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iConference 2016 Announces M. Brian Blake as Second Keynote Speaker


Philadelphia, Pa. – M. Brian Blake, PhD, executive vice president and provost at Drexel University, will serve as a keynote speaker along with director and producer Robin Hauser Reynolds at the iConference 2016 — an annual, international gathering of the iSchools organization that pushes the boundaries of information studies and creates new technological and conceptual configurations.

Blake-Brian-800wThe conference, which will take place in historic Philadelphia from Mar. 20-23, 2016, is being hosted by Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI). The event will bring together more than 500 leading researchers and innovators from academia and industry under the theme of “Partnership with Society” to examine the dynamic, evolving role of information science and today’s iSchool movement, and the benefits to society. Conference registration is now open.

“We are thrilled to welcome Drexel’s Executive Vice President and Provost M. Brian Blake as a keynote speaker at the iConference 2016,” said iSchools Executive Director and iConference 2016 Co-Chair David Fenske, PhD. “We’re also looking forward to his address, which will speak to the heart of this year’s conference theme in identifying key advances in data science and how they are impacting our global society.”

Blake’s opening keynote address, presented on Mar. 21, will highlight three distinct projects: informatics for spanning scientific workflows across cloud environments, approaches for energy-efficient service-oriented systems across geographically distributed networks, and infrastructures that leverage mixed human and Web service systems to conduct Big Data analytics. Blake will describe how each of these projects provides advantages for important societal challenges in sustainability and national security.

“As system integrators can no longer develop platforms in isolation of human-centered expertise, we know that the next innovations in Internet-based or mobile-based infrastructures will absolutely require the interpretation of data and the more humanistic aspects. That is why the iConference is so important in convening the world’s information experts to address these complex challenges,” Blake said.

According to Blake, the Internet has matured in such a way that systems and humans are able to exchange information to perform common tasks. Web-scale workflow is our vision towards a paradigm of platforms that integrate human and software collaboration on networked platforms; for this paradigm, managing information is key.

In addition to his role as executive vice president and provost, Blake holds appointments in Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics (as distinguished professor of systems and software engineering), in the College of Engineering (as professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and in the College of Medicine (as professor of neuroengineering).

Prior to joining Drexel, Blake served as vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Miami (UM). Before joining UM, Blake was professor of computer science and engineering and associate dean of engineering, research and graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining Notre Dame, Blake was department chair and director of graduate studies in computer science at Georgetown University. Blake’s industry experience includes six years as a software engineer and architect at Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and The MITRE Corporation before entering academia full time.

Blake’s research interests include investigating software engineering approaches for the integration of Web-based systems. His scholarly activities have been funded by more than $10 million in sponsored research awards from various government and commercial organizations (e.g., AFRL, AFOSR, DARPA, Department of Education, FAA, NIH, NSF, IBM, MITRE, SAIC). He has authored or co-authored more than 160 journal articles, books/book chapters and refereed conference/workshop papers.

Blake earned his doctorate in information and software engineering from George Mason University, a master of science in electrical engineering from Mercer University, and a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).