VinUniversity Distinguished Lecture – Professor Sanjay Sarma, Vice-President of Open Learning at MIT

Event date: 22/12/2021

Understanding what it means to understand something: Implications for Human and Machine Learning

Wednesday, December 22, 2021, 8:00 – 9:00 pm Hanoi time | Zoom Meeting

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Abstract: Do you know what it means to truly learn something? You probably do, but it’s probably hard to describe that aha feeling. Precisely how we learn is not fully understood. We explore this question and also examine the difference between implicit learning and explicit learning. Implicit learning happens intuitively, almost unconsciously. Explicit learning is that which can be codified, and transmitted through a curriculum. Most education and educational reform today focus on explicit learning — books, instructions, formulas, and tests. But true mastery is implicit. We will explore these concepts, and then ask the question about machine learning. Today, supervised machine learning is based on labeled datasets. This is explicit training of the machine. We will explore whether machine learning can be used for implicit learning.

Bio: Sanjay Sarma is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and Vice President for Open Learning at the Institute. He overseas OpenCourseWare, MITx, MicroMasters, the new MIT Integrated Learning Initiative and the Jameel World Education Lab at MIT. As a researcher, he co-founded the Auto-ID Center at MIT and developed many of the key technologies behind the EPC suite of RFID standards now used worldwide. He was also the founder and CTO of OATSystems, which was acquired by Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) in 2008. Between 2010 and 2012, Sarma led MIT’s team to establish the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He serves on the boards of Hochschild Mining (LON: HOC), GS1US, EPCglobal and several startup companies. Dr. Sarma received his Bachelors from the Indian Institute of Technology, his Masters from Carnegie Mellon University and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He has previously worked at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Aberdeen, UK, at Lawrence Berkeley Labs and at OATSystems. His current research interests are in Internet of Things, street scanning, sensing, RFID, autonomy, cybersecurity, logistics, manufacturing, and education. He is the Author of 3 books including The Inversion Factor, Grasp, and Workforce Education. Learn more about the speaker at