EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium presents "Scalable Intelligent Systems Build and Deploy by 2025"

Scalable Intelligent Systems Build and Deploy by 2025
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 4:30pm
Shriram 104
Carl Hewitt (MIT, Emeritus)
Abstract / Description: 

The next stage of human-computer evolution, Scalable Intelligent Systems, integrates people, communications, and computers into a unified cooperative environment. Think of it as moving beyond Google, Facebook, Instagram, and the other social networks. Scalable Intelligent Systems can be actualized by 2025 and are likely to include the following characteristics:

  • Interactively acquire and present information from video, web pages, hologlasses, online data bases, sensors, articles, human speech and gestures, etc.
  • Real-time integration of massive, pervasively inconsistent information
  • Close human collaboration using hologlasses for secure mobile interaction.
  • Organizations of people and IoT devices (Citadels) for trustworthiness, resilience, and performance with no single point of failure
  • Scalability in all important dimensions including no hard barriers to continual improvement in the above areas.

There is no computer-only solution that can implement the above by 2025. Consequently, people are fundamental to a Scalable Intelligent System.

Scalable Intelligent Systems, as envisioned, will be the most complex software that has ever been created. Every advanced country in the world has recently introduced its own development plan. The development of Scalable Intelligent Systems will create enormous social and policy challenges.

For example, Scalable Intelligent Systems can be of enormous value in Pain Management. Pain management requires much more than just prescribing opioids and other pain killers, which are often critical for short-term and less often longer-term use. Organizational aspects play an important role in pain management. Scalable Intelligent Systems can help users with appliances, entertainment, exercise, hypnosis, medication, meditation, physical therapy, and collaboration with medical helpers.

Building and deploying a Scalable Intelligent Technology stack is possible by 2025. The rewards are high but the amount of effort required is substantial. We have to get to work.



Professor Carl Hewitt (MIT Emeritis) is known for the creation of the Actor Model of computation, which has become fundamental to the practice and theory of Computer Science. Actors have become the standard way of programming general purpose many-core computer systems. They are the foundation of programming languages such as Erlang and Elixir and frameworks such as Python Twisted, AKKA and Orleans. Actors are used in companies such as MasterCard, Microsoft, PayPal, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. to scale systems both horizontally (using distributed systems) and vertically (on multi-core architectures). Furthermore, Actors are essential for massive inconsistency-robust ontologies using chips with tens of thousands of general-purpose cores. Citadels, armored safe storage for private and sensitive information, depend crucially on the Actor Model for security, modularity, and performance. In particular, they make use of Actor type encryption so that application programmers do not have to explicitly program crypto or manage encryption keys.