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Lecture | Ada Lovelace Lecture

Open source virtual assistants by Monica Lam

Friday 22 March 2019
Lecture Hall
Einsteinweg 57
2333 CC Leiden

The Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) has a Distinguished Lecture Series. You are cordially invited to attend the fourth Ada Lovelace lecture:

Keeping the linguistic web open with open-source virtual assistants

Virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are becoming more and more popular. But with only a few companies dominating the market, consumer choice is limited and the open web is under threat. Monica Lam, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University committed herself to establish open-source virtual assistant technology, accessed using natural language. In her talk, she will tell about the Almond virtual assistant project, which aims to keep the web open and to protect privacy.

‘Our virtual assistant lets users compose new skills in natural language and gives them control over who, what, when, where, and how their data are to be shared. Most importantly, we have developed tools that make it easy to extend the functionalities of Almond. We are making it open, and are inviting academia and industry to contribute to it and use it in their research.’ ​​​​

About Prof. Monica Lam

Dr. Monica Lam has been a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University since 1988, and is the Faculty Director of the Stanford MobiSocial Computing Laboratory.  She has made significant contributions to the field of compilers for high-performance machines and open communication platforms for mobile computing.  She leads the Almond open virtual assistant project, which protects privacy and data ownership through decentralized systems that can be programmed with natural language. 

Lam furthermore is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an ACM Fellow. She has won ACM-SIGSOFT and ACM-PLDI best paper awards and has published over 150 papers on compilers, computer architecture, operating systems, high-performance computing, databases, security, and HCI.  She is an author of the 'Dragon Book', the definitive text on compiler technology.  She received her BSc from the University of British Columbia (1980) and her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University (1987). 

Register now!

Registration for this event is free of charge. However, we kindly ask you to register, so we can ensure a sufficiently large auditorium and calibrate food and drinks for the reception after the lecture.

Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lectures

The Ada Lovelace Distinguished Lecture Series brings outstanding computer scientists from around the world to Leiden University. The lecturers will share exciting ideas and results from the forefront of computer science. Apart from computer scientists, alumni and students of computer science, anyone else with a serious interest in the field is invited to the Ada Lovelace Lectures.

Getting there

The Gorlaeus Laboratory, Einsteinweg 55, is easily reachable by public transport. From the Leiden Central Railwaystation, take bus 43  and get out at 'Universiteitsterrein'. Or take bus 30 (direction Katwijk) and get out at 'Bio Science Park'.

Future lectures

We expect to organise Ada Lovelace Lectures around two times a year. They will be announced via a new email list called LIACS Talks, along with other research talks. We encourage you to subscribe to this list.

Subscribe to the LIACS Talks list by sending an email to liacs-talks-subscribe@lists.liacs.nl, with the word 'Subscribe' in the subject field.

Previous Ada Lovelace Lectures

  • 30 November 2018, Prof. Carme Torras (Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), Barcelona, Spain): Social Robots: Research Challenges and Ethical Issues
  • 13 April 2018, Prof. Anne Condon (University of British Columbia, Canada): How principles of programming can help us discover the secret powers of bio-molecules.
  • 12 May 2017,  Prof. dr. Bart Selman (Cornell University, USA): Emergence of intelligent machines.
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