IEEE is bringing its third annual Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) to San Jose’s Airport Garden Hotel from October 20-23. The GHTC calls itself a “voice amplifier” for the needs of underserved populations. You’ll see a new iMac, a futuristic battery, or the latest smartphone at many conferences, but they’re mentioned at GHTC in the context of empowering communities and individuals. Engineers, academics, NGOs, micro-loan firms, charities, and others are seeking to develop technological solutions for the challenges facing all humans—and the world we live in.
GHTC’s goals are to foster the exchange of information, promote networking, and enable cooperation among humanitarian organizations and technology firms. The excitement of scientific progress is amplified when it is applied meaningfully in the lives of billions of disadvantaged people. A middle-class American might see tablet PC rentals as cool, but people in underdeveloped nations see them as life-changing, as a way to create new, localized solutions for their specific challenges. This is a conference to excite both mind and heart.
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CEWIT 2013—the 10th International Conference & Expo on Emerging Technologies for a Smarter World, at the Melville Marriott Long Island in Melville, NY, on October 21 and 22—is one of the leading conferences on emerging technologies, combining academic research and industry R&D in a single forum. (The acronym is the organizer’s, the New York State Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, CEWIT, at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY.) CEWIT 2013 features presentations on original research, new ideas on small-scale energy production, as well as discussions of how emerging technologies are changing health care, infrastructure, and energy usage—three crucial challenges in the quest for a “smarter” global environment.
The two-day summit will feature a wide range of technical sessions on smart infrastructure; cloud, mobile, and visual computing; “big data” and analytics; intelligent power grids; smart medicine; and, very importantly, a re-imagined energy paradigm. The power management system in a modern computer rental fairly sips power, and reduced power demand means “more for everybody.” As we’ve said here a few times, the times they are a-changin’—and it’s people at these kinds of conferences that are doing much of that changing.
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The 135th Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention takes over the Javits Center in New York City from October 17-20, 2013. As always, the AES conference will focus on today’s key frontiers in professional audio, broadcasting, recording, and media production. The AES is many things—networking, presentations, workshops, and fun—but it’s all about the educational sessions, and this year’s premier offerings take a close look at the new technologies affecting broadcast and streaming audio, like “Audio for 4K TV.” Addressing the public service aspect of broadcasting, the “Broadcasting During Disasters” session will examine how 2012’s Hurricane Sandy affected broadcast operations.
As a get-together of top audio pros, the AES also debates standards. One session that promises some real debate is entitled, “Is It Time To Retire the MP3 Protocol for Streaming?” This now-aging format has allowed music to proliferate on devices from computers to our iPad rental, but it may be that its continued wide use delays the introduction of superior audio codecs. Perhaps after AES is over we will be informed of something that will replace it. Or maybe that will be at the 136th meeting. There is a lot to do, after all!