Danny Hillis Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Danny Hillis    

Author & Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Applied Minds

William Daniel (“Danny”) Hillis is an inventor, entrepreneur, scientist, writer, and visionary who is particularly known for his work in computer science.

Hillis is a co-founder of multiple start-ups including
Applied Invention an interdisciplinary group of engineers, scientists, and artists that develops technology solutions in partnership with leading companies and entrepreneurs; Applied Minds, a research, and development company that invents, designs, creates, and prototypes high-technology products and services; and Thinking Machines Corporation a company that developed the Connection Machine, a parallel supercomputer designed by Hillis at MIT.

After founding Thinking Machines Corporation, Hillis served as vice president of research and development at Walt Disney Imagineering.

He is also the Judge Widney Professor of Engineering and Medicine at the University of Southern California.

Hillis holds over 300 US patents in fields including parallel computers, touch interfaces, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, electronic and mechanical devices, and bio-medical techniques.

His board service includes The Long Now Foundation and Hertz Foundation. He is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Speech Topics

The Knowledge Web

Let’s consider what kind of automated tutor could be created using today's best technology. First, imagine that this tutor program can get to know you over a long period of time. Like a good teacher, it knows what you already understand and what you are ready to learn. It also knows what types of explanations are most meaningful to you. It knows your learning style: whether you prefer pictures or stories, examples or abstractions. Imagine that this tutor has access to a database containing all the world's knowledge. This database is organized according to concepts and ways of understanding them. It contains specific knowledge about how the concepts relate, who believes them and why, and what they are useful for. I will call this database the knowledge web, to distinguish it from the database of linked documents that is the World Wide Web. [...]

With the knowledge web, humanity's accumulated store of information will become more accessible, more manageable, and more useful. Anyone who wants to learn will be able to find the best and the most meaningful explanations of what they want to know. Anyone with something to teach will have a way to reach those who what to learn. Teachers will move beyond their present role as dispensers of information and become guides, mentors, facilitators, and authors. The knowledge web will make us all smarter. The knowledge web is an idea whose time has come.

Related Speakers View all

More like Danny