Watch the full WEBCAST of the Sparks! Forum at CERN here

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Sparks! 2021 Programme

The Sparks! Programme is now available!

Click here to download the full program.


Sparks!, the serendipity forum, a two-day multidisciplinary science innovation forum and public event

CERN is launching an annual two-day multidisciplinary science innovation forum and public event. Sparks!, the serendipity forum at CERN, will bring together renowned scientists from diverse fields around the world, along with decision makers, representatives of industry, philanthropists, ethicists and the public to bring a novel, multi-faceted approach to addressing some of the big questions of our time.

The goal? To foster a new community and develop a platform to spark innovation in issues related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are relevant to society, and further CERN's mission towards peace in science.

Sparks! will begin with a cycle of three pilot events from 2021 to 2023, each focusing on a single theme to test the concept. Experience gained from this cycle will lead to a yearly event with multiple themes addressed each year. The event will become a flagship for CERN's new Science Gateway which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in 2022. The theme of the first edition is future intelligence.

First edition theme: Future Intelligence

The theme of the first edition of Sparks is Future Intelligence. The flow, analysis and interpretation of vast amounts of information is a core strength of CERN, in particular when searching for tiny signals in vast datasets, while avoiding bias and being open to novel technologies. As the particle physics challenge intensifies, CERN is set to be at the forefront of bringing together big data and Artificial Intelligence. 

CERN will benefit from the cutting-edge learning that the forum will afford, and participants will gain from lessons learned by CERN in mining the LHC data streams. Together, the invited participants, from a diverse background beyond AI such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and ethics, and CERN scientists will exchange visions on the development of the field, and set tangible directions for a future course. The forum discussions will form and inform the public event sparking new questions on what that all means to the future of our global society.

More information

Sparks! Launch 

The Sparks! Forum was originally planned to take place in 2020, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sparks! Launch took place virtually  on 26 November 2020. 

Professors Anima Anandkumar, Jürgen Schmidhuber, Francesca Rossi and Stuart Russell, talked about the current status of the field of AI research today, setting the scene for the discussion about the future of the field during the event in 2021. Host Bruno Giussani, Global Curator of TED, interviewed CERN AI experts, Jennifer Ngadiuba, Sofia Vallecorsa and Micheal Kagan, on how CERN and other big science can benefit from AI and the topics we aim to address in 2021. 

You can watch the launch here to give you an insight into the world of future intelligence, and to find out more about what attending the Sparks! Public Event might be like.