engineers, designers and managers working with embedded systems. The keynote and guest lecture, which highlight a five-day program of classes, seminars and special events, will provide insight into the interconnected systems that are bringing new levels of intelligence and information to everyday environments and devices.

The keynote address, "When Things Start To Think," is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00 p.m. Professor Neil Gershenfeld will discuss the boundaries between hardware and software, and the concept of integrating information with its physical properties. His belief is that this concept has significant implications for humanity ranging in scale from the atomic to the planetary.

"The most compelling opportunities and problems in information technology lie right at the boundaries between the bits of the digital world and the atoms of our physical world," said Gershenfeld. "The community that attends ESC is on the front lines of moving intelligence out of traditional computers and into the world around us. I believe that this is the essential path to making information technology relevant to the rest of the world."

Gershenfeld's research consortium at MIT investigates the relationship between information content and its physical representation, with projects ranging from molecular computers to smart furniture. Technology from the laboratory is used in everything from automobile safety seats to an exhibition of smart furniture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The author of several best-selling books including "When Things Start To Think," "The Nature of Mathematical Modeling," and "The Physics of Information Technology," Gershenfeld has a B.A. in physics from Swarthmore College, a Ph.D. from Cornell University and was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows. Before joining the Physics and Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, he was a member of the research staff at Bell Labs.

Microsoft's Bill Veghte presents a special guest lecture, titled "Enabling a Web of Connected Devices: A Vision," on Wednesday, September 27 at 6:00 p.m. According to Veghte the focus is shifting from individual Web sites and devices connected to the Internet to constellations of computers, devices and services that work together to deliver broader, richer solutions. In his address, Veghte will focus on what this vision means to the people who design smart, embedded devices and how new tools and technologies will help.

As vice president of the Embedded and Platforms Group at Microsoft, Veghte is responsible for the Windows Embedded and Windows CE operating system platforms, and Windows Powered Server Appliances. Veghte, who graduated with honors from Harvard University, has worked at Microsoft since 1990.

Veghte's guest lecture and Gershenfeld's keynote are in addition to the conference's 150 classes and tutorials, which cover a broad range of topics including Internet Appliance design, open-source coding, wireless design and software basics. The conference also features the world's largest exhibition of products and services for embedded systems. Special events include a panel discussion on the open-source movement, and a variety of opportunities for attendees to socialize and network.

For more information on the Embedded Systems Conference, a complete conference catalog can be obtained by calling 800-789-2223 or by e-mailing Online information for journalists, including automated press registration is available at

The Embedded Systems Conference is produced by CMP Media, Inc. and is sponsored by EMBEDDED SYSTEMS PROGRAMMING and ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES magazines. Other conferences produced by CMP's Electronics trade show group include Embedded Systems Conference-Chicago, Embedded Systems Conference-Boston, the Embedded Systems Conference Europe, the Embedded Executive Conference, ICSPAT 2000, DSP World Spring Design Conference, and the Analog & Mixed-Signal Applications Conference.

About CMP Media Inc.

CMP Media Inc. ( is one of the world's leading high-tech media companies providing essential information and marketing services to the entire technology spectrum -- the builders, sellers, and users of technology worldwide. Capitalizing on its editorial strength, CMP is uniquely positioned to offer marketers comprehensive, integrated media solutions tailored to meet their individual needs. Its diverse products and services include newspapers, magazines, Internet products, research, direct marketing services, education and training, trade shows and conferences, custom publishing, testing and consulting. Online editions of the company's print publications, along with products and services created exclusively for the Internet, can be found on CMPnet at .

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