From chocolate to mice, the darknet to facial expressions, chatbots to humanitarians, and so forth [EE380]

Swiss Computer Systems: From chocolate to mice, the darknet to facial expressions, chatbots to humanitarians, and so forth
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 4:30pm
Gates B03
Christian Simms (Swissnex)
Abstract / Description: 

What is beyond the cliché of Switzerland = chocolate ?

  • Is it the numerous and often not well known Swiss contributions to computer science?
  • It is the fact the Switzerland was the birthplace of the world wide web?
  • Is it the "porous" system, largely unbound by geographies, which encourages transdisciplinarity?
  • Is it the century-old tradition of neutrality and humanitarian engagement challenged by the ubiquity of communication devices and social networks?
  • Is it the power of artists thinking about the societal impact of IT?

In this talk I'll use several examples from here and there to discover similarities and differences, and how they will shape the future.


The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.


Christian Simm is the founder and CEO of Swissnex San Francisco ( ). Into the very cooperative environment it offers at Pier 17, along the waterfront he brings his scientific background, an extensive network of contacts on both sides of the Atlantic, and his enthusiasm for "connecting the dots" --linking people and ideas across boundaries.
Before moving to California end of 1997, Christian was Director of CAST, the Industrial Liaison Office at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, and was influential fostering Swiss participations in European innovation and technology initiatives. Prior to this position, he was Research Group Leader at Hydro-Québec and co-founded a company in Montréal (Canada).

Christian holds a PhD in physics, and postgraduate degrees from IMD and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. He is a member of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences, and was for several years on the board of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. He was nominated in 2010 Une des 100 personnalités qui font la Suisse Romand. He is fluent in French, German, Swiss-German and English.