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The CEWIT2020 Conference

The Center for Excellence Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT) held its 16 th annual International Conference on Emerging Technologies for a Smarter World (CEWIT 2020) on November 5, 2020. More than 40 researchers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from all over the world shared their cutting-edge research and insights into Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Computational Medicine, and Cybersecurity. One of the highlights of the conference was a talk on The Genetic Code Translation Machinery as a Therapeutic Target, given by keynote speaker Nobel laureate Professor Ada Yonath.

This year’s CEWIT2020 was quite different than previous conferences: due to the world pandemic, it was held completely online. While this virtual event didn’t replace the benefits of networking in person, it did offer a large and diverse audience and speakers from all over the world an opportunity to attend. A record number of more than 850 people registered making this event the largest held at the university since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The conference was held during an unprecedented time of a pandemic. And while this is a great challenge for everyone, the virus accelerated the digital changes that were already underway,” said Satya Sharma, Executive Director of CEWIT. “These emerging technologies will reshape a new world that will be vastly different from the one that existed just a year ago; they will lead to many new opportunities and creation of completely new industries. The future is what this conference is all about.”

The conference day included several parallel plenary talks as well as Venture Capital panel discussions. Participants could visit the virtual exhibit show floor which featured companies, incubators, professional organizations and university centers. Attendees could surf registrants profiles and create networking rooms through which they could meet, or communicate through Instant Messaging. Attendees could also go back post-presentation and watch any session they had missed.

Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis made her introductory remarks before introducing the keynote speaker. She pointed out how the COVID-19 pandemic and the global response to it have reshaped the world around us. The President cited that though it is a great challenge to adapt to the new world, it is also a unique opportunity for fostering the multi-disciplinary research community and creating something new.

In the conference’s welcoming words, Peter Donnelly, Associate Vice President for Technology Partnerships at SBU, characterized new technologies, science and engineering featured at the conference as the most important building blocks of a future. “These emerging technologies,” said Donnelly, “have outsized economic impact. They create new jobs that pay well, and generate taxes to go full circle to fund still further science and engineering.”   

CEWIT will begin planning their CEWIT2021 conference in the hopes next year’s event will be a hybrid of opportunity – in-person while allowing the option of virtual participation.