IEEE Boston Section
Moderator & Organizer
Howard Sholkin – VP, ENETHoward Sholkin has several decades of marketing communication experience across industry sectors. Since 2018, he has served as President of Newton Community Pride, a non-profit supporting a few dozen events in the city where he is a lifelong resident. In 2014, he formed Sholkin Consulting to deliver digital marketing services to technology and financial services companies. He also served on the adjunct faculty of Boston University and Lasell College for five years. In 2003, he was hired as director of corporate communications at International Data Group (IDG) where he served Founder Pat McGovern. Sholkin later became director of communication and marketing programs for the CEO of IDG Communications, a global technology media and events subsidiary. IDG brands include Computerworld, PCWorld, Macworld, and CIO. Sholkin has held senior marketing and communication positions at technology product and services companies such as Computervision; Technology Concepts, a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic; Corporate Software; and, Digital Equipment Corp./Compaq. He was a columnist for PR News and for Personal Branding magazine, one of the first publications on social media. Since 1990, Sholkin has been active in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) where he once served as president of the Boston chapter. Currently, he is co-chair of the national PRSA Investment Committee. He serves on the boards of three non-profits: Newton Community Pride, Boston Entrepreneurs Network (ENET) and Temple Shalom of Newton.
Computer Society and GBC/ACM
Location: MIT Room 32-G449 (Kiva) and online via Zoom
Speaker: Kevin Esvelt
Please register in advance for this seminar even if you plan to attend
in person at:
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Indicate on the registration form if you plan to attend in person. This will help us determine whether the room is close to reaching capacity.
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Printing custom DNA sequences is essential to scientific and biomedical research, but the technology can be used to build plagues as well as cures. Just as ink printers recognize and reject attempts to counterfeit money, DNA synthesizers and assemblers should deny requests to make viral DNA that could be used to ignite another pandemic. There are three complications. First, we don’t need to update printers to deal with newly discovered currencies, whereas we’ll constantly learn of new viruses and other biological threats. Second, anti-counterfeiting specifications on a local printer can’t be extracted and used to help terrorists – unlike DNA blueprints for hazards. Third, a list of all the DNA orders placed by a biotech company could paint a detailed portrait of its R&D program, so any screening system must protect the privacy of each customer’s orders as reliably as their banks safeguards their finances. Cryptography, the foundation of modern computer security, can do the same for synthesis screening. We will discuss SecureDNA, an internationally developed and fully automated system capable of securely screening all DNA synthesis that will be made freely available by the end of 2023.
Bio: Kevin Esvelt is Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, NEC Career Development Professor of Computer and Communications and director of the Sculpting Evolution group at the MIT Media Lab. His group invents new ways to study and influence the evolution of ecosystems.
He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University for inventing a synthetic microbial ecosystem to rapidly evolve useful biomolecules, and subsequently helped pioneer the development of CRISPR, a powerful new method of genome engineering.
In 2013, Esvelt was the first to identify the potential for CRISPR “gene drive” systems to alter wild populations of organisms. Recognizing the implications of an advance that could enable individual scientists to alter the shared environment, he and his colleagues chose to break with scientific tradition by revealing their findings and calling for open discussion and safeguards before building the first CRISPR-based gene drive system and demonstrating
reversibility in the laboratory.
An outspoken advocate of sharing research plans to accelerate discovery and improve safety, Esvelt’s MIT lab seeks to accelerate beneficial advances while safeguarding biotechnology against mistrust and misuse. Projects include building catalytic platforms for directed evolution, pioneering new ways of developing ecotechnologies with the
guidance of local communities, developing early-warning systems to reliably detect any catastrophic biological threat, applying cryptographic methods to enable secure and universal DNA synthesis screening, and advising policymakers on how best to mitigate global catastrophic biorisks.
His work has been published in Nature and Science, covered by the New York Times and Washington Post, and featured on Last Week Tonight and the Netflix special Unnatural Selection.
This joint meeting of the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM will be hybrid (in person and online), part of getting back to normal after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Up-to-date information about this and other talks is available online at https://ewh.ieee.org/r1/boston/computer/.
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emails about future talks at https://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/ieee-cs, our self-administered mailing list.
Robotics & Automation Society and Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society
From the development of foundational state space estimation tools like the Kalman filter to state of the art machine learning techniques for sensor fusion and decision making, probabilistic models and reasoning algorithms are the “lingua franca” for modern robotics and autonomous systems. The COHRINT Lab at CU develops and leverages probabilistic AI in new and unique ways to tackle fundamental research questions for current and futuristic systems. Dr. Nisar Ahmed will highlight his lab’s recent work on human-machine/robot interaction for collaborative information gathering and reasoning, using probabilistic Bayesian state estimation and decision-making algorithms. These methods not only plug in seamlessly to existing autonomy architectures, but also exploit the ability of human collaborators to provide semantic data (via user-friendly interfaces) that is rich with useful “out of band” information for autonomous platforms. In essence, these methods open the door to “soft re-programming” of autonomous reasoning from the outside by end-users (who are not robotics experts or computer scientists). Aerospace applications such as integrated UAS surveillance/reconnaissance, UAS-enabled wilderness search and rescue, and remote robotic space exploration will be demonstrated and discussed.
