Nerdnite October 24: The financial crisis, plus cyborgs

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Oct 17, 2008, 11:29:10 AM10/17/08
to Nerdnite Boston
Hello nerds and friends of nerds,
Only one week till our next Nerdnite, which will take place as usual
at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain. The official starting time for
the talks is 9pm. But the Midway will certainly be open much earlier
than that -- so I encourage you to come out at 8 or 8:30 and have a
beer with Boston's nerdiest before the talks start. The heckling is
always more fun when you've got a few in you already. There will be a
small cover -- probably 3 or 4 bucks.

The high level of nerdery that promises to be on display next Friday
exceeds even the usual nerd-tastic standards for our little event.
Our speakers will cover a lot of ground, ranging widely from credit
default swaps to reprogramming your brain... plus there may be a
surprise extra talk... you will not want to miss it. Here's the
lineup:

Talk 1: "Dr. Derivative: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the
Swap"
by Shawn Cole

Shawn (assistant professor of finance, Harvard Business School) leads
you through 1,000 years of financial development in 20 short minutes.
Learn about old and new financial instruments (swaptions, CDOs, MBSs),
how to link the fortunes of a peasant in India with a mogul in
Indiana, and walk away with a better understanding of the current
financial crisis than our president.

Talk 2: "Brains, AI, and Cyborgs Revealed"
by Youssef Barhomi and Lili Xu

How can we make a robot that understand the world surrounding it --
using only a camera? Can neuroscience help solve this problem? And
if so, how would you plug your brain into a machine so they can
interface? What might we use this robot for? Could this robot defeat
Mothra? Youssef and Lili are set to do a blockbuster tag-team
presentation that will begin to answer these questions. (well maybe
not that last one...). There will be two parts to their talk, with a
brief break in between. Part 1... in which Youssef tells us how
emerging understanding of the neuroscience of vision might aid in the
design of computers that can see. Part 2...in which Lili discusses
brain-machine connections. Youssef is an electrical engineer with a
master's degree in image processing from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.
He's doing research on learning at the McGovern Institute for Brain
Research, MIT. Lili says: "Born under a fist of communism, Lili
believes Barack Obama's 'fundamental change' begins with the
individual: one must have the common sense to want to learn, think and
passionately be a part of society. The government will treat us how
we let them treat us: the only action worse than not voting is
uninformed voting. She hopes everyone will rock the informed vote on
Nov 4!"

After the speakers, there will be bands so plan to stick around!

I can't wait to hear these talks -- hope you all are as excited as I
am.

See you Friday the 24th!
-Jeremy

Be there and be square!
Friday October 24
Midway Cafe
3496 Washington Street,
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 524-9038
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