CS Colloquium (BMAC)


siegel ISTeC Distinguished Lecture in conjunction with the Computer Science Department and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Seminar Series
Almond: A User-Programmable Virtual Assistant that Protects Privacy

Speaker: Monica Lam, Professor, Computer Science Department, Stanford University

12:30PM ~ 1:45PM, Tuesday March 20, 2018

Where: Clark A-103

Contact: Sanjay Rajopadhye ( )

Abstract:Virtual assistants are revolutionizing how we interact with machines by providing a uniform, highly personalized, language-based interface to digital services. This talk presents Almond, an open-source, crowd-sourced research project to explore the potential of virtual assistants. Can we program the virtual assistant to perform complex tasks in natural language? Can we protect privacy by running a virtual assistant on our own personal devices? Can we control access by specifying, in natural language, who, what, when, where, and how our data are to be shared? Can we combine the advantages of language-based interfaces with graphical user interfaces? Our preliminary solutions to all these questions are based on prior work in multiple areas: machine learning, language design, distributed systems, and human-computer interfaces.

Bio:Dr. Monica Lam has been a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University since 1988. She is the Faculty Director of the Stanford MobiSocial Computing Laboratory. Her research spans the areas of architecture, compilers, distributed systems, machine learning, and human-computer interfaces. Her current research is to develop an open end-user programmable virtual assistant platform that protects users' privacy. She received a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1987. Prof. Lam is an ACM Fellow, and a co-author of the "dragon book", the most popular textbook in compilers.