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alg0c – Algorithm Conference

Algorithm Conference

February 18 - 20, 2021

UTD - Dallas, TX

Just 3 days of high-level, no-pitch presentations and workshops from academics, business and tech professionals working in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and blockchain technologies.

General info

Algorithms have found their way into practically every aspect of our lives. Wheree’er you look, howe’er you range, algorithms are hard to miss. Increasingly being deployed to guide you along and fight a pandemic.

Algorithm Conference will bring you 3 days of high-level, no-pitch workshops and presentations that show how algorithms have been shaping and will continue to shape every aspect of our lives. Special consideration will be given to sessions that highlight innovative technical and commercial developments in big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, their ethical and privacy implications, and how they impact and are impacted by public policies.

Researchers from the academia, developers and technical managers from startups and established companies will be on hand to share insights on the current state of development in big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, and their future trajectories. Those overseeing the rollout of these technologies on the management side and people involved in influencing and advising policy makers will also be on hand to share their insights.

The plenary sessions of Algorithm Conference will take place at the JSOM AuditoriumUniversity of Texas at Dallas.​

AI as an inventor?

Following a similar ruling by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently ruled that AI cannot be recognised as an inventor. The rulings affect patent applications for two inventions made by an AI machine called DABUS

US and UK patent laws specify that only natural persons or individuals could be inventors. The UKIPO has indicated that a change in patent law might be needed to accommdate inventions by AI, and we expect that will be the next course of action in the US and other jurisdictions.

According to the BBC, “the World Intellectual Property Organisation has started a consultation on this issue and is due to continue the discussion at a session [later this year], with the outcome expected to influence future IP policy.”

Dr. Stephen Thaler, who wrote DABUS, and Professor Ryan Abbott, the patent attorney responsible for the patent applications on behalf off DABUS, are scheduled to speak during Algorithm Conference.

Their effort, which I think will eventually lead to a change in patent law, will have far-reaching implications across all indusries. You’ll want to listen to Dr Thaler, Prof Abbott and a couple of others involved in this issue of AI machines and patents.

The US military and lethal AI

Can an AI system be sentient, creative and capable of understanding? Does the US military have an obligation to develop weapons systems with AI capabilities? Prof Marks, the Director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, will address those questions during his keynote. Dr Thaler will also weigh in during his keynote on this issue of sentient and conscious AI machines.

Featured speakers

Robert J. Marks is the Director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence; a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Baylor University; and a Fellow of both IEEE and the Optical Society of America. Marks served as editor-in-chief for the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks.

His research has been supported/funded by the Army Research Lab, the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the Army Research Office, NASA, JPL, NIH, NSF, Raytheon, and Boeing.

He is co-author of Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks, Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, and the author of The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI.

His keynote, titled Non-algorithmic You: Why AI will never be sentient, creative or understand, will shed light on the limitations of AI with respect to sentience, creativity and understanding, and address the use of AI in potentially lethal applications, like autonomous military weapons.

Dr Thaler is the author of more than two dozen patents on generative AI. DABUS, his newest patent, is the focus of a global legal effort to credit AIs as inventors of the IP they create, and the basis for a WSJ article archived here.

15-year veteran of aerospace giant McDonnell Douglas, his work for the military includes novel electro-optical materials discovery as well as brilliant robotic control systems capable of self-originating Machiavellian tactics on the battlefield.

He has authored numerous papers based upon his patented neural network paradigms to model cognition, consciousness, and sentience. In the first of these works, Dr Thaler offered highly controversial models of hallucination within the traumatized brain.

His keynote will give a high-level description of how DABUS works, the computational approach it uses to generate subjective feelings, and how it harnesses those feelings to generate ideas and interpret its world.

Ryan Abbott, MD, JD, MTOM, PhD, is Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey School of Law, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Partner at Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan, LLP, and a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS.

