The Program Committee for the IFIP World Computer Congress (WCC 2018 – has kicked off the new year by confirming two exciting new keynote speakers for the September event.

Leslie Valiant, the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard and Shamika N. Sirimanne, Director of the Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL) within UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) will both present keynote addresses at WCC2018 in Poznan, Poland.

Professor Leslie Valiant won the 2010 ACM A. M. Turing Award – widely considered to be the Nobel Prize for Computing – for his fundamental contributions to the development of computational learning theory and to the broader theory of computer science. Based at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), he is currently engaged in research in such diverse areas as artificial intelligence (AI), computational linguistics, robotics, machine learning and computational neuroscience.

Professor Valiant brought together machine learning and computational complexity, leading to advances in artificial intelligence as well as computing practices such as natural language processing, handwriting recognition and computer vision. He also launched several subfields of theoretical computer science and developed models for parallel computing.

Shamika Sirimanne has extensive experience in development policy, research and technical cooperation gained from international organizations, national governments, think tanks and universities. She served as Director of the ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), where she spearheaded major regional cooperation programmes.

Among them were the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative for seamless broadband connectivity, Regional Drought Mechanism for monitoring and early warning of drought through space technology applications, and the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade (UNNExT) initiated in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Ms Sirimanne holds a PhD in Economics and has also worked with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Canadian Department of Finance and the World Bank.

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