If we trace how computers have evolved over the past 8 or so decades, we can certainly see the impact of increasingly sophisticated manufacturing techniques. Computers now come in many different shapes and sizes. And applications, of course, have driven the widespread adoption, so much so that it appears we have an insatiable appetite for computing and the power that is needed to feed it. That’s a problem. We must take more seriously some of the past assumptions of how we manufacture computers and what properties the constituent materials impose. In this talk, I will introduce the notion of the Internet of Materials, whereby the power, form factor, and manufacturing costs of a computational object take precedence over other functional features of that object. I will show some simple examples that highlight how we can create self-sustaining computational materials. The purpose of the talk is to motivate researchers to think creatively about the convergence of materials, manufacturing, and computing. I hope these initial, and somewhat simple, examples prompt deeper discussions on how Northeastern can become a leader in defining a complementary computing industry. Gregory Abowd, Dean of the College of Engineering as he discusses Developing Further Connections between COS and COE on the Internet of Materials. This event was recorded on January 18, 2022.
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