He has consulted for, among others, the UK Parliament, European Commission, WHO, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. He is a licensed physician and patent attorney in the United States, and a non-practicing solicitor in England and Wales. Managing Intellectual Property magazine named him one of the 50 most influential people in intellectual property in 2019.

Working with Dr Thaler, Prof Abbott’s efforts to win recognition for DABUS AI machine as an inventor has drawn coverage by the WSJ, the BBC, CMS Law-Now, among others. He is the author of The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law.

He will give you a firsthand account of what it’s being like to try and win recognition for AI machines as inventors.

Anastasia was a quantum researcher at Georgia Tech Quantum Optics & Quantum Telecommunications Lab, the University of Maryland Joint Quantum Institute, founder of CourseShark, and an alumni of the Flashpoint start-up incubator. She’s now working on superconducting qubit quantum processors at Bleximo.

She has a blog and YouTube channel demystifying quantum computing with the goal to get more scientists and engineers into quantum computing research.

She was a second place finisher in IBM’s Europe Qiskit Camp (a quantum hackathon competition) for work in improving performance of Qiskit, and first place in the IBM’s Asia Qiskit Camp for designing a pulse level programming language for quantum computing.

Her presentation will bring you up to speed on the latest and future research in the quantum computing space – quantum advantage, the potential security implications of a large, coherent, and fault tolerant quantum computer, and how can you get involved in the coming quantum revolution.

In a previous assignment, Michael Kanaan was the first Chairperson of Artificial Intelligence, HQ U.S. Air Force, where he authored and guided the research, development, and implementation strategies for AI technology and machine learning activities across its global operations. Prior to that, he was the Enterprise Lead for Artificial Intelligence, HQ U.S. Air Force ISR & Cyber Effects Operations. He’s now the Director of Operations, U.S. Air Force/MIT Artificial Intelligence.

In recognition of his fast-rising career and broad influence, he was named to the Forbes “30 Under 30” List and has received numerous other awards and prestigious honors — including the US Government’s Arthur S. Flemming Award. His highly anticipated book, T-Minus AI: Humanity’s Countdown to Artificial Intelligence and the New Pursuit of Global Power, is due this August.

Joel Lehman is a Senior Research Scientist at Uber AI, where he leads efforts into AI safety research. Previously, he was the first employee of Geometric Intelligence (acquired by Uber) and a tenure-track professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, where his research focused on evolutionary computation, neural networks, artificial life, and computational creativity.

He was co-inventor of the popular novelty search evolutionary algorithm, and co-author of Why Greatness Cannot be Planned (with Prof Kenneth Stanley), which gives an insight into what AI search algorithms imply for individual and societal accomplishment.

His presentation will highlight current research and future challenges in AI, including the challenge of making machines with ethical sensibilities.

You may view a complete list of confirmed speakers and the abstract of their presentations by clicking that big button.

Preliminary schedule

Meet the author

Virtual events are nice, but nothing beats the experience of having an in-person interaction with another conference attendee, especially one who is also the author of The Case for Killer Robots. A copy of the print book is yours free and you can even have a signed copy, chat with him about the military and lethal AI, the practical and ethical challenges that brings, and even about consciousness and AI machines.

The Case for Killer Robots


Registration for workshop and for the conference itself is now open. The workshop has a limited number of tickets, so hurry and register if you want to guarantee yourself a spot. To reserve your ticket(s), click on that big red button.

Participating companies

Become a sponsor or exhibitor

If you would like to sponsor Algorithm Conference or have an exhibit space during the conference, click that button to email us. We’ll respond pronto!


Algorithm Conference will take place at the University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080.

Workshops will take place in the TI Auditorium, while all general conference sessions will be in the JSOM Auditorium.

2019 event links

Algorithm Conference was Big Data & AI Conference in 2019. You may visit the now archived website.

Video recordings of most of the presentations are available in this YouTube playlist.

Most of the presentations slides from that 2019 event are available at this Speaker Deck account.