School of Information Sciences

TEC 2017: Technology. Entrepreneurship. Creativity.

Friday, February 10, 2017

TEC Conference is an annual, one-day conference designed to showcase some of the exciting work being done in technology, entrepreneurship, and creative spaces. Serving as the culminating event in iFest's week of activities, TEC provides an opportunity for students, researchers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community partners to meet, share ideas, and collaborate. 2017 marks the fourth year for TEC and remains a free event that is open to the public, due to the generous support of our sponsors.

RSVP here.

Schedule of TEC Talks


"Best Practices for Analytics in Sports Industry"

Steve Swetoha, President, Greensboro Swarm


"An Experimental Approach to Game Design"

Elaine Gomez, Game Designer & Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University


"Fueling The Birth of New Technologies, Products and Jobs; Makerspaces Transforming America's Communities"

Dan Woods, CEO, TechShop, Inc.


"Creating Effective Interdisciplinary Collaborations in the Digital Humanities"

Alison Langmead, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; David Newbury, Lead Developer, Art Tracks, Carnegie Museum of Art; Christopher Nygren, Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences


"What Will YOU Disrupt in the Cognitive Era?"

Deepika Devarajan, Senior Offering Manager, Watson Products, IBM


"What Can Teach us About Apps"

Robert Firth, President, Informing Design, Inc.


"Connecting the World"

Martijn de Jongh, Infrastructure Data Scientist, Facebook

Steve Swetoha, President, Greensboro Swarm (9:30AM)

“Best Practices for Analytics in Sports Industry”

The professional sports word is becoming more strategic pertaining to driving revenue through various departments within the organization through business intelligence. In addition, business analytics is becoming a key driver in building teams on the court, floor, and playing field. Swetoha will highlight, throught best practices, challenges, and opportunities, how information technology and analytics are being adopted by various sectors of the sports industry. An example would be how business analytics affects season ticket pricing for a new D-League franchise.

Bio: Steve Swetoha is the current President of the Greensboro Swarm in North Carolina. Prior, he spent six years as president, general manager and chief revenue officer of the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Swetoha has experience in the NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA and the ACC. A native of the Pittsburgh area, Swetoha earned his bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University. In 2010, he was elected to their Sports Management Hall of Fame. He holds a master’s degree in sports leadership from Duquesne University.

Elaine Gomez, Game Designer & Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University (10:45AM)

“An Experimental Approach to Game Design: Untraditional and Unexpected Interactivity”

Games are most commonly associated with entertainment and violence. More often than not, games known by name by the average person can be easily accessible via a local game store. What about games that are not common knowledge? There is an entire world of independent games that don't get as much marketing but are just as valuable. How different are they from what is seen on a regular basis and how are they impacting the industry? Gomez will discuss unconventional games with unique gameplay, technologies, input, and interfaces that are breaking the norms of traditional game design.

Bio: Elaine Gomez is a game designer, developer and producer. Her interests include experimental game design, alternate controllers, and methods for education in game development and computer programming. Elaine earned an MFA in Interactive Media and Games from USC in 2016. She teaches game theory and game design at Rutgers University. Her current project is Notice Me!

Dan Woods, CEO, TecShop, Inc. (11:30AM)

“Fueling the Birth of New Technologies, Products, and Jobs; Makerspaces Transforming America’s Communities”

Once the domain of free-wheeling hackers, burners, and hobbyists, makerspaces are rapidly becoming the cornerstone of America's innovation communities.

Bio: Dan Woods co-founder of Make Magazine/Maker Faire, and CEO of TechShop - discusses how open access makerspaces are accelerating early stage design and prototyping for hardware entrepreneurs like Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey of Square.

