#TROI (The Role Of Interfaces, September 24, 2017):

What is on that side? Where does identity crisis happen? Is interface a neighborhood concept? Can there be interfaces without fences? Are there non-membrane bound life forms? How do we connect computers or networks? How does the human brain communicate with the CPU? What is the dimensionality of interfaces? Can intelligence be encoded into materials? Where is a cell controlled from? Is Wi-Fi physical? Is autonomy difficult? Do different kinds of interactions lead to different kinds of interfaces? Can a physically imposed political boundary create different spaces? Are the number of interfaces in HCI systems increasing? Is all logic language based? Does more feedback make systems more stable? Can supervision be complicated? Can there be (non-physical) interfaces between faster and slower moving parts of a system? Are biological systems optimal? Are cars more complex than planes? Will highly automated systems have more rare events? Will biological systems assimilate the logic of computing interfaces in the distant future? Can cars truly self drive in the future? What can be undone? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from physics (Dr. Shankar Ghosh, TIFR, Mumbai), computer science (Prof. Philippe Palanque, University Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France), & immunology (Dr. Satyajit Rath, ex-National Immunological Institute (NII), New Delhi).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TROI show.

Dr. Shankar Ghosh (physics) is Associate Professor, Department of Condensed Matter & Soft Physics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. He received his B.Sc. (Honours) in Physics from North Bengal University, Siliguri, & then a M.Sc. (Physics) from School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Before TIFR, he was a research fellow at IISc (1999-2005) & has been a visiting scientist at Harvard University (2008). His research areas focus on experiences with interesting but non-intuitive phenomena with everyday materials, such as peeling of paint, sticking of particulate matter to surfaces, formation of cloud, & structure and dynamical response of a sandpile. Through his research, Dr. Ghosh extracts questions of basic and general nature from such phenomena, and devises experimental methods in order to find precise answers about them in model systems that retain the essence of the original observations. The experimental systems typically consist of building blocks that are larger than atomic dimensions, from ten nanometers to centimeters, both in and out of mechanical and thermodynamically equilibrium. Using experimental tools like optical tweezers, various types of rheometry and high speed imaging techniques, his investigations are aimed to seek a deeper understanding of these phenomena, by developing new techniques, experimental protocols and their interpretive framework. He has published close to 50 research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. Dr. Ghosh has been awarded the Martin Foster Medal for the best Ph.D. thesis in the division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, IISc (2006) & the INSA Medal for Young Scientists (2006). He was also an Associate Member of Indian Academy of Sciences (2005 to 2010) .

Prof. Philippe Palanque (computer science) is Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France, and is the head of Interactive Critical Systems (ICS) group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) in France. He has a first degree in Mathematics (University Toulouse III Paul Sabatier) and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (University Toulouse I Capitole). His key research areas are methods and tools for the development of interactive systems deployed in critical contexts, for example, cockpits of large civil aircraft, air traffic management workstations. His focus has been to address usability, safety and dependability in an even way & build trustable safety critical interactive systems. His research integrates diverse domains such as Human Computer Interaction (HCI), human error, automation, formal methods, performance evaluation, dependability and software engineering. His work has been supported by the French Department of Defense (DGA), French Civil Aviation (DGAC), Thales, the French National Center on Space Studies (CNES) and most recently Airbus Group. He has co-edited two books, ‘Formal Methods for Human Computer Interaction’ (Springer, 1998) & ‘The Handbook on Formal Methods for Human Computer Interaction’ (Springer, 2017). He has published more than 300 refereed papers and is a member of the program committee of numerous conferences such as SAFECOMP 2017 (36th conference on Computer Safety, Reliability and Security), EICS 2017 (24th conference on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems). He was also Co-Chair of ACM CHI 2014 (32nd conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems). He received the IFIP (International Federation of Information Processing) Silver Core award (September 2010) and was given the CHI Academy Award (January 2017) by ACM SIGCHI (Association for Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction).

Dr. Satyajit Rath (immunology) retired as faculty member from National Institute of Immunology (NII) in New Delhi, & is now serving in an honorary capacity at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune. He trained as a physician in Pune (M.B.B.S., University of Pune) and as a pathologist in Mumbai (M.D., University of Mumbai). He has since worked on mechanisms involved in the development and functioning of the immune system, initially in post-doctoral work, then as a faculty member at the NII. As part of his post doctoral work, he served at Haffkine Institute (Mumbai), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), Brandeis University (Waltham, USA), and Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, USA). As part of his work at NII, his group focused on the physiological control of the generation and activation of T.B. (tuberculosis) and antigen-presenting cells (APCs) of the myeloid lineage, using a variety of interlinked experimental systems and approaches. The projects he worked on were focused on examining APCs and pathways involved in antigen presentation to MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) class I and class II-restricted T cells (a kind of immunity building white blood cell, so-called because they develop in a small organ called the thymus gland), and analysing the consequences of intracellular signal transduction modulation for both development and responses of T cells and myeloid cells using genetic as well as pharmacological tools. He now works with governments in India, on issues of science and society-related policy, with civil society groups (especially those working at the interface of science and society such as the Delhi Science Forum (DSF) and the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP)), and also sporadically participates in the work of a wide diversity of groups involved in science education, ranging from Eklavya to NCERT.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TROI mentionsCharles Darwin, among others.