Dr. Nisar Ahmed
Dr. Nisar Ahmed is an Associate Professor and H.J. Smead Faculty Fellow in the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a member of the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) and directs the Cooperative Human-Robot Intelligence (COHRINT) Lab. He received his B.S. in Engineering from Cooper Union in 2006, his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2012 through an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Cornell Autonomous Systems Lab from 2012 to 2014. He was awarded the 2011 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference Best Paper Award; an ASEE Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship in 2014; and the 2018 Aerospace Control and Guidance Systems Committee (ACGSC) Dave Ward Memorial Lecture Award. His work has been supported by the Army, Air Force, DARPA, Navy, NASA, Space Force, and multiple industry sponsors. He has organized several international workshops and symposia on autonomous robotics, sensor fusion, and human-machine interaction. He is a Member of the IEEE and the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, and he is the CU Site Director of the NSF IUCRC Center for Aerial Autonomy, Mobility, and Sensing (CAAMS).
Information for this event will be posted soon.
7:00 PM ET – Introduction – ENET Chairperson’s announcements
7:10 PM ET – eMinute Pitch – Up to 3 Startup pitches
7:25 PM ET – Expert Panel – 4 expert speakers on the night’s topic
8:10 PM ET – Q & A – Moderator and Audience Q & A with the speakers
8:30 PM ET – Networking – Panelists will be available afterward for responses to individual questions.
Speaker – Xiaoyan Zhong – TRACE EM Unit and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, P. R. China
The atomic-level knowledge of local spin configuration of magnetic materials is of great importance to predict and control their physical properties. However, it is highly challenging to experimentally characterize magnetic properties of such materials with atomic scale spatial resolution. One of the best options to push the spatial resolution of magnetic imaging lies in the electron energy-loss magnetic chiral dichroism , which is also called electron magnetic circular dichroism (EMCD). Physically, X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) and EMCD share the same underlying physics in which the angular momentum transferred during X-ray absorption or inelastic electron scattering can selectively excite magnetic sublevels in atoms. The structured electron beams generated through interference of suitably phased plane waves can produce beams with orbital angular momentum. Electron beams can be easily focused compared with X-rays, allowing for atomic scale magnetism to be probed. Previously, we have found a strong EMCD signal in transition metal oxides allowing them to use standing wave methods to identify the different spin states of Fe atoms with site specificity .
In principle EMCD can offer higher spatial resolution and greater depth sensitivity due to the short de Broglie wavelength and penetration of high-energy electrons compared to XMCD. Recently by using EMCD and achromatic electron microscopy, we are able to access the magnetic circular dichroism with atomic plane resolution . Combining with advanced capability of structural and chemical imaging by using aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy, all the information including magnetic polarization, atomic configurations and chemical states can be simultaneously accessed from the very same sample region. In the examples of complex oxides e.g. Sr2FeMoO6 , nanocomposite Sr2Fe1+xRe1-xO6  and antiphase boundary of NiFe2O4 , we would like to show how to achieve atomic scale magnetic, chemical and structural information and understand the structure-property relationship of these magnetic materials at the atomic level.
Dr. Xiaoyan Zhong is currently an associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at City University of Hong Kong. He received his B.S. degree in Materials Science and
Engineering in 2001 and PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 2007 at Tsinghua University. After three-year postdoctoral research at Argonne National Laboratory in USA, he began his independent academic career as assistant professor and associate professor at Tsinghua University from 2010 to 2020. He joined Department of Materials Science and Engineering at City University of Hong Kong since May 2020. His current research interests involve methodology development of transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy and their application in solving new challenges in magnetic materials. Recently Zhong's group has developed the quantitative atomic-plane resolved electron magnetic
circular dichroism method and pushed spatial resolution of magnetic circular dichroism into atomic level by achromatic electron microscopy, which was published in the peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Materials, Nature Communications and Advanced Functional Materials. He received “Ten Major Scientific and Technological Progress of China's Colleges and Universities” awarded by Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the Excellent Young Scholar
 Schattschneider, P., et al., Detection of magnetic circular dichroism using a transmission electron microscope. Nature, 2006, 441, 486-488.
 Wang, Z.Q., et al., Quantitative experimental determination of site-specific magnetic structures by transmitted electrons. Nature Communications, 2013, 4, 1395.
 Wang, Z.C., et al., Atomic scale imaging of magnetic circular dichroism by achromatic electron microscopy. Nature Materials, 2018, 17, 221-225.
 Ho, P.-L., et al., Effect of cation ratio and order on magnetic circular dichroism in the double perovskite Sr2Fe1+xRe1-xO6. Ultramicroscopy, 2018. 193. 137-142.
 Li, Z., et al., Atomic Structure and Electron Magnetic Circular Dichroism of Individual Rock Salt Structure Antiphase Boundaries in Spinel Ferrites. Advanced Functional Materials
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Panel at the 2022 IEEE Convene Meeting held in Boston on October 28, moderated by 2022 IEEE Boston Section Chair, Denise Griffin (center). Panel speakers: Kathy Herring-Hayashi, Region 6 Director Elect (left); Maira Samary, 2022 IEEE Boston Section Treasurer (right); and Dalma Novak, Division 10 Director (not pictured).
SPECIAL NOTICE – CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
IEEE Boston Section recognized for Excellence in Membership Recruitment Performance
IEEE Boston Section was founded Feb 13, 1903, and serves more than 8,500 members of the IEEE. There are 29 chapters and affinity groups covering topics of interest from Aerospace & Electronic Systems, to Entrepreneur Network to Women in Engineering to Young Professionals. The chapters and affinity groups organize more than 100 meetings a year. In addition to the IEEE organization activities, the Boston Section organizes and sponsors up to seven conferences in any given year, as well as more than 45 short courses. The Boston Section publishes a bi-weekly newsletter and, currently, a monthly Digital Reflector newspaper included in IEEE membership.
The IEEE Boston Section also offers social programs such as the section annual meeting, Milestone events, and other non-technical professional activities to round out the local events. The Section also hosts one of the largest and longest running entrepreneurial support groups in IEEE.
More than 150 volunteers help create and coordinate events throughout the year.