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Engineering Grand Challenges Summit in Los Angeles Oct. 6-8

The second national summit on the National Academy of Engineering's Grand Challenges -- which will focus on global issues related to sustainability, vulnerability, health, and the "joy of living" -- will be held at the University of Southern California October 6-8, 2010.

Broadcast veteran and CNN's former science and technology correspondent Miles O'Brien will moderate a two-day master session on October 7-8 which will include dynamic panels organized around the perspectives of technology, innovation, business, policy, education and communications.

A common thread will be the importance of fostering innovation, economic growth and job creation. The interconnection between the various perspectives and the creation of a K-12 pipeline of engineering talent and other human resources will be an important part of the summit presentations and discussion.

The speakers for the summit include:

  • Amy Alving, Chief Technology Officer, Science Applications International Corporation
  • Jean-Lou Chameau, President, Caltech
  • Paul Debevec, Associate Director, Institute for Creative Technologies and Academy Award recipient for work on Avatar and other films.
  • Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman, X Prize Foundation
  • Debra Estrin, Professor of Computer Science, University of California - Los Angeles
  • Jay Greene, Journalist and Author: Design Is How It Works
  • Henry Jenkins: Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, USC
  • Linda Katehi, Chancellor, University of California Davis
  • Maria Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College; Director, Microsoft Corporation
  • John Martin, CEO, Gilead
  • C. L. Max Nikias, President, University of Southern California
  • Franklin Orr, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University
  • James Shelton III, Assistant Deputy Secretary for innovation and improvement at the U.S. Department of Education
  • Ali Velshi, Chief business correspondent, CNN
  • Charles Vest, President, National Academy of Engineering
  • Matthew Wald, Journalist, The New York Times
  • Peter Williams, Chief Technology Officer of IBM's Big Green Innovations

The goals of the summit include:

  • Identifying how engineering, science, and technology entrepreneurship can lead to the creation of new jobs
  • Enhancing public interest in engineering and science by articulating their critical roles in modern society
  • Creating public awareness of the importance of policy to engineering innovation and implementation
  • Stimulating future collaborations of engineers, policymakers and practitioners of business, law, social sciences and humanities to address the complex societal issues raised by technological innovation

The national summit represents the culmination of a series of regional summits throughout the year that have been organized around the Grand Challenges. In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced 14 Grand Challenges on which engineering can have the greatest impact on society. The challenges cover a wide spectrum of issues, from making solar power more economical to providing access to clean water to engineering better medicines to preventing nuclear terror.

Universities across the United States have responded to the NAE's call to action. The USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Duke University Pratt School of Engineering, California Institute of Technology, and Olin College are sponsoring this year's national summit at USC. Duke hosted the first national summit in March 2009.

The 2010 summit's goals are ambitious and far-ranging, according to Yannis Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. "The NAE's Grand Challenges allow us to look at global problems through a framework that interweaves technology, innovation and public policy. The 2010 summit will bring to campus policymakers, corporate leaders and renowned academics to discuss solutions that are real, implementable and game-changing," said Yortsos.

The summit will commence with a Student Day on October 6. October 7-8 will feature engaging panel discussions from a diverse group of presenters. For an overview of the summit, which will be presented on USC's University Park Campus, speakers and events, go to:

Lockheed Martin is the Presenting Sponsor for the Summit and the Student Day.

Members of the media, educators, students and individuals from the private sector are encouraged to attend the series of discussions.


Contact: Leslie DaCruz
University of Southern California

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