Schmidt takes center stage at tech event
Schmidt’s 20-year career in software development, management,
and marketing was launched with degrees from Berkeley engineering
and included stints at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Bell
Labs, and Sun Microsystems before he landed at Google.
YVETTE SUBRAMANIAN PHOTO
Eric Schmidt (M.S. ’79, Ph.D.’82 EECS) has seen the
future and "it’s frighteningly smart."
The chairman and CEO of Google, Inc. — the world’s
fourth most popular Web destination — addressed nearly 200
Berkeley engineering alumni, students, and guests at the third
annual Berkeley in Silicon Valley Symposium. Held in March at
the Sun Santa Clara Conference Center, the symposium explored
new directions in science and technology.
Schmidt’s keynote address opened the symposium, which showcased
Berkeley engineering and chemistry faculty and an afternoon panel
discussion entitled Homeland Security and Privacy: Can We
Strike the Right Balance? featuring experts from industry,
government, and academia.
"The next generation of 20-somethings is frighteningly smart.
I’m really glad they work for me," joked Schmidt in
a spirited and entertaining talk on technology’s past, present,
and future. The tech bubble of the mid-1990s is unlikely to repeat
itself, he predicted, and as a CEO he is troubled by the tech
sector’s drop in profits. But with the high level of innovation
percolating in technology, particularly in universities, he expressed
optimism that the "clever entrepreneurs" will drive
a recovery for the ailing industry.
Engineering faculty presenters included Lisa Alvarez-Cohen and
Daniel Kammen speaking on the environment, Boris Rubinsky on medicine,
and Eric Brewer and David Wagner on cybersecurity. The afternoon
panel discussion addressed the national focus on homeland security;
the intersection of public needs and private rights; and the role
of government, academia, and business in gathering information
and protecting individual privacy. Panelists included Teresa Lunt,
a scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center; Charles Shank, director
of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Mark Kvamme, Berkeley
alumnus and partner at Sequoia Capital venture capital firm in
Menlo Park; EECS professor and cybersecurity expert Doug Tygar;
and panel moderator Shankar Sastry, EECS chairman and professor.
Sun Microsystems donated its facility for the event, which was
sponsored by the Colleges of Chemistry and Engineering. To see
Schmidt’s keynote address and engineering faculty presentations,
go to our multimedia gallery at www.coe.berkeley.edu/multimedia/index.html.
Angela Privin, editor of Engineering News,
contributed to this story.
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