Alison Langmead, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; David Newbury, Lead Developer, Art Tracks, Carnegie Museum of Art; Christopher Nygren, Assistant Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh (1:00PM)

"Creating Effective Interdisciplinary Collaborations in the Digital Humanities”

In this presentation, Langmead, Nygren, and Newbury will discuss their research on the most effective ways to structure interdisciplinary work between technologists and humanists. The team will identify the four specific role types found to be critical to the success of these types of projects, explore the importance of recognizing the differing world-views of these disciplines, and emphasize the importance of respect and empathy as the bedrock for all such collaborations.

Bio: Alison Langmead directs the Visual Media Workshop, a Digital Humanities lab housed within the Department of History of Art and Architecture, and holds a joint faculty appointment with the School of Information Science's Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship. David Newbury is a systems architect and consultant for data-driven projects within cultural heritage. Christopher Nygren studies the art of Renaissance Italy, and recent collaborations have fostered an interest in how digital technologies can augment traditional forms of humanistic inquiry.

Deepika Devarajan, Senior Offering Manager, Watson Products, IBM (2:15PM)

"What Will YOU Disrupt in the Cognitive Era?”

We are embarking on a new era of cognitive computing with technology that understands, reasons, learns and interprets. This technology is being developed to augment human intelligence and is transforming many aspects of our life and how we work. Deepika will examine the impact of cognitive computing with examples, its implications and how you can be part of the transformation.

Bio: Deepika Devarajan is with the IBM Watson group in Pittsburgh. She has over 15 years of experience in product management, product development and marketing in technology and healthcare domains. Prior to joining the business ranks, she was a software, hardware, and R&D engineer (and can still code under duress). She has graduate degrees in business and computer engineering. At IBM, Deepika works with the Watson portfolio and is responsible for bringing to market the next generation of cognitive offerings. She is passionate about innovating technology products that make a difference and solving high-value problems with disruptive innovations.

Robert Firth, President, Informing Design, Inc. (3:00PM)

"What Can Teach us About Apps”

The City’s BigBurgh web-app for the homeless has proven to be a viral success. After just six months, its usage has exceeded that of the famed San Francisco homeless app, a city 2.5 times the size of Pittsburgh, and is nearly equal to the app for Australia, with a population 80 times ours. Even more importantly, it has succeeded as a networking platform, getting Police on the street working hand-in-hand with social service agencies like never before. How is all this possible? Bob Firth, the app’s designer, will point to some heretical possibilities: 1) for untangling human-centered narratives, smart curating can beat big data; and 2) for launching asymmetrical social networks, slowness can be a virtue. Bob will also offer a preview of his firm’s upcoming “citytunr” app platform, demonstrating the effect of untangling multiple modes of transportation simultaneously.

Bio: Bob first made local news in the early 90s with the runaway success of his atlas, Pittsburgh Figured Out, and then with the subsequent development of the City’s wayfinder sign system. With Pittsburgh as an ideal laboratory, Bob’s research interest has been in the problem of grasping complex transportation networks. This led to his insight into “aggregate-effect gridding” which can visually untangle the maps of such networks. His firm, Informing Design, has gone on to design several of North America’s largest wayfinding sign systems as well as to re-mapping many major cities. The firm will soon be unveiling its new “citytunr” app for two cities.

Martijn de Jongh, Infrastructure Data Scientist, Facebook (3:45PM)

"Connecting the World”

Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. Bringing people online has measurable economic benefits and significantly impacts people’s lives, but it is an enormously challenging task. Within Facebook, multidisciplinary teams are working together to solve the many complex problems that pop up when trying to provide internet connectivity, leveraging data to inform decision making and drive innovation. Martijn gives an overview of a few of the projects Facebook is working on and dives deeper into some of the data science challenges his team has been involved in.

Bio: Martijn, a SIS PhD alumnus, joined Facebook’s infrastructure department in May 2014 as a data scientist. His responsibilities include helping Facebook’s engineers speed up their mobile apps and analyzing and modeling global internet infrastructure for and the telecom infra project, efforts led by Facebook to bring internet connectivity to the world.

SIS News

SIS Faculty and students are leaders in the Information Professions. Their research, teaching, and projects are often newsworthy.