Park and Veva Reilly Distinguished SeminarExport this event to calendar

Monday, April 9, 2018 — 11:00 AM EDT

The Promise of Artificial Intelligence in Process Systems Engineering: Is it here, finally?

Venkat Venkatasubramanian
Samuel Ruben-Peter G. Viele Professor of Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027


Artificial intelligence (AI) started off with great promise in the early 1980s, spurred by the successes of the expert system paradigm in certain applications. This prompted a flurry of research activities in process systems engineering (PSE) in the mid-1980s. However, as the ensuing three decades showed, AI didn’t quite live up to its promise in PSE. The great success stories in PSE from the last three decades are mainly simulation, optimization, and model predictive control.

So, what went wrong for AI?

In this talk, I will review the different phases of AI in PSE in the last 30 years, providing some background and explanation to this question. I will also argue that this time it is different – I believe the time for AI in PSE, and in other domains, has arrived, finally. The next 30 years will witness phenomenal progress in AI, with transformational impact on human societies. I will offer some possible visions of the coming phases of AI in this context. In particular, I will discuss the theory of self-organizing intelligent agents and its implications in economics and sociology. I will also discuss the challenges, opportunities and emerging trends in diverse areas such as molecular products design, pharmaceutical manufacturing and systemic risk management.

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