Welcoming Our 2019 Marconi Fellows and Young Scholars

Marconi Society 2019 Young Scholars


By Vint Cerf

Last week we hosted our 2019 Young Scholar Symposium and Awards Gala. I left as impressed as ever with the unique talent, technical expertise and commitment to social impact that we have in the Marconi Society.

For a taste of the events, please enjoy our photo gallery of both the symposium and the gala.

Our Young Scholars led us through an amazing morning of research-based insights about next generation of networks in the “Nothing But Net” Symposium at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, sponsored and hosted by Marconi Society board member and Stanford professor Andrea Goldsmith.

Some of the many ideas that stood out for me from the Symposium were:

  • Although we continue to squeeze more bandwidth from fiber and we are at less than half the theoretical capacity that we can achieve, we are still on a path to exhaust capacity in the core.
  • To prepare for the future of networking, which will be dynamic and mobile, we will draw from a number of disciplines including meta materials to create smart surfaces to change the characteristics of multipath in urban areas, state-of-the art interdisciplinary circuit design to shrink antenna interfaces by 10-100 times and beamforming techniques that will increase capacity and accuracy and resist interfering signals.
  • Despite machine learning constraints on mobile, such as tight memory, limited computational power and battery life, we still see early success in applying machine learning to improve the user experience and make services more intuitive in areas including gesture recognition, computer vision and image understanding and speech, language and text understanding.
  • Real-time IoT applications require that we move from a single-minded focus on increasing access speeds to a focus on reducing latency.
  • Bringing innovations from the lab to the market requires management and people skills that many of us do not learn in graduate engineering school. The product development process requires different skill sets depending on whether the work is done in a startup environment or a large company.

At our gala we honored our two new Marconi Fellows, Taher Elgamal and Paul Kocher, and were treated to an insightful discussion about the origins and future of cryptography led by the legendary Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape Communications.

We were also honored to host Celestini Program participants from Colombia and Rwanda and to learn about their incredible projects applying communications technology to solve problems in agriculture and in open democratic dialog. And we were proud to have our 2019 Paul Baran Young Scholars and their advisors on stage with us.

Thanks to those of you who joined us and helped to make both the intellectual and collegial sparks